Share this project


Share this project

Charge into the exciting medieval world as a paladin of the great Charlemagne! Based on the award-winning game King Arthur Pendragon!
1,516 backers pledged $82,769 to help bring this project to life.

Some of the key mechanics of PENDRAGON (and therefore PALADIN)!

Posted by Nocturnal Media (Creator)

Hi folks!

As promised, here's your update on how to play Pendragon. Obviously this is not a detailed guide, but it should serve as an overview. 

PENDRAGON is a game with a storied history, and you can find various resources around the internet to help push you along and guide you through it. If you have questions, you shouldn't hesitate to ask. 


The core roll you use in PENDRAGON for a Check is a single d20. To do a Check, you roll the d20, and if the result is lower than your Rating in that piece of information (Skill, Attribute, Trait, Passion), you succeed! If it's equal, you've got a critical success!

So, if loyal Sir Roland is engaged in a sword fight, he'd roll a d20 against his Sword skill of 15

  • If the d20 shows a 14 or less, Roland has succeeded
  • If it's a 15, Roland has achieved a critical
  • If it's a 16+, Roland has failed!

Damage is deal via D6s in multiple, and you total them to determine your final damage to opponents you strike. For example: A 4d6 (average) damage would total between 4 and 24.


Characters are composed of a variety of mechanical components, which fall into the following categories:

  • Attributes - Attributes are "statistics" that form the backbone of a character's physical abilities. Attributes are: Strength, Dexterity, Size, Constitution and Appearance. 
  • Traits - Traits are dual elements that form up the Personality of a Knight. They are opposed and form a balance (always totaling 20 between the two). When a character has a high trait (usually 16+) it impacts their ability to behave in certain ways, and they align themselves with that Trait in their actions and dealings. If they wish to break with one of their defining Traits, they have to make a Check against that Trait, with success requiring them to behave in that manner! There are a lot of Traits, so we can't list them all here!
  • Passions - Passions are driving motivations and feelings that impact how your Knight behaves toward a particular thing or ideal, such as Loyalty towards your Lord, Honor or Love.
  • Skills - Skills are simply that, a rating of how Skilled your Knight is in a particular task. 


PENDRAGON plays in two phases: The Adventuring Phase and The Winter Phase. Once of the core elements of Pendragon is that each session is "1 year" in the lives of the characters, starting with a Courtly Spring Season, and ending with a Winter Phase where characters upkeep and manage their manors, lands and selves, growing, learning and improving. 

PALADIN holds true to that. This format of "each session = one year" allows for storytelling that travels through generations, with characters aging, and acquiring Glory, wealth and land to pass on to their children who will take up the Player Knight mantle and adventure forth, a generation later!

There's a more than that, and it's a very high-level break down.

What else do you wish to know about the mechanic aspects of PENDRAGON (and PALADIN)?

Modoc, Adam Forrest, and 20 more people like this update.


Only backers can post comments. Log In
    1. Aldo Montoya Reynaga on

      @Hugo I think my use of the word History was misleading. I meant the real Medieval Story, no the story of the game. For example with no INT there's no mechanic or system to help players not so "knowledgeable" of the medieval customs. And players that, as me, love Middle Ages History could take the spot light to often with the "meta-knowledge".

      @Robert also taking Greg advice for INT, a grumpy person could say "Why bother to have CON if I'm the player, place my CON" the point of roleplay is to pretend to be someone else that include the mental aptitudes. If you don't want to be limited by it, maybe a IDEA/LUCK stat like the one of Call of Cthulhu. And all the tables and indications of SIZ I saw, was more to give you a weight of the creature no a real size of it [it could be a problem of the translation to spanish] and again taking Greg words "Why should a arbitrary number give the height and the weight of my character" why can I not choose it? It's my avatar after all.

      Thank you for your answers, and sorry for the delay to answer them.

      I like the proyect but some this of Pendragon engine, doesn't ring or click to me. That's all

    2. Roberto Mandrioli

      @Aldo, Hugo basically answered your questions.
      I would just add that:

      - SIZ, in my opinion is a combination of height, weight and brawn. From the very concise descriptions in the 5.2 book, p. 36:
      «Size (SIZ) reflects the bulk and relative height of your character.»
      «Constitution (CON) reflects the health of your character.»

      - Greg Stafford (the author of Pendragon) himself has addressed the lack of INT score in a sidebar of the book. I report here the basic concept (KAP 5.2, p. 37): «...since a player controls every character, it is that player’s intelligence that dictates the character’s goals and actions, not an arbitrary number on a character sheet. Thus, in a sense, the player is the character’s “intelligence score”!»

    3. Hugo Barbosa on

      @Aldo I always used SIZ like intended in Pendragon, a guide for height and weight. It's not CON which handles thing like resistance against fatigue, disease, how much pain can the character take, etc. As for not having INT therefore you have no story hooks, that's what passions and traits exist. Use them often and you'll see the players engaged. Also, involve them in personal stuff like family problems, lands attacked, their Lord asks for their assistance and you'll have plenty of hooks already.

    4. Emil on

      Thanks for the quick rundown. I do have two things that I would like to know more about.

      - How is combat handled?
      - Apart from combat and exploration/adventuring, I read that courtly intrigue, romance and etiquette were also important parts of the game. Is that purely roleplayed, or are there game mechanics related to that?

    5. Aldo Montoya Reynaga on

      I know is Pendragon design but I find that Size shouldn't exist, it's a part of Constitution. Even in the tables, Size is more for weight than Height. I know it was from Greg Stafford part of RuneQuest but it's a bit strange. Also the no Intelligence attribute, for players not so hook on History, how do you fix this (the intelligence attribute)?