Solo GPC

When It Rains...

The old oak door creaked open. A robed, bearded figure was silhouetted in the door frame by a hunchbacked lantern bearer lurking behind him.

“Just down these stairs, m’lord,” grunted the hunchback. Merlin swept down the stairs as mice frantically squeaked to get out of his way. His wise eyes swept the stacks of unbound manuscripts and leather-backed tomes as he entered the darkened chamber. He knew exactly what he was looking for, and sensed he was at last on the verge of finding it. Then he spotted it.

Pulling the stack of crinkled parchment off the shelf, he blew a thick layer of dust off the topmost sheet.

“Here it is at last!” he exclaimed. “Bring the light closer, oaf,” he snapped. As the lantern loomed near, he could make out the flowering, illuminated words along the top of the page: “The Continuing Adventures of Sir Herringdale.”

At last it can be told! The thrilling conclusion to the two-parter “Weddings and Warfare” installment of the ongoing chronicle of the line of Sir Herringdale of Broughton and a return (one hopes) to regular campaign updates. Yeah…sorry about leaving regular readers hanging for over a month. I’ve found that long-running campaigns tend to move in these sort of cyclical motions—sometimes things cook right along, other times there needs to be a period of down time, either due to in-game or Real World reasons. In this particular case, it was the Real World that intervened (nothing major, just lots of little things conspiring to drain all available free time), but at last we can return.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at these sorts of things) this update will be a little shorter than normal. This is because I’m working off of five-week-old notes and dim memories. Apologies. Regular long-winded updates will resume with the next installment.

Weddings and Warfare

Well, things are starting to accelerate now for sure. I’ve been looking forward to running this year because of a couple set-piece encounters; the player-driven developments of the past couple years only added to the uncertainty and intriguing possibilities. As I mentioned in my last post, part of the fun for me as a GM is not knowing how things are going to turn out in a given session. I’ve only become more adamant on this position as I’ve gotten older; thus my increased use of random tables in D&D, for instance. Pendragon tends to generate enough “random events” through its base mechanics that I don’t often need to resort to random tables, but this year ended off with my first playtest of my siege rules, and they didn’t fail to disappoint. So on to the action, then…

A Lion in Summer

This year marked a turning point in a lot of ways. As I mentioned in a comment to my last campaign update, this year promised much courtly intrigue—only appropriate, since Herringdale’s Intrigue skill is up to 17 by now!—and a possible shift in tone. I think it delivered on both promises in spades.

The Return

With the snows melting and the first warm breezes blowing through the eaves and branches of the Forest Sauvage, Sir Herringdale got set to try again at the Gallant’s Challenge. Again, they headed out to the mews, and again Herringdale chose the Modest falcon. They then set out into the woods in search of quarry.

498 (Session Two)
Lost in the Forest

Having seen to the safe departure of Merlin, Herringdale made swiftly for Sarum and a meeting with Countess Ellen.

“My lady,” he said when he’d finally arrived, “I have reason to believe that I may be able to locate the son of Prince Madoc.”

Countess Ellen looked simultaneously excited and worried.

498 (Session One)

After having to skip a week’s session due to an attack of late-winter crud, we got back into the Great Pendragon Campaign this weekend. I’d been looking forward to running this session quite a bit. In fact, I even had a dream about running it earlier in the week, something that doesn’t often happen to me. As it turned out, this year made up for our dearth of playing in that it provided two sessions’ worth of action. Read on for an account of the first session…

Year of the Three Battles

In the wake of Elaine’s departure, Broughton Hall was left emptier and more eerily quiet than ever. Herringdale easily secured the employ of a new steward, sending for the services of the steward of Burcombe in fact. But his youngest child, his daughter Lilo, was left without a mother and grew increasingly sad and despondent. As the snows began to fall, she grew ill. Yuletide came and went, and still Lilo languished. Countess Ellen sent her best healer trudging through the snow to Broughton, yet there was nothing to be done. Lilo had been sickly since birth, and at last the Reaper caught up with her. On a cold February night, she passed away in Herringdale’s arms.

The dice dictated more cruel fate, but I chose to defer that until game play (an advantage of running the Winter Phase first!).

The Battle of Du Plain Castle

If you’re familiar with the geography of Salisbury, the title of this year’s update should clue you in right away to the events that would unfold during our latest Pendragon session. The Anarchy Phase arrived on Sir Herringdale’s front doorstep this year…

Anarchy in the U.K.

And so we enter the Anarchy Phase.

Unlike most other phase transitions in the GPC, the Anarchy Phase doesn’t mark any major shift in technology, social mores, fashion, or much of anything, really. A note is made at the beginning of the chapter that we’ve moved into the equivalent of 11th-century history, and that the power of the Myth is starting to increasingly displace the reality of 6th-century History, but all in all it’s a pretty subtle transition.

Not so subtle, however, when looked at from the perspective of our hero, Sir Herringdale, who now finds himself Marshall of a county adrift without a leader in a troubled sea of enemies. This isn’t called the Anarchy Period for nothing folks.

The Hall of the Dead

I had wanted to get to this year before our move. I knew that, whatever might transpire, it would be a watershed year and a good point to leave things off for the time being (no fear, we have every intention of continuing the campaign once we’re settled in at our new place—we just have no idea how long that might take).


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