Okay...that probably doesn't make much sense. Let me scratch it a little bit.
Pendragon is a game set in Arthurian (i.e. King Arthur) fantasy England. It contains a timeline beginning in 495 CE (with Uther's death) and chronicling the major events up through 565 CE (the battle of Camlann when Arthur is mortally wounded by Mordred and removed to Avalon). It is meant to encompass the entirety of Arthur's mortal life, from his birth (presumably from the year Uther is slain, since Arthur is Uther's son) until his own end...and the end of the fantasy time about which som many myths and legends and stories have been written. It may not be explicitly written, but the gist I get from reading the rules is that the game is supposed to be folded upon reaching 565...it's a hard end date for the campaign/saga.
Since each game session begins with a new year (the player characters only have one adventure per year), this sets a finite number of game sessions to advance, develop, and play the characters you've created. What's more, it drives home characters' mortality, as they age and (eventually) die, leaving their legacy to be carried on by their children. Building a family and 'passing the torch' are big components of the game.
70 sessions (70 years of adventure) may not seem like a lot (if your group plays weekly or more often) but the finite limit is actually even less than that. While Arthur's timeline extends back to 495, the player characters all begin play in 531, shortly before the Age of Apogee begins, which really only leaves you with one-half of the timeline to explore. By the time your knights come of age, the Round Table has already been established, the King's married Gwen, and Lancelot has established himself as Arthur's greatest knight. Sure, your characters (or their kids) will be witness to the closing tragedies of the story, but mostly you'll be left with roaming around the countryside on knightly adventures, fighting magical beasties and kicking Saxon ass. You don't have to worry about helping unify the kingdom or anything because that all happened while your character was a kid growing up.
Which is fine, because Pendragon's a game about being a knight, not about playing out a company-produced story arc. The set events (Lance and Gwen's adultery, Mordred's betrayal/villainy) aren't anything you can change, but that's not your characters' objective, anyway. Your objective...the objective of all knights...is the pursuit of Glory. Gaining glory (becoming famous for your deeds) is the road to power and prestige. It's the method by which your characters measure their accomplishments; it's the method by which they develop their abilities beyond ordinary levels. Glory is how knights rank themselves against each other...and it is what is passed on to their children.
[well, one-tenth of Glory earned is passed on, anyway]
The Pendragon timeline provides a frame in which to pursue the knightly quest of gaining glory, while the setting provides the justification. And it's a neat little system.
A Song of Ice and Fire, the setting basis for Crowns of Blood, is NOT about winning glory.
In the timeline of the Seven Kingdoms, there's nearly three centuries from the time the continent is united by their dragon-riding conquerors and the "current events" portrayed in the books and television series. Lots of neat things happen in those 300 years. There are rebellions and battles. There are religious wars and religious persecution. There's a war of succession between competing claimants fighting each other on dragon-back...and that's all within the first 150 years. The last Targaryen dragon on Westeross died in in 153 (as they count time); the events of the books begin circa 298. If I really wanted to emulate the scope of Pendragon play, there's a lot of "35 year periods" from which to choose, with plenty of interesting events. But game play is not about "interesting events" in Pendragon...game play is about giving players a lot of leeway (in a specific fantasy setting), allowing them the freedom to develop interesting characters, distinct from each other even while sharing the same class and (basic) background.
That's what I want to do with Crowns of Blood.
|Dragons in medieval warfare = grossly unfair.|
I'm starting to feel like my initial impressions of Pendragon's suitability for the setting were mistaken. I'm not sure people want to immerse themselves in a world of so much madness and sorrow and death and cynicism. When you're not about winning capital-G Glory, and there's no orcs to pillage for gold, what are you left with? Armored warriors trying to walk a path of honor, but being driven to acts of atrocity and brutality?
So, then, what to do...well, I can't really PLAY anything at the moment anyway (duh) being in Paraguay, but the Game of Thrones marathon continues on the cable, and the project is still interesting. I suppose I have a couple-three options here:
- Rewrite Martin's setting material to be more more romantically Arthurian (but, then, why not simply play Pendragon?).
- Rewrite Pendragon to provide some "winning criteria" besides acquiring Glory to make it more true to the setting material.
- Just "force it." Leave the Pendragon system as is (minor tweaks and setting changes aside), and try to place it in a time period that seems at least "semi-Arthurian."
Of the three, Option 2 would probably be the "best" option...but I'm not going to f'ing rewrite Pendragon. That is a ridiculous idea. You're talking an overhaul, design-wise, and this was something I wanted to do for a one-off campaign...not a book I intend to publish. Even if it WAS something I wanted to publish, I couldn't since the rights to Martin's material are already owned (and being used) by someone else...the best I could do would be to knock-off the setting AND the system. And that's a LOT more work than I want to do.
After not-very-careful consideration, I think I'll just "keep on keeping on" with Option 3, but brainstorm a little on how to tweak the system mechanic. Maybe give myself a week to mull on it? Sure. If I can't come up with something by next Monday, I'll just table the project indefinitely.