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The Great Pendragon Campaign Part 3

Phew! Not nearly so much fanfare this time, what I did prepare for this moment I lost during my time off for surgery, so instead, this is a heartfelt thanks to everyone who makes playing this game enjoyable.

Edit: I found my rough sketchup, so you can have an idea of what I was working on, and who could that ghostly figure be :shushing_face:

Firstly, and most of all, thanks to Greg Stafford, author of the game and The Great Pendragon Campaign and nearly all of the supplementary material we use, who between starting the last thread and it’s finish sadly passed away. Your work is a masterpiece, thank you.

Secondly, thanks to Shut up and sit down, and it’s excellent community for giving us a space for this game and tolerating our frequent updates without complaint, and for those who watch along - those likes mean the world to us, because to know we are entertaining more than just ourselves is such a great feeling!

Thirdly, of course the players, without their dedication the game just wouldn’t be what it is - past, present, future, thanks to you all!

Anyway, I believe you have some stablehands who don’t know their place, have at it!

Round 5

Declare your actions!


Owain will shout out “What brigands seek to steal my Lord’s horses?” He will advance at whatever rate is possible without taking a roll.

Question - how much can we actually see from outside?


Balen heads forward, directly for the Elder pitchforker

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I think you can see the open doorway and Sir Merrick backing away from a large group of people, who are obviously commoners - that they are stablehands is a natural assumption!

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Upon hearing Sir Owain yell, Merrick thinks to himself: Damn… Hopefully, their fear will not cause them to do something stupid…

Merrick glares at the stablehands, holds fast, and prepares himself to be attacked…

(fight defensively, but will only react to attacks made against him. He expects to be ambushed so split skill three ways, even if only one attacks him… Is this a legal declaration Will?)

(I think you need to nominate your three possible attackers (I’d suggest those still with pitchforks), but Will may judge differently).

(I thought that might be the case… If need be the three I choose would be: Elder Bald (unarmed), Elder Grey Hair (armed), and the next closest with pitchfork, not sure who that is.)

There can be no mathmatical/programming logic statements in your declarations, no ifs, elses, or’s etc, I need a definitive statement of what and exactly what you intend to do. Are you fighting defensively or not, and against who precisely! Otherwise you’ll find me making declarations such as “Three who aren’t targeted will all make uncontrolled attacks and any who are targeted will fight defensively”, and you would be quite right to tell me off for trying to play a dirty trick like that!

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(Sorry about that. Was trying to get something posted before I went to work, as I knew it would be later in the day before I could respond, and kinda botched it. Hopefully, this works?)

Upon hearing Sir Owain yell, Merrick thinks to himself: Damn… Hopefully, their fear will not cause them to do something stupid…

Merrick glares at the stablehands, holds his position, and prepares himself to be attacked keeping a close eye on the older bald unarmed man, the grey haired man with a pitchfork, and the stablehand to his right still holding his pitchfork wearing a cape. He hopes not to provoke them into attacking and instead aims to defend himself. He does not wish to instigate this fight.

(Merrick is fighting defensively against the three listed opponents. Splitting skill evenish and ignoring the others attacks. He is not going to strike first, he just is going to react if those three attack him.)

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Sorry for taking so long, I had said (I always try to post up my NPC’s thought processes and planned actions in a PM ) that certain actions trigger certain behaviour in the NPC’s, and one of those was fighting defensively. You’ve still got a logic statement in there: IF the peasants attack me, THEN I fight defensively ELSE I am ready to defend myself - and I know you’ve gone on to say that it’s all under the umbrella of fighting defensively, but if I start talking about you striking a peasant with your sword who hasn’t attacked you, I think that might not be what you intended.

Fortunately, I have a practice sword and a practice pitchfork, and about 20 years of historical martial arts training, so I’ve got a sparring partner coming over today, we’re going to try to recreate this scenario to see how possible it is to “fight” defensively without taking aggressive action. To represent you having to declare first - the ebb and flow of combat is favouring the peasants this turn - My interval beep will trigger 25ms before theirs, I will have to act first. Will it be feasible for me to defend myself against a person who I don’t know is attacking me when, if they are attacking, they can see my defensive move and respond to it without taking action that would be perceived as aggressive? If not then I shall act as if you have taken an aggressive action against the peasants - If I can, then fighting defensively can be considered a non-aggressive action. This shall also form precedent for similar situations! (Also just a really good excuse to see an old friend and drink some beers whilst playing with swor… I mean, this is important research!)

It’s also worth pointing out that you need to tell us how you are splitting your skill across the three targets otherwise it’ll default to an even split, which might not be what you intend :wink:


(I would imagine that you could assume a guard stance, (shield up, sword ready to parry/counter incoming blows) without striking out at someone who doesn’t intend to hit you, but I am very interested to hear the results of your research. Maybe I’ve just watched too much Kurosawa).


Great taste in films, but in Kurosawa films, he often portrays the advantage to the person who acts second - the samurai can wait and react to the aggressors attack. But what if the Samurai is acting first? Then, more often than not, the attack will go through because the samurai’s sword is already committed and could not reach the proper defensive position in time.

In our “battle”, Merrick has just declared that he is fighting defensively, but if the pitchfork wielding peasants are to attack, they will start that attack moments after he raises his shield. He’s been backing away and taunting the peasants, not holding his shield defensively, and it will take time to get there. Merrick also knows he is on his back foot in this moment of the battle, so if simply raising his shield (and does he have his shield with him?) is defence enough against an incoming attack then that’s fine, but if the extra 25ms is enough time to give my opponent time to see where I am placing my shield and go for an uncovered arm or leg most times he tries then simply raising a shield is not enough - and Merrick, a trained knight will full well know that. What I want to know is what measures I have to take to ensure that less than half of the attacks connect, and should I consider that action aggressive? I also have to be careful to not turn a defensive action into a different manoeuvre entirely, I can’t try to dodge for example, that’s it’s own combat action.


Yeah, this is what I was trying to avoid.


(Sorry, I really feel like I wasted a lot of time on this… But after some sleep on it and this new information… I think I am going to tweak this a bit to more reflect what Merrick is trying to achieve… I think what I want to do is not really an option (<–again in a hurry and cannot think of better words for the life of me), so I am going to opt for a different route. Sorry, it took a day to get there. Maybe we should cut this section out and paste it in the discussion thread after we get rolling again?)

(Let us try this instead.)

Upon hearing Sir Owain yell, Merrick thinks to himself: Damn… Hopefully, their fear will not cause them to do something stupid…

Merrick glares at the stablehands, holds his position, raises his shield expecting a blow to come from any direction and yells, “Any who strike me, or hold a pitchfork when my Lord enters, will be branded a horse thief and face justice! I advise dropping your weapons.”

The results are in, and the results are…


Inconclusive! While taking aggressive action was clearly more effective, not doing so was effective enough to cause a grey area.

The pitchfork wielder was unable to strike me 40% of the time and 5% of the time did strike me, but only a grazing blow. This remained true whether defending with a sword, sword and shield or an axe. I will say that the shield was far from optimal, it was too heavy against a pitchfork - or spear and halbard type weapons in general.

If I got aggressive with my defence, the pitchfork wielder was unable to strike me 90% of the time with sword, 70% with sword and shield and with axe. The best tactic was for me to half sword (hold the sword by the blade with both hands and use the pommel and guards as the live part of the weapon) and use the crook of the guard and hilt to push hard against their shoulder, removing all power from their thrust. Before I tried that, the sword was also on 70%.

What does this mean - our precedent is:

If you tell me that you fight defensively, you are assumed to be taking violent and aggressive measures, using your sword and shield in offensive but harmless (aside from bruising and shallow irrelevant cuts) manner.

You can clearly state that you do not wish to take any action that may be considered offensive, if so, you will suffer a -5 to your combat skill (before any split - even if you only wish to not be offensive against some targets and are happy to be against others)

Merlin decrees sign here :mage: , happy for this to be open for discussion, but for the purposes of this combat, this is my final decision!

Merrick, if I take your latest action, that means you will not get to defend yourself if any of them attack - is this what you want?


(:no_mouth: Now I am not sure which to go with… About how many turns till the others reach Merrick’s position?)

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(How arrogant or reckless is Merrick? Is he really that worried about a bunch of commoners attacking him?)


(Actually… This helps out quite a lot! Thanks @Scribbs! Where I have been getting hung up on: He does not really know the exact circumstances of the situation, since he did not see the Earl’s reaction leaving the audience with the King, and he was instructed by Roderick to not do anything considered hostile. Bristling at the accusation of being called a spy and defending himself he does not consider to be be breaking the Earl’s orders, but being the first to swing under these circumstances… it is a line he does not want to cross without being ordered to or seeing the Earl fight himself. Now, if he was in Logres and not on a ‘diplomatic mission’ and this was happening, he would have been cracking skulls by now. This might be an instance of following orders too strictly… Hopefully, that makes some sense?)

(I know the risks, and it is probably going to get him killed; but this is more on brand and inline with Merrick. :man_shrugging: Also, someone else needs to catch-up with Scribbs in regards with knights getting killed! :grin: )

(Oh, probably a tick to Reckless?)


Tick to reckless.

Merrick, the three who dropped their weapons grab you - they are grappling:

Stableboy 1 DEX (9) d20: 9 vs Unopposed

Stableboy 2 DEX (9) d20: 5 vs Unopposed

Stableboy 2 DEX (9) d20: 4 vs Unopposed

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Ooof, a crit and two passes, Merrick, you are flung out of the open door, landing heavily on your back outside the stables.