Dragons of Britain The
THE JOURNAL OF GAMING IN ARTHUR’S BRITAIN
The Maiden’s Oath
A Pendragon adventure to right a grave injustice Scholars of the Cycle: Wace, Bard of Jersey Good Times, Bad Times: Age of Arthur Intrigue Running the Great Pendragon Campaign Fiction: Where faeries keep their treasures Whispers Around The Realm
â€œThen all the councillors, together with that proud tyrant, were so blinded, that, as a protection to their country, they sealed its doom by inviting in among them (like wolves into the sheep-fold), the fierce and impious Saxons, a race hateful both to God and men, to repel the invasions of the northern nation - Gildas Sapiens, De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae XXIII
Contents 2 3 4
The Tragedy of Britain
The Maiden’s Oath A Pendragon Adventure by Dave Elrick
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Contents Noble Edicts Editorial by Steff Worthington
Planning & Running the GPC A look at the Great Pendragon Campaign by David Larkins Bibliophilia: Essential Reads An article on essential Arthurian books by Christopher Payne No More Bad Black Knights An NPC title table by Chris Payne & Lucy Rhodes
Words, words, words. Article by Steff. Worthington
Good Times, Bad Times An Age of Arthur scenario by Paul Mitchener
Whispers Around The Realm Plot nuggets and ideas
The Otherworld Music for Arthurian games by Steff Worthington
Wace, the Bard of Jersey Article by Steff. Worthington
Where Faeries Keep Their Treasures A fairy tale by Steff. Worthington
Gratitudes & Complimentaries Links to our contributors
Steff. J Worthington, Dave Elrick, David Larkins, Christopher Payne, Lucy Rhodes, & Paul Mitchener.
Steff. J Worthington, Wyldraven, Chonastock, needanewname, Michael Phillippi, Oliver Diaz, Elandria, Ashensorrow, Rita Marifoldi, Brian Carey, Luminareh, Eirian Stock, Melissa Salvatore, AnaRasha stock, Ecathe, Dorian, Arthur Rackham. This issue is dedicated to Angelina, Josh, and all who believe, or wish to believe, in the wonderous. Cover art: ‘Rainy Landscape’ by Wyld Raven http://wyldraven.deviantart.com/
Direction & Editing Steff. J. Worthington
Copyright Dragons of Britain is a magazine dedicated to the world of Arthurian gaming & RPGs ‘King Arthur: Pendragon’ is copyright 2013 Greg Stafford & Nocturnal Media. ‘Age of Arthur’ is copyright 2013 Wordplay Games. This free fan based magazine is not for sale and is a work of fiction. No similarities to real world people (still living or sleeping underneath a hill) or events are intended.
Submissions & Contact
email@example.com We are eager for submissions and this magazine can only continue with your help. Please e-mail your submission idea to the address above.
Noble Edicts What’s in a tale? Where do we draw the line between the fantastic and reality? Is a story so much more enjoyable for having the unrealistic elements inserted in it than dealing with purely the facts? We as grown adults tend to restrict ourselves to the ‘facts’ but children need more nourishing fare. Our fairy stories seem to build on a natural sense of curiosity and wonder within all of us and games that deal with a nearby, but distinctly seperate, realm such as Call of Cthulhu: Dreamlands, Age of Arthur, Pendragon, and Changeling: The Lost, keep these themes running in our hobby time. Yet not all fairy stories are for children. We need not look just at the brothers Grimm for tales that are, to say the least, a little unpleasant to modern parents’ sensibilities. In some dark tales, the wolf eats grandma. In other older tales it’s much worse. Celtic fairy tales have some of that darkness too. A sense that a tale isn’t just entertainment but also to teach about the sad fact that life can be dangerous for innocent folk and it’s best to stick to the path and not to wander. To do as your parent tells you because it’s for the good of your health.
As the child of publicans I gained a habit of seeing strangers as proxyaunts and uncles and regulars in the pub were some kind of strange familial off-shoot that always seemed to be visiting our house. Yet even here, I was warned not to speak to those I didn’t know. Not so much in the style of a fairy tale because, you know, that would have been weird. Although one of our neighbours when we lived at ‘The Raven’ in Fflint did seem particularly Troll like. Fairy tales these days seem to be subtle ways of teaching us how to combat adversity, bullying, and hopelessness. Nothing wrong with that but there seems to be very little actual danger in them, nor much wonder. Stories with actual fairies in them seem to be thin on the ground or are the sanitised and manufactured intellectual property of Disney (don’t even get me started on The Sword In The Stone). But fear not, there are still intrepid youngsters that brave the perils of a good old fashioned mythical yarn with a sword, a bag full of dreams, and a full heart. I dedicate this issue to you. For Angelina & Josh Both brave hearted & true.
Maiden’s Oath A Pendragon™ adventure by David Elrick during the Period of Unification
Scenario Travel Conditions This scenario is ideally played at Easter and as such player knights may find that their biggest impediment to completing their journey is the weather. It’s likely there will be frequent and demoralising rain during this time, especially in good farming land like the vale of Gloucester. GM’s should feel free to improvise the effects this sometimes muddy and sodden ground or rainbursts will have on travel times and, rarely, on horsed combat skills. The reasoning here is not to hinder the players but to provide local colour and eventful happenstance to what is a relatively flat and calming countryside in comparison to the rest of Britain. Travel rules can be found on p.99 of the Pendragon rulebook (5.0 & 5.1)
The Maiden's Oath A Pendragon adventure by David Elrick The following adventure was originally written to be run at games conventions and so was designed to fit into a four-hour slot. The adventure is structured in parts (or nuggets) which detail the important scenes, although the players can encounter the parts in any order (within the limits of geography, obviously), or wander off as they wish. Events outside the parts given should be determined by the GM. This adventure also works quite well as an introduction to Pendragon for new players as the various parts of the system (traits, passions, skill use & combat) are introduced at different points in the adventure. The adventure is set in 519 AD, the year following the great battle of Badon. It begins at the court of the Earl of Salisbury and takes place in Logres and Sugales. It was originally run with six player characters – five knights and one other (the maiden of the title). It can be run with any number of players, although I recommend that one plays the part of the lady Elianor (tip: pick a confident, talkative player to play the Lady Elianor. She has a lot of speaking in the first part and she can drive the
plot, especially in the latter part of the adventure). The player’s handout for lady Elianor is reproduced at the end of this adventure. This would make a good start for a campaign, with the player knights playing sons of knights killed at Badon who are now taking over their fathers’ manors. The player knights would have been at Badon too (either as knights or in their final year as squires) and their glory scores should be adjusted accordingly. I have not detailed the Lady’s maid, although either the GM or the player playing lady Elianor should consider it. She can be played for comic effect (sighing over the handsome knights; squealing during attacks; etc). If stats become important, use the Maid in Waiting stats from the rule book. Plot Summary It is Easter 519 AD. The PCs have gathered at Salisbury to pay fealty to their liege lord, Earl Robert, and are at the Easter feast, but there are some new knights and many empty seats due to the great battle at Badon the previous year. There are rumours that lordless manors will be shared out amongst the survivors and there is much anticipation. A young woman holding a sword bursts into the chamber demanding justice. Her father was one of the Earl’s vassals and was mur-
Map of Sugales/Gloucester border
dered a couple of days previously by a knight that he had befriended and offered hospitality to. The knight killed her father, took his magic sword and fled north. She wants to be knighted and she also wants help hunting him down so that she can kill him.
some bandits. Skirting Bath, they pass Badon hill and the site of the great battle. Pressing on, they reach the ferry across the Saefern, the ferryman confirming that they are on the right track, and track him to a castle in the Black Mountains.
Following a suggestion from Earl Robert, they travel to the giant ab- On the Escavalon shore, they follow bey at Amesbury, where they hear the road to a castle where they find some news of the renegade knight. their quarry. A battle follows and the story ends. They then take the old forest road Part 1 â€“ A Good Feast Spoiled towards Bath, where they meet
Adapting the Scenario This scenario was written for King Arthur: Pendragon but can, with little effort, be adapted to Age of Arthur or any fantasy roleplaying system or setting. A damosel in distress is the very staple of most medieval adventure stories.
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shouting for justice. The chamberLocation: The Great Hall, Salis- lain follows, his desire to eject the bury Castle woman warring with the fact that he is unable to touch a noble woman Date: Easter Day 519 AD – even one holding a sword. He is pleading with her to come out and It is Easter 519 AD. The PCs have he’ll take her to the rest of the ladies. gathered at Salisbury to pay fealty to their liege lord, Earl Rob- What do the characters do? Rememert, and are at the Easter feast in ber they are not armed as this is a the great hall. Only the men are feast. Also, culturally the sight of a there, the women are elsewhere woman holding a sword is just plain in the castle. wrong to them. Let them react. The knights should be shocked and posThere was a great battle at Ba- sibly scandalised by the appearance don the previous year and many of a lady in armour. Although we knights were killed there or died wouldn’t think a lot of it in our culin the winter of their wounds. ture, in their culture it is an imposSome knights have been replaced sibility (one of my players described by sons or brothers, but there are it as roughly akin to a haddock still some empty seats at the ta- singing the intro to Toscanini). This ble, indicating lordless manors. might be a good point to introduce There have been rumours that Passion rolls. lordless manors will be shared out amongst the survivors and There will certainly be two chances there is much anticipation. to roll against Hospitality: The servants have cleared away the food and restocked the wine and mead. Earl Robert sits at the high table and his dogs (red setters) snooze by the fire.
1. coming armed and armoured into the court;
The tables are set out in a U formation, with the Earl at the base of the U and the knights down both sides. The open end of the U faces the double doors leading out of the hall.
The woman whacks the chamberlain over the nose with the sword. Before anything else can happen, Earl Robert commands the chamberlain to leave the woman.
2. when the story of Arawn’s treachery is told.
There follows a question and answer Suddenly the doors burst open session, where the woman demands and a young woman holding a the Earl’s assistance in hunting her sword bursts into the chamber father’s murderer. Her father was
The knights all know Elianor’s father as he was another vassal of Earl Robert. They would remember him as being older than them by maybe 20 years or so and being a calm, quietspoken knight.
There will be several volunteers amongst the NPC knights, but the The knight killed her father, took PCs should want to go (otherwise his magic sword and fled north. this adventure is over for the playShe wants to be knighted (not too ers). likely) and she also wants help hunting him down so that she can Earl Robert suggests that, in the abkill him. She has her grandfather’s sence of solid information about the renegade knight’s destination and sword and armour. with no track to follow, the player characters’ first stop should be Possible checks at this point: Amesbury Abbey. Monks travel to and from the Abbey and they may * Just have news of this knight. The players are free to ignore this advice and * Vengeance rush off to Elianor’s father’s manor Or whatever else they ask for.
Lady Elianor with her Grandfather's Arming Sword but sans his armoured array
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one of the Earl’s vassals and was murdered a couple of days previously by a knight that he had befriended and offered hospitality to (this should cause a reaction as it is a basic insult to hospitality). Rolls against Hospitality are certainly valid here.
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in search of clues (or wherever else archery in the fields below the Abbey they may think of). (the Abbey’s patron was an archer). Pious checks would be appropriate for anyone wanting to get the Archbishop’s blessing before they depart. Part 1 takes place in the middle of the day. Even after equipping, they easily have time to make it to Amesbury before dark. Part 2 – Amesbury Abbey Location: Amesbury Abbey Following a suggestion from Earl Robert, they travel to the giant abbey at Amesbury, where they hear some news of the renegade knight. It is a short journey to Amesbury – perhaps 2- 3 hours in total.
The monks greet the characters, although there are some odd looks at Lady Elianor. A woman dressed as a knight attracts a lot of attention. Any Pagan knights should only attract attention if they do something to do so. The monks are not so concerned with converting pagans as the Archbishop is (although they won’t turn up the chance if it is offered). Their place in heaven is assured by other deeds. The abbot (Abbot Barnabus, although he will allow them to call him Brother or Father Barnabus, even though it is technically inaccurate) will listen to their story and then they will be fed and allowed to do their own thing for a while. Eventually the abbot will call them back and tell them that a knight answering to the description of Sir Arawn was seen on the old forest road to Aquae Sulis (Bath).
Reactions to the lady while she is in armour will be mixed. Some people will make the sign against the evil eye, while others will just ignore her. You can make a lot of this if Elianor’s player plays along, but don’t push it if it gets uncomfortable. The players now have a choice – they can take the kings road to the Saefern Amesbury Abbey at this point is one crossings, hoping to get ahead of Sir of the great Abbeys of the kingdom. Arawn (and hoping he is going to EsComparable to the Cathedrals at tregales and not to Cornwall), or they Wells or York (i.e. not the top one, can take the forest road. but very high up in the Church). A Benedictine abbey, called the Ab- If the party choose to stay at Amesbey of St. Mary and St. Melor. bury overnight (a good idea as fightThe Abbey dominates the town and ing bandits in the dark will be a lot is split into a vast monastery, a nun- tougher), Pagan knights might find nery and a great church. Accom- it uncomfortable. In one game I ran, modation is also available at the one Pagan knight went off and stayed monastery, although the knights at an inn in the town and got roaring won’t be stopping this time. On the drunk. way in, they see peasants learning At Amesbury, the Father Abbot will of-
good point to practice the combat system.
If the players take the old forest road towards Aquae Sulis (Bath), they will meet some bandits. If you are playing this as an introductory adventure for new players, this is a
There are bandits spread out on both sides of the road in the rocks and trees. They will attack from cover, attempting to split and unhorse the party. These bandits were footmen from one
The old forest road is a cobbled road which leads through the forest towards Aquae Sulis (Bath).
At one point in the road, it narrows as it passes through a shallow valley in the surrounding countryside. The Part 3 â€“ An Encounter on the For- trees cluster close to the road at this point and the road is overlooked by est Road ridges on either side. Awareness rolls Location: On the road between should warn the players of trouble ahead. Amesbury and Aquae Sulis (Bath)
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fer Elianor and her maid the chance to go through to the nunnery to freshen up (and to sleep if they stay overnight). This is partly because she is a lady, but also because news like a woman in a Monastery travels fast and some of the monks will find any excuses to be in that part of the abbey...
Introducing Suitable Pathos at Badon/ Baddan As mentioned in the main text, the Battle of Badon Hill (Lat-Mons Badonicus, Cym- Mynydd Baddan) should stir up all sorts of emotions in the players as it is the very hour of their bright shining, their triumph, and their sorrow. In terms of the message of Badon, it is there to be a counterpoint foretelling in theme of the Battle of Camlann. Obviously the pride felt at Badon will eventually lead to sorrow where Arthur falls. In some tales Arthur is relieving an ally atop the hill who is under siege by the Saxons. He attacks and breaks the siege so profoundly that the survivors retreat back along their approach and along the Thames valley. Some even return to Germania. In other versions, it is Arthur who is under siege made prominent by the focus a few scholars place on Arthur’s shield, Peridwen. One of these scholars though is Geoffrey of Monmouth and great care should be taken in regarding his works as they are
of the armies that faced Arthur at Badon the previous year, and they were scattered and hunted after the battle. They may be Saxons or Cymri who backed one of the opposing kings. They have been living rough in the woods all winter and are hungry and desperate. They are also better armed than usual bandits. Use the foot soldier or Saxon warrior stats from the rule book. There are the same number of bandits as there are the player characters (including Elianor). When over half their number are slain or defeated, they will attempt to flee. Part 4 – The Battlefield Location: Badon Hill, North of Bath Skirting Bath, the characters pass Badon hill and the site of the great battle. The actual battle of Badon took four days, starting at Silchester with the British line falling back to the final position on the slopes of Badon hill. After the killing of the Saxon kings and the breaking of the Saxon line, the Saxons were chased back down to the Thames valley. The road leads through a vale under the lee of Badon hill. On the hill, flags mark the final on of the British line (think the plain flags at Culloden). This is an eerie place. The wind
blows through the long grass here and whips the flags with a snapping noise. Off the road, in the longer grass, characters tread on discarded and broken equipment (shoes, axehandles, etc) – anything useful has long gone. The Badon battlefield is likely to be an important scene. It is a place that the players remember well and should bring back memories, good and bad. Passion rolls are very appropriate here, and melancholy as a result of failed rolls should be all too explicable. Play this to as much detail as you and the players prefer. In one game I ran, the players were inspired to orate a eulogy for the fallen. Part 5 – The Ferry Location: The banks of the Saefern River Pressing on, they reach the ferry across the Saefern just about dusk. The Saefern is wide and fastflowing here and the ferryman can take no more than three at a time. He is an old man and is helped by his grandson, a boy of perhaps 12. The characters should ask about Sir Arawn. The ferryman will confirm that he crossed yesterday morning (more if they lingered at Badon) and that he was heading for the Black Mountains near the Dean forest. If allowed to carry on
he will tell them hair-raising stories about faerie hunts and lost villages in the Dean forest. In several of the games I ran I placed a little run-down monastery off the road just after the crossings, run by a holy Abbot who was always in the chapel praying and a group of old men and boys. But camping out under the trees would be a good alternative - especially if the lady’s maid is at all the nervous type... Once on the Escavalon shore they can either head straight for the Black Mountains, or they can turn aside and head for Carlion. There is nothing relevant to this adventure for them in Carlion, although it can provide a chance to recover from any wounds and re-equip if the battle with the bandits went badly. Part 6 – The Black Mountains Location: The Black Mountains in Escavalon On the Escavalon shore, they follow the road up into the hills. The road gets steadily less civilised As they reach the foothills, they are confronted on the road by three large dogs, barking at them and blocking their way. Their owner, an older knight with only one eye, will ride up behind them and call them to heel. Eventually he will have to get down and pull them away.
He apologises and introduces himself as Sir Goronwy, also known as Le chevalier avec un oeil. He invites them to spend the night his castle. The dogs growl the whole way home. The castle is comfortable, if a little small. Sir Goronwy has only a few knights and staff and his wife, a wizened older lady called Lady Helen. Everyone is friendly, if obviously not used to having guests. The knights and lady will be assigned rooms in the main keep. Everything is a little old-fashioned and some things have obviously not been used for a while. At dinner (or before) sir Goronwy tells them that they get very few visitors as they are off the main road. Beyond the castle, the road goes up into the Black Mountains, or down into the Dean forest. He will confirm the missing villages story, but he has no knowledge of the faerie hunts. Sir Goronwy will be interested in news of the outside world. He owes allegiance to the Lord of Escavalon, but he has not been summoned to court for two or three years and is a little out of touch. There are always things to do here and his castle controls one of the passes from the mountains where the hill tribes still intrigue. Sir Goronwy and Lady Helen are about ten years out of date with news and everything, although
full of fantasy. In either event, knights should feel trepidation at nearing such a place. If they did not take part in the battle then it has a fearsome reputation. If they did, then their own memories of such an event may create problems for normally composed knights. It was huge battle of a size seldom seen and no one would’ve escaped that tumult without some injury, be it physical or psychological. Only knights who were never there would blithely boast of great deeds without touching on the horror. They’d have heard friends screaming but would have been unable to help, even the dying screams of the enemy would have had an effect on them. The most heroic and valiant warrior on that day will shake a little in his armour when the word “Badon” is uttered. It’s fearful reputation may be enough to have that just one word mean so much more than the location. The player knights may be aware of what such a tremendous victory it was, but not of it’s eventual result. This battle, and a later one at Chester, are the
main reason the Welsh and Cornish nations still exist. The Saxon advance was broken for a time here and without Badon, the Saxons may have pushed the Cymric into the sea. We can glimpse at what may have happened from the battle of Chester in AD615 which saw a British defeat and severed Wales from the ‘Old North’. As a result, with other factors, the Cumbrian language and culture became extinct. Those young knights, hurriedly made in desperation, would now be secure in their ‘war-mettle’ and would be aware that they have been tested and come through (despite carrying wounds and losing both friend and loving lord) for after Badon, what is the worst that God or Cernnunos can throw at us? While the location is unknown, it is this editor’s belief that the hill that is now the disused Charmy Down RAF base 3 miles north of the town of Bath is an excellent candidate. Sadly, criminally even, a barrow of the Beaker Peoples was flattened to make way for the airfield in 1940. http://goo.gl/Bsnbyl
they know about Arthur’s coronation and subsequent marriage, but not much else. Sir Goronwy missed Badon because of a pretty nasty little uprising by the Welsh tribes. As a consequence, they will be hungry for any news. In Lady Helen’s case, this will include any gossip from the court and news of the latest fashions – in one game I ran, the woman playing Elianor played on this by telling Lady Helen that women were wearing armour this year. He knows of the family of Sir Arawn. They live further up the road, close to the eaves of the great forest and are not to be trusted. They have raided his lands in the past, although not so much in recent years. The father was an evil man, called the Black knight. He had five sons, one of whom was Arawn. If told the story so far, he is not surprised to hear about Arawn’s treachery. He will provision the knights and point them on the road. He will also offer to keep the lady safe here until they return (this should cause some argument, but he is sincere in his offer and will be very slow to take any offence). He will not go with them. This is their quest, not his, and he has to live here after they have gone. Part 7 – The End of the Story Location: The Black Mountains in
Escavalon A battle follows and the story ends. From the castle of Sir Goronwy, the road splits. One way leads up into the mountains already dominating the skyline. The other leads East and a little North, following a small river (“Do not drink from it – it comes from the forest and is ensorcelled”). Eventually, they crest a rise and see a castle on a hilltop ahead of them. It is black with age and it looks run down. There are a couple of villages in the distance, but no sign of people. Beyond the castle, on the Eastern horizon, is the edge of the forest. The final battle is the hardest bit to predict and much depends on how the players approach it. A siege is not appropriate - they have neither the equipment nor the time - but sneaky attack might succeed by taking a side-door in the castle wall. Alternatively, riding up and issuing a suitably insulting challenge should do the trick. Passion rolls are definitely appropriate at this point and should tip the balance in the players’ favour. How this goes depends on what the players want to do: * If they want a battle, Arawn and his four brothers are on the sward in front of the castle and ready for a
battle. They will charge and it will come to individual combats. * If they want to talk, Arawn will try to weasel out of it by saying that Sir Goffroy accused him of lechery and then attacked him (this is such a barefaced lie that Elianor should be driven to madness). Whatever happens, it should come to a big fight. Use young knight stats from the rule book for Arawn and his brothers, but with poor sword skills – they aren’t really very good knights, being more armoured bullies than anything else. Passion rolls are appropriate at this point and the players should have their hands full fighting Arawn and his brothers and stopping Elianor from getting hurt. There are fighting men (ruffians for the most part) in the castle, but they will not join in the fighting as they have been ordered to stay out of the way (and will offer to leave quickly when Arawn and his brothers are beaten). Part 8 – Rewards After the battle, the player knights must return with Lady Elianor to Salisbury where she will promise Earl Robert never to arm herself as a man again. For his part Earl Robert will appoint someone to oversee Elianor’s manor until she is married. This may be a player knight. In any case, one or more of the player
knights may want to romance Elianor (see the ‘Lover’s Solo’ in the rule book). On the map of manors in the rule book, Elianor’s manor is called Landford and lies south of Falt on the fringes of the New Forest (on modern maps it is just north of Cadnam, between Southampton and Ringwood – the Rufus Stone is close to Cadnam). There is also the matter of the manor which Arawn and his brothers held. Although it is in the jurisdiction of the lord of Carlion, one of the player knights may be awarded it as a reward for clearing Arawn and his brothers out. Other adventures may lead from this, especially if some of Arawn’s brothers got away as they may hold a grudge against the player knights. In addition, the manor is close to the Dean forest – a good source for many adventures. When Elianor marries, her father’s magical sword will form part of her dowry and will go to her husband. Is it really magical and, if so, what magical properties does it have? The answer to that lies outside the scope of this adventure. Finally, use the glory rules in the rule book to award glory. Remember that the lady Elianor earns glory too.
Editor’s Notes on Female Knights While this scenario conforms to canon and to the best of the literature, progressive Gamemasters may wish Lady Elianor to not only continue her life as a warrior, but also expand on it. Perhaps she hears of the crimes against other women and seeks to protect them? Perhaps she establishes an order of warrior women knowing well how much women can contribute? These questions are, of course, left to individual Gamemasters but it’s not unheard of in literature and history for female warriors and all female military units. But what of her promise to Lord Robert? To never fight again as a man? Wordplay and the seductive subtleties of language are a staple of the Arthurian tales, especially the Celtic Arthur. Lady Elianor may have promised never to fight ‘as a man’, but that doesn’t mean she could not fight ‘as a woman’. She may even invent a new way of fighting. Something the most mysoginist of knights may term ‘sneaky’ or ‘treacherous’ but every bit as valid as a man’s art of arms. Keeping such industry from her husband may be half the fun of the adventure and an enjoyable challenge for female players. ~ Steff.
Players Handout: Lady Elianor
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ou want justice and you want it now. Your father, Sir Geoffroy, was one of Earl Robert’s men and now he has been foully murdered by a man he took in and offered hospitality to. The cur who killed him claimed to be called Sir Arawn. He arrived three days ago, saying that he had been raiding the Saxon lands down towards Portsmouth and was on his way home to his family lands in Estregales. He said his horse had been killed by a Saxon and he had been separated from his group. Your father offered him shelter and a replacement horse. Your mother died when you were very small and you have no brothers, so your father doted on you and denied you nothing. You learned sword work and horsemanship with the boys until you were 12 when your father said you had to learn to be a lady. It was a big come-down from wielding a sword to wielding a sewing needle and you learned in secret when the weapons master allowed you to.
Your father had a magic sword. You don’t know how or why it was magical, but he had it and he was famous for it. He even took it to Badon to the great battle last year.
Two days ago, your father and Sir Arawn went hunting in the woods down towards the Rufus Stone. Some time during the hunt, your father and Arawn were separated from the main party and it was then that your father was killed and his sword stolen. Sir Arawn was not seen again, but if he wasn’t lying about his homeland, then he will be fleeing for Estregales. You have taken your grandfather’s sword (not magical, sadly) and his armour. It doesn’t fit you very well and grips in some places you’d really rather it didn’t, but it will do. You have come to Salisbury to bring news of your father’s death to his liege lord (yours now, as heiress to the manor) and to ask him to give you help to find and punish your father’s killer. You want to kill him yourself, but you are not stupid and realise that if he has other people around him your skills aren’t good enough to accomplish the kill alone. Anyway, you have come to Salisbury castle and the chamberlain won’t let you in to see the Earl. He says ladies shouldn’t wear armour and carry swords and he’ll show you to where the other ladies are sewing if you’ll just stop shouting at him.
Playing the long game Advice on running the
Great Pendragon Campaign by David Larkins Greg Stafford’s The Great Pendragon Campaign (hereafter “the GPC”), published in 2006, has to stand of the most ambitious projects in the history of RPGs. Weighing in at 432 pages, hardcopies of the book resemble not so much a typical RPG adventure as a phone book. From its start as part of the comparatively modest 76-page Pendragon Campaign, published in 1985, and later expanded and published as The Boy King (1991), the GPC grew into a massive reference work spanning several generations, from the reign of Uther Pendragon all the way through to the Battle of Camlann and the taking of Arthur to Avalon—eighty gameyears in all. The GPC isn’t really an adventure path or mega-campaign in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a yearby-year chronology of the Arthurian saga, oftentimes featuring more events than a group could reasonably be expected to fit into gameplay. Some years, particularly at
the outset, strongly encourage PC involvement, either marginally or directly. Most years, however, the events are simply catalogued. Perhaps they’ll play a part in the campaign, perhaps they won’t. As Greg Stafford said in regards to The Boy King, which was first to feature this chronological format, “Some people complained that they didn’t really understand how to run an ongoing epic campaign. Most games just had the PCs as the centre of the universe, with not a lot going on outside of their adventures. I wrote this to illustrate how to have the campaign history going on, and integrate the PCs into it.” For any group contemplating a beginning-to-end run through the book’s contents, it must be understood that, at a minimum, the GPC will require something in the neighbourhood of 80 sessions. And that’s assuming that a ratio of one game year to one session is maintained; unless your sessions are particularly lengthy, that is an
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assumption that will quickly fall by the wayside, as certain years’ events are far too complex and involved to be contained in a typical three- or four-hour’s gaming. So you’re realistically looking at something perhaps more on the order of 90 to 100 sessions. Assuming you meet once a week, that’s nearly two years of play! As mentioned above, however, the GPC is not simply an adventure path. It is a resource for any King Arthur Pendragon (KAP) GM, and indeed that is how I used it the first time I ran KAP. I had started the campaign using the 4th edition rules, picking a starting year based on the first scenario I ran
(“The Tournament of Dreams”, set in the year 515). I acquired the GPC soon after. The initial sessions had been fairly typical RPG fare, with the PCs as isolated protagonists involved in their own small struggles and story. The acquisition of the GPC opened the campaign up to wider interaction with the game world and key events and NPCs. Soon the PCs found themselves fighting alongside Arthur at the Battle of Badon Hill, then marching with him in his war against the Roman Empire. The PCs rose to prominence in Arthur’s court, forging alliances and making enemies, all facilitated by the material provided by the GPC. I felt like a GM at a rich buffet, allowed to
book over the last seven years; I’ve run the whole thing, and I’ve run shorter campaigns, and I’ve found that the same advice holds true regardless of the scale.
And that is the nature of the GPC, whether it’s used for a short campaign or the whole epic tale: you will find yourself weaving the personal threads and scenarios of your own invention with those con-
The most important thing to accept about the GPC is that it is still just a set of guidelines. In fact, the book contradicts itself in places, or else fails to explicate certain important events when they happen, the import of those events only becoming apparent later on. To make matters worse, the GPC does not include an index, as it was cut out for space
tained in the GPC itself, or else those integrated from one of the many excellent scenario books available for KAP. But for the purposes of this article, I am going to be focusing mostly on the GPC itself, and sharing some of the knowledge I’ve gleaned from interacting with the
reasons. It’s worth mentioning that the PDF is very well bookmarked, but navigating the book for the first time can be a bit to bear, there’s no way around it. Whether or not you own a hardcopy of the book, make sure you also purchase a PDF copy so that you can make use of
pick and choose which subtle delicacies I wanted to mix in with my own creations. Some years would feature the PCs pursuing personal interests or running up against local problems of their own making, while other years would see them getting swept up in events too great to ignore.
draconum Britanniam 20
its bookmarks and keyword search capability. Obviously, keeping some sort of notebook is essential, whether you prefer an actual paper book or a digital wikispace like Obsidian Portal or similar. Before even starting the campaign, skim the book’s contents in their entirety in order to get an idea of the sequence of events and when major developments occur. Start taking notes at this point, but don’t worry too much about what’s going to happen more than 10-15 years down the line. After skimming the book, dive in and do a close reading on that first decade. If you’re running with edition 5.0 or 5.1, the rule book assumes you’ll be starting at the outset of the GPC timeline, and will provide lots of extra setting and NPC details to integrate as well.
As you move through the chronology, keep reading ahead by about 10 years. This will give you an opportunity to anticipate later events and perhaps foreshadow them, or even write a little prelude scenario. At the very least, it can be helpful in preventing you from accidentally negating an important event on the horizon. Certainly, you are free to move events around if you like, but it’s better to do that proactively rather than in a panic because you didn’t plan properly. NPCs have been mentioned a few times, and they certainly deserve a closer look. Aside from the sheer scope of the GPC, the plethora of NPCs in the campaign is the other major challenge. It’s just a fact that you’re going to be dealing with a lot of NPCs. The KAP core book alone mentions over a dozen just in the Salisbury area, and the GPC introduces a few more besides. Then you’ll have family members for each player-knight, NPCs from scenarios you run, and the accretion of still more characters as the chronology unfolds. Proper organization of all these supporting characters is, of course, vital. The first time I ran the GPC, I made the mistake of letting my notes of various NPCs get scattered among several different recordkeeping methods. As I’m preparing to run the GPC a second time, I’ve resolved to keep both a digital record of NPCs on my campaign’s Obsidian Portal page, and a physical record in the form of index
Preparation is certainly an important watchword in general when it comes to the GPC, especially if you’re planning to run the whole thing. But it’s equally important not to let yourself get buried in prep. Accept that, as the campaign unfolds, you will find better ways of doing things. House rules will be introduced, certain sub-systems may be modified or dropped entirely. Your players will help guide you by showing you what they’re primarily interested in, which will in turn allow you to focus your preparation accordingly. Don’t try to get the whole thing nailed down before session one. In fact, if you can, try and focus only on what’s immediately required of you. The first year of the campaign, for example, features a battle, so make sure you’re comfortable with those rules before starting, but don’t worry too much about, say, manor economics just yet. Above all, try and maintain a flexible approach when it comes to the events laid out in the book. As mentioned above, you are free to move
events around, or ignore events entirely. You could, for example, drop Tristram and Isolde from the narrative and not lose a thing, especially if one of the PCs in your own group was a particularly romantic knight involved in a tragic love affair of their own. Arthur, Guenevere, Lancelot, and (arguably) Mordred are the only sacrosanct characters. Everyone else is fair game. Does Sir Palomides get killed by a PC during a tournament before he has a chance to take up the hunt for the Questing Beast? So be it. Perhaps the PC that killed him, or another knight in the group, might find himself compelled to track Glatisant instead? Indeed, be on the lookout for any opportunity to involve a PC in a major event or storyline in place of an NPC. Perhaps a particularly upstanding older player-knight ends up mentoring young Arthur in the ways of chivalry. The first time I ran the GPC, we ended up with a player-knight’s sister marrying King Leodegrance, effectively making the PC Guenevere’s uncle. There will be innumerable little moments like this cropping up as you run through the chronology. Take as many as you like and run with them. Certainly, your players will throw plenty of challenges your way as well. I played in one Pendragon campaign in which a fellow player-knight killed Sir Gawaine in a drunken brawl, and then Sir Mordred, who had come after the
cards, one for each named character, with game stats on one side and the knight’s or lady’s coat of arms on the other. (This provides the additional benefit of allowing me to simply flash the NPCs’ heraldry to the players whenever they encounter the character; I expect that eventually they’ll be able to recognize key knights and ladies without even needing to make a Heraldry roll!)
draconum Britanniam 22
PC to avenge Gawaine’s death. Sadly, it was only a short campaign, so we didn’t get to see what sort of long-term events might have unspooled from those two deaths, but they would have no doubt been major...as well as incredibly interesting, both for the GM as well as the players! At the very least, we would have been dealing with the wrath of the Orkney clan; even
stripped of Gawaine and Mordred, they would have been a formidable force to reckon with. As GM, do not be afraid to let the dice fall where they may, and do not feel tempted to fudge dice rolls for the sake of preserving “the plot.” The most fun you’ll have is in figuring out how to deal with the inevitable chaos your players will cause. The last bit of advice I’d pass on in
As I worked through running the GPC, I would keep stock of the various scenarios I wanted to run. Some were clearly better suited for certain periods, and those would get earmarked as appropriate in my notes. Others were more universal, but perhaps best used to emphasize certain themes or developments unfolding in the world at large. Or perhaps there would be a scenario that would be ideal to focus on a particularly prideful knight, or religious knight, or what have you. In essence, I developed a quiver of scenarios I could draw from when I saw an opportunity present itself. One thing to be aware of when running the older scenarios, however: there are some that were integrated into the chronology of the GPC. In particular, if you’re looking at a scenario that involves a major named NPC, do a keyword search in your PDF first and make sure the
events described in the scenario don’t turn up 10 or 20 years later in the chronology. To conclude, it seems like I’ve seen a fair number of people writing about their experiences with the GPC ending after the first 10 years or so, when that initial enthusiasm begins to wane a bit. Just know that this is normal, and don’t get discouraged if your campaign goes into hiatus from time to time. I’ve found that the toughest parts to power through are around the Anarchy phase, the Conquest phase, and the latter portion of the Tournament phase; your milage may vary. As for myself, this year I’ll be venturing to run the GPC in its entirety for a second time. My first go-round was very much an onagain, off-again venture, and took the better part of three years to complete. I’m hoping to do it this time in one go with perhaps a short break at around the midway mark, depending on how I and my players are feeling at that point. For now, I have the necessary enthusiastic player buy-in on the venture and the lessons gleaned from my various KAP campaigns run since 2006 to help get this off the launchpad one more time. I hope that I’ve been of some help in passing along some tips and tricks for running what is, in my opinion, the greatest RPG adventure ever published.
regards to running the GPC has to do with the aforementioned rich back-catalog of KAP scenarios. Scenario and setting books stretching back to first edition are available online in PDF form, and you should absolutely take advantage of this. Between the stories generated by your own group and the events presented in the GPC, there may not seem to much room for scenarios, but I’ve found that one can never have enough material to draw from. (Tales of Mystic Tournaments and Blood and Lust are particular favourites of mine.)
Bibliophilia Essential Reading by Christopher Payne
Books that ought to be on every Pendragon GM’s bookshelf and why. A Dictionary of Saints or two “But my Characters are Pagans, why do I need a book on Christian Saints?” The answer I would argue is that the world of Arthur is one that is becoming Christian and therefore this is the world that player characters will interact with. I have two paperbacks, bought cheaply in the days when most high streets in the UK seemed to have a bargain bookshop. There are online dictionaries available although their usefulness can be somewhat limited depending upon what one is trying to achieve. The reason I like and use mine are as follows. The first one I would use is The Oxford Dictionary of Saints. At the back this has a couple of very useful Appendices: a) The Principal patronage of saints b) Principal iconographical emblems of saints (remember that
read skill that most knights don’t have?) c) Index of Places in Great Britain and Ireland associated with particular saints d) Calendar of the Principal Feast days of saints. The actual entries for a saint, consisting of a paragraph or two quite
The Wordsworth Dictionary of Saints doesn’t have all the useful Appendices but has a page per Saint with information about miracles, martyrdom, feast days and associations. So, I’m running once per week and Thursday has come round and on Wednesday evening I’m struggling for ideas. Wednesday 5th February is when I’m writing this. 5th February is the feast day of Agatha. Agatha is the Patron Saint of Bell Founders and Wet nurses, and is invoked against diseases of the breast, earthquakes, fire, and sterility. So, quick plot idea: Escort a barren wife to a particular church for some sort of blessing (Quick PC’s might want to get their wives in on the act for a winter childbirth bonus or survival). Reading more about Agatha could suggest other ideas (for example the link between breasts, bells and loaves of bread. Want to have a bit of fun with the pious and chaste character than have loaves of bread that are blessed and eaten made in the shape of the severed breasts). Throw in a random encounter or three, some sort of feast or social ceremony for those with the social skills and I’ve got an evenings gaming that makes sense and fits into context. Or lets say a player has chosen a
Stag on his coat of arms. This gives me: Eustace – Patron of Hunters, one of the Fourteen holy Helpers – the historically worthless legend is of a Roman General who converts, looses all but was restored to command in time of crisis, saving the nation before the (inevitable) martyrdom. Plot idea – Border raids and players are sent to convince a retired general – now a monk or hermit – to return to command in time of peril. Other powers might have ideas on preventing this. Giles - The stag plays a part in his becoming a saint. Patron saint of Cripples, lepers and nursing mothers (based on his story of giving shelter to the hind) whilst the other
often are somewhat limited from a gaming viewpoint.
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book gives Blacksmiths and beggars. Two famous fairs in England are tied in with him – Winchester and Oxford. Hubert - this Saint borrows from Giles and the act of seeing the crucifix through the horns of the stag being hunted. Patron saint of Huntsmen and his supposed hunting horn is in the Wallace collection. http://www.wallacecollection.org/ whatson/treasure/17 An evening session tied in with relic hunting? Or a trip to deliver a relic to famous noble on behalf of their Lord? Each of the above saints has their own feast days as well. Places is somewhat less useful and links are often known so harder to surprise players with. Lets choose Leicester (the site of Continuum 2014 when the Pendragon Eschille should be running more Pendragon games over the weekend). My
dictionary is a bit useless coming up with a J Paine, a priest who is executed as a Roman Catholic in 1582. The Patron saint of Leicester Cathedral is St Martin of Tours. Patron Saint of France, Soldiers, Beggars and Innkeepers. One of his famous acts is dividing his cloak with a dagger to give half to a beggar. I’d need to think about how to relate this to my players given that they are all knights, but with the Musketeers currently on BBC television, I immediately start of think of Porthos – the enjoyer of wine, women and song. Or do I move something from the French King – a challenge, or a relic of St Martin? I’ve mentioned the books that I personally own and used to pack one or both of in my travelling bag for playing away from home for those impromptu plot moments that add flavour. There are many others out there (and I seem to remember that the Roman Catholic Church official site was fairly good on Saints although they dismiss many of the older ones now with modern reformation).
The Editor would like to remind all goodly knights of honour and virtue that only cowards, blackguards, and assassins use crossbows.
KNow you the names of these godless men by the article on the next few pages penned by Sir Christopher Paine &the Lady Lucy Rhodes.
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RANDOM NAME GENERATOR MK II (aka Lucy's improved version)
No More Bad Black Knights BY cHRIS pAyNE AND lUCY rHODES Created a few years ago, this random name generator served Chris Paine well in his weekly sessions. Equally useful for those knights who have yet to earn a name as for those blackguards that haunt the Kingâ€™s Road, this table and its subsequent examples should give the referee ample inspiration for creating npcâ€™s on the fly as opposed to yet another bad black night.
ROLL 1D6 (Name) 1 2 (Name) 3 (Name) 4 (Name) 5 (Name) 6 (Name)
(of) the of the of the (Defender/Scourge) the the
(Optional - Person adjective) (equipment adjective) (optional the) of (optional the) (person type) (person type)
(person type) (equipment type) (Optional place adj) (being type) without of the
Fear/ fearless/ fearful Pity/ Pitifuf/ Pitiless Glory/ Glorious Brave/ Cowardly Wise/ Savage Dark/ Fair Strong (Hardy) / Weak Beautiful (Beau) / ill favoured / ugly Mighty/ Lowly Old/ Young
Knight Lord Duke (Duc) Chevalier Lover Bastard (Avoutres) Office type (Forester etc)
Bright / hot / flaming Sharp/Strong Undefeated / Striking Battered / Trusty / fai Invisable / Hidden / S Red Black
King (High/Low - roll again) Hunter
Silver Gold (other colour)
Protector / Guard / Paladin
/ Stained / Bloodstain
Nationality Selected Personality trait from character sheet
Untried / Unworthy
Well worn / broken / sundered (other metal - steel / brass / copper) (Other material - cora bone / cloth / leather Faerie)
Holy / Unholy / Faerie
Holy / Unholy Thief /Robber / charitable / saintly Mercenary
Twisted / Ill-Ann Unblemished
18 19 20
Laughing/weeping True / False Well loves / ill- liked
Dragon Lion Foreigner / Stranger / Moor / Pilgrim / Crusader Swordsman Armiger
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Roll d20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Add for Employers Lady Queen Chatelaine Seneschal Steward Castellan Princess Bishop / Abbot etc High/Low roll again Commander King Emperor Prince Constable Marshall Champion Herald Chevalier Suzerain Overlord / Caliph (or other foreign)
Ancient / New Shining Strange / Unknown
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(quality) (Person adj)
Dark Secret/Hidden Enchanted / Holy New/Ancient Forgotten (Colour or Metal) Misty/Mist shrouded Ill-starred / well favoured / Lucky / Fortunate Bright Frozen / Frosty
Lake / Sea Fear The Opporessed Castle (Krak) / Keep Mercy/ Compassion / Charity The Poor / Peasants Tower Love / Hope Fairies Glade Joy The Clergy / Pilgrims Wood Riches Jews/ Usurers Forest Beauty Dragons Mountain Family People of (Nationality)
Sword Lance g Shield / Buckler aithful Mace SingingAxe Spear Ring Helmet /Helm Armour Banner / flag
ined / bSpurs Horse (Cheval) / Destrier / Charger iron / Heart (Coeur) al / Book ? Word ? r/ Cross / Crescent / Jewel Scimitar / Gloves / Gauntlet / ie Cloak
Icy / Snow capped
Highest / Deepest Great
Moor / Plains / Fort / Manor Fountain / Spring River / Ford / Waterfall / Marsh / Well
Home / Land Loyalty Regrets
People of (Occupation) The Rich Gluttons / Drunkards / Reprobates
The Worthy / unworthy
Stronghold / Citadel / Piety / Faith Kingdom / Land / Island Luck / Chance
Kings / Patriarcsh / Prophets Women / Children / Men
Temple / Church / Storm tossed / Windswpet Abbey
Law /Justice / Reason
The Sick / lepers
Hope of Redemption
Well defended Unyeilding / Barren
Foreigners / Moors / Travellers Magicians / Enchanters / Wizards / Witches Nobles
Harp / Horn Device Crest
Bountiful / Verdant Sunbaked / Sunbleached Well endowed / fruitful
Hill Rock Cave
Glory Sin Armour / Defense /
Martyrs The Hunted / persecuted Mythical beasts / Monsters (Choice)
FRENCH TERMS TO SUBSTITUTE Beautiful Dark Fear Glory Hate Heart High Low Mercy Of Strong The With Without
Beau Noir Peur Gloire Haute Couer Grand Petit merci De Hardy Le / Li avic / au Sans Beuse Orgulus Breuse
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OR OR (PSEUDO FRENCH)
Eric the Bastard Eric Le Avoutre Eric the Unworthy Eric the Chevalier Eric Le Chavalier Eric the Hunted Eric le Chasseur Eric of the Fair Prince Eric le Beau Prince Marcus de l'Armure etrange Marcus de La Croix D'or Mark the undefeated Mark of the Purple Star Mark of the Faithful horse Bob from the Forgotten Mountain Bob born of the Dark Spring Bob of the Bloody Pool Bob of the White Rock Bob from the bottom of the Sea Daffyd the Southern Defender Daffyd Destroyer of Demons Daffyyd the Eastern Scourge Daffyd, Breaker of Gates Daffyd the Dragon Destroyer Fricor the Forgiving Crusader Fricor le Crusader sans Haine Fricor the Merciless Defender Fricor le Defender sans merci Fricor the Fearless Dragon Fricor le Dragon sans peur Fricor the merciless hunter Fricor le monture sans merci Fricor, the hateful lion Fricor Le Lyon sans haute Gendoc, the Duke from the Weeping Princess Gendoc, the unworthy King's Devil Gendoc, the Cymric Castellan's Lion
Unusual characters The Welsh alphabet
“Words, words, ... words.”
a b c ch d dd e f ff g ng h i l ll m n o p ph r rh s t th u w y Nothing, I think, is more difficult to master than the ‘double LL’ sound you find in Llangollen or ‘Lloegr’. A quick guide to pronouncing unusual letters in Welsh. CH/ch - is the same as in J.S. Bach DD/dd is a softened ‘D’ sound equivalent to a ‘Th’ sound but the ‘Th’ you find in the word ‘Fathom’, not ‘Bath’. F/f - As in the English letter ‘V’. Ff/ff - is the same as in English, like ‘fort’. Not, as it may be assumed, a longer version. Ng/ng - As in ‘Thing’. Ll/ll - No equivalent in English. It is made by placing the tip of your tongue on the gums behind your top front teeth and blowing gently. In Shakespeare’s time this was mimicked by using ‘Fl’ instead of ‘Ll’. In Henry V Llewellyn is known as ‘Flewellyn’ (flew-ELL-inn). Ph/ph - As in ‘phone’ or ‘graph’. Rh/rh - An aspirated tapped ‘r’ sound as mentioned previously. No equivalent in English.
William Shakespeare HAMLET -Act 2, Scene 2
A Cymric pronunciation guide for non-Welsh speakers For many people who play Pendragon or Age of Arthur Welsh is not a language they are familiar with. It is a language that looks alien to most Anglophones and one of the frequent comments is that it has no vowels. Not true. Welsh has vowels, more than in English but when looked at with an English eye they seem to be hidden in letters such as ‘w’ and ‘y’. As someone who spoke Welsh first, then English (at a very early age of course) I can attest to how hard English is to learn for nonAnglophones. Sadly, as I’ve been living in England for 30 years now, my Welsh has deteriorated to the point where I prefer to speak English when I visit Gwynedd in case I make a mistake. My accent returns almost as soon as I cross the border though and as being understood in a foreign language is as much about accent as it is about vocabulary, we’ll start there. All the information I’ll empart here is a rough approximation. No one is expecting players to suddenly sound like they are from Meirionydd or Clwyd, but a good guess at it will enhance play. If accents aren’t
your forte then don’t despair. Brythonic/Britonnic/Cymraeg/Cymric has as many different accents as there are regions of Britain. For ease, I will refer to the language as Cymric and it’s speakers as Britons. I don’t hold the view that Welsh is “impossible” like Greg Stafford does. It is a language of poetry, passion, and economy. The recent hit detective drama Y Gwyll (The Dusk, or ‘Hinterland’ as it’s called for English audiences) was filmed twice, once in English and once in Welsh. The actors and script writers had a problem in that a lot more can be conveyed in a few sentences in Welsh than in English and had to adapt accordingly. Language, from any corner of the world, can say more about the speaker, his heritage,and his emotional history in a much deeper way than mere words. For example, the word ‘Hireath’ doesn’t really have an English equivalent. Imagine a place you hold in your heart, somewhere precious and, possibly, sorrowful. It can be a place, a time in your life, a feeling, or a regret. The feeling is
more than homesickness, indeed you may never have actually been there, but is a feeling of deep longing or loss. That is hiraeth. For me, it’s the small town of porthmadog on the north-west Wales coast but it could also be the moment Arthur passes from his wounds at Camlan. I’m hoping that after these few pointers, you’ll have a better appreciation of Cymric/Gymraeg and that you’ll be better able to pronounce Cymric place names and words.
Accent For play purposes rolling the ‘R’ at the end of a word or it’s last syllable works well. It’s more of a ‘tapped’ R sound than rolled but it’ll be easier for players. The English word ‘priory’ might be pronounced ‘prioRRee’. The ‘R’ at the start of a word, such as ‘Riot’ may have a ‘step’ made by an aspirate sound. Almost like the R has an ‘H’ just after it. It may sound like you’re saying the word ‘Rhyott’ instead of ‘riot’.
pages but here is a short example or two: ‘SEN-tence’, ‘con-TINu-al’, and ‘a-rhee-ANN-rhod’. Take care to note that I’m no linguist. These are all just suggestions and approximations to create a faux-accent for NPCs during play. Welsh is generally thought to be the oldest living language in Europe and many of it’s verbal conventions have been lost in time or changed and sometimes tracking down why certain sounds are made is futile. The place names in Pendragon are a curious mix of British, Norman, and Saxon and, at times, seem anachronistic to anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of history. However, King Arthur Pendragon and Age of Arthur aren’t trying to be historical documents. They are giving you a frame work in which to design your own Britain. Over the next 2 pages, some British naming alternatives will be suggested.
Th/th - As in ‘thin’. U/u - Substitutes as an ‘i’ sound as in ‘spit’ or ‘pristine’. W/w - is an ‘oo’ sound (as in ‘book’ or ‘pool’ but also can be used as in ‘wet’. Y/y - In northern Welsh it is a flat ‘e’ sound as in ‘bet’ and is similar to an ‘i’ sound in southern Welsh. As well as an ‘u’ sound in ‘up’ (like in Cymru, or KUM-ree). A better resource than my humble efforts exists here: http://www.madog.org/dysgwyr/gramadeg/gramadeg1.html For actual Welsh words then here is a good place to hear them spoken. http://www.heart-of-wales. co.uk/welsh.htm#
For tips on a south Welsh accent (not the one I have) then see here: http://youtu.be/cq-mEejECcU
Syllable Emphasis The longer the word, the more the emphasis seems to be shunted along the word. For ease, I will capitalise the emphasis syllable in the commonly encountered Arthurian words on the next two
draconum Britanniam 34
An Arthurian Lexicon Syllable emphasis is capitalised. Names and words not appearing here should be considered non-Cymric or self-explanatory. Cymric letters in ' ' marks.
Canon Cymric Pronunciation Alternatives
Agravaine Agrafan ag-RAV-an Arthur Arddur AR-'dd'-ur Bedivere Bedwyr BED-'oo'-ea-'r' Caradoc Caradog ca-RAD-og Culhwch Culhwch KUL-u-'ch' Cynric Cynric KUN-rik Gaheris Gaheris ga-HERR-iss Gawain Gawain GA-way-n Gwalchmai GWAL-'ch'-m-eye Gorlois Gwrlais G-'OO'-'rh'-lice Gringolet Gwyn Calet gwinn-CAL-et Ceincaled kane-CAL-ed Guinevere Gwenhwyfar gwen-HU-IV-ar Ganhumara Igraine Eigyr EYE-gea'r' Ygraine, Igerna Isolde Ysult ISS-ult Iseult Kay Cei Kay Lot Lot LOtt Loth, Louth Madoc Madawg MAD-og Malagant Melwas MEL-wass Manawyddan
Mark March MAR-'ch' Margh, Marcus Merlin Myrddin MEER-'dd'in Emrys EM-riss Mordred Medrawd MED-row*-d Medraut *as in 'cow' Percival Peredur pe-RED-ur Perceval, Parzifal Taliesin Taliesin tal-YES-in Tristan Drystan DRUSS-dan Drustanus, Tristram
Canon Cymric Pronunciation Alternatives
Urien Yrien U'R'-ee-an Uther Pendragon
Vortigern Gwrtheyrn g-oo'r'-TH-ay-'r'-n Ywaine Ywaine A-why-n Owain
Places Canon Cymric Pronunciation Alternatives
MINN-i'dd' BA'DD'-an Mons Badonicus
City of Legions
K-EYE'R' 'LL' -ee-on
Chester, Castra Legio
Oxford Rhydychan 'rh'ud-U'CH'-an Sarum Caer Caradog K-EYE'R' ca-RAD-og Salisbury Tintagel Dintagell din-TAG-e'll' Trevenna, Tre war Venydh
Lands Canon Cymric Pronunciation Alternatives
Dyfed Dyfed DOVE-ed Ergyng Ergyng E'R'-ging Archenfield, Herefordshire Gwynedd Gwynedd GWIN-e'dd' Gomeret Gwaelod Gwaelod GW-EYE-lod Tremadoc Bay Logres Lloegr LO-gray (English) England 'LLOY'-ge'r' Mathrafal
Powys Powys POW*-iss *as in 'cow' Rheged Rheged 'RH'-egg-ed Cumbria Rydychan
To be continued with 'Treasures and Deities' in issue 3.
Good Times, Bad Times
AN AGE OF ARTHUR SCENARIO AND SEQUEL TO 'HAMMER TO FALL' BY PAUL MITCHENER
Good Times, Bad Times This scenario is a sequel to Hammer to Fall in issue one of Dragons of Britain. It can be run independently, but assumes that the player characters are based in Lindum or Ebrauc, and makes some reference to the events of that story. Introduction Following the defeat of Prince Edgar and his Angles at the battle of Lindum, one powerful Angle Thane, Tormund of Elig, is considering joining forces with Lindum and Ebrauc, going against his sworn king, Wehha (who is still trying to cement his rule). A messen-
ger is sent to Prefect Marcus Blecca of Lindum proposing an alliance with them, and perhaps also with Ebrauc. The player characters have the mission of accompanying the messenger back to Tormund's village, Elig, and negotiating. The Messenger Berthun is a loyal servant of Thane Tormund. He is 17 years old, reliable, very earnest, and blessed with a perfect memory, hence being given the job. He travelled to Lindum alone. Aspects: Reliable Servant of Thane Tormund
a lm s Re â€™ a b er Elig
Perfect Memory Skills: Level 3: Awareness Level 2: Agility, Riding Level 1: Languages, Charm, Melee Combat Equipment: Horse, Seax (+2 Damage)
Getting There is Half the Fun The route to Tormund's town, Elig (modern day Eli) involves either travelling through land settled heavily by Angles, who will be hostile to British visitors, or through Fulsby forest, an area of woodland haunted by the Fae. Rather than beginning with the negotiation, begin the scenario in media res, with the player characters entering Fulsby Forest.
arturus aetatem 24
Queen Acerba's Magical Fae Ring
Before Acerba meets the visitors, she decides to see if they are...durable. Not long after entering the forest, the player characters are attacked by a group of Fae- hideously ugly humanoids about four feet tall, all wielding clubs. Those with Fae Lore will recognise them as Boggarts. The Boggarts The Boggarts are a Warband with eight people. Aspect: Hideously Ugly Single-minded dedication to harassing "intruders". Skill Level 2 Stress: 2 each Equipment: Club (+1 damage). The Boggarts will flee when half their number are killed. Assuming the player characters triumph (and they should- the encounter is just a "warm up"), Queen Acerba begins manipulating the trees, trying to draw the player characters into the centre of the forest, where they can meet her. The paths in the woods twist, and the trees seem to move, just out of the line of sight- nothing that can
be pinned down as definite movement, but enough to make it hard to navigate. The process should be treated as a Contest against the Queen's Glamours skill (which is at level 6). The player characters can use their Awareness, Lore [Fae], and Survival skills. Druidic Magic can be used to assist. The Contest is physical for the player characters, and mental for the Queen (who has a Willpower score of 8). If the queen wins, the player characters are drawn to meet her in a stone circle in a forest clearing near to the forest's centre. The stone circle has an effect on the Glamour magical skill, giving all practitioners within it a +1 bonus. If the player characters win, they get to the far edge of the forest, and escape. Queen Acerba Should the player characters be unfortunate enough to meet her, Queen Acerba appears as something of a parody of a Celtic Warrior Queen, and wears what appears to be spiked leather armour, a horned helmet and a spear. She is surrounded by two dozen Boggarts (see above). Whereas the Boggarts are ugly, Acerba is terrifying in her beauty, despite her absurd garb. She is not to be trifled with. Meeting the player characters, she demands a present, as befitting her status, and theirs as lowly visitors. A suitable roleplaying solution (or an idea for a
The ruler of the forest is the Fae Queen Acerba (Latin for Darkness). She is aware of the presence of all intelligent beings in the forest, and as most people avoid it, curious about the visitors. They could make wonderful new playthings.
Reminder: How Contests Work A Contest is a series of opposed rolls between the player characters and the Fae Queen. One or two of a GM’s Fate Points could be spent on the Fae Queen’s rolls, using her Queen of the Forest Aspect. All player characters may roll using a relevant skill. Only the best result counts. A player character can also opt to manoeuvre, using another skill to give an ally a +2 bonus if they beat Difficulty 2. Aspects can also be used as normal.
suitable gift- for example a song to Acerba’s majesty may well be appropriate) should get the player charactes out of trouble, and leave them free to escape the forest (without even any additional Boggarts on the way out). A Fae Lore check can be made at difficulty 4 to come up with a suitable suggestion.
a suitable present, this could be a very short scenario, though they might still manage to escape with a great expenditure of Fate Points in the coming battle...
If the player character’s don’t think of anything, Queen Acerba will suggest that she gets to ‘keep’ Thane Tormund’s messenger, Berthun. If the player characters don’t treat Acerba with respect, and provide
Aspects: Queen of the Forest Long-term glamours in domain
Skills: Level 6: Glamour Level 5: Willpower, Melee Combat
If the best player character result beats the Queen, she takes mental stress equal to the amount she lost by. If the Queen wins beats all of the player characters, the one who rolled worst takes physical stress equal to the amount they lose by. Someone at zero stress must either take a Consequence to mitigate the damage, or be seperated from the rest of the party, drawn to visit the Queen. The party as a whole can opt to lose if this happens, going along with the distracted party member as a group. If the Queen
Queen Acerba expressing her power
Level 4: Intimidation, Leadership, Strength Level 3: Agility, Charm, Leadership, Lore [history] Level 2: Empathy, Gaming, Riding, Strategy and Tactics
ryone name the main skill they are using to get through (eg: Stealth, Survival or Melee Combat) and make an Endurance Test at difficulty 8 (with the amount they fail by leading to physical stress). Further, they will meet in combat with a group of 20 Angle warriors.
Level 1: Lore [Fae, the old gods], Performance [flute and singing], Strength
Aspect: Angle Warrior
Stunts: Enduring Glamours
Seax: +2 damage
Battleaxe: +3 damage
An Alternative Route
Elig is a town surrounded by a wooden pallisade, full of wooden huts. Around the town are many farms and smaller villages. The most prominent citizens of the town are Angle warriors, though many of the peasants are still British. Several of the higher rankle Angles have British thralls as slaves, with their iron collars the symbols of their servitude.
If, as a result of early encounters in the forest, the player characters decide instead to brave the Angle lands, things are much more difficult. The Storyteller should gently discourage them from such a difficult alternative. However, if they insist (after all, the Angles are a mundane danger, compared to the supernatural danger of the forest), the Storyteller shouldnâ€™t force matters. The journey is arduous. Have eve-
The largest hut belongs to Thane Tormund. Assuming the player characters come peacefully, they are treated by him as honoured guests, drink mead and dine on roast mutton. Tormund wants to take his time over negotiations, sizing the player characters up, and he will begin by asking them many questions about themselves. This is a roleplaying opportunity, to be continued for as long as everyone at the table finds it interesting.
Vision of Terror Equipment: Large Spear (Damage 3), Spiked Leather Armour (Absorption 2) Health 7, Willpower 8
Skill 2, Stress 2
is reduced to zero mental stress, the player characters get away. All stress (but not Consequences) goes away at the end of the Contest. A mean Storyteller could compel the Bard, Casnar ap Cartivel, with his Fascinated by the Fae Aspect, to not take part in the Contest, leaving everything up to the other player characters.
In any case, the Thane will not get to negotiations the first evening- that is for tomorrow. The two people closest to Tormund are his champion, Eldred, a berserker warrior, and Wacian, his wizard. Both are distrustful of the player characters, and are openly unfriendly, while careful not to be actually threatening or insulting. Also present is a bodyguard of six warriors. This bodyguard does not speak any languages apart from Saxon. If the player characters investigate the town, they find broad support for an alliance between Elig and the British kingdoms (unsurprisingly amongst the British, but also amongst the Saxon warriors who butter up the player characters as they hear admiration for their exploits in the previous scenario), with the slaves hoping to be freed. There is a core of dissent amongst those who seem loyal to the warrior Eldred. Tormund Tormund is a bearlike man almost seven feet tall, and with bulk to match. Thane of Elig, Tormund is jovial, treating many things as a joke. He has a big booming laugh. Behind the jokes, the laughter, and Tormundâ€™s seeming obliviousness to small and large issues immediately around him, Tormund is a clever and ambitious man, his brain scheming while his mouth does other things. Aspects: Thane of Elig
Looking for political advantage Cleverer than he looks Huge Likes a drink Skills: Level 5: Leadership Level 4: Charm, Wealth Level 3: Melee Combat, Strategy and Tactics, Willpower Level 2: Contacts, Empathy, Riding, Strength Level 1: Agility, Brawling, Awareness, Gaming, Languages Stunts: Leadership Specialism (+1 in battle), Tough, Strong Will Languages: Brythonic, Latin, Latin Literacy Health 5, Composure 5 Equipment: Seax (Damage 2), Battleaxe (Damage 3, rune engraved with Aspect: Fury of Woten) Eldred Eldred is not as tall as Tormund, but is, if anything, even bulkier than his Thane. He came to the shores of Britain a few years ago to fight and since then has been involved in many battles, seeking out the bloodiest engagements. He is a fighter and a killer.
Aspects: Terrifying to friends as well as enemies Lust for bloody battle Skills: Level 5: Strength Level 4: Brawling, Melee Combat Level 3: Agility, Awareness, Intimidate Level 2: Gaming, Survival, Riding, Willpower Level 1: Leadership, Missile Combat, Stealth, Strategy and Tactics, Wealth
Wacian Wacian is a thin-faced quietly spoken man, plainly dressed, who almost seems to blend into the background. Aspects: Subtle Sworn to Hretha, goddess of death and winter The arts of illusion and deception Skills: Level 5: Stealth Level 4: Deception, Rune Magic Level 3: Awareness, Melee Combat, Willpower Level 2: Contact, Healing, Languages, Intimidation Level 1: Agility, Investigation, Strength, Survival, Wealth
Stunts: Berserker Rage, Skin like Iron, Tough
Stunts: Empowered Enchantment, Runic Curse (a new stunt which let Wacian create the cursed stones), Rune Wizardry, Runecasting
Languages: Saxon, Latin
Health 4, Composure 5
Health 8, Composure 4
Languages: Brythonic, Latin, Saxon, Futhark Runes
Equipment: Seax (Damage 2), Battleaxe (Damage 3, Two-handed, Rune-engraved with Aspect Bloodthirst), Spear (Damage 2, short range if thrown)
Equipment: Rune-engraved Seax (Damage 2, empowered by Rune Magic with the Aspect Heart Seeker, use Aspect once per scene with no Fate Point cost).
In combat, Eldred flies into a blind rage, striking with wild ferocity at both foes and friends who get in the way. Only his incredible size and deadly instincts have kept him alive. In the few years he has been in Britain, Eldred has already built up a fearsome and not altogether enviable reputation.
The Effect of the Cursed Stones Wacian can curse a character given a cursed stone (and removing or destroying the stone has no effect) giving them a -2 penalty to a relevant skill test. This can be done once at no Fate Point cost, and at any time in the future by spending a Storyteller Fate point. He will do this once in the Negotiation, and more in the final confrontation (See main text). Skip this if pressed for time, or the negotiation seems like a satisfactory climax. Wacian will have his chance to get at the player characters in a future scenario. After all, they are possibly still cursed.
The Thane's Bodyguard Aspects: Loyal to the Thane Elite Warriors Skills: Level 4, Stress 4 Equipment: Seax (Damage 2), Battleaxe (Damage 3) Events in Elig * Even on the first evening, Eldred is looking for a fight, though he will not be the one to start it. If he is insulted, Eldred will seek to respond with violence, calling for a duel with the player character who insulted him. Not entering the duel (and someone making a relevant skill test will realise this) will lead to the failure of negotiations, as the player characters are labelled as cowards. Naturally, a duel is to the death. Surprisingly, killing the Thane’s champion does not do any harm to negotiations- if he could be beaten by the visitors, he was obviously no good after all. It might just about be possible to talk Eldred round from complete hostility, but this will need both patience and a tough test in Charm or a similar skill (at least difficulty 6) * Wacian is more subtle than Eldred, but also seeks to undo the player characters. The first night, he will slip a small stone carved with runes into each of their be-
longings; a successful Awareness check opposed by a Stealth check made by Eldred (just make one for the whole PC group) means a player character will find it. A player character with relevant knowledge will realise that the rune is a curse in the name of Hretha, goddess of death and winter. This will be relevant later on. Disposing of the stone by itself does not get rid of the curse, though a relevant magical ritual (opposed by Wacian’s Rune Magic skill) will. * If he is confronted about this, Wacian will deny everything. The surprising thing is that Tormund will actually believe him. He is very convincing (high Deception skill) – even the player characters will have doubts, for all that he is the only possible culprit.. The Negotiation The negotiation between Tormund and the player characters is based on the fact that he is willing to enter an alliance with Lindum and Ebrauc, and even to swear fealty to one who rules both “kingdoms”, but wants something in return- the hand of Pontia Blecca in marriage, meaning his children will inherit rule over a wider land. Naturally, Andoc ap Einion is likely to object to this- indeed the Storyteller should Compel his Romancing the Prefect's Daughter Aspect to make matters complicated. If he sees the Thane insulted and is still around, Eldred will challenge
Most of this should probably be roleplayed out, but opposed skill tests with the Thane’s major skills can be used to resolve any deadlocks (such as discovering the above compromise). Let the player characters take the lead. Of course, if the Thane is genuinely insulted (rather than just according to Eldred), things are likely to go badly for the player characterswhatever the politics of the situation, Tormund can’t afford to lose face in front of his followers.
A Final Confrontation When negotiations have concluded, for good or for ill, one final challenge awaits the player characters when they are ready to leave, and on the road alone. Assuming Wacian is still around, the bodyguard of Thane Tormund will attack them. Wacian will also be there hidden in the background, getting involved if it will make a difference. Eldred will also be there unless the player characters have previously killed him or soothed him. The bodyguard are there under the false impression (given to them by Wacian) that they plan to kill the Thane, and Wacian discovered their plans. There is unlikely to be time to untangle this in the heat of battle, though simply slaughtering the bodyguard could well undo all of the player characters’ earlier good work.
Andoc to a duel. This is sufficient complication. There is a possible compromise if the player characters do not agree to Tormund’s first suggestion; Tormund is willing to enter a “military alliance” of equals with Lindum and Ebrauc, with any of the nations coming to the aid of the others if one is attacked.
Dragons of Britain The
THE JOURNAL OF GAMING IN ARTHURâ€™S BRITAIN
The Dragons of Britain can only continue with the generous contributions from Arthur enthusiasts and gamers. Please consider contributing to keep it alive. We cater to any published game system that can support an Arthurian setting.
A look at some of the gossip, tales, and rumours around Arthur’s realm
assassin was killed yesterday when he was shot by arrow from the South Keep after dusk whilst trying to gain entry by stealth. Trusted knights visiting Camelot were charged by Sir Kay to make inquiries. Their efforts led them to the inn to the south of the city where the innkeeper had taken the man into his boarding room the previous night. The Innkeep was not alarmed as he was paid properly and the assassin kept to himself. He mentioned that the stranger asked him if there was a Sir Cydfan at court. Unaware to the innkeeper, Cydfan is the name given to Sir Borre at his home of Bedegraine. Why someone would want to kill one of Arthur’s sons or who was ultimately responsible is unknown.
Hervis, Duke of Anglia is understood to be in control of his lands once again after defeating recent rebels. Many of the rebels seem to have slipped away into the fens and countryside. The Duke's company is in Camelot to thank the High King for his assistance in defeating the uprising.
Elsewhere In Logres
In Tribruit, near Cynedan /Kineton, a merchant from Malahaut, Aldan, was set upon just off the King’s Road. His train of 6 wagons on their way to Camelot with wool were attacked by a pack of beasts resembling wolves in the form of men. The merchant claimed they may have been wayward druids practising their shape-changing magic but this is unproven. After he and his guards drove off the pack they counted the dead and noticed that the merchant’s eldest son, Talorc, was missing. The 4 creature pack was strong enough to kill 8 heavily armed and experienced guards. When they arrived frightened and wounded in Bourton the abbot of the monastery sent word to Camelot for knights to rid the King’s Road of these horrors. It is understood that Gawain or Gaheris intends to journey with young knights to rescue the merchant’s son.
A Strange group of finely donned travellers have been seen on the road from Powys to Glevum/ Gloucester. When greeted courteously by other folk, the leader called himself ‘King Today of
Whispers Around the
draconum Britanniam 48
Overthere and acted with nobility. At first seen as a worry, it is now known that they seed joy and contentment on their journey. It is unknown, as spring ends, what destination these sublime people are making for. Outside Logres
of a giant abound in Rheged after a local lord went out to find his vassal who had gone missing. The lord found the vassal being roasted by the giant at a lakeside. According to the lord’s manservant, the giant took a few steps towards his lord and managed to kick him into a nearby mountain before he managed to draw his sword. The manservant escaped with his life after singing the giant a lullaby.
Gwynedd an uprising has occured and is being ruthlessly put down by Maelgwyn (or Ysfain). Many scream of injustices and wrongful accusations and while decent folk are apalled, the men of Gwynedd have had to contend much with Irish incursion. This has left them with no fear of overstepping vigilance and into cruelty.
golden spires have been seen aloft in the clouds in the region of Lyonesse by sea-borne traders and sailors. Fluttering pennants can be seen atop alabaster battlements in the sunshine. Locals swear that this wonder is a glipmse into the fae realm and that we are not to question it or explore. A local priest has said it is a peek into
Heaven for the faithful and those who adhere to the old religions see it as a manifestation of Afallan, or Avalon. Locals are reticent to help Cornish knights in questing in Lyonesse in case their actions cause the vision to disappear or the old gods are displeased. Some call it a memory of fabled, and lost, Ys.
A grand summer fair is due to be
held near Eburacum, not far from the eastern eaves of the Forest Perlious. Merchants and traders from all over Britain and Ireland will be attending and there will be visitors from far off realms also. All are welcome to the ‘Maes y byd’, or ‘World’s Field’. Exotic items will be available and an eisteddfod will take place where bards from all over Britain can sing, recite poetry, and play instruments.
Despite still being at war at home,
Irish pirates still manage to harass Cambria, the Old North, and Ynys Mannau. The peoples of these regions had hoped that with the war in Ireland winding down predations by pirates upon them would slow down or cease but they seem to be increasing. Not even the High King can be everywhere! There might be a good number of slaves and prizes for warriors who take on and defeat these pirates. Have you heard rumours and tidings from around Arthur’s realm? remember where your allegiance lies and send them via the submissions details on the contents page.
Merlin by Trevor Jones Trevor jones’ score for the Sam Neill mini series has all the wonder, drama, and majesty you would expect for such a well treated Celtic version of the Merlin story. There are moments of sheer genius where the mysteries of Queen Mab’s kingdom are revealed for the first time, Uthr’s victory over Vortigern, and the fall of Arthur are all laid out by the orchestra. http://goo.gl/tK3axs
Skyrim, the OST by Jeremy Soule Another classic by Soule who has made the ultimate in fantasy soundtracks with this album. Chanting, atmospheric sounds, and ambient noise round out an excellent soundtrack with a recurring anthem. A must. http://alturl.com/y4f6e
'Pillars of the Earth' by Trevor Morris Another Trevor and another mini series score. Sometimes grand and sometimes touching (‘Jack & Aliana Make Love’ is a wonderfully delicate piece based around a flute and would be perfect for moments of love or serenity), it is a tour de force from a master of the soundtrack genre. Some of the tracks, such as ‘Philip Is Damned’, are heartbreakingly sad. http://alturl.com/nwwn6
Icewind Dale Soundtrack by Jeremy Soule Meant for another RPG (D&D) the soundtrack for the video game of the same name is wonderfullly understated. Soule has studied his subject perfectly and IWD gives the listener war drums but also subtle notes and ambience. Perfect for adventures in the cold and remote places of Britain. http://alturl.com/8w8fq
By Steff. Worthington, 4 years a lazy harp student.
Following are examples of music you can play during your game to enhance the atmosphere. I have avoided some cliches such as Carl Orff's 'Carmina Burana' (Excalibur). All URL’s are UK adresses (Amazon.co.uk for example) but the item should be available on other sites. Many of these pieces are also available on Youtube.com for review.
* it is understood that the forename of ‘Robert’ was added much later as Surnames at the time were not in common useage. Throughout his long life the poet is likely to have been known only by the name Wace. ** Being sent away for an education, especially overseas to a well renowned and established place of education such as a university or monastary would have only been possible for those with considerable wealth *** As of 2012, 18% of the population could speak some Jèrriais words and phrases with more than 7% of those over 65 being fluent or able to speak a lot of Jèrriais. 60% of adults said that they found difficulty in comprehending spoken Jèrriais, but more than a quarter are able to understand some, and 5% more can usually or fully understand someone speaking Jèrriais. 4% of people said that they could write some Jèrriais, although under 1% could write fluently. Just under a third (32%) said that they could understand something written in Jèrriais. Sadly, these numbers are not encouraging to those who wish to protect the language.
Wace, Bard of Jersey by Steff. J. Worthington The Arthurian legend, as we all know, is made up of takes from many sources, some fantastical, some ridiculous, and some historical. Arthur is as much a hybrid of culture and character as any Briton and centuries of tales heaped upon renown, legend, and vague guesses have not really helped in getting us closer to the man. And yet.. Those tales have also helped spread his fame and deeds across the globe and helped keep his heroic persona alive to this day. One of those ‘Elaborators’, ‘Robert’* Wace, may not have written many volumes on Arthur, or even wholly original ones, yet it is this unassuming character from 12th
century Jersey brought some significant elements to the cycle that would come to almost define it. Born in Jersey around AD1100 into a (presumably) wealthy family**, Wace was sent away to Caen in Normandy for a formal education and seem to have lived on there after his education in the role of teacher. He was clearly recognised as a poet of some renown and a person of no small importance as he gained important patrons. King Henry II of England commissioned the work ‘Roman de Rou’, a history of the events leading up to, and including, the Battle of Hastings. As Wace
His contribution to the Arthurian Cycle comes not in new stories but rather as casting a more rational eye on a previous work, namely that of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s ‘Historia Regum Britanniae’. While it is accepted by scholars of today as largely a work of fantasy, at the time it was regarded as reasoned fact. However Wace, for reasons that are unclear, chose to re-tell Geoffrey’s tale of British history by also commenting on what he knew, what he believed, and also, odly for the time, on what he didn’t know. With a modern eye we can look on those workd by early authors in the cycle and see them for the make-believe they are. We might say to ourselves that while the tale is fantasy it is probably based on a historical truth. That was seldom the view in early and middle Medieval literature. From this view comes ‘Roman de Brut’, a history of the Britons starting with Brutus the last son of Troy establishing his domain over the island of Britain (as Geoffrey’s work did) but here we also see something new, the introduction of the Round Table, courtly romance, and the word ‘Excalibur’. “For the noble barons he had, of whom each felt that he was supe-
rior--each one believed himself to be the best, and no-one could tell the worst--King Arthur, of whom the Britons tell many stories, established the Round Table. There sat the vassals, all of them at the table-head, and all equal. They were placed at the table as equals. None of them could boast that he was seated higher than his peer.” When Geoffrey (and others) subverted the Welsh word for Arthur’s sword ‘Caledfwch’, into Caliburn, to make it easier to read for nonCymric speakers, it was left to Wace to further adapt the word for Norman/French ears into Excalibur. Caliburn seems as easy to me to say as Excalibur, yet it is by Excalibur that we know the sword today, such was the reach and popularity of Wace’ writings. In truth, his book adds little to Geoffrey’s work (aside it being in verse and the introduction of two of the fundamental features of the cycle) but it was Wace’ version that brought it to a wide audience and cemented the legend. Wace passed around 1180 as Canon of Bayeux while in Rouen and is remembered as Jersey’s most famous son with a plaque on the States Building in Royal Square with a quote from ‘le Maistre’: Jo di e dirai ke jo sui Wace de l’isle de Gersui English: I say and will say that I am Wace from the Island of Jersey
wrote in Old Norman, a dialect of Old French and a dialect that would eventually become Modern Jèrriais*** , his work was able to be read across Normandy and further established his reputation of a writer of some worth.
I wrote this a couple of years ago to celebrate the birthday of a little girl whose parents are dear friends of mine. It is with their kind permission it appears here. While it isnâ€™t Arthurian in nature, it is in the style (hopefully, kind reader) of the Celtic tales of old and in the mythlore of faeries amd the Seelie Court. This tale rests here with your child in mind and while the young lady for which it was written has her name in a deepest blue in the text, it is fitting that you replace her name with that of your little one to whom you are reading this story (hopefully on their birthday). To me, this story will always belong to Angelina. A pronunication guide appears at the end for those not used to Welsh names and words. ~ Steff. Worthington Art by Arthur Rackham
n a far off corner of the Celtic world there lived a little girl called Rhiannon. So named after the goddess because of her love for swift horses, all the small animals who couldnâ€™t protect themselves and for her dark curls that shone in the morning sunshine. In her motherâ€™s garden she tended the sheep with hugs and cuddles, played her harp to make herbs grow, and sang to the trees so they would grow tall and broad to shelter the garden against the storms which blew around the mountain of Snowdon. Her mother and father adored her and thanked the stars above for the blessing they had been given. One evening, as the household were asleep, she heard a singing. It was beautiful and seemed to contain words from many lost languages. She felt her heart lift when she heard it and as she swung her legs from her bed to get up to hear more she saw a light from her window coming from the garden. She snuck across the floor of the house, being careful not to wake anyone, and made her way to the door.
When she got there she made a great stretch of her stride to step over Gelert, the huge wolf hound who protected the door. Thinking she had gotten away with it she opened the door and stepped into the cool, dark garden. Gelert had heard her but just made a grumbling sound and went back to sleep. The light she had seen was coming from a small mole-hill that had appeared in the ground. At least she thought it was a mole-hill because it was small and round and sticking a few inches out of the soft green earth. Yet this was no ordinary mole-hill.
It had been dug by a mole of course but at the command of Ybran, king of the faeries. The faeries were graceful people who could be very small in their underground kingdom of glittering caves and wide blue pools, but could also grow tall like Rhiannon’s parents when out of the ground. And it was at this time Rhiannon first met Ybran & Tegwen, king & queen of the Fae. Now Rhiannon wasn’t rude or ignorant so she was determined to be polite and courtly but the glimmer of the Faeries pearl and silver gowns, cloaks and crowns shone so brightly that Rhiannon was astonished for a moment . “Child. I am Ybran, the guardian of Afallan and the Otherworld. This is Tegwen, my queen.” said the king in quite stateworthy tones. Rhiannon curtseyed and spoke softly, if not a little nervously; “I am Rhiannon, daughter to Owain your majesty.”
Tegwen the queen was instantly taken with Rhiannon and stepped forward and cradled her in her arms. Turning towards the king she said, “What good manners! I think we have found the right child my lord.” Now Rhiannon was no fool and remembered the tales of her Nain, or Grandma, about how the Elves & Faeries can be full of tricks and to give them your words can lead to trouble. Rhiannon stepped back but was quickly reassured by Tegwen. “Do not be frightened, we need your help. If you listen to us for just a little while we can explain how you may save the kingdom of the Faeries.” Now, Rhiannon was all for saving kingdoms and such but she didn’t want to get into any trouble. Also, it isn’t very wise to wander off, far from home, with no one to look out for you so she motioned the royal couple into her home, over the dozing hound (whom it seems was quite used to seeing faeries) and bid them sit at her father’s large wooden table. Although the king & queen didn’t really feel that they should be in a human home they were still polite and sipped their honeymead while they explained how Rhiannon could help.
“The Fae realm is made of two kingdoms” spoke the king, “Ours is the Seelie Court, a place of light, love, and happiness. A place where people can visit in their dreams if they are sad and be comforted. A safe place.”
The queen continued; “But there is another kingdom. The Unseelie Court ruled by Beli Mawr, sometimes called Arawn, who is a cruel king. He commands the place where bad thoughts go and where bad people plot their hurtful acts and where they safe-keep their hurtful words.” Rhiannon didn’t like the sound of that place. On the whole, she thought, she would rather go to the seaside for an ice-cream.
“We carry a great burden Rhiannon” confided the king in hushed tones so as not to awake the house; “We carry all the good thoughts and fun for the children of the world. It is a joyful task but it means that the Unseelie King will always try to bully us to hand over the good wishes and hopes that we hold. We cannot allow that to happen. It would make your world a very sad place indeed. If Beli Mawr managed to defeat my kingdom and take those cheerful thoughts and all that excitement that children feel then he would make them into nasty and vicious things. Do you understand sweet child?” Rhiannon nodded that she did. The queen put her arm around Rhiannons shoulder and squeezed her with as much love as she could muster. “Rhiannon, we have been searching for someone to help us with this burden. We have asked goblins, unicorns, eagles, dragons, cats, and trolls but they haven’t been quite right. Now here we stand to ask the world of mankind to help. The Unseelie Court is close by and Beli Mawr may appear soon. Our world and yours is in danger. IF the treasure that is the hopes and dreams of children is no longer in our care then Beli Mawr will have no cause to trouble us. What say you? Will you help us?” Rhiannon had often
been told by her family and Gelert that it was always good to help someone (Gelert was always talking. Sadly, Rhiannon only spoke Welsh and didn’t know much Dog. Just enough to get by) so with that in mind she stood up and proudly announced “Of course your majesty. I am your humble servant.” Well, it was the polite thing to do. Once the royal couple had finished their Honeymead they led Rhiannon to the garden and before leaving down the mole-hill for Afallan (or as it is now known, Avalon) the queen gave her a small velvet purse. As Rhiannon opened it a bright flash of amber light flooded out of the purse and made the garden seem as the day. She felt elated and incredibly excited like it was her birthday every day of the year. Still enjoying the feeling of excitement she closed the clasp. ”Thank you for sharing this burden. We have given you all the excitement and happiness of the children of the world Rhiannon. You must look after it and make sure that Beli Mawr does not find it. Do you promise?” said the king. “I promise sire.” Rhiannon felt the great responsibility but was determined to keep to her promise. With that, the king and queen were gone. The beautiful singing had stopped and the herb garden was quiet and still again under the bright stars of Arianrhod at the foothills of Snowdon the Great, where Dragons sleep.
Feeling tired, Rhiannon made her way back to the house and was eagerly looking for her bed when she heard a rumbling. Thinking it was Ybran & Tegwen returning she turned around only to see another molehill and a tall man wearing rags, horns, and a nasty grin. Behind him were Goblins with evil intent in their eyes, the sound of far off shouting and battle, and a sickly purple light follwed them.”I am Beli Mawr child. The king of the Unseelie Court.”
Rhiannon was very frightened. Beli Mawr was huge and looked very angry but she also knew that if you let bullies see you are afraid they will only pick on you more. Remembering her manners she curtseyed again. “P...pleasure to meet you, your majesty.” she stuttered. The king gave a snort and stamped his feet. Rhiannon could see why Beli Mawr had no queen for only kind kings can win the hearts of true ladies. “I smell the stench of my enemy here in this garden. Did they leave anything with you child?” He boomed. “N...no... my lord.” rhiannon uttered.”Nothing?” the King stepped forward and looked her straight in the eyes suspiciously. Panic gripped Rhiannon. ‘Of course!’ She thought to herself, ‘Beli Mawr is the king of all bad things, including lies! He will KNOW if I lie to him.’ She thought quickly (as I’ve mentioned, Rhiannon was bright) and spoke calmly to the evil king; “Sire, would you have me share with you what they left me?”
Beli Mawr began to smile; “Of course I would.” He eerily whispered. Rhiannon replied “and would you share whatever I asked for? Whatever is in your power to give?” Blinded by sly greed at the prospect of getting all of the hopes and dreams of the world’s children Beli Mawr acted hastily in his promise. Fairy promises are very hard to break. “Of course I would. For I am a generous king.” he stated. Stepping back Rhiannon took out the small velvet green purse and ripped it open, breaking the clasp. The blinding light exploded out of the garden, across the valley, over the mountains and across seas. It lit up in the hearts of every child in the world. All the world’s childhood excitement and joy was now shared between the world’s children. Without thinking why or how, these children were now it’s guardians. Beli Mawr was furious. Not only had he been cheated of his treasure but because he was so close to the purse when it was broken he too was experiencing lots of joyful excitement. And that was something the king of bad deeds did not like. Rhiannon spoke firmly. “I have shared my prize.” “Arrrgh!.” Beli Mawr rumbled “Who has it now you brat?” “Right now, a girl called Angelina has it in her safe keeping. She was seven today and will pass that excitement onto the next little girl or boy who is having their birthday. She lives far away on the other side of the world, is loved very much by her mummy and daddy and she isn’t afraid of the likes of you.”
Rhiannon felt strong for standing up to Beli Mawr. “Arrggh! YOU tricksy child! I will take you with me down into Annwn, into the Underworld, and there you will clean and cook for me and all my kingdom until i decide to release you!” bellowed the king. “My lord, have you forgotten our bargain?” Rhiannon was still a little frightened but she now had the measure of the king and knew that if he failed to live up to the promise he made then his kingdom would fall to ruin.
Fire and smoke arose from around Beli Mawr. There was a dark fiery glow in his eyes and his anger could be heard for miles around in the rumbling of the ground. So much so that Rhiannon’s parents were beginning to stir. “A promise is a promise. What would you have me give you before I take you down to the dark kingdom with me?” snarled the king through gritted teeth. Quietly and calmly Rhiannon said: “Your absence.” “Pardon?” uttered the king just before he disappeared back to that evil place in a puff of red tinged smoke. Once again all was quiet and in the distance, over the waters of Llyn Ogwen, the little girl with dark curls could see the dark blue of the night sky begin to turn lighter as the sunrise approached. Rhiannon heard the creaky wooden door behind her and saw her mother. She was bleary eyed and yawning; “’Cariad’? (Beloved).
What are you doing out here at this hour? I thought I heard the dragon in the mountain stir.” “Just chasing away a pest, Mam.” Rhiannon went back to her bed, happy in the knowledge that she had kept her promise, that a burden shared is much lighter, and that the king & queen of the Seelie Court will watch over Angelina and all the boys and girls of the world on their birthday. Pronunciation Guide Welsh pronunciation always seems a little difficult to pronounce at first (like most different languages) but is much easier if one takes a moment to learn the new sounds needed to properly pronounce Welsh words. The ‘Double L’* sound seems to give the most difficulty. Put the tip of your tongue against your gums behind your front teeth and blow gently while keeping your toungue in place. That is the ‘Double L’ sound (LL)* The letter ‘R’ is usually rolled. The syllabic emphasis on the following words is shown in capitals. See also our pronunciation guide on page 32 of this issue.
Rhiannon - ree-ANN-on Snowdon - SNOW-dun Gelert - GEL-et Ybran - UB-ran Tegwen - TEG-wen Afallan - av-ALL*-an Owain - O-wine (as in the drink) Nain - NY-ne (like the number) BELL-ee m-OUR Beli Mawr - Arianrhod - AR-ee-ANN-rod Arawn - AR-ow-n Llyn Ogwen - LL*in OGG-wen Cariad - KA-ree-add Annwn - a-NOON
draconum Britanniam 62
Gratitudes & Complimentaries
THE GENEROUS CONTRIBUTORS WHO HAVE MADE THIS ISSUE OF THE DRAGONS OF BRITAIN POSSIBLE. THEY'VE STEPPED UP. NOW IT'S YOUR TURN.
Steff. J. Worthington
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