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The Pendragon Chronicles - My Attempt at the GPC

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After being cheered on by the people in the Discord, I finally took the leap and decided to write something about my current game.
Without further ado:

 

The Pendragon Chronicle

A Chronicle detailing an Attempt to Play the Great Pendragon Campaign.

Welcome to my little attempt at the great white whale of Roleplaying Games.
I’ve always had a thing for the tales of King Arthur, and this spoke to me in a lot of ways. A few years back, I had the pleasure of playing Merlin on a Danish RPG Convention, where we retold the mythos in our own version and it was a blast, which made me consider how one could tinker with the legends that we all know and love.
I recently got enthralled by someone’s review of Pendragon, and I think what really pushed me into doing this, was reading John Wick’s eulogy for Greg.
I sat down, and began to read Pendragon which soon made it clear that I at least had to make an attempt to play this sublime game.
So, I bought a *lot* of Books, and within days, I had four players lined up to give it a go. I began the game before knowing that 480 was an option, and I’ll probably deviated a *lot* from the established form and story. But, that’s the beauty of the GPC and Arthurian mythos.
There is no wrong way of doing it. 

A few months ago, I picked up Book of the Sire, and began rolling a test character. Then, my players got their shot, and this is what we came up with.
(The completed Lineages can be found attached. I've tried to dramatize them as much as possible, but it's not always as rivetting reading as it could be.)


Reccared de Toulouse 

a Squire born to a true and noble Knight of a proud Aquitanian tradition, Sir Perrin de Toulouse, who fought as a mercenary under Aurelius Ambrosius and later with Count Roderick and King Uther. Sir Leander, disgusted with the state of his Aquitanian King, rode with his uncles and brothers to heed Aurelius' call and gained land in Salisbury through his deeds, which included the defeated of two Saxon champions, first at Exeter and later at Maisbeli. 
At the beginning of the campaign, word of his father's demise at Eburacum has just reached him, making him the character who has known his father for the longest time. Reccared is well-schooled in the blade as well as the Venery of his people, and has inherited the family blade, Aljan, a spatha claimed in combat with the Romans.

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Reccared’s player rolled up an old knight for a part for a part of the house, we decided to see what relation it was.  And then rolled him as be the grandfather's brother.
For the heck of it, I decided to put that guy through the BoS treatment, just to see where he would end up if he had lived that long. Sometimes, dice give a godsend. The NPC in question is now going to be the Obi-Wan mentor type to the knights, Sir Solis de Toulouse, The White Fox, a now almost retired knight of 66, who ended up with a whooping glory of 8410. A study in first outliving your father's legacy, then your brother's and then his son's, one who you practically had to raise on your own. Old, bitter and filled with wisdom. He can even advice the knights if he still lives when Uther becomes a bit.... tyranical, having served under a whooping six kings in his lifetime.
 

 

Graid ap Owain 

A young Cornishman of Ascalon, son of Sir Owain Y Marchog, who was Gorlois' friend and a Knight famed enough to lead an Eschille, yet ended his otherwise glorious days a few years back, when his horse tripped in a molehill. Truth be told, Graid might be the oldest of his siblings, but he has a plethora of younger brothers and bastard brothers, as his father might have not been the chastest of Knights. (and some claim when he had that accident, it was to escape a furious husband following one indiscreet tryst too many)

Graid is a proper Cornishman, raised on the stories and legacy of his people  and have an especially a healthy hatred of Irish, but have squired in Salisbury after his father's death, as the only granted part of his estate was near Sarum. His family still aspires to reclaim their ancestral lands, but the new system of feudalism has caused it to shift hands to another family.
The Marshal, Sir Elad praises the lad for his Just nature and skills with the spear and lance, it is widely known that his skills in falconry makes him quite the hunter. He is by far one of the most light-footed people in the land (Dex 17). And, like his ancestors, he's a very good rider. (Ironies of Ironies...)

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Graid’s got a lot of extra stuff.
One, he’s actually not the son of Sir Owain, but the result of a desperate mother taking a shady decision while Sir Owain was away fighting the Aquitanians. Currently, we’re working with magic as an explanation.
Second, his grandmother Lady Eurwen, is a shrewd political manipulator in Cornwall, hoping to use Graid as a pawn to move against the Cornovii, as she is still focused on old tribal politics. He also have three uncles, his father's half-brothers, one of which is rumoured to be a sorcerer.
Third. One of his ancestors might have hidden a clue where the Axe of Corneus was hidden. After all, did they not live in the Estate of Axe?


Aldwyn ap Morien

Descendant of a Cumbrian family with roots in Roestoc, who were first dispossessed by Vortigern, fought diligently with Aurelius to reclaim their lands, and then dispossessed once more when the Great Wyrm ravaged Roestoc. Here, Aldwyn's father, Sir Morien the Piper, died in a glorious last stand in their family manor. But, his sacrifice meant that Aldwyn is alive and has been bethroated at the game's start to the heiress to the Salisburian knight Sir Daffyd of Newton, who used to be Roderick's Butler.
He is the only surviving trueborn son of his father's name, but have five strange sisters, two of which are wed. Like his father before him, he is tall as a tree with a Size of 19, but is not all that strong.
Aldwyn is also a Pagan, and a gifted player of the bagpipes. He is also a Just man, with far too much Pride for any Christian, but enough for a Pagan.

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For Aldwyn, I also decided to go with a modified background. First, he has no brothers, which could prove to be a problem in the long run, though the player is considering either bringing in Colm, his bastard brother by his dad's Cambrian war-time fling, or just putting armor on one of his five sisters.
Still, his uncles are middle-aged Knights with a few Squire kids of their own, his aunt Arwen is the Queen of Roestoc in this version, being the bride of Masgwid Gloff (aka the Lame), the King of Roestoc. She’s got two sons who could be pretty cool to see in the game at a point, one of which are named to be the King of Roestoc in a future scenario.
Blame that on me rolling really well on the random chart in BoKL. It makes sure that the pagan Knight also have some connections.
I also decided that there might be a bit open interpretation wheter the Great Wyrm was slain or not.

It seems like a good aspiration to have around, especially as Aldwyn's father died gloriously when the creature was sweeping down on Roestoc back in 479.
So. Wyrm might still be around.

 

Aurelius Sertorius

Aurelius is the youngest male scion of the Sertorius family, a lauded lineage from Dorsette. His great-grandfather was a commander of Mascen Wledig, his grandfather was a fierce defender of Roman values, even after having lost the Empire, who ended his days as due to the politics surrounding the lost sons of King Constantine,  shanked in a dark Dorsette street.
His father, Gessius, was a loyal follower of Prince Aurelius, and fought alongside the Prince for years, and Gessius even named his son after the man he idolized. Unfortunately, Gessius lived for his true king, and died to Saxon spears at Exeter protecting said King.
The children were raised by Gessius' brother-in-law, the Bishop of Salisbury, who was appointed caretaker of the lands that Gessius had been awarded posthumously.

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A Roman Knight, pretty standard type, except for the insane statline, which has not a single stat beneath 13. Aurelius is a man with a true heart and a lot of morals, especially his Modest and Chaste.
Pretty close to being a proper Christian Knight. I’ve tinkered a bit around with certain plot hooks, but nothing remarkable as of now. I am still trying to angle the backstory.
Currently, he's a window into the part of the world that prays, as the Bishop's fosterson.

That was wordy.
I'll be back tomorrow with the stuff from the first session.

The Lineage of Sir Graith ap Owain.pdf The Lineage of Sir Reccared de Toulouse.pdf The Lineage of Aurelius Sertorius.pdf The Lineage of Sir Aldwyn ap Morien.pdf

Edited by KungFuFenris
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Took a little while longer, but we're ready for the first chapter.

 

Session 01 - A Calm Spring and the Bear of Imber

The year was 485 CE.
Fifth year of rule of King Uther Pendragon, the Warlord King. In the north, Uther had narrowly claimed a victory against the hated Saxon menace, but his belligerent nature and ambition for the seat of the High King has made the other Kings of Britain distrust the Pendragon.
His brother, the late King Aurelius Ambrosius, had been a beloved liberator from the yoke of both the Saxons and the Traitor King, Vortigern.
The future was uncertain as ever for our fair Britannia, but our tale begins somewhere else.

In Salisbury, at Castle Vagon, four accomplished knights of Salisbury and their squires were guests of Sir Elad, Marshal of Salisbury, who wished to make sure that their now adult squires were fitting prospects for knighthood. 
Much to the old, one-eyed Marshal’s consternation, these youngsters were not the finest lancers in the land, but quite enthusiastic. The only one that excelled was young Reccared, which befitted his family. Then, their knights decided that a bet was in order, and Sir Elad ordered them to perform a test of their skills as riders, which was far more promising, with squire Graid and squire Aldwyn had been neck to neck at the end of the race.
Perhaps these lads would not be so hopeless after all.

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First contact with the dice? Lances? Should be great, right? Wrong. Three 20’ies in a row. And in Pendragon, a system where you roll under your skill? That’s a Fumble, as the quintain kept sending them sprawling to the ground. It was quite magical. Finally, young Reccared managed to break the streak, and the Horse Race that followed was a lot more forgiving when it came to the dice.


With little to really prove themselves, the young squires spend time socializing with each other. With five years of squiring for Knights in Earl Salisbury’s household, they were already friends. Each of them had hopes for the future. The prideful Aldwyn especially boasted of his betrothal to the fair Iseult and it did not even occur to him that they could remain squires for all of their years if no one took note of them. He even seemed a bit panicked as the four of them sat down at the wall to eat their meals. Perhaps they would never really excel enough to amount to the legacy left behind by their fathers.
But, fate would have it otherwise.

After the meal had ended, Sir Elad sent the squires to the small town of Imber, where an animal had decided to prey on the livestock of the local peasants. Normally, this would need a knight to look into it, but the Earl of Salisbury would soon arrive at Vagon, to share news from the northern wars and inspect his castle, and by all accounts, it was probably a rabid dog. With that in mind, the four squires rode off, on their first task apart from their knights.
The crossed the hills, and entered into land that was newly conquered by Earl Roderick, taken from the neighbouring Summerland a few years prior, and Graid could not help but notice the locals might not be as welcoming to Salisburians as should be. After all, they had been a kingdom not three years prior.

In Imber, the four were introduced to the life of peasants, and especially the sheltered Aurelius had trouble figuring out why they did not just kill the feral hound that was clearly eating their calves. But, the local priest had a different tale. It was a bear. An old and sly bear, which had been haunting the woods near Imber for years, much to Aldwyn’s joy.

They organized a pair of hunting parties. Aldwyn and Reccared in one group, Graid and Aurelius in another. The old Priest would help the latter, as Aldwyn had some hunting skills. The next morning they sat out on the hunt. And the next evening, they returned with nothing to show but branches and burs, with Aldwyn having made a few mistakes in riding around the woods. This pattern repeated itself for four days, until Aldwyn finally managed to find the trail of the old beast.
Within minutes, they were upon it, and with a well-placed spear, they ended the bear so swiftly that it took several moments for the bear to realize it had been slain. With the bear’s blood staining the earth, Aldwyn carved out the heart and per his people’s custom, painted a strip of blood on Reccared’s brow, with them being true bear hunters now.

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And, that’s where we ended our first session. That poor bear never stood a chance when my players roll a few crits that damages 49 in a single go! All in all, it was an amazing little session, and while Pendragon is filled with minigames, I adore them., even though it’s pretty difficult to pry some of them out of the book. As said, we’re not really the fastest gamers in the world, so 485 is going to be three sessions all in all. The, one year per session thing is really not our speed. The players also roleplay a lot more. We spent almost twenty minutes of them interacting as squires in Vagon.

 

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Session 02 - After the Hunt

The squires returned from the hunt, only to be waylaid by the bandits who was trying to help themselves to the cattle of a poor farmer and combat ensued.

Even unarmored, the squires had little hesitation, but a hard lesson was learned as one of the rogues released an arrow at Sir Graid. It lodged itself beneath his ribs, biting deep into the guts. Even worse, it also pierced his lung. Enraged, the other squires soundly walloped the bandits, and secured a few prisoners.

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One thing though, is the sudden realization of how lethal this damn game is, especially as the players have neither shield nor armor. One lucky bowman took a potshot at Squire Graid, who got a whooping 17 Dmg on 3d6... Major Wound right there, and them without any help around. So.
If not for the plot I had made, he'd have died trying to get back to Vagon aggregating his wounds due to his Energetic 17
Trait…

Graid lived, but he needed help, as the First Aid skills of young Aurelius only helped to staunch the bleeding.

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When they returned to Imber, they dreaded having Graid being treated by the old, drunk town priest, but to their surprise, Imber was hosting more than squires on their return.
A banner, green field with golden dragons stood at the side of a large tent, pitched at the top of the nearby hill. It seemed to be the retinue of a knight, but the knight in question was none other than Reccared’s famed great-uncle Sir Solis, the White Fox.
Solis was here with his squire, Madoc ap Uther. For a short second, the four squires were oblivious, until they realized that they stood in the presence of the heir to the throne of Logres, King Uther’s recognized bastard son.

Madoc turned out to be a fine fellow, and between squires, they shared a meal.
He even commanded the Monk in his entourage to attend to the unlucky Graid’s wounds, while the five of them share stories.
While there was a notable difference in class, Madoc was cameraderly and friendly, as he knew several most of the families that the other squires had been born from. Reccared was the son of a hero and had been trained by the same legend that Madoc was squiring for.
Graid’s father was one of the most notable knights during the March of his uncle Aurelius Ambrosius, though he couldn’t but to remark on the lusty nature of the late Sir Owain, which almost made Aldwyn roar in protest, and he knew of Aurelius’ father, as Sir Gessius was often used at court as an example of the dutiful knight, prepared to sacrifice everything.
When Madoc casually commented said his father and the realm could use people like them, it was quite clear that the Prince was also thinking ahead for his own eventual reign. He even offered to mete out a royal judgement on the captured bandits, right then and there, instead of having to drag them all the way to Vagon.

In spite of the temptation, both Aldwyn and Graid held onto their principles, and convinced the Prince that it was better to stick to the legal procedures, as not to upset Earl Salisbury.

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I think I managed to convey the Prince as a suitable NPC and they even made enough of an impression on him that he would remember them.
The whole Player Just vs Madoc Aribitrary was done as a contested roll between player and NPC. It worked quite okay.

They returned to Vagon a few days after, saying goodbyes to Sir Solis and Prince Madoc.
At Vagon, Graid was commanded to get to bed, while the rest of the squires were to return to their duties.
While bedridden, Graid was tended to by Sir Elad’s wife, Bronwyn, but also their youngest daughter, Aline, who caught Graid’s eye, but he dared not act on that inclination, lest to risk the wrath of Sir Elad or be known for being just like his father.

Two months later, Graid was finally well enough to travel.
The other squires had been bound by their duties, patrolling with their knights.

In the middle of the summer, the squires and Sir Elad rode to Sarum, the capital of Salisbury. Elad, the countys Marshal, was immediately summoned into the hall, while the squire had to wait outside. 
During that wait, Aldwyn managed to point out his bride-to-be, Isolde of Newton, one of Countess Ellen’s handmaidens. His friends had trouble believing that a rough-hewn man like Aldwyn was poised to wed one of the prettiest maidens at court, yet it was true enough, as the old knight, Sir Leo could confirm.

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Aldwyn is APP 8, Isolde , a character rolled by the player RL wife, is APP 20. Opposites DO attract 😁
We had agreed that the two characters would already have a Love Passion for one another, having been engaged for years, with Aldwyn being a adorable lovesick puppy.

In the middle of the court proceedings, a company of knights bearing the royal colors arrived at Sarum.
The newly knighted Sir Madoc had arrived, his entourage in tow. It was not long before the Prince just waltzed into the hall, and smilingly sat down among everyone else.

Finally, Sir Elad could present the matter of Imber to Earl Roderick of Salisbury. He called up the squires, and told them to retell the story, and with the smooth skills of his ancestors, Sir Reccared recounted the tale in the most engaging way possible. They also presented Earl Roderick with the skin of the bear, as Aldwyn rolled it before his lord. Finally, they told of banditry in Imber, and how they dealt with it in the name of their liege.

With their tale acknowledged, the squires returned to the back of the hall, but not before they had earned to quite vocal ire of Sir Bedo, the landholder of Imber and the conquered areas, who was incensed that the squires had dared to not tell him anything of these events. Granted, as the Earl’s Huntsmaster, he had little time for those lands, but it was an outrage that squires would shame him like that.
Things would have been heading for a beating, unless a white-bearded knight intervened. Sir Solis, now a companion of his former squire, the prince, had neither desire nor patiences to wait for Sir Bedo’s umbrage to dissipate, and reminded Bedo that if he had taken care of his lands, this would not have happened.
Sir Bedo, unwilling to test the matter, walked away with a sour look on his face.

Then, the Prince spoke his piece.
King Uther, sovereign of Logres and his royal father, knew that the Saxons of Sussex had designs on another invasion. 
Ælle, King of Sussex was bound to be marching on Logres any day, and it was their godsgiven duty to face the heathens in open battle.
So, Madoc was here to encourage Earl Roderick to send as many knights as possible, and perhaps even knight a few more to prove their mettle against the Saxons. Perhaps even his honored friends, the Bearslaying Squires? On that note, Earl Roderick smiled, and called for those four squires to step forward.
They would be knighted, as their deeds had proven them to be worthy of becoming a part of the brotherhood of knights.

On the steps of Sarum Castle, after a long vigil overnight, Reccared, Aurelius, Graid and Aldwyn were knighted.

Roderick's herald spoke: "Reccared de Toulouse, come forth and kneel before the throne."
The herald continued, "Be it known to all men that I, Roderick of Salisbury am minded to raise Graid ap Owain by virtue of his
honor, loyalty, valor, and skill at arms, to the high rank of knighthood.
"
The herald then addressed him, "Aldwyn ap Morien, do you swear and acknowledge Roderick to be your true and lawful liege?"
"I do so swear." he replied.
"Do you also swear fealty to Uther Pendragon, to defend and obey him until he depart the throne, or death shall take you?" and an immediate "I swear!" followed suit.
Then, Roderik rose and walked over to the kneeling Aurelius.
"Let this be the last blow you receive without just recourse." he said, and with a backhanded strike, Roderick did just that.
Then Reccared placed his hands palm-to-palm and upraised, with Roderick placing his own hands atop of them.
The Herald spoke once more "Repeat after me: “I, Graid ap Owain, do solemnly swear and pledge my sword to Roderick of Salisbury,
my liege, to defend and obey him until he depart his demesnes or death shall take me, and to uphold the honor of knighthood.
” which was carefully repeated.
Then, Roderick replied, "And I, for my part, do swear to defend and honor Aldwyn ap Morien as befits a true knight." A page handed Roderick
his sword and tapped him lightly upon both bothers with the blade. 
"I dub thee Sir Aldwyn. Receive now your spurs," and was handed spurs, "your right to suitable arms," and received a shield, " and take this, my sword,
and finally a sword was strapped to his belt, "to your side to serve and defend me well. Arise, Sir Knight."

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This speech was done as written, alternating lines between the players. It worked really well. We repeated the last part four times, to give everyone a insight in the nature of the knighting ceremony, but not bore the entire table to death.

What followed was the more simple ceremony of the Leap, and all four young knights rushed outside after their knighting, armed and armoured, and leapt into the saddle. 
All except Reccared managed to make it.

And with those words, we’ll leave our tale here for now.
 

Edited by KungFuFenris
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Session 03 - "The Battle of Mearcred Creek" 

Summer of 485

Dawn broke of a beautiful summer morning, but all of our noble knights knew that there was a storm awaiting them.

With the aid of his more eloquent friends, Aldwyn managed to buy and gift and make some beautiful words for the beautiful Isolde, declaring his undying love for her, as high as the love he had for the land where they dwelt on.
And even better, he had the chance to actually tell her in person, as Graid and Aurelius distracted the matrons from discovering the pair’s little secret meeting.

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At that point, I allowed for Aldwyn’s player to roll a Love: Isolde passion. It seemed fitting at that point: 3d6-2. As Amor was not really a thing yet?
And it turned out to be a 16!

In the courtyard, Reccared met his gruncle Solis again, who vaxxed on about the nature of the deeds they were about to carry out. The old knight had a sorrowful tone to his voice, as these battles had claimed most of the people he had cared. Now, only he remained and he hoped that he would not outlive the younger generation of his family.
With those words, Solis pulled forward a gleaming roman blade. Aljan, the sword wielded by both his father, his grandfather as well as Sir Solis on many an occasion, was now placed in the hands of the future. If the White Fox could not protect his grandnephew himself, the legacy of the family would be his ward, and if Solis fell, it would be a good day to part with life, as many Saxons still owed for the death of Reccared’s father. The two men parted, promising to see each other after the battle had been done.

The ride to the battle itself took more than a week.

First into Silchester, joining up with the rest of the Logrean armies, and seeing King Uther’s standard being raised above the host. Salisburians alongside Silchesterians was a rare sight, and with the men from Glevum, Gentian and Clarence, it seemed a large enough army, even though rumour had it in the ranks that the Cornishmen had not shown. Again. Just like at Bedegraine and at Eburacum.
Then, the weather changed from pristine summer sunshine, to grey skies and light showers of rain, making the army's advance a bit slower.
Finally, they arrived at the border to the lands of Suth Seaxe. Ælle, King of Sussex had little intention of meeting on unfavorable grounds, so several days were spent with skirmishes and maneuvers, constantly shifting the battlefield to what seemed advantageous.

In the camps, everyone was tense, and just waited for the call to be made. But, finally, at a creek near Mearcred, it seemed like the odds were even and battle was about to be joined.
Ælle might seem to have a bit higher ground, but Uther’s host was better armed than the vile Saxons.

Ranks were formed up, and under Sir Elad’s keen eye, the Salisburians assembled in two Eschille, squadrons of ten knights each. 

Earl Roderick’s eschille would ride alongside Uther, as befitted a man of his standing. This left Elad with the eschille for the right flank. The vanguard.
The squadron would be composed of himself, Sir Leo (the moral center of the household knights), Sir Caradoc (a drunkard with a talent for axes), Sir Bradoc (often called the sailor, and Aurelius’ mentor), Sir Mors (Aldwyn’s uncle) and Sir Jareth (an ambitious knight and the finest swordsman in Salisbury), along with Aldwyn, Graid, Reccared and Aurelius.

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I am taking great care to develop the Household of Roderick as a stable of NPCs.
It seems to be the best way to approach stuff like this and I love making up quirky knights to add to the ones that are already there through the GPC.

The horns sounded. The eschilles lined up. Their sharp lances at the ready.

A different horn sounded, and the Saxons advanced, step by step, until they were almost in the creek. 
That’s when the British horn blew again. Three sharp blows, and everything sat into motion, as the sound of thundering hooves from hundreds of horses swept forward towards the saxon shield wall. That’s when they laid eyes on their opposing foes. Saxons bearing the red eye of the wargod Wotan, painted across their own left eye, stood ready to meet them, and just as the clash was inevitable, a hail of Saxon spears were flung towards the charging knights.
Then battle was joined as lances broke and everything became chaos in the din of war. Spears pierced mail and flesh, arcing swords carved away limbs and painted the ground red!
The eschille had broken through the Saxon wall, and was in the middle of the heathen horde, and they were besat on almost every side by foemen.
It was almost impossible to see anything, but the eschille remained together, felling foes left and right. Aurelius had to drive his blade straight into the gut of one who attempted to pull him off his horse. But, they prevailed, and their own footmen rushed in behind the knights to fill the wedge carved by the charge.

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Turn 1: They charge the ferocious Men of Wotan. It was kinda bad luck to roll some of the most badass Saxons on the first round. But, it was a Win, nonetheless.

Sir Elad cried out to his men for a push forward, and with a roar, they hammered into the second line of Saxons, where large shields attempted to halt their advance. Aldwyns spear reached over and stabbed many a Saxon warrior through his helmet, and Reccared stabbed Aljan through more than one shield, his presence leaving cries of death in his wake.

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Turn 2: They push deeper into the Saxon line, hammering against the Shield warriors. That was actually a freaking Triumph!

That’s when Elad caught glimpse of an infamous, boar-adorned helmet through the din of war.
Ælle’s brother-in-law, Thegn Laugier, was on the field, and the one-eyed warrior spurred his horse forward in a warcry! His eschille followed suit, the enemy commander within the reach, only shielded by a fierce retinue of Wotan’s Men. That mattered little, and with a cry out for Salisbury, the eschille almost trampled the foes faster than anyone could react. That’s when Graid and Aurelius rode forward sending their weapons towards the thegn. Aurelius carved into Laugier’s shield, biting into his arm as well, but Graid’s spear found home in the eye socket of the Saxon warleader. With a thud, the Thegn fell to the ground.

There was no time to savour that small victory, as some of Ælle’s Heorthgeneat made their way towards the knights, eager to avenge their fallen thegn.
With axes as tall as themselves, the Heorthgeneat, dressed in the finest Saxon armor and cloaks of the deepest red, advanced like oncoming thunder, and if it hadn’t been for the swift reactions of Sir Reccared, it would have been the end of their advance. However, there were casualties. Aurelius’ young squire Lucius was ripped from his horse by a Heorthgeneat, decapacitated and his head thrown at Sir Aurelius as they redeployed. Though, poor Sir Caradoc took a spear to his gut, as he fought two of them off.

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Turn 3: Sir Elad rolls a Crit, and the players roll a 19 and finds the enemy commander. I thought he would have time to escape, but the group carved through the bodyguards almost immediately. That I rolled a bunch of Heorthgeneat afterwards was just… well, not salty, but ironic. They took their aggression out on the players, dealing them a hell of a blow to their pride when the Squire was brutally murdered.

From behind them, they could hear the sounds of joyous roars, as Uther himself advanced into the middle of the fray. Despite muddy earth of the Creek, the hot headed charge of our heroes had allowed Uther’s forces to push the Saxons back up the hill, avoiding getting stuck in the mud-filled riverbed, which seemed to have been Ælle’s plan.

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Turn 4: They saw the Camp mark at the end of the field. And decided they wanted to go there. The Saxons also have to retreat at this point.

With a raised sword, Elad commanded his eschille to advance further into the ranks of the enemy, even as the horns of retreat were blown across the Saxon lines.

A rear guard, of old, well-trained Saxons veterans stood between the Salisburian and the Saxon encampment, but it meant little. With a charge, they broke the Rearguard, and were the first to get their share of looting while the cowardly Saxons fled for their lives.

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Turn 5: And even with Rearguard Bonus applied to the Blue-cloaked Warriors, it mattered little. My players were on FIRE! Cue them getting into the camp on the end of the battle. Looting TIME!

From behind the Eschille, down in the Creek, roars of victory resounded, and the dour Sir Elad smiled, for the first time in living memory. Truly, they had been blessed by God this day. 
With their newfound loot, their returned to their own encampment, and their lord Roderick, who was delighted to see them. He aimed to spread the words of their deeds to the lords of Logres. 

As the four were resting alongside the rest of their eschille, and enjoying the salutations from passing knights, it became clear that what they had done might have meant the difference between victory or an indecisive mess.
Alongside the rest of the Salisburian knights, the four friends tended to their wounds and joked around, but when a familiar prince arrived, things changed. It became clear that Roderick’s words had reached high. Madoc's royal father, King Uther, was overjoyed with their efforts, and wished to reward them. As all of them were prospective landowners, Uther would waver the Seizins, his perq of demanding a steep inheritance tax. All they would have to do is to give up the loot they had earned that day.

It was a hard decision, but at least they would not have to give all of their income for the next five years to the King.

Madoc departed, overjoyed with his new acquaintances, and return the tents of the army commanders, to give the new to his father.
Later, it became known that that the knights that broke the saxon flanks were here solely due to Madoc’s eye for talent and tactics.
Come morning, the four said their farewells to their new comrades in arms. Reccared said his goodbye to Sir Solis and wished for his gruncle to come visit the family manor during christmas, after all, he was about to be handed said manor as inheritance. The old knight smiled with pride and clasped the young knight's shoulder.

All of our heroes returned to Salisbury as the first days of August came around.
In a small ceremony in Sarum, Reccared, Aurelius and Graid were sworn in as enfeoffed vassals of Earl Roderick of Salisbury, and were now known as Sir Reccared of Baverstock, Sir Aurelius Sertorius of Woodford and Sir Graid of Stapleford.
As for Aldwyn? He returned to his beloved Isolde, and declared that it was his love for her that made him return.

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Not wrong, that passion did come in handy.

Aldwyn finally approached Roderick on the subject of marriage, and cited the old agreement between his father and her grandfather Sir Dafydd of Newton, Roderick’s former butler. The Earl just smiled and gave his blessings.
And beneath the White Horse, the two of them swore their oath of marriage to each other, before Gods and Lands, embracing in a very non-chaste kiss when the Druid bound their hands with white cloth. What followed was a delightful summer feast, and some say that Epona herself paid notice of the happy couple.

- End of 485 -

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I love it!!  It just so good!

However, it looks to me you forgot a few rules during the battle, which is perfectly fine.  I don't understand how your PK can manage the battle so well, even with a bit of luck. Did you apply all of the intensity bonus (the killing zone especially?)? Did you remember that passions last only one battle round?

Either way, the army commander should be Aelle himself, even if I perfectly understand why you changed it. The brother-in law of Aelle is probably not a thegn but a more powerful noble. Vengeance is in the air, I suppose. Aelle is not a man to forget a grudge.

During the extended melee round against an army battle, the process is:

  • First round, you fight each a bodyguard
  • round 2, a new bodyguard appears for each player (even if the old ones aren't dead) and you have a chance to fight the army commander

So, I don't understand how your players managed to have numerical superiority in this fight.

Anyway, awesome read!

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2 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

I love it!!  It just so good!

However, it looks to me you forgot a few rules during the battle, which is perfectly fine.  I don't understand how your PK can manage the battle so well, even with a bit of luck. Did you apply all of the intensity bonus (the killing zone especially?)? Did you remember that passions last only one battle round?

Either way, the army commander should be Aelle himself, even if I perfectly understand why you changed it. The brother-in law of Aelle is probably not a thegn but a more powerful noble. Vengeance is in the air, I suppose. Aelle is not a man to forget a grudge.

During the extended melee round against an army battle, the process is:

  • First round, you fight each a bodyguard
  • round 2, a new bodyguard appears for each player (even if the old ones aren't dead) and you have a chance to fight the army commander

So, I don't understand how your players managed to have numerical superiority in this fight.

Anyway, awesome read!

Quick answers as I am heading out the door.
Yes. Yes, I remembered *all* of it. It was crazy rolls on crazy rolls. Passions was a single round, as per written. Killing Zone was applied. It was... to say the least, madness. I have a blow by blow account.... somewhere. With the amount of luck rolling, it was almost like we were watching a football game and our team was winning. (At least, that's what the gaming group in the room next door asked about...)

The Thegn was a Battalion Commander, not the Army commander. And they rode down the FIRST set of Bodyguards in a single round. I think that exact moment had two PK's criting Passions. And the second set all fell, except a single one, and two players doubleteamed on the Thane during the rest of the Ex. Melee.

Let's just say after this *and* the current session, there's some anger in the air. We're on the Naval Raids atm.... and, well, I'll show some more soon.

Edited by KungFuFenris

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Thank you for your explanations. If two players critted their passion rolls, everything become possible of course. You had a crazy session and it's fantastic. I am always amazed how crazy rollings, against all odds, happen all the time in KAP.

31 minutes ago, KungFuFenris said:

Let's just say after this *and* the current session, there's some anger in the air. We're on the Naval Raids atm.... and, well, I'll show some more soon

yummy!

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Session 04 - The Easter at Sarum & The Mysterious Peasant

- Spring 486 -

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The first actual winter phase was a bit of a doozey, with each knight settling in.
I spent several days being confounded over the BotE economic system, only to finally understand it when I was pointed in the direction of BotW and Appendix 4. It also made me realize a lot of terms I thought I understood was not really what I thought it was, with enfeoffenment and the whole feudal system being a lot more disjointed than I thought it would have been. Westeros is easy mode feudalism compared to this.
On the plus side, Greg gave me a valuable lesson in how to understand feudalism and the Norman era economics.
In the coming years, I'll be using Morien's system of Weather to adjust the income of the manors, as a lot of my players have an interest in the management minigame of Pendragon.
Warning, this will probably be a long post.

The snows of winter had just barely melted, before the young knights sat out for Sarum and the Easter Court of Lord Roderick.
Sir Reccared rode from Baverstock, an old wooden hall situated on the slopes of the strath that held the Nadder River, surrounded by the birch-trees that gave Birchford Hundred its name. 
North of Baverstock, the trees stretched into a royal forest, one where Reccared had inherited Chase-rights, much to the joy of the young squire Golas, who’s hunting skills had provided well during the winter with plenty of ducks and pheasants. 
They followed the old path down to the Nadder, and then rode along the side of the river. But, as they spotted the holding of Bridesvale, across the River, Reccared tensed in pause and glared across the Nadder. The Knight Sir Dallwyr of Bridevale, a vassal of Roderick, had earned the Aquitanian’s ire during the Christmas Feast, as Dallwyr had expressed certain opinions about a Reccared’s unwed sister, Eloise and her Arian faith, which was in his opinion a sure track to a life of sin and wantonness, which was why the Lady Eloise was still not married. 
But, Earl Roderick had forbidden any sort of duel to settle the matter, as both of them were Vavasours, and Dallwyr had fought alongside Roderick since the March of Aurelius Ambrosius. Any duel would, at best, result in Roderick losing a knight in a matter of honor.
As young Golas finally dared to address his brooding knight, Reccared stirred himself from his thoughts of revenge, continued towards the town of Floodriver and then, Sarum.

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Reccared's player had a bit of tough winter. Getting himself a enemy in Sir Dallwyr (thx Spoonist for the expanded events). A feud with his neighbour is great fodder for conflict in the future.
He also had to arrangement a new match for his spurned cousin Elenore, which was caused by this feud as well. But, he used some of the inheirtance he had gained to build a Jousting List, trying to up that low lance skill he had been regretting not increasing at Mearcred.
Also, as he is a bachelor, his mother still lives at Baverstock, only increasing his frustrations with the winter's impedements.

A bit north of Sarum, along the River Avon, lay Woodford. A hall built on the flatlands of Underditch, where the pastures had room for it’s plentiful herds of bovine livestock. In the preceding years, it had been in the care of the jolly Brother Cahill and his novices. But, this winter, Woodford had been under the care of Sir Aurelius, whose father was posthumously awarded with these lands. Aurelius had been enjoying the winter, having been allowed to read in peace, and had little time for cattle and the affairs of coin.
Aurelius had spent his winter thinking about his future, and the legacy of his family. Bishop Rhoder had imposed the importance of this matter upon him, which had caused Aurelius to approach Lady Gwiona while at Christmas Court in Sarum. She was an heiress, and her hand was subject to Roderick’s decision, but Aurelius was not one to be deterred. After all, his sister might have given birth to another child, but it was only Aurelius that could continue their ancient lineage.
After a quiet winter, Sir Aurelius rode out from Woodford, set on making an impression at this Easter Court and the Feast that would follow.

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Aurelius had a spot of winter luck, having been allowed to court Lady Gwiona. Though, Courtship in the Uther Era is a odd size, and only serves to remind us that these knights are not really fitting in the current times, but might agree with a lot of Arthur's new ideas.... if they survive that long that is.
Julia, Aurelius' sister had another child with Sabin Africanus, her husband in Dorsette, which is not all that important at this moment, but will be in a few years.

Along the run of the River Wylye, Stapleford Manor, the demesne of Sir Graid ap Owain was situated on a hill. Surrounded by oak groves, the manor was made of the very same, with carved images bearing the marks of several occupants before Sir Graid. Well, Sir Graid as well as his wife.
Before the first snow had fallen, Graid had approached Roderick with marital matters on his mind. After a few talks, it was decided that Graid would marry the young Lady Aline of Vagon, one of Marshal Elad’s daughters, as the girl and Graid had already met each other, when Graid had been recovering from his wounds at Vagon. Graid had also managed to negotiate the marriage of his sister Grainne to Sir Moris ap Caern, a knight in service to Sir Llyr, the Castellan of Borders.
The two pairs had been wed the eve before All Saints Day, and the following winter had both of them settling in their new life.
With good cheer for the future, Graid kissed his Lady farewell and left Stapleford in her care, while he attended Court at Sarum.

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Graid had a brush with death one time too many, and we rolled on the BotE table for marriage, which netted him the hand of Aline, a daughter of a vassal knight. All in all, a fitting match for Graid. Things was not really notable at the hall. (I lost that note.). The marriage netted Graid a pool of Glory and a impressive Dowry.
Graid also netted himself the largest Glory on Traits and Passions, as he's a pretty passionate guy.

Further down the river one could find Newton Hall and its surrounding villages.
Having previously been the hall of Salisbury’s Butler, it had with several berewicks to its name which meant that Newton was quite a prosperous hall, larger than average, clearly enjoying rights befitting a much larger hall. And Aldwyn had married into ownership of it, getting both a beautiful wife and a rich manor out of the deal his father had made so many years ago.
Isolde, for her part, had been heavy with child throughout the winter, and not a week ago, she had given birth. That exact night had been quite strange, with the winds howling over Newton, and a strange female rider on a white mare had arrived, seeking shelter from the storm. 
Aldwyn, a generous man, had given in surplus to the guest, but as soon as the rider had placed her empty jug of the host’s finest mead on the table, Isolde had cried out in the pains of an oncoming birth. Throughout the night, Isolde fought the traditional battle of women, and come morning, Isolde had brought a hale baby boy into the world. Joyous, Aldwyn was about to tell his honored guest, but the strange lady had vanished, and so had her mare, leaving behind a plate with bones of her meal and an empty jug.
It was decided that Epona herself had visited Newton on that very night, and blessed the birth of Aldwyn’s and Isolde’s firstborn.
Now, Aldwyn rode to Sarum for the Easter Court, leaving his wife with their firstborn, whom they had named Beorn, after Isolde’s Berroc grandfather.

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Well. Now we have a  hell of a explaination. Aldwyn is played by Player T who is married to L, the player of Isolde. L mostly doesn't participate in the campaign (yet), but rolls a Own Land Solo each year, and rolls for Economic circumstances and CHILDBIRTH! So, Isolde is her own PC, which has proven to be quite badass so far. Because, Isolde rolled the following two stats. CON 21 and APP 20. Aldwyn scored waaaaaaaay above his level, and having another PC to act as his Steward is pretty cool.
So. When they rolled for Childbirth? She critted the CON Roll (I'm using that instead for the normal tables.) and instead of Twins, they got a Blessed Birth, where the idea of a Horse-blessed Son just rang true after their wedding in the White Horse Vale.
No wonder Aldwyn got himself to Proud 16.

At the crossroads, all of the knights met, and greeted each other like they were long lost brothers. Each had their own stories to tell, and all of them had high hopes for their first court as proper knights.

The knights entered the hall and presented themselves to their liege, and Roderick received them with all the proper pleasantries. The Count congratulated Aldwyn on the birth of his son, hoping all the best for the child's future.
The four of them sat down at the tables, and began nudging at Aurelius to figure out which fair lady he was courting. After a bit of talking back and forth, they finally figured out that Aurelius had his eyes on Lady Gwiona, much to the concern of the superstitious Aldwyn. Rumor had it that Gwiona's latest four suitors had perished in battle, which could only be a Curse in action. Both the wed knights tried them with Reccared, but the conversation quickly shifted to the topic of Sir Dallwyr who had gravely insulted Reccared's sister.
They glared at the table a few rows further up, where Dallwyr was sitting alongside his group of friends. Older, more experienced knights of Salisbury, like Sir Lucus, Sir Jaradan the Ironhand, Huntsmaster Bedo, Bailiff Daind of Stratford and Constable Hywaith of DuPlain. That did not bode well for their chances of taking it out on Dallwyr in the courtly field.
But, before they could make more schemes, Sir Elad, the dour one-eyed Marshal, decided to have some words with his new son-in-law. And thus, attention was turned to the bigger picture. While Mearcred had been a smashing victory against the Saxons of Sussex, the events to the east had been far more dire. The new Saxon host had shattered Duke Lucius' army and pillaged the lands around Maldon. But, like several other Saxons, they had settled in the conquered lands. A wicked heathen named Aethelswirth had proclaimed himself as King of Essex, East Seaxe, a kingdom built atop of the bones of fallen Cymri.
It was a tense state of affairs, and it seemed that the rest of the Kings of Britain were not inclined to give the High King-ship to King Uther, even though to all eyes of sane men, Uther was the only proper candidate. 
Then, the proceedings of court came about. They spoke of cases of Saxon raids, mundane matters of importance to the Earl, and justice between knights. In the matter of honor between Sir Reccared and Sir Dallwyr, the Earl was quite adamant that this would not be settled with steel, as this would only weaken Salisbury in the face of the Saxon invaders. In short, there was little Reccared could do to satisfy his need for revenge against Dallwyr; all of Reccared's friends were incensed and if Aldwyn had not been seated with Sir Elad, he would probably have been booing at the top of his lungs, but the steely glare of the Marshal made him feel like a Squire once more.

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Court Intrigue is fun. Knights intriguing against Knights is like watching the alliances on a football team cross the locker room. It's cool, but not all that subtle.
It gave me the chance to introduce some of the other Salisburian knights, especially some of them that would be thorns in the Knight's paws.

Once they finally got through the proceedings, the following day was expected to be much more joyous. That was the Easter Feast, and great courses that befitted the finest household of Salisbury were brought out.
Fritters with beef marrow, the best pork and roasted roots; and that was just the first course. 
When it came to seating, Reccared, Graid and Aurelius were seated on seats near the salt along with the best of Salisbury's knights, like Sir Leo and Sir Hywel. 
In fact, it actually seemed like Lady Ellen had intended for Reccared to be seated above the salt with the nobles, which Reccared graciously managed to decline, as he wanted to spend the feast in the company of his friends, which meant that Sir Jarreth was offered the seat instead. 
But, unlike his friends, Aldwyn was seated below the salt, along with most of the rougher and less courteous members of the court. The servant cited the prodigious height of Sir Aldwyn to be the reason for his placement, but Aldwyn was quite sure it had to do with either his manners or his faith. Yet, he seated himself with his uncle Mor, the equally tall Sir Bar and the rowdy Sir Caradoc.

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The Book of Feasts is great. That is all.
Well. Reccared also has far too much luck, as you'll see.

As the feast rolled on, the knights of Sarum enjoyed themselves to the fullest.
After a bit of maneuvering, Aurelius managed to pass on a gift to Lady Gwiona, while Graid first had a few good conversations with higher ranking knights among them the venerable Sir Amig, who was Lord Roderick's Dapifer, and then began drinking heavily from the caskets of mead that Sir Bar brought along.
At first, Reccared was a bit worried about his sister's presence, but everything seemed to work out for the better as the feast came under way. A few times, Reccared's eyes fell on young Lady Adwen, the most desired maiden in all of Salisbury. It was clear that Sir Jarreth had eyes for her as well, but it was another Lady that meant a lot for the evening to come. Countess Ellen took a shine to the dashing young Aquitanian, and called him over several in front of the whole feast, to advise Reccared on his composure and courtly demeanour. 
Throughout the feast, seemed quite clear that Reccared had edged out Sir Jarreth as the rising young knight in Sarum for this occasion, as Adwen seemed to have noticed both of them. But, as was the case with all such matters of Heiresses, this was a matter for Roderick to decide. 
Aldwyn enjoyed the night, drinking and feasting, and even flirted with quite the number of serving girls. As the night came to an end, Aldwyn was left alone drinking with Mors, Bar, Caradoc and the white-bearded Sir Amig, even as most people had already collapsed from the festivities. 
The following morning, Graid regretted his desire for mead, as Aldwyn threw the stricken Cornishman into a trough filled with water. The Feast had been grand, and everyone at Sarum had learnt that these new knights were to be watched.

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Reccared came away from this Feast with a Geniality of 26!!!
The rest of the group did alright, with Aldwyn only gathering 6 Geniality, as his App 8 finally bit him in the arse. At least he had fun in the cheap seats!
Knights like Sir Caradoc, Sir Bar and Sir Elad are some of my favorite NPCs, clear contrasts to the Just and noble Player Knights, and people like Sir Lycus are almost antithesis to the Players.

- a few months later

As spring grew into summer, it was time for the knights to give service to their Lord, and that summer, the Count had in aim to clear out an infestation of bandits in the Streamshead Downs, the bare hillscape near the estate of the venerable Sir Amig. 
After two days of searching, Sir Eled had finally gotten tired of the search, and decided to be a bit more thorough. Sir Caradoc would bring the younger knights with him when the rode south around the Downs, while Sir Elad would take Sir Leo, Sir Bar, Sir Jareth and Sir Mors around the northern part; both parties would meet at Streamsfield not more than four days from now.

The parties split, and with a wine-smelling belch, Sir Caradoc spurred his horse onwards, leading the knights on their patrol.
After two additional hours, the only source of entertainment left was the bawdy songs of Sir Caradoc, and Aurelius especially was suffering from the urge to tell the lecherous sot to shut up about the nun's ample bosom.
Suddenly, a young man came running downhill towards the knight, desperately trying to get their attention. The peasant was ranting and raving about an evil bandit having stolen his precious sheep's. Thinking this to be one of the bandits they were looking for, the young knights spurred their horses into a gallop and rode up the hill, hooves thundering beneath them, while poor Caradoc, a much poorer rider, only managed to keep pace with the squires. 
At the top, was the edge of an ancient looking forest, and just before the forest started, there was a lone sheep, standing quite calm and looking quite demure while chewing on some grass. It was all a bit anticlimactic, and Aldwyn managed to throw out a few quips about the peasant's love for the sheep contra to his ability to count… and then, the sheep turned into a flock of white birds. 

A roar subsequently erupted from forest on the other side of the hill; it was loud and echoing across the hilltop. 
From the edge of the forest, a tall creature, twice the size of Aldwyn, came charging towards the knights, swing a large tree as a club. The first swing almost tore Aurelius from his saddle, but the Giant was dissuaded to follow up from a strike as Graid placed a javelin in it's side. Then, Aldwyn managed to stir his charger into action, his spear levelled towards the lumbering foe's gut. The charger rode forward, and the power in the spear managed to get the creature off it's footing and sending it sprawling to the ground, Aldwyn managing to not break his spear off in the giant flesh. 
Reccared was not slow to exploit that opening, his family blade carving deep, allowing Aldwyn to plunge his spear into the eye of the fallen giant.
With a roar and a heavy thud, the fight came to an end. For a moment, there was a heavy silence; which was only broken as the hands of the peasant came together in a series of slow claps. As he shed the veils of falsehood laid across him and Merlin, High Druid of Britain stood before the four knights, a smile of certainty barely visible beneath the long tresses of beard gracing his face.
And destiny came calling….

- to be continued in... THE ADVENTURE OF SWORD LAKE! -

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And we're off to Sword Lake. That Giant got critted down before anyone was hurt, though I almost managed to hurt Aurelius. The presence of four knight might not be that much of an equalizer, but my players are rolling very well in the tense situations.
Aldwyn critted first, the Reccared critted a sword roll and finally Aldwyn used the +5 to the Knockdowned Giant to crit AGAIN! That's 25d6 of DMG in two turns.
Bai bai Giant.
In regards to monster-slaying, I give participants a fourth of the creature's Glory, but the Slayer is awarded with the prize for delievering the killing blow, in a way that the table consider him worthy of the Glory. Otherwise, they all get the fourth.

Merlin is a hell of an NPC to play, but I have played him before. As you might have spotted, dear reader, we have Years of 2 or 3 sessions in length, mostly intentionally, but I want to cover Feasts and other stuff than just the adventures, and our sessions are, at best, 4 hours in length.

Edited by KungFuFenris

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50 minutes ago, KungFuFenris said:

When they rolled for Childbirth? She critted the CON Roll (I'm using that instead for the normal tables.)

Just a quick reminder, you really want to use the -10 modifier next year, since it is less likely that she would become pregnant again straight off. But with CON 21, not that uncommon.

Looks like you are having plenty of fun! :)

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On 11/23/2019 at 2:09 AM, Morien said:

Just a quick reminder, you really want to use the -10 modifier next year, since it is less likely that she would become pregnant again straight off. But with CON 21, not that uncommon.

Looks like you are having plenty of fun! :)

Yup. We remembered. But, Isolde is a trooper. I found some ideas that I am adapting on the old Pendragon forum in regards to conception that I am going to be using.

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Session 05 - The Adventure of Sword Lake

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We began the session having a talk about desired plotlines and elements of the story that liked and how different Pendragon is from a lot of other games. It was very good, and I thank my stars that I have such a great player group. It's tough to adjust to the quick skips of time if you're used to a lot more measured and day by day play.

The young knights only had a small moment to compose themselves against the steel-grey eyes of the wizard Merlin, before they heard their assembled squires and Sir Caradoc rushing up behind them; the older knight first desiring to know everything, but at the moment he saw Merlin, he simply bowed his head in respect to the Arch Druid of Britain.
The wizard then addressed the four companions; with a tone that almost seemed to demand their attention and a gaze that seemed to know exactly what each of them was thinking..
“You will do. Now, young knights, I bid you to walk at my side. Follow me.”
Aurelius especially balked at the thought, but the rest of the group soon reminded him that Merlin was one of King Aurelius Ambrosius’ most trusted advisors, yet it did not mean that the wizard should be trusted.
Caradoc just looked at the scene, a wizard, a quest and a giant’s corpse slowly dissipating into mist and simply thanked those Old Gods he worshipped that the wizard had not called upon him. Sir Aldwyn gave Caradoc a message to both Sir Elad and Lord Roderick, and imposed a grave task of telling his wife of this venture on his young squire, Ionas. The squires were left with Caradoc, who would ride to Streamfield and report on the event. But, just before setting out, Reccared’s squire, young Golas, handed him a twisted iron nail on a string as a measure of safety if their journey should lead them near faes. Reccared just smiled at his superstitious squire, but took the charm nonetheless.

The four of them trailed behind Merlin, into the fog-clad forest; debating the nature and intent of the magician as neither Graid nor Aurelius trusted magic. Every question posed to the wizard was simply deflected, with a grain of annoyance in Merlin’s voice that was growing every time he had to brush them off.
But, all that talk subsided Aurelius and Reccared began noticing the old ruins around them that had been reclaimed by nature. Old toppled pillars, tiles broken by strong roots and trees that had sprouted through old plazas. This place had once been inhabited by the old Roman, which caused a lot of confusion, as none of them had heard about Roman ruins in this part of Salisbury.
As they moved further into the woods, the fog grew thicker, and if Aldwyn had not realized the signs around them, they would barely have noticed as they passed across the old, carved stones. Here, they stopped, and Merlin addressed them again.
Leave your horses here.” he stated and began incanting old verses, the mists shifting with every intonation. The horses were carefully tied to nearby trees, but curiously, Aldwyn just told his own horse, Hector the Charger, to watch over the horses, with Hector simply whinnying in response, as if he understood every word spoken to him. 

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Well. Yeah. I forgot to mention that part during winter phase. The whole birth and blessing by Epona correlated with Aldwyn's player rolling a Saga Event on the Event chart, causing his horse to become intelligent. The horse is now an NPC with a Jolly Jumper level of intelligence. So, we smashed the two things together, and voila!

Then, the four of them passed beyond the stones, and followed Merlin into the twisting mists that lay beyond, their concerns having been overtaken by their desire for adventure.

Soon, the path took them deep into the mist, only barely able to make out the shapes of each other, and several times, the twisting path took them near ill omens, as the warped shape of trees almost seemed to warn them away from their venture.
Finally, the mist parted, and Merlin stopped as they exited into a glade of willow and poplar, with a serene lake not far ahead of them, but barely visible through the branches. The wizard stopped and looked around, nodded to himself and approached the banks of the lake.

As they stepped down on the lakeshore, it felt like stepping into destiny, a heavy sense of foreboding placing itself over each knight. But, they also saw the form of a heavily injured knight, his rich greens stained crimson with blood, laying still on the edge of the water, next to the pieces of an immense shield split in two.
Merlin spared no thought for the fallen knight, but focused on the lake, and lifted his staff.
There! Protect me now, good knights, for the sake of our king and your lives!
The lake’s waters in front of them began to rise, taking the shape of a knight, twice as tall as any of them, clad in a mail that seemed to be as much lakeweed as iron, a helmet adorned with antlers and a carved masque of wood covering his face. The bulging muscles were covered with pale, blue-grey skin, spiralling tattoos, and in the knight’s hand was an axe large enough to split a horse in two.

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Okay. This is the first time the GPC made me rebel. As written, the players are going to be fighting a Nuckalavee. But, opposed to a lot of things, the Nuckalavee is neither contemporary or anywhere near Celtic/British in origin. It's Norse. It first showed up with the stories by Norse settlers on the Orkney Isles, and was probably a fusion of the Nøkken of Scandinavian folklore and the Kelpie of Scottish folklore. And it did not show up in any legend before post-800s.
So. This is why I made a Fae/Giant/something out of this, as a symbol of the Old Gods desiring not to give up the Sword to the new order. One of my players ever theorized it was an aspect of Bran they fought.


The Knight of Myrk stepped forward, lifting his axe with a silent battlecry. In response, not a single knight hesitated for a moment, and rushed forward to meet this creature in battle. Aldwyn and Graid charged forward, but Aurelius and Reccared dashed towards the fallen knight, hoping to get the still breathing knight out of  harm’s way.
The clash was furious and drawn out, with the Knight’s immense axe slamming down into shields in a tempo faster than any mortal man could manage it keeping all of the knights on the defensive. Graid especially earned the foe’s ire when he placed his spear in the Knight’s side, biting into the pale flesh and spilling the watery blood onto the shore.
Retaliation was swift and the axe struck Graid’s shield with enough force to send him flying backwards, but Graid’s deft feet kept him from ending up on the ground. As Aurelius and Reccared pulled the knight away, they could not help but notice the lack of blazons on his coat of arms. It was a simple field of green, nothing else.

Aldwyn kept his shield between himself and the axe, but it was almost not of any use as each blow drove both and and Graid further back.
Then, Reccared and Aurelius jumped into the fray, their swords biting deep into the foe, and soon enough all four of them had driven the knight back into the waters, seeking to end this foe. Aurelius and Reccared pushed forward, sword in hand, while Aldwyn jabs of his spear towards the Knight, hoping to open up the enemy’s defenses, while Graid had begun fling a few of his spears at the head of the creature. The Knight of Myrk flicked away one such spear, and that’s when Reccared and Aurelius took their chance as struck forward. Reccared carved into the arm, almost severing the forearm from the elbow, and prepared to follow up with a stab to the jugular.
At the same time, Aurelius rushed forward, forgetting all defenses in a spur of the moment, and stabbed at the creature’s heart! But, for a moment, he left himself wide open as well, and the axe slammed into his shoulder, rending iron and flesh apart like it was paper, the young Knight’s blood spilling out by the cup. But, Aurelius still struck true and his blade found its mark in the heart at the same time Reccared sunk Alijan into it’s jugular. For a moment, all was silent. 

Then, with strange moan, the knight transformed back into the brackish lake water and plants, his crowned helmet slammed back into the lake from where it came, his axe rusted away in a matter of minutes. Aldwyn rushed forward and caught poor Aurelius, who had little chance of remaining upright after that.

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What a rush! That was a hell of a combat, with my players being kept on their feet, just as much as me.
One Major Wound was given to Aurelius, whose player decided to go for a Reckless Attack. Which was not the wisest plan, but pretty cool.

As they placed the heavily wounded Aurelius next to the unknown knight, Graid finally recognized the green-clad knight.
This was Sir Meliodas, the famed Prince of Lyonesse, a Cornish kingdom that Graid knew quite well from his grandmother’s stories of the lands they hailed from. 
With more questions than answers, they tried to find Merlin, and spotted him on a boat carved from grey timber, in the middle of the Lake.
Just as they were about to call out to the wizard, the hilt of a gleaming sword rose from the waters to meet Merlin’s hand. A pristine scabbard followed, raised up to the wizard by the hand of an unknown Lady. It was a strange and yet quite profound sight with a sense of destiny surrounding it that silenced any words that might have been on the lips of the knights., When the wizard had taken the blade in hand, the strange boat began to carry him back to the shore, where moments after he sat his foot on the banks, the boat dissipated just as the giant had done. Aldwyn was about to open his mouth and unleash a barrage of questions, but Merlin preempted him with a single, raised finger the words; “I shall allow you one.
After a certain amount of inner wrangling of words, Aldwyn finally asked “Was it worth the risk?” Merlin only smiled slightly in response; “It is the future of our fair isle. Of course it was worth the risk. Thank you. All of you. Britain itself is in your debt” 
Merlin placed the sword beneath his cloak, and knelt next to the torpid Aurelius and Meliodas, and with a murmur and a whisper, several of their minor wounds knitted themselves together, allowing both of them to regain consciousness enough to stagger away with a bit of help.
Merlin guided them back down the path they had arrived on, and soon enough, they found themselves back at their horses.
However, enigmatic wizard was nowhere to be found.

When they returned to the hill where they had fought the giant, it was quite clear that the forest behind them was no longer the same as the one they just walked through.
Prince Meliodas, thankful for their timely rescue, shared both his name and his story. He had been travelling the roads of Logres, making a name for himself as Merlin had shown up to grant him a challenge worthy of his skills. The wizard had told him to await his return with more swords, but Meliodas had to admit, his curiosity had gotten the better of him, and he had been forced to fight against the Knight of the Myrk by himself, yet he did manage to cleave the Knight’s shield in half before being flung to the ground. The Prince was in their debt, and had many good words to tell, as his wounds had been numerous but none of them major.

Aurelius, on the other hand, was still grievously injured from the immense axe blow that had torn up his shoulder and chest, and Graid took it upon himself to ride through the night and getting help at Sir Amig’s holding at Streamfield. Graid succeeded in his endeavour, and the next day, Sir Graid returned to the little camp on the hill, along with people to carry poor Aurelius back to Streamfield.
At Streamfield, the four friends assembled at Aurelius’s bedside. Here, Aldwyn finally admitted that he had never had closer friends than any of them, and if they agreed, he suggested that they would swear an Oath of Brotherhood, to ward and keep each other safe in battle as well as in peacetime. They would be as brothers onto each other, until the day of their death.

However, though Aurelius was still not in any condition to travel, Sir Elad commanded that they returned to Sarum, leaving Aurelius in the care of Sir Amig. After all, they were now understaffed, had found the bandits, something Sir Bar had tried to brag about, and to top it off, they had a foreign Prince riding alongside them. It seemed like the most prudent decision.

Back at Sarum, the well-spoken Reccared recounted the entire adventure to Earl Roderick, who was quite intrigued by the whole tale, and the presence of Meliodas only made everything more believable. A feast was called for, and it brought Reccared, Aldwyn and Graid in the seat of honor, where most knights wanted to learn more about the whole affair.
Reccared, ever the diplomat, handed Lady Gwiona a missive from Aurelius, who sent his greetings to the Lady, almost making the poor girl believe that Aurelius was sure to die from his wounds, just like all the suitors others before him.

The feast continued throughout the night, and soon, normalcy returned to Sarum.
Meliodas stayed for a few months in Salisbury, celebrating Midsummer there alongside Aldwyn and the rest of the Pagans.
Aurelius stayed in bed for an additional two months, the wound slowly healing, but he did earn old Sir Amig’s friendship while there. 

And so, our chronicle turn towards the later parts of 486, as the Royal Court is set to celebrate Christmas at Sarum.

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486 drags on. I am a bit concerned with the speed we're progressing but I suppose if my players are happy, I'm happy.
Next time, I'm going a bit off script, but the players had expressed interest in seeing more of Prince Madog. To be fair, it is the second time they have met a prince. It might soon become a problem for them.

to be continued in THE PRINCE'S PASSION...
 

Edited by KungFuFenris

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Session 06 - The Sword Feast & The Prince's Passion

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This was a long one! We also went over time.


The Autumn of 486

It had been a few months since the four knights last met, but all of them decided to make the trip to Baverstock that autumn. Scores had to be settled after all.

With Aldwyn rode his squire; four of his cousins who were all of them sergeants as well as Sir Aldwyn’s soldiers.
Already at Baverstock, they met with Aurelius and his retinue; Sir Graid, his uncle and squire. Reccared had mustered his many cousins, all of them quite incensed at the injustice that had been done to the name of their beloved Lady Eloise. With their assemble retinue, as well as Sir Reccared’s levy of serfs and freemen, they numbered quite a force. 
And while Roderick had barred Reccared from putting a permanent end to the slanderous Sir Dallwyr, nothing had really been said about the cur’s financial status.

Scarcely across the Nadder River, the small villages around Bridesvale lay undisturbed. 
But, in the early hours of the morning, a score of armed men rode across the shallow, and began rounding up the results from an almost finished harvest. The raid was fast, quick, and met little resistance as Sir Dallwyr was not present to prevent the incursion on his grounds.
The peasantry protested, but barring a few bruises and bumps, no one was harmed. But, Sir Aldwyn decided to earn a bit more than mere sacks of grain and cattle, and along with his equally non-christian cousins, opened the doors of the local church and helped themselves to the silverware at the altar, but the pious Sir Aurelius was quite preoccupied with keeping the soldiers in line, and did not notice until it was too late.

Then, as fast as they had arrived, the raiders left again, our protagonists rejoicing at the bounty they had liberated from such a blackguard as Dallwyr.

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This was actually the final decision of the previous session, and we worked out the fallout of it during downtime.
The entire thing was a bit of an spur-of-the-moment decision, but Reccared and Dallwyr *really* hate each other, and Aldwyn had the bright idea to go raiding, as one would do where he is from!
The PK’s brought 4x times the amount of people needed for a raid. Dallwyr had a 12£ Manor, so 1 knight and 4 soldiers. The PK’s brought 4 knights and 10 Foot Soldiers, alon
g with 10 Lineage Men. Which made the raid take a simple day.
However, I am pretty sure this was never meant to be turned against fellow Sarumites, so I gave them all a check in Vengeful. All this trouble for 4,8£…

Christmas at Sarum, 486

The fallout from the raid was beginning to show itself. 
Rumours of the despicable Dallwyr having gotten the support of Bishop Rhyder of Salisbury was circulating, and as Aurelius and Reccared met to debate the situation, it soon clear that their liege lord was not happy with the events. Having knights breaking the Count's Peace was an issue, although not strictly against his orders, Roderick owed justice and protection against such raids. The entire debacle was a mess, but at least they had the excuse of being young and stupid. They decided to make amends, return the plunder and apologize to Roderick for breaking his peace.

Meanwhile; In Stapleford, Sir Graid and Lady Aline was entertaining a guest.
Aldwyn, having had enough of the winter furs, had decided to travel a bit up the valley to visit his friend before the first snow would fall. They partook in some falconry, as Graid was eager to share his hobby with his friend, but the whole situation with Dallwyr was far more on their mind, which resulted in Aldwyn having little luck with the bird, much to his displeasure.

As the snow began to fall, it was clear that the four had to travel to Sarum for the Christmas Feast, but Aldwyn, in all of his wisdom, took a look as his beautiful wife, and decided it was for the best to leave her back in Newton, to care for the young one as well as their second child, growing in Isolde’s womb. And, while he’d never say it out loud, the King was known for his appetites for beautiful women, and he dared not tempt fate… or the King. Truth be told, that was also of of the reasons why Sir Reccared also has recommended his own sister to stay away from court. The other reason being Dallwyr's presence.

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Well... it's always nice when Knights are afraid that their beautiful wives/sister are going to be coerced into a Royal One-Night-Stand.
Uther has a reputation among these Knights, and it's not for the good things he's done for the realm. To be fair, most of the players paid attention when I gave them the low-down of Uther's accomplishments in the years before game start. Bedegraine, Summerland... those are not really actions that wins him any favors.

The four of them met in Sarum, and were cordially greeted the Household Knights of Count Roderick, all of them as cheerful as ever.
Sir Leo, Sir Bar and Sir Caradoc were loudly laughing at the folly of this bunch of rash cockerels, but still offered them a spot at their table while they all awaited the royal arrival, which was quite fortunate, as the assembled Vassal Knights, most of them allies or friends of Sir Dallwyr, were giving them the stink eye.

Meanwhile, Sir Aurelius sought out the Bishop, hoping to speak his case for his friend, the pagan Aldwyn. But it was to little use. The goblets and plates from the church might be returned to avoid a court of justice, but the Bishop demanded the conversion of Aldwyn to make proper amends to God, which was needed to send a message to the pagans, to avoid following Aldwyn’s example and keep their paws of the church.
When Aurelius was about to protest, it soon became clear that the bishop didn't care one fig about Reccared's sister, who was an Arian strumpet, of that there was little doubt! Heretics like that should not be coddled nor encouraged! Aurelius left his fosterfather's house, and went to give Aldwyn the bad news.

And to no one’s surprise, Aldwyn pretty much told the bishop to get bend. Why should he start praying to a dead god on a cross when his gods were alive beneath him every day.

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At this point, it’s getting quite clear that Aldwyn’s big mouth is going to get him in a lot of future trouble, but this feud with the Bishop of Salisbury is going to be a stone in his shoe for the rest of his career.

The players now have rating for dumb decisions known as the Aldwyn-scale. More on that later. ^_^

A few hours after midday, Uther arrived with his entourage.

While the royal entourage began pouring into Sarum, Count Roderick was expected to be observing all manners of etiquette, the same was not the case for his knights. While the king was getting settled, Reccared and Aurelius began asking around if the young prince had accompanied his father to Sarum. And, their fortunes were good, as Madoc was here. And Aldwyn had a plan. If there was any way to get Dallwyr in hot waters at this point, it was through getting a prince on their side!

Both Reccared and Aurelius were practiced hands at court, and it didn’t take long for them to have the Prince notified of their hopes to pay their respects to him once more.
Madoc, who had taken a shine to these knights, acquiesced and graceiously granted them some of his time,s eating himself at the table next to them.
The plan had been to tell him about the matter of Reccared’s sister, and Sir Dallwyr. But, before anyone could present this coherently, a passionate Graid began to wildly ramble on about the matter. That's when Graid when he realized he had made a fool of himself and stormed off.
In spite of that, Madoc agreed that Dallwyr needed to apologize for his words.
In return, the prince could tell them of his grand designs to command the navy that his uncle had once built, and like King Aurelius Ambrosius took the battle to the Saxons of Frisia and burnt their ships on the shore, so would he. The three remaining knights were intrigued by the prospects of going to Frisia, and were quite positive on the endeavor, in spite of ships being involved, and Madoc just smiled his rakish grin and told them to stand ready.

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A bit of an explaination here: The players managed to crit an Intrigue roll, and got to speak with Madoc.
But, Graid managed to get the first in-game case of Melancholia here, as he fumbled his Fraternity Passion to convince Madoc of anything. We're still trying to figure out how to deal with this mechanic in the game, as it seem to be a wild and terrible force.

Reccared took it on himself to find the sulking Graid. Graid blamed himself for messing everything up for his friends, and he was filled with selfloathing, anger and remorse.
As Reccared approached, Graid lashed out with his fist in anger, and by some miracle, Reccared managed to calm his friend by telling him that it was all a matter of finding justice in an unjust world. And he should be there to see justice happen, because he was their friend, nae he was their brother! At those words, Graid stopped and came to his senses, and both of them rejoined the starting festivities.

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That is one dangerous mechanic. They could have sent Graid's wife, but Reccared ended up using Just to get him back in line.
Fortunately, it worked, and we did not have a chain-event of Melancholia derail the session.

A mighty Christmas Feast began in the hall. And it was glorious. 
For once, Aldwyn sat close to the Salt, and had plentiful of fun drinking alongside Prince Meliodas who had returned to Sarum along with the royal aire. The two pagans drank, boasted and flirted with women, with Meliodas even giving Aldwyn a gift of a new shield as well as a set of chain and sword. As a memory of a good friendship between the two of them.

The other knights acquitted themselves well, with Aurelius even managing to use his sense of courtly intrigue to keep the Bishop, his own fosterfather, from speaking with Uther on the matter of the raided church, and it was only when Aurelius had to attend to Lady Gwiona that he seemed to fall short. But, that was not due to his own shortcomings, but his eyes fell on a young Lady he recognized from the Easter Feast. Lady Bethany, who had been a mysterious guest at Easter, was here now, seated next to Duke Ulfius, and her heraldry marking her as the youngest daughter of the Duke of the Vale. And after that glance, Aurelius forgot all about Gwiona.

Reccared, as per usual, cut a fine figure, and Graid had a chance to speak with several of the finest lancers in the realm, including Sir Solis, the White Fox, who offered him a few pointers. Their deeds at Mearcred had not gone unnoticed. Even the King seemed to be in a fine mood.

That's when one of them noticed a certain Lady Rhianneth, a young baroness who was making eyes at Prince Madoc.
Unfortunately, the one who saw all of this was Aldwyn, the lustful Pagan, who did not care one wit that Rhianneth was a married woman, and allowed the Prince a bit of fun, and the Feast progressed as meant to be. 

But, as the feast drew to a close, Prince Madoc vanished from the hall, and then, Lady Rhianneth, which only amused Aldwyn even more.
But, Rhianneth’s husband, Sir Martinus began making inquiries, and as Aldwyn was the only one awake to answer the man, Aldwyn just pointed the jealous husband in the right direction, but saw fit to follow the enraged knight. In the courtyard of Sarum, the Prince had attempted to ward off the advances of Rhianneth, only to be confronted by Martinus, who would not be made neither a fool nor a cuckold! By some miracle, the knight tempered himself long enough not to run the Prince through then and there, but issued a challenge that was promptly accepted by Prince Madoc and witnessed by several of the present knights.

At that point, Aldwyn had an idea, and rushed off to wake up Reccared and tell him the circumstances. Reccared had bare agreed to help, before Aldwyn dragged him off to the armory, where they found a brooding Madoc. The only reason anyone dared to issue challenges to him was due to his low birth, he was sure of that. Aldwyn apologized in advanced, but offered up Reccared to stand champion against Sir Martinus.
At first, Madoc was displeased they’d even suggest such a thing, but Aldwyn finally made him see the issue at hand. How could Sir Martinus ever fight with all of his might if he was risking the ire of King Uther? How could a man risk the realms future? And at that, Madoc finally agreed, and Reccared, the son of Sir Perrin and great-nephew of a living legend, was a fitting champion to put his life at risk in this duel. But, there was only one thing that Reccared asked in return. If he won the duel, Reccared would not be the one to end Sir Martinus, he would leave that to the Prince. Madoc was not thrilled with that idea, but he agreed nonetheless.

The day of Christmas Eve dawned, and Graid and Aurelius were roused from their slumber by an agitated Sir Elad, who told them of the duel. They joined Aldwyn in the courtyard, as Uther was chewing the entire debacle through, but the King finally agreed on the duel.
That’s when Aurelius made a few inquiries to Sir Elad about who Sir Martinus was. And the results? Martinus was a famous warrior, who earned a name for himself during the later years of King Aurelius Ambrosius’ reign, and was one of the heroes of the battle of Salisbury. He had been given Rhianneth’s hand in marriage for his service to the realm during the previous king, making him a loyal Baron of the Pendragons by the virtue of Rhianneth’s holdings. And Prince Meliodas could add had a hell of a reputation from the Cornish War as an unrelenting warrior. Aldwyn suppressed a facepalm, and looked worried to Reccared, who was now being given a few last pointers from his gruncle; Sir Martinus then strode into the courtyard, clad in expertly-crafted chainmail beneath an orange surcoat, and brandishing a gleaming axe and a oak-shield in the other. The older knight had nothing for contempt to spare for either Reccared or Madoc, and only had a few barbed insults to spare before the duel commenced.

The combatants first squared off, saluting the King as per etiquette, and the two began exchanging blows. The older knight’s axe carved into Reccared’s shield with little hesitation, but the young Aquitanian held fast and returned as much as he could. A few hits struck true here and there, axe and sword nicking links of chain, with one of Reccared’s stabs extracting blood from the thigh of Sir Martinus, who just endured the pain. 
The duel went on; with blows being exchanged it was clear there was little room for error, and one slip up was all Sir Martinus needed. The axe finally found a gap to exploit and slammed into Reccared’s shoulder with a blow that could have sever it without the mail, but still sent Reccared reeling back, bleeding and in blinding pain. 
Sir Martinus advanced, sure of his victory; the axe driving towards the still standing Reccared once more. But, here, the nimble feet of the Aquitanian paid off, as he drew in the advancing foe with footwork; as Martinus struck, Reccared stabbed, his sword biting into Sir Martinus’ gut!

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The Aldwyn-scale here was about an 8 out of 10.
Offering up a friend to champion an honor duel, without checking if the opponent was a professional axe murderer. At least Reccared came out on top. 
Sir Martinus was the result of a random rolled knight from the online generator I consulted during a break, but it all worked out in the end.
Only one Major Wound for Reccared

Sir Martinus toppled to the ground, and Reccared demanded him to yield, but the older knight kept trying to get to his feet.
That’s when Madoc walked into the circle and drove his blade into Sir Martinus throat, declaring his champion as the winner, with King Uther agreeing wholeheartedly to the cheers of the assembled knights. While his brothers and fellow Sarum Knights joined in the cheering, Aurelius however caught a glimpse of the newly widowed Lady Rhianneth, who he could tell was barely suppressing a smile, it confirmed Aurelius’ suspicions of this being a scheme hatched by an ambitious young lady; a lady who was now again the richest heiress in Logres.
Aurelius was outraged, but soon his attentions were set to his injured oath-brother, whom they ended up carrying off the field.

The next day, the Christmas Feast proceeded.

King Uther was in a especially festive mood, and when Madoc presented him with the loot taken from the Saxons in the past year, his joy went sky high. Gifts were shared around, with Uther even handing out fistfuls of silver to the assembled knights!

But, it was only when Merlin entered the hall that things became truly spectacular, as the wizard presented King Uther with the only gift fit for a King, and with a grand speech, he gave onto King of Logres; the gift of a blade named EXCALIBUR, the Sword of Victory.
When the king asked of where Merlin had found such a precious treasure, the wizard asked the five knights, Reccared de Toulouse, Aldwyn of Newton, Graid of Stapleford, Aurelius Sertorius and Prince Meliodas to stand. This was their tale to tell.
Uther was preoccupied with the blade, and of the deeds he could enact with such, that he scarcely heard the warning from Merlin’s lips of remaining Just. But, the King still proclaimed that he and his best bannermen would make the journey to visit Duke Corneus of Linden, who all present knew had not backed Uther’s claim for High Kingship.

As the feast continued, and many of the guests rushed our heroes for their account of their adventure, Merlin left quietly, but whispered a few words in the ears of Roderick of Salisbury, who afterwards seemed even more pleased with his four knights.

After all, their fate was a special one.
But, it was quickly clear that none of the newly minted heroes had any desire to journey to Linden for a political campaign. No, whatever designs Madoc had to repent his royal uncle's feats in Frisia seemed a lot more alluring to them. After all, none of them had seen the Continent since childhood.

But first, this winter had to come to an end.

TO BE CONTINUED... IN THE YEAR OF 488 AD AND THE DARING NAVAL RAIDS

Edited by KungFuFenris
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On 12/14/2019 at 1:07 PM, KungFuFenris said:

And to no one’s surprise, Aldwyn pretty much told the bishop to get bend. Why should he start praying to a dead god on a cross when his gods were alive beneath him every day.

This kind of religious conflict is always tricky. The bishop have a rank of a baron and you must talk to him with courtesy. The count should be ashamed of Aldwyn's reaction under his roof. The devout christian character should be insulted by the blasphemy. Curious to see how you will play it in your campaign. Wait and see... ;)

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2 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

This kind of religious conflict is always tricky. The bishop have a rank of a baron and you must talk to him with courtesy. The count should be ashamed of Aldwyn's reaction under his roof. The devout christian character should be insulted by the blasphemy. Curious to see how you will play it in your campaign. Wait and see... ;)

The Courtesy part was saved by this A) Never being said to the Bishop's face; B ) Was said in private between friends; C) Aurelius has somewhat near 16 Forgiving. Soeh...

In any case, it's going to be a running problem in the group.

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Winter Phase 486-487

After Christmas, Aurelius got himself awarded an Allowance from Lord Roderick, possibly due to an agreement with the Bishop. He was also asked to take his sister and her children into his household, while her husband, Sir Sabin Africanus, travelled to Sicily(?!) in pursuit of a feud. 
To make matters worse, heavy floods hit the hundred of Underditch, and it was only through the faithful service of Friar Cahil, the manor’s steward, that the spring floods didn’t wash away the fields. But, in spite of all that, Bishop Rhyder had news for Aurelius in the days after St. Valentine’s Day, of a certain arrangement having been agreed upon between the Barons of two Counties.

At Newton, Aldwyn had a rat infestation as well as problem with banditry, though not anything that couldn't be salvaged. However, around the day of St. Valentine; Aldwyn had to duel Sir Cassius, Knight of Dorsette, who claimed his sister was a murderess guilty of smothering his infant son in a jealous fit born from her lustful thoughts of him. 
In truth, Lady Bryn was blamed for a tragedy because she was a northern pagan, and Cassius and his lady were quite pious. Everyone were sure no one would come to Lady Bryn’s aid. And then, her brother showed up, a tower of a man, who threw the accusing Knight to the ground as if Aldwyn was tossing around a bundle of sticks.

In Stapleford; Sir Graid had a daughter with his wife Aline, both mother and child being hale and fit. 
Following that, his notorious uncle, Sior the Mad, a wandering mercenary knight, showed up at Stapleford, and left him with a Courser as a token of appreciation in carrying on the family name. In spite of a few wolves prowling around near his lands during the winter, everything went well.

After performing admirably at the Christmas Court, Reccared's chainmail had rusted during the cold winter, while he had been recovering from his wound, and if that wasn't enough Duke Ulfius had sent him missives, asking for his beautiful sister Eloise, as a concubine in exchange for a Charger. Apparantly, the Duke had spotted Eloise while he had been staying at Vagon Castle, where she was serving as a handmaiden to Sir Elad's wife. Not one to sell women for horses, Reccared refused the Duke.
And for all intents and purposes, it was an okay, if hard winter, until a band of Saxon raiders arrived just as the snow began to thaw.
Fortunately, Reccared had recently agreed to lodge Sir Osric, an old friend of his departed father, at Baverstock. The two knights along with Reccared’s retinue was enough to turn the raiders away before any damage was caused to the village!

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I'm using the Expanded Winter and Kin Event tables made by Spoonist I think? 
As well as a modified Harvest+BotE system that takes its cues from Morien’s work in that regard. I’ve told my players that once they make Estate (50+) sized places, they can start to ignore bad harvests and just take extra from their peasants.


 

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Session 07 - 487 AD - The Daring Naval Raids

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We began playing and for their first scene, they went to a wedding, where Aurelius finally got married, but not to the woman the rest of them had expected him to marry. No, he was to be wed to Lady Bethany ferch Ulfius, youngest daughter of the Duke of the Vale. Now, y'all might think me crazy. But, Aurelius' player had already impressed Ulfius and his daughter at the Christmas Feast in Sarum through events, and he decided to blow 8£ on the whole affair, netting him a total +9 Bonus to find a wife. Then. A 20 happened. This is also why I'm going over to the revised version of the Marriage table in BotEntourage.
We made up a suitable story about the Bishop pulling some strings, Ulfius having known Aurelius' father back in Armorica. All in all, pretty cool story, and while you might say this comes with connections, Ulfius is
far too busy to care about Aurelius, and only expects the lad to provide for his youngest daughter, and expects Aurelius to pass on a freaking estate to the grandchildren, thus gambling on a valuable future alliance for his own heirs.

The year began with a marriage, held in the cathedral of Durnovaria, where Sir Aurelius and Lady Bethany knelt before the altar as Bishop Mesalla performed the ritual; the bishopric here had been the traditional church of the Sertorius family since Roman times and neither Aurelius nor his foster-father wished to change that tradition.
Everyone had been surprised at the news of Aurelius’ wedding, especially when it was to a different Lady than the one Aurelius had been setting his sights on so far. 
Lady Bethany was one of Ulfius’ daughters by a concubine, but still one of his favorite daughters, and it was a bit odd that he would part with her to a simple vassal knight.
But, all of it had an explanation. Years ago, Ulfius had been friends with Gessius Sertorius, Aurelius’ father, and had been there at the Battle of Exeter, where Gessius had fallen in the defense of the returning Prince Aurelius Ambrosius.
In front of the church, while the joyous couple greeted the attendants, Graid, Aldwyn and Reccared had a staredown contest with the Silchester contingent; a group led by the sly Sir Rhiscart Blains, the Steward of Levcomagus, whom they knew to be a sworn foe of their Lord Roderick. Sir Blains only said a few, well-placed words before moving on, which avoided any escalation in the square, yet left little doubt that this little event was as cordial as Silchester and Salisbury would be in the months to come.

After spending a few moments with his new wife besides the stone of his father near the cathedral gardens, Aurelius directed the group towards the ensuing merriment to celebrate this event. The festivities that followed were held in a Roman villa, where Aurelius' sister lived, and here the rest of our knights discovered out that Aldwyn already had a bit of a reputation among the Romano-British nobles of Durnovaria, due to the duel before winter. 
However, it was still possible to sooth them with some impeccably timed music, and between the luteskills of Aldwyn and Reccared's vocal talents, the assembled Dorsettian citizenry saw this northern savage turned into an actual person with sophisticated taste.

In spite of this being his daughter’s wedding, the Marshal of Logres was busy as ever, and had to ride after only staying for a few hours. But, he did impart his well-wishes, and desires to see Aurelius’ become a man with enough influence and wealth that he would give his daughter a life that befitted her.
After the wedding, they all returned to Salisbury after Easter, and was set to attend Pentecost at Sarum. Aurelius brought both his wife, sister and his nephews back to Woodford, leaving the old villa in the hands of his sister’s servants. 

In the days before Pentecost, Aldwyn had business with Reccared, and sought out the Aquitanian knight in Baverstock, where Aldwyn challenged Reccared to a little hunt. After all, Reccared had a proper chase for that purpose. 
Due to the skills of Squire Golas, Reccared's Hunting-enthusiastic protege, they managed to track down and catch a fallow-deer in no time, and while the animal was butchered, Aldwyn finally saw his chance to express his concern with Reccared not having any kids yet. Not even bastards. Was he made of stone down below? Reccared simply stated that while his path might not be easy, Lady Adwen was worthy of the effort. Aldwyn was confused, but was placated when Reccared told him that he was actively courting the Lady Adwen, with Count Roderick even considering it.

A Few Weeks Later...

At Sarum, Pentecost was, as always, the time where the Count would find a new direction for Salisbury.
During the winter, old Sir Amig had passed away, leaving Salisbury without a Dapifer, and there were many knights interested in replacing him, among those was old Sir Caradoc, who had already begun campaigning for this alongside his trusty, dim-witted friend, Sir Bar the Giant. And while the knights vied for support among their fellows, the Court was opened by Count Roderick, who began with raising a toast to the memory of proud Amig, who had served since the days of Roderic’s father.
Then, he could tell of the news. The King had asked Salisbury to accompany him north to Linden. But, for our heroes, the focus was elsewhere. 
When the young rising stars of Salisbury were asked for their opinion, they said that Count Roderick should ride with the King, while they volunteered to go to the Prince. At Christmas, they had already made a promise that they would join Madoc in raiding the Saxon ships along the coast, just like Aurelius Ambrosius once did. Sending the Heroes of Mearcred Creek might be a good way to placate Prince Madoc if he was not to receive a full retinue from Salisbury. And after a bit of deliberation, Count Roderick agreed. 
Along with Sir Bar, whose size made it impossible for him to travel that far north due to the strain he placed on the horses, and Sir Branoc the Sailor, who was Aurelius' mentor in the Knightly arts, this was the retinue of knights that was sent to Prince Madoc.

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Also, the players really did not want to get involved in Uther's bullshit trip to smack around a Duke.

Some of my favorite NPKs from Roderick’s Household now joins the crew. 
Sir Bar is the indecisive, big, burly knight who seems to have giant’s blood in him. In my mind, he’s the bastard son of Sir Caradoc the 13th, one of the big name knights in Uther’s days. The players have taken a shine to him after they became Vassal Knights.
Sir Branoc the Sailor is the knight who Aurelius squired for, and whose biggest claim to fame was the Frisian Invasion under Aurelius Ambrosius. He’s a loner and a bit weird, but fiercely loyal to Roderick. In my head, he’s secretly in love with the Count, but that’s not a story just yet.

A few days later, the group sat off to Hantonne.
At the coast, they found the royal fleet, where the banner of Prince Madoc, heir of Logres, was flying high above all else. This was a group of young knights, like themselves, from all over southern Logres.
They presented themselves to Madoc, who at first was displeased with Salisbury’s numbers, but that was quickly forgotten when he realized who the knights of the retinue were. After all, they were both heroes as well as some of the knights he were amiable towards.

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Well. It pays off being on good terms with a prince.

Before an assembled host, Madoc held a speech. This time, it was a different sort of fight. Not a hunt for Glory or Loot, but swift and decisive strikes, setting fire to the ships and rushing back into the sea as fast as possible. It was a matter of strategy! And this time, they were fighting for Logres, not just themselves or their liege.

Under the careful guidance of the old Admiral Gwynwyn, the fleet set off up along the coast. Days passed with sailing, nights were spent ashore. Sir Branoc, the only knight of the group who had sailed before, told them of the dangers of the water, especially when wearing armor. And he told them tall tales from the Frisian Campaign, where Reccared’s father had reportedly made a charge from the ship immediately after hitting shore, sending the Frisian defenders into disarray before they had time to react.
The young knight marveled at the sights at sea, and wondered why they had never done this before. Night fell, they made a quick camp as the first target was in sight. On the coastline of Sussex, the small settlement of Pevensy hosted King Ælle’s fleet, and it seemed like the Saxons had little reason to expect an attack . 
In the faint hours before dawn, the Britons were silent as their ships descended on the South Saxons, leaping from the ships to make way for the torch-wielding sailors. Aldwyn roared and lead the Salisburians forward into the fray...

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This first was an easy one. The GPC is a bit vague on what it wants you to do, so I ended up ruling it like this. Each raid is a single round of Battle, as per the KAP5.2, not using the Book of Battle. Then, I randomly roll a d6 for the amount of rounds they need to handle in an Extended Melee. They had to stay to fight for three rounds, as they carved down people left and right. The honor of commander fell to Aldwyn, and it was pretty well earned, as he aced that first Battle roll.

Morning dawned as the fleet sailed onwards, leaving burning ships behind them. During the sail, our heroes had high spirits, and even spotted a whale off the bow of their ship. It felt like a sign of good fortune.

A day or so later, the fleet approached the old roman harbor town of Dover. 
The pattern repeated itself, and spirits were high, and when they sailed onto shore in the wee hours of dawn, chaos came ashore along with them.
Aldwyn, filled with the rush of battle and to stand beside his sworn brothers, kept a cool head, and lead them forward. But, that when his sharp eyes on the battlefield allowed him to spot a quite well-dressed Saxon man, his arms and armor giving him the distinct air of a nobleman, surrounded by equally well-armed noblemen. They fell on the bodyguards, eager to lay their hands on that Saxon wastrel, but the hunt was cut short as the horns sounded from the fleet behind them. The Kentish fleet was already ablaze. But the prize was right in front of them!

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Yeah. Proud and Reckless are really hard Traits to deal with. Poor Aldwyn was caught between a rock and a hard place, even though he critted the Battle roll!

They could make it. He roared forward "We'll take that Thane, even if we'll have to carve ourselves through a wall of all the Saxons in Kent to set foot in British territory once more!" and the knight’s blades and spears then carved a way through the bodyguards, with Aldwyn finally slamming his spearshaft into the guts of the Saxon noble and promptly dragging him towards the shore
Here, the boats had already begun to leave; arrows from the Saxon reinforcements were beginning to rain down on them from the white cliffs above. However, our retreating heroes had all decided to wear armor in this battle, and not all of them understood what that meant for swimming, but Sir Branoc, with experience on sea, had prepared ropes for them all to hold onto while they were dragged onto the deck. All made it, even the thane. 
All, except Aldwyn, who tripped in the chest-high water and did not resurface.
If it hadn’t been for brave Sir Bar jumping into the water to save a drowning Aldwyn, this would have been the end for him right then and there, but the immense strength of Sir Bar dragged both Aldwyn and himself back onto the embarking ship, out into open water again.

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Swimming is dangerous! Originally, I called for STR checks to drag themselves onboard…. Which Aldwyn promptly failed, thus he was going to drown next round unless he could make the Swim check.
Fortunately, Bar was too dumb/brave to not leave a friend behind (He rolled Reckless/Prudent, with Reckless winning) and leapt into the waves, pulling Aldwyn up on a solid critical Swimming Check. That was real close. I was prepared to see people drown on this, but they group had bonded so well with Bar and Branoc, that there was a chance of getting their bacon saved.

On the following day, Madoc came aboard their ship, and had quite a few words to say to Aldwyn and his folly, beginning with the words “Do I need to speak louder if I am going to reach all the way up there?!”.  After an awe inspiring chastising that seemed to last for hours, the matter was settled. The prince was going to spare Aldwyn, but demanded half the ransom of the Saxon noble to forget about this little debacle. 

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Thank God for Madoc’s Arbitrary 17… But, it also means that Aldwyn needs to work to get back on Madoc’s good side.
This entire debacle was also what we call a 9 on the Aldwyn Scale of Dumb Decisions, so far, the highest mark.

The fleet sailed forward, aiming for quite fight as they journeyed up the Blackwater River. The port of Maldon was reportedly the place where the East Saxons of Aethelswith, the recently arrived Saxon warlord, had placed his fleet.
But, much to their surprise, there were only a few ships at Maldon. They sat them alight, and sailed on. The Admiral thought the Saxons might have moved their ships further up the coast. The course was set back to the coast, and at the mouth of the River Colne, they found a Saxon fleet, ready to meet them on the water.
The clash was brutal, the riverbed running red with both Briton and Saxon blood, and the Salisburians were heavily outnumbered as the Saxons poured onto their ship. When the sun finally broke through the rain which had been pouring down all morning, it was clear that they had taken heavy losses.
But, the Saxons had been defeated. The cowards running for their lives and the Britons running them down one by one, with all of our heroes eagerly partaking in routing the hated Saxons!
Aurelius found Sir Branoc, heavily wounded, beneath the corpse of a Saxon. 
Fortunately, Aurelius always knew his way with a bandage, and the bleeding was staunched and Sir Branoc averted death yet another time.
In the aftermath, the Saxon ships were pulled ashore and burnt as their crew were left the feed the crows and fish. Madoc, for his part, seemed to be satisfied with the performance of the Salisburians, as they had managed to fight off some of the fiercest of the Saxons.

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Yeah. Ouch, this was a really drawn out, harsh fight. One of my players have commented that it really feels like an actual Battle fatigue once you’ve been in a battle in Pendragon. In a good way. 
Which I can relate to. I rolled a single opposed round for each of the NP-Knights, and while Bar both attacks on his Saxons, Branoc ended up suffering a major wound, which was not healthy for the old salt.
I also ran Fighting on a Ship a bit like the rule with Spears. 
You can take a -5 Modifier to step carefully on the ship, ignore it and roll DEX if you miss with an Attack roll as to not fall in the water. Same goes for Knockdown; that will send you off the boat into the drink. All of those could be countered with a successful Boating check at the start of the Battle


After a few days in Yarmouth, the Briton fleet met with reinforcements, and continued up north, towards the murky waters near the Wash, where yet another fleet of Saxons met them. But, for our four knights? The Battle of the Wash was.... a wash. 
As battle was joined, a stray arrow pierced a part of the rudder on the Salisburian ship, causing them to drift aimlessly while witnessing a bloody naval battle before them, an injured Branoc doing his best to make sure they did not drift off in the sea..

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Well, due to our sessions often being a bit longer than normal in regards to gameplay, and us only having 4 hours to play, this was where I had to end it, so I decided to pull the plug on their participation in the Naval Battles, so I wanted to throw them a curveball and make them roll Boating to see if they drifted ashore in Saxon territory or in Briton territory.
After realizing how little Boating any of them had, I had Sir Branoc, who had quite a Wound on him, do the roll. He still made it though, but it was quite close that the Aggravation from the journey as well as this little stunt had done him in.

Finally, after nearly three weeks spent at sea, our knights finally ended their journey on the coast of Linden, as the fleet finally disbanded. Now, they could place Branoc in the proper care of a local monastery, while they waited for the disbandment of the fleet.
Prince Madoc was pleased, but no victory was without sacrifices, as Admiral Gwynwyn had been slain by a Saxon foeman during the clash. His ship, the old Armorican vessel, became his pyre, as befitted such an old servant of Britain.
The four assembled friends were sombre, but agreed that if they could avoid getting into more battles at sea, it would be for the better. Then, it dawned on them. How were they supposed to get home if not by ship? After all, Linden was quite removed from Salisbury.
Aldwyn suggested they’d walk up to Roestoc, his homeland, and acquire some horses from his aunt and uncle, the Queen and King of Roestoc. That’s when Graid finally realized that Aldwyn hadn’t been lying when he had claimed that his aunt was a Queen in a northern kingdom.
But, that’s when they heard the rumors from the Prince’s retinue. Their path had been swift enough for them to beat Uther to Linden, and thus, much to their chagrin, our four heroes found themselves wrapped into the very same political quagmire that they hoped to avoid by taking this task at sea!
Uther was coming to Linden, to show of Excalibur and “kindly” remind the Duke here who he was serving under…

At least Madoc wasn’t angry with them anymore.

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On 12/27/2019 at 4:29 PM, KungFuFenris said:

You can take a -5 Modifier to step carefully on the ship, ignore it and roll DEX if you miss with an Attack roll as to not fall in the water. Same goes for Knockdown; that will send you off the boat into the drink. All of those could be countered with a successful Boating check at the start of the Battle

I love this little houserule, especially the boating check. In my campaign, I remember only one occurence when I asked for a boating roll.

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On 12/27/2019 at 4:29 PM, KungFuFenris said:

On the following day, Madoc came aboard their ship, and had quite a few words to say to Aldwyn and his folly, beginning with the words “Do I need to speak louder if I am going to reach all the way up there?!”.  After an awe inspiring chastising that seemed to last for hours, the matter was settled. The prince was going to spare Aldwyn, but demanded half the ransom of the Saxon noble to forget about this little debacle. 

I probably would have been a bit harsher, taking away the whole ransom. Leaving Aldwyn with the Glory but no material benefit for having disobeyed the order to retreat. But YPWV.

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13 hours ago, Morien said:

I probably would have been a bit harsher, taking away the whole ransom. Leaving Aldwyn with the Glory but no material benefit for having disobeyed the order to retreat. But YPWV.

I was considering that, but Aldwyn was in his good graces, and Madoc consider the lanky knight to be a future asset.
Mostly after their previous interactions. (It came down to an opposed Just/Arbitrary roll.) 

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Session 08 - The Great Feast at Linden Pool 

As he had sustained grave wounds on the battlefield, Sir Branoc was brought to be cared for at a convent near the coast of Wash.
After a few talks with the rest of the assembled host, it did not take long for the young knights to realize that King Uther would reach Linden Pool, as Madoc intented to rendezvous with his father at the castle of the Duke Corneus.
As their Lord Roderick would be riding along with the King, the four of them scraped their plans of walking to Roestoc, and joins the prince as he rides for Linden.
However, as they arrived in the old holdfast, it soon became clear that the Duke was nowhere to be found, much to Madoc’s consternation. According to his servants, Corneus away on business in the northern reaches of his holding.
But, neither Madoc nor the heroes were shy about making themselves guests at the Duke’s hall, waiting for the King to arrive. 

Just a scant few days later, the Royal Progress was spotted, but in the Sarum contingent, there rode a young squire named Tywyn, son of Marshal Elad and squire to his older brother, Sir Drystan. Tywyn, who was already known for his courage and his temperance, was a youth of twenty summers, and almost ready to become a knight in his own right, if only his father would pay the cost for it.
Riding to Linden was his first foray into the greater world, and while his brother had already made a name for himself as a staunch defender of Salisbury, Tywyn was still just Sir Elad’s spare. However, that was all about to change.

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Say hello to the fifth knight of the group. Tywyn is a pretty cool kid; his player wanted to play a local, when everyone else were kinda foreigners. 
But his father's glory during the Book of Sire generation went of the freaking charts, amounting to 6000+, so we ended up saying he was the son of Marshal Elad. It does cause a few issues with the inheirtance, so we also made him the second son.
As for now, he's a 20 year old Squire and pretty enthusiastic about the whole thing.

A Bow and Stable Hunt.
While the Royal Progress was one of the finest that had been seen here in Linden for many years, as the King was even being accompanied by the renowned heroes of Logres, such as Sir Arnoullant the Fair and Sir Caradoc the 13th, it did little to impress or intimidate Corneus, as the duke was not present.
As the King was greeted with the news of a missing Duke, the only thing that could ease his anger was the prospects of taking view of some of Linden’s countryside in the only manner that befitted a King. A hunt.

Within hours, the scouts were in motion, and early the next morning, King Uther sat out on a classic Bow and Stable Hunt, where he desired to be in the field himself. The entire Royal Progress sat up camp in the woods near the hunting grounds, an old riverbed covered in woods.
Our friends, having greeted their Lord with news of the raids and Sir Branoc’s state, sat out that morning as well. While Sir Aldwyn took to the field along with Sir Graid, Aurelius took to the bow and Reccared decided that the hunt was best spent socializing at the gathering of knights and ladies in the camp behind the archers. 

As for Sir Drystan, son of the Marshal, he took to the field as well, alongside his Squire, but due to his lack of patience, he sat his eyes on the worst possible prey, as he unknowingly targeted the same stag as King Uther, much to his squire’s horror. 
Before the pursuing Drystan could spear the fleeing stag, King Uther had lobbed his spear at the same target and with his practiced accuracy, he pierced the prey’s vitals, causing it to stumble and then promptly trip and fall, leaving it right in the path of Sir Drystan’s galloping horse; in turn, that horse tripped as well and both horse and rider were sent into the ground, a fall accompanied by the pained sound of a horse breaking a leg. 
Tywyn, rushing to his brother’s aid, cannot hope to move the horse of the overeager knight, and the royal glare from Uther is fixated on the loss of his chosen prey.
Fortunately for all, Sir Caradoc, the almost giant-like knight, had accompanied the King on the hunt, and with little fanfare, Caradoc lifted the horse up, allowing Drystan to escape without being choked to death; Caradoc then promptly euthanized the horse with a well-placed blade.
Having suffered enough by his injuries from the fall, the King seemed to have found that God punished Drystan so Uther wouldn’t have to, and departs, the Royal Ire not stirred.

Meanwhile, Aldwyn’s fortune at this hunt was not great, but Graid had quite the catch as he rode down a six-pointer stag right at the edge of the killing fields. Aurelius, on the other hand, had little success with the bow, but a few pheasants did find their end on his arrows.
As for Reccared? He had spent the hunt being delightful company to the women of the court while having kept his goblet full.

As the sun was setting, the hunt was ended, and Uther was satisfied enough. There would be venison enough for him to be properly catered until Corneus returned.

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I found the rules for a Bow and Stable Hunt, as it felt right not to go all on a big Hunt out right now. Lordly Domains is a pretty cool little book. Plus, it allowed for Reccared to stay back from the utter catastophe his hunting skills seem to be. Irony of ironies that his father was given a Chase by the former King.

The Squire Talk.
After having placed his knight in bed, Tywyn joined the rest of the squires at the campfire outside of Linden.
Curious on the exploits of the rising stars of Sarum’s knights, he sought out their squires. While they were younger than him, they had all manners of stories to tell. Especially of the tense raiding along the coast.

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Tywyn is seated along with the young squires of the PKs, who have a lot of strange things to say about their knights. A good way to bring in a new player knight to talk with the peanut gallery. Tywyn is also the brother of Graid’s wife, and related to darn near most of the county Salisbury. That’s what one get for being Salisburian, an increased chance of incest through dating in the local area.
Currently, we have four squires besides Tywyn. 

  • Squire Ionas, who serves Aldwyn, and is a hell of a gambler. 
  • Squire Golas, who serves Reccared, and is the son of Bailiff Cadry, and has a knack for hunting.
  • Squire Felix, second son of Sir Terran of Swallowcliff, who has a certain way with the fairer sex.
  • And Squire Cormac, a fifth son of Sir Baldwin de Dinton, who was taught to read.

I hope these guys can be some of the future badass knights of Salisbury.
If they're not horribly killed by the madness their knights are prone to get themselves into.

Squire Ionas, spoke a lot about the raids, especially how close they came to disaster at Maldon and he was supported by Squire Golas, who really couldn’t believe they all survived. They could agree that Sir Bar, was one of the only reasons why everyone got out alive. Then, the talk fell on their previous adventures with their knights, and they had stories of the victory at the Creek as well as the whole madness surrounding Merlin and the Sword Lake.
Finally, the other squires asked a lot about Tywyn’s brother, and if he was going to be okay. At some point however, they noticed Felix had wandered off, and was chatting up one of the local serving maids, and the entire group of young men just groaned in envy as those two snuck off together to a hidden corner in a tent somewhere.

Feast at Linden Pool.
A few days later, Corneus finally returned but afterwards, there’s obviously a mood in the hall, as the Duke quite wary of what the King is intending to do during this visit. 
The same goes for our heroes, who are not anywhere close to being in the mood for brute force politics; the very same agendas they had hoped to avoid by joining Madoc at sea. 
But, in the middle of the feast, as if the King finally had enough of Corneus’ uneasy and furtive glances, Uther decided to have Merlin share the tale of Excalibur with the entire court, and afterwards, he asks the son of the honorable Sir Perrin, young Sir Reccared de Toulouse, to recount the tale of Sword Lake. Reccared stood up, and with the well-spoken story he then shared with the assembled hall, he managed to make all of them pay rapt attention.

And the end of his tale, the King rose from his seat, and drew the sword Excalibur which gleaming with an inner light, breaking away all the smoke from the room.
An awestruck Corneus knelt before the King and promptly swore his undying support to Uther, and as if by the drop of a needle, the mood of the hall changed as all the knights now knew for certain they were on the same side. Reccared recieved a nod of Royal Approval, and was later told that the King rewarded him by expanding his rights in the Chase that his father had been given. All in all, a fine reward for Reccared, though, one that he still wasn't all that great at using.

Merriment followed, especially at the Salisburian table, but in the middle of these festivities, Sir Elad, a well-known man of stoic and patient nature, was charged by Count Roderick to undertake a mission of diplomacy on the crowns behalf. 
Elad was to travel to the cumbrian Kingdom of Malahaut; to secure the support of the Centurion King in the coming wars. Roderick also told that Elad was expected to bring his oldest son, Drystan, which meant Tywyn had to spend winter serving somewhere else, as bringing his heir and his spare beyond the country's borders might be risky. 
Sir Elad asked his former pupils, and Sir Reccared in particular, and left them with the expectation that they’d put Tywyn through the same wringer as he placed them through. After all, the reward for this task would mean that Squire Tywyn could be knighted next year if he proves himself, and as the son of Marshal Elad One-Eye, he damn well better prove himself.
Early next morning, Drystan and Elad were northward bound, in the company of the proud Sir Jareth and Sir Mors, who was a Cumbrian himself.
The rest of the Salisburians journeyed back south with the Royal Progress, all of them eager to return to home and hearth again.

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Well. Someone has to do the stuff the PKs did not want to do. There was another Feast here, but I really can’t recall the specifics of that one. Except that Reccared won that one. Especially after critting his Orate to tell about Sword Lake again.


Returning to Salisbury.
When our heroes returned to Salisbury a few weeks later, the lands near Graid’s lands at Stapleford were in odd shape. Many roofs had been destroyed all across the hundred, but most of them had been centred around his manor.
When he rode to his hall, his beloved Aline could tell him what had happened. Their houses had been rummaged through by a trio of grey-skinned, salt-crusted giants, that seemed to be searching for something in particular as they had not hurt anyone intentionally nor had they attacked anyone. And Graid’s manor had been their goal, as they had torn off the roof and looked through every nook and cranny, before giving up and wandered off towards the Forest of Gloom. Neither Aline nor the baby had been harmed, but the damages were costly both in monetary value as well as in goodwill from the local peasantry. Graid, as a Cornishman, knew that giants were no laughing matter. And didn’t one of his ancestors fight a trio of sea giants? Many questions were left unanswered, as a few weeks later winter fell on Salisbury and Logres, which spelled the end of 487.
 

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