History of Legendary Britain

Notable Events Preceding Phase 1 of The Boy King

Circa A.D. 17: According to British legend, Jesus (as a teenager) travels to Britain with Joseph of Arimathea. Joseph of Arimathea appears in the New Testament (for example, it was his tomb that Jesus was buried in) but the legend presents details about Joseph not found in Scripture. For example, the legend calls him the uncle of Jesus as well as a tin merchant (and clarifies that their trip to Britain was to conduct trade for his tin business). According to the legend, while there Jesus builds a wattle chapel at Glastonbury.

A.D. 43: The Roman Conquest of Britain begins. There were previous invasion attempts (such as that orchestrated by Julius Caesar in 55 B.C.) but the legions were defeated. A.D. 43, however, marks the first successful invasion where the legions are able to maintain a foothold. From this, they gradually conquer more and more territory until the empire encompasses most of mainland Britain. Nevertheless, they never successfully conquer the wild Pictish lands of northern Britain, nor do they ever occupy Ireland (indeed, historians debate whether or not the Romans even attempted an invasion of the Emerald Isle).

A.D. 55: According to British legend, Joseph of Arimathea returns to Glastonbury with Christian relics, including the Holy Grail (the cup Jesus used at the Last Supper, which Joseph also used to gather his blood during the crucifixion). Furthermore, he brings the Spear of Longinus (a.k.a, the Spear of Destiny), the weapon that pierced the side of Christ. Despite the inestimable importance of such holy artifacts, their location becomes unknown over the passage of time.

A.D. 60: It should be noted that the 400-year Roman occupation of Britain is often marked by war because many of the native people were unwilling subjects of the emperors. For example, in this year a rebellion by Queen Boudicca temporarily halted the advance of the legions. Nevertheless, the rebellion was brutally crushed.

[The Second Century A.D.: The Roman Empire, as a whole, reaches its peak.]

A.D. 122: The Roman legions begin the six-year construction of Hadrian’s Wall in northern Britain. Due to the failure to conquer northern Britain, the Romans resort to constructing this wall to protect its southern settlements from Pictish raids, and to control the trade that takes place in this area.

A.D. 166: According to legend, a British monarch known as King Lucius converted to Christianity and invited two missionaries named Fagan and Dyfan to preach the faith to his subjects. This is considered the start of the spread of Christianity in the British Isles.

[The Third Century A.D.: The Roman Empire gradually starts to decline for a variety of reasons. Eric the Cleric’s barbarian ancestors probably had a lot to do with it.]

Circa A.D. 210: Alban, a Roman soldier and convert to Christianity, became the first known Christian martyr in Britain. He was beheaded in the Roman city of Verulanium. He becomes known as Saint Alban and his name will come up occasionally in the Pendragon game. His feast day is June 22, and he is considered the patron saint of converts, refugees and torture victims. Over time Verulanium is renamed St. Albans.

[The Fourth Century A.D.: Marks the transformation of the Roman Empire from paganism to Christianity. Nevertheless, the borders of the empire continue to shrink as the legions lack the manpower and resources to stem the tide of barbarian encroachment.]

A.D. 306: A Roman general named Constantine vies for the position of emperor. His army wins the Battle of Milivian Bridge against the forces of his rival, and Constantine becomes emperor. Although a pagan at the time, Constantine claimed that his victory stemmed from a vision of Christ he received prior to the battle.

A.D. 313: Emperor Constantine issues the Edict of Milan, making Christianity the favored religion of the Roman Empire. The centuries-long persecution of Christians by the pagan Romans comes to an end. Lions are instead fed something else.

A.D. 324: Emperor Constantine founds the City of Constantinople (now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople – you can thank me later for getting that song stuck in your head today). Constantinople becomes the largest and most powerful center of Christianity and Roman rule for the next several centuries (until Constantinople gets the works, but that’s nobody’s business but the Turks).

A.D. 337: Emperor Constantine becomes a baptized Christian on his deathbed. He probably delayed this for so long because it was his duty as emperor to wage war and execute criminals.

Circa A.D. 340: The Roman Empire divides into factions and plunges into a constant state of civil war.

A.D. 358: A powerful Germanic tribe of horsemen known as the Salian Franks are invited by the Roman Empire to settle in northern Europe. In exchange they were to help protect the empire against marauding bands of barbarians. By the time the Pendragon game starts, the political power of Rome in northern Europe has crumbled, and the Frankish nobility has stepped in to control things. Thus, the area becomes known as the Land of the Franks, and then simply France.

A.D. 383: Britons appoint Magnus Maximum (a.k.a. Macsen Wledig) to be their emperor and he takes his British troops to wage war on the continent. Although he achieves a measure of success, he is killed in battle. The survivors from his army settle in Amorica (Brittany) under Conan Meriadoc, founder of the Kingdom of Vannetais.

[The Fifth Century A.D.: Due to the waning power of the Roman legions in Britain, various Norse tribes begin to invade. Some simply come to raid while others come to both raid and settle. In general terms, the Angles push into the realms of Anglia and Sorestan. The Jutes migrate to Kent, Wessex and Wight. The Saxons settle in the area of Essex and Sussex. Some of this will be detailed in the below information.]

A.D. 410: Rome can no longer maintain garrisons in Britain and pulls its legions back to mainland Europe. The Britons receive their final letter from the Roman Emperor Honorius, telling them, “Look to your own defense.” This is also the year that the Visigoths sack the City of Rome, so it seems that lots of people in those days needed to “look to their own defense.” Although the center of imperial power is no longer in the City of Rome (such power was divided among other areas such as Constantinople), the fact that this legendary metropolis gets sacked sends shockwaves throughout Europe.

A.D. 415: British leaders, under the guidance of Archbishop Guithelinus, convene to determine their own government. Constantin, a native leader, is named High King of Britain (the 1st to be so designated; not to be confused with the above-mentioned Emperor Constantine of Rome, who died in 337). He wages war against those who deny his authority to rule the land.

A.D. 432: A Romano-Briton bishop named Patrick becomes a missionary in Ireland and his efforts result in most of the Emerald Isle converting to Christianity. He later becomes known as Saint Patrick, and his feast day is March 17. Over a great expanse of time, a piece of his bone travels from his grave in Ireland to the town of Kathleen, Georgia to be housed in a reliquary in St. Patrick Church (while Eric the Cleric serves there as pastor). 25 bonus glory points will be awarded to the character of the first player who acknowledges that he/she read about this reliquary in this Past Notable Events material. Such acknowledgment can be made to me, the GM, either in a comment section on the Savannah Pendragon League Facebook wall, or via email, or verbally to me when I’m in Savannah, etc. SPL members who are not actually able to play in the Pendragon Campaign are asked to refrain from making any FB comments about this.

Note: John H. claimed this glory point award shortly after this document was initially posted on the Savannah Pendragon League’s Facebook page.

A.D. 440: King Constantin of Britain dies. His son, Constans, is named the 2nd High King of Britain, but Vortigern, the Duke of the Gewessi, actually controls affairs.

A.D. 443: King Constans is murdered by his Pictish bodyguards. Vortigern avenges his death and is named the 3rd High King of Britain. The younger brothers of Constans flee to Brittany.

A.D. 445: A huge army of Picts raids northern Britain.

A.D. 446: The Saxon chieftains Hengest and Horsa are hired as mercenaries by King Vortigern and sent to the north. Their forces soundly defeat the Picts in a fierce battle in the area of Lincoln.

A.D. 450: To help further defend his realm against the threat of future Pictish invasions, King Vortigern invites 18 ship-loads of Saxons to settle in Britain. To strengthen his ties with them, Vortigern marries Rowena, the daughter of Hengest. Their son Cerdic later becomes the king of Wessex.

A.D. 455: The Vandals sack the City of Rome. As to be expected, they do a lot of vandalism. Meanwhile in Britain, King Vortigern sends his Saxon allies to the south try to drive out Irish settlers in Gomeret, and to the north to hold Deira against the Picts. Moreover, he sends Saxons to take control of areas of Dumnonia (i.e., Cornwall). The native Cymri in the area object.

A.D. 457: King Vortigern defeats his political foes in the east and gives their land to the Saxons. As a result, the Saxons effectively seize Kent.

A.D. 462: Civil war rages in Britain between the Saxon forces of Vortigern and native forces led by his own son, Vortimer. Vortimer prevails but dies shortly afterwards. Vortigern is reinstated as High King.

A.D. 463: King Vortigern invites British leaders who oppose him to meet at a peace conference. This is actually a treacherous ploy wherein Vortigern has them murdered. This event is known as the “Night of the Long Knives.” Although history has not recorded many details of this dastardly deed, I assume the executions were conducted with knives. Long ones.

A.D. 466: General discontent and rebellion against King Vortigern grows. Merlin, a boy at the time, appears and gives prophecies. Aurelius Ambrosius, one of the sons of King Constantin, invades with an army from Brittany to liberate the land from Vortigern. Vortigern and his Saxon allies resist but are gradually defeated in battle.

A.D. 468: Vortigern is besieged in his stronghold and is killed by Aurelius. Aurelius is called “the Last Roman” and is named the 4th High King of Britain.

Circa A.D. 470: Merlin magically transports huge standing stones from Ireland to Stonehenge. As an interesting side note, this is also the location where the Night of the Long Knives took place a few years earlier.

Huntington Campaign Background
The following material pertains to events from the 5th century which serve as the backdrop for the Pendragon game as a whole, and for the Huntington Campaign in particular. The reader is presumed to have already read the “Past Notable Events” material above.

A.D. 477: A Saxon king named Aelle invades with a massive force of Saxons, seizing Sussex.

A.D. 478: The Frisians, another group of invading Norsemen, are defeated by the forces of King Aurelius Ambrosius.

A.D. 480: Menevia is seized by Irish (led by King Guillomaur) and Saxons (led by Pascent, one of the sons of King Vortigern). Aurelius joins his brother, Uther, in leading an army against the invaders. Aurelius dies in battle but Uther leads his troops to victory. Uther is crowned the 5th High King of Britain. As a side note, the first player-characters for the Huntington Campaign are born this year.

A.D. 484: Saxons besiege Eburacum. Uther is initially defeated in battle, but he leads a night assault at Mt. Damen and wins.

A.D. 485: Another wave of Saxons invades Britain, seizing Essex.

A.D. 490: Two Saxon kings named Octa and Eosa led more Saxon invaders into Britain to assist their kinsmen. King Uther defeats their troops in battle and takes these kings captive. Among the officers in the High King’s army is a young Cymric banneret knight named Sir Dafydd of Logres (his name is pronounced “dah-veev”). In the battle against Octa and Eosa, he proves to be an exceptional leader of men and a gifted tactician. Uther decides to switch the land of Huntington from being a royal demesne into being a county. He promotes Dafydd to the title of Earl and gives the County of Huntington to him as his fief.

A.D. 491: Duke Gorlois of Cornwall rebels against King Uther. Uther, driven by lust for the wife of the duke, the Duchess Igraine, compels Merlin to magically transform his appearance to that of Gorlois. Igraine, unaware that her husband was lying dead on the battlefield at the time, is tricked by Uther. As a result, Arthur is begat at Tintagel Castle in Cornwall this year.

A.D. 492: Although Duke Gorlois is dead, some of the other Cornish lords continue to rebel against King Uther. Uther completes his conquest of Cornwall and marries Igraine. Arthur is born at Tintagel Castle.

A.D. 493: The Saxon Kings Octa and Eosa escape from prison and begin a new rebellion. King Uther is bedridden with a prolonged illness. Moreover, years of almost constant battle have caused the armies of the High King to become alarmingly low. Uther supplies Earl Dafydd with royal funds and gives him the task of hiring mercenary knights wherever he can find them to augment their forces. The fathers of the first set of the Huntington Campaign’s player-characters are among the mercenary knights hired.

A.D. 495: The Huntington Campaign begins! The first set of player-characters are 15 years old and begin their training as squires. They are the original members of the newly formed Company of the Crimson Hawk in the Town of Beale Valet.

The history of the Huntington Campaign continues in the Adventure Log.

History of Legendary Britain

The Huntington Campaign Celtic_Cleric