The Age of Arthur – The Celtic Twilight – the Dark Ages – the Birth of England. These are some of the powerful and romantic names given to this most confused and yet most vital period of British history. It was an age of settlement, an age of fire, and an age of the sword, which in itself was only a small part of a far larger picture.
Welcome to the Dark Ages of Pendragon, a quasi-historical fantasy usng the Pendragon sytem. Not a monster-bashing dungeon crawl but a socio-political game in a dark and bloody world where survival depends not only upon the strength of your sword arm, and that of your sworn comrades who stand with you, but also on your ability to fight on other, equally deadly battlefields in the thrones rooms of the Kings of Brtain. In this arena players may have, if they so choose, the opportunity to earn yourselves the rank, power and privileges of Kings.
This is a second generation game. The players parents have carved out a Kingdom and now enjoy a hard won peace…
The Kingdom of Pengwern
In all the wide Christian lands of Pengwern, the Saxon wind never blows, and the rich grain basket of Britain overflows with the fruits of honest labour and the King’s Peace. Many priests attribute this success to the manifest piety of its Christian King and say that the Kingdom of Pengwern is favoured of God in what has been a dark and troubled time for Britain. Some, more cynically point at the strength of the warband, King Blean’s elite guard the Kings Companions, and the fearsome reputation of the White Riders as the decisive factors which keep the kingdom safe. Perhaps both are right. A minor factor in the strength of Pengwern might also just possibly be the fact that the High King’s Warband often winters in the capital under the direction of its leader Aurialanus.
Nevertheless the Kingdom of Pengwern is at Peace. Secured by strong Alliances with Cuneglas of Powys, Uriens of Rheged, Meurig Of Gwent, and the Countess Of Cynwidion, and friendships with the ancient King Marcus the Black Spider of Dumnomia and his son Rhiothamus, the ageing King Gloddryd of Caer Lerion, all its borders are strongly held.
However, that does not mean that things in the matter for Britain favour the British. While the Suth Seaxe were famously stopped by High King Uther at the Battle Of St Albanus in the year of 495, the following year Kyning Cerdic established the Kindgom of West Seaxe after his champion killed the champion of all Britain, Owain, in an epic single combat. Caer Ambros fell shortly afterwards and now lies in ruins, the only time (it is said) that the White Riders were defeated in open battle.
The Kindoms of West. Suth and Est Seaxe have grown steadily since then and now threaten the borders of Dumnomia, Cynwydion and Caer Lerion, though an uneasy peace has existed since the fall of Caer Lundein.
However, there have been no wars now for many years the very last one being the so-called siege of Caer Lundein (Lundinium) in which in effect the British rulers acknowledged their Saxon overlords after a token resistance, something which in reality been true for many years. The last real challenge to Saxon rule in Caer Lundein was of course the daring rescue of Britain’s only swordsmith and his family by the White Riders, a story you’ve hard many times sung in hall and hearth.
However talk of Saxon wars is all so far away. Justice is served, outlaws and bandits are almost non-existent, cities, towns and villas are being rebuilt, and taxes are paid with little complaint. Even the old roads and bridges are being rebuilt. All the kings of Britain are regular visitors, and even the Saxon Kings come for state visits on occasion and their Bretwalda, or High King Aelle. is somewhat of an Uncle to the young members of the nobility, since he visits most years. They are in the enviable position of being able to attest to the truth of the man, his size, his gigantic mirths and melancholies, and his love of families and children. If anything the stories are less than the reality – he is a giant of a heroic age now, it seems, past and gone.
This year sees another visit in state from The Bretwalda, and the biggest Ludus Troiae the kingdom has ever seen. Rumours that a treaty will be signed which will guarantee peace abound………