Noble’s Book (1986)

Pendragon was meant to have a second edition featuring slightly revised rules, but it never came out. The Noble’s Book, did however – the lone entry on the Pendragon 2E shelf.

It is a great book, putting Stafford’s love and depth of knowledge not just of Arthurian lore on display, but also the customs and culture of Medieval Europe. Here we find rules for, well, everything nobles might do, from running estates, to mustering for war, to participating in tournaments. There are great cutaway diagrams of castles and siege equipment.

In short, this delivers on the promise of D&D’s strongholds – a set of clear and easy to digest rules for managing and defending land holdings. This might sound dry to you (if so, Pendragon is probably a game you should skip), but if the game is run properly, your land is your life, your family and your legacy. It is literally the center of your character’s in-game lives – tending to that instead of experience points is sure to make for a unique roleplaying experience.

In some ways, Pendragon is a very Chaosium reaction to TSR’s Dragonlance, out around the same time. Both games were attempting to make tabletop gaming more literate, in completely different ways. Here, Pendragon is giving players the material to create their own stories within a greater one.

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