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Review: Pendragon

Subjects: arithmetic, economics, history, mental organization, probability, problem solving, reading, simulation, social skills, storytelling, strategy, vocabulary, writing

Age Range: 10 and up

Time: 30 minutes or more

Pendragon, or King Arthur Pendragon, is a wonderfully conceived role playing game with a literary premise. Players take on the roles of knights and others in the tradition of Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur and its associated tales of romance and adventure in French, English, and other stories. The game blends factual Dark Age Britain, high medieval culture, and the myths and legends of the Arthurian tradition. The basic game assumes play over a long period of time, characters living through generations of both noble families and the unfolding saga. It is possible to focus more narrowly on various locales, adventures, and themes. You can play the game with your preferred balance of any of these aspects.

The game’s rules are fairly straightforward, based on skills and other traits, accessible to anyone ten or older. In addition to physical abilities, characters have personality traits and passions, which have an important part to play in the game. Virtuous knights and ladies interact and grow through their virtues. There are also rules for various combat situations and for developing a character and its family over time, all to be used at your discretion.

There are numerous supplements for Pendragon, some for earlier editions but all easy to integrate into your game. Most of them add or expand details for regions in and around Britain and include Saxons, Beyond the Wall (northern Britain), and Savage Mountains (Wales).

Pendragon has many uses as an educational system or setting for multiple lessons. I have used it as part of lessons on both literature and history at the primary and high school levels. Generally, I balance traditional instructional activities with role playing sessions, mostly on a small scale, not diving fully into the full possibilities of the game but giving my students a personal sense of the color and richness of the Age of Arthur.

White Wolf now owns the publication rights for Pendragon. You can look for a copy at your local game store or order it online at (external link). For more information and links about the game, see (external link).

David Millians

Created by: WJWalton4831 points . Last Modification: Thursday 10 of September, 2009 11:59:36 PDT by WJWalton4831 points .

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