An important part of the game is the time between adventures, during which player characters manage their estates, get married, age, and have children. Typically, the characters will have one adventure per year, and campaigns often carry over across generations, with players retiring their character and taking the role of that character's heir. This is quite different from most role-playing games, where one set of characters is played fairly intensively, and there is typically little consideration made of what happens to their family or descendants. The influence of this idea can be seen in the Ars Magica RPG, which also encourages stories taking years or decades to unfold (and which is also set in medieval Europe).
The first edition was a boxed set published by Chaosium in 1985, and was designed and written by Greg Stafford. Chaosium planned a second edition, with minor changes to the rules, but this was never actually released. They released a third edition, with rules revised by Stafford, as a single softbound book in 1990. The fourth edition, published by Chaosium in 1993 and reprinted by Green Knight Publishing in 1999, was also released as a softbound manual: the core rules remained consistent with the third edition, but the book was expanded to include rules for player-character magicians and for advanced character-generation (the latter had originally appeared separately in the third-edition supplement Knights Adventurous). Green Knight Publishing also released a cut-down version of the fourth edition aimed at beginning players, The Book of Knights.
Original designer Greg Stafford produced a much-streamlined fifth edition, which was published as a hardcover book by White Wolf in December, 2005. The most notable supplement for this edition is The Great Pendragon Campaign, a massive (432-page) hardcover scenario book which details events, adventures and characters from Uther Pendragon's reign in 485 through to the end of the Arthurian era. In Ownership passed from White Wolf to Nocturnal Media. In 2017 Nocturnal Media Kickstarted Paladin: Warriors of Charlemagne!. Using the Pendragon rules system, it is set in medieval Europe with players playing young Frankish squires or knights in the service of Charlemagne. The Pendragon line returned to Chaosium in 2018. 153554b96e