King Arthur Pendragon: A Comprehensive Guide
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The goal of this geeklist is to serve as a list of all material published for the King Arthur Pendragon RPG, with commentary and links to help interested gamers make a decision about the game, and where to start. Thanks to fuzzydice82 for suggesting this series of geeklists.

For geeklists exploring other systems, please check out the RPG System Metageeklist.

It only includes English-language versions; if a similar list is made covering any or all non-English versions, let me know and I am happy to link to it.

The organization of the list is as follows:
I. Overview of the RPG
II. Core rulebooks
III. Supplemental rulebooks
IV. Scenarios
V. Additional material and miscellanea

All of the above categories will be sorted in chronological order, oldest to newest. Click on one of the category names to be taken to the first item in that category.

For the executive summary of where to start with the game, please click here.

Many books do not easily fall into one of the above categories; in particular the region books for 4th edition. When in doubt I have used page count ratios and/or my sense of the book's presentation via its ad copy.

If you have general comments to make about the entire RPG, including edition wars, please make them under the first item. Comments about the individual publications should go under the particular item; finally, metacomments/feedback/suggestions about the list itself should be made as a comment on the entire list.
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1. RPG: Pendragon (1st - 5th Editions) [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:6]
I. Overview of the RPG

King Arthur Pendragon is the premier Arthurian RPG in the hobby. It was first published in 1985 and remains in print today. It has a long and rich publication history and has been widely lauded as one of the best fusions of system and setting in the history of roleplaying.

It is primarily based on the vision of the Arthur cycle present by Sir Thomas Malory in Le Morte D'Arthur. Thus it is not historical, nor is it fantasy; rather, it is romance, in the literary sense of the word. If you have little or no idea of what exactly the Arthur cycle is about, start with Wikipedia for a brief overview. It is, however, a literary tradition, so if you'd like to go past sterile encyclopedism, T.H. White's The Once And Future King is generally considered the best single-volume source for the modern reader. I would like to plug the earlier four-volume edition of Howard Pyle's as well -- it is ostensibly a kid's version, but it is well-written, beautifully illustrated, and engaging.

Pendragon uses a variant of the Basic Roleplaying System developed by Chaosium in the late 1970s. It was one of the first skill-based (as opposed to class-and-level based) systems. While vanilla BRP uses a percentile system, Pendragon simplified everything by converting to a single d20. There are additional differences to further reinforce the setting, such as slightly more complex combat rules, and most notably a system to quantify passions and personality traits in playable and meaningful terms.

Also noteworthy is that Pendragon is a dynastic RPG: unlike the frantic pace of many games (where little, if any, time passes between adventures), in Pendragon there is typically one adventure per game year. The rest of the time, either the weather makes the roads impassable, or your character has feudal or familial duties that keep him from spending his time as he sees fit. This, combined with the deadliness of combat and the unavoidable decline of eventual old age, ensures that all characters will die after 30-50 game sessions. However, in the sorry event of your character's death, you may start playing your original character's son and heir -- assuming he has one! This provides impetus to gain enough glory to secure a good marriage and start producing offspring -- thus underscoring the importance of family in a feudal society.

In 2005, King Arthur Pendragon was inducted into the GAMA Hall of Fame:

GAMA wrote:
Pendragon has seen publication in the past twenty-three years from Chaosium, Green Knight, and now White Wolf. The RPG draws upon the literary and historical material of the Matter of Britain to create a role-playing experience very much unlike that afforded by any other RPG. Play is anchored by chivalric concepts of nobility, compassion, and piety, as embodied in the Rules of the Round Table. This makes the game a favorite among school and even church groups open to RPG play. Over the years, products produced under the Pendragon banner have deservedly earned a reputation for stellar historical research and high literary quality, garnering praise from literary critics, gamers, and academics.


Reviews
Not-Quite-Historical RP, but still at its finest: the Pendragon RPG (8.5/10), William Hostman (2010).
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2. RPG Item: King Arthur Pendragon (1st Edition) [Average Rating:7.95 Overall Rank:365]
II. Core Rulebooks

1985, Chaosium.

This is the original version of Pendragon that started it all off! It came in a boxed set, complete with dice and character sheets. The rules are similar to the modern iterations and the game is still quite playable. It does fetch a high price on the collector's market and, due to the ready availability of the newer editions, is really only for the collector at this point.

Reviews
None yet.

Where to Buy
PDF ($10).
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3. RPG Item: King Arthur Pendragon (3rd Edition) [Average Rating:8.18 Overall Rank:118]
1990, Chaosium.

Note: there was no second edition of Pendragon. It was scheduled and announced, but was never actually published for a variety of reasons. The project was scrapped and restarted as the third edition.

Not really a new edition in terms of rules, but in presentation. This abandoned the boxed set of the 1st edition and collected everything in a single softbound book. The major rule change is the elimination of skills for understanding other languages, which is a major plus -- linguistic difficulties are not part of the literature, and their inclusion was a holdover of notions of "realism" rather than anything designed to be playable. This was a watershed moment for the game; recognizing that fidelity to the sources can and should trump any other consideration.

This won the Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Rules of 1990.

Reviews
None yet.

Where to Buy
Secondhand market only.
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4. RPG Item: King Arthur Pendragon (4th Edition) [Average Rating:8.27 Overall Rank:19]
1993, Chaosium.

Noteworthy for integrating many character creation options into the core book which were previously available only through optional supplements, or not at all. This is the only edition to have quantified rules for Arthurian magic. The designer later regretted this on the grounds that magic should be a mysterious vaguely-defined force only available to NPCs; he removed them from future editions.

Reviews
(offsite) Review of Pendragon (8/10), Jay Triplett (2003).
(offsite) Pendragon Capsule Review (10/10), Darren MacLennan (2001).

Where to Buy
PDF ($15).
Paperback (used).
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5. RPG Item: King Arthur Pendragon (5th Edition) [Average Rating:8.38 Overall Rank:26]
2005, Arthaus.

This is the previous edition and the return of the game's creator to having creative control over it. It is noteworthy for the removal of many of the expanded character creation options that were folded into the core rules for 4th edition (e.g. non-English, non-knightly characters), in favor of focusing the basic game only on Arthurian knights. Supplements made the options available again.

As a core rule set, this is clean, clear, and well laid out.

Reviews
My Lords and Ladies, Make Way For The King Of Role-Playing Games (10/10), Jim Patching (2009).
(offsite) Review of King Arthur Pendragon Fifth Edition (10/10), Rory Hughes (2008).
(offsite) Review of King Arthur Pendragon Fifth Edition (8/10), "Mr Jack" (2008).
(offsite) Review of King Arthur Pendragon Fifth Edition (9/10), Mike Thorn (2006).

Where to Buy
PDF ($18), softcover ($30).
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6. RPG Item: King Arthur Pendragon (Edition 5.1) [Average Rating:8.32 Overall Rank:212]
2010, Nocturnal.

As of this writing, this is the newest edition of the core rules. The differences between editions in Pendragon are very slight; the general consensus on this book is that if you already have edition 5.0, then there is little reason to pick this up; however if you have an older edition (or are looking for a place to start) then you should probably get this.

Reviews
None yet.

Where to Buy
PDF ($20), softcover ($40), hardcover ($50).
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7. RPG Item: Noble's Book [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:1579]
III. Supplemental Rulebooks

1986, Chaosium.
(For 1st edition.)

Expands the scope of knighthood beyond the mere adventuring or questing knight, and adds the first inklings of what would later become Lordly Domains, then Book of the Manor. Differs from its descendants in its greater focus on higher ranks of nobility (Barons, Earls, Dukes) with a minor economic element that would come to the fore in later years.

Reviews
None yet.

Where to Buy
PDF ($6).
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8. RPG Item: Knights Adventurous [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:641]
1990, Chaosium.
(For 3rd edition.)

The first appearance of the expanded character generation system that would introduce many options for creating knights of diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. This would be folded into the 4th edition core book, and separated out again for 5th as The Book of Knights and Ladies. Also includes various supplemental rules, clarifications, and points of interest for the game.

Reviews
None yet.

Where to Buy
PDF ($9).
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9. RPG Item: Pagan Shore [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:1946]
1994, Chaosium.
(For 4th edition.)

The region and culture book for Ireland. Has a lot of detail; a truly excellent supplement that could easily sustain an entire Irish campaign. Erin go bragh!

Reviews
None yet.

Where to Buy
Secondhand market only.
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10. RPG Item: Beyond the Wall [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:1753]
1995, Chaosium.
(For 4th edition.)

The wall in question being Hadrian's Wall, which separated Britain from Caledonia (Scotland). On the other side of the wall are Picts and other assorted crazy savages. Has a lot of detail about Pictish ways and peoples, with the requisite background for running a game about Picts if that's your thing. Not sure I get the appeal, but there you have it. Has six short adventures and one long one.

Reviews
(offsite) Review of Beyond the Wall (8/10), Paul Franklin (2008).

Where to Buy
PDF ($10).
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11. RPG Item: Land of Giants [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:1051]
1996, Chaosium.
(For 4th edition.)

The geography, culture, myths, and people of Scandinavia through the lens of Pendragon. Includes two scenarios.

Reviews
None yet.

Where to Buy
PDF ($10).
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12. RPG Item: Lordly Domains [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:896]
1997, Chaosium.
(For 4th edition.)

This is the equivalent of 5th edition's Book of the Manor or 1st edition's Noble's Book: a way to quantify the economic aspect of a knight's rights and duties. Stafford felt that this particular iteration was too lenient and lucrative for the players, so the later versions tightened things up. This also includes a scenario using the rules and concepts presented herein.

Reviews
(offsite) Lordly Domains (8/10), David Plank (2000).

Where to Buy
PDF ($10).
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13. RPG Item: Saxons! [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:1757]
1999, Green Knight Publishing.
(For 4th edition.)

A supplement detailing the history and culture of Arthur's iconic enemies. Has rules for creating Saxon characters, running a Saxon campaign that predates Arthur and Uther, three short adventures, and a climatic battle at Badon that breaks the Saxons and allows for the rise of the Cymri.

Reviews
(offsite) Saxons! Wolves in the Fold of Arthur's Britain (7/10), Lindsay McHenry (2000).

Where to Buy
PDF ($12).
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14. RPG Item: Book of Knights [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:2779]
2000, Green Knight Publishing.
(For 4th edition.)

A sort of "players' handbook" for Pendragon, containing a simplified character creation system for 4th edition; this pares down the surfeit of options available in the core 4th book to a more manageable and traditional selection. It also includes a basic overview of the rules as relevant to players.

Reviews
None yet.

Where to Buy
PDF ($4).
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15. RPG Item: Book of the Manor [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:1470]
2007, Arthaus.
(For 5th edition.)

The 1st edition of the landholding system for KAP 5th ed. As mentioned in the item for the 2nd edition, I do not know what the differences are between 1st and 2nd.

Reviews
An Economic Side-Game for your Pendragon campaign

Where to Buy
Secondhand market only.
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16. RPG Item: Book of the Manor (2nd Edition) [Average Rating:7.17 Unranked]
2008, Greg Stafford Pendragon.
(For 5th edition.)

A revision of the original Book of the Manor. I don't know what the differences are from the 1st edition.

As the players are almost invariably vassal knights, they have land. This land and its inhabitants are, in many ways, an extension of the character himself. Thus the management (or mismanagement) of the land can have profound effects on the knight's financial situation, and (more importantly) his glory and reputation, and (most importantly) the health and well-being of his family and heirs. This book provides a detailed way to simulate this important part of a knight's life, as well as providing challenges and rewards outside of the normal cycle of adventure and military endeavors.

This can involve a lot of bookkeeping, so many players might not be that into it. During my run of the GPC, I liked the manor system at first but it became increasingly a chore. If I return to Pendragon in the future, I doubt I'd use it.

Reviews
None yet.

Where to Buy
PDF ($20), softcover ($25).
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17. RPG Item: Book of Knights & Ladies [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:1110]
2007, Greg Stafford Pendragon.
(For 5th edition.)

Adds many, many character creation options to 5th edition. To the core book's single available cultural background (Cymric) and three available religions (British Christianity, Roman Christianity, and Cymric Paganism), this supplement adds about a dozen of each.

The extra options are nice, but use sparingly if at all: many players will jump at the chance to be superficially different, and if you are not careful you may end up with a table full of Arthurian knights, none of whom are British or Christian.

Reviews
Critical Supplement for playing non-Salisbury Knights (and Ladies!)

Where to Buy
PDF ($20), softcover ($30).
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18. RPG Item: Book of Battle [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:2465]
2009, Greg Stafford Publications.
(For 5th edition.)

Presents a mass combat system for use in Pendragon. Useful if your campaign involves many large battles that player knights take place in. Provides a way to determine outcomes of the battle, ways for player knights to participate and influence the outcome, and consequences for being involved in large groups of people trying to impale each other.

Reviews
None yet.

Where to Buy
PDF ($20), softcover ($25).
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19. RPG Item: Book of Armies [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:1489]
2009, Greg Stafford Publications.
(For 5th edition.)

A collection of armies of all sizes, periods, and cultures in the Arthurian world. Made to work with the Book of Battle (below). If you are not using the Book of Battle, then its main use will be providing a wide variety of foes for the players to encounter. Useful if running a highly martial campaign that involves player knights being involved in many large-scale battles, and you want armies pre-made instead of having to come up with them yourself.

Reviews
None yet.

Where to Buy
PDF ($20), softcover ($25).
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20. RPG Item: Book of Battle: Second Edition [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
2012, Nocturnal.
(For 5th edition.)

A revised edition of the original, based on fan feedback to the original battle system.

Reviews
None yet.

Where to Buy
PDF ($25), Softcover B&W ($30), Hardcover B&W ($35)
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21. RPG Item: Book of the Entourage [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
2012, Nocturnal.
(For 5th edition.)

A supplement which fleshes out the knight's entourage: family, servants, companions, and so on.

Reviews
None yet.

Where to Buy
PDF ($15), softcover ($20)
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22. RPG Item: Book of the Estate [Average Rating:6.25 Unranked]
2013, Nocturnal.
(For 5th edition.)

An expansion and restatement of the Book of the Manor, 2nd edition.

It purports to be simpler and faster than the Book of the Manor.

Reviews
None yet.

Where to Buy
PDF ($25), softcover ($30), hardcover ($35)
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23. RPG Item: Pendragon Campaign [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:1058]
IV. Scenarios

1985, Chaosium.
(For 1st edition.)

The first sketch of what would eventually become The Boy King and eventually the Great Pendragon Campaign. It is currently for collectors only; if you like a lightly-detailed campaign, the Boy King is superior in all aspects; if you like heavy detail then the GPC is the way to go. However, it was revolutionary in its day, as there was nothing like it published in the hobby prior.

This won the Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Adventure of 1986.

Reviews
None yet.

Where to Buy
PDF ($5).
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24. RPG Item: The Grey Knight [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:623]
1986, Chaosium.
(For 1st edition.)

This scenario is highly underrated in the hobby, IMO. It was written by Larry DiTillio of Masks of Nyarlathotep (1st & 2nd edition) fame and is considered by him to be his best work in the hobby. So that is worth considering. In general it hits a sweet spot in a lot of ways: it is Arthurian in tone without being stifling; it is fantastic without being ungrounded; it presents choices for knights that are both difficult and meaningful. An understated masterpiece that is hard to adapt to other systems due to the assumptions of the setting, yet is in many ways the perfect Pendragon scenario. Highest recommendation.

Revised and reprinted in Tales of Mystic Tournaments.

Reviews
A Great Quest

Where to Buy
PDF ($4); see also Tales of Mystic Tournaments.
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25. RPG Item: Tournament of Dreams [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:2038]
1987, Chaosium.
(For 1st edition.)

This won the Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Adventure of 1988.

It consists of two tournament-themed scenarios of excellent quality. Highly recommended. The scenarios were revised and reprinted for 4th edition in Tales of Mystic Tournaments.

Reviews
None yet.

Where to buy
Secondhand market only, but see Tales of Mystic Tournaments.
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