Ok, so we’ve (I’ve) waffled about all sorts of stuff related to RPGs. I’m trying not to do a blow by blow account of any games, as I can’t see that will particularly interest anyone who wasn’t there. So here, I’m going to go into the specifics of planning a campaign. It sort of follows on from talking about campaigns and the Pendragon system, which is great for that. I had decided I liked the idea of a Robin Hood campaign.
Most Robin Hood stories are linked with the Third Crusade, Richard the Lionheart and all that. So the starting point is a group of Saxon serfs, who go off to war, around 1189, to free the Holy Land (or to have fun and get rich). Using the Pendragon system, they’ll all be Christians, speaking english, although I might modify the Christian bonuses. Pendragon is based on knights, particularly the Knights of the Round Table, so holy virtues like forgiveness and chastity are thought Christian. I’m not sure they would be in actual history, in the late 1100s. Medieval history does not seem to me to be riddled with kings forgiving their enemies, and turning the other cheek. So, the first change would be to make a slightly vicious, more realistic stereotype.
Pendragon characters are traditionally newly knighted knights, with all their military training. My guys will largely be farmers, with some militia training. Given they won’t be as capable as knights, perhaps I should have a few spares, for people who die in the Crusade. Weapons – spears and bows, with a dagger as fall back. And bows – have the great English longbows been ‘invented’ and are they in common use? In Pendragon bows are basically a waste of time, and armoured knights laugh at them. Even if proper longbows aren’t in use, I’ll beef up bow damage. And because my characters will start fairly weak, I’ll increase the speed at which they get better. The Crusade was only about 3 years, which isn’t time to create tough fighters from newbies, using normal rules.
Next I need to research the Crusade. I know the basics, the assault on Cyprus, the battle of Arsuf. But I’ll need to gen up, so I can take the group through it all, with as much realism as I can manage. I’ve got a few history reference books, and the internet is wonderful, so that’s all doable. As well as what happens, I need the basics of life in those days. It’ll be interesting for the group, as we played the First Crusade as Norman noblemen, and this time it’ll be you lot putting up the tents.
So my aim is to have a battle-hardened, fairly free thinking group returning home, perhaps to experience problems with the status quo. And then there’s the lead guy. Does Robin Hood actually exist? Will one of the PCs become him, or will there be an NPC leader? To be honest, I’m not sure yet. And while the above is a fair bit of work for me, it should be a few weeks role-playing, so that’ll keep them going for the forseeable future. I think you can expect a ‘Robin the Hood, part the second’ at some point…