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Salisbury Knights - a playthrough of the Great Pendragon Campaign


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2 minutes ago, Tizun Thane said:

But I always think you have to be especially careful with the dark powers in KAP, in order to be faithful to the genre.

I can totally respect running that more traditional kind of campaign, as I think the foremost rule is Your Pendragon May Vary. Tell the tale that you and your players want - as long as everyone is having fun. We definitely lean more into mysterious 'Dark Powers' and a liberal interpretation of Faerie (which the various versions and adventures of KAP have put more or less emphasis on). It's definitely not the overarching thread running through our campaign, but it allows us to make some interesting (to us) diversions.

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One last update before a bit of a Christmas break. I hope everyone is able to enjoy their holidays this year, despite the challenges 2020 has flung our way.

501 - Part 2

Prior to setting out to look for the Sluagh known as Knuckletooth, Sir Luc persuaded the group that it might be to their advantage to bring along a friendly fae presence - and he had a suggestion, the water nymph that had been living on his estate for the past few years. After a detour to pick up the nymph (in a small water barrel, the group set out for the Harewood.

Hunting Knuckletooth proved easy enough, as its lair was quickly located, but it was still a shock when it emerged from the shadows -a miserable creature with pale grey skin, stringy black hair and jagged teeth in an oversized mouth. It lived within a brunt-out remnant of a swampy house hidden in the darkness beneath some piles of rubble. 

Sir Luc, seemingly the most comfortable with Fae creatures conversed with it and was able to explain what they wanted - a route to the fae village of Boston. However, Knuckletooth seemed reluctant to cross Black Reg. With the aid of the water nymph and an epic game of questions, the sluagh was persuaded and imparted knowledge of the 'Ritual of the Shadow road'. 

One stipulation of the ritual was that it had to be performed at the site of a suicide, and Knuckletooth led them to a nearby pier in the swamps where a poor unfortunate had met his end. The knights left their squires on shore and rowed a boat out under the pier and while the rest of them tried to keep the boat steady, Sir Cedric volunteered to attempt to perform the ritual (which war marred only by Penelope falling overboard once). Soon the knights found themselves not in the boat, but on the Shadow Road.

Entering a tunnel, the road seemed to warp and loop strangely. They felt as though they had been trapped in place and indeed - they were beset by a nasty group of demonic/fae creatures. Defeating them seemed to unbend the road back to its normal state and the group emerged on a hill overlooking a town in the swamps - Boston, it was presumed. Outlaws bearing blackened shields could be seen entering the town, returning from somewhere. This seemed like good evidence that they were in the correct place. Now they had to find something of Black Reg's to bring back to the Woman of the Mist.

Sir Luc led the group as they infiltrated a walled manor that lay on the edge of town - surely the only place grand enough to be Black Reg's home in the otherwise unremarkable looking village. Not being the most stealthy group, there were some missteps, but the knights were able to silence the complacent guards on the walls and Cedric, Penelope and Archer dropped into the manor grounds itself, entering the manor through a servant's entrance. Sir Luc stayed out on the walls disguised as a guard to watch out for trouble. 

Inside, Sir Penelope brashly forced her way through the kitchens demanding to be led to Black Reg with important news. While they did manage to kowtow one servant, Penelope saw another slip out and knew they had to hurry. Soon they were led upstairs where they dismissed the servant. When he was gone, they scoured the rooms for something of Black Reg's to take back. Sir Cedric snuck into what must have been the master bedroom and stole a hair brush. Archer found a parlour and noted the fine looking garments within and decided to liberate a shirt and hat. Penelope found the tailor's room, where much to her amazement - Roberto, Sir Luc's valet was hard at work. She persuaded him that he should escape with them and the group took off, trying to make it out before the alarm was sounded.

Outside, Sir Luc saw a servant running out to warn the guards and with lightning speed and some stabbing caused a suitable distraction as the other knights fled over the wall and back up the hill, soon followed by Sir Luc, leaving a confused bunch of guards in the manor. 

Sir Cedric performed the ritual to reopen the shadow road and the knights soon found themselves back in the swamps of the Harewood and returned to Sarum. The Lady of the Mist took what they had brought, along with Sir Luc's sword and a bit of Luc's blood and told them she would return next year with an enchanted blade that could kill Black Reg.

Back in Sarum, Sir Esmee was busy dealing with a crisis in Wessex. It seemed that a small fleet of Saxons had landed on the south coast, near Chichester, and taken over that city. The new chief, named King Port, had met King Cerdic in a short battle and Cerdic was defeated. Afterward, the two seemed to have come to some kind of agreement, as Port has renamed one of the cities he had captured after himself - Portchester, and has formed an uneasy alliance with Cerdic.

As this was going on, another messenger arrived to report that a  band of Saxons had broken into the nunnery of Amesbury and kidnapped Queen Ygraine. Countess Ellen  presumed the Saxons believed that by forcibly marrying Ygraine to their king, they would obtain some kind of legitimacy. The Knights set out in pursuit and led by Sir Penelope Starling were able to catch up, but unexpectedly - the saxons were all dead. They found the queen waiting nearby with her daughter, Morgan, who simply described the Saxons as 'careless when asked what had happened, and they could get no further details from Ygraine.

Escorting the ladies back to Sarum, the Ygraine conferred with Ellen. Afterwards, Ellen informed the knights that they had been asked for by name, to escort the queen and her daughter north of the wall to Gorre, as the Queen had agreed to the marriage of Morgan to King Uriens.

The party traveled on the main roads and in Lambor, they met an army of several hundred knights. They were from Bedegraine and Lambor, marching to raid Cameliard. Once the Queen and her mission were revealed, the party were treated well and sent on their way.

They continued through Malahaute, north of Eburacum to Catterick where King Uriens met them in person. He seemed affable enough – greeting Morgan courteously and making an effort to get to know each of the knights. As they travelled north, the King would join the knights around the campfire and told stories of the Picts who resided in the lands they travelled through, including the 'Clan of the Boar' – whose chieftain supposedly wielded a magic boar spear. As they made their way across the Pennines, the knights felt as though they were being watched, but they made it uneventfully to the Wall.

The Wall was a sight never seen before by any of the knights of Salisbury – still impressive even though the Romans had abandoned it two centuries before. The fortifications and ditches remained imposing. The party crossed through a gate into the North and into Gorre.

The wedding party reached Gaiholm Castle without incident. Gaiholm was in a fever pitch of activity, as it bustled with the collected nobles of the north, here for the ceremony. Queen Margawse and Queen Elaine, Morgan’s two elder sisters, were present with their young children, and Queen Ygraine could be seen happily spending time with her children. Also present was King Lot of Lothian and countless tribal chieftains - rough looking northern men with thick accents.

The wedding was to be held at a nearby stone circle later in the week, but first, there was to be a 'tournament of skill' and the knights were invited to partake and prove the worth of the knights of Logres.

The first day of the tournament started with what they called a Bohort for the squires. A "castle" had been built from logs and wood on a nearby hill. The squires were divided into two teams - northerners vs southerners. They were to find the King's pennant which had been hidden somewhere in the outer bailey of the makeshift castle and swap it for their sides flag - and then take the king's banner to the central tower and plant it on top before the other team could get out of the caslte with the swapped flag.

Albia, Sir Cedric's wife and squire, being the oldest tried to lead the squires at first, but her Battle strategies were primitive. The northern team got the King’s Pennant and raced off. Christopher, Sir James’ squire seized the other team’s pennant and in a fine display of athleticism, reached the camp quickly, much to the disappointment of the northerners.

With the Pennant’s reset, Zach, Sir Luc’s squire led the Southerners back and this time, they were able to claim the Pennant. Waldo, Sir Penelope’s squire then showed his speed as he raced to the tower and successfully planted the Pennant on top. The onlooking knights cheered as they all had enjoyed the spectacle.

The afternoon saw a Hunt being organized for the knights. Peasants from the village served as beaters, and as the knights lay in wait, the peasants drove a large group of game towards them. The quick moving deer proved too fast for Penelope, but Luc and Cedric were able to take a couple down. Sir James, however moved with lightning speed and took down 4 bucks, impressing everyone.

The second day saw a strange contest of Log Hurling, determining who could throw a large log the furthest from a line. Sir Penelope rose to the challenge and with a mighty throw, hurled her log far past where any of the northern knights had reached. Cedric and James could not match her throw, but Sir Luc, drawing on some hidden strength managed to even outthrow Penelope, claiming the hurling title.

The third day was the day of the feast and many events took place as it was set up. Poetry, Harp Playing, Singing, even Fashion were the subject of contests until at last the feast was laid out. The knights of Salisbury were split up, but all conducted themselves well. Sir Cedric made acquaintance with a young lady of the north and was seen to disappear in her company at the end of the night. Sir Penelope was also trying to impress a northern knight, but sadly become tongue tied and ended the night alone.

The wedding was to take place the next morning and first thing at dawn the knights set off for the stone circle. As they travelled a well-worn trail overlooking a sea cliff a thick mist rolled in making it difficult to see more than 10ft ahead. The sounds of the sea dropped away, and it became dull and quiet. Distantly could be heard drumming, shouts and chants. Sir James noticed strange shapes loping through the mist, just before several large dogs howled and burst out of the mist to attack. Sir Cedric was knocked off his horse and wounded by one of the dogs, but the other knights fought off the pack. As they proceeded towards the source of the drumming, the fog became thicker and soon each knight was lost to the others and all experienced strange visions.

For Sir Luc, the weather changed to winter and his breathe became visible. The grass at his horse’s feet turned into tiled pavement and up ahead he saw a stone set in the middle of a plaza with a sword stuck in it. Ghostly images of the silhouette of a church – images of men, trumpet blasts in the distance. Shouting voices. Horses. Nearby he heard a voice shouting ‘Damn it boy, just find me a sword.’ A youth ran up and grasped the sword and then the mist closed in again. .

Penelope had a vision of a swampy town with martial preparations ongoing. An organized group marched out of the town, looking much like a roman legion except they all had black shields.

Sir Cedric found himself riding up to his manor, but everything seemed wrong. A pestilence seemed upon the land. His manor was ragged and broken. A priest and some peasants were piling bodies in a mass grave. One peasant turned to him outside his manor and all he could see was a skull.

Sir James found himself outside a castle as an old druid and a woman left with babies in their arms. The walked down to a nearby jetty and put the babies in a boat that already was filled with many more babies, but no crew. They then pushed the boat out to sea as the mist again rolled in.

The knights bumped into each other as the mists cleared. Unsure of what had just happened the knights could see the stone circle in the distance - with shadowy forms dancing within the circle. No one else appeared to be around. The shadows looked wee and runty. As they approached, 4 of the little fellows ran towards them with long spears extended. Filthy dirty, long snaked hair, blue markings on faces, shoulders and arms. They were Picts!

A fierce fight ensued, Sir Luc and Sir James’ passions rose and they quickly trounced the Picts and went to aid their comrades. Looking around afterward, knights of Gorre could be seen riding through the standing stones from the other side and clearing the Picts that had remained there.

The knights were thanked personally by King Uriens and the wedding continued in a traditional pagan ceremony. Returning to the castle, the queen told the knights that she was going to remain in the north with her daughters for a while, and that they should ride home without her. She sent them off with gifts for their help and provisions and wishes for a safe journey

Unfortunately the hill tribes of Rheged had other ideas. Sir Luc led the group back through the passes of the Pennine mountains but was none too stealthy. One night, the group found themselves ambushed in the pre-dawn cold. Sir James fought bravely. Sir Cedric rushed out of his tent with only his dagger, his wife Albia fighting at his side. Penelope started putting on her armor but then rushed out as the fight drew close. She spotted what could only be the Pict leader at the edge of the clearing and valiantly rushed to fight him – disarming him of the spear he held before running it through his head. With their leader dead, the rest of the Picts fled.

Unfortunately, Sir Luc had been dealt a mighty wound and lay near death. Sir James, the pressure of the fight still weighing on him, could not bear to see his old companion on death’s door, and fled into the night. The other’s managed to keep Sir Luc from dying, and rode to Catterick, a 3 day journey. Sir Luc was rushed to the Chirurgeon as the travel seemed to have reopened his wounds, but there in front of all his friends – Sir Luc stopped breathing.

Penelope rushed out to find another doctor for a second opinion. Cedric fell to his knees in shock. But several minutes later, Sir Luc sat bolt upright, seemingly recovered.

The Chirurgeon left, crossing himself.

 

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

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I like this year ^^. The wedding especially. Did you combine the little adventures found in Tales of Magic and Miracles (or something like that) ? Anyway, well done. Why did the Picts attack?

And what is the deal with sir Luc? How did he manage to be cured? 

13 hours ago, BioKeith said:

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Happy Christmas ! 

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On 12/24/2020 at 4:55 AM, Tizun Thane said:

And what is the deal with sir Luc? How did he manage to be cured? 

You might recall he was 'saved?' from death by a crone a few years back, so he might not technically be so much alive as he thinks he is anymore. He was brought back with a purpose, and as long as that purpose isn't fulfilled, something is keeping him alive.

1 hour ago, KungFuFenris said:

Luc must be the luckiest bastard!

Is it luck or is it a curse?

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41 minutes ago, BioKeith said:

You might recall he was 'saved?' from death by a crone a few years back, so he might not technically be so much alive as he thinks he is anymore. He was brought back with a purpose, and as long as that purpose isn't fulfilled, something is keeping him alive.

Is it luck or is it a curse?

For most knights, that's the same thing.

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I wonder how many Americans have the strength of will to play through an adventure involving the “fae village of Boston” without feeling an irresistible urge to do the accent? :)   It would be a different take on the world of Faerie, I’ll say that.

Edited by Voord 99
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Year 502

As the year ended, rumours of Sir Luc's miraculous seeming recovery made the rounds of Salisbury, and he found himself stigmatized. People would cross the street when they saw him coming and his friends and neighbours, while courteous, were cold. Perhaps it was in an effort to combat this, or perhaps to console his friend Sir James, who had missed his wedding while spending the balance of the year addled and destitute on the streets of Catterick, that Luc hosted a great feast at his estate – Roberto the valet designed new feast outfits for all of his friends (The valet has been an amusing running joke for a while now - fueled by a steady stream of fumbled fashion rolls. This year, Sir James got the 'fumbled feast suit'), although Sir James was not amused as Roberto gave him an earthy, peasant looking type of outfit. Sir Luc also saw fit to invite James' paramour, but ended up disappearing with her part way through the evening himself. (Oh that lusty Sir Luc)

In the spring time, the Woman of the Mist came to Seend manor to visit Sir Luc. She had brought back his sword, now, she assure him, enchanted to be able to kill the bandit king. But despite this, the woman seemed quite melancholy to Luc. When he inquired, she said, with a note of sadness in her voice, that the blackberry patch she had gathered from for so many years had been destroyed, and she could not provide him with the poultice he required. Sir Luc showed little emotion outwardly, thanking the woman for the sword before retiring alone to his chamber where he stared at his mottled complexion in the mirror.

At spring court in Sarum, word came that many of the northern counties had sworn allegiance to King Nanteleod, while only a few had joined with Duke Corneas of Lindsey. Lady Ellen wondered at how Salisbury should react to the two sides. Also  in court was Prince Cwichseax of the Angles who informed the Countess that his father had assumed the title of Bretwalda and demanded Salisbury's allegiance.

The countess conferred with her senior knights to decide on a course of action, infuriated that now when the Saxons seemed most divided, Nanteleod and Corneas seemed set on fighting each other. Sir James had been warned through his Silchester backchannels that Duke Ulfius would be remaining neutral whilst maintaining the mutual defense pact SIr James had helped negotiate between Salisbury, Silchester and Rydychan.

The decision was made to continue the alliance with Wessex, but otherwise stay neutral to all parties. Before any other decisions could be made, riders arrived announcing that a bandit army had descended upon the north of Salisbury, and was making for the market town of Upavon. Sir James dispatched messengers to Silchester requesting military assistance, while Sir Archer, who had hunted with Prince Cynric over the winter, traveled to Wessex to also seek assistance. While Silchester agreed to send some forces, Sir Archer was rebuffed and told that banditry was an internal problem.

By the time the forces of Salisbury were mustered and marched north, Upavon had fallen. It quickly became apparent that this was no rabble of bandits, but a force well organized in the old Roman manner. With Marshal Esmee not present and seemingly unwell, Sir James humbly assigned Sir Penelope Starling to lead Salisbury’s forces which proved a prescient move. Sir Penelope’s battle prowess allowed her to avoid leading Salisbury’s forces into a trap, as some of the bandit army had lain in wait while others issued forth from Upavon. As the Battle of Upavon was joined, the forces of Silchester also arrived, evening the odds.

The Bandits proved to be a very tough foe, even possessing some elite cavalry units that dealt a solid blow to Salisbury’s army. Sir Archer was knocked unconscious by a mighty blow early in the battle, but the other knights held their own. As the day progressed, it became apparent that the bandit leader’s battle skills were obviously rusty and the knights of Salisbury and Silchester started to wear them down. Sir Penelope led her echelle on a flanking maneuver and when they spied where Black Reg (Syagrius) was, she ordered a charge. Along with Penelope, Sir Cedric, Sir James and Sir Joseph Black smashed into a group of the bandit leader's bodyguards which freeed up Sir Luc to advance and take on Syagrius.

Sir Luc’s sword seemed to glow with some inner light, but Syagrius was still a skilled combatant. Finally Luc saw and opening and struck, but his blow was caused only the barest nick on Syagrius’ cheek, leaving a trickle of blood. However minor it was, the feel of blood on his cheek seemed to shock the bandit king. Syagrius then charged Sir Luc in an uncontrolled attack as rage overcame him. Sir Luc responded with an epic blow, sending Syagrius spinning to the ground, dead. But the blow also seemed to have consumed much of Sir Luc’s energy.

As the now leaderless bandits fled the field, Sir Luc slumped to the ground. His compatriots crowded around to provide him first aid, but found him to be beyond healing. With his last words to his wife, Rose, Sir Luc moved no more. Sir Luc's friends gathered around him, with nary a dry eye and carried his body from the field.

As per his wishes, a grand funeral was held for Sir Luc back at Seend manor. Rose met with all of his friends personally, thanking them for their years of friendship to her husband. Sir Cedric and Sir James both delivered the eulogy, speaking movingly of their old friend.

One threat to Salisbury had been dealt with, but the cost had proved steep.

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Posted (edited)
On 12/30/2020 at 9:53 AM, Tizun Thane said:

Did your players roleplay that part?

There wasn't a dry eye on the house! :)
Fortunately, some of the players enjoy hamming it up.

Edited by BioKeith
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503

As the old year wrapped up, news trickled in about the Saxon civil war as King Aelle and the others challenged King Cwichhelm of the Angles in his claim to be bretwalda. The two sides met at the Battle of Hertford where the Angles were driven from the field, but Aelle called off any pursuit back into Anglia.

In what seemed to be the Cymric civil war, King Nanteleod and Duke Corneas of Lindsey spent the summer marching and countermarching near Lambor and Bedegraine but never engaged in full battle.

As spring arrived in Sarum, the city was busy with diplomacy. Duke Corenas' son was there requesting the countess honour the old treaties (from Uther's time). Sir Uffo, son of Duke Ulfius was there with news of an impending Saxon attack up the Thames valley and seeking Salisbury forces to bolster their own. Also present was Prince Cynric of Wessex with a more threatening message. He declared that the time had come for Salisbury to swear vassalage or face the consequences.

Sir Esmee was in a foul mood as Salisbury's council convened. She quickly dismissed Cynric, as the council decided, with the Countess' blessing, to join up with Duke Ulfius at his muster at Stains. 50 Knights and 175 footmen were sent, led by the Marshal herself. Duke Ulfius met the Salisbury forces personally, expressing his gratitude, and also also his condolences for the recent loss of Sir Luc.

When scouts reported that the Saxons were indeed already besieging London, the force moved out. Battle was joined near the Thames some distance from London. The Saxons slightly outnumbered the allied army. Sir Esmee led one eschille of Salisbury’s knights and Sir Penelope Starling led the other, but both were confident the Saxons numbers would mean nothing when compared with the knights of Salisbury.

The battle was joined – Sir Esmee, Sir Elisabet and Sir James leading the way as they smashed through some mounted knights(apparently the Saxons had coerced some knights of Huntington to join their cause) and were carried far into the enemy ranks. Sir Penelope's groud (including Sir Cedric and  Sir Archer) did not fare as well, coming up against a host of mounted french mercenaries and ended up embroiled in the killing zone in the midst of the battle.

Sir Esmee decided to pull back, attempting to come to her compatriots aid, but her famous battle luck must have deserted her as her group was met by a group of huge berserkers all chanting the name of their foul war god. Perhaps showing some rust, Esmee’s sword flew from her hand as she drew back to strike and she herself was struck down by a huge axe blow. She fell from her horse, unconscious. Her two squires (one her son Edwin, only just squired in the spring) were able to hustle her back to the medical tents as Sir James took over the eschille.

All of the knights of Salisbury fought bravely. Penelope led her group out of the killing zone on a flanking maneuver, only to see a second Saxon army, those of Essex, disembarking from boats on the nearby river and trying to surround them. As she rode to warn Duke Ulfius, James was confronted by a group of Berserkers who seemed to know him by name and, inspired by a Hatred of taking down the famous knight, attacked. They were determined to be the ones to rid the world of this hated enemy. Miraculously both Elizabet and James fought their way out of the trap and James held the rest of his knights together as the horns called out the retreat. The Salisbury knights reassembled at the rear of they camp by the hospital tents as the rest of the allied army was in full flight. Esmee was in a desperate state, but James would not abandon her to the Saxons and so despite the danger from her wounds, ordered her bundled onto a cart and the knights of Salisbury fled into the forest as fast as they could. Led by Sir Cedric’s scouting, the group made it back to Stains with relatively few casualties.

James made the decision to make for Sarum where Esmee would require Chirurgery, despite the dangers of moving her such a distance. Barely alive when they arrived, Esmee was rushed to the Chirurgeons residence, but he was not there. Cedric and Archer rushed out to find him, but he arrived back a few minutes later. He worked diligently, as, unseen to the knights, a large raven alit in the nearby windowsill. The Chirurgeon looked up at the knights and said 'I'm sorry', before leaving the room. Her friends that were present were in shock. Esmee's last words were to Sir James, that he needed to ‘be the adult in the room now’… Her son, Edwin, was bereft and left quickly swearing revenge under his breath.

(Well - she wasn't supposed to fumble her Chirurgery roll after actually making it to Sarum with 1 HP left - the fumble took her into the negative and I was left to adlib a little, so I went with our old friend the Saxon laece having somehow orchestrated this little plot)

As arrangements were being made for Sir Esmee’s funeral, Sir James received a visit from a servant suggesting he speak to Sarum’s Chirurgeon. When he did so, Sir James was astonished to find that the man was furious that Sir Esmee had not been brought to him. Looking hard at the man, Sir James thought that he looked like the chirurgeon who had operated on Esmee, but something was off about his eyes. The man who did the operating had one blue and one green eye. Confusion reigned as Sir James questioned the Chirurgean’s assistants. They were reluctant to talk, fearing their master’s wrath. They confirmed that as far as they knew, the Chirurgean was the one to have operated on Esmee, and that they did not seem to think that Esmee’s wounds should have proven fatal. They also brought up the oddity of many large Ravens having been spotted around Sarum around that time and in fact one had been in the window of the Chirurgean’s chamber. Sir James realized some kind of imposter was responsible for Esmee’s death, but was at a loss of how to track down any further clues.

Sir Esmee’s funeral was a magnificent affair, the largest such gathering since Sir Roderick's funeral in 495. As the throng of mourners gathered at Sarum Cathedral, Sir James tried to comfort Edwin, without mentioning anything about his suspicions about Esmee’s death. First Sir Elisabet rose and awkwardly gave a short speech on how trustworthy she had found Esmee. Sir Penelope Starling rose in the silence that followed and tried to give the eulogy, but only managed ‘Ummm’ before running from the cathedral in tears. Finally Sir James rose and saved the day with an eloquent eulogy that left Countess Ellen in tears.

(This group really has trouble at big events with their orate rolls. One failure and one fumbled attempt at impassioning their orate later the funeral was looking to be on shaky ground, but fortunately James finished up with a crit. And so endeth the tale of Sir Esmee)

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The death of lady Esmee was a beautiful and sad tale. Was she the last of the original knights?

I love how things look so grim. Their beautiful alliance for nothing against the might of the Saxons...

18 hours ago, BioKeith said:

Duke Corneas

His official name is duke Corneus. Why the change?

In my campaign, Derfel is his grandson (the duke in 531) and Bedivere and Lucan the Butler (Two famous RTK and close companions of Arthur) are youngest sons of Corneus, based of the canon.

18 hours ago, BioKeith said:

Also present was Prince Cynric of Wessex with a more threatening message. He declared that the time had come for Salisbury to swear vassalage or face the consequences.

I was a bit surprised by his bluntness. I was under the impression was the alliance with Wessex was more solid. By the way, king Cerdic could suggest that Robert becomes his ward, to learn both kymric and saxon ways ^^

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7 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

Was she the last of the original knights?

James and Cedric are both still around.

7 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

His official name is duke Corneus. Why the change?

Just a typo. :)

7 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

I was a bit surprised by his bluntness.

I wanted to ratchet up the pressure on the players. King Cerdic is more comfortable in his position by now and starting to assert himself, was my reasoning. I like the ward angle - good idea.

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Depends how technical you want to get, but I believe wardship would imply far-reaching claims for Cerdic to have not only the right to administer Robert’s lands, but the duty of administering them, until Robert comes of age.

There was no adoption possible in English law in the Middle Ages.   (Adoption was generally not a medieval thing, unlike in the Roman period.  I know less about the different systems on the continent than I do about England.  But I believe that mostly they were not keen on adoption either, despite the much greater influence of Roman law.)   

So being a guardian of a ward was more like being their adopted father, both in law and symbolically, than it would be for us. 

Also, the king had the special right of having the underaged heirs of his tenants in chief become his wards (this comes up with Ellen in The Marriage of Count Roderick), so conceding wardship in this case would probably give Cerdic quite a lot of the appearance of having Robert as his vassal that he is seeking.

So one might want to call it something other than wardship if you’re big into the “medieval law sim” aspect of Pendragon.  (If you’re not, of course, none of the above has to matter at all.)

Although Cerdic might try to pull one over on legally inept PKs. :)  “Wardship?  Oh, it’s not a serious legal thing.  Essentially honorary, really.”

Edited by Voord 99
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51 minutes ago, Voord 99 said:

Although Cerdic might try to pull one over on legally inept PKs. :)  “Wardship?  Oh, it’s not a serious legal thing.  Essentially honorary, really.”

Given that the PKs are vassal knights, I suspect they would be familiar with wardship and what it entails, more so than the players themselves.

Fosterage is kinda what we are looking at here, and it would be very much in line of what the PKs themselves went through. It would be quite normal for the noble children to spend some time as a page in the court of their liege lord or some other allied/friendly higher noble, prior to becoming a squire. If this is around 503 or so, Robert would be turning 11. He is certainly old enough to become a page (although one of such rank would probably be a page to the King himself, or at least one of the Dukes under normal circumstances), although it still might be a very bad idea to send him to Cerdic, if Wessex is already semi-hostile. Basically, handing him over essentially as a hostage. Good for Cerdic, though.

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A bit of a straightforward military year this year as a setup to Nanteleod's rise to power. I think a more courtly bent will be seen next year, plus I have to figure out some kind of faerie contest - read on for why!

504

Over the rest of the winter more controversy was visited upon the families of Salisbury as Sir Luc's older brother Guilaume started a bit of a feud with the Starlings over rights to Seend Manor, seemingly centered around his dis-favorable opinion of Christians (and thus Luc’s oldest son Henri, with Rose). He instead favored Luc’s daughter (who's mother was the water nymph, Ffynnon) and demanded she be returned. After consulting with the water nymph, the Starlings proposed a contest to determine the rightful inheritance of the manor. Ffynnon would create the contest and all parties agreed to abide by the results and so the contest was scheduled to be held on All Hallow's Eve.

At the annual Sarum Christmas Feast, Sir Elizabet was the standout at court – both in a new contest of modesty (known informally amongst the knight as being best at ‘Archerism’, in a nod to Sir Archer) and in the Christmas carol singing contest. Afterwards, in consultation with her council of knights, Countess Ellen appointed Sir James as Salisbury’s new marshal.

In Sarum at court in the spring, Prince Cynric had sent a messenger threatening Salisbury. The message was that King Cerdic, backed by the Kings Port and Ælle, would destroy Salisbury this summer if the countess did not submit now to him and then send her troops to help him in battle. Sir James counselled this demand be turned away and the countess quickly agreed.

Sir Lak of Estregales (whom some of the older knights had met at Castle Pembroke in 484 when he was a young squire and his father, King Canan was poisoned) was in court and had several private meetings with the countess. His message was from King Nanteleod who was making plans to attack the Saxons. He wanted to march across Salisbury, as an ally, to attack the Saxons in Essex.

Also present was a herald from King Cadwy of Somerset who was asking for help in fighting against King Idres.  He reported that the King of Cornwall was sure to attack this summer.

The decision was made to support King Nanteleod and so the muster was called to bring all of Salisbury’s knights to Sarum. Just as the muster was completed, word arrived that the army of Wessex had invaded. Countess Ellen quickly ordered the people of Salisbury to seek shelter within Sarum's walls and asked Sir James to lead the knights of Salisbury north to link up with King Nanteleod, who’s own army was in Rydychan at Wandborough. The footmen would stay to see to the defense of Sarum.

Sir James led the knights north and found Nanteleod's army encamped. The marshal courteously interrupted the King's council and with very eloquent arguments persuaded Nanteleod to turn his army to face King Cerdic, putting his plans to invade Essex off till later in the summer.

King Cerdic’s army, alongside King Port (but not King Aelle) had marched north and besieged Sarum. As Nanteleod’s army along with the knights of Salisbury moved south, the Saxons lifted the siege and moved to intercept. Battle was joined outside of Levcomagus.

The Battle was short, but fierce. King Cerdic attempted to resist but found himself outmaneuvered by Nanteleod's skilled generalship. Sir Penelope and Sir James led the knights of Salisbury with distinction, and they suffered relatively few casualties (although Sir Archer was knocked unconscious). King Cerdic had also suffered few losses except to his pride and his army retreated quickly from the field.

Nanteleod moved his army eastward, allowing Cerdic to escape back to Wessex. He joined with Duke Ulfius, who had been skirmishing with foes to the east amidst reports that a large Saxon army was assembling there. The Saxons of Essex and King Nanteleod's army met at Hertford. The Battle of Royston was a much larger battle, and once again Penelope and James led Salisbury's knights. Much glory was won, and the Saxons were defeated with few losses, apart from Sir Elizabet and Sir Katherine Starling both succumbing to their passions and riding from the battlefield bereft of clothing. Truth be told, their distraction may have served to hasten the Saxon’s retreat.

The Saxon armies all went home to lick their wounds. The wounded from Nanteleod’s army were sent to their homes, but Nanteleod led the rest to Beale Valet where they were joined by Duke Corneus of Lindsey with his forces.  King Nanteleod went before the troops and made a stirring speech, inspiring many to lengthen their service for the year and stay for the rest of the summer at their own expense. This freed him up for invading Essex.

King Nanteleod and Duke Corneas led the armies south into Essex and pillaged the countryside while King Aethelswith assembled his army. Nanteleod forced another battle which proved a decisive victory and King Aethelswith was killed. The knights returned to Salisbury with much plunder.

Elsewhere, King Cadwy's scouts proved correct ad King Idres had indeed invaded Somerset. The cities surrendered one after the other, but King Cadwy and his knights retreated into the swamps - beyond the reach of Idres' forces and thus Idres' control of Sumerset remained contested. 

During this campaign, Cornish foragers had crossed through the Forest of Blakemore and Campacorentin and 'liberated' supplies from Salisbury lands. As the knights returned to their manors, those with estates in the west of the county found much damage there.

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505

Over the rest of the summer, life in Salisbury returned to some semblance of normality. The damage from the Saxon and Cornish raids was minimal, with sheep herds seeming to have been the main target and loss.

Disease visited Coombe Manor and several of Sir Archer’s family succumbed to a Pox.

At Woodborough Manor, Sir Cedric returned to find someone had been illegally logging the woods of his estate. He posted an outrageously large reward for information about who was responsible and spent the rest of the summer listening to stories from the multitude of peasants who sought to collect on the reward.

Countess Ellen kept up her quest to find Sir James a wife, and introduced him to Lady Claressant of Warminster and the two of them began courting.

Sir Katherine Starling was also interested in courting and had met the second son of the Knight Banneret of Laverstock over the winter, but he deemed her unworthy. She tried to show her worth by dueling him in a duel to first blood, but lost and modestly let things be, returning to Ford Manor.

On All Hallow's Eve, Rose Starling, Sir Penelope Starling and Sir Luc's older brother Guillaume gathered at Fittleton Manor where the water nymph Ffynnon awaited them with her challenge. She called forth the two sides and both were adamant about continuing. Ffynnon nodded, before vanishing into her fountain and a shimmery, watery portal appeared where she had been. Penelope and Guillaume walked into the portal as the rest of their families looked on - the portal collapsed behind them. There was no more signs of life in the fountain. Days past and still nothing. Rose and the nymph’s child, Gwanwyn, settled in and started a daily vigil where they tend the fountain and await some sign. (I'm going to do some kind of puzzle session for those two knights later - but for this year they are 'lost in fae')

At Christmas, People seemed happier than they had for the past several years. The Saxons had been dealt a solid defeat, and, more importantly, the lords of Logres appeared at last to be mostly united. Sir Archer won the annual caroling contest with a lovely sea shanty, while Sir James won the new 'Contest of Modesty' (named after Sir Archer) with a sheepish tail of his lost herd.

Over the Winter, Sir Elisabet had a strange visitor. A weary and frostbitten woman in noble clothes came to her door shielding a child. She sought Elisabet’s word that she would keep the child. Bewildered, Elisabet agreed, as the noblewoman died in her arms.

At spring court in Sarum, there were many visitors. Both King Alain and Prince Mark were present. Alain brought word that King Nanteleod was intending to attack Cornwall this summer and Prince Mark was there trying to keep Salisbury neutral in the coming conflict. Sir Katherine gave an impassioned speech as the two princes were just shy of open hostility, exhorting them to find a common ground rather than be dragged into war. Prince Mark later approached Katherine, inflamed by her passions, but she rebuked him.

Also present was Lady Sewain with news that she was to host a gathering in the green outside the city of Oxford. The idea was to promote peaceful endeavors such as art & culture to show that - despite the brutality of the dark times people were living in - Logres was still a place of civilization. The plans for the Oxford Fair included competitions centered around art, dance, singing, poetry and theater.

After consultations, Sir James counselled that Salisbury’s forces concentrate on defense of the county this year and not join in any military adventures, to which Countess Ellen agreed. And so the summer passed mostly uneventfully, with knights fulfilling their duty to the countess through patrols and garrison duty.

 

The Oxford Fair

(Everyone was eager to bring out their backups, which meant that some of the NPCs that they encountered were not recognized by them)

In mid-summer, Sir Petra, Sir Katherine, Sir Alder, Sir Joseph Black and Sir Elisabet all decided to partake in the Oxford Fair. As they drew close to Oxford, they came upon several pavilions near the bank of the river Thames. Guarding the ford to a small island in the river was a rather large knight. On the island was a bush bearing a single yellow rose. In the pavilions were three noble ladies and three injured knights being tended to by their squires.

Elisabet, Alder and Joseph approached the knight at the ford, who exclaimed ‘None shall pass’, while Katherine and Petra went inside to quiz the occupants.

The three noblewomen were  Duchess Bethan, Countess Maygan and Baroness Glendys, who related the story of the rose. The bush on this island was known for bearing a single yellow rose each year on the same day. According to local tradition, the rose should only go to the “goodliest of women” and must be plucked within the noon hour. Moreover, a champion was needed to defeat Sir Maldyn in order to win the right to secure the rose and the lady who was to receive the rose must also be present at the ford. Their own champions defeated, the ladies attempted to procure the services of the Salisbury knights to get them the rose.

Outside, however, Sir Elisabet was attempting to claim the rose for her own. Sir Maldyn and she engaged in a brief duel, but the big knight proved to be too tough and she limped off to see to her wounds. Sir Alder was persuaded by promises of coin from Lady Maygan and strode forth to confront Sir Maldyn, but met a similar fate, suffering a grievous wound from the strange knight.

The knights of Salisbury gave up on this task and took their wounded on the road to Oxford. On the way they encountered a drunken bard - he introduced himself as Martyn the Minstrel. He intended to enter the signing contest which, given his current state, the knights all thought would prove amusing. At Oxford castle Lady Sewain greeted the knights with all courtesy when she realized they were from Salisbury and saw that they were all well provided for.

The next day the Oxford Fair began. Alder competed ably in the Dancing contest, but was bested by a handsome young knight. Sir Katherine impressed all with her poetry but none seemed able to play their instruments particularly well. At the Singing contest all acquitted themselves very well, perhaps due to the constant practice at Christmas in Sarum, but again the young knight, one Sir Bartram, proved the best.

A feast was held to wind up the fair. Petra was given a seat at the high table as Countess Sewain sought to honor her brother, Sir James, while the other knights, save Katherine, were given seats near the salt. Asking around, Sir Alder learned a little more of Sir Bartram. He was the son of Sir Basile, one of the usurpers of Rydychan who had been exiled in 499, but this was brushed off in the excitement of the feast.

Finally the Acting contest was held to wrap up the feast. Again the knights of Salisbury gave fine performances, save Katherine, who fled the hall as the passions of the muse consumed her. Last to go was Sir Bartram who rose and his performance gripped the audience. He told a tale of three brave knights who tried to bring the people of their county comfort in dark times, but were thrown out by a smooth talking woman. As he got to the end of his play – the doors were thrown open and a band of brigands flew in as Sir Bartram attempted to get at Lady Sewain with a sword he had hidden. Fortunately Elisabet's squire had observed the shady looking men near the doors and was prepared and had Elisabet her sword in an instant. Elisabet then threw the sword to Petra who rolled and caught it and intercepted Sir Bartram before he could get to the countess. Outnumbered, unarmored and scrambling with only their daggers, the knights of Salisbury fought bravely, but were sorely wounded. Petra and Bartram fought back and forth, with Petra barely holding on to consciousness when she finally was able to cleave the evil knight with a mighty blow. She looked around and saw her comrade Elisabet down on the ground and not breathing, Sir Joseph Black also unconscious, and the other knights wounded. It was too much for her, as the blood boiled in her head and she too fled the hall. This left it to Alder to try to perform first aid, but unfortunately Elisabet's wounds were beyond his skills and she succumbed to her injuries. Sir Bartrem was unconscious but still alive. Lady Sewain was nearby, tears flowing as she looked at the devastation.

And thus ended the first Oxford Fair.

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(A quiet year of diplomacy and skirmishing)

506

Sir Elisabet's funeral was a small affair, with mostly only family members present - the uncertain future of Seend Manor weighing heavily on their minds.

Sir Katherine Starling spent most of the summer on the streets of Oxford after her bout of madness. One afternoon, while begging in Cornmarket street, the local watchmen appeared, having been ordered to clear out the streets and start beating the local beggars. Katherine was knocked unconscious. When she awoke, the blow to her head seemed to have restored her memory, and standing above her was a dark figure – a man from a foreign land by his appearance, with a tattoo on his arm. He called himself Sumayl and said he had pulled her off of the streets after fighting back some ill-intentioned watchmen. In gratitude Katherine invited him to come back and stay at Ford until he could get back on his feet. Sumayl himself had no recollection of how he had arrived in Oxford, and so the two of them had something to bond over - shared amnesia. In Sarum, she also introduced him to Countess Ellen and the Marshall as a sword for hire.

Sir Archer had met a young lady at court in Sarum, but her family was doubtful of his worthiness. Archer rode to her manor and won the right to court Lady Antonia after defeating her father (or perhaps being allowed to defeat her father) in a lance contest.

On All Hallow’s Eve, Rose was keeping vigil at the water nymph's fountain when, much to her amazement, the portal reappeared and Sir Penelope stepped out. She muttererd something to the effect that she had won the contest and Giullaume would not be returning. Rose returned with Henri to Seend, where she will look after the manor until he comes of age.

At the annual Christmas feast in Sarum, Sir Penelope Starling won the 'Archerism' contest with an extremely modest tale of her early days on the battlefield, while Sir Archer showed off his singing voice, to the great pleasure of the assembled knights and ladies. Unfortunately, Sir James had been unable to attend, seemingly struck low by the Pox that has been spreading from Coombe Manor.

In the spring, with the Marshal still absent, Sir Penelope was left to advise Lady Ellen of a course of action for Salisbury’s forces for the year. She elected to send half to fight with King Nanteleod against King Idres in Somerset, while keeping half to guard against saxon raids.

In Somerset, Sir Penelope led Salisbury's forces and again proved herself an able leader. Assigned by King Alain to track down and destroy any of Idres’ supply routes she could find, she quickly located one and destroyed it in a lightning quick raid. Unfortunately Sir Archer was knocked unconscious and was left near death in the exchange, but otherwise casualties were very minor, with only one other knight being killed.

Back in Sarum, Sir Alder - being the most senior knight left - was in charge of the patrols. They focused on the Saxon borders, which proved prescient as several Saxon raiding parties were encountered. Sir Alder’s planning meant that most of the raiding parties were intercepted before they could do significant damage, and in the fighting Sumayl proved himself most able, with his odd two-sword wielding fighting style proving devastatingly effective..

The rest of the year proved most ordinary as the knights dealt with the usual run of events at their manors. Sir Alder came down with the Pox and though he recovered, he seemed more frail than he used to. At Christmas, Sir Katherine and Sumayl together told their tale of the streets of Oxford to win bragging rights in the Archerism contest, while Sir Cedric surprised even his brother with a beautiful song that captivated all. Prince Alain, spoke to Penelope during the dances of his fathers intention to campaign in Somerset again the following year, as this year had proven militarily indecisive. Also present was Duke Derfel, son of Duke Corneas who seemed quite taken with Katherine, despite her lack of dancing ability. He also wanted her help in gaining Salisbury’s support for his father’s own military endeavour next year – the liberation of London.

And so another year came to a close in Salisbury.

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The liberation of London this week! Everyone seemed to have fun leading their own squads in the attack - it felt like that made it easier to give focus to each knight during the battle.

507

The year began with the annual Christmas Feast at Sarum. Amongst the squires being knighted this year was one Bellana of Sarum, knighted by Countess Ellen as one of her household knights. She successfully made the leap after her knighting ceremony and was the talk of the feast for much of the evening. At the caroling contest, it was obvious that Sir Katherine Starling had been practicing something special, as she premiered a new carol in a crystal clear voice. Halfway through she was joined by Sir Bellana in an exquisite duet that left the court amazed.

Sir Cedric impressed the rest of the evening, winning both the Dance and Poetry contests. The knights then returned to their estates where they spent the rest of the winter content in their abodes.

In Spring, court in Salisbury was busy. Sir Alain was there, explaining that his father, King Nanteleod, again intended to campaign in Somerset. Also present was Sir Derfel, son of Duke Corneas of the Duchy of Lindsey. He came with news that his father had put together a large coalition with the intention of retaking London from the Saxons and he invited Salisbury to send forces to the muster in June. After paying his respects to Katherine, with whom he remained smitten, he returned to Lincoln.

Ellen's council held a short debate, and the suggestion was raised to Countess Ellen that joining the coalition would be the best use of the army this year, to which she agreed.

The muster was held at Hertford, and as the forces gathered, the leaders of the coalition convened for a war council. Duke Ulfius and Sir Uffo were to lead a force of mounted knights south of the Thames River to intercept any reinforcements sent from the Saxon lands and also threaten Belin’s Gate to draw troops away from the main attacks which would be on Lud’s Gate and the Postern Gate. King Leodegrance of Cameliard, Count Sanam of Bedegraine and Lord Macsen of Lonazep would lead another feint in the vicinity of the Moorgate and Cripplegate. Earl Gilbert of Hertford would lead one of the main thrusts - an attack against the Ludgate. Joining him would be Sir Hervis de Revel, Sir Lak, Earl Dafydd of Huntington and the knights of Salisbury led by Sir James. Salisbury's forces specifically would be responsible for taking and holding Lud’s Castle. Meanwhile, Duke Corneas and Lady Sewain of Rydychan would send forces for a joint attack on the Postern Gate and the White Tower.

Sir James, Sir Cedric, Sir Penelope Starling and Sir Bellana were each given squads of 10 footsoldiers as well as ladders and battering rams and then they waited in the second rank for the gate to be breached.

As the attack began, it was obvious that the Saxons had been caught by surprise. The Ludgate quickly fell to Earl Gilbert’s assault and the knights of Salisbury ordered their men forward to attack Lud’s Castle. Sir Cedric led his group up ladders at a heavily defended section and suffered high casualties. Penelope took advantage of that distraction to go over the wall at a different point and was soon in the outer courtyard facing a group of Saxons, visibly seething in battle lust. At the main gate, Bellana showed her eagerness in trying to support Sir James and began shouting orders for the battering rams. Sir James seemed crestfallen. (Oh those fumbled passion rolls - good thing that player had a backup ready!) Was he no longer needed? He was feeling his age as the younger knight showed her vitality and something snapped. Sir James quickly left the field and fled out of the city. Sir Petra hurried to assume command of James’ footsoldiers and the gate was soon breached.

With Bellana and Petra engaging the Saxon defenders in the outer courtyard, Penelope led her group through to the inner courtyard, where she faced several ferocious looking Saxons wielding great axes and a small giant! Cedric determined that the main threat was on one of the outer towers and so led his few surviving footsoldiers up to face off against a few archers. (One failed valorous roll later and Cedric thought it prudent to leave the giant for others)

Bellana and Petra soon moved into the inner courtyard where a fierce fight was in progress. Penelope’s group had taken out the Saxons but the giant proved to be a formidable foe. Bellana and Petra left most of their men to aid Penelope but determined to move into the main hall before the saxons could fortify it. Outside, Penelope's group took about 50% casualties but managed to finish off the giant.

Inside, Bellana and Petra faced off against a pair of Saxon Berserkers and the Saxon commander. The fighting was fierce, taking a great toll on the remaining footsoldiers. The berserkers proved to be fiercer than any Saxons the knights had previously faced. Finally Penelope was able to join the group in the hall and her reinforcements proved to be the tipping point as she took down the chief and the castle was captured. Outside, Sir Cedric was lowering the Saxon banners from the parapets.

Afterwards, as the knights took stock of the situation, it became clear that the Saxons had been routed – London was free!

The celebration was massive as the people of London made their delight known with their liberators. Many of the army enjoyed the company of grateful lads and lasses. For the knights, the centerpiece of the celebration was a huge feast in the White Tower. Sir Cedric was invited to the high table as somehow people got the impression that he was responsible for the capture of Lud’s Castle (and he failed both his modest and honest rolls). Penelope, however, did not speak out - proving herself most modest, not wanting to ‘throw Cedric under the cart’, so to speak. Much revelry was had by all.

Part way through the evening, the party was interrupted by the surprise arrival of King Lot and Queen Margawse. Unfortunately the knights, possible because of being over-served, were not able to deduce the reason for their visit and missed out on the afterparty. (One day, someone in this group will succeed in an intrigue roll)

And so the knights retired back to their estates, satisfied that the Saxons had been dealt a great blow. However, while the knights had been off liberating London, a large number of raiding parties from Wessex had roamed through Salisbury. Because of the pattern of the raids, the Marshall was worried that they had possibly scouting for an invasion. Many of the manors in Salisbury had suffered damage, although less for those who had invested in their estate's defenses.

Edited by BioKeith
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(All battle all the time this week - Netley Marsh. Sometimes the battle system feels like a bit of a muddle, but sometimes it works great. This was a good one - the players had the feeling of fighting against overwhelming odds - and mostly surviving. Sir Archer is going to feel bad about his choices for some time though.)

508

At Christmas, Sarum was abuzz. King Nanteleod had been at court for all of December and rumours swirled that he was courting Countess Ellen. A huge feast was held and much merriment was had. Amongst the squires being knighted this year was Edwin, Sir Esmee’s oldest son. He impressed all with his ‘leap’ after being knighted, with a full flip onto his horse, showing that the next generation of Salisbury’s knights were a force to be reckoned with. At the end of the evening, King Nanteleod went down on one knee and publicly proposed to Ellen, which she happily accepted. Inspired by the romance in the air, Sir Archer retired with a young ‘lady’ and Sir Derfel and Sir Katherine Starling were also seen departing together. Everyone spent the winter months in quiet repose- the Countess went to Carlion with the King where the two were wed.

When spring arrived the knights reassembled at Sarum for court. Sir Alain was there with news that his father was marching south with the army, and just in time, as news was received that the army of Wessex had crossed the border into Salisbury. King Cerdic marched north and King Nanteleod marched south and was joined by Salisbury's forces. The two armies me near a place called Netley Marsh.

 

As Salisbury's forces approached their final deployment position, a huge army of Saxons unexpectedly joined King Cerdic. The banner of King Ælle of Sussex could be seen, as well as some Cornish banners - horsemen led by Sir Mark, and French mercenaries from the continent. Nanteleod’s forces were now outnumbered and the knights of Salisbury girded themselves for what was to come.

Let by Sir James, the knights of Salisbury thundered forward in a charge against a group of Rich Heorthgeneats from Wessex. Though Sir James easily smashed through his opponents, the other knights in his eschelle did not fare as well. Sir Cedric was wounded, as was Sir Edwin (who was only just saved by the intervention of one of his mother’s household knights). Sir Katherine was unhorsed and lost in the swirl of battle. Only Sir Archer held his nerve and fought as well as the marshal. The battered knights were surrounded by a swirl of raging Saxons.

Throughout the morning, the knights fought desperately. Katherine fought her way back to friendly lines on foot where she met up with Sir Derfel and joined his unit briefly, before spotting Sir James’ banner and somewhat reluctantly returning to her eschelle.

As the afternoon started and the battle raged, young Edwin found the reality of battle overwhelming. His eyes dazed over and he was last seen hurling away equipment and riding off into the marsh. Cedric, about to be skewered by a Saxon, was only saved as his wife and squire, Albia, sacrificed herself - throwing herself in front of the spear and bearing the full force of the blow. They were quickly swept apart.

The battle was the largest any had been in since the Battle of St. Albans and so perhaps that was why only Sir Archer, in the chaos and swirl of battle, noticed a cohort of Saxon horsemen burst from cover and head straight for the King’s banner. Deciding to stay with his unit, Sir Archer watched in horror as Nanteleod's banner went down.

The battlefield degenerated into a rout. The retreat horns blared, the army of King Nanteleod broke apart and fled. Sir Archer, untouched all day, was knocked off his horse and surrounded by Saxon axemen and he surrendered to them. Only Sir James’ skill kept some semblance of order in the remaining forces of Salisbury, and with the unconscious bodies of Katherine and Cedric draped over horses, he brought them home to Sarum.

All of Hampshire was overrun by the Saxons, who enslaved the residents they did not kill. Their homes and villages were given as prizes to the French mercenaries who had joined Cerdic and many of their families started to move into them. Salisbury and the Duchy of Silchester were both pillaged as bands of Saxons roamed the land killing and looting.

The knights grieved as not only had Logres lost another King, but Countess Ellen had been widowed for a second time. Many of Salisbury’s knights and soldiers had been killed as well. Cedric's wife was dead. Sir Archer's friends raised 30L to ransom him, but he would never speak of what transpired whilst he was in Saxon captivity. To compound the doom and gloom, news was received that Duke Corneas of Lindsey had died - old age it was said. His nephew and heir, Derfel, has been given his title.

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22 hours ago, BioKeith said:

King Nanteleod went down on one knee and publicly proposed to Ellen, which she happily accepted.

That's so sweet^^ Or nasty. I love it anyway.

One mad knight, one prisoner, 2  unconscious, and the squire/wife dead. They will remember the battle of Nettley Marsh. I suppose your players are ready for revenge... 

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Are you ready? This is it - time for the Boy King to make an appearance. We blazed through 509 and got right into the Sword in the Stone. Lots of 'cutscenes' but everyone enjoyed meeting Arthur. It feels like it has given a new burst of energy to the campaign as we enter this new phase of the GPC.

509

As spring came, Robert, the countess’ son, a young man of 18, demanded that he be knighted. He was determined to take control of Salisbury in its time of greatest need. Countess Ellen acquiesced and directed her council to collect the monies that would be needed from her vassals both for Robert's knighting as well as tribute to be paid to the Saxons. Although there was much grumbling, the knights did their part. Katherine even discovered that Robert had diverted much of the monies that had been collected for his ceremony and returned them to those landed knights most in need.

Sir Katherine Starling accepted Duke Derfel's proposal and moved up to Lindsay. Sir Cedric was not at court. News from his family was that he had packed his bags and left to quest for his missing dagger. Sir Brastias, the old bodyguard of King Uther, was in Sarum with news of a tournament to be held in London. The Supreme Collegium - a body that had all but disappeared these last years was to meet again. They had decreed there to be a nonlethal “tournament”, and that whoever should win would  be appointed by them to be the new High King.

Sir James, Salisbury's most famous knight, was the one who performed the knighting ceremony for Robert at Sarum cathedral. Sir James ended the ceremony with a light slap, as per tradition. Robert and his knights spent the summer on progress around Salisbury, visiting all of his holdings, as Robert sought to learn the lay of the land before he headed to the tournament in London

510
At Christmas, Earl Robert gathered his most trusted knights and companions and made for the Grand Tournament in London. The field outside the Ludgate had been set up for the grand melee and the city was packed with nobles from all over Britain as well as throngs of onlookers. A grand feast was held on the eve of the tournament, and most of the knights of Salisbury were seated below the salt because of the sheer number of nobles there. Sir Archer made acquaintance with an older Cambrian knight, Sir Ector, and his son Sir Kay, and observed an incident where Kay’s squire, ‘Wart’, spilled wine all over Kay and was berated fiercely. Archer shook his head at the squire's clumsiness but did not intervene.

Also seen at the feast was Lady Gwendolin, now calling herself the Lady of Ely Isle, apparently a guest of King Lot. Sir James had recognized her, but did not approached, just observed. Several of the younger knights indulged quite heavily and were a little fuzzy headed as the Tournament began early the next morning.

Amidst a buzz of excitement from the many onlookers, the various nobles all started off in the own areas of the field with their chosen contingent of knights at which point the grand melee began - the last banner standing would be the new King. The Centurian King’s forces immediately charged the Salisbury contingent, but the knights of Salisbury fought well. Sir Archer rallied them and was able to take down the Centurian King himself. As the knights looked about after the surrender of Malahaute's forces, Sir Penelope Starling observed that King Lot appeared to be up to something shady – several of Lady Gwendolin’s entourage seemed to be with Lot, as well as the forces of King Uriens.

Sir James sought out the forces of Silchester and in a quick parley was able to persuade Sir Uffo to see reason. They swifly brokered an alliance as Lot’s forces fell upon them both. Two of Gwendolin’s people seemed to wield some form of fae magic in their attack and soon it seemed that they might be overwhelmed despite Salisbury’s skill in fighting when suddenly a disturbance was heard.

Shouts of “The Sword! The Sword!” came from the fringes of the crowd. As the knights looked about, the commotion became louder and those fighting slowly ceased. Soon all of the tournament’s participants and onlookers dashed away, abandoning the melee to see what was going on.

Upon entering the crowded court in front of Saint Paul’s cathedral the knights saw three men standing by the sword in the stone: an old knight (Sir Ector), a young knight (Sir Kay), and a squire (Wart). The sword was in Kay’s hand. Ector nearby was sternly speaking to Kay, as the onlooking throng hushed. ‘Swear on the bible that you drew that sword, Kay’. After a long pause he responded, ‘I cannot father, it was… Wart.”

A general uproar ensued as Kay placed the sword back in the stone.

A crowd of noblemen, led by King Lot, shoved their way forward, each taking a turn to try pulling the sword from the stone. All failed as the sword was stuck fast. The crowd, mostly commoners, began getting surly, and at last someone cried out, “Let the boy try!”. Soon everyone took up the cry: “Let the boy try!”

Wart stepped up to the sword, and with a small flourish pulled it out and brandished it overhead. Celestial trumpets blared, a beam of light shone down from above, and a dove and an eagle flew upward in a spiral. The knights were amazed - only Archer, looking around, saw Merlin near the cathedral - seemingly deep in concentration.

“Who is that boy?” shouted someone. Sir Ector stepped forward. “This is Arthur, squire to my son Sir Kay,” . “What!?” bellowed King Lot, “Are we to be ruled by a beardless bastard?”. Most of Lot's allies from the north expressed similar disbelief, but a few; King Leodegrance of Cameliard, Sir Ector, Sir Kay, Sir Hervis, Sir Brastias and the knights of Salisbury had dropped to one knee around the boy.

King Lot, on the other hand, was laughing contemptuously; the Duke of Gloucester joined him and others shouted defiance and swore that this "boy” would never be their king. The nobles were drowned out by the mob of commoners as the threat of a riot seemed imminent. Lot and the others seemed ready to fight the mob, but then Merlin appeared in their midst with a flourish. The crowd gasped and stepped back at the archdruid's appearance. He announced that another contest would be held, with anyone who wished to try to pull the sword having a turn. This seemed to satisfy both sides. Merlin ordered that the word be sent out by all means possible that this contest would take place in one month, at Candlemas.

Merlin then turned to Sir James who stood nearby. 'Find me the ten most honorable knights to set a watch over the sword and the stone until Candlemas". Sir James immediately conscripted his fellow Salisbury knights who were present as well as the other knights who had immediately dropped to a knee; Sir Hervis, Sir Ector, Sir Kay and Sir Brastias.

February 2, Candlemas

On Candlemas a huge crowd had gathered again in front of St Paul's. Many knights and kings again tried to draw the sword and again all failed. Expectations mounted as lastly, Arthur again came forward. Again he drew the sword before the assembly. Lot and the northern nobles looked on, shaking their heads and quickly rode off as Merlin looked on. Many knights and noblemen fell to one knee and pledged loyalty to the Boy King including; Earl Robert, Duke Ulfius, and Duke Derfel. However, there remained a sizable group that still seemed unsure so Merlin stepped forward and called for a third assembly to take place at Easter

March 21, Easter

At Easter, none came forward to try the sword. Only Arthur stood nearby. Once again he drew the sword before the  assembled crowd who. More nobles took a knee and pledged their loyalty. However, Merlin had received word that King Lot was rallying many against 'the beardless bastard boy' who was obviously just a puppet of Merlin. As murmors swept through the assembled nobles, Merlin called for a fourth assembly at Pentecost.

May 1, Pentecost

Once again Arthur was alone at the stone and as he drew the sword before the assembly, further murmors arose amongst some of the gathered nobles. The gathered commoners had reached their breaking point however and chants rose up for Arthur. That seemed to quiet any resistance from the nobles and Arthur was recognized with mob acclamation as their new king. Nearby Merlin could be seen allowing himself a wry smile. As if he had long been prepared, Merlin decreed the coronation to take place the following day.

The coronation was a magnificent affair. First, Merlin turned to Sir James as 'the best man present' to perform Arthur's knighting. Next, Archbishop Dubricus stepped forward and crowned Arthur King of Logres and was followed by days of feasting and celebration. Merlin had arranged for Arthur's appointment as High King to take place in Carlion in front of the Supreme Collegium and so a great procession escorted Arthur their - the knights of Salisbury supplying the bodyguard for the new king.

May 10

At Carlion, Merlin summoned the surviving members of the Supreme Collegium. Many did not answer the call, but those who did voted in favor and thus King Arthur was elected to be Imperator and Caesar of Britannia. The festivities were epic in their scale, as Merlin had arranged for entertainments from all over the isle. The knights of Salisbury did not hold back in their indulgence.

Amidst the celebration, Sir James received word that an army from the north was approaching the city. Arthur held a council with Merlin, Sir James, Sir Kay, Sir Ector and Sir Brastias. At Sir James’ urging, a reconciliatory tone was taken and messengers were sent to bid them welcome. King Lot and his allies however were not hear to negotiate. They insulted the messengers and the boy king saying they would put an end to 'this low blooded, beardless boy king.” and they formed up to besiege the city.

Arthur ordered men to the walls as the rebels sacked the outer villages. He seemed unsure of what to do as the knights awaited orders. Sir James, Merlin and the rest of his council spent several days together with Arthur. Merlin argued that no battle was won by hiding behind walls. Sir James agreed, saying that no help was coming from the outside and so Arthur agreed - ordering the army to assemble and prepare to fight.

Thus began the Battle of Carlion, with Arthur’s army of 1,500 outnumbered roughly two-to-one by Lot’s army. Sir Archer felt a strange sense of foreboding as he rode forth to fight.

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I like your 510 adventure, especially the tournament. Did your players feel railroaded, or did they enjoy seeing a page of history? Looking forward for the battle of Carlion...

Why did your players pledge their loyalty immediately? Was it the "Arthur effect"?

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Tizun Thane said:

Did your players feel railroaded, or did they enjoy seeing a page of history?

 

 

 

 

Railroading seems inevitable for a role-playing game campaign set in a familiar legend; you can't tamper too much with the original story without taking away the point of using it for a backdrop.

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