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The Pendragon Chronicles - My Attempt at the GPC


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Session 09 - A Just Hunt

Four knights, five squires and their respective mesnie rode down to Newton in the late days of March.
The four knights greeted each other as brothers, and Aldwyn laid out the situation. 

Not two days ago, the bandits had ambushed a travelling tradesman and stripped him of oxen, tools and life. The trail might be a few days old, but at least it was there.
The hunt was on and the band entered the woods for an old-fashioned bandit-hunt. Due to the sharp eyes of Squire Golas and Squire Tywyn, the outlaws were located within hours; they had made their hideout in an old wood-covered gully and down in a few burrows that might once have sheltered a bear.

The bandits seemed to have established themselves well, with both little shelters but also quite large tents. As the group scouted out the camp, they spotted a trio of bandits returning from the woods and a lone figure on horseback departing in the other direction. Most of the bandits were clad in furs and flax, while Golas managed to make out something that might have been a woolen cloak. But, before the squire could tell his knight of this oddity, the charge was sounded.

The knights charged into the gulch, swords drawn with all intent to send as many outlaws as possible to the afterlife, scattering the rest of them to the winds.
And between armed, armored riders against outlaws with spears and slings, it was not hard to imagine the outcome. 
Blood mixed with the mud, as the knights took down several bandits each. It became clear that chaos made it difficult to spot whoever was the leader here, but every knight and squire fought like beasts to end this once and for all. That’s when one of the bandits who had returned from the woods, made a dash towards there.
Sir Reccared barely had time to take notice, as he was locked in melee, but still ordered his squire Golas to apprehend the coward, something that he didn’t need to say twice as the wild-haired squire spurred his horse and sat off in pursuit. At that very second, a score of slingers began raining down large stones at the advancing knights, and one of them sent one well-placed stone at Reccared, and it found its mark against the Aquitanian's helmet, sending him sprawling to the ground, at the mercy of the nearby hoodlum.
Fortune still favored our friend, as Reccared managed to roll beneath his horse while dodging the descending club, and with a stroke of his sword, he carved across the bandit’s shins, sending that one to the ground in a wail of pain.
Aurelius and Tywyn fought valiantly, each holding their own against the foe, downing bandits left and right, while Aldwyn and Graid rode up the hillside; where of them each with spear in hand, deftly stabbed their way through the slingers, their point shedding blood across the snow and grime.
As sudden as it had begun, the battle was won, and all the bandits were either slain or were swiftly joining their comrades as the blood poured from them. Only a few of them escaped, and while a few bandits might prove a problem in the future, this pack of hoodlums would not trouble them again. 
That's when they all noticed that Squire Golas was nowhere to be seen. The party took up pursuit, but the squire was quite gone.
To cover more ground, they decided to split up.
Aldwyn, Tywyn and Reccared rode towards the northern slopes of the hills, while Aurelius and Graid headed towards the old ravines on the southern slopes of the forest.
In spite of the snow having covered most of the woods, it was clear that both the bandit and Golas had left no trail visble that the rest of them could follow.

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Hunting is not the strongest suit of this party which is why they love having Squire Golas around and the kid's Hunting 16.
It came dangerously close for Reccared to bite a Major Wound though, as he fell prone from his horse when that sling hit him.

An hour passed, and the sun was slowly setting.
Aldwyn, Tywyn and Reccared had little luck in their search, and neither did Aurelius and Graid.
In fact, those latter two were utterly lost, with neither of them having the slightest clue how to navigate this forest.

Then, they heard the most curious sound. The sound of a pack of hounds barking in a curious and otherworldly unison.
For Aurelius, born and raised in the church, this sent chills down his spine. In the frosty mist before them, it was quite clear something was amiss, yet, they shunned their fear, and advanced. But, as they found the source of the sound, they could not help but stare in wonder and bewilderment at the creature before them.
The body of a spotted leopard, the haunches and tail of a mighty lion, the serpentine neck and head and the fleet hooves of a deer, with the sound of a pack of hounds barking from it’s belly. Before them stood the Beast Glatisant, the Questing Beast of Myth. And it was calmly taking a drink of icy water from the small pool before them as with every breath, hounds barked in unison. Entranced by the chance to capture such a fine prey, Graid moved forward with his hunting spear, and all it took was a broken branch, before the creature looked up, and with a wail, darted away from the pool, with Graid and Aurelius in hot pursuit of the massive beast, who ran with a speed that seemed impossible given it's size.
The hunting horn boomed across the forest, and the rest of the knights followed the sound, but as soon as they had found the two aspiring huntsmen, the beast was nowhere to be found. It took a few attempts to understand what they had just seen.

Dismayed, they made camp for the night, hoping to find Squire Golas by making a light for him to follow. Surprisingly, the young squire found them before they had even made the first piece of firewood smoke; even more surprising was the cargo he was dragging behind him. The de-souled body of a man, clad in mail and a surcoat colored in heraldic colors. It was quite clear that the man had been an important soul, but Aurelius managed, much to his consternation, to identify the man as a knight of Silchester, the old rival of Salisbury.
Golas had apparently given chase to the bandit leader, who had darted for a nearby cave, where a horse had been hidden alongside with a small cache of knightly weapons. The leader had dressed himself in the mail and the surcoat, and it was quite clear by the stature of this man, he was no common bandit. This was a knight of Silchester, who had been disguised as a bandit. Golas then told of how he had attempted to force a surrender out of the knave, but there had been no quarter given and it was only due to his skills with a thrown spear that he hadn’t been slain right then and there.

Graid and Aldwyn rode down to the aforementioned cave along with Golas, while Reccared’s wounds were tended to by a clearly stressed Aurelius, who only managed to make matters worse. Here, they found the horse as well as the knight’s belongings, and it was quite clear this string of banditry had been directed by a knight of Silchester.
A devious ploy, if a bit strange.

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As of writing, this plot thread is still left hanging. The players do not trust Silchester in the least, but are unsure wheter to distrust Ulfius or Sir Blains of Levcomagus in particular.
Having Golas take down a knight? Well. Crit happens.

They returned to Newton, having left the corpses of the bandits for the crows and the peasants to bury the following morning. After all, this was their knightly duty. To defend the peasants with weapon in hand. The peasants had a duty to care for the land, which included removing corpses.

Sir Reccared was quite impressed with his own squire, and a lot of words were spoken in those days if Golas had a chance of becoming a knight before his twenty-first year. 

As for Squire Tywyn, his father was quite pleased with the news of his second son’s prowess in battle, and decided that investments had to be made. The old family manor on the shores of the River Wylve, by peasantry known as Wylve Manor, among the nobles remembered as Brightholt, was in need of being taken care of by able hands, now that the older Drystan was meant to inherit Vagon from his father.
In missives between Count Roderick and Marshal Elad, it soon became clear that it was the wisest decision to hand over Brightholt to Tywyn, to avoid giving too much land to a reckless young knight like Sir Drystan. That spring, there were a lot of agitated words spoken between Sir Drystan and Sir Elad in Castle Vagon, but the young hellion relented at last, though his sense of justice had been slighted quite profusely.

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There'll be a lot more to speak of in regards to Tywyn and his brother in the sessions to come. As far as the player has established, the two of them never really got along.
While Elad and Roderick thought making them both Vassal Knights were a good idea, they might grow to regret it later.

 

Pentecost at Sarum

As the chill of early spring subsided, the knights of Salisbury once more gathered in Sarum. 
The great estate holders of Sarum, Sir Hywel the Widower, Marshal Elad and Sir Seith of Elmstump were already assembled and had quite the grim expression when the rest of the knights assembled in the great hall. The reason for this was announced as soon as they had all been seated.

During the winter, the old warhorse, Sir Amig of Streamsfield, had died in his sleep, his advanced age finally catching up with him, as he departed the land of the living at the tender age of 64. A lot of great words were said about Sir Amig, about the immense moustache the man had carefully cultivated, his deeds in the March of Aurelius and the dark years under Vortigern. Amig had been a much beloved knight, and one of the reasons why the court had been so calm over the last ten years. Many a toast was made in his honor.
However, his grandson and heir, Sir Math, was not really feeling to reminence about his departed grandfather's deeds.
Squire Tywyn, as his mother was an aunt to Sir Math, went to speak with his cousin, hoping to figure out what caused him to be so grim. It was quite a concerning topic. Sir Bedwor, the Sheriff of Salisbury and Uther’s right hand man in these parts, had decided that the estate of Sir Amig was to be taken under more thorough evaluation, due to the King’s Right of Primer Seisin, and it would at best take several years before the matter was completely settled. After all, this was a matter of all of Amig’s sons having died before him, so the heirs were one of his many grandsons. Math, being the oldest, was expected to inherit, but it seemed like the King’s man was set on making a display of Royal power in Salisbury and delaying the process on purpose.

When Tywyn relayed this to Sir Reccared and his friends at the table, it gave a small measure of outrage, but also a understanding that this was the way of Kings to handle it as such. To say anything else would be inviting the King’s Ire. This little gathering of frustration was broken up by Sir Caradoc and Sir Bar the Tall, the two household knights at Sarum and old comrades of the group. With a smile and assuring word, Caradoc had Bar pour all of them a cup of the good ale he had procured from a trader from Hantonne, using money from the gift he had been give for taking a spear for Elad at Mearcred Creek. The ale was sweet and nutlike, and Caradoc left them with another quip and a memory of the departed Sir Amig, before he walked to the next table with Bar lifting the keg as if it was nothing.

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I try to give the Household Knights and the Vassal Knights as much personality as possible.
Enter! Knight Politics. I know this is not exactly how these things would progress. Buuuuut. It's a better game.

Then, a few moments later, Count Roderick silenced the hall to make an announcement.
The untimely death of Sir Amig had left a small hole in the Count’s officer staff. The position of Dapifer was now open, and Roderick announced that on this Pentecost, he intended to find a replacement. He would consider this in council with the senior knights as well as the most respected knights in his service.
It soon became clear what was going on. Politics were afoot in Sarum, much to the chagrin of our heroes. All of them began to inquire in different parts of the hall.
The three tables of the hall were now clearly three factions among the knights. 
At the left of the lord there was the table where our heroes had usually seated themselves. Alongside them were several household knights, such as Aldwyn’s uncle Mors and Reccared’s namesake uncle, Reccared the Red. It was a table where the young, ambitious knights were seated alongside those who had foreign names and little land of their own. They coined their own grouping as the Table of the Motley, named for the many-colored pieces of cloth that kept wax from dripping onto the wooden table.

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Thus begins the joke of Tywyn being realted to almost the entire county of Salisbury.
Which... is not really wrong, as the knightly families of Salisbury must intermarry quite a lot. Tywyn is the cousin of Adwen as well, and his uncle is, while not a knight, still the Herald of Sarum.

In the middle, there was an assembly of vassal knights centred around Sir Hywel the Widower, a just man and estate holder who managed several hundred courts, where many of the established vassal knights had their primary network, like Sir Cadry of Tisbury, Squire Golas’ father, as well as Sir Amig’s heir, Math. 
This was dubed as the Table of the Coin, a group of moderates, named for the old roman coin that was lodged between two boards at the end of the table. 

And finally, to the right hand of the high table, there was an assortment of more ambitious knights, many of them either household knights themselves, or vassal knights themselves but with deep roots in Logres and Salisbury especially. Primary among them was Sir Seith of Elmstump, an estate holder in his own right, and known as the second richest man in Salisbury, but also as a man of ruthless cunning with several knights beneath him. 
At this table one could also find Sir Bedo of Cheverell and Imber, the Huntsmaster of Sarum, as well as Sir Dallwyr, who the group had already had dealings with, along with his son and heir. This was the Table of the Banner, named so because the banner of Salisbury could be seen on the wall next to them.

For the next hour, the talk between knights became quite intense.
Deals were made and contested, and every table had their own favorites. But, due to Tywyn and Aurelius being quite well-versed intriguers, it soon became clear that the Count would probably consider those who his knights would advise him on.
The Motley Table had their own Sir Caradoc running around and making friends, but most saw him as a bit of a joke, a lecherous old knight with precious few years left on the battlefield. The Coin Table was putting forward the idea of Sir Drystan ap Elad, Tywyn’s brother, as they thought it would be a fine was to prepare Drystan for one day to succeed his father as Marshal. And the Banner Table were putting forward Sir Seith himself. No one knew why, but a attentive Tywyn finally learned from Sir Dallwyr’s son, that Seith had his sight set on the position as Marshal as well, and hoped to stymie Elad’s chances of having his son succeed him by becoming Dapifer himself.
The group began to consider if Drystan was their best bet, as having him as Dapifer meant having a more idealistic man ready to be Marshal once Elad passes, and thus pushing the devious Sir Seith even further away from the position.

But, Graid, having not been in touch with the rest of the group, had already been talking with Drystan, and convinced the young knight that a life as a baronial officer was nice, but it did little to earn him the Glory that he would need to live up to the legacy his father left for him. Afterall, his current most notable deed had been to ruin a prey that King Uther had wanted to take for himself. As if a fire had just been lit in Sir Drystan’s eyes, he approached Roderick, and asked for him not to consider him for the office, as he still had many battles to be fought and much glory to be won and Roderick just agreed, seemingly having accepted that Drystan was not a candidate.

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*facepalm*
Little coordination goes a long way
😅

When Aldwyn heard that, the plan fell apart. They would have to go all in to support Sir Caradoc. Easier said than done, as the man had a reputation as a lecher and a drunk, whose most notable skill was to swing an axe and have affairs with nuns. However, he was dilligent and faithful. Qualities that the group managed to spin to the advantage that Roderick would never have a dull feast again, as well as the most faithful dapifer he could wish for, as Caradoc was an older man who had little besides the chance to become an officer.

Finally, after the roast quails had been served, Roderick asked a few various knights of their opinion on the matter. He first talked to the estate holders and his other officers, but also called for quite a few vassal knights to hear their opinions. Both Aldwyn and Reccared were asked to approach, as they had been the most notable among the vassal knights in recent years. Both of them tried to sell Count Roderick on the idea of Caradoc as Dapifer, but Roderick's reaction to the idea was quite hard to read.

However, in the end, it was Caradoc that was announced to become the new Dapifer of Sarum, a task that he was sure to excel at.
The festivities were short-lived however, as Roderick also announced that a muster had been called for by the king, to assemble at the White City of Hantonne and while it was not too far, there was a lot of concern of where this coming muster would take them. Would it be facing off against the Saxons that menanced the shores of Britannia? Would it be against Cornwall? Would it be against those Franks that had been mentioned at a certain point in the previous year?
No one knew where Uther would command them to go.

But, it was certain they would need all the Knights that could be assembled which made Marshal Elad call forward his second son; Roderick took Tywyn ap Elad in view, heard the supporting testimonies from our heroes who had trained young Tywyn, and declared that Tywyn would be knighted on this very day.
Several other squires were brought forward as well and then preparations were made and the hall was cleared for the ceremony, and then the young squires who stepped forward one by one. As the son of the marshal, Tywyn was called up first before Roderick, who was placed on the Seat of Sarum.

Tywyn’s uncle Dyfan, the Herald of Salisbury stepped forward and began: “Tywyn ap Elad, come forth and kneel before the throne.” he said, as arms and spurs were placed before Tywyn. 
Be it known to all men” the herald continued, “that I, Roderick, Count of Salisbury, am minded to raise Tywyn ap Elad by virtue of his honor, loyalty, valor, and skill at arms, to the high rank of knighthood.” “Tywyn ap Elad,” Herald Dyfan continued “do your swear and acknowledge Roderick of Salisbury to be to be your true and lawful liege?”. This was promptly followed with an eager “I do so swear” by Tywyn. 
The herald then spoke again; “Do you also swear fealty to Uther Pendragon, to defend and obey him until he depart the throne, or death shall take you?”  and Tywyn firmly affirmed that oath as well. Roderick then rose from his seat and went to the kneeling Tywyn; and with the traditional statement: “Let this be the last blow you receive without just recourse.” the Count smacked the squire across the face, almost toppling the kneeling Tywyn. Barely still on his knees, Tywyn heard his uncle dictate the next part of the oath and he followed promptly; “I, Tywyn ap Elad, do solemnly swear and pledge my sword to Roderick of Salisbury, my liege, to defend and obey him until he departs his demenses or death shall take me, and to uphold the honor of knighthood.” And Roderick replied in turn “And I, for my part, do swear to defend and honor Tywyn ap Elad as befits a true knight.” and placed the sword on both his shoulders, “I dub thee Sir Tywyn of Brightholt. Receive now your spurs, your right to suitable arms, and take this my sword, to serve at your side and defend me well. Arise, Sir Knight!
As the ceremony repeated itself a few times, there was an intense atmosphere building inside the hall; once the formal part was done Tywyn found himself dragged outside by his new friends, out into the yard, where a horse had been saddled. He was promptly dressed in his armor, and told to make a running leap onto the horse and into the saddle. A crowd of knights gathered to see the newly minted knights make the Leap as they once had.
Much to his own chagrin and the bemusement of his fellow knights, Tywyn missed the saddle, but Sir Reccared, went to pick up Tywyn, and alongside his hand, Reccared offered the assurance that this little rite did not matter in the slightest. After all, he did not make that Leap himself.
Which, made it a bite easier to swallow for Tywyn, as Reccared had quickly become one of the rising stars of the knights of Sarum in the span of less than four years..

Night was descending fast, but come the morning, the knights would ride towards the White City, the Royal muster, and a fate that would soon be clear to them.
After all, where the Pendragon wishes, a knight of Logres must go.

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That's it for this Session. I hope to catch a bit more up.
I had intended for them to go to Hantonne on this session, but the death of Sir Amig was just too juice a plot-thread.
The Winter Phase was really brutal, has laid groundwork for a lot of future plans.

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I love your campaign! Did you play a full session with the winter phase?

  1. When did Aurelius became married to Bethany? I thought he was courting lady Gwyona
  2. The birth of a mute girl is very intriguing, to say the least.
1 hour ago, KungFuFenris said:

the close cooperation between the newly wedded pair resulted in genuine feelings of love between them, and a blessing soon growing in Bethany’s womb. Two pregnant women in Woodford was quite the event, and also a source of much dread for poor Aurelius.

What exactly is going on at woodford? ;)

Edit: The Pentecost court is interesting as well. Is Tywyn a new player?

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4 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

I love your campaign! Did you play a full session with the winter phase?

  1. When did Aurelius became married to Bethany? I thought he was courting lady Gwyona
  2. The birth of a mute girl is very intriguing, to say the least.

What exactly is going on at woodford? ;)

Edit: The Pentecost court is interesting as well. Is Tywyn a new player?

Winter Phase is usually not the game, but we're pretty good at weaving the story together. Reg. Aurelius, he got married at the start of 488, after he realized that he was living on borrowed time as a knight, and had no children to carry his legacy on. So, he married the bastard daughter of Ulfius, due to Ulfius having known old Gessius Sertorius in Armorica.

The mute girl was amazingly fun. In regard to Woodford? Aurelius is a stressed man. As I wrote, his brother-in-law did not know his wife was pregnant when he sent her to Aurelius, and Bethany was pregnant as well. Thus, two pregnant ladies in Woodford that winter. 

Tywyn is played by our fifth player, and was introduced to the game the previous session. He is the son of Sir Elad, the Marshal of Salisbury 

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Session 10 - On Foreign Shores

Welcome back dear readers, our tale of 488 continues.
This time, we’re setting out towards Frankish shores, to square off against the invaders that claimed Soissons from the Gallo-Roman King Syagrius. The call has gone out to muster at Venta, the White City of old, where King Uther expects all of his bannermen to attend.

Our tale began with Sir Aurelius returning to his manor in Woodford, where he was received with joyful news.
His beloved wife Bethany had given birth to a baby boy while he had been away at Sarum; the birth had been difficult, and it seemed like the babe was not as healthy as one could have hoped. However, his sister Julia, while also pregnant, had been tutored in some medicinal arts that the family had remembered since the Roman times, and with her crafts, things were not as dire as they could have been. 
To his joy, Aurelius now had a son; they named him Hadrian after the emperor and the chaplain blessed the little thing to ward away ill fortune. Then, kissing his devoted wife gently on her forehead, the young knight departed once again, and promised his wife that he’d tell of her pride to either her father or her brothers once he met them at Venta.
Aurelius left Woodford behind, ready for a the duty of a knight; but still trying to shun away thoughts of when his own father, Gessius Sertorius, crossed the Narrow Sea a scant few days after Aurelius' own birth, he never returned. 

Sir Aurelius then rejoined the marching train of Salisburians a few hours later, and was greeted with joyous roars of congratulations from his sworn brothers as he told them of the birth of his son. Many words were spoken on the topic of children, which were now a blessing on both Graid, Aurelius and Aldwyn’s household, but Aldwyn did not mention the ill that had befallen his house during the cold months, he only spoke about his hale sons that brought him joy. Reccared and Tywyn, being bachelors, had little to share in this regard.

Count Roderick’s army was a large one, having mustered his strongest forces for combat. Among these knights were not only the vassals of Roderick and his household, but also several mercenary knights employed for the campaign, as to not leave Salisbury without knights during the muster. Among these, was Graid’s uncle Sior, to some known as the Mad Lancer, a Cornish Knight that had reputedly never dared to sleep in the same hall more than a day, and was of a particular odd and solitary nature.
While Graid was amiable enough with Sir Sior, his presence unnerved quite a few other knights. Reccared’s household knight, the grey-bearded Aquitanian, Sir Osric, also rode with them, and his jovial and humorous nature kept the mood in a certain balance.

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This session had a lot of new knights given a bit more screen-time, which is something I really want to make sure to have, as it helps the players form an understanding of the world around them, though it is also an artform not to overwhelm them with names.
Sir Osric is a relic from the old days, a former mercenary knight that knew Reccared’s father back in the days, who ended up becoming enamored with Lady Eloise, Reccared’s widowed mother. Strangely enough, Osirc also managed to have a kid with her, something that is quite impressive, given Eloise’s age of 43. Which means that Reccared now have a half-brother at the same age as his sworn brother’s kids!

Sir Jareth, who you'll encounter later, is my version of Sir Jarren from the corebook. Crazy high sword-skill badass and a bit of a rake.
Sir Sior is Graid's uncle, and a good example and warning about Madness. Sior has foresworn material possess except the bare minimum, and has no squire to help him. A true mercenary, who will never return to his homeland before his brother, Graid's other uncle, has died.

 

The Muster at Venta

Venta had once been a Roman city, but in these times, it was more a ruin, and the White City, while well-fortified, was now but a shadow of its former self, with the ruined areas now hosting the armies of King Uther, while the King himself held court in the Castle itself. The Castle was the seat of the Justiciar of the King, his foremost counsel of law and a seatholder in the Supreme Collegium, the same Collegium that had still not given Uther the title of High King, though with every Duke and petty King subjugated, Uther forced his way towards that title.
As the camp was made, it was not difficult to see that the muster did clearly not include the Duchy of Cornwall, as Duke Gorlois' banner was nowhere to be seen.

Eager to make up for the past mistakes, Aldwyn was quick to seek out Prince Madoc’s camp, where the prince, bemused allowed Aldwyn to talk with him, and Aldwyn tried to be as cordial as possible while he repeated that he wished to prove himself after the misunderstanding during the Naval Raids last year. Madoc was pleased enough, and said that he would make sure that wherever he was to ride this year, Salisbury would ride with him.

Aurelius sought out the Silchesterian camp, where after shortly exchanging barbed pleasantries with Sir Blains of Levcomagus, Aurelius was allowed to inform his ducal father-in-law of Bethany giving birth, which pleased the grizzled warrior, but Duke Ulfius still repeated his previous expectation, that he still wanted Aurelius to earn a higher position, fit for his daughter's heirtage, if the marriage was not to be considered a failure.

The rest of Salisbury’s interaction with the Silchester camp was not nearly as cordial.
Even before nightfall, several Salisburians had been soundly beaten by Ulfius’ men, which the deft Sir Jareth decided to avenge by thrashing four Silchester-men at once with a blunt sword, but was then given a thrashing of his own, once the reinforcements overwhelmed him, leaving Jareth battered enough that Sir Bar had to carry him back. It was a rowdy camp, that was quite sure, and there was little done to maintain discipline beyond what the Barons did themselves.
During the evening, the knights of Salisbury gathered around, still not sure of where the campaign was expecting to take them. Some said Frankland, to aid the Soissonians. Some said Cornwall, as Gorlois was not here, and insubordination had to be met with discipline. Some hoped to face off against the Saxons. Rumors were abound, but nothing was settled. 
Roderick just allowed his men to talk, while he was being thoughtful.

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Sir Blains is a odd element that the player's know a lot about, and finds to be a slimy bastard, yet there has not yet been any confrontation with yet. I might need to up my game in that regard sooner or later. The whole Levcomagus is just too juicy to not pursue.

The next morning, they were assembled before Uther as he addressed the assembled throng.
This year, they would campaign fought on two fronts. In Summerland, where the vassal king Cadwy were being beset by Irish pillagers and in Soissons, where a promise to Praetor Syagrius had to be upheld, and the Franks had to be fought. 
The King assembled his barons, and the war council decided on the assignment of forces. While it was itching in both Aurelius and Graid to spill some of the wicked Irish blood, Roderick was assigned to accompany the force that sat across the Channel, under Prince Madoc’s command, while half of his forces, under Marshal Elad’s leadership, would be sent to the battles in Summerland, as Salisbury was a neighbour to Summerland.
Roderick gave every vassal a choice where they’d go, but all of our heroes followed suit on Aldwyn’s promise, and would travel with Roderick and the Prince to the Frankish shores, though Graid ended up entrusting his heirloom sword to Sir Drystan, and making his brother-in-law promise that this blade would spill enough Irish blood to quench Graid’s desire for vengeance against the wicked Irish for at least two seasons. Drystan, filled with desire for Glory and battle, gleefully accepted the promise, if Sir Graid in return would take care of his younger brother, the newly minted Sir Tywyn, as Drystan still thought himself wastly superior to Tywyn. For his part, Tywyn just glared and fumed, but held his tongue, as the eye of his father, Elad, glared at him when he made a move to protest.

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Brothers, am I right? This rivalry is going to be great for the drama!
Drystan is, due to the player's actions last time, a hell of a Gloryhound now, and will do whatever it takes to exceed his father and always stay above his younger brother. I'm feeling Drystan is insecure due to Tywyn becoming a knight against expectations.

The host of Logres split up, and our heroes once more found themselves on the shores of Hantonne, where they had just the previous year been blessed with their first experience of the sea. It took almost a week to embark, followed by a day's worth of sea travel.
During this time, the true challenge of war reared its head once more. 
Boredom. For his part,  Aldwyn was eager to make up for his mistakes during the raids, and tried to keep the fervor for battle up with song and music, which to his credit, seemed to work. Aurelius tried to become cordial with some of the knights from the Table of the Banner, hoping to make his future interactions with them far more agreeable.
After all, it is not good to have grudges against neighbours. Unfortunately, Aurelius chose the wrong man to interact with. Under the pretense of wanting to learn more about how to wage actual war, he sought out Sir Lycus the Wolf, one of the more notable knights in terms of martial prowess. Aurelius and his sensibilities soon regretted the choice, as the callous Lycus had quite a lot of advice to give on being merciless in war; burning fields and houses, killing children and women, as to keep the next generation from raising the banner in the future. Appalled, Aurelius tried to avoid Lycus for the rest of their journey, but it seemed like Sir Lycus had taken a liking to the younger knight, now considering him a friend.

The rest of the Salisburians just waited. Along with our heroes, Roderick had brought a sizable retinue of knights, both vassal and household. Besides Lycus, he had brought Sir Bar the Tall, Sir Branoc for his knowledge of the sea, Sir Leo who would never leave his lord in wartimes, Sir Jareth, whose blade was unequalled in most of Logres, Sir Mors the Cumbrian and Sir Reccared the Red, uncle to Aldwyn and Reccared the Young respectively, the fierce Sir Mahogan of Hawkshill, a son of the infamous Sir Seith, as well as Sir Math of Streamfield who greatly desired to prove himself worthy of the legacy that his grandfather, Sir Amig, had left behind. But while everyone tried to joke, socialize and make friends, it was hard not dread the coast on the other side of the waters, where the Frankish menace awaited them.

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As said, I want to get more knights from the local area involved. Some of these are Roderick's household knights, people that the players have known for quite a while. Aurelius squired under Sir Branoc and know the old knight quite well. Others still are from Vassal Knights.
Math is there because the players wanted to see him earn back his grandfather's lands, Amig being an Estate Holder and all. Mahogan was here because I needed to see one of Seith's sons in this group. Mahogan is also Tywyn's brother-in-law... Well, Tywyn is related to half of Salisbury at this point
😅 

Graid, Aurelius, Reccared and even Aldwyn had been born on the Continent, and to Aurelius especially, the thought of crossing the sea just as you had been given a son just felt too much like what his own father had done. Gessius had died for a Prince after crossing the sea, and for several nights, Aurelius dreamt repeating the same fate. Even the ships were the same as those that had ferried the Pendragon and his army to Britannia.
As for Madoc? He kept his own company, brooding in silence over battleplans and only sharing the soldiers’ campfires on rare occasions. 
Only Aldwyn managed to speak to the prince more than once, and it was clear as daylight that the Prince was quite nervous of this task ahead of him.

 

The Crossing

The journey itself happened on a day with fortunate winds.
They departed Hantonne and sat sail, all of the ships heavily loaded with warriors and horses. But, soon, several little boats joined the fleet, boats that were unmistakably Irish in design. They were mercenaries engaged from Scotii tribes, Irish yes, but not the same that were pouring into Summerland at the moment. Enraged, Aurelius and Graid spat at the ground, furious that it was even considered to engage such evil creatures as the Irish, with both of their lineages having suffered many losses to the Irish. But, it soon became clear that war demanded to sacrifice honor at times, at least, that’s what Lycus and Count Roderick managed to convery to the two fuming knights, slowly making them understand the situation.

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Both of them had to lose a point of their Hate Irish Passion. Swallow their hatred to get victory. Passions are really proving to work well.

The crossing went smoothly enough, with the young knights seeking advice from older knights, and Reccared having many talks with Tywyn.
The talks seemed to be innocent enough, but Reccared did have ulterior motives. Reccared’s own sister, Eloise, had turned 19, and had most of her life been serving at Castle Vagon, and Tywyn and her had reportedly been sweet on each other. To be fair, Eloise’s beauty made it hard not to have boys fall in love with her left and right.
And, since Baverstock’s oldest daughter had not yet been married, she actually had a sizable dowry, and after their thoughts Reccared found that Tywyn would be a good match, both as a man, but also as a link to one of the oldest lineages in Salisbury.

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Eloise is the daughter of Reccared’s father, and a beautiful woman with an APP of 20.
For Reccared and Tywyn’s players, it seemed like the smart move to make.

Old Sir Osric, Reccared’s household knight and his mother’s new husband, told about their destination to the Cymric knights, as he had fought alongside and against the Franks at the Battles of Orleans and Angers. Osric chuckled when he realized that he now rode to save the same Romans that had fought alongside the same Franks against the Aquitanians, twenty-four years earlier. In fact, Syagrius, the King of Soissons had built his throne on Frankish aide, and the son of his previous Frankish ally had now invaded and taken Soissons.
Of the Franks, Osric could tell that they were fierce warriors, having taken traditions from many tribes around them. The Franks rode on horseback like the Aquitanians, while their footmen fought in Roman formations and warriors from their subjugated tribal neighbours making up bulks of their light infantry.
Of Clovis himself, Osric knew precious little, but the Merovingians had been the Kings of the Franks for many years, claiming descent from the demigod Merovech, born from the carnal meeting between the divine Five-Horned Bull and a queen of the Franks. The Kings of that line never cut their hair, as to grant fertility and battle-prowess to the Frankish people, and the newest Merovingian was rumoured to have hair as long as his ankles, father of scores of children at the age of twenty-five and be undefeated in battle.

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I made a lot of research on the Franks to make them feel different than the Saxons, and there was a lot of good stuff in there. Their ways of waging war seemed to be a synthesis of a lot of different traditions, which made them a force to be reckoned with in the 5th & 6th Century. Far more interesting than the discount Saxons from the GPC.
I aim to be using Clovis and his legacy as the major threat beyond the sea once the Saxons are dealt with, perhaps during Conquest if I end up running that part of the GPC. I also ended up making a totally distinct army list, and a few more additions to Frankish culture that seemed to fit with the challenge posed by a whole new Germanic pre-Christian grouping.

Later that night, our heroes were the only ones awake, and as they were looking out on the open sea, Aldwyn finally admitted that something was wrong in his home.
His little daughter, born in a cold and treacherous winter night, had no voice. The little thing was silent, even when she seemed to be crying. It had to be some sort of cruel joke from the old gods, that he had been too boastful? Was it the Christian god that took his vengeance? And if so, what sort of evil gods would take it out on a child? His friends tried to find a few words of comfort, but it was not until the wild eyed Sir Sior sat up from his bunk, that there was anything of use.
Sior claimed that it was simple. If the girl had no voice, the Faeries must have taken it, and only the Gods could give it back to her. Aldwyn looked at the man, not sure if it was mad wisdom or the folly of insanity that adressed him, but simply nodded and thanked the bearded maniac for his words. Sior promptly told Graid that he kept good company, and turned over to sleep once more.

 

The White Shores of Gaul

The next evening, the white beaches of northern Gaul were spread out before the arriving British fleet that anchored some way out from the shoreline, however, much to two of our friends’ chagrin, the Irish kerns were ordered to sail ahead, and like fire-bearing ants, the Irish began to clear out the coastal villages, pillaging whatever they could find as well as butchering whoever they could find, while the fleet just waited for the morning to begin their landing.

But during the night, all was not completely still, as the nobles of the land had been called to assemble in the Prince’ ship, for a war council. The Salisburian knights had been asked to await their lord’s return, and it was hard not to notice the raised voices and bickering in the council, which was only silenced by the firm fist of Madoc slamming into the table.
But, only Aldwyn noticed the words that were stated to end the squabble.
“Four weeks or one city. No more than that.”
Knowing better than to inquire about such matters to his lord; Roderick simply gathered his knights and departed for his own ship, not sharing anything to his retinue. After all, they were still only knights.

The following week mainly consisted of the logistics of war. Handling the locals who were either loyal to the Franks or to Soissons, neither group having any love for Britons, was a bit of a chore. The nearby city of Badiocassi was their first goal, and the siege preparations were already underway. Yet, it was obvious that Roderick was concerned, his brow furrowed in consideration every day. But, one night, he entrusted his knights with grave news.
Madoc had decided to take a single city, take the spoils and move on. But, Roderick was quite sure that the Prince was underestimating the threat of the Franks, as a siege would tie up the army, unable to counter when the Franks showed up in full force.
Now, there was an option they had not considered before, but it was not an easy gambit to perform. If they could convince King Clovis that the Britons were here to continue towards Aquitaine and a confrontation with King Euric the Kinslayer, a clear threat to the British allies in Armorica; that might buy them enough time to avoid an open battle with the Franks while their entire army would already be tied up in a siege. It was an underhanded plan, but it just might work; though there was a chance that it would not save them from fighting the Frankish vanguard while withdrawing, as Clovis’ scouts would probably uncover the truth sooner or later. 
But, for this to work, Roderick would need someone who spoke a Germanic language, either Frankish or Aquitanian, to make the journey to Soissons and go before the Frankish King under a banner of peace.
While Reccared did not agree with the underhanded nature of such a scheme, he swallowed his precious honesty for his lord’s sake, and volunteered himself and Sir Osric for the mission. Aurelius, unwilling to let Reccared ride alone on such a perilous journey, volunteered as well. Roderick swore them to silence, and the four sworn brothers just spent the rest of the evening in silence.

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This was me wanting to give my players a chance to square off in a battle, to get a bit more comfortable with the Book of Battle. So, I had to get the Franks involved. My original plan was not even half as good, and what is stated here is the retcon that I worked out with the Discord as well as with my players. The plan is basically to hoodwink the Franks into thinking that the Britons are just passing through their lands in an attempt to get some payback pn behalf of those Aquitanians that helped Aurelius Ambrosius on the March, while also greatly overstating the size of the British force, as it would take time to assemble a large enough force to counter the whole British army. It won't work forever, but perhaps they can avoid a direct conflict before Madoc's plans are finished here. At some point, the Frankish scouts would realize they're besieging Badiocassi/Bayeux, and the jig would be up, but they might not get there before the British fleet has departed.
Also, Reccared's Honest 16 took a hit that day, but it remained at a 16.

Before dawn on the next day, Reccared, Osric and Aurelius departed the camp, and bearing a gift fit for a king, they were riding for the conquered city of Soissons. 
The land around them was covered in sparse woodland and mostly rolling hills, and every village that they passed along the old Roman road bore signs of the old empire. And at Soissons, it was even more obvious. The banners of the Frankish invaders, a bull with five horns, encircled by bees, were placed above the old city gates as bearded Franks roamed the straight and ordered streets that once marked the Roman engineering. To Aurelius, it was almost a terror to see his people’s legacy treated like this. Even the churches had been turned into Pagan temples, where wooden figures of obscene Frankish gods had replaced Christ upon the altars.
The well-spoken Sir Osric managed to get them all the way in the center of Soissons, where the ancient Roman palace now housed the Merovingian king and his court. The luxuries were still plentiful, perhaps even more so, and Reccared and Aurelius both could not help but marvel at the opulence this Pagan king had at his disposal. In the main hall, the Frankish nobility seemed to enjoy their spoils of war, with little shame in their public indulgence.
And, on the raised dais, seated on a throne of bronze, sat Clovis, King of the Franks and Heir of The Merovingian Dynasty, his hair just as long as the stories had claimed.
Flanked by an honor guard and attended by his royal concubines, this warlord king had little patience for any guests, but the gift managed to get his attention for a short while.
Reccared, far more eloquent in the matters of court, presented himself before the King, and repeated the tale that Count Roderic had spun, and asked for the mighty king to give them leave to cross the Frankish domain.

King Clovis’s eye narrowed, but after a seemingly endless few seconds, the King proclaimed that it would be so, as Euric of Aquitaine was a thorn in the paw of the Franks. And Clovis, the Merovingian Lion, would greatly enjoy anyone making that little pest bleed while the Allfather would be pleased by the blood of the Frankish enemies being spilled.
With all this posturing and pagan grandeur, keeping a straight face was difficult, but all of them managed to leave the halls of King Clovis without further incident, allowing the King to return to his debauchery, seemingly none the wiser.
The ride back to the British army was a swift one, as every second was precious.

Meanwhile, Aldwyn and Graid had spent a few days trying to figure out a way to deal with the siege, as they had been chosen to advise Roderick, in case the ploy with Clovis failed. 
The obvious choice was to let the Irish mercenaries die in droves, and open the gates, so that the British could walk into the city on a bridge of dead Irishfolk. A choice that Graid loved but might be costly if the Franks showed up, wedging the British between Franks and the walls.
Another option was to take the city, and use the walls themselves, but as was noted, the Briton forces were dependent on their cavalry.
Finally, they concocted a plot to invade the city through the narrow aqueduct, having Graid ride a horse across it at night, with a bunch of fierce warriors following right behind him, who’d then claim the gates and open it while the defenders were rallying against the attack that came through the opened gate.
Fortunately, it was not necessary, as the emissaries returned, with good news. Clovis had accepted the agreement, and it gave them a bit more time to take the city.

To be continued.... in the Battle of Badiocassi!

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Charging a besieged city on horseback across an aqueduct? Yeah. That's a 10 on the Aldwyn Scale of Dumb Plans.
This was a really fine session, although I realized halfway through the thing that I could not manage to get them lined up for the battle this time, so I hated my pacing afterwards, although my players loved the plentiful character interactions that happened, especially with Roderick, who had until now been quite a distant figure.
Next up, an actual battle. Tywyn's player could not attend this session, so we talked about what he had experienced when I saw him the next time.
Till next time.


 

Edited by KungFuFenris
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  • 4 months later...
9 minutes ago, Tizun Thane said:

Did I mention I like your campaign?

I would love to read about waht happens next ^^

Oh hell! I forgot about a lot of the last half year.
Things.... the world happened.
I think I might be able to make some shorter recaps in a few. We're getting close to 495.

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- NOTES FROM THE EDITOR -
It was said that due to the death of the esteemed Illuminator Bedwyr, the monks of Amebury Abbey who was composing the tales of the Brotherhood of the Sword Knights; the Chronicle is missing several years, and have in modern times been reconstructed due to the efforts of historians who delved into old manuscripts from both Wales monastries and several smaller French churches in Normandy.

The later years nearing 495 was recorded by a much less verbose monk, Brother Dafydd Broadbelt, who clear did not know the Sword Knights in their younger years.

Battle of Badiocassi
(Reconstructed from a Frankish song from late 6th Century.)

Of the battle in Bayeux, it was known that the Salisburians helped to make the initial sack of Badiocassi, but evidence point towards them having been commanded to act as rearguard, as an approaching force of Franks began encroaching on the sackers. Even if Clovis had mustered his forces as soon as the emissaries left, he could not have a large enough force to outright destroy the British. Instead, he had seen through Roderick's stratagem, and sent an advance force to tie them up.
The Frankish advance force were lead into battle by Ragnachar, the King of Cambrai, his pagan ways infamous even in Logres, and he was eager to prove his gods' dominance over the weak christians.
However, King Clovis himself stood on a nearby hill, his honor guard surrounding him in the hundreds as he overlooked his subject's advance. If Ragnachar prevailed, he'd be doing Clovis a great honor that would be eclipsed when Clovis in a day or two engaged the main British force. If Ragnachar failed, the King of Cambrai would have been weakened enough by the dishonor that his budding threat to the King of the Franks would be ended before it had even begun.
To buy time for his liege. Count Roderick brought his force to the van, allowing two of his finest knights to command each wing.
Sir Aldwyn on one, the illustious Sir Jaradan the Swordsman on the other.

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Well. I lost most of my notes on this battle. It happened back in February. Sooooo...
Anyways, Roderick might be a good warlord, but Clovis was MUCH better. Of course, he decided to send in a pawn to tie up the invaders before they fled.
Roderick decided to make good on his superior training, and had his forces ready for the Cambrai.
I built my own Army List to act as the Frankish forces, filled with Longhaired Warriors, Merovingian bastards, Roman-trained Riperian Franks and the infamous Angon javelins, barbed and heavy. It was pretty grand.

The battle was fierce, Aldwyn leading his brothers into the fray. The Franks were everywhere, yet their line held. Young Tywyn, freshly knighted, saw the horrors of war up first hand, and bled with his new friends. At some point, Reccared was flung from his saddle, and with only the tall and famed Sir Bar, formed a new group in spite of all the clamor around them.
And even crazier, they fought their way to the army commander, a feat that was sung about for the years that followed. The Heathen Chieftain, who had fought the southerners before, was fittingly brought low by a lone Aquitanian Knight on the field.

As the battle abated, it was clear that the Salisburians had prevailed against the assault, their army a anvil that withstood the hammer of King Clovis. But, many a good Salisburian knight died that day, with consequences that would ring across the years as both Sir Mahogan and Sir Math lay dead on the ground.
On his hilltop, the long-haired Merovingian King glared against the Salisburians, cursing their banner.

After the battle, the astonished warriors saw Sir Reccared present his lord with the promised Frankish Chieftain, which earned him the much-sought after hand of Lady Adwen of Aldertree. Aldwyn on the other hand was sent to report of success of their venture to the prince, where he found little gratitude, but also saw his future king disown an ally and decide to abandon them to a enraged Clovis.
"I am not my father," the Prince said. And Aldwyn felt that echo into his soul... where was the honor of the Pendragons.

That winter, Aldwyn brooded for a while, while everyone else enjoyed either being married or returning to their wives.

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Yeah, that was 488. Hell of a year.
As said, I am reconstructing old memories, as these were played in the Before-Time.
The Winter Phase was pretty eventful.
- Aldwyn went on a Pilgrimage to Aqua Sulis, trying to understand his place as a warrior, increasing his faith in the old gods, and he also established a vineyard in Newton.


- Aurelius spent his Christmas Court in the Royal Court, pulling on his connection to the Marshal. Here, he saw Uther and Madoc enjoy the spoils of war, and made connections with both Duke Ulfius, but could also see the twist with Cornwall escalate. When he returned, he was drawn into a feud between his neighbour, Sir Folant of Lake, a quite lustful knight, and his sister, who Folant took to be a wanton widow when he slept in Woodford. No apology was given, and the two kept feuding.

- At Wylve, Tywyn saw his first winter as a landholder. His new wife Sioned, mourned the death of her brother, Sir Mahogan. Unfortunately, half the village burnt down, and he spent all of his war plunder to rebuild it.


- Sir Graid made... a mistake. At last Pentecost, he had been bedding a woman in his drunkeness. Unfortunately, she was the daughter of Sir Dallwyr, the Knight that the brotherhood had raided a few years prior. And when he returned from the continent, it was clear that poor Bryn was with child. Instead of shipping her to a monastery, he offered to take her into his household, and keep her as a second wife. The Priest were outraged, but as Graid claimed his lineage from a hero of old, he just did as his ancestor, per the Old Laws. Most people just shook their head, and just called Bryn a kept mistress. Dallwyr and his son, Bors, was about to declare a Blood Feud with Stapleford, when Roderick stepped in. Graid had saved his life in Bayeux, and allowed no feud to be had between his vassals. Once more, Roderick's authority was what kept his knights in check.

- Reccared returned to Baverstock, would wed Adwen the following spring, laying claim to four additional manors, and decided to move his residency to Aldertree, a manor much nearer Sarum, leaving Baverstock in the hands of his brother, the newly knighted Sir Leander. And his rotten luck with horses continued, as his newly conquered charger from Frankia just died from pneumonia in the drafty stables of Baverstock. Squire Golas kept close, and he really seemed to excel at the knightly tasks. Furthermore, Reccared gave his blessings for Sir Osric to marry his widowed mother. After all, she had another child with him, against all odds....

The notes on 489 is even sparser. I'll catch you all soon.

Edited by KungFuFenris
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1 hour ago, KungFuFenris said:

The Franks were lead by Ragnachar

They were lead by Ragnachar, or Clovis?

By the way, did you decide to keep apart the historical Clovis with the mythical Claudas, or to fusion the two of them?

1 hour ago, KungFuFenris said:

I built my own Army List to act as the Frankish forces, filled with Longhaired Warriors, Merovingian bastards, Roman-trained Riperian Franks and the infamous Angon javelins, barbed and heavy. It was pretty grand.

I never have the bravery to make my own army list. Bravo!

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THE CORNISH ISSUE

(Sorry if this is a bit muddled, I am really working from memory from a session that took place around January. Presented here in a stream of thought... There's even a chance that this might contain two whole sessions in place of one? I am really not sure.)
The Year is 489

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Notes from the Editor:
"Many a song has already been sung about that summer muster of 489, where the Duke of Cornwall and King Uther almost came to blows, and on the fields of Ascalon, it was only by the grace of Excalibur that this series of tales did not end before it was begun. The writings of Brother Daffydd does not detail that encounter in any great effect, but if you wish to know more, there's been a hundred scholarly papers written on this subject, most famous of all, the Song of Excalibur, penned by Father Boorman."

Fear and dismay had been on their mind when the group of knights had ridden to battle against the Cornish.
But now, the two armies had laid aside their grievances, and Sir Graid especially couldn't be happier.  After all, all of his brothers were posed to fight on the Cornish side, as most of them were knights to vassals of Gorlois. Now, he could introduce his brothers by birth to his brothers in arm, and it was a joyous time. Graid's brothers were Conan, Luc and Rhett.
All of them bastards of the late Lord Owain, but Graid cared little for such things. The Knights of Salisbury were quite amicable to the Cornish knights and much ale was shared as well as many stories of their exploits. 

But, of course, the question of Axe Hall remained. Graid's mother, Lady Efa, had not given Sir Osmail, the new Lord of Axe, any children, and there was a fear that the family might lose their ancestral lands once more. Graid decided that on the morrow, they would ride to Axe, to consult with Eurwen, his grandmother, on both the matter of Axe as well as those giants that had ravaged his house a few years prior.

But, that would have to wait.

Into their encampment strode the mighty Sir Brastias, the stern-eyed warrior of Cornwall, who called on Graid to follow him. Brastias was another old friend of the family, having squired for Lord Owain of Axe year prior, and was now the most trusted warrior of Gorlois. (Few speak of this, but it was Squire Brastias that returned the corpse of Sir Owain ap Uwain to Axe Hall, after the Lord had his infamous encounter with a molehill)

A few moments later, the same thing occured to Reccared, as his great-uncle Solis asked for the young knight to walk with him, leaving a slightly puzzled but fully inebriated Aldwyn, Tywyn and Aurelius to continue their merriment.

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I like having the PK's intertwined with the story in one way or another.
Having Brastias be an old friend of Graid's family is a pretty fine little way to draw Graid into his legacy as a Cornishman in a strange land.
Meanwhile, Reccared is of a foreign lineage, which is why the White Fox, a renowned warrior with a big list of deeds, can give Reccared both something to aspire to but also a way to integrated himself into the story.

Graid was taken to the heart of the Cornish camp, where an old grey-haired warrior stood above a map, and was talking to a girl of no more than fourteen summers. This one's name was Morgause, who was the future heiress of Tintagel, and she was already a striking character, with sharp eyes and raven-black hair that did not belie that her mother was the renowned beauty Ygraine. But, it was her intelligence and acumen that mostly impressed Graid, as she asked her father many questions on the matters of martial strategy while Graid awaited to be addressed by the Duke.

After Morgause left, Gorlois began inquiring in Graid's adventures. The tale surrounding the Sword of Excalibur was chief among them, but it seemed like Gorlois was far more interested in knowing what sort of man Graid was. After all, he had known both Sir Owain and Lady Eurwen quite well in years past (some even claiming that the widowed Lady Eurwen had been a young Gorlois' first bed-mate in the years that followed the Dumnonii exile to Brittany), and Gorlois now wanted to learn where the descendant of Conan Cadfael stood in the matters of the world, as this might not be the last time Uther would be displaying folly. 

From Gorlois' perspective, it was clear that the King only desired to blame all of his failures on someone else, even though The Duchy of Cornwall was assailed by their own problems. Even though Gorlois had saved Uther before and even saved Logres at the Battle of Salisbury, it was clear that the King was displeased with Cornwall. 
Graid, torn between heritage as a Dumnonii and a Cornishman and his duty as a knight of Logres, bit his tongue, but still kneed in deference to the Duke when Gorlois gave him an armband of old Dumnomii make, reminding him that he was a great-grandson of one of the last heroes of their people. And that legacy would remain no matter what happened.
Graid then departed Gorlois's camp, his mind spinning with torn loyalties and possibilities for the future.

As for Reccared, tonight his normally gregarious gruncle seemed to be curt and very unlike himself.

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Oh yes, in my picture gallery, I've cast Sir Christopher Lee as Sir Solis the White Fox. It really fits in my mind.
Also, this is a family whose renowned trait is Orate. So, it makes sense they would have a certain amount of gravitas.

The otherwise talkative white-beard had little to say, and simply walked towards the middle of the Logrian war-camp. Straight into the royal pavilion, past several men bearing the coat of the King's Guard, as well as Madoc who just nodded knowingly at Reccared, as if he knew what was about to occur. A baffled Reccared just followed.

As they entered, Brother Hugh, the Royal Chamberlain departed, casting a cursory appraising glance at Reccared before he exited. Left in the tent was now only Sir Belias, the Captain of the King's Guard, Sir Solis and none other King Uther himself. His Royal Majesty Uther greeted Sir Solis with a touch of friendliness, but was clearly under the influence of a few mugs of wine, and then he began addressing Reccared, whose deeds had already reached Uther's ears. 

Reccared was baffled why Uther would want to see him, but the King explained that Sir Perrin, Reccared's father, had often lent an ear to the concerns of a warrior, and he wanted to see if the son had the same integrity.
For years, Solis had been his confidante, the two of them speaking Aquitanian to ward of any eavesdroppers, but Solis was approaching an age where he would need a replacement. And if any Aquitanian foreigner would speak about their talks, it would be easy to dismiss it as slander. Yet, Uther knew the unbendable honor of the de Toulouse name would keep his secrets. Perrin was supposed to replace Solis, but he died at Eburacum.
For his discretion as well as his valor on the field, the King would name Reccared to the King's Guard. Reccared was then privy to a conversation between the White Fox and the Pendragon, where the King could vent his frustrations.

And what frustrations. The King seemed angry, but it was clear that something else was behind it. The ghost of his brother, Aurelius, who had been beloved by all of Britannia. A Liberator and Conqueror. And now, Uther had to take the place of someone so beloved, yet everyone refused him the respect needed to become like Aurelius. They refused him the High Kingship, and had destroyed his brother's dream of a united Britannia.
It was obvious to Reccared, even though Uther never stated it, that he blamed Gorlois for failing King Aurelius, and had always envied Gorlois the friendship that the Duke had with Uther's older brother. Old men and their resentment was nothing new, but on this scale, this would mean the death of thousands.

That night, Reccared wished he was back home with his beautiful wife, unentangled from the court like every other knight.

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This might be my biggest leap of.... narrative? So far. I've had a lot of Madoc on screen at this point in the game, but I had not been able to display what kind of man his father was, and what drove him. Uther is big pile of anger and angst, fueled by insecurity and a desire to be just as good as the brother he lost nine years prior.
I had little chance to actually display this, unless I took a bit of liberty with sanity. Which is why this whole confide in a trusted outsider came about, allowing Reccared to see the King a bit closer, and realise the person beneath all of it, especially once the craziness of his obsession with Ygraine goes off the rails. It might break suspension of disbelief, but my plan was to have Reccared be the insider of the happenings in the Royal Court...
However... certain things happened. Keep reading.


The next morning, the Knights rode for Axe, while the army began to gathered for the journey north. Rumour had it that Saxons were pillaging across the border near Lindsey, and the Duke of Cornwall had been charged with handling  that issue. Lord Roderick was assured that his men would return swiftly, and allowed them to ride the southern Ascalon.

In Axe, the Knights were recieved by Lady Efa as well as a quite skittish Sir Osmail. He never said it out loud, but it was clear that he disliked having Graid around in his hall, as he feared that the family would try to oust him from the very estate that he had been given by King Aurelius Ambrosius after Sir Owain's demise.
With some effort, Graid was as courteous as befitted etiquette, but he was there to see his grandmother, so, after dinner, he walked to her house.

In a small house near Axe Hall, Eurwen was living away from the Hall that had fallen into usurper hands, or so she kept saying.
Eurwen had been a beauty in her youth, but in her old age, she had retained those sharp features only making her that much more imposing. 
Her oldest, trueborn grandson was their hope for the future, and she had put her mind to having her family rule in Axe sooner rather than later, with little regard for the feudal order imposed on the old tribes by the Pendragons. The Pendragons might have freed the Dumnonii, but to Eurwen, this was their family's land, and had been so since the days of Corneus.
Eurwen's wisdom was widely renowned, her political acumen having guided the Dumnonii since the days of late King Conomor, but Graid's question about the giants puzzled her. She told Graid that the Giants had been sighted near Axe as well, but, the heavy fortifications had secured them so far. The Giants were searching for something, that much was certain, and to Lady Eurwen, it was quite clear that it was the Axe of Corneus they were looking for, a bane of giantkind.
Graid's great-great grandfather, the legendary Conan Cadfael, had been searching for it in his twilight years, with some claiming that he found it and brought it to his house. That the Giants were searching in Graid's house might mean that they'd figured out who Conan's heir was.

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Yeah. Hell of a hook, I am not sure if my players took that bait. Eurwen is an amazing character that showed up due to Book of Sires. Born in the exact same place as her husband, making her a part of the same tribe with the highest possible score on the Glory roll.
However, Graid's grandfather died in 439 and her *next* husband died only a few years after that, so it was up to Eurwen to lead her family through the tumultuous years before the March of Aurelius. A shrewd, cunning woman, fiercely loyal to her lineage. Hell, it might even have been her that made sure Lady Efa never got any kids with Sir Osmail. She's a crafty old crone, and an excellent spy for Cornwall and Gorlois.
Graid is the only one of her grand-kids that are stuck serving outside of their old lands, mostly due to Graid having inherited lands in Salisbury. Eurwen is also a pretty good picture of the world that used to be, where loyalties were placed before the feudal system was introduced by Aurelius Ambrosius.

Eurwen also inquired all Graid knew about the world around him. Of Uther, of Gorlois and of the events that had lead him there. It was clear that Gorlois' meeting with Graid had probably been partly orchestrated by Eurwen, and she repeated a lot of the same words and advice that Gorlois had given Graid. Blood and heritage was what mattered in these days.

With little more to learn, the Knights assembled at night in the hall of Axe, trying to make heads or tails of it all.
It was decided that each of them had questions of great importance, questions that only Merlin's wisdom could give them answer to.
The very next morning, they returned to the encampment in northern Ascalon, hoping to find the greybearded magician before he departed once more.

Fortune favored the knights, as they found Merlin on a nearby hilltop, gathering herbs. Not wishing to intrude, Sir Tywyn stayed at the foot of the hill.
They called upon the wisest man in Britannia, and wanted to get answers in return for the service they had once rendered onto him. Merlin, though he already considered their service to their land payment enough, decided to humor the four
knights with a single answered question, if they could admit their own faults in return. Each of them in turn ate crow, even if it much rankled them, and found their truths. But, harshest of all truths was Graid's admission of guilt in the matters of Lady Bryn, who he had bedded the previous year.
Then, they asked a favor of Merlin. Aurelius asked about how to help Aldwyn's mute daughter, which made the Proud Sir Aldwyn almost fume. It turned out that her voice had not been destroyed, but taken by the Fair Folk.
When Merlin had given his advice, he left before anyone could being to quarrel with him. All he heard was the punch that Aurelius recieved from an furious Aldwyn, as this matter was his to ask and bear the weight of, not something Aurelius would pay a price for. Then, there was slience, as all eyes fell on a quite silent Graid.
What happened after that, no Bard sing of, but one thing is clear.

An anguished Graid did not heed the words of brotherhood that was given by his trusted friend, Sir Reccared, and lunged forward in wroth with blade in hand, just as an equally dismayed Reccared had decided to turn his back on Sir Graid.
And then, as legends said, the morose Aquitanian was still swift and decisive, and with but a single strike of his shining blade, Sir Reccared cut down Sir Graid with a mortal blow!
When it dawned on Reccared what he had done, he let out a cry of agony and rage, and darted from the field in a fit of madness!

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Yup. Thanks Pendragon.
In all seriousness, I was so caught up in the moment that my players were producing, I forgot to take notes. Somehow, Graid went melancholic. Then Reccared tried to help, went Melancholic as well, Graid attacked, Reccared critted. Graid went down to -1 exactly. Reccared rolled his Passion for his brothers, he Fumbled.

#JustPendragonThings

Aldwyn and Aurelius leapt to Graid's aid, but not before Aldwyn commanded a young squire to pursue Sir Reccared. That squire returned with only a single arm, as Reccared lodged his family sword through the poor boy's arm, crippling the poor boy for life as Reccared escaped into the wilderness. 
Tywyn ran up the hill to his friends' side, and could not believe his eyes as the sworn brothers had turned on each other.

That following campaign, our heroes remained behind in garrison.
Instead, it was Lord Seith the Sly and Marshal Elad who took those honors, and the traditionalists of Salisbury won many accolades that autumn.
Graid lived, if barely, due to Aurelius's skills in both field dressing as well as outright Chirugry.
Lady Adwen, newly wed, awaited her beloved husband's return, but was only told that he had gone mad and abandoned his knightly duties, much to her doleful sorrow.
All in all, the winter of 489 was a dour one.

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First and only time that the "1 Session - 1 Year" worked´, but it was not really what I intended.
I had planned for them to go north and fight Saxons. And then this happened. 2 Knights out of commission.
Anyways. Winter Phase for 489-490.

- Sir Aldwyn hunkered down for the winter and built a vineyard. Him and Isolde had another daughter and he took in the bastard daughter of his cousin Auris.
- Sir Aurelius tried to enjoy being with his beloved wife, and they had a second son, this one not nearly as sickly as Hadrian, who they named for Bethany's father, Ulfius.
- Sir Graid spent most of the winter trying to survive the stroke that Reccared had given him. A bit of grain went missing.
- Sir Tywyn had a son. As did his brother, Drystan. However, what no one really knew at that time, was that Tywyn was sleeping with his brother's wife, Eloise, as the two of them were deeply in love. Woe is the day that this sees the light of day. Sir Tywyn also had the pleasure of being entrusted Sir Golas to deal with a problem back in Salisbury, where a wicked wolf had killed several nuns (small off-screen session with one player) - it turned out to be a priest that had been cursed to be a wolf in the light of the moon, and with the wolf's thirst, he slew innocent nuns. Tywyn journied to St Ambrus and with the aid of the unequalled huntsman Sir Golas, they found a stopped the wicked wolf from killing anymore of God's servants.
- As for Sir Reccared? No one knew what happened with him. His younger brother, Sir Leander, had to pick up the pieces in his place and even deal with a sister-in-law that was inconsolable.

 

Edited by KungFuFenris
A few forgetful things.
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Session 14 - The Battle of Lindsey

(This was the last in person session we had before the Lockdown began here in Denmark - We’re still back in March. It's a short one.)

The Year was 490.

The Saxon Kings Octa and Eosa were moving on Logres, after having besieged Eburacum, seeking to claim land as well as the magical sword of King Uther.
King Octa, son of Hengist, had long been itching to avenge his father and his cousin, Eosa the Giant, King of Deira, was eager to give Wotan his due in blood.

On the fields of Lindsey, the host of Logres had lined up to face the Saxon horde.
In the vanguard, Marshal Ulfius had command, and on the left flank, Duke Gorlois led the army. Meanwhile, in the centre the Knights of Salisbury had once more gathered to defend the Kingdom.
They had fought Saxons before, but when Elad had returned from the north last autumn, he had brought with him the belongings of the fallen Lord Seith.
Count Roderick, proud as ever, gathered his knights around him and the banner of Salisbury.
Our heroes stood stern, as the horns began to blow across the field and the rolling grey clouds above just painted the world in drab hues.
Then, lances were lowered, and battle was joined!

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Between each Battle Round, we flashbacked to the nights before, as the knights were gathered in the camp. To get some role-playing in as Battles can make it sparse.
People could even bond with Knights they knew were about to die on the field. 
I can’t recall the specifics, as a battle is quite hard to run while taking notes.

In the middle of the chaos, many knights found themselves fighting foe men everywhere. And young Sir Leander found himself on the receiving end of a Saxon spear, flinging him off his horse. Even Roderick could not stem the tide, and dutiful as ever, Sir Mors, uncle of Sir Aldwyn, sacrificed himself for his lord’s survival.

Rain began to fall.
Everyone fought like madmen, but it was a struggle. But, just when all seemed to be ill news, a lone banner rode towards Salisbury. Reccared rode forward, his gleaming sword carving a swath through the Saxons, as his brothers cheered and rejoiced.
Sir Tywyn, this being his first battle, did well for himself as his spear never seemed to miss.
Then, something happened.

Eosa the Giant fell as Gorlois brought him low! This unnerved the Saxons enough that Roderick could assemble his men for a push forward. Towards the banner and command of the Saxons. With all the might they could muster, the Knights of Salisbury charged into the Royal Guards, and began their bloody reaping!
Even though it seemed dark at a point, with Roderick almost being carved in two by a Saxon, only to be saved by his devoted knight, Sir Branoc the Sailor, there was one knight who managed to push through to Octa, King of Nohaut, and engage him in combat.
The Saxon King was a mighty warrior, but Aurelius Sertorius stood against him with stoic calm, managing to force the Saxon to his knees, but not before the Saxon King managed to lay Aurelius low with a terrible strike of his magical axe!

Aurelius fell, and would have perished there, if not for the fast thinking of Sir Graid, who had a magical potion he had been given the year before by his grandmother. He applied it to Sir Aurelius, who clawed himself back from the brink of death.

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I edited a bit for the axe, as it did not strike me as especially cool, and besides the +2 Magic it gave Octa the Boar Special rule. Octa then critted the poor Aurelius on his last legs, with a whooping 52 points of Damage, putting Aurelius at -11... yeah. That potion came in handy. He got it from Eurwen last session, something I forgot to mention there. After that roll, it still had some juice left in it, so Graid still has it around.

Then, another roar was heard from nearby. The banner had also been captured. And the hero of that deed? A squire named Golas. The prophecy came true, after all.

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This was me making good on a small side-event from a few years back.

The Host of Logres had won the day, prevailed against the Saxon hordes and their Kings were prisoners in the hands of Uther.

Now, it was time to bury the dead.

And then, it would be time for feasting and rejoicing. Nothing could go wrong at a feast after all.
 

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So. This entire session was a really long battle. I did not take notes on each enemy. But, we did have final scores.
- Aldwyn gained 990 Glory.
- Aurelius gained 1290  Glory.
- Reccared gained 558  Glory. He was late
😛
- Graid gained 930  Glory.
- And Sir Tywyn gained 1248  Glory.

And you might wonder why Reccared was back already. Something did happen, but when Sir Leander got effed up in Round 2, I found it most fitting to get Reccared back in the fray.
He does not remember a single thing about his absence, and has found himself to have certain aptitudes and skills that he did not have before, which will lead to stories later on.
I went gentle on the first case of Madness in the game. None of us are particularly interested in Madness as a game mechanic, especially when the Knights have barely built anything up yet.

 

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Session 15: The Great Victory Feast at Linden Pool and Further Adventures

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Alright. This was the first session we had online, due to the outbreak of the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown of Denmark. So, we went online. Used Discord and made a dice roller for ourselves to use in the chat.
That meant that our sessions became a lot shorter and had to be a bit more succinct.

The aftermath of the battle of Lindsey was a dreary affair, with countless dead to be given the last rites.
Among them, Aldwyn's uncle, Mors of Roestoc, who was buried as befitted a pagan man. On a pyre. Furthermore, Sir Branoc the Sailor, to whom all of the sworn brothers felt they owed their life after their adventures on the sea, had also fallen. A young squire stood by Branoc's corpse, and did his best not to weep openly.
This squire was named Ninian and he was Branoc's son, who squired for Sir Daind the Old.
Each of the knights paid their respects to the fallen Breton, and gave their condolences to his son. It was clear that Ninian had acquitted himself quite well in the battle, and now that his father's misfortune had happened, Ninian could be knighted to take his father's place in Roderic's household.

At dawn, two squires knelt before Roderic, under the watchful gaze of the assembled knights of Salisbury. Golas ap Cadry, who captured the banner of the Saxon king, making him a knight at the age of 18, and Ninian, whose battledeeds with a mace had told everyone he was ready to become a knight.
When they rose, they rose as knights of Salisbury.
Ninian was given his father's horse, the charger Morleon, and leapt into the saddle with little issue.

The funerals happened in short order after that, but there was little time to dwell on the fallen, as there was a Feast to attend.

Aurelius, having been almost cleft in twain by the Saxon king, was barely conscious, but insisted on being placed in the hall so he could attend the feast.

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The player insisted, despite being almost unconscious and in dire need of chiurgery. They really did not want to miss the feast.
So, I relented, and allowed the injured Aurelius to attend, but applied Aggravation if anything happened beyond sitting and talking.

And feast they did. It was a mighty feast, unlike anything seen in years. Duke Corneus broke open his deepest larders, and the food was plentiful with wine and ale flowing free from the cask that the butler rolled into the hall. Even King Uther was overjoyed, and especially with his vassal Gorlois, as the old Duke of Cornwall had brought the infamous King Eosa the Giant to heel on his own. Both Eosa and Octa had been draped in irons and would be dragged to London as hostages on the morrow.

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As the great bard once wrote: "The king orders entertainers in to amuse everyone. Everyone is amused." 

In the benches, Aldwyn tried to figure out where Reccared had been, as he arrived in the nick of time. He could not answer him, as he had no recollection of what had happened in the past year. But, he wanted nothing more than to make things right with Graid. The two sworn brothers had a moment of silence, before Graid promptly forgave Reccared for what had transpired on that fateful day beneath a very truthful tree.

Young Ninian, freshly knighted, tried to find his footing, but it was easy, as Sir Tywyn took him by the arm, and showed him the same ropes that he had only recently had to learn himself. Aldwyn, Aurelius, Graid and Reccared took the two younger knights to their table and shared stories about the fallen Sir Branoc, trying to cheer up Ninian.
However, out of his eye, Aldwyn could not help to see that Prince Madoc was avoiding his wife, the Lady Rhianneth, who sat by herself above the salt.
Tywyn, being unaware about Rhianneth's viles, decided to try to entertain the high lady, but swiftly found himself struggling to not be stung by her barbed words, as Rhianneth only wanted to have her Prince attend her.

But, at one point, the feastivities came to an unplanned halt.
Duchess Ygraine, fairest of all, stepped into the hall, and not a single man dared takes a single breath. Not even his Majesty.

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Yeah. Time for *that* part.
I really did not know what version of the Beautiful Lady rules to go with, so i ended up retconning the rules in the GPC to the ones in the Core.

And then, she began to recite a poem of victory, her voice as beautiful and dear as her visage. Everyone were taken in with rapt attention.
Everyone of the Knights of Sarum as well. All except Graid. He had learned his lesson about women the hard way and dared not listen to his desires and he averted to think any sinful thoughts, while Aldwyn and Tywyn in particular lost every sense of time and place.
A composed himself, Graid could tell the poetry was masterful as well. It was hard not be enraptured, which the Royal Majesty truly was. Graid felt a chill in his bones. That was a dangerous look that Uther had. It was the same look that Graid's father had been apt to have and that was the same look that had gotten him killed.

As the song subsided, the drunken nobles applauded vigorously. And while Graid was roused from his growing sense of dread by the roar of Tywyn and Aldwyn who had seemingly lost all sense of propriety. The feast continued, but when Aurelius collapsed due to the pain of his wounds, it seemed to be time to call it a night.

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End of session. Hell of a game, but one we also had to break off as there was a press conference on the news that night.
Crossing over into Discord was a challenge, but we began making the best of it.
Ninian is now the sixth PK of the game, and he's of Breton heirtage, retconned as the son of Sir Branoc the Sailor, who we had otherwise thought to be childless. Ninian was given a spread of skills found in a old online supplement made for Cornwall and Brittany. which has given him a few different skills than the average Cymric, but he does have Spear Expertise and the +3 CON.
He's average with the sword, better with the spear and an absolute badass with a mace.
He's also a Roman Christian, thus bringing Religion count to 2x RC, 2x BC, 1 Pagan and 1 Arian.

Edited by KungFuFenris
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Session 16 - Into Cumbria

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There's a lot to be said about this little session. I am actually not sure if this is one or two sessions, to be honest.
It was a bit of a blur.  Aurelius had to sit this one out, because his wounds had him bed bound, and the player ended up playing Sir Lycus for a short while.

On the morrow following the feast, it was quite clear that the Cornish have little interest in remaining in the north, now that the Saxons have been defeated. Gorlois aimed to ride south with the Saxon Kings, and imprison them in London.
Roderic, while concerned about the relationship between Gorlois and Uther, remained in the north and was to ride with his king up to Malahaut, the largest kingdom in Cumbria.

Aurelius, too injured to continue with the rest of the host, makes his farewell and is sent south in an oxcart, with Reccared silently wishing that he could join the ride south, as his wife. Lady Adwen, awaited his return, as she had for a year. 
The march north was quite event-less, but as they drew nearer to Ebruacum, Aldwyn could not restrain himself waxing on about tales of Cumbria, his homeland. The land here was rougher than Logres, with moorland far more prevalent than large woodlands, but plenty of it bearing the scars of ravaging Saxons. 
In spite of being from the next kingdom over, Aldwyn’s grandfather fought for this land, back when all of it was once Brigantia, the kingdom where his great-grandfather served as a simple cavalryman in the court of King Coel the Old.
Up here, in Malahaut, they remained quite Roman in culture and speech, just like back south, in Durnovaria where Aurelius was from.

And then, they saw the walls of Malahaut before them.
A marvel of architecture, but in front of them were arrayed a host of knights.
The Centurion King, Lord with a Hundred Knights, Heraut de Apres, was amassed before his city to meet King Uther’s host. 

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And here, we get to Eburacum. I wanted to make it suitably interesting, as it is a place that had been mentioned a lot in the background of the game, but not all that much in the game itself.
So. Malahaut. A damn fine place. A place I could see myself running a KAP game from.

There was a moment of tension, but when the two Kings met, it was soon clear that this was to be an amicable meeting between kings. The host could camp at Eburacum, on the condition that there was to be neither foraging nor plundering in Malahaut.
The city of Eburacum was unlike anything any of the knights had seen, as it was of Roman build and far larger than Durnovaria was. The Logrian Host encamped in one of the old mustering fields inside of the city, and took in the civilisation. Graid bought plenty of gifts for his wives, and Ninian bartered himself to a stone of Eburacum, hoping to give Aurelius a gift to remind him of the roman heritage that he had spoken so fondly about.
In the hall of King Heraut, there were many marvels and tapestries to see. But, one thing concerned Aldwyn more than anything else. The skull of the infamous Wyrm of Cumbria. 
The wicked dragon that had slain his father and destroyed his ancestral homeland. And when he saw it, it was a dragon, little doubt of that, but it was not large enough. This beast could barely fit a pony in it’s maw, whereas the beast that had slain Aldwyn’s father had been large enough to swallow a mounted rider in a single gulp.
Aldwyn did not speak of it, but he knew in his heart that the beast was still out there.

The royal negotiations were long and drawn out, which at a point had Prince Madoc seem angered as he left the room. The Prince was itching to leave the politics behind, and pay some retribution on the Saxons that were just north of here.
But, among the knights of Malahaut, Ninian learned that in the Saxon territories, it seemed that there were rumors of the wild Caledonians having made their way into Nohaut and Deira, plundering to their heart’s content.

When they relayed this to Madoc, he was angered, but was subsequently pleased when Aldwyn managed to give him a different idea.
While his father would barter with King Heraut, Madoc could begin to assemble the smaller Kings of Cumbria, making sure to get their support for Uther’s appointment as High King. And when Aldwyn told him that he was the nephew of the Queen of Roestoc, it was settled. He would ride for Roestoc, to persuade King Masgwid that Uther was the rightful High King, and the Knights of Salisbury would aid him in this endeavour. And, thus, it was settled as Roderic did not object, and not two days later, they rode for Roestoc.

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There's surprisingly little written about this place. So, I had to research a lot of things. Roestoc only shows up once or twice in Arthurian canon, but Greg gave it a place on the map and we got a bunch of knowledge about it in Book of Sires. Very pagan, in between Malahaut and the Perinnes.
In real life, it is around Doncaster and the surrounding lands. Which also makes Roestoc the lords of the Marshlands of Maris. 

The Kingdom of Roestoc was in the Don Valley, a far wilder territory than that of Malahaut, and filled with woods. At Caer Don, the old roman fortress, Prince Madoc was at first not received as befitted him, as the King did not wish to parley with a Pendragon.
However, with Aldwyn’s pull with both his cousin, Prince Einion and his Aunt, Queen Arwen, the King finally relented. King Masgwid was dubbed the Lame, for his gait, but the old warrior was shrewd enough to not give any promises to Madoc while the Prince was in his hall. However, his Queen insisted that they should consult the Druids on the matter, a statement that made the deeply christian Sir Ninian wince for a slight second.
Queen Arwen, in her twilight years still a beauty that could be only second to Duchess Ygraine, seemed to be the true ruler here in Roestoc. Not long after, the Druids gave word that a hunt was to be held, the most prize quarry deciding what the gods would favor.

That evening, Aldwyn got to spend time with his sisters, Bronwyn and Krystin, who served their aunt as handmaidens. Of those five sisters, Bronwyn and Krystin were the only ones that had not yet been wed, and of course, it concerned Aldwyn, but his sisters just smiled in unison, and said that the Gods had plans for both of them. Coming from anyone else, Aldwyn would have just shrugged it off, but the quintuplet sisters had a certain kind of magic in their hands, Aldwyn knew as much, and he did not question it.

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The running jokes was that Aldwyn had witch-sister, which the player always replyed "Well, yes, all women are magical and these sisters are just a bit more magical".
So, I ran with that. The Five Sisters are kinda magic.

And so, in the morning hours, the hunters rode into the wilds of the Don Valley.
The two princes of Roestoc leading each of their own parties, while Prince Madoc had two. 
One led by Sir Golas and one led by Sir Graid, as they were the finest hunters among them.
The hunt was long, with trail of both boar and stag found, but it was the stag that attracted the attention of the Prince, and the game was afoot.
Hours later, Sir Golas seems to have finally found the prey! And for a short second, Prince Madoc rejoiced as he picked up his spear. Then, a roar erupted from the woods before them, chilling them all to the bone. A golden-brown lion lunged at them, it’s claws shredding apart hunting leathers as if it was nothing. Tywyn and his horse was torn to the ground and the rest of the horses panicked.
In desperation, Aldwyn sounded the horn, and across the hill, both Graid and Reccared heard it, and spurred their horses into action.

Emboldened by the blood of the fallen knight, the lion lunged at both Aldwyn and Madoc, causing grievous wounds to them. It seemed that all was lost, and then, Reccared rode in and arced Aljian into a red line down the side of the mighty lion, drawing all of it’s ire, yet it never found it’s mark and as both Madoc and Aldwyn tried to hamstring it with their spears, it bit a fought to the bitter end, greviously wounding Sir Graid as well; however, Reccared finally found a place to strike true and ended the lion’s life swiftly.

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A Lion is dangerous. But, hell, even a Lion cannot deal with being critted twice.

Panicked and bloodied, the knights picked up Graid, who was at death’s door. Tywyn was down, but swift first-aid ensured that he would live to see another day.
They rode for Caer Don, wounded and bruised, but none could dispute that the Lion was the finest prey that had been taken that day.
Madoc, grateful to the five knights of Salisbury, named them as his Companions, those men that would be the first among his Royal Guard once he’d be King, and first among his friends. This honor mattered little to the unconscious Graid who was at death’s door.
Aldwyn, himself wounded heavily by lion-claws, asked for his sisters to help his friend. Whatever the cost. 
That night, Aldwyn had a dream. He dreamt of the Lion. He dreamt of Llew the Warrior, he who would rise and die again, Llew the Lionmaned. It was a sign. And when the lion asked what he would give, it was clear. Aldwyn would give everything needed, as Graid was his brother.

Shortly before the midnight hour, Ninian awoke from his rest and saw the handmaidens of Roestoc passing through the hall, a pale glow emanating from those water jugs they carried. He followed and saw them attend Sir Graid’s side, where the Queen and her daughter awaited their arrival.
He heard not what was said, but they sang softly in the old way, and with water in the jugs, they washed away the wounds that had doomed Graid to soon meet his maker.
The knight took a breath just after midnight, his life ensured not to end this time.

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A bit of a Deus Ex Machina, but Aldwyn paid a price. He gave away a year of his fertility, and this was pretty much only possible due to events falling into place in a suitably mythological fashion.
They basically brewed a healing potion.

Madoc met with King Masgwid the next morning, where the lion had been skinned and presented in the hall.
The stubborn, but still quite pagan king saw this beast as an undisputed omen, and would vote for Uther, as Uther’s son had a clear blessing of Llew.
With Graid and Aldwyn too hurt to make the journey, Madoc left them behind and rode for Catterick where Uther had assembled the northern lords. After that, Madoc rode for the Saxon lands, to meet with King Lot of Lothian and his Caledonians.
Here, in Deira and Nohaut, the horrors of war became clear to both Ninian and Reccared, as retaliation was mostly enacted on women, elders and children. Brown mud, soaked in red stained water. It was an experience that neither of them would ever forget, and even Madoc, surprisingly seemed to have had his bloodlust tempered by the humbling he had been given in Roestoc. The same could not be said for the Knights of Logres and the wild Caledonians.
When autumn and the cold comes, it is a blessing, as Reccared and Ninian can return home to Sarum.

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One might disagree with me saving a player like that, but I really wanted Graid alive for the following Cornish drama and the players used every thread they could to save him.
Now, we finally got to the winter of 490, but as you know, there's still some bullshit to come with Uther and his Christmas Court of 490. Because, now the PKs are the Prince's Companions.
All in good fun I suspect.

Edited by KungFuFenris
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  • 3 weeks later...

Love your story, as usual. You all seem to have fun^^

But... Death is part of the game in KAP. I understand your move, but the sudden death of a character is probably better in the long run. When death is part of the game, every fighting against all odds is indeed very brave.

IRL, dead people all have unfinished business.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Tizun Thane said:

Love your story, as usual. You all seem to have fun^^ But... Death is part of the game in KAP.
I understand your move, but the sudden death of a character is probably better in the long run. When death is part of the game, every fighting against all odds is indeed very brave. 
IRL, dead people all have unfinished business.

I get that. And it was a consideration I had.
However, the exact place, where we were visiting, the place where Aldwyn grew up, as well as the fact that the same sisters we had all talked about being "witches" were around, it felt right for me to offer up a devils bargain to Aldwyn's player.
Looking back at it, I could just as easily have used Graid's own Healing Potion, but everyone had forgotten about it.

We've had a few other events later where I thought it might not work out for the better if the character took a fall.

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Right. Better get back to the story.

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Session 16: The Christmas Court at Londinium

The autumn was a harsh one, as frost covered the morning branches as early as the first days of October, clear as day, as the knights Aldwyn, Ninian and Reccared rode to Woodhouse alongside the Prince of Logres.

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I messed up last recap, Aldwyn was actually fit enough to go to Nohaut and Deira with Madoc.
I found some pictures of burned villages and destroyed fields, and told the knights that this was the name of the game they were playing up there. Outright warcrimes is on one of my player's list of things that he really don't want to see enacted in a game, so this was probably the best solution.
So. Yeah. 490 continues. Hell of a long year. It was fortunate that we started playing every week during lockdown.

Back at his own castle, Madoc, while he seemed to be as struck by the events in Cumbria as the rest of the knight, the Prince still thanked them, and told them that he would have them join him in Londinium come Christmas, as he wished for his new Companions to partake in the royal celebrations of a good year. 
This invitation was extended to Tywyn, Aurelius and Graid as well. The knights made their goodbyes and departed, beginning the ride to their own homes. 

Sir Reccared and Sir Ninian riding towards Sarum, with Sir Aldwyn riding up the Wylve River Vale, checking in on the returned comrades in arms along the way.

Aldwyn first passed by Vagon Castle, then by Wylve Manor, where Tywyn had been given land.
For Tywyn, this autumn had been blessed, as his second son had just been born. Sioned had endured the trial of birth, and had prevailed. They named him Carwyn, after Sioned’s grandfather, and Tywyn silently thanked the little brownie that dwelt in the woods nearby. 

Further down the Wylve, in Stapleford, Graid had found that having two wives was more of a challenge than first anticipated. 
While dealing with bandits, an absent husband, disease in the household as well as an injured husband, Aline and Bryn had agreed on handling things their way as partners instead of rivals for their husbands affections. Graid found that he had little say in the matter, which, for the Just Sir Graid, was probably fair enough.

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Graid's living situation is pretty interesting. He managed to use ancient law to get wed like the old Insular Christians, to avoid a blood feud with Bryn's family. (A bit of fluff for a more permanent Concubine) - but having two women in the same house had some consequences. And instead of hating each other, they decided to become the best of friends and have their husband under control, which the Just 18 Graid feels is totally okay. His Chaste has also shot up in recent years, after that little fuckup.

Finally, a bit further downstream, Newton Manor was awash with activity, with Aldwyn’s oldest sons running around like wild calves. The harvest had not been great, as bandits made it difficult to get everything in on time, but still good enough that Aldwyn could begin raising a tower in Newton.
After that, he crossed the hill between Woodford and Newton to be reunited with Aurelius, who had been brought back south by Sir Elad earlier than the rest of them.

Aurelius had been happy to return to his beloved Bethany, but being bedridden from wounds had only made the fact that his household now was blessed with four infants all the more present in his life. With those as well as his live-in-sister’s two children, it was clear that rest was a foreign land here in Woodford, and Aldwyn decided to not stay too long in the cacophony of wailing children.

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Aurelius had triplets, yeah. And Bethany almost died to that.

As for the other two, Ninian said his goodbyes to Sir Reccared as they reached Sarum, and the young knight returned to Lord Roderick’s hall, and recounted to their liege what had transpired in Roestoc and the Saxon realms. Roderick was not pleased with the results, he focused on matters at hand. Ninian found himself joining the ranks of Roderick’s household, to fill the spot left vacant by his fallen father, Sir Branoc. The Household Knights were a motley of quite different knights, but as demure as Ninian was, it little issue to just fade into the background.

At Aldertree Manor, Reccared was finally reunited with his beloved Adwen, and their hearts sang with joy of being together again, as Adwen had doubted that she would ever get to see her husband again. While he had been gone, she had given birth to his son and heir, whom she had named Bles, after her departed father. While Adwen’s skills in managing a Household was not great, Reccared’s old steward, Dag, had managed to avoid utter ruin in a pair of otherwise quite intense winters.

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This was basically me enacting half of the stuff from the winter phase of 489 and 490.
Dag is an excellent NPC. An old Aquitanian mostly just hired due to him being the 2nd Cousin of the former Lady of Baverstock, Reccared's mother.
Adwen having been wed in 489 and then having her new husband running away in Madness? That had to have stung.

The knights settled into a routine for the next few months. 

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And then, Christmas came calling. Alongside their wives and their retinue, the six knights rode for Londinium. Here, they were greeted by the wonders of the Royal Court, a place only Aurelius, as the son-in-law of the Royal Marshal, had ever been before.
As the companions of the Prince, they and their spouses were expected to attend. Many a night was spent in courtly activities, but to both Sir Graid and Sir Aurelius, it was clear that in spite of the victory and the following spoils of war, the King was restless and unhappy.

Many a goblet of wine was emptied, and both Aldwyn and Tywyn cast more than a few hidden glances at the beautiful Duchess of Cornwall. In fact, rumor had it that Uther had insisted on the Duke of Cornwall remaining at the Court over Winter, and as per the rules of hospitality, Gorlois could not leave without incurring Uther’s Ire. 
Graid, keeping himself informed through his relationship with Sir Brastias, soon began to put two and two together, and he silently thanked god not to have twisted his head like everyone seemed to have had when it came to the Duchess. But, this was dangerous. As was the strange lady that attended on the Duchess, who Graid managed to figure out was none other than Nineve, an Enchantress of Avalon. Most of the knights were uneasy by her presence, but Aldwyn just shrugged and said it was not any different than having one of their priests around.

Ninian and Tywyn had a small talk where Tywyn tried to convince Ninian into marrying one of his cousins, as he had a bunch of them.
Ninian was not even sure if he could maintain a wife while being a knight at Sarum, but Tywyn offered his help nonetheless.

Aurelius tried to keep himself informed through his father and brother-in-law and it was not long before he realized that Ulfius was just as tense about the situation as everyone else. After all, the world was on the edge, and with Saxon Kings in the tower, it was just a matter of time before either the South or East Saxons began to stir, or perhaps even the Kentish.

Whenever he could tear himself away from wine and Isolde’s embrace beneath the furs, Aldwyn could not help but wonder why the Prince seemed to be avoiding both his otherwise beautiful Lady Rhianneth, but also the usual boisterous tone that he had come to expect. It almost seemed like the Prince Madoc they had known so far had gone through more than one change.
Reccared seemed to agree after having spoken to the Prince on a few occasions.
The court was awash in rumors and gossip, but being the Prince’s Companions, the Knights often had to stare down members of the Royal Guard, currently without a captain as Sir Belias had perished in the Battle of Lindsey, and those who remained in the Royal Guard really did not take well to these new upcomers, especially the immense Sir Caradoc the 13th. 
It was only due to the presence of both the venerable Sir Solis, Reccared's great-uncle, that Caradoc did not try to put the upstarts in their place.

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Caradoc has been a great presence in my game. He's the father of Sir Bar the Huge, the big knight from Salisbury that has proven to be a good friend of the PKs.
Solis is still the image that Reccared is trying to live up to, and being a hero of the realm, it was quite easy to have him around. I was considering having him become to new Captain, but his age at 67 disqualified him.

Many a festive dinner followed in the days of Christmas. 
Everyone tried to maintain a semblance of joy and elation. After all, the Saxon Kings were clasped in irons and locked away in the White Tower. What was there to feel trepidation about?

Then, one evening, things began to happen.
A snowstorm began to roar outside, fierce than anything that had been seen in decades.
It was just three days after Christmas, in the late hours, as torch and candlelight was all that lit the halls. And it was here that Graid saw the Duke’s retinue secretly carry out provisions towards the stable. He poked both Tywyn and Ninian, the people he were sitting guard at the Prince’s quarter with, and began to follow.
In the stable, the three knights saw the servants being ushered along by Brastias, who was dressed for a fight, as were many of Gorlois’ bodyguards.  The Duke and Duchess were in the stables, dressed for a ride and awaiting the saddling of their horses. Squire Felix rushed back into the hall, darting to get hold of the rest of their group. 
In spite of neither Aurelius, Reccared nor Aldwyn being particularly awake or eager to roll out of the skins they shared with their wives, after hearing out Graid’s squire, they got dressed and ran to warn the king of Cornwall’s disregard for the Royal Hospitality, while Aurelius rushed out toward the courtyard.

As Graid approached the Cornish entourage, the grey-haired knight turned and held up his sword. Neither of them wanted a fight.
But, it was clear that this would mean war. 
Then, Brastias told Graid the reason. The king had attempted to force himself on the Duchess, but the Lady had been clever enough to wear a dagger beneath her skirts, and had wrested herself away from Uther’s vile intentions. Gorlois had decided to leave, damn the consequences. As a Cornishman, Graid had to be able to see reason in this. After all, Gorlois was their peoples’ foremost champion and his family had bled for Cornwall far longer than Logres.
Yet, Graid was steadfast, loyal to his own lord and to the King he had sworn to obey. And to breach hospitality like this could not be allowed. Ninian, Graid and Tywyn rushed forward, the almost unnatural gale and mounds of fresh snow thoroughly impeding their advance.
Tywyn noticed the strange veil around the Cornish, and the whisperings of Lady Nineve, the sorceress that Graid had told him about, and he dashed towards her, trying to get rid of the Cornish in his path, but it did not work as intended. 
Ninian fought like a lion, downing the first Cornishman with ease, and staggering forward to the next. His demure and modest nature was clearly hiding a warrior with no hesitation.
Graid entered into a fight with Brastias, and soon found himself in a fight that was lost in advance, as the older warrior was better in almost every way, Graid had no armor nor could he find his footing in the snow. So, not suffering from those disadvantages, Brastias downed Graid in a few strikes, however he withheld the full force of his final blow. Sometimes, there was mercy to be found in the iron-handed fighter, yet Graid still bled profusely from his wound.

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This time, Graid was not fucked iver by dice, but I just rolled a lot better.
Brastias absolutely wrecked him, even at ½ DMG from pulling his blow, and downed him with a Major Wound even on that.

Even though they did their best, the Cornish have to escape. Tywyn's attempt to damage Nineve is a bit of a pattern for his attitude towards the supernatural. Tywyn just plunges right in if he can do that, first making deals with a brownie (even when he's a good British Christian himself) and then trying to kill an Enchantress.
As we discovered in his Book of Sire rolls, it's a bit of a family trait.

Reccared and Aldwyn rushed to the king, but had little idea of what to say to Uther, to avoid all out calamity to follow their message. There was no way. If Roderick had been here? He would probably have tried to disarm this far before it came to this.
So. They approached the King, and told him of the events. What followed was the wroth of a true King as Uther roared loud enough for the entire castle to be roused.

In the courtyard, the three knights could not prevent the Cornish in their escape, as even when they cried out for a gate being closed, it was too late as the winds howled. With sorcerous aide, Gorlois and Ygraine rode into the wintery night, and the snowstorm increased in ferocity, sealing away Uther and his court for many days. 
Aurelius rushed to Graid’s side, preventing him from passing out in the snow, and narrowly dragged his friend back inside.

The King was fuming. None dared approach him except Ulfius.
Aurelius kept attending poor Graid’s wounds, and tried to convince his Graid to watch out for himself more, but Graid, his mood blackened by the prospects of fighting a war against his own people just winced and called all of this for a foolish, honorless cause for a war. 

When the snow finally subsided, Uther gave leave for his guests to leave, but he would see them all again come Pentecost, as war would have to be the answer to such an insult to himself.
The Knights of Salisbury simply nodded, and dreaded the coming summer, when they would have to draw steel against their fellow Britons.
 

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That finally brings 490 to an end.
The Winter Phase was not all that notable, except that one of Aldwyn's magical sisters ended up marrying the King of Strathclyde. We ended up making up a story that his sister Krystin claimed that she would be able to give the King a son, if he made her Queen.
Not one to back down from a challenge, the King accepted, and nine months later, Krystin gave birth to a healthy and hale boy, who was fated to dwarf any other man in his kingdom. This was the prize Aldwyn gave to his sisters. What had been fated for him, would befall his sister.
There was some beetles, Graid had two pairs of twins(?!) and...

Wait. I forgot about Reccared. A lot happened that winter for him. He had to defend his wife's honor in a duel as she was accused of Heresy. Probably converting to her husband's Arianism, which she had never done. The accusation came from the Roman Church of course, and Reccared went to Durnovaria to square off against Bishop Mesalla's champion. Which he won, and took a Aquitanian helmet with a golden gleam as his prize.
Then, something even worse happened. His family got involved in a blood feud, as his aunt was murdered by a group of Gentian knights. His uncles were enraged, and we used the Paladins Solo Blood Feud to emulate what had happened in the spring of 491 when the Toulouse Clan rode against the Lineage of Melksham, where a minor Baron near the Forest of Gloom had to fight against a family where Vengeful is a regional trait.
This ended up with the Baron killing Reccared's uncle Bastion, Baron Melksham was in turn lynched by Sir Reccared the Red, our PK's *other* uncle. Hell, it was so bad that Reccared the Red was thenceforth known as Reccared the Crimson. A lot of stuff happened here, in the days before Pentecost.
Ever since, Reccared's player has seen Gentian as a place of blackguards and unruly mobs, which is not completely untrue, as Gentian does not seem anywhere near as united as Salisbury is.

Edited by KungFuFenris
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I love your campaign, as usual. You have great players, and you look like a Great GM.

I was surprised that you tell them so much of the Uther/Ygraine debacle. By the way, in the sources, Uther tried to seduce Ygraine first, not rape her. You pictured him so much as a villain in your campaign that I was surprised your players didn't betray him.

I was a bit disappointed Graid abandonned all of his cornish roots so easily. I hope there will be consequences ;)

On 9/25/2020 at 2:59 PM, KungFuFenris said:

Aurelius had triplets, yeah. And Bethany almost died to that.

Poor woman. How did you manage that, considering it's not possible in RAW?

On 9/25/2020 at 2:59 PM, KungFuFenris said:

Graid's living situation is pretty interesting. He managed to use ancient law to get wed like the old Insular Christians, to avoid a blood feud with Bryn's family. (A bit of fluff for a more permanent Concubine) - but having two women in the same house had some consequences. And instead of hating each other, they decided to become the best of friends and have their husband under control, which the Just 18 Graid feels is totally okay. His Chaste has also shot up in recent years, after that little fuckup.

Not a fan of the whole bigamy plot. Neither Christians or Pagans are polygamous. It's your game of course. In mine, there will honor loss each year of bigamy.

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Thanks for the nice words.

In reg. to Uther, they only got the words of the royal demand from Sir Brastias. One version of an attempted force might be someone else's impassioned declaration of love and lust? (But yeah, Uther is a bad guy. Players knew he was going to pull the Tintagel Stunt, and we had a talk about not wanting to make Uther anywhere near a good man. He's a man, but a very faliable one)
And he could have been telling the truth. A few of the PKs made the call that a King is above petty mortal things. And as such, these things are his right as King to not be derided for, as he is above them, as it's not their place to judge. (Going by stuff I found on Greg's old page, there's far less on an honor loss if the King beds a married woman than if a regular knight does so.)

And for a knight, it's not their place to judge. Only to serve.

Almost all of the PKs have Hospitality of 16. This is a big deal, no matter what. And none of them are going to betray Roderick's King, who Roderick who they ALSO have mostly 16+ Loyalty to.

As for Graid and the Cornish? Well. He's sworn somewhere else, but it *rankles* him that he has to stand against his brothers.
He's not pleased. And from here to next session, the player really debated if he had to defect and ride to his ancestral hall and fight there.

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Not a fan of the whole bigamy plot. Neither Christians or Pagans are polygamous. It's your game of course. In mine, there will honor loss each year of bigamy.

Actually, polygamy in Britain took quite a few years to stomp out. Marriage is not yet a sacrament in this time, nor has the Church held the Synod that tries to abolish it.
There's a reason it's still a thing over in Ireland during Pendragon. But, it is definitely seen as an Unchristian thing, and very old fashioned and out of touch with the real world. It has kinda made sure that Graid is no long respected by neither Church or Christian commoners. Hell, even the Pagans are a bit iffy with that, as they got their Monogamy from the Romans.

2 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

Poor woman. How did you manage that, considering it's not possible in RAW?

That would be the homebrewed childbirth stuff I'm using. It's more based of CON that a random table, and more of a risk for the woman.
There's a lot of different things in there, but common for all is that there's a lot of things that can happen with ones' loved once during birth. When someone rolls triplets, things are rapid going wrong, both for the children and for the mother.
If it wasn't for the very expensive doctor that Aurelius has on retainer, Bethany would have died. 

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51 minutes ago, KungFuFenris said:

d he could have been telling the truth. A few of the PKs made the call that a King is above petty mortal things. And as such, these things are his right as King to not be derided for, as he is above them, as it's not their place to judge. (Going by stuff I found on Greg's old page, there's far less on an honor loss if the King beds a married woman than if a regular knight does so.)

Yes. there was the whole "The King is beyond the rules of normal men".  Their attitud is totally understandable. It's just I was looking for drama! Brother against Brother! 🥰

Uther is a shitty king. A good warlord, but a bad king.

58 minutes ago, KungFuFenris said:

Actually, polygamy in Britain took quite a few years to stomp out. Marriage is not yet a sacrament in this time, nor has the Church held the Synod that tries to abolish it.

Thank you. I understand better you take. My Pendragon is much more middle ages than Dark Ages. That's why polygamy was in my mind such a big deal. Your explanations woks marvelously for your game.

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7 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

Yes. there was the whole "The King is beyond the rules of normal men".  Their attitud is totally understandable. It's just I was looking for drama! Brother against Brother! 🥰

Uther is a shitty king. A good warlord, but a bad king.

Thank you. I understand better you take. My Pendragon is much more middle ages than Dark Ages. That's why polygamy was in my mind such a big deal. Your explanations woks marvelously for your game.

The Drama *will* arrive.

The Dark Ages thing is going the way of the dodo really fast as the timeline advances. I think Archbishop Dubricus is going to be doing a lot during Anarchy to try to rope in Britain as a place and get rid of the worst of it.
"Save your souls, now that there cannot be a King to save you"

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Session 17: The Cornish Issue - Part II

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Well. That took a while to continue. I wrote this about a month ago, but promptly forgot all about it. Sorry about that folks.
Anyways, this session was a bit curious, in that Tywyn's player was absent, yet we had to keep him in the loop.

The snow had long since melted in Salisbury, and Pentecost was fast approaching. And with Pentecost, it was time for the muster against Cornwall. But, first, it was time for Easter at Sarum, as Easter fell late that year.

After the Hundred Court in Bran’s Hill, Aldwyn, Aurelius and Graid had met up on the road, and alongside their retinue, they rode for the manor of Aldertree, where Reccared lived with his beloved Adwen.  The manor been her father’s, and as such, this manor was fit for a rich man, unlike Reccared’s old manor in the hills. When his brothers arrived the Aquitanian’s retinue was replacing broken spears, his washers were cleaning blood from Reccared’s surcoats and his squires, Phylip and Mellon, were trying to mend chipped mail. It looked like Reccared had already gone into battle.
And, true enough, he had been away on family business.
Over a glass of ale, Reccared told them all about the bloody feud in Gentian, where the Baron of Melksham had bit off more than he could chew, and about the end, where his uncle Reccared the Red had earned his new nickname as the Crimson. 
They had a talk about the future consequences of this feud, but Sarum was calling to assemble.

As the four of them arrived in Sarum, they were met by an exasperated Tywyn, who could tell that his brother had become a father during the winter.
The famed Elad One-Eye’s lineage was now secured, a fact that Drystan, his boastful elder brother, was not late to remind everyone about. He had been wed to the fair Eloise, sister to Reccared, a match that Reccared had negotiated himself when Tywyn was knighted.  (Though, in fairness, he had meant to make the match between his sister and Tywyn, not Drystan.)

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When you try to negotiate a match, it is wise not to fumble. Having Eloise wed to Drystan was a major catastrophe in the game, as you will soon find out.

Yet, when the feasting began, it was hard for the ever aware Aldwyn not to notice the glance that Tywyn and his sister-in-law were exchanging. And, when the two of them disappeared from the feast at the same time, Aldwyn’s suspicions were confirmed, much to his dread. These things were a serious matter among the Christian-folk, and he found it best to remain silent about the matter. 

Young Ninian had many a tale to tell, as he had been sent abroad over the spring, and alongside Sir Leo and Sir Jareth, he had ridden to the distant coastal city of Noviomagus, where Roderic had told them to act as his diplomats to the city, after all, the lord there was the closest Baron near the Saxon border. If Ælle of Sussex was to exploit the Cornish situation, it would be a catastrophe for the southern countries of Logres.

And there, Ninian had met someone. A lady that he spoke about in the way that none of Tywyn’s many eligible cousins made him speak. The young household knight was in love, with the fair Lady Cornelia of Wheatfield, second daughter of the Butler of Hantonne. However, he was, as was known, a mere household knight.
His amassed fortune was worth less than the shirt he was dressed in and had little in the way of wealth to offer her.

The four vassal knights were all eager to offer him a job on their manors, each of them certain they could spare the expense of an additional knight and lady, but Ninian politely refused. After all, he had sworn to serve Roderick, just as his father had. And, Ninian was a nobody; he might have done well at Lindsey, but compared to men like Aurelius and Tywyn, he had been average at best.

The rest of the knights shook their heads at Ninian's humility, and returned to their feasting.
At a point, Roderick stood up and addressed the assembled knights of Salisbury. It had been a pair of harsh years they had just gone through, with Lord Seith’s passing, his son, Sir Mahogan, had now been granted his inheritance and was now to be addressed as Lord Mahogan, making him the second Lord Knight in Salisbury alongside Sir Hywel the Widower.
To our heroes, Mahogan was very much his father’s son, a part of the throng of stern conservatives among the knights, while Hywel stood in the middle alongside Sir Elad, the most glorious of all of Salisbury’s knights.
And our heroes’ own crowd, the Table of the Motley? They were still outsiders, the rest of the factions did not allow them to forget it.

Continuing, Roderick spoke of the future. About his hopes and dreams for Salisbury, and the King's intentions come Pentecost.
They were to ride on Cornwall, to avenge the slight bestowed on their monarch’s hospitality by the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall. Graid began to brood on that announcement, and he drank deeply that night, as war with Cornwall was a prospect that teared at his heart.

The next day, Salisbury handled court business among the knights, settled twists and matters of contention that were not serious enough for the Sheriff to be involved in.

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A week later, word came from Woodhouse that Prince Madoc wished to see them in his castle before the muster went out, and despite a lot of the knights still being wary of the prince, they rode to Woodhouse as soon as possible.

Madoc had returned to Woodhouse, after spending the winter at the Royal Court along with his Lady wife, Rhianneth.
They had expected Madoc to be moody and ill-tempered after having been forced to endure her presence, but to the knights’ surprise, they were met with a cheerful and almost amiable Madoc, who seated them in his hall with the same treatment as a knight of lordly rank would have be treated to.

The conversation with the prince was cordial, and to their surprise, Madoc was almost wary of going into war, but a son had a duty to his father.
And those words that began a whole conversation about fatherhood and the duty and worries that it brought along. They had seen traces of it in London, but the headstrong prince they had known in years prior had changed, becoming far more mature and more composed.
It did not take long for most of them to understand what was going on. Madoc had a son.
A little tyke that was running around in the courtyard, chased by a brown-haired woman that could only be his mother. She presented herself as Catrin de Sauvage, her manners clearly indicating that she was neither noble nor peasant. No, she was clearly a huntress, used to living life alone, and her very presence with their son seemed to make Madoc smile a bit more.

Aldwyn shrugged, Aurelius, Graid and Reccared seemed a bit disturbed about the boy being a potential heir of Logres, while Tywyn seemed to be considering a lot of things said at that table. Ninian, bless his heart, did not understand any of the subtext, and remained oblivious.

A few days later, just before Pentecost, Madoc was set to ride out, and wanted his companions at his side when they rode for Cornwall, as their help could help him in returning to his home again.

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Yeah. Making him human before the tragedy? It felt right. And now, Eliwlod has been introduced. Payoff will be there at a point ^^

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Cornwall had been a treacherous place to march. After braving the wilds of Jagent, Uther’s army had to march across the open moors of Ascalon.

To most of the knights, this was almost a wasteland, yet Graid knew it as his homeland, and not a single day went by where he did not wish he was anywhere else on God’s creation. But, after a score of skirmishes in the Dartmoor, it became clear that the Cornish did not intend to fight in the field.
Two castles, Terrabil and Tintagil, was the lynchpin of Gorlois’ battleplan, as he had stationed his forces at Terrabil and his treasures and family at Tintagil, both fortresses that were hard to assail. 
Uther gave the order to split the army, and took a third of his forces to Tintagil, where the duchess lived.
Elad, the marshal of the Salisburian host, was assigned to ride with Uther, as Madoc had been given command of the siege at Terrabil, which made Roderick, wise from their previous engagement with the Franks, cautious enough that he decided to stay behind to advise the Prince himself.
Tywyn said his goodbyes to his friends, and rode off alongside his father.

The siege began.
And weeks passed with little change. Reccared, being the only man with a bit of knowledge about sieges, instructed his friends, but ended up falling prey to a camp fever not a week in the siege. The forty days passed, and midsummer was swiftly approaching.
Aldwyn for his part, had enough of this foolishness. He had arranged for his five sisters to assemble in Aqua Sulis, this very midsummer, to barter his daughter's voice back from the fae, and damned if he’d allow this damn siege to keep him longer than the forty days he owed. 
With his apologies to Prince Madoc and a regret that he could not bring Reccared with him, Aldwyn gathered his belongings and squires and rode off. After all, it would not be long before the reinforcements arrived, and little changed in this siege.

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Well. Aldwyn had better things to do that fight for Uther's horniness. So, we had to sideline him for a bit. Which was kinda weird when the very next thing that happened was... well.
However, we had put off the whole Stolen Voice Plot off for quite some time. Time to cash in.

Two days later, Merlin departed the siege camp as well.
That night, Reccared finally felt like the sickness had left him, but he was still not at his best. Graid, Aurelius and Ninian were just relieved that Reccared were able to stand again. The siege was not set to end any time soon, and that night they slept well.

And then, the very same night, chaos erupted!

The Cornish knights surged forward in a charge down from Castle Terrabil, Duke Gorlois in the van as the old warrior had been so often before. Panic struck the Logrean knights, none could make neither heads nor tails of the situation.
With little hesitation, Ninian charged into the fray, wearing naught but his nightclothes, mace and shield in hand, and with a mighty blow, he felled a mounted Cornishman, and leapt into the saddle. In a state of utter disbelief, the rest of the knights cried out for their squires to rush donning their mail, as the youngest of the knights had little time to spare for self-protection.
Then, they saw the Prince, attempting to rally the troops around him.
And Gorlois was heading straight for him.

Graid, armoured and mounted, spurred his horse past a knight, allowing Reccared to impale the foe on his own lance. Ninian rode towards the prince, but found the Duke’s honor-guard blocking the way, and with a mighty swing, the young Breton lashed out at a knight dressed in high finery, sending Lord Sharphill sprawling to the ground, unconscious and a captive of Sir Ninian.

Reccared, Aurelius and Graid surged into the fray around Madoc’s banner, and their lances each found marks, pushing aside the finest of Cornish warriors as if they were untrained squires, but it was to no avail. Gorlois, an experienced warrior of numerous battlefields, found a way through Madoc’s defenses and ran his sword through the chainlinks covering the prince’s torso, skewering Madoc on the blade, as Gorlois cried out for justice over Uther’s unrighteous line, for victory to Cornwall.

And then, he heard the thundering hooves rushing towards him, and in a flash of recognition, the old Duke saw the heraldry of an old friend, a respected line among the Dumnonii ride to his side and relaxed. 
However, that hesitation cost Gorlois dearly, as Graid, impassioned by the honor that made him loyal to the Pendragons, lowered his lance. In a flash, the Duke attempted to raise his sword in defense, but with a final gasp, Madoc grabbed a hold of Gorlois swordhand, keeping it in place.
A a steel-tipped spear pierced directly into the Duke’s clavicle, crimson lifeblood spraying across his white warhorse and Gorlois slammed to the ground, ending his life right next to the Prince that he had slain himself.

The bodyguards turned, and charged at Graid, enraged by the loss of their lord, and even though Reccared and Ninian managed to stop one each, the last of Gorlois retinue found his mark, shoving his own spear into Graid’s gut before being put down himself by the ferocious Sir Lycas.

Even though the battle still roared, Reccared and Aurelius ran to their sworn brother’s side. 
This would have been the end of Graid, everyone around were sure of it, if not for the little flacon filled with a strange mixture that Aurelius remembered Graid had saved Aurelius’ life with, not two years prior. Graid’s squire procured it from his saddlebags and the final droplets of the bottle dripped into Graid’s wound; as if by a miracle, white smoke erupted from where the drops fell, the flow of blood stemmed, and poor Graid now had a chance to survive these wounds.

The remaining knights of Salisbury assembled as Roderick took charge of the army, and ordered an advance at Terrabil. This night was far from over.

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We ran out of time that session. So, the rest of this was handled between the involved players individually.

The assault on Terrabil was a night of further great deeds.
Aurelius excelled as ever, fighting several Cornishmen in the courtyard, and managed to dissuade the bloodthirsty Sir Lycus to spare a young squire from being disemboweled like his knight had just been.
Ninian fought like a lion, finally dressed in his mail, and ended the life of another knight in Terrabil, this being Lord Osmail of Axe, Graid’s step-father.
As for Reccared. He fought hard and true, against many a foe, until he met Sir Rhett, Graid’s younger brother, who he fought hard to subdue and keep alive. 
Finally, he came face to face with the illustrious Sir Brastias, the old Duke’s most trusted officer. While evenly matched, Reccared gained the upper-hand, but finally convinced Brastias that Duke Gorlois’ death allowed him to surrender.

As morning rose over Terrabil, it was clear that this night had been one of fateful events.
How little they knew, as at the same time, something had transpired in the castle of Tintagil.

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Yeah. We ain't done yet. Tywyn is at Tintagil, where things are about to get weird.

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