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Paraphrased Pendragon Rules

The Paraphrased Rules of Pendragon

The Basics

  • Action resolution uses a D20
  • You must roll equal or lower than your attribute.
  • There are modifiers, positive and negative that can affect your skill.
  • Roll equal to the modified attribute is a critical success.
  • If your attribute is above 20, that means more results are critical. Skill=21 means 19-20 are critical, and so on.
  • Unless they are critical, rolls of 20 are fumbles
  • In opposed tests you must roll equal or lower than your attribute, and also higher than the enemies roll if the opponent was successful

Traits and Passions

  • Traits and passions are a guide to your character's behavior and a way for the GM to force your actions. Traits can also gain you Glory.
  • Traits have two "sides", like Chaste/Lustful. Combined they are always twenty.
  • Passions are only one-sided, Hate (Irish)
  • Traits and passions above 16+ and are noteworthy and should be tested more frequently.
  • This means a Chaste character will be tested more frequently if they are Lustful. What they do on a failed test might seem more chaste than other characters, but carry more significance.
  • Other traits and passions are more open to "free will".
  • Passions are always reduced or increased if acted upon.
  • A character can roll their passion if the situation fits to become Inspire
  • An inspired acts with +10 to one skill for the rest of the scene.

These are the rules your character lives by. One of them is your famous trait, those underlined are your religious ones, and the ones with a dot are chivalric. They are there to guide your roleplaying and for me to "force" your behavior. Sometimes they are tested, and a critical success can make your knight inspired.

It is important to note that the traits may not be as you consider them in modern society. If your guy is modest and generous, it doesn't mean he'll start inviting peasants into his home and give them all his money. They are still part of the social structure that makes them knights.

Also worth considering is the implications of failure. Being unchaste, lustful, does not mean giving in to base urges. It is far more subtle. It can mean a moment of weakness, ill-adviced words, or simple just considering amoral options. Things that can grow into greater trespasses later.

Also note that your strong traits are something you are known for, others will know of your honesty, chasteness, whatever.


Combat round

    1. Determination
    2. Resolution
    3. Winner's phase
    4. Loser's phase
    5. Movement

  • Combat are opposed actions, both roll, the winner hits.
  • Damage is equal to d6s equal to damage statistic, critical is double damage.
  • If unreduced damage is bigger than size, roll Dex or horsemanship or be knocked down. If it is twice as much, knockdown is automatic.
  • Defender subtracts armor.
  • If they succesed on the weapon roll, but still lost, they may reduce damage with a shield as well.
  • Mounted attacks are at +5 to attack and -5 against.
  • Charges with lances have damage depending on mount (6d6 for a charger) and have an additional element: on a failed roll, your lance breaks; on a success with a damage roll resulting in an odd number, your lance breaks; the lance stays intact on an even damage roll and may be reused.


If you want to be cynical about it, Pendragon is about getting glory. The knights don't care much about personal wealth, but they care about their reputation. Everyone has glory, but it is of crucial importance to knights.

To put things in perspective. Being knighted gets you 1000 Glory. That is an extreme amount, which means Knights have far more glory to begin with than regular folks. To compare, the only other thing that gets you 1000 Glory, is being crowned King.

Character Creation

I'll need a name for your guy (or gal), and three generations back. Father, grandfather and great grandfather (or grandmothers if playing a line of female knights). Here are links with long lists of Welsh names and their meanings (both Male and Female):



You can use a name that isn't on the list as long as it fits the requirement of being Welsh (or close enough to Welsh that I can't tell you it isn't a real name).

  • ap is 'Son of', ferch is 'Daughter of'

Choose a Sex for your knight.

Current home
Roll a D20
This is the name of your manor. This information is in the rulebook, so if you don't have it I can tell you what it is. If you roll the same number as another player, please re-roll.

Traits and Passions
With Traits, the sum of the opposing Traits (Lustful/Chaste) MUST be 20. If you increase one, the corresponding one must decrease to total 20.

By default, Valorous is 15. You aren't sniveling cowards, you're knights!

Pick your religion. British Christian, Roman Christian, Pagan.

The Pagan Religious Virtues are Lustful, Energetic, Generous, Honest, and Proud. Bump each of these up to 13.

The Roman Christian Virtues are Chaste, Forgiving, Merciful, Modest, Temperate. Bump each of these up to 13.

The British Christian Virtues are Chaste, Energetic, Generous, Modest, Temperate. Bump these up to 13.

Choose a Famous Trait. This is the Trait your knight may be best known for.
Bump that Trait up to 16 and put it in bold.

10 Chaste/10 Lustful
10 Energetic/10 Lazy
10 Forgiving/10 Vengeful
10 Generous/10 Selfish
10 Honest/ 10 Deceitful
10 Just/10 Arbitrary
10 Merciful/ 10 Cruel
10 Modest/10 Proud
10 Pious/10 Worldly
10 Prudent/10 Reckless
10 Temperate/10 Indulgent
10 Trusting/10 Suspicious
15 Valorous/5 Cowardly

Allocate 60 points between your character's attributes. Size, Dexterity, Strength, Constitution, and Appearance. No lower than 5 or higher than 18 (Exception: Size has to be 8 or greater. Size of 8 means you weigh 80 pounds). Remember though that you'll soon be a knight, and Peewee the Puny was never at the Round Table. Size cannot go up after your first year as a Knight (you stop growing!), so keep that in mind as it affects your Derived Attributes.


You are a Cymric knight, so you get +3 added to your Constitution score

Derived Attributes - do the math to figure out what your score is for Damage, Movement Rate, Healing Rate, Total Hit Points, and Unconscious. Round up at .5+

Damage: (Size+Strength/6)d6 - the number of dice you roll when you hit
Movement Rate: (Strength+Dexterity/10) - yards/round you can move in armor
Healing Rate: (Constitution+Strength/10) - number of hit points you recover/week of rest
Total Hit Points: Constitution+Size
Unconscious: Total Hit Points/4 - If you fall below this amount of HP, you lose consciousness.

Distinctive Features
Despite not factoring into any of the Derived Attributes, Appearance does count for something! Love interests like good looking people. Once we are done with building characters I will have you roll for Distinctive features, physical details about your character (potbelly, strong hands, chiseled jaw, etc.). There is a table with suggestions, though I might let you pick your own.

You begin with the following skills default:
Awareness 5, Boating 1, Compose 1, Courtesy 3, Danc-ing 2, Faerie Lore 1, Falconry 3, First Aid 10, Flirting 3, Folk Lore 2, Gaming 3, Heraldry 3, Hunting 2, Intrigue 3, Orate 3, Play [harp] 3, Read [Latin] 0, Recognize 3, Religion [choose one] 2, Romance 2, Singing 2, Stewardship 2, Swimming 2, Tourney 2, Battle 10, Horsemanship 10, Sword 10, Lance 10, Spear 6, Dagger 5.

Passions are:

  • Loyalty (lord) 15
  • Love (family) 15
  • Hospitality 15
  • Honor 15
  • Hate (Saxons) TBA

Follow the steps below. Please read point 6 first.
1. Choose any one Knightly skill at which you excel. Make it 15. The Sword skill is a popular and useful choice. I've marked the Knightly skills with a Special K in the skill list below.
2. Choose any 3 non-combat skills other than First Aid. Make each of them 10.
3. Heighten any four unique statistics chosen from among the following: attribute scores, traits, passions, or skills. Heightening a skill (or combat skill) increases it by up to 5 points, while heightening an attribute, trait, or passion increases it by 1 point. Thus, for example, a character could increase (i) his SIZ, STR, and DEX by 1 point each and his Axe skill by up to 5 points; or (ii) his Energetic trait and his Love (family) passion by 1 point each and his Horsemanship and Hunting skills by up to 5 each. Any combination of four increases is allowed, within the restrictions given above.
4. Add 10 more points (again keeping in mind the limitations given above) divided among any number of combat or non-combat skills of your choice.
5. All other skills start at the value listed above under Beginning Values. If no value is specified and you didn't assign points to a skill, delete it.
6. At the bottom of the post, please tally the changes you make in steps 1-5. This is just to maintain the few shreds of sanity I have left.

No skill can be raised higher than 15.

Skill list:
Awareness K: 5
Axe (combat skill)
Battle (combat skill) K: 10
Boating: 1
Compose: 1
Courtesy K: 3
Crossbow (combat skill)
Dagger (combat skill): 5
Dancing: 2
Faerie Lore: 1
Falconry: 3
First Aid K: 10
Flail (combat skill)
Flirting: 3
Folk Lore: 2
Gaming: 3
Grapple (combat skill)
Great Axe (combat skill)
Great Spear (combat skill)
Great Sword (combat skill)
Halberd (combat skill)
Hammer (combat skill)
Heraldry: 3
Horsemanship (combat skill) K: 10
Hunting K: 2
Intrigue: 3
Javelin (combat skill)
Lance (combat skill): 10
Mace (combat skill)
Morning Star (combat skill)
Orate: 3
Play (instrument): 3
Read (symbols): 0
Recognize: 3
Religion: 2
Romance: 2
Singing: 2
Spear (combat skill): 5
Stewardship: 2
Swimming: 2
Sword (combat skill) K: 10
Tourney: 2
Warflail (combat skill)

Roll D20 for additional belonging

Roll D20 for family specialty

These are from tables in the book. I'll let you know what you get, or you can add it yourself if you have access to the information.

This is a bit fiddly, just give me 10D20 rolls and 5d6 rolls. You can pile them all together, I'll figure it out.

Coat of Arms
The book has very particular instructions on how to design a Coat of Arms. You may do so and upload it if you want. Or you can make your own not subject to those rules. Or describe one. Or not do it at all.

Winter Phase

Please see information on the Winter Phase here.


Thank you to karlkrlarsson for doing the yeoman's work in assembling this.

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