The Adore Passion
Pendragon is a game of strong emotions. These emotions impose actions. Adore is one of those.
To Adore someone is to submit your will to them. The object of adoration is lofty and perfect, perhaps unknowing of the Adorer. To submit is to partake in their greatness. You recognize you are helpless before hem and this is the way it is
Adore can be used like any passion: to inspire when appropriate, as an influence in decision making, or even whether to follow the queen’s court customs or not. The usual results of Success and Failure are used. Thus it is understandable why half of Camelot is up in arms when Guenever is insulted.
Whenever the subject is spoken of disparagingly a character with these passions must attempt the Passion roll. Success indicates that they revealed, in some way, their favor (a smile at the mention, a nod, a dreamy look) or their discomfort with the subject (a private frown, a glance to a companion, a scowl). A Critical at it in such circumstances means they made some public expression of their feeling. A Fumble means he felt disturbed about something, though he can’t say what.
If I Adore him, why can’t I speak to him?
Two reasons: one is the “monkey brain,” and the other is Society.
By “monkey brain” I mean the physical body, a response that is visceral and completely bypasses all logic and rationality.
Socially, everyone has a life whose routine is determined by Courtesy, the rules of court.
To approach a leading member of the royal court and expressing one’s adoration is a violation of Courtesy. It is just not done, as everyone knows. And you would not want to embarrass the object of adoration, nor yourself.
Besides, you know that they do not Adore you, nor probably even know you exist and, worse yet, have no reason to. So of course, you are reluctant to speak out of place.
Just Walk Right Up There!
Adore also determines whether a person can approach the object of their Adoration. Lancelot and Guenever seem to radiate a constant aura of their gender stereotypes. Individuals must overcome this to speak. This is not an Inspiration Roll and so does not have the consequences of Melancholy. It can be attempted once per courtly session, or so.
Critical. You are speechless, despite yourself.
Success. You are unable to do so right now. Certainly later, at some more appropriate venue, in the future, some time.
Failure. You can do it. Just walk right up there.
Fumble. You WILL walk right up there. And stand nearby, ready to say something.
A Fumble in this social context indicates a faux pas of some sort. It need not be an insult—it’s more likely that there is some interruption along the way. Sir Gawaine, perhaps, friendly to the PC intercedes with a smooth word.
Adore is a Passion that usually forces inaction. Individual logic and desire are helpless before its power. To approach Lancelot or Guenever requires a special kind of courage. Their magnetic charge is the source of the problem, but a person’s actions in his society judges, and creates consequences.
Remember, Lancelot and Guenever are never alone. Everything will be done not just in front of them, but also a crowd of onlookers. I recommend that GMs always take some time to establish the courtly scene. It can be done the first time at some detail, and afterwards less so. But the context of approaching Guenever or Lancelot at court is all-important.
This spontaneous action, cutting across the rules of decorum and society, brings attention to itself. People look. Time seems to slow down for the knight inserting himself into a place to address the glittering High Queen.
The crowd stares. All eyes seem to be on the knight. The collective weight of society stares at this novelty. They want to be entertained, and a social faux pas is the best kind.
And then individuals.
Sir Kay is sneering, and getting ready to say something sharp and insulting.
Sir Meliagrance is staring with eyes narrowed, jealous to allow anyone near the queen.
Sir Tor, ever foremost in etiquette, is ready to correct the naïve.
Those three ladies, the “laugh behind your back” crowd, are watching.
Guenever’s handmaidens are all staring—they are giving the interloper the “in crowd” look-over, down their noses, of contempt and amusement.
Round Table knights look, each with his particular perspective, trying to place the face or coat of arms (Recognize and Heraldry). GMs can narrate their Glory totals as the PC walks past, trying not to be distracted by one of them.
Your social equals, knights and ladies, bear down with the collective weight of authority as they look to see if someone is going too far, or if it will just be worth a laugh.
Lord knights look to see if their rights are possibly about to be impinged by some upstart.
Some of these onlookers are self-righteous, some like to cause embarrassment to their social inferiors, some simply protective, others curious and some have the job of interfering with onlookers. That assistant steward accidentally bumps the knight or lady whose gaze is fixated elsewhere. The second assistant maid to the Lady in Waiting is in the path.
A Fumble (above) will have directed your knight (or lady) to completely ignore all that—almost. Note that even at the last minute they may falter. More likely, someone along the will likely interrupt the passage. The PC says, “Oh, I just wanted to speak to the queen,” out loud, and a few people nearby turn and look, amused or horrified. That is a Fumble. Some people know, now.