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The Green Knight (2020)

When I first saw that there was a tie-in RPG for the (still!) forthcoming film The Green Knight, my first thought was “Ugh, another cynical use of roleplaying as a marketing tool, like that awful Wendy’s RPG.” My second thought was, “I mean, I’m still buying it.” And lo! I was surprised! While it is certainly a marketing tool, its actually not all that cynical — there is a nice little RPG contained in this rather high quality box.

For real, strangest box set I own, on a construction level — you lift the lid and there is…another lid! With a circular hole in it, so you can see…part of the booklet art that is on the cover! Baffling though that may be, I kind of dig it. The rest of the presentation is fine, mostly film stills converted into illustrations and some nicely designed character sheets. Though, honestly, future RPG marketing tie-in makers — spare me the faux wear and tear. I’d have liked this box 5% more if it was just clean bright green and no scuffs.

The adventure is in four parts and mirrors the medieval romance (and presumably the plot of the movie). Characters can’t die, but their actions can cause them dishonor, which is arguably worse to a chivalric knight. Interestingly, because you are on a deadline, the longer you take with an encounter, the more dishonor you gain, one point per round. Where you stand with dishonor gives you your target for skill tests — honorable actions roll to beat dishonor, dishonorable actions aim to roll under, with any training selected during character creation providing bonuses to the roll. Successful honorable actions lower your dishonor, failures raise it. Hit 20 dishonor and you’re hopeless, and removed from the game.

Simple and cool! It is a neat little system that abstracts everything including death to focus on honor. I’m keen to see what the actual movie is like, but I think the RPG does an excellent job of teaching and mirroring the themes of the original romance. Kind of a very abstracted, single session version of Pendragon!

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