So if you’ve been paying attention to the previous posts about the Avalon Mesa, you’ve got a pretty good idea who our slate of characters really is. You’ve met the noble Arthur Britton (King Arthur), the vengeful Lance Franks (Lancelot), and the boisterous — and slightly dim — Kay Roman (Kay, or Cai, depending on how closely you stick to the Celtic originals). But Avalon Mesa isn’t just about the Arthurian cycle. For the game to ring true, it needs to stay true to the tropes of the Western, as well. That meant our cowboys (and cowgirl) needed at east one Indian…or as they say in this author’s home state, Native American.
The standard pulp Western portrayal of Native Americans leans heavily on the legendarily warlike Apache (in the American Southwest) and the Lakota Sioux (who ranged across the then-unsettled Dakota territory). Consequently, most related characters are noble savages who oppose settlers, lawmen, and the U.S. Cavalry, or former enemies honor-bound to a major character or cause by an unexpected act of mercy. A part of me really wanted to distance myself from some of the genre tropes, but quite frankly the genre tropes reflect the Arthurian side of the game pretty well, can be pretty useful for this kind of storytelling.
King Arthur’s stories are full of former enemies turned allies, and even mysterious outsiders brought to the round table by their prowess of warriors. Sir Pellinore (who is usually a king in his own right, and often Percival’s father) is usually introduced as a talented warrior who, offended by Arthur’s trespassing on a sacred hunt for the Questing Beast, savagely attacks and bests the young High King. In several versions of the tale, he is only prevented from killing Arthur by intervention from Merlin, who later helps the two men become friends and allies. Pellinore’s quest for the Beast is — in late medieval versions of the legend — often taken up by the Saracen knight Sir Palamedes, another outsider enemy who is eventually welcomed to the grail quest and the round table.
So, our Pale Horn is something of a mashup of two knights — Pellinore and Palamedes — something more and something less than the both of them. I hope you like him, in all his stereotypical warrior-king noble savage glory. After all, being the outsider looking in can be an enormously satisfying roleplaying experience. Especially when you’re also one of the scariest dudes in the game.
(for Savage Worlds)
Attributes: Agility d8, Strength d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d4, Vigor d8
Skills: Climbing d4, Fighting d10, Riding d6, Stealth d8, Survival d4, Throwing d10, Tracking d4
Traits: Pace 6, Parry 7, Toughness 6, Charisma 0
Hindrances: Loyal (Never leaves a friend behind), Bloodthirsty (Takes no prisoners), Outsider (Shunned in “civilized” society)
Edges: Combat Reflexes (+2 Bonus on spirit rolls to recover from Shaken), Frenzy (-2 Fighting for extra attack against adjacent target), Nerves of Steel (Ignore 1 point of wound penalties)
Gear: A dramatically appropriate number of knives and tomahawks, barely tamed mustang, canteen, eagle feather, trail supplies.
They are afraid of you. This is good. They should be afraid, for you have powerful medicine, and have taken many scalps. A chief with no tribe, the last joy left to you is the thrill of battle. You relish it, for each victory honors your lost brothers, sisters, and sons. You do not kill without reason, but nor do you show mercy where none is deserved.
Arthur Britton has given you a new tribe: had he been born among your people, he would be a great chief. Because he was not, you once faced each other in battle, and both lived to tell the tale. This, alone, would earn him your respect. But he did not earn your loyalty until he pulled you from the pit where the outlaw Quentin Beast had left you to die.
Martin Ambrose is a powerful medicine man, though most of the white men seem to dismiss him as a fool. He, too, can see the spirits in the world behind the world, and they come to his aid when he calls them. You fear his power, but respect that he wields it in service of his people.
Kay Roman has the spirit of a warrior, and a tolerance for whiskey you greatly envy. Arthur may have your allegiance, but perhaps only Kay truly has your friendship.
Lance Franks is a dangerous man. Quick to anger and slow to forgive, he would be an outlaw were it not for Arthur. In this, perhaps, you have something in common. You appreciate his bravado, but find his lack of wisdom frustrating.
You still remember Percival’s mother. She was beautiful, but not meant for life on the frontier. You let her take the child, though it broke your heart at the time. It was, perhaps, all for the best, for he is now the last of your people, the last of your blood. He does not know he is your son, and you will not tell him. Still, there is much he must be taught.