Paladin: Warriors of Charlemagne has crushed all of the scenario stretch goals that were originally planned. All backers will be getting at or about 1K pages of rules, scenarios and setting material for very little money. PDF only ($15) backers will get both the rule book and the scenario book in PDF, Book/PDF ($60) backers will get the hardcover rule book and PDF scenario book, and all Print ($100) backers will get both the rule book and scenario in hardcover. Anyway you cut it, it’s a great deal.
If you’ve every played Pendragon or were always interested in medieval roleplaying or just what to see what all the buzz is about, this project is good deal!
How is PALADIN different from PENDRAGON? (shamelessly take from update #10)
If you have played Pendragon before, you will find that Paladin plays almost the same, though the subject matter is somewhat different.
Many of the player goals in PALADIN are the same as those of PENDRAGON – fight for your king or for adventure, woo a lady, and become the premier knight of the land or a high noble. PALADIN uses the Pendragon game as it’s basis.
Most game mechanics are exactly the same between the two games, and players should have no problem transitioning from PENDRAGON to PALADIN.
However, a few changes have been made to reflect the differences between Arthurian Romances and the Carolingian Epics.
First, is the conceit that God loves Charlemagne, and loves all those that love Charlemagne. Miracles occur through a knight’s love for Charlemagne, not through his love of God. The Pious/Worldly traits have been removed from the game, replaced by the Love [Charlemagne] passion.
Secondly, the passions of Loyalty [Lord] and Hospitality have been folded into the Honor passion. It is impossible for an Honorable knight to be disloyal to his lord or inhospitable. If you defy your lord or abuse your guests, you lose honor. It’s as simple as that.
Thirdly, Weapon skills have been consolidated; one and two-handed styles have been combined into a single skill – for example, both one- and two-handed swords use the Sword skill.
Fourth, the players’ extended family is given a greater emphasis in PALADIN than in PENDRAGON. Players are strongly encouraged to have their characters come from the same extended family, emulating the gestes.
Fifth, Player characters age quicker and probably die sooner than their PENDRAGON counterparts. Ageing rolls occur earlier, and are harsher.
Sixth, statistics become harder to increase after 16, rather than 20, requiring the use of bonus points from Glory to improve. The points needed to become a Chivalric, Romantic or Religious knight are increased, so it is harder to achieve those goals.
What’s in the Book? (shamelessly take from update #8)
Chapter 1 starts right off with Character Creation. While Chapter 13 explains Frankish Society more fully, it is an awful lot to make your players read! The basic information given above should be enough to whet their appetites.
Chapter 2 describes the events that led up to the “present” of 767, the first year of the basic campaign. Included in Chapter 2 are special Family Events that your father or grandfather may have taken part in. Using these tables gives depth to your character’s family, and will give increased Glory when he is knighted.
Chapters 3, 4 and 5 detail the basic rules of using your Stats – Skills, Traits, Passions, Attitudes, and Glory.
Chapter 6 explains basic rules of the game – how to use the dice to determine the outcome of an action, the passage of time in the game, movement, and learning from experience.
Chapter 7 goes into detail about personal combat, a major part of the game.
Chapter 8 details mass combat, from minor skirmishes with only a few dozen men on a side, to great battles and sieges.
Chapter 9 details the magic of the PALADIN world, and how characters may benefit from prayer or be subject to the incantations of sorcerers.
Chapter 10 explains the Winter Phase – a time of the year when people take time to reflect on the past year. In PALADIN, it is also when the character sheet is changed to reflect the adventures of the past year, and the ravages of time on the characters family and lands.
Chapter 11 deals with the ambitions of knights, and the ideals they can strive to attain.
Chapter 12 explains all you need to know about feudal economics, wealth, and markets where player knights may buy new equipment and sell surplus goods. The last section details some of the Carolingian treasures and enchanted objects.
Chapter 13 deals extensively and anachronistically with the society of the Franks, presenting an overview of its power structures, the royal court, the ways of knighthood and the facts of ordinary daily life, the essential precepts of the Frankish religion, and finally some necessary military information.
The lands of the Franks are described in Chapter 14. It especially focuses on Charlemagne’s future palace at Aachen, as well as on the duchy of Ardennes – the latter being the homeland for starting player characters.
Gamemasters looking to further nourish their fertile inspiration may have a look into The Future in Chapter 15, where they will discover the unfolding of the Carolingian legends as described in the epics. The glorious fates of Charlemagne and his peers, as well as a whole range of secondary stories, provide as many sources for adventure. While reading through the detailed Frankish chronology, Gamemasters will find ample occasions to involve their player characters.
Friends and foes are presented in Chapter 16, which features the most important non-player characters: Charlemagne himself, of course, and famous paladins like Roland, Oliver, Renaud of Montauban, and Ogier the Dane. An extensive list of minor characters completes the field of possible actors.
Since the world is bigger than Frankland alone, foreigners and their strange ways are described in Chapter 17.
Every knight needs opponents, and Chapter 18 gives you the stats for a variety of minor characters, from bandits and peasants to Byzantine Cataphracts. Animals, like horses, dogs and falcons, are a part of a noble’s daily life, but on his adventures a hero may also encounter less common enchanted creatures, or come face to face with the elusive people from the Faerie realm.
The last chapter deals with what the game is finally all about: adventures. Some advice is given about how to construct a campaign. The scenario section is filled up with a variety of possible adventures, including some short example scenarios and a few solos for solitary players. A complete introductory scenario, set in 767, will help a Gamemaster to get his PALADIN campaign on track.