Tales of Chivalry and Romance
Tales of Chivalry and Romance Playtest Review by Andrew Hind on 22/03/01
Style: 5 (Excellent!)
Substance: 5 (Excellent!)
Exploring the prominent ideals of knighthood, this is a fine adventure collection. A must for Pendragon or any fantasy gm's.
Product: Tales of Chivalry and Romance
Company/Publisher: Green Knight Publishing
Page count: 64
Year published: 2000
SKU: GK 2720
Playtest Review by Andrew Hind on 22/03/01
Genre tags: Fantasy Historical
A companion to Tales of Magic and Miracles, this book provides 5 full length and 9 short adventures that deal with knightly virtues. The scenarios provide excellent range, far more interesting than your typical fantasy roleplaying fare, aptly demonstrating the strengths of the Pendragon RPG.
The "Adventure of the Newmade Knight" has the characters embarking on a quest to prove the value of chivalry to a young warrior whose faith in the knightly ideals has been shaken. Along the way, characters travel to 4 castles, each of which present challenges that test their commitment to the tenets of chivalry (upholding the honor of women, brotherhood, gentility, and godliness). Each test provides a moral dilemma which cannot be solved merely by a Traits check, and all have several possible solutions. While all are excellent, I would divide them up and use them surrepticiously over a year of playtime. I find when players know they are being tested, they act "as they should" instead of "as they would". Either way, it is a great way to highlight knightly virtues.
In "The Story of Castle Wakely", the player knights are tasked with restoring a decaying fortress. The characters must refortify the castle, attract new settlers, hire new staff, and guide the fiefdom to prosperity. Obviously, the Lordly Domains sourcebook is required.
The catch is, the castle is haunted by three ghosts, each falling prey to a sin: gluttony, jealousy, unfaithfulness before God. These ghosts try to corrupt new residences with their vices, and can only be banished by demonstrations of the opposite trait. The adventure also provides three pages of excellent rules for ghosts and hauntings in Pendragon.
Murder mysteries are something new in Pendragon, which makes "The Adventure of the Mysterious Manor" all the more appealing. While enjoyng the hospitality of a lord, a pc knight is blamed for the death of a serving wench. During the attempt to clear themselves of wrong doing, the pc's will delve into court intrigue where they will have to tread carefully, as the lord has a secret of his own which he does not want exposed. The adventure includes a fully detailed manor staff, all fully fleshed personalities in their own right, and could end with the characters gaining a squire and/or earning the enmity of the legendary villain Turquine.
Wooed ladies often require a quest for love, a test of their romantic virtue, before they will commit to marriage. "The Adventure of the Golden Rose" is an excellent adventure to throw at your pc's in such a circumstance. Fully of magical wonder, the adventure sees the characters searching across Britain for a legendary golden rose, during whch they will have to make several wrenching moral decisions. Success is measured in various ways in this scenario, so there is no cut and dried "right way", a nice touch that allows pc's the ultimate freedom of choice. Best of all, the repercussions of their decisions will have very tangible effects on your campaign.
The final scenario, "The Adventure of Cerran Abbas", takes inspiration from the ballads of the doomed lovers Tristan and Isolde. A courtly amor of a pc knight fears for her life at the hands of her new husband, and entreats them to help her. During their investigation, they discover the lord is cursed by the spirits of two dead lovers, which posess him and makes him kill his wives in revenge for a wrong done them by an ancestor. To lift the curse, the pc's muts explore an underwater castle, meeting faerie Kelp Maidens and a Kraken.
In addition to these 5, universally solid full-length adventures, Tales of Chivalry and Romance provides a gm with 9 shorter ones. All of these can be finished in a few short hours of play, generally centered around a simple plot. Every bit as good as their longer brethren, these adventures are perfect for rounding out a gaming evening or perhaps as solos.
Finally, as was the case with Tales of Magic and Miracles, the authors have compiled useful information related to the adventures and placed them in sidebars throughout the text. Topics include "becoming landed nobility", "marrying above your class", and "hospitality on the road". Not quite as useful as those presented within Magic and Miracles, they are nonetheless informative and help to put the themes presented in the adventures into proper context.
An outstanding collection of adventures for Pendragon, Tales of Chivalry and Romance is an excellent buy at only $13.95. The adventures could easily be used in other fantasy games, pleasing those players who just don't want to "return to the dungeon", as espoused by one prominent rpg publisher. The plots are strong enough to be used in other genres as well: believe it or not, I employed the mini-adventure "The Adventure of the Sorcerous Bride" in my cliffhanger campaign, basing it in the heart of India; while "Wakely Castle" became an abandoned starbase, now inabited by incorporeal entities, that my crew had to rebuild in Star Trek; and I've considered running "The Mysterious Manor" out of Jabba's Palace for Star Wars. A multi-purpose adventure-collection such as this should find it's way onto any gamers shelf.