Wednesday, November 17, 2010


If I'm thinking about picking up and running Pendragon, does it matter what edition I go with? I'd prefer having an actual copy of the book to PDF, but it looks like even the latest is rather badly out of print so I'm probably going to have to get an electronic copy no matter which one I pick. 5th looks fairly good, and it was written by Greg Stafford, so am I safe just picking it up? Or is this one of those games where the later editions polish all of the heart out of it?


  1. I like 5th, although I no longer own it. It lacks any form of magic system and assumes all characters will be English knights, but that's a design feature, not a bug as far as I'm concerned.

  2. Go with 5th edition, I had that for a while. It is not hard to run, the writing is clear and coherent, and like most Stafford's stuff the backgrounding is exquisite.

    Agree that the absence of magic system is an intentional feature. Iirc, the flavor is for magic to be GM fiat.

  3. Pendragon's pretty cross-compatible in terms of edition. Fifth edition is a good one. There are plans afoot to get it back into print with all the errata and rules tweaks that have come to light since it was first released. In the meantime, you can pick up "5.1" in PDF form:

    The default setting for Fifth edition is actually the reign of Uther, but there's an appendix in the back for running games "in the future" during Arthur's reign.

    I've been pretty immersed in Pendragon the past couple years; I'd be happy to answer any other questions you might have. :)

  4. I don't know a lot about Pendragon, but I'd heard enough about it that I know I wanted to play it, and that I wanted to own a hard copy. It turns out that the first edition comes pretty cheap on Amazon. I bought a 1st edition boxed set and was pleased with the condition it was in.

  5. 1st edition is for Sandbox GM's - great ideas, low-power characters, lots of work for the GM

    3rd edition was a revision for more powerful characters, more GM help, more structure, less randomness and wackiness. 4th and 5th edition are quite similar; 4th has a magic system (not really needed) and 5th cleans up a lot of stuff. 5th Edition plus the Great Pendragon Campaign supplement gives you an 86-year campaign and is a good bet.

    My fave is still 1st edition, but they are all great

  6. As John Noted above there are some variations in editions but, it's essentially the same game as when it was first published. I've got 5th plus the Great Pendragon Campaign, and it is awesome!

    Here are some other helpful links:

    The Round Table (a forum where Greg Stafford posts):

    Greg Stafford's Pendragon Page:

    My comments on the game:

  7. 4th has the most options for character creation... I guess it depends on what you want to accomplish...

    I got my copy off of eBay for about 10 bucks... It was in mint condition except for someone writing (in pencil) on the character sheet -- looks like they were creating another Elric...

  8. Very strongly suggest 4th edition with its beautiful magic system which was taken out in 5th.

  9. I think as the game evolved it began to focus more on simulating the Arthurian legends - 5th edition has the "Great Pendragon Campaign" that's published separately. You can use the rules to do something different, something sandboxy, but you'll have to do a lot of improvisation for magic and things of that nature. Even if you don't allow PCs to use magic, there isn't any system whatsoever for its adjudication in the core rules.

    I never owned any of the books myself but I think I recall 3rd being the last to contain what you consider a more-or-less full complement of rules for sandbox play in the core book. I also don't recall the mechanics themselves changing too much, just a question of what and in how much detail to include in the book.

  10. I've owned a copy of the 1st ed. since '85 or '86. I like it but have never checked out any new editions.

  11. Sounds like 5th should work for my purposes, and at the moment I think I'm going to hold off on picking it up until the reprint comes out, because I like books, dang it. My plans in that area have been different every five minutes for the past month, though, so that doesn't really mean much. :p

  12. I've never played Pendragon, but I own most of the books and use them actively in my Dark Age England D&D campaign. Wonderful maps, helpful Judges Guild-style capsule encounters, intriguing clan system in Beyond the Wall, and much more.

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