These are optional Passions that I use in my game.
They arise because, when I read Malory, and I see ladies throwing themselves at Lancelot, risking their lives and reputations to let him out of the dungeon; and knights who are normally sensible obeying the queen's whim; or the absolutely idiotic way that Lancelot and Guenever are towards each other, I wonder
I'll write about my thoughts on that subject elsewhere, but for now it is enough to notice that the observation is valid. Fertilized by my experiences and imagination, and interpreted through the game rules; and recalling that Passions are all about things that we do not control, but which control us, I present this.
Adore and Admire, the Passions
The Arthurian stories present Queen Guenever and Lancelot as so perfect that that they seem to be of another race entirely. I prefer to think that they are just perfect examples of a type of human being whose presence inevitably evokes an almost-violent reaction from the “monkey brain” of anyone who encounters them. In Malory knights speak of another knight being “worshipful,” but for simplicity's sake I choose to change that to be the passion of Adore towards the opposite sex, and Admire for one's own.
At the moment, the published rules (GPC page 144) say that for Guenever this is an Amor. But then the rules state there are many exceptions to this particular amor—for instance, that this can be in addition to a real amor… Well, the fact is that this IS different, and is not actually an amor in the sense normally used. My wife suggested Adore.
Adore Guenever. Ah yes, that’s the right word. And it works well for how all those swooning maidens in Malory seem to feel.
And for one's own gender worshipful may have worked int he Middle Ages, but not now. But Admire -- that works
Here is the corrected rule for meeting Guenever for the first time.
The perfection of Guenever is seductive, like enchantment. Everyone who sees her for the first time must immediately determine their Passion for her. It does not matter what particular feature attracts someone--the Queen has it.
Upon First Beholding Guenever
Guenever is the most beautiful woman in Britain. Her figure, bearing and composure combine to stun any observer. To simply see her for the first time causes a deep, involuntary, visceral reaction.
For men, the reaction is one of desire. For women, one of trust.
Men must attempt their Lustful Trait +10, with these results:
Critical. You would want her, if such thing was possible. But it is not--after all, she is the king’s wife! Nonetheless, you’ll do just about anything she asks, with pleasure. Acquire an Adore Guenever Passion that is equal to 2d6+8.
Success. You would want her if such thing was possible. It is not--after all, she is the king’s wife! Nonetheless, you’ll do just about anything she asks, with pleasure. Acquire an Adore Guenever Passion that is equal to 4d6+1.
Failure. She is truly stunning, but something about her makes her just not your type. (Could it be that look in her eyes, or maybe just her perfection, or your knowledge that such women are always trouble?) No Passion.
Fumble. You distrust her. Get a Directed Trait of Suspicious of Guenever that is equal to 1d3+1.
Women make an unopposed attempt at Trusting, with these results:
Critical. She is such a great woman that you would do anything to serve her. You get a Directed Trait of Adore Guenever of 4d6+1.
Success. She is an admirable woman, worthy of respect. You get a Directed Trait of Trusting of Guenever of 1d3+1.
Failure. She is beautiful, but just a woman. Her actions will determine how you feel.
Fumble. You feel threatened by her, and you acquire a Directed Trait of Suspicious of Guenever equal to 1d3+1.
The perfection of Lancelot strikes like magic. Everyone who sees him for the first time must immediately determine this Passion.
At the moment, no published rules cover this, but it is as legitimate as for Lancelot as it is for Guenever. The strong emotions that Lancelot commonly evokes is proof. Among women, the proper term is Adore. For men, it is Admire.
Here is the rule for meeting Lancelot for the first time.
Upon First Beholding Lancelot
Lancelot is stunningly handsome, muscularly perfect, graceful, speaks firmly and confidently, is unfailingly courteous and martially adept to the point of being beautiful (think of Bruce Lee). Everyone has a deep, involuntary, visceral reaction upon their first sight of him.
For men, the reaction is one of fear. For women, one of desire.
Women must attempt their Lustful Trait +10, with these results:
Critical. You have to speak to him some day, though the thought takes your breath away now. You would do anything for him (but never say that out loud!) You acquire an Adore Lancelot Passion of 2d6+8.
Success. He is hot (but don't say that out loud). You would want him, but you know it's impossible, so you don’t exactly Lust... (no, really!) As it is you can barely imagine speaking to him. You acquire an Adore Lancelot Passion that is 4d6+1.
Failure. He is truly stunning, but something about him makes him just not your type. (Could it be that all-too perfect musculature, his fairy upbringing, or just your knowledge that such constrained men always lose it, sometime?) No Passion.
Fumble. You distrust him. No one’s that perfect. Get a Directed Trait of Suspicious of Lancelot of 1d3+1.
Attempt Valor -10 Trait, with these results:
Critical. He is obviously a great man and you would do anything to serve him. You get a Passion of Admire Lancelot of 2d6+8.
Success. He’s obviously a competent man, and you’d follow him into any fight. You enjoy watching him in combat. You admire much about him. You have a Directed Trait of Trust Lancelot of 1d3+1.
Failure. He looks like a god, but he’s just a man. His actions will define him. Let’s see.
Fumble. You don’t truly trust him. Something about him. Too perfect. Acquire a Directed Trait of Suspicious of Lancelot equal to 1d3+1.
Pendragon is a game of strong emotions. These emotions impose actions. Adore is one of those.
To Adore someone is to submit your will to them. The object of adoration is lofty and perfect, perhaps unknowing of the Adorer. To submit is to partake in their greatness. You recognize you are helpless before hem and this is the way it is
Adore can be used like any passion: to inspire when appropriate, as an influence in decision making, or even whether to follow the queen’s court customs or not. The usual results of Success and Failure are used. Thus it is understandable why half of Camelot is up in arms when Guenever is insulted.
Whenever the subject is spoken of disparagingly a character with these passions must attempt the Passion roll. Success indicates that they revealed, in some way, their favor (a smile at the mention, a nod, a dreamy look) or their discomfort with the subject (a private frown, a glance to a companion, a scowl). A Critical at it in such circumstances means they made some public expression of their feeling. A Fumble means he felt disturbed about something, though he can’t say what.
If I Adore him, why can’t I speak to him?
Two reasons: one is the “monkey brain,” and the other is Society.
By “monkey brain” I mean the physical body, a response that is visceral and completely bypasses all logic and rationality.
Socially, everyone has a life whose routine is determined by Courtesy, the rules of court.
To approach a leading member of the royal court and expressing one’s adoration is a violation of Courtesy. It is just not done, as everyone knows. And you would not want to embarrass the object of adoration, nor yourself.
Besides, you know that they do not Adore you, nor probably even know you exist and, worse yet, have no reason to. So of course, you are reluctant to speak out of place.
Just Walk Right Up There!
Adore also determines whether a person can approach the object of their Adoration. Lancelot and Guenever seem to radiate a constant aura of their gender stereotypes. Individuals must overcome this to speak. This is not an Inspiration Roll and so does not have the consequences of Melancholy. It can be attempted once per courtly session, or so.
A Fumble in this social context indicates a faux pas of some sort. It need not be an insult—it’s more likely that there is some interruption along the way. Sir Gawaine, perhaps, friendly to the PC intercedes with a smooth word.
Adore is a Passion that usually forces inaction. Individual logic and desire are helpless before its power. To approach Lancelot or Guenever requires a special kind of courage. Their magnetic charge is the source of the problem, but a person’s actions in his society judges, and creates consequences.
Remember, Lancelot and Guenever are never alone. Everything will be done not just in front of them, but also a crowd of onlookers. I recommend that GMs always take some time to establish the courtly scene. It can be done the first time at some detail, and afterwards less so. But the context of approaching Guenever or Lancelot at court is all-important.
This spontaneous action, cutting across the rules of decorum and society, brings attention to itself. People look. Time seems to slow down for the knight inserting himself into a place to address the glittering High Queen.
The crowd stares. All eyes seem to be on the knight. The collective weight of society stares at this novelty. They want to be entertained, and a social faux pas is the best kind.
And then individuals.
A Fumble (above) will have directed your knight (or lady) to completely ignore all that—almost. Note that even at the last minute they may falter. More likely, someone along the will likely interrupt the passage. The PC says, “Oh, I just wanted to speak to the queen,” out loud, and a few people nearby turn and look, amused or horrified. That is a Fumble. Some people know, now.
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