You’ve already met almost all of the main characters whose destiny has called them to the Avalon Mesa. In every case, we’ve tried to stay true to the essence of the Arthurian originals while taking appropriate liberties to bring the legendary knights and warriors of Arthur’s round table into the Wild (or Weird) West. At least in part because we’re talking about roleplaying game characters, niche protection can be an important factor in deciding who’s going to appear in the game. Dozens (if not hundreds) of major and minor characters in the Arthurian legends are brave, chivalrous knights and capable warriors, so finding ways to distinguish them from each other — and still make them recognizable in a reasonable facsimile of the late 19th century — can be extremely important.
When first setting the standard cast for the Avalon Mesa, I struggled with which knight to add. I knew that I would need to have an Arthur and a Lancelot, a Merlin, and a Kay or Bedivere (but probably not both, since their traditional roles are relatively similar). But what about the others? Maybe a Galahad or Gawain or a Gaheris or a Ban or a Bors or a Dagonet, or a…
…Well, you get the idea.
If you’ve been reading along at home, you know I chose Pellinore and Palamedes to fill one of the critical roles in the party, but that still left me with an open spot. Ultimately, I chose Percival, at least in part because Percival is sometime’s Pellinore’s son. This gave me a solid, dramatic connection to one of the existing characters, and gave me a potential hook for some later adventures. Both Pellinore and Percival are heavily tied into the Grail mythos that pervades the Arthurian legend, with Pellinore often characterized as the wounded Fisher King and Percival — usually unknowingly Pellinore’s progeny — ultimately destined to regain it (often mystically healing the sickened land). In later tales, Percival’s role as the Grail Knight is often taken over by Galahad, but Percival beat him to it.
Porting Percival to the Old West also gave me a chance to give the party a younger member: a less experienced “knight” who could both help get the other characters into trouble, but still shine in his own way. Percival is usually depicted as having been raised away from the “real” world, kept secluded from the struggles of good and evil by his mother. In the traditional tale, he is fascinated when a group of knights ride by his hidden home, and eventually joins them to become a knight himself…much to his mother’s dismay. I played with that a little bit in establishing the outline of Percival’s history for the Avalon Mesa — but shades of it are still present.
(for Savage Worlds)
Attributes: Agility d8, Strength d4, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Vigor d8
Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d4, Lockpicking d4, Notice d6, Riding d8, Shooting d10, Taunt d8
Traits: Pace 6, Parry 4, Toughness 5, Charisma 0
Hindrances: Curious Leave no stone unturned, no mystery unsolved), Small (You’re a young’un. Penalty to Toughness, small stature)
Edges: Dead Shot (Joker doubles total damage when Shooting), Dodge (All attacks are -1 to hit, +1 Agility vs. area effects), Marksman (+2 to shooting if you do not move)
Gear: Slingshot, well-oiled Winchester rifle, canteen, licorice rope, lockpicks, horse
You never knew your Pa, but you had to grow up fast when outlaws hit the wagon train. One of the drovers gave you a rifle and told you to keep shootin’ until you ran out of bullets. You made every shot count. But that didn’t save Ma. These fellas were mighty nice to take you in, help you learn to ride the long trail, but someday you’re gonna show ‘em that you’re a man in your own right.
Arthur Britton is the man you want to be. People respect him, admire him. And he always knows the right thing to do. But sometimes he doesn’t see everything he ought to. There are strange things happening out here on the frontier, and you aim to show him just what they are!
Old Martin Ambrose has secrets he ain’t sharing. He might have a reputation as a senile old coot, but he’s a lot smarter than he looks. When he speaks, you listen. Maybe you’ll learn something.
Kay Roman ain’t your Ma, or even your sister, and you sure wish she’d stop acting like she was. Oh sure, she means well, but you don’t need her telling you what to do. Besides, she’s awfully sloppy with that scattergun.
Lance Franks is the only one who understands that you’re not a kid anymore. His temper scares you, but you’re willing to forgive a man for breaking the rules if he’ll help you find out what happens in the nice rooms above the saloon where the pretty ladies live.
Pale Horn is a real life Injun brave! He sees things that others don’t, and you understand more than anyone that seeing what’s really happening can mean the difference between life and death. Still, he’s more protective of you than anybody. Can’t he see that you’re not going to learn anything if he doesn’t let you do anything on your own?