King Uther Pendragon perpetually wars with the Saxons. Though he has gained the upper hand, perhaps for good, it has come at at great cost in blood. Now he works to be High King of all Britain. What part will you play in his rise?
A scrawny boy draws a sword from a stone in London, as prophesied. The common folk and all righteous men applaud their new king after years of hardship. Others test the young king and try to take the Isles for their own. The boy’s name? Arthur. Your father stood with the last king, Uther. Will you support this upstart?
Chivalry. Romance. Justice. Arthur has proven a success in ways never imagined, changing the face of Britain and even all of Europe. Tales are told of his court and its riches, from Dublin to Byzantium. The wars have ended and fabulous adventure reigns supreme. What quests will make your name and legend?
The kingdom crumbles. Arthur and his knights are old and faded. His only son, begat upon his sister, leads a civil war against his father. Is the end of the dream inevitable?
The Great Pendragon Campaign
The Great Pendragon Campaign (GPC) is legendary designer Greg Stafford’s (Pendragon, Runequest, Heroquest, Ghostbusters) crown jewel. It allows the players to work their way through the entire Arthurian cycle, from Uther to Arthur’s death. This is to the tune of 80 odd years of game time so gameplay is dynastic; your first PCs will die, through violence or old age, and subsequent characters will be the children of the first; it’s very common to be on your fourth character by the end.
Obviously, this is a pretty hefty time commitment. To counteract some of the long term requirements, the game shares with Ars Magica a dilated view of time: you have one adventure/story per year. Once that ends, the bulk of player advancement comes through the natural progression of time in the form of unplayed training, aging, etc. Even then, players should be prepared for a long term commitment to the campaign to see it through as far as possible.
The tone of the game will change as time passes. One of the conceits of the setting is that Arthur’s rise corresponds with the Enchantment of Britain. What this means is that the game transitions from the Uther Period, which is almost entirely Dark Ages realistic and gritty, to the height of Arthur’s reign, which is far closer to later versions of Arthur with Gothic plate mail, romance, dragons and fey beasts. This also allows the entire gamut of Arthurian literature to be modeled, with the gritty historical stuff early on and the High Middle Ages Romances later on.