Spoilers follow as this adventure is "The Adventure Of The White Horse" from the Pendragon 4th Edition core rulebook.
Date: October 30, 2005
A party at Earl Robert's! The perfect place for wooing women...
and for starting an adventure!
Bits 'n pieces: Choose Arthur. Choose Christianity, or
choose the Old Ways. Choose a woman. Choose abstinence, or
choose indulgence. Choose the hunt, or choose the chase.
The festival of Eponnah
This one-shot took place October 30, 2005 and was GM-ed by Jake.
Matthijs and Hugo had played Pendragon before, and had brought their
previous characters along. The rest of the gang created new characters
from the templates. To differentiate between the characters, each was
given three points to spend on anything listed under "personal traits",
"passions" and "stats" and 6 points to upgrade skills. There were some
sensible caps to the upgrading :)
Note from Jake: we pretty much followed the rules for "The Winter Phase".
The cast consisted of slightly upgraded versions of the character
templates, i.e. "De Falt man", "Berserker", "Courtier", "Master of the
Tourney". They all started as knights, loyal vassals of Earl Robert.
||sir John de Falt
||De Falt man
||Occasional leader of the pack
||sir Brad Winterborn-Gunnet
||Better accustomed to life at court then the life outdoors.
Enjoys the company of ladies - and they his.
||sir William Pryce
||Master of the Tourney
||Christian to the core, believes the Old Ways are bollocks
||sir Eric Wilten
||Raised as a Christian, unfamiliar with the old ways
||sir Richard Burcombe
||Scarred, has got feelings for Miranda (Earl Robert's 3rd
daughter) but is woefully inept to express this
Session log (as written by Sir Richard
Aah, but it was a fine year to remember. My little brother, getting
of and marrying - and a fine woman he has found himself! I owe Garadan
(the earl's master trainer of squires) a debt of gratitude. Were it not
for his suggestion, I would have been at a loss as to how to organise
his stag party without mortally offending his wife. His idea to take the
term literally was sheer brilliance! It took quite some doing, but in
the end we even maneuvered events so, that little Duncan could finish
the magnificent beast off.
Aye, his Brenna didn't seem too pleased with the idea, but she was
delighted by his succes! My dear father too seemed to appreciate the
turnout of events.
Needless to say, the wedding feast was quite exuberant. Garadan attended
on behalf of Earl Robert, and it was a great honour to house the Earl's
Master of Arms and foremost Trainer of Knights. My brother seemed taken
aback a bit by this unexpected gesture of the Earl, but then he once
again looked into Brenna's eyes and seemed lost again in a world of
There was something familiar about his look, and it suddenly struck
me that I myself might not appear that different in the presence of the
Lady Miranda. The thought of her stirred me into action, and I accosted
Garadan and besought him to bring my greetings to Lady
Miranda, and my sincerest apologies for my prolonged, but necessary,
absence for her fathers court.
The mention of her father thankfully brought enough of my head out of
the clouds so as to enquire to his health and request that greetings
would also be addressed to him. Garadan had a slight smile playing
around his lips, I imagine my feelings might have gotten the better of
me again. However, as my old mentor knew me quite well, he was hardly
surprised. He even saw fit to mention a feast, Earl Robert had planned
later this year. And indeed, when the expected invitation came in early
spring, Father send for me and instructed me to hold up the family
The seating arrangements alone were evidence of the honour bestowed
on our families by the Earl. I found myself just one table removed from
the main table(!). At first, I gazed longingly at the ever-beautiful
Lady Miranda, but then I got poked by my old training companion John and
I took notice of my table companions. There were a couple of guys from
my traineeship, who all had since been knighted: good old John de Falt,
Brad Winterborn-Gunnet, William Pryce and Eric Wilten. Eric's family
traditionally made a living by breeding fine horses, and for those of
noble blood it does well to be on the good side of this heir.
There was also another knight at our table, whose age easily
surpassed that of Earl Robert - he seemed over 40! By no means,
however, did this great age seem to hamper this knight. This strange
knight was involved in a conversation with the somewhat infamous Lady
Madule - known for having attended the same convent as Morgana le Fay,
and expelled from the order with that woman on charges of witchcraft.
Her ladyship asked the knight a direct question concerning his personal
views on religion. His marvelous answer left little to be guessed about
the man's faculties, and it was about time to make my acquaintance.
He introduced himself as "The Knight of the Old Ways". This strange
and alluring distinction raised an eyebrow here and there amongst my
former training companions. He proceeded to query sir Wilten as to the
nature of his fathers religious feelings - was he still enamored of
the Old Ways?
I indicated that I felt the question was somewhat inappropriate. Eric
responded by indicating he had been raised as a Christian and had no
idea to what the Knight allured to. The Knight explained, that the next
full moon would herald the feast of Eponnah - Goddess of the Horses.
Anyone who was present when the full moon was riding the sky at the
White Horse near Uffington, would be blessed by the horsegoddess. As
this event only occurred once every ten years, the Knight had determined
to venture out there himself.
This promise of adventure by itself was enough to entice us all. We
agreed to meet the next day at dawn and ride towards Uffington. Later
at the evening I ran into Miranda and was again left speechless by her
delicate beauty. I managed to mumble something about our impending
journey, and was overjoyed to receive her best wishes on this
On the morrow I still felt lightheaded by this unexpectedly bestowed
blessing. Looking at the faces of my travelling companions, it almost
felt like old times again. Sir Eric Wilten, sir William Pryce and myself
had stood many a morning on the field. Sir Pryce seemed as awake as he
had always done at dawn. Eric seemed to stifle a yawn - as did I. It was
an early hour for the splendid party that we had enjoyed.
A bit late, and hastily fastening his armour, sir Winterborn-Gunnet
came smiling from a peculiar direction. I could only presume he had once
again found his way into the good graces of certain maidens of the
staff. His arrival completed our party, and my good friend John de Falt
During the journey, to while away the time, I rode my horse up to the
horse carrying the Knight of the Old Ways. It was a magnificent steed,
and it seemed to be of a breed foreign to England. The Knight confirmed
that it was not of an indigenous stock, but a gift to him from a dear
friend in Bretagne. He spun a fine tale of the horse's origins, which
he claimed involved Powers not of This World. It was a fine tale, and
upon observing the horse, one could not be faulted for adhering some
credence to it.
The next day I rode up to the Knight of the Old Ways once more and
prevailed upon him to recount to us more of the event we were heading
towards. His magnificent account was told so superbly, that any
rewording by me would do injustice to it. It was evident that this
intriguing Knight had an extensive knowledge of fairy lore (as commoners
When the sun colored the sky red, our little group arrived at the
White Horse of Uffington. Protruding from the entire side of one hill,
there were white lines of the chalky rock. Upon closer inspection is
became evident that the ground had been removed, thus clearing the view
for the white chalk to form the semblance of a horse on the hillside. We
rode towards a lone figure who seemed to be holding watch over the
He came and greeted us, introducing himself as Father Laurens. After
bestowing the Lord's blessings upon each of us, he directed his
attentions once again to his prayers. It struck me as odd that a man of
the cloth had brought a statue with him to pray to, although perhaps I
We waited patiently for the moon to rise. As a silver glow became
apparent over the horizon, a sudden hush fell. But even as the moon
climbed higher and higher, nothing happened. Father Laurens turned to us
as if only now truly taking notice of us, and enquired of us what good
Christian knights were doing at the expected place of a heathen ritual.
I cared little for his tone, especially considering that he, as a man of
the cloth, had brought an idol with him. My disposition towards him
further soured as he began to speak badly on a certain Lady Polleth.
This noble Lady had, according to Father Laurens, sought to make a
festival out of this occasion. He only could not fathom why they weren't
here at the moment of its inception.
Suddenly, the Knight of the Old Ways spake. He
proposed that we had, in fact, ventured to the wrong White Horse. The
look on my compatriots' faces professed their amazement, which was no
less than mine. The Knight continued by explaining that there was
another such structure as the one before us in this area. Given the
time, we might just be able to make it before the moon would set. To
improve our chances, he advised us to lighten our loads. As said, was
done and soon each of us sat in his saddle wearing not his iron armour,
but merely a studded leather vest. We instructed our squires to escort
Father Laurens to safety, and went our ways.
At full gallop we sped through the night. The forest streaked by us
at an amazing speed, the bright moon illuminating everything in a
peculiar white-greyish shade. After a few hours of hard riding, the warm
glow of fires could be made out in front of us. In a few swift minutes
we came upon a veritable party. There were eagerly shouted invitations,
and some of the young maidens were very profound in their allurement.
John was taken in by this, but we remembered our quest and turned our
horses and sped on.
Another hour into the night, with the moon slowly but steadily
descending, an enormous, powerful built red stag crossed our path. I
saluted it, and when it had cantered off, prevailed upon the Knight of
the Old Ways the meaning of what had just transpired. He explained that
the Red Stag, when hunted down, would ensure strong and prodigious
offspring for the successful hunter. I wheeled my horse about and urged
it after the Stag.
It took me a while before noticing that my comrades had not joined me
upon this excursion, which made the prospect of hunting the Stag down
somewhat more of a challenge. I rode upon an open spot in the woods,
overflowing with the pale moonlight, and remembered the original quest.
The Stag stood proudly upon a rock protruding from the land - to which
there was no easy path. I made my mind up, saluted the magnificent beast
once more with a silent vow to seek him out another time, and urged
my poor horse on to catch up with the others.
It took quite some time for me to catch up with them again, and when
I found them, they had engaged in a friendly contest of jousting with
several other knights. Sir Wilten had already unseated his opponent and
ridden on, while Sir Winterborn-Gunnet was lying on the forest ground,
his wounds a silent reminder of the lesser protection we were
Naturally, I was challenged also. I apologised in advance to the
rival knights that I had only brought one lance, but they assured me not
to think less of me for this and offered their own lances, should mine
It did not.
At the first pass, I needed to get used to the greater mobility and
lesser stiffness of the leather armour. Its greater range of motion
allowed me to score a hit on my opponent, but the lack of stiffness
resulted in a less forceful hit than I had expected. On the second pass,
I paid more attention to this and scored a superb hit, unseating my
The moon was sinking beneath the horizon, and it was with pain in our
hearts that we were forced to leave sir Winterborn-Gunnet, who was
unable to ride further, in the care of the rival knights. We drove on,
and had to drive our pitiable horses hard to have any hope of arriving
on time at the presumed feast.
Finally, we saw a bonfire upon a hill and charged upwards. This
proved too be to much to ask our faithful steeds and as we received our
first view of the other White Horse, they sank to the ground. We
dismounted and they rose again, shakily. I began rubbing my horse down,
and felt remorse at what I had made him endure. A beautiful Lady came up
to us and asked us if we would like to join the Wild Ride. Although this
was what we had come to do, I could not, nay would not force my
beleaguered horse through more efforts this day - although I keenly felt
the loss of this marvelous opportunity. The rest of my companions
followed suit, barring sir Pryce. He seemed eager to see this adventure
through to the end. Since, as I had understood it, this ritual would
conclude the blessings for the horse, I asked William if he would lead
my horse with him on the wild ride. He agreed, and I began to unsaddle
my steed so as to lessen the load upon him.
The Lady nodded, laid her delicate fingers across each horse (which
calmed them down noticeably) and whispered into the ear of William's
horse. She then ventured forward, to the foot of the hill and the front
of the gathered folk. There she lifted her hands high above her head. A
silver moonbeam struck them and a brilliant, white light glowed over the
fields and encompassed us all. Suddenly, all of our horses whinnied and
seemed well rested. The Lady shouted "Come! Join us! Join the Wild
Ride!". And so we all did!
William tossed me the reigns, and I jumped onto my horse and rode
bareback in a ride that was indeed Wild. Racing down from the hill,
there was a peculiar view at the outer edges of my field of vision. The
lands became a blur, and we rode onwards into some half-magical variant
of the landscape we had just seen before. I hardly noticed the people
that were tossed from their horses. Finally, up the hill Sir Wilten and
I came upon an old, magical farm. We dismounted, and took our horses to
the trough. The trough was filled with remarkably clear water. Eric
drank himself too from this trough, and though it may now sound strange,
it felt like the natural thing to do and so I drank too. There was a
chest some ways further down, of which we had little interest. The
others who caught up with us proceeded to open it and found it filled
with silver coins, marked with an elegant unicorn on one side. I took
one, which in my mind was a perfect gift for Lady Miranda.
Somewhere we must have fallen asleep, for we both came round with the
sun high in the sky, the farm nor the Knight of the Old Ways nowhere in
sight. We hardly could believe our memories, but each had a coin as
living testimony to our adventure.
And that concludes the Story of Eponnah's festival.
Page by Hugo