Planning a game for Snowdon
First thing to do is choose a
As we were planning to play this whilst on the side of a mountain (Mount Snowdon) I wanted one that only needed one
book and as few dice as possible. Also something simple that didn’t require a lot of looking up rules and that
was easy enough to explain to anyone who had not played it before.
The cinematic unisystem by Eden Studios sprang to mind, simple, rules light and
only needs 1d10 per player, but which game? Well, when I saw there was a place near Snowdon called Hell’s Mouth
Bay, there was only one choice, Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG! If you are unfamiliar with this game, check out our
review here before continuing.
Next, get inspiration.
Wales has a fantastic rich folklore to plunder and a quick Google-search came up
with a number of possible tales. The one that caught my eye was the story of Rhita Gawr, the giant who fought king
Arthur on top of Snowdon. The legend goes that Rhitta Gawr thought himself to be the one true King and so went
round killing all the other kings of England and Wales. When he had defeated an opponent, he would cut off their
beard in a show of dominance, and after a time he has so many beards he stitched them into a cloak that he wore as
a symbol of his power. Eventually his path crossed that of a young king Arthur who was still unable to grow a full
beard. The armies of the 2 kings clashed and during the battle king Arthur challenged Rhitta Gawr to single combat.
The giant accepted and the two faced off on top of mount Snowdon. Arthur killed the giant who was buried under a
cairn that, according to legend, has stood at the summit until the café was built in the late 20th century.
(Apologies to any Arthurian scholars for the butchering I have given this story by the way.)
How does that become a game?
What elements can we take from our inspiration? Remember this isn’t an exam so we
don’t have to be too accurate here and can change things to suit our needs. Also remember what game you will be
playing when deciding the mood and theme, in this case it is Buffy the Vampire Slayer so a mix of the supernatural
with a bit of comedy is order of the day.
I started by making a list of the things I wanted to bring into the
Cutting off peoples beards
Fight on top of Snowdon
Café being built/cairn being disturbed
Cloak of beards
What if, when they were building the café and Rhita Gawr’s cairn was disturbed,
someone found his cloak of beards and by wearing it was able to channel his spirit? This person then went round at
night attacking hikers with long beards and cutting them off. This gives us our bad guy and a way for the players
to discover the plot i.e. by finding a hiker missing their beard. So what would the spirits goal be? Getting back
at King Arthur. Maybe there is some kind of King Arthur Festival going on and the spirit is able to cause trouble
somehow. Perhaps thats why the PC’s are in town.
The Buffy RPG comes with a wide range of pre-made characters that should do just
fine, so long as someone is the Slayer and someone the Watcher, the others can be other members of the slayer’s
circle of friends. This should save time skipping character creation and given that this is just a one-shot game,
the players are less likely to mind having a character handed to them. It will also help those players who are
unfamiliar with the show who might find it difficult coming up with a character that would fit the
The finished product
The watcher (name to be chosen by the player) receives a letter from an old friend
from the Watchers council, Phyllius Clayton, and expert in Arthurian legend. He has been working in Wales for the
past few years and has been doing some “fascinating research” at the top of mount Snowdon and would love to discuss
it with his old friend in person. There is going to be a king Arthur festival taking place in the nearby town of
Hell’s Mouth Bay and Phyllius thought the watcher might like to attend and bring the slayer along.
The Watcher, Slayer and as many of her friends as necessary fly to Wales to stay
in a local BnB and will meet Phyllius, who is staying in the hotel (works better than a cafe) at the top of
Whilst in town, the group may experience the following events/hear the following
* Sightings of a giant stalking the mountain.
* Actors dressed as Arthur and his knights become possessed and start attacking
* Head of the Arthurian society has not been seen for a few days – turns up at
home having been attacked and his beard removed.
* Local think Phyllius Clayton is a bit strange and has been doing something
suspicious on the mountain
* Other bearded men in town the group meet turn up with their beards missing,
disorientated and talking about a giant who attacked them.
* All susptious events started to happen after hotel was build some months
* The owner of the hotel, Mr. Glanmor, is not happy about all the incidents of
knights attacking tourists (once this has happened a few times) as he feels it is affecting his
Behind the scenes
Hopefully the rumours will make the PCs think it is their friend Phyllius who is
behind the attacks but it is actually Mr. Glanmor. When the hotel was built and the cairn was bulldozed, he
discovered the cloak of Rhita Gawr. When he put it on he became processed by the spirit of the giant and would
stalk the side of Snowdon looking for beards to steal! Mr Glanmor kidnapped Phyllius Clayton and is holding him at
his hotel and is now forcing him to help with his dastardly plan. Glanmor/Rhita Gawr wants to rid the world of King
Arthurs legacy so, with phyllius’ knowledge of the arcane (he is a member of the Watchers council afterall) to turn
the knights/actors against the audience, thereby bringing an end to any celebrations involving king
The PCs will eventually find their way to the top of Snowdon where they will find
the hotel patrolled by knights under the thrall of Glanmor/Gawr. Phyllius is being held in a hotel room with the
door barred, he has had his once lusterus beard cut off (of course) and is quite disorientated when the PCs find
him. He does at least tell them where to find Glanmor (which will be where ever suits the purposes of the game
In the final showdown between the PCs and Glanmor, Glanmor can take no damage
until certain conditions are met. The only way to figure out these condition is for the watcher, and any other
academically gifted characters, have translated a medieval welsh occult text that was in Phyllius’s room. Once
translated and the conditions can be fulfilled, then Glanmor can take damage and the slayer and other combat
oriented characters can finish him off.
Possible conditions (pick one that fits at the time)
* Cut off his beard
* Remove/destroy his cloak
* Only killed by people without a beard
* A certain passage needs to be read from the book
Game ends with group celebrating in the pub/BnB with Phyllius and any other
friends they have made, enjoying the rest of the festival (or keen to get away!).