|Display a Printer Friendly Version|
The Talgarth Campaign
Author: Shannon Appel
Requirements: Offers the basis for a Phase One campaign set in Wales.
The Talgarth campaign centers around the Talgarth tribe, one of five commotes of the Cambrian land of Brycheiniog (off in Wales). At the start of the campaign, the year is 495, and Uther is crusading in the South against the Saxons. It is assumed that the players will be playing a small band of friends centered around the sons of Cadfael.
[Copyright 1996, 2000, Shannon Appel]
This article details a Pendragon campaign that I ran in the Winter and
Spring of 1996. Besides this campaign writeup I also put together five
complete adventure writeups, three of which are available at this
site. These articles were all originally published in the Chaosium
Digest, an online ezine dedicated to Chaosium's games. If you're
interested in joining the Chaosium Digest, you can mail firstname.lastname@example.org with
the command "subscribe chaos-digest" in the body of the message (not
The Talgarth campaign centers around the Talgarth tribe, one of five
commotes of the Cambrian land of Brycheiniog (off in Wales). At the
start of the campaign, the year is 495, and Uther is crusading in the
South against the Saxons. It is assumed that the players will be
playing a small band of friends centered around the sons of Cadfael.
This background is intended to be compatible with that in _Savage
Mountains_, but it is set up 35 years earlier. Things change.
Alternate Uses: Although this article is intended as the basis of a
Wales campaign, it could easily be used as background material for
someone visiting Wales in the year 495 (or therabouts). Gamemasters
running their own campaign may also be interested in the Story Ideas
section at the bottom of this article.
Ruler: Brychan Brecheinyavc of the Cantref Mawr
Vassal of: No One
Army: 10 knights, 500 warriors
Commotes: Cantref Mawr (ruling), Ewias, Hay, Selyf, Talgarth
At the start of the fifth century, the rugged land now called
Brycheiniog was home to many warring Cymric bro. They were ununited,
barely able to eke out a survival in the rugged land. Then the Irish
raids into Cambria begun. The Irish settled the Western coast of
Cambria first, driving out the natives. By the time they had arrived
at the interior, their numbers were less. Thusm after conquering the
lands, they were willing to settle as rulers of the Cymric people.
The Irish chief Anlac filius Coronac won his final victory in
Brycheiniog in 435. Afterwards, he gave the land to his first son,
Brychan Brecheinyavc, claiming the Western land of Ystrad Tywi for his
own. Though Brychan was barely more than a boy at the time, he and his
men were accepted by the Mawr Commote.
Brychan has ruled over the five commotes of Brycheiniog wisely, and
they have prospered greatly. Many of his Irish warriors have married
into Cymric families, and so the two people have become one. Though he
is greatly aged, having outlived both of his sons, Brychan still rules
wisely. His sole grandson, Bruatur, is prepared to become ruler when
Brychan passes away.
Herding is the most common life style for Brycheiniog. Cows, sheep and
goats are all common. The Brycheiniog occasionally raid outside their
kingdom in order to supplement their herds.
The hilly terrain of Brycheiniog has prevent cavalry from ever
becoming a viable military technique. Certainly, warriors are
occasionally seen upon Cambrian ponies, but they usually know better
than to try and ride them into battle. Although a few mercenary
knights have come to Brycheiniog from the more civilized lands to the
East, they are the exception.
Spears are the preferred weapon of the Brycheiniog warriors, though
swords, daggers and even shields are also known. Leather (3 pt) is the
most common armor, though Leather (4 pt) and Cuirbolli (6 pt) are
occasionally seen. Chainmail (10 pt) is very rare, and usually only
possessed by chiefs and mercenary knights.
BULITH: Though the Bulith and the Brycheiniog occasionally raid each
other's herds, for the most part their relationship is a cordial one.
ELAFEL: Never touched by the raiding Irish, the Cymric people of
Elafel particularly dislike the rulers of Brycheiniog, who they still
call The Invaders. They are too disorganized to do any damage to the
Kingdom, but the lands near the Elafel border are considered
ERGYNG: King Peibau cares little for outsiders. He has never offered
either friendship or war to Brycheiniog, and appears simply to want to
be left alone. For the most part, Brycheiniog has respected this wish.
ESCAVALON: Though a Roman Kingdom, Escavalon has very good relations
with Brycheiniog. They frequently trade up the Usk River.
YSTRAD TYWI: After being settled by Brychen's father, Ystrad Tywi was
subjected to additional Irish raids. Though Brychen tried to lend aid,
the cause was a lost one, and the land soon fell. King Daig map Hall
of Ystrad Tywi bears no animosity towards Brychen, but the feeling is
not a mutual one. Unfortunately, Ystrad Tywi's number of warriors is
greater than Brycheiniog's, and thus Brychen can only plot futiley.
Cerrig Duon: The largest stone circle in Cambrian lies between
Brycheiniog and Ystrad Tywi, in a contested land. The most hearty come
here seeking the Old gods.
Mawr: The largest Maenor in Brycheiniog is the home to Brychen, the
aging King of the land. He rarely travels, and thus petitioners are
forced to come here to see him.
NPCs of Note
Bruatur: Brychen's grandson, and the heir apparent.
Brychen: the aging ruler of Brycheiniog.
Vassal of: Brychen of Brycheiniog
Army: 2 knights, 100 warriors.
When chief Anlac came to Cambria, he brought with him many warriors.
After victory had been won, the greatest of these were given mighty
grants. The warrior Echen fought best of all, and so he was given the
first choice of lands. He asked for the fertile banks of the Usk
river, and even though Anlac had coveted them for himself, he kept his
promise. Thus did Echen's family become the Lords of Talgarth.
Like many of his warriors, Echen took a Cymric wife, and so his son
Edern was born to the native ways of the land a year after the
conquest. In 456, Edern's first son was born, and that was Aravn. He
was destined to be the third Chief of Talgarth, and so when Edern's
second son, Cadfael came of age, he travelled to the old land of Eire
to seek his own fortune. When Cadfael returned from Ireland with his
new wife in 478, he learned that disaster had struck in his absence.
Edern and his eldest son had led a cattle raid into the land of
Elafel, and they had met with unexpected resistance. The raiders had
fled in disarray, and neither Edern nor Aravan had since returned.
Edern's body was eventually recovered, and on that day Cadfael was
named Chief of the Talgarth Cadfael and his wife Maeve have ruled well. One day, their first son,
Hayarn, will follow in their footsteps.
Although Talgarth still keeps many cattle, sheep, and goats, these
herds is not as important to the land as they were a generation ago.
Fishing provides Talgarth with much of its food. Cadfael has always
been found of hunting, and has raised dogs since he was a boy. Since
he became chief, this has turned into a regular industry, and now
Talgarth hunting dogs are prized all across Cambria.
Brecon: The largest maenor in Talgarth, and the home of Cadfael's
Llangorse Lake: A magical lake whose waters appear multicolored in
certain lights. It is considered a source of omen and prophecy.
NPCs of Note
Lord Cadfael: Though Edern's second son never expected to be Chief of
Talgarth, he had adapted well. Cadfael is married to Maeve, who he
rescued from dire straights during his time adventuring in Ireland.
The symbol of Cadfael's house is a Hound Couchant.
Lady Maeve: In Cambria, Maeve has found a new life, much better than
the one she lived in Ireland. There, she married Brion O' Shea, an
elderly widower who already had two sons of his own. Though she gave
Brion three more sons, she was never truly accepted by the family.
When Brion passed away, his elder sons took control of the family from
Maeve. Maeve was saved from an unhappy life by Cadfael. Though she
regretted leaving her three children by Brion, she had little choice,
and thus she came to Cambria.
Hayarn: The first son of Cadfael and Maeve, heir to Talgarth.
Aeddan: The second son of Cadfael and Maeve, just a year younger than
his brother. His bright red hair has always made him Maeve's favorite.
On his fifteenth birthday, Aeddan received a bronze sword from Maeve's
brother, Conall, an ancient heirloom of their family.
The Lady of the Lake: A elderly seer who lives at Llangorse Lake. She
claims to be able to read the future in the waves.
OTHER NPCS OF NOTE IN PHASE ONE
Sir Balan, Forest Sauvage (age 21 in 503)
Sir Balin le Sauvage, Forest Sauvage (age 21 in 503)
Sir Brastias, Tintagel (age 34 in 495)
Sir Darnantes "The Brown Knight of the Woods", Listencisse (age 21 in 505)
King Lak, Estregalis (age 33 in 495)
King Lot, Orkney (age 25 in 495)
Sir Marhaus, Leinster (age 21 in 502)
Merlin, Wanderer (age 41 in 495)
King Pellinore, The Isles (age 21 in 496)
The standard Pendragon character generation system should be modified
as follows, to allow for Cambrian characters in 495.
1. Region. Select "Cambria" unless you specifically wish to play an
2. Lands. Homeland is automatically "Talgarth" unless you specifically
wish to play an outlander. Roll on the Talgarth Culture Table.
Talgarth Culture Table
d20 Culture Class Table
01-18 Cymric/Christian #2
19 Irish/Christian #2
20 Cymric/Pagan #2
All Talgarth characters have sworn allegiance to Cadfael. Mark down
experience due to Father's Class, as per Pendragon pg. 51-52, and
son number as per Pendragon pg. 52.
3. Peoples. Determine Name, Father's Name and Trait Modifiers as per
Pendragon pg. 52. All Talgarth locals have the special directed
trait "Indulgent (wine) +1d6". Instead of the normal skills, use
the Phase One skills listed in The Boy King pg. 9. Mark Inherited
Glory and roll on the Luck Table as per Pendragon pg. 53-54. Base
Starting Equipment upon the tables given in The Boy King pg. 9-10.
All players native to Cambria may elect to exchange any of their
Horses for Celtic Ponies (see Knights Adventurous pg. 108) which
are better adapted to the hilly countryside.
4-8. All per normal Pendragon rules, pg. 54-56.
9. Qualify for a Career Class. Note that there are next to no knights
in Talgarth. Characters will typically try to qualify for Warrior,
and will emerge from character generation aged 15-18 or so.
10. Other Information. As per Pendragon pg. 58. Native Talgarth
characters will not have squires.
* Uther's Burial - Though Talgarth never swore allegiance to the last
High King of Britain, they will mourn his loss as a fellow warrior
against the Norse invaders. A small band of warriors will be
dispatched to pay their respects. Not only will they face the
dangers of a British civilization already quickly disintegrating,
but also mockery from knights who dislike the "primitives".
* The Enroaching Forest - After Ergyng disappears into the forest (see
_Savage Mountains_ pg. 51-62), the woods will continue to move
toward Talgarth. Players will have to face powers of vengeance
within the Dean Forest in order to stop the woods from overgrowing
* Dog Hunt - When Cadfael's best dog goes missing, players will have
to discover who would want to steal it and why.
* Irish Feuds - The Shea family in Ireland does not think kindly of
Cadfael for taking Maeve away. When they come to Cambria and try to
kidnap Cadfael's sons, the players will be forced to intervene.
* The Bronze Sword - When Cadfael's sons learn of an ancient prophecy
surrounding Aeddan's sword, they may be forced to quest to Ireland,
to help Maeve's family.
* The Adventure of Uther's Burial - Talgarth warriors go to London to
pay their last respects to Uther. Set in the year 495. Available at
* The Adventure of the Worshiping Picts - Talgarth warriors defend a
magician as he travels to a circle of stones. Set in the year
496. Available at this site.
* The Adventure of the Deceitful Faerie - Talgarth warriors help
Brychan resolve a peculiar problem near the magical lake of Llyn Cwm
Llwch. Expanded and reprinted without the Talgarth context in _Tales
of Magic and Miracles_ by Green Knight Publications. The original version of this
adventure can be found at the Chaosium Digest archive.
* The Adventure of the Golden Rose - Talgarth warriors seek in the
Forest of Dean for an artifact of romance. Expanded and reprinted
without the Talgarth context in _Tales of Chivalry and Romance_ by
Green Knight Publications. The original version of this
adventure can be found at the Chaosium Digest archive.
* The Adventure of the Poisoned Lake - Llangorse Lake is poisoned!
Available at this site, without the Talgarth context.