This article is for all those brave souls dedicated to collecting Pendragon, winner of the Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Adventure in 1986 and 1988, Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Rules in 1990, and an inductee into the GAMMA Hall of Fame in 2007. Originally written by Greg Stafford and published by Chaosium, this epic roleplaying game (also known as King Arthur Pendragon) is set during the days of the legendary British king and his brave knights.
Drawing heavily from Le Morte d’Arthur, Pendragon is steeped in literary history and doesn’t contain people casting fireballs around every corner. In fact, Pendragon is unique in that it allows participants to begin the game with one character and continue play with that person’s descendents. No wonder a 1999 article in Pyramid magazine named it to a list of “The Millennium’s Most Underrated Games.”
If you’re tired of collecting roleplaying games that feature nothing more than dungeon crawls, you’ll want to give Pendragon a look. Characters will usually have one adventure per year, and these can range from military battles to more personal and spiritual quests. And when the adventuring season is over, the brave lords have time to raise their offspring, manage their estates, and grow a little older and (hopefully) wiser.
King Arthur Pendragon has been released in a number of editions, and collectors will want to peruse the provided list to decide which versions to target first. When I could find products online, I included their asking price from such sites as Troll and Toad, eBay, and Noble Knight.
Pendragon – First Edition (1985) – Written and designed by Greg Stafford, this was the boxed set that started the Pendragon legend. I found a first edition of this game at Troll and Toad for only $14.99, while the French release of the game from Gallimard sells for $80. Over the years, Spanish (JOC) and German (Fantasy Productions) versions of the game were released, and French publisher Oriflam republished the entire line. Those who are serious about Pendragon RPG collectibles should watch for these.
The centerpiece of the first edition was The Great Pendragon Campaign, a 432-page scenario book designed to take players from the days of Uther Pendragon through the end of King Arthur’s reign. In 1985, this release won the Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Supplement.
The Nobles Book for the first edition is selling on eBay for $64.46, while a near mint copy of Knights Adventurous is going for $20.99 on Troll and Toad. The Boy King supplement, meanwhile, can be purchased for $22.99 in near mint condition.
Pendragon – Second Edition – The second edition of Pendragon was never released due to the high costs of producing boxed games. It simply never hit the market, so those collecting Pendragon products can cross it off the list.
Pendragon – Third Edition (1990) – Released as a softcover book, the second edition of Pendragon was once again written by Greg Stafford and included a few revisions from the previous version. It won the Origins Award for the Best Roleplaying Rules in 1990, and a near mint copy of the game can be found for $20 on Troll and Toad. Other supplements available online to the collector include Blood & Lust ($25), Perilous Forest ($29.99), and The Spectre King ($29.99).
Pendragon – Fourth Edition (1993) – Chaosium published this edition in 1993, and it was later released in a softcover edition by Green Knight Publishing in 1999. This was the first and only edition to allow rules for players to create and play magic-users. The basic rules sell for $30 on Troll and Toad, while supplements include Land of Giants ($22.99), Lordly Domains ($22.99), and Tales of Chivalry and Romance ($16.99).
The Book of Knights (2000) – Green Knight Publishing released this scaled-down version of the fourth edition in the hopes of attracting new players to their game. I couldn’t find any versions for sale online, so I don’t know if that spells success or disaster.
Pendragon – Fifth Edition (2005) – Published as a hardcover book, this edition of the game was written by Greg Stafford for White Wolf. The epic Great Pendragon Campaign from the first edition was brought back, and it won the Diana Jones Award for Gaming Excellence in 2007. It can be purchased in softcover at Troll and Toad for a price of $35. The hardcover rules, which won a 2006 Outie Award for Best Retread, are fetching up to $79.99 on eBay.
Pendragon – Fifth Edition Reprint (2008) – After Stewart Wieck purchased the rights to the game from White Wolf, he updated and reissued the fifth edition under the banner of Nocturnal Media (with plenty of help from Greg Stafford). Those interested in collecting Pendragon RPGs might also know it as Pendragon 5.1.