Pendragon

This influential game was first released in 1985 and is widely considered the seminal Arthurian RPG. Though it is now at edition 5.1, the core mechanics have changed little over the years.

Pendragon is aimed squarely at campaign play. A single session will often simulate a year in the game world. The time span of the game means that a player will often play a character until he dies, then play that character’s heir.

The game tightly defines the game world and is heavily oriented toward immersing players in the Arthur mythology. Several supplements build out that game world in further detail.

Here’s how the publisher describes Pendragon:

With its innovative rules, including the distinctive traits and passions system designed to help you in determining your character’s behavior under any circumstances, Pendragon provides a unique roleplaying experience laid out against perhaps the richest tapestry in Western literature.

Three Things About Pendragon

  • Multi-Generational Campaign Play: Events pass in a yearly time schedule, with births and deaths, political machinations, and other complications driving the narrative.
  • Traits: Every character has 13 traits, each with opposing values (ex: Forgiving/Vengeful). When a character attempts to do the virtuous thing, he must roll against his trait rating to see if resists his compulsion to vice.
  • Passions: Overall motivations such as Loyalty and Hate drive a character’s actions, and when a character fails to act in accordance with a passion, he can fall into melancholy or madness.

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