Jump to content

Salisbury Knights - a playthrough of the Great Pendragon Campaign


Recommended Posts

9 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

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

That's probably a good way of putting it. They (the players) were probably a little star struck since we've been playing for a year and now Arthur has finally popped up. Also - I think they're ready for a high king again after the craziness of the anarchy.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 98
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

The Starting Cast James, a strapping lad hailing from Imber. His father fought on the March of Aurelius Ambrosius. Cedric, from Woodborough, he has always had an interest in all things fa

498 - Wrap Up Sir Cedric and Sir Archer spent 7 weeks recovering in the company of the Woman of the Mist. She and Albia spent much time discussing herblore and gathering medicinal supplies. One d

I've been looking forward to this year - the adventure of the Grey Knight - one of my favorite of the published adventures. Definitely a bit 'cutscene' heavy, but lots of fun! Year 515 - Part I

Posted Images

On 2/9/2021 at 1:21 PM, BioKeith said:

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...

Shameful cronyism.  I am shocked.  🙂

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Our epic year of Arthur continues...and then I threw in a little more Merlin.

510 - continued

As King Arthur led his army on to the field outside of Carlion, his inexperience compared to King Lot could be felt by his knights. Nevertheless, Sir James led the knights of Salisbury as they charged some veteran northern knights and smashed through them. However, when James collected the unit, it was noticed that young Sir Caoilfhionn, in her first battle, had been knocked off her horse, unconscious. Sending a squire to find her, she was safely dispatched back to camp to seek medical attention. The remaining knights fought forward into the killing zone. The northerners proved to be fierce foes, and Sir Archer’s misgivings proved to be true as he was felled by a mighty blow from his opponent, near cleaving him in two, and spilling his guts onto the field. Sumayl fought like a man possessed, his two weapon style confusing his opponents and Sir Penelope Starling fought on bravely, upholding the honour of the knights of Salisbury. Nearby Arthur’s banner could be seen flying proudly, but so to was Lot’s. The northern king spied Arthur and charged straight at him. The king’s bodyguards were overwhelmed. Soon only 3 knights were left standing with the King; Sir Bedivere, Sir Kay and young Sir Edwin, who had only just been assigned to the king's detail. Sir Edwin fought with inspiration, as he defended Arthur, but they faced overwhelming numbers. Nearby King Lot could be seen sneering, sure of victory. Arthur, as a last resort, drew Excalibur. There was a bright flash and the enemies on the field were struck by a wave of pressure which knocked the northerners back. Suddenly, into the gap, surged the citizens of Carlion, who had come from the city, falling upon the flank of Lot’s army, wielding only farm implements. James fought his way to Arthur’s side and Lot sounded the retreat as his army withdrew in an orderly fashion from the field.

After collecting themselves from the battle, Arthur asked his most trusted vassals to advise him. The rebel army had retreated for the moment, but reports soon came that Lot was still pillaging the surrounding counties of Logres. Sir James advised that enough forces could be put together to pursue the rebels. King Alain advised Arthur to send to the continent for help from Kings Ban and Bors of Ganis whose father had supported Aurelius Ambosius when he had started his campaign to be high king many years before. Arthur agreed Lot could not be left to sack the countryside, but also that seeking allies seemed a wise course. And so Sir James and Sir Penelope took ship to France, while the rest of the knights of Salisbury headed north with Arthur.

By early July, Arthur had tracked down Lot’s army near Bedegraine, and despite being outnumbered, Arthur ordered battle to be joined. Smashing through the initial line of knights, Arthur’s army soon found themselves beset by hordes of Picts. The unchivalrous bastards began targeting the army’s horses and as darkness fell, most of the knights found themselves on foot.

 

Meanwhile in France…

James and Penelope landed in the crowded port of Bordeaux and after inquiring how to find King Ban and King Bors from a local priest, they headed towards the edge of town. On the way, they were approached by an urchin who offered to be their guide, and Sir James saw something in the young lad – a diamond in the rough and agreed. The lad, Raoul, led them out of town and on a shortcut. Fortunately, Sir Penelope was keeping her eyes open rather than entertaining the urchin and so saw the ambush before it was too late. Prepared, the two knights quickly dealt with the outlaws who tried to ambush them, but the urchin had run off by the time it was over. Penelope was able to lead them back on course to the King’s court.

Once there, both knights expounded on Arthur’s virtues and impressed King Ban, He agreed to bring his army to Arthur’s aid and called for a muster. So it was that in a few short weeks, the knights found themselves back in Bordeaux in the company of 500 french knights, loading up to sail back to Britain. In the harbour, Penelope spotted Raoul, who, when he knew he had been spotted, came up and begged for her forgiveness, saying that he had been compelled to lead them astray because the outlaws had been holding his sister hostage. Penelope’s mercy got the better of her suspicion and soon Raoul and his sister, Saraphine, were on their way back with Penelope and the fleet to serve as her pages.

Sailing up the Severn river as far as they could, the fleet was met by Merlin, who urged the knights to ride immediately as ‘battle had already been joined’. Soon the knights were riding northward – at least a two week journey to Bedegraine, but as they looked, the forest they rode through was just a blur in their peripheral vision. Merlin was up to something.

 

The Battle of Bedegraine - Day Two

Arthur’s knights had lost many horses to the Pict warriors and so the knights of Salisbury formed up amidst units of footmen defending . The knights of Salisbury stood firm as Lot sent his infantry to the rear and ordered his mounted forces to attack. Sir Alfred and Sir Edwin fought a desperate battle against their mounted foes. Again Arthur's forces seemed on the point of being overwhelmed when a cry went up from the flank; “Ban and Bors!”. The fresh battalion of knights from Ganis burst from cover and attacked with Penelope and James in the front row. Lot’s army fell back abruptly, but in good order, and the three kings, Arthur, Ban and Bors greeted each other in the middle of the battlefield.

Arthur decided to give all of the plunder from the goods left behind by Lot to the Ganis knights. Unfortunately this meant none for his own men. Merlin– however, approached Sir Penelope and told her that he knew where a roman cache supposedly lay buried nearby. Penelope, her squire and her two pages rode up into the Pennine hills the next day and located a decrepit old fortified Roman villa. She sent Raoul and his sister into some hard-to-squeeze-into places and they returned with a bag of roman silver! Penelope sent her squire to notify Arthur, and soon the remains of the huge cache had been excavated and given out to Arthur’s men.

Arthur then ordered his men to rest in the nearby countryside at  what manors, castles, and towns they could find. Arthur, along with his more senior knights and advisors went to Bedegraine Castle, the seat of Count Sanam. The count's daughter, Lyzianor, was of marriageable age and beautifuld and, most likely at her father's urging, she tended to the king constantly. Arthur did nothing to refuse the attention but, at least in front of the court, acted in a most decorous manner.

In early August, news came to Arthur that King Ryons of Norgales was besieging King Leodegrance of Cameliard - one of the first lords to have 'bent the knee' to Arthur the first time he had drawn the sword from the stone, so he resolved to go to his aid.
King Leodegrance was besieged in Carohaise in Cameliard– on the trade route between Lambor and the City of Legions. As King Arthur’s force of 600 knights arrived, they could see they were evenly matched with King Ryon’s army – Ryons lifted the siege and formed up to do battle. King Ryons himself was rumoured to be the son of a giant and sorceress, but despite this, the knight’s of Salisbury felt confident, after all, the young King had already won two battles this year and Merlin was still at the young king’s side. That’s when everything started to go wrong.

The first charge left the knights in the killing zone, which quickly degenerated into chaos. The Cambrian forces were not as well trained as Arthur’s, but Sir James’ echelle of knights failed to keep any kind of organization – perhaps from weariness, perhaps because the younger knights ( Sir Edwin and Sir Alfred) were at their limit. Soon the knights found themselves fighting individually, rather than as a unit. Desperate one on one fights ensued. Sir Penelope Starling tried, but failed to rally her comrades At last, Arthur and his house guard led by Sir Kay and Sir Bedivere fought their way to Salisbury’s side. At that moment, King Leodegrance led his knights out of the besieged city and smashed into Ryon’s flank. Finally Arthur’s army managed to reform, but King Ryons sounded the retreat before further damage could be done to his side.

Leodegrance and Arthur embraced on the battlefield and the day was won. The knights spent a week recuperating in the city before Arthur released his vassals to return to their estates. As they were preparing to leave, however, the knights were brought in for an audience with Merlin.

 

The Halter of Clydno Eiddyn

Merlin was there with a warning. He saw the continued fighting with the northern kings a distraction from the true threat – the Saxons. He said that ‘One of their kind, a Laece named Issen, has grown powerful enough to call forth old forces. I am fearful that if we do not find the rest of the Thirteen Treasures of Britain, we will not have the power to stand up to him, or them.’ Merlin thought that Sir Cedric was the key to recovering the remaining treasures and when he discovered that Cedric had set off for The Great Mire to recover the dagger he had lost, he set the knights to find him.

James, Penelope, Alfred and Edwin set off for Caer Daun – where Cedric had met his wife, Albia. Entering the Mire, it was apparent that something else was wrong. The land felt blighted and lifeless. Those few peasants that were seen were obviously starving. When they arrived at Caer Daun, it was no better off and old Coel One-Leg was not seeing anyone. Eventually the knights secured an audience, but Coel would have nothing to do with the ‘outlanders who had taken everything from him.’

Leaving to discuss what to do next, the knights were approached by a woman of the settlement who told them she knew that Albia was not forced away, but left for love of Cedric, so she told them to seek out a druid by name of Yspadden who lived somewhere to the north in the Mire, as he would know of all the comings and goings in the Mire and would know if Cedric was to be found here.

Penelope led them through the Mire in a search of the druid. Most of the time, they could not ride their horses but had to lead them. One day they stumbled on a group of fisherfolk being attacked by a Boobrie, a monstrous bird-like creature with huge claws and a wickedly hooked beak capable of eating whole sheep. The knights bravely strode forth to due battle and were able to make short work of the creature. The grateful fisherfolk said that they could guide the knights to the druid, so leaving their squires and horses behind, the knights went by boat and found a small island with a fisher’s hut which their guide told them was the druid’s home.

Investigating, the knights found it empty, but then suddenly in the doorway stood a giant of a man, standing over 8 feet tall, his disproportionately long face not showing any emotion. After determining the knights were here to find Cedric,  Yspadden – for that is who it was - told them that indeed Cedric had been here and then he filled them in on what Cedric had been doing and the state of the Mire.

It seemed that after the Angles had arrived, the troubles in the Mire had begun. And those troubles had only grown worse in recent years when something named Hymbre the Devourer had been unleashed. Hymbre was a mighty spirit, the son of Eagor, the fearsome Saxon Ettin-god of the ocean, whose very name meant ‘terror’. 

Yspadden told them more about the Mire - The five rivers that empty into the Great Mire were collectively known as the Five Mothers. They were the daughters of Sabrinna, Goddess of Rivers, and they all could take the form of horses. For the last few years, he had been unable to call upon the Five Mothers, and had determined that they had somehow been imprisoned and unable to reach the World of Spirits. He believed that one of the Saxons somehow had acquired the Halter of Eiddyn, and that along with Hymbre the Devourer, had captured the goddesses. Yspadden had found Cedric wandering incoherent in the Mire and immediately recognized that there was something special about him. He brought Cedric back to his shelter and slowly helped him back to coherence. He had sent the grateful Cedric to steal back the Halter, but he had not heard from him in a month, so Yspadden, fearing the worse, has grown desperate enough to try and find another way to free the Goddesses.

The knights agreed to help and Yspadden told them that if they traveled to an old ritual site where the Mire meets the sea, a place now known as Hymbre’s Gullet, he would be able to perform a ritual to send their spirits into Ettinham (one of the Saxon underworlds) where they could see if anything could be done without the Halter.

Arriving near the sea, the group found the old temple and Yspadden began his ritual. The Knights were soon beset by a group of Nicors as well as a whirlpool which had arisen around the place. As the ritual neared completion, a Nicor queen appeared and things seemed desperate to Penelope – her mind roared and she felt madness well up within her when she heard a voice – a familiar voice telling her that she was not alone and that help was here. It was Sir Cedric. Using his knife, Cedric quickly dispatched the Nicor Queen and the other creatures fled. As Yspadden finished the ritual, the whirlpool seemed to engulf all the knights, and they felt their souls being ripped from their bodies. The last thing they heard was Yspadden telling them to hurry as he could not keep the portal open for long.

When they next drew a breath, the knights found themselves on a spit of land leading to a promontory upon which was a single misshapen tree. As they drew close, they could see that entwined in the branches of the tree were five horse skulls, each attached to a chain that led to a nearby obelisk. Sir Cedric discovered that he could sever a chain by cutting with his knife where it joined the obelisk, but as he did this, the group heard a loud roar and the stomping of something large and two ettins burst into view. As Cedric raced to the next obelisk, the knights sought to hold off the Ettins. As the second chain was severed, an even loader roar was heard and appearing out of the mist was the huge figure of Hymbre itself. It was the size of a mountain, a squat, toad-like figure with a cavernous mouth. Its stomps shook the ground making the knights sway and fall. Its misshapen wings beat the air sending piles of debris at them. As Cedric slashed the third chain, freeing another Goddess, the portal nearby could be seen destabilizing. Cedric paused to look at Penelope, telling her to get the others to safety and through something to her. He then turned to approach Hymbre. Cedric could be seen to visibly relax. He then tossed his knife towards James and strode forward, a wry smile on his face.

The knights paused, unsure of what to do. Hymbre reared up and then his great gullet crashed down to the ground around Cedric and everything disappeared in a cloud of dust. This broke the knights from their inaction and they fled as quickly as their feet could carry them back to the portal, making it just as it collapsed. They reappeared back in the real world with Yspadden waiting for them.

The somber group of knights returned back to Logres with the two treasures, the knife and the halter, but it was a quiet ride, as each knight’s thoughts were on their last sight of Sir Cedric.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, BioKeith said:

but Sir James’ echelle of knights failed to keep any kind of organization – perhaps from weariness, perhaps because the younger knights ( Sir Edwin and Sir Alfred) were at their limit. Soon the knights found themselves fighting individually, rather than as a unit

What happened? Disorganised unit? Sounds nasty anyway...

9 hours ago, BioKeith said:

He said that ‘One of their kind, a Laece named Issen, has grown powerful enough to call forth old forces.

I don't remember if it is the same guy or a new one ^^ I have no idea where you are going with the 13 treasures of Britain, but it's intriguing...

The 5 godesses were under the shape of a lady, or of an horse?

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/16/2021 at 5:20 AM, Tizun Thane said:

What happened? Disorganised unit? Sounds nasty anyway...

Yup - they went disorganized - it was hell!

On 2/16/2021 at 5:20 AM, Tizun Thane said:

I don't remember if it is the same guy or a new one ^^ I have no idea where you are going with the 13 treasures of Britain, but it's intriguing...

Yes - this is the same Saxon Laece that has been plaguing them all along - the same one that killed off Esmee. I wanted to do something more with the 13 Treasures in the campaign, so I'm loosely going with Merlin urging them to all be found and gathered before Badon (although the players don't know about that). Should also play into the Grey Knight which is coming up soon! 🙂

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/16/2021 at 5:20 AM, Tizun Thane said:

The 5 godesses were under the shape of a lady, or of an horse?

This was my attempt at a boss fight. The five goddesses were all 'trapped' on this giant tree - they were represented by the five horse skulls. It was a bit of a tactical 'battlemap' kind of fight as an experiment - went over fairly well, I think.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A bit of a quieter year after the battles of 510. Huzzah for the Book of Feasts!

511

As the knights returned home it became apparent that Salisbury had suffered raids from Saxon marauders while the army had been gone to the north. Most of the knight’s manors suffered relatively little damage. Though Fittleton Manor had suffered worse than others, Sir Penelope Starling's valuables were safe in her vault, which the Saxons did not discover.

Sir Caoilfhionn returned to Woodborough Manor, now in charge of the manor after her father’s ‘absence’. She remained steadfast in her belief in her abilities, despite the result of the Battle of Carlion in which she had spent the largest part of it unconscious.

Sir James spent most of the winter in King Arthur's court in Carlion, where Arthur continued to lean on him for advice and support. James and Merlin were oft seen at Arthur’s side.

As Earl Robert led a few knights of Salisbury back to Carlion for court in the early spring, rumours were spreading that Queen Margawse, King Lot’s wife, would be visiting. Arthur, unsure of how to react, trusted to Sir James to see to her reception. Indeed, Margawse arrived in the city just in time for a great feast that Arthur was holding. Sir James quickly saw a place sat for her at the high table – giving up his own seat to her.

Sir James spent the evening surrounded by a bevy of nobles. Word had spread that James had Arthur's ear and each was seeking James’ approval for various plans to bring to the High King. King Alain of Escavalon wanted to attack Lot’s rebels and even proposed an alliance with the Saxon's of Deira against Lot - 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend', he quoted.  Duke Ulfius disagreed and wanted to attack the unprepared Saxons of Essex and Kent. Finally Sir Brastias' idea was to hold back in order to train new knights - seeing as the great toll the battles of the previous year had taken.

Sir Penelope spent the evening flirting with a young knight of Lindsay, in between breaking up a disagreement between Sir Kay and Count Sanam of Bedegraine. The Count was still trying to put his daughter Lyzianor forward as a potential wife for Arthur, but Sir James, at Arthur's urging, had the two of them sat away from the high table. Towards the end of the evening, with libations flowing, Penelope embarrassed the knight she was pursuing as she engaged him in a contest of strength, thinking that a sure fire way to a man's heart. After she trounced him, he soon departed. (and Penelope's string of Fumbling her attempts at romance continues)

Sir Caoilfhionn met a knight at his table, Sir Lanceor, a prince from Estregales, who was talking about King Pellinore de Gales. Apparently the King was off again chasing the Questing Beast, and in his absence – a warlord by the name of Ryons had moved in with his army and declared himself King of Pellinore's land of Gomeret. As the night drew on, Caoilfhionn was seen flirting with a young French knight, but Caoilfhionn's nerves got the best of her, and the young knight made excuses and departed early. (The players were all seemingly on a roll with fumbling their flirting attempts)

All of the diplomatic talk must have got Sir James’ blood flowing, for he spent the rest of the feast topping up everyone’s drinks and making sure all of the guests were having a fine time. Young Lyzianor, ignored by Arthur, had excused herself from her father and become smitten with James, following him around throughout the night. Penelope, perhaps because her own attempt at romance had ended so abruptly, saw to it that Count Sanam was distracted whenever he inquired about his daughter's absence.

The last part of the evening was devoted to the knighting ceremony for new knights. Two candidates were to be put forward, Lucas (James' eldest son), and Ysabel (niece to the deceased Sir Reynard Starling). Sir James’ was to have performed the ceremony for his son, but when the time came, he was nowhere to be seen (and coincidentally, neither was Lyzianor). As the feast was wrapping up, and with the two young squires appearing more and more uncomfortable, Sir Penelope stepped up to the high table and reminded Arthur – who had been deep in conversation with Margawse - of the knighting ceremony. Arthur looked amused at James’ absence, and said that he would perform the ceremony himself, and so Lucas and Ysabel were knighted by the high king. Although she was knocked down during the ceremony, Ysabel made up for it afterwards with her ‘leap’ – a double back flip in pike position (Had to reward her crit on her Dex roll) that made her a cause-celeb for the rest of the evening. Arthur closed the evening with a speech in which he extolled the virtues of Knighthood. 

The next morning – Arthur conferred with Sir James. First James counselled caution for the year, agreeing with Brastias and Ector that a year spent in training up the young knights and rebuilding the strength of Arthur’s army seemed prudent. To this, Arthur agreed. He ordered that the army would instead start a castle upgrading/building program throughout Logres.

Next Arthur asked for counsel on what to do about Margawse. She had come seeking an alliance - through marriage of one of her daughters to Arthur. A course that Merlin advised Arthur against. James saw a benefit to appeasement however, and so Arthur invited Margawse to remain at Carlion for the summer.

Sir Hervis de Revel grew impatient at the inaction of the army and petitioned some of the younger knights to join him in a raid into Saxon territory in retaliation for the damage they had caused the previous year. Only Sir Caoilfhionn accepted and joined the expedition into Essex. Once again, however, her nerves were found wanting and she avoided much of the action. Although the raids into Essex were successful, she returned still unproven in battle. Through luck or guile, however, she had procured a prize – a set of Antlers from some large beast she liberated from a fellow knight’s victim. Apparently the Saxons associated the trophy with luck in hunting.

Back at court, many observed Margawse and Arthur often in consultation with one another, taking long walks around the city. Sir Ysabel even observed them retire to Arthur’s chambers late one evening to continue ‘consulting’. Margawse and her sons departed late in the summer, returning to Lothian.

 

And so the knights of Salisbury enjoyed a quiet year and retired to their manors for winter.

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, BioKeith said:

...Indeed, Margawse arrived in the city just in time for a great feast that Arthur was holding. Sir James quickly saw a place sat for her at the high table – giving up his own seat to her...

...James saw a benefit to appeasement however, and so Arthur invited Margawse to remain at Carlion for the summer....

What I’m getting from this is that the downfall of the realm is ultimately all Sir James’s fault. 🙂

Edited by Voord 99
Link to post
Share on other sites

Things start getting a little 'cutscene' heavy at this point of the GPC. The players are still excited to be hanging around Arthur, though - so they haven't minded getting into the backstory - so far I've tried to interweave it with a regular court scene or as part of a feast. Sir James has entered semi-retirement, and I'm using him as more of an NPC now, as that player now has James' son Lucas as his primary knight.

512 - Part 1

Over the winter, rumours abounded that Queen Margawse was pregnant. Sir James, quickly doing the math in his head, frowned whenever he was near King Arthur. Still, Arthur found James' counsel invaluable, and named him Chancellor of Britain – in charge of the royal seal and most senior of his advisors. James moved into his own offices in Camelot, leaving his estate to his stewards to run alongside his children.

As Camelot was still largely under construction, Arthur held his spring court in Silchester City. A surprise appearance was made by twelve ambassadors from Rome who demanded that King Arthur submit to Emperor Lucius and pay tribute, “for Britain is and always has been part of the Roman Empire.” Needless to say, an immediate uproar was provoked in court as numerous knights shouted down the ambassadors. After a conference, Arthur returned with his answer - a steadfast refusal and a threat to meet rome's arrogance with swords and spears. and he had the ambassadors sent back, with all due courtesy. The ambassadors did not try to linger, but left angrily.

Sir Brastias counselled the young knights of Salisbury to be ready for war saying that the army would march against the northern kings this summer – perhaps even Malahaute, who's king was rumoured to have allied with Lot. Arthur closed court and then departed on progress around Logres, with the first stop being the shrine to the great battle and infamous feast at St. Albans late in February. Sir James, Sir Caoilfhionn, Sir Lucas and Sir Ysabel decided to accompany the king.

With crowds of pilgrims on the roads, Arthur chose lodgings nearby St. Albans. One knight, to everyone's surprise, old Queen Ygraine made an appearance at feast. Those knights who were most observant thought that Arthur was not surprised by the Queen's arrival. During the dinner, a commotion started at the high table, culminating in Duke Ulfius shouting at Ygraine, throwing the room into a tizzy. Again, the observant knights thought that this whole scene felt staged, though to what purpose they could not guess. After the room had quieted, Ygraine told the story of the night of the siege of Tintagel when she was visited by someone with the semblance of her dead husband, though he had been killed that very evening. She bore the child of that union, and gave him to Merlin to raise as her husband Uther had promised. Merlin, lurking nearby, walked up to the head table and pointed to Arthur saying that his was Ygraine's son and Uther was his father.

Arthur and Ygraine then embraced and the joyous mood of the feast returned. The rest of the king's pilgrimage to St. Albans was conducted with Ygraine at Arthur's side. The more politically savy knights realized that now Arthur was tied into the Pendragon lineage, perhaps doing away with his image as a puppet of Merlin. 

Court remained in St. Albans and in March a squire arrived leading a horse across which was draped a dead knight. The squire told a tale of a strange knight at a nearby ford challenging all passersby to defeat him at a joust before he would let them cross. Arthur asked who would face up to this challenge, and just as Sir Caoilfhionn was about to respond, a young squire dashed forward and begged to be allowed to fight the strange knight. Though Arthur was reluctant at first, he knighted the young squire, Griflet - and sent him forth.

Caoilfhionn, Lucas and Ysabel could not let this challenge pass either, and so bid their squires to prepare their horses. Unfortunately their squires had been in the back of the hall indulging and so they were delayed enough that young Griflet arrived at the ford first. The knights of Salisbury arrived only just in time to see Griflet and an unknown knight charging at one another, lances lowered - whereupon Griflet was sent flying, knocked unconscious. No one recognized the heraldry of the unknown knight. Steeling themselves, Caoilfhionn, Lucas and Ysabel rode down to the ford. The Unknown knight was having his squires see to the injured Griflet, but swung around as the knights approached and issued his challenge. Fight or return the way they had come.

First to challenge was Sir Caoilfhionn, but she was quickly unhorsed and left battered on the ground. Next, Sir Ysabel found herself just as quickly dumped on her backside, her jousting skills found wanting. Finally Sir Lucas challenged the knight, and although he was not unhorsed, he nevertheless took a serious blow and despite his pride hurting, he yielded. The knight removed his helm, and Ysabel recognized him to be King Pellinore. He bid the knights return whence they came from and to tell their liege that the knights of his realm required further training.

Swallowing their pride, and moaning from their injuries, the knights returned to court bearing Sir Griflet draped over his horse, in dire need of chirurgery.  When the knights told Arthur their tale he was visibly disappointed in the events of the day and retired from court.

The next morning, Sir James approached the young knights, waking them early. It seemed that Arthur was nowhere to be found. James suspected that he had ridden to challenge Pellinore himself and dispatched the young knights to stop him, while he covered for the King’s absence. And so, with some misgivings, the young knights found themselves headed back to the site of their beating.
 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Did your players enjoy this session ? They were for a major part only witnesses after all...

13 hours ago, BioKeith said:

. And so, with some misgivings, the young knights found themselves headed back to the site of their beating.

What a cliffhanger ! I love how Pellinore looks badass in your campaign. It's a good idea to make him a special NPC in the GPC.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's finish off the year...we added a new player - hopefully she enjoys it and sticks around for a bit. She's new to RPGs so I started her off as a household knight so she didn't have to worry about a manor as well as her character. Still lots of 'cutscenes' in this one, but they were good ones for building up the world.

512 - Part 2

What did King Pellinore do?!?

As the knights set off for the ford that King Pellinore guarded, they were accompanied by a young knight - Sir Bellana. Countess Ellen had assigned her to Sir James when he was appointed chancellor and James was eager to get her some more experience. Bellana confidently led the knights back to the Otmoor. Sir Lucas, Sir Caoilfhionn, and Sir Ysabel looked at one another, unsure of what to make of the new knight. Half way there, the group were waved down by an old man on the side of the road. He said he was on an errand for King Arthur and sought permission to join them as his old legs were weary and he didn't want to let the king down. The knights looked at one another. His story checked out! (everyone 'succeeded' in their trusting vs suspicious rolls)  Generously offering one of their sumpters for him to ride on, the group continued.

Arriving at the ford, they could see two knights facing off against each other on horseback with lances at the ready – one being King Pellinore, the other King Arthur. The two rode at each other several times, but neither could unseat the other. Pellinore seemed in a jovial mood as he could be heard laughing. Arthur, however was much more serious and visibly angry. Pellinore dismounted and the two continued their contest on foot with swords, Arthur drawing Excalibur.

The two traded viscous blows, before Arthur seeming landed a lucky shot, staggering Pellinore. No longer laughing, Pellinore launched himself at the young king, raining blows down on him until Arthur fell to one knee with Excalibur over head. With another mighty blow from Pellinore, Excalibur was cleaved in two – Arthur stared down in disbelief. (and the players had a similar reaction 🙂 ) Pellinore, caught in a fit of passion readied another strike to kill Arthur.  As Sir Lucas rushed forward to try and stop the inevitable. Sir Caoilfhionn, not as quick to rush forward, observed the old man do something.  A ray of light shot out from his fingers and into Pellinore’s eyes. Pellinore staggered back and seemed to come to his senses. Arthur remained mute and a figure of dejection.

The ‘old man’ jumped down from his horse and in a shimmer of light, was revealed to be Merlin. ‘The sword must only be used for the cause of justness, never for one’s pride'. Arthur showed no reaction and Merlin turned to face the knights of salisbury as they gathered. 'It is a lesson that needed to be learned – one that his father never could. If you will protect your king, then I would have you accompany me, young knights. I have an idea.’

Merlin had them bring the non communicative Arthur and the shards of Excalibur and led them into the forest nearby. As they walked, the forest around them seemed strange, especially to Lucas. He had heard tales of Merlin and faerie realms from his father, and as the forest around them seemed to change, he refused to go any further. (Lucas has a fear of faerie magic which he rolled against here) Fortunately Bellana was able to calm the nerves of all the young knights and they continued.

They came out in a clearing near a lake. Merlin asked the knights to stand guard while he and Arthur boarded a conveniently situated punt and Merlin poled out to the middle of the lake. As the knights watched, he threw the shards of Excalibur into the lake. A broiling mist seemed to come up of a sudden surrounding the punt, and a minute later an arm thrust up through the mist holding aloft a sword, whole and gleaming, and a sheath. Arthur, at last seeming to come awake received the sword and cradled it as Merlin poled back to shore.

As Arthur clutched the sword and nodded in thanks to the knights, Merlin stepped up...’now, I have business in the north, you knights – escort the king back to court’, and then he strode off.

The knights walked back the way they had come and soon found themselves back at the ford where Pellinore was packing up his pavilion. He and Arthur embraced and Pellinore asked to come back to see Arthur’s court.

Back at court, Arthur retold the tale of the fight at the ford and how he regained Excalibur, and how the sword would from henceforth only be wielded in service to the realm, not for Arthur’s own whims. Pellinore was so impressed that he swore homage to Arthur on the spot, but soon his squire returned with a report of a sighting of the questing beast, and Pellinore took his leave.

 

Sir Balin

By April, court had moved to Cirencester. One morning a damsel arrived at court, who wore a sword belted to her waist and issued a challenge. She sought a knight who could draw the sword she held, for ‘it is said that it may be unsheathed only by the best of knights’. Many knights tried, but all failed. Arthur was disappointed, but as the lady made to depart, a knight at the rear of the court offered to try much to everyone’s surprise, he succeeded.  Sir Balin was his name. The lady was impressed until Sir Balin refused to return the sword to her, sheathing this second sword in his belt, and she left in tears.

Arthur, impressed with the young knight asked him to stay at court, but Balin refused and also left saying he had to make ready to depart.

Trumpets blared announcing the next visitor - it was Nineve - a Lady of the Lake, Nineve. She asked Arthur for a boon that he owed to her - the head of Sir Balin, or the head of the lady who had just departed. Arthur naturally refused such a request as being dishonorable. As the lady and Arthur debated, an armed knight entered the room - Sir Ysabel saw that the knight had two swords on his belt. 

Before anyone could react - the knight swore at Nineve and lopped off her head. This put the court into an uproar, and the knights of salisbury leapt to their feet open mouthed. Arthur was furious and only his sense of hospitality prevented him from ordering Balin killed - instead he banished the young knight, despite Balin's protestations that he had acted in revenge for Nineve killing his mother. Balin departed court.

After he left, a knight leapt up and begged to be allowed to ‘perform the king’s work’, which Arthur allowed, and he rushed off, soon followed by a young lady who dashed after him. The young knights of Salisbury looked at one another, never having witnessed such a ruckus at court. Bellana determined to follow to see what was to happen, and reluctantly the other knights pulled themselves away from the pie table to follow (A couple of the knights crit their indulgent and didn't want to leave the feast). Bellana was not amused, as the young knights proceeded to fall all over themselves and their squires as they attempted to get ready (and then a couple fumbled their squire rolls). Eventually she stormed off telling them to meet up, but her hunting skills abandoned her and she was still searching for tracks as the knights finally followed her. Eventually, after another pie break, and a wrong turn or two, the knights saw two messengers ride furiously towards the castle. “Prince Lanceor is dead’, was their news, and the knights hurried to see.

A few miles away, they came across a scene at the roadside– a knight with a spear through his chest, and a lady lying dead on top of him, with a dagger through her breast. Nearby, a young nobleman was bemusedly talking with his entourage.

The knights approached him, and some recognized him as Prince Mark of Cornwall. Mark was most impolite towards the quality of Arthur’s court, but did tell the knights that Prince Lanceor was the dead knight and had been slain by the knight of two swords. The lady fell upon her dagger when she came upon the dead Lanceor. Holding their temper, the knights departed in search of Sir Balin, but his tracks ran out as he made use of several streams to lose anyone following him. The knights then returned to court.

 

The Battle of the Bassus River

In July, word went out that a muster had been called for, Arthur was determined to bring battle to the north – starting with Malahaute and King Heraut de Apres, the Centurian King. One way or another, he would be made to bend the knee to Arthur.

Marching north, Arthur went around the Humber River into Roestoc before crossing the borders of Malahaute near Castleford, where Malahaute’s army awaited Arthur on a low hill. Arthur's forces were bolstered however, when King Pellinore arrived with a force of knights, and so the Battle of Bassus River was joined.

Sir James led the forces of Salisbury, but had given command of an eschelle of knights to Sir Bellana. She led the first charge up the hill, but disaster and disorder struck the young knights as they met a group of experienced spearsmen. Sir Caoilfhionn was struck unconscious and nearly killed, and the rest of the knights found themselves disordered in the killing zone, desperately fighting for their lives. Elsewhere it was seen that the Centurian King’s banner had quickly fallen (it later emerged that King Pellinore, in a thunderous crash had killed the King with one lance blow).

Sir James sent Sir Alder to bolster Bellana’s knights and they slowly began to get the better of their enemies. They did see, however, that another commander had rallied the enemy troops and was directly assaulting Arthur. Bellana found her eschelle free and disengaged, so led a charge to Arthur’s aid. Nearby, the Brown Knight of the Wilds took on the enemy commander and soon brought him down, and with that, the forces of Malahaute were routed.

After the battle, Arthur gave fair terms to the heir of the Centurion King, whose name was Barant de Apres. However, he took claimed parts of Malahaute, and the whole of Garloth, for his own.

The Brown Knight of the Wilds most mercifully granted freedom, without ransom, to Prince Galegantis, the enemy commander he had brought down – a son of the late King Nentres of Garloth. Galegantis bent the knee and swore homage to Arthur.

As the knights returned home, it became apparent that while Arthur had been campaigning in Cumbria, King Lot and King Ryons had led an army to plunder many unprotected Cambrian lands – Cameliard, Lambor, Wuerensis and Escavalon. Arthur promised to bring them to account next year. And so the knights once again returned to their manors for the winter.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice year.

It's not you, but I am not a big fan of "The Brown Knight of the Wilds".

He was created by Greg Stafford, and does not fit well, IMHO, in the GPC. I don't know what purpose he serves. Do someone have an explanation?

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Tizun Thane said:

I don't know what purpose he serves. Do someone have an explanation?

Yeah - I agree. I think in the GPC the player's might meet up with him again as part of the Wastelands adventures and the Castle of Joy arc, so that's all I'm currently planning for with him - just so he becomes a recognizable face instead of some other random knight (which there are a lot of 🙂 ) 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

More battle fun this week, and many knights earn their glory.

513

The knights of Salisbury headed to Leicester in the spring for Arthur's court, happy to catch up with one another after a long winter at their manors. Sir Caoilfhionn had spent the winter negotiating with Sir Luc's former valet over back pay that was owed to him. Sir Lucas shared that Earl Robert had engaged a tutor for him to 'better educate him in courtly ways'. Though Lucas rolled his eyes in the telling, in truth, he did appreciate the Earl's attention. In keeping with King Arthur directives around knightly duties and chivalry, Lucas was eager to show off his new found understanding of the rules of court.

Sir Henri brought his friend Sir Edwin to visit Ffynnon, the water nymph, which was now living at Sir Penelope's estate. As the nymph was now helping with Henri’s ‘education’, Edwin was left alone quite a bit and ended up meeting and striking up a relationship with the Nymph’s daughter Gwanwyn.  Henri, did not approve of the match and had regrets over inviting Edwin along.

Royal Court

Leicester was even more crowded than usual. Noblemen and their envoys had flooded the court, especially those with marriageable daughters. The court was a swarm of eligible young ladies doing their best to appear proper and all jealous for the attention of the High King as a grand feast was laid out.

Sir Alfred was surprised to find that he had a spot at the high table, and it turned out that it was at Lady Ellen's insistence. She was worried about her daughter Lady Jenna, now an old maid at 26 and so introduced her to Alfred, a trusted vassal knight. The two hit it off, but Ellen took Alfred aside and warned him that he would have to distinguish himself significantly, in combat or in quest, to earn Earl Robert’s approval for the match.

With the feast so crowded, Sir Caoilfhionn and Sir Henri were disappointed to find themselves seated at the back of the hall on the floor with the squires. As the evening progressed, they both became overserved and then quite boorish, insulting the servants and the squires they were near – but as they were so far at the back, their behaviour was missed by anyone that mattered.

Arthur’s repaste was constantly interrupted by a parade of nobles not too subtlety trying to introduce their daughters to him, so he took refuge amidst his knights and ended up striking up a conversation with Sir Ysabel Starling. The two seemed to have an immediate spark between them and keen eyed observers might have noticed that the pair disappeared for a good part of the feast. (Ysabel crit her Flirting and I rolled for Arthur and he crit his lustful, so I decided to roll with it - maybe we'll get another son to show up down the line with Borre and Loholt 🙂 )

At the head table, Alfred was privy to some gossip about events in the northern lands. It seemed that hundreds of infant boys had been kidnapped, stolen right from their cradles,  and then all murdered, as part of a pagan sacrifice it was said. No one who was an actual witness to the event was present, but that did not stop many at the table casting sideways glances at Merlin– careful to never make eye contact with him.

When Arthur (and Ysabel), reappeared at the feast later in the evening, Arthur became incensed when he heard the rumours of the murdered babies and he ordered Merlin to investigate the truth of the matter.

A short time later messengers arrived and brought the feast to a screeching halt. Word had come that the rebel army of the north had moved southward. Arthur gave orders for the muster to be called and the feast was ended.

The Battle of Terrabil

Arthur marched the army north and the two forces met, at last, on the field, northwest of Stafford in Cameliard. Arthur’s army faced King Lot and the northern rebels as well as Lot's ally from Cambria, Ryons.

At camp, on the eve of the battle, Henri and Lucas could not sleep. Lucas noticed Merlin slip away in the moonlight, but decided following him would be a bad idea. As they walked and chatted about the battle to come, they heard a commotion. Two knights, unrecognized by the guards, approached the camp and turned over a battered and bloody prisoner – a huge man. Lucas noted that one of the two knights had wielded two swords, but they had both disappeared after turning over the prisoner. As the guards dragged the prisoner to Arthur’s tent, Lucas and Henri decided to follow. The guards eagerly entered the tent with their prisoner and threw the man to the ground. Arthur was inside, as, coincidentally, was Ysabel, hurriedly collecting herself. The prisoner was the warlord Ryons. As Arthur approached him, Ryons suddenly grabbed a sword from one of the guards, slashing the man down. All hell broke loose. Ysabel tried to interpose herself between Arthur and Ryons wielding her dagger, but froze up. Ryons killed the other guard and turned to strike Ysabel down but then Arthur was there - blocking Ryon's blow with Excalibur. Henri, hearing the commotion, leapt inside just as Arthur delivered a killing blow to Ryons and the big man's body slumped to the ground.

As guards came running in, and Ysabel slipped out, the camp came to life from the disturbance, and it was just as well, for it appeared that one of the enemy armies was preparing to attack in the pre-dawn half-light. Enraged that his elder brother Ryons had been captured, Ryon’s younger brother, Nero, had led half of the rebel army to attack.

Sir Edwin led an eschelle of the young knights of Salisbury on the army's left flank. The first charge saw them smash through Nero's lines. Sir Henri and Sir Alfred both were unstoppable forces, but as the day progressed, the fighting grew harder. Sir Caoilfhionn fought defensively as the Sons of Bran – strange warriors in feathered cloaks - charged alongside grizzled Cambrian veterans. Sir Edwin was felled by one of Sons, knocked unconscious, but his squire was able to get him back to the hospital tents.

Sir Caoilfhionn assumed command and led a smart defensive fight in the killing zone that allowed the eschelle to pull back and become organized enough to charge again. Nero, a man nearly as big as his brother, could easily be seen on the battlefield and he was hacking his way to Arthur. As the knights charged back they tried to head towards Arthur's banner. Ysabel was knocked from her horse and seemed about to be beset by Saxons, however Arthur was close enough to notice and fought his way to her side as Nero hacked his way to Arthur. A tremendous fight occurred – Nero using his size to unhorse both Arthur and Caoilfhionn. Alfred and Ysabel both fought bravely against the huge man, but he was of such size that none could seem to wound him significantly. Finally Caoilfhionn, with a mighty chop of her axe, nearly took Nero’s head off. When their leader went down, the fight went out of the enemy and they fled the field. As Arthur checked on Ysabel and watched Nero’s army flee, there was no time to pursue or to celebrate before another army arrived, hastily assembling on the field. Arthur hurriedly ordered his army to reform. Many wounded now joined the ranks, knowing how desperate the battle sat.

With the knights grimly preparing, another force of fresh knights and footmen approached and offered service to Arthur – It was King Pellinore, and he was given the center in the next battle.

As Lot’s army charged – the knights of Salisbury, exhausted from the morning of fighting still managed to hold their own. Suddenly two knights burst from cover and fell upon Lot’s flank, killing knights and single-handedly scattering their foes before them. Lot’s army lost much of its nerve. Then King Pellinore led a charge directly at King Lot, and the two heroes fought a mighty duel. Those nearby paused and watched in wonder as the two left blood, armor, and flesh strewn all around the field. At last, Pellinore struck Lot dead, cleaving him from head to naval. The rebels were stunned for a moment, and then either surrendered or turned and fled.

After the battle, Arthur ordered a memorial be erected to mark the enemy kings slain here this day. He took his remaining army and marched northward, seizing the possessions and lands of all who opposed him. Norgales fell, as did Lothian. 

In the fall, Arthur returned to Cameliard where he spent the winter with King Leodegrance and the two raised a toast, hopeful that this was the last battle that Arthur would need to ensure his throne.

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, BioKeith said:

(Ysabel crit her Flirting and I rolled for Arthur and he crit his lustful, so I decided to roll with it - maybe we'll get another son to show up down the line with Borre and Loholt 🙂 )

Always possible. 🙂

Reminds me how in our Middle-earth campaign, one PK rolled critical Flirting and Dancing with King Anarion's daughter. I decided that meant that sparks were flying between them, and even though the PK was just lower nobility (still, about banneret-level), Anarion begrudgingly gave his permission for the two to start courting. I think it took about 30 years of courtship before they finally were allowed to marry (but these were Numenorean-born Numenoreans, living 200+ years, so it wasn't as big of a deal).

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/16/2021 at 3:31 AM, BioKeith said:

In the fall, Arthur returned to Cameliard where he spent the winter with King Leodegrance and the two raised a toast, hopeful that this was the last battle that Arthur would need to ensure his throne.

And Arthur felt in love with his fair daugther...

Do Ysabel have a passion (love) for Arthur?  Will Arthur have the guts to tell her she was just a one night stand? How will she react? ^^

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

More set pieces this year, but everyone loves a wedding! The random rolls for feast courses could not have worked out better. 🙂

Year 514

Back in Salisbury over the winter, the knights kept busy. Sir Lucas appealed to Earl Robert to be matched with a wife suiting his station. Earl Robert, though, was apparently unimpressed with Lucas’ station (as happens when you fail a courtesy roll) – finding him wanting, when compared to his illustrious father. Lucas stalked off, angry at the Earl, and even more resentful of his father. At Imber Manor, Lucas received word that his father had reconciled with his bastard son, Christophe, who had been raised by the bandits of The Great Mire and Lady Gwendolin. Christophe, who had just turned 19, had apparently been accepted into Sir James’ entourage as a squire. Lucas could barely contain his anger.

At Woodborough Manor, Sir Caoilfhionn was dealing with her own father issues. Her younger brother, Shane, was resentful that it was not him that was inheriting the manor, and his jealousness came out daily. Also – the old Steward let his resentfulness of Caoilfhionn's management of the estate – seeing as she had squandered half of the family fortune in the time she had been in charge. Shane ended up stalking off, saying ‘he could no longer stand to live in the same house as his sister’. He left to explore the wider world and ‘find himself’.

Sir Ysabel Starling gave birth to a son, and soon after had a visit from Merlin. He strongly encouraged Ysabel not to bring up the subject of her son with King Arthur, or to ever bring him to court. He also frowned severely when he learned of Ysabel’s choice of name (Arthur) and told her not to use it outside of the walls of her estate. Ysabel smiled coyly and agreed.

Both Ysabel and Lucas were fortunate enough to have special horses born into their herds over the winterr – a Leaper at Imber Manor, and a particularly stable charger at Fittleton.

As the knights returned to Carlion for court in the spring, the royal city was all abuzz with talk of Arthur’s wedding. It seems that over the winter, he and King Leodegrance had agreed that Arthur would marry the King’s only child – Guenever. Talk among the court was that Arthur was actually marrying for love, and not just politics. In other news, King Idres of Cornwall and Brittany had died, and his son Mark had been proclaimed King.

Arthur ended court with more of his musings on knighthood and chivalry. More and more the knights of the realm were buying in to his ideas, inspired by Arthur's fervor. This year he encourage them all to develop their own coats of arms.

 

The Wedding of King Arthur

In early June, the knights returned to Carlion for the King’s wedding. The city was packed full of people of all classes - nobles, commoners and merchants. The crowds cheered as each new delegation arrived in the city, even the young knights of Salisbury received waves and cheers from the commoners. Sir Lucas had brought a charger from his herd as a wedding gift, and Ysabel had brought a maternity dress, created by her ‘valet’, Saraphine. Sir Caoilfhionn had brought nothing, figuring that it would not be noticed.

The only ones from Salisbury invited to the actual ceremony were Sir James, Sir Penelope Starling and the Earl – the other knights contented themselves to await the coming feast. Around mid-day, cheers announced that the ceremony was finished and shortly after, the wedding party entered a giant pavilion that had been erected to host the feast. But first, tradition dictated that the royal couple give everyone a gift to exhibit their largesse. The greatest noblemen asked for their gifts first. Sir James asked for a trainer for his son. Sir Lucas smiled in warmth at his father, until he realized that his father was speaking of Christophe. Then lesser noblemen and great knights lined up for their own gifts. Sir Penelope asked for a position in Arthur’s court, as she had grown tired of the adventuring lifestyle and sought to pass on her knowledge to others – Arthur agreed and she was appointed as deputy steward under Sir Kay.

Late in the afternoon the ordinary knights began to ask. As they approached and beheld the Queen, they were all taken by her beauty (except Caoilfhionn who decided she would only judge Guenever on her deeds, not her looks). Lucas asked for an extension to his lands, to better be able to prosper and add to Arthur’s kingdom. Arthur smiled and agreed with a laugh. Ysabel asked for the King to make a match for her, to better raise her fatherless child. Arthur could not meet her eye, but Guenever interjected, saying that she would of course seek to help a knight as valorous as she had heard Sir Ysabel to be. Sir Caoilfhionn, perhaps with a little too much pride in her voice, asked for a noble position in one of the King’s conquered lands. To this, Arthur sternly replied that such a position would have to be earned through deeds, and would not be given away, and instead presented Caoilfhionn a bag of silver. Soon it was time for the feast to begin.

The knights anxiously awaited the succulent treats that were sure to arrive, but were disappointed when the first course consisted of Eels in a thick spicy puree. Caoilfhionn was talking to Lady Jenna, but seemed to disappoint her with wild tales of the battle of Stafford. Lucas then side stepped in, and tried flirting with Jenna, but she seemed oblivious to it. Ysabel spent her time chatting amiably with Sir Bedivere.

As the next course was brought out, eyebrows were raised when it was just simple wafers. Most of the tables again tried to hide their disappointment. Lady Ellen tried to talk to Lucas, as she was desperate to find a match for her daughter, now a spinster at 29. Lucas tried again and had a bit more success in entertaining the young lady.

Sir Caoilfhionn was chatting to an old man about the strange culinary choices, when the man asked if it was too late to approach Arthur to ask for a gift. Caoilfhionn persuaded him to go up to the head table to ask Arthur, thinking it a sure way for a laugh. The man indeed went forward and asked King Arthur to make his son into a knight. The king said that such a gift was not cheaply given, and asked to see the boy. The youth was named Tor, and the old man claimed that King Pellinore de Gales was his father (drawing a raised eyebrow from Pellinore who was seated at the high table). Arthur was amused, and agreed to make the young man made a knight which was done so immediately. As the libations flowed freely and many of the knights of Salisbury consorted with their chosen companions, Arthur rose and delivered a his wedding speech. Mostly it was about the rights of women in his realm, and he said that Guenever would be seeking the expression of this testament in our good court.

As the next course was brought out, herb fritters, some muffled, but still audible groans could be heard. But at that point, things took a strange turn. First, a white hart dashed into the room, nimbly leaping down the long tables. Next, a single white hound came crashing and skidding among the dishes of the table chasing the fleeing deer. Next sixty black hounds burst through the flaps of the pavilion, dashing over and under everyone as they followed the white hound. The knights of Salisbury deftly protected their drinks, subtly letting the wafers be knocked to the ground to be devoured by the dogs.

The white dog reached the deer and nipped at its rump - the hart then leapt out of sight through a side entrance. The white dog landed on the lap of a knight who grabbed it by the scruff of the neck, arose and walked out with it. As if this was not enough, the flaps of the pavilion were pulled back as a woman, riding upon a white horse, entered, unbothered by the sixty black dogs now dashing out. She shouted angrily that the white dog was hers and that she wanted it back, but before anyone could answer, a knight in black, mounted on a great black charger, rode in, grabbed her from her own horse, and rode off. Everyone sat, stunned by what had just happened.

At last the king spoke. “Well, I’m glad that’s over! Good riddance: Her shouting gave me a headache!”

Merlin hurried to the King’s side and told him that such extraordinary events were to be expected at the greatest court in the world. He chastised Arthur and told him to send knights off on a quest to resolve these mysteries.

With everyone looking at one another, Sir Lucas, Sir Ysabel and reluctantly Sir Caoilfhionn arose and volunteered. Arthur sent Sir Caoilfhionn to recover the white hart, Sir Lucas to bring back the white hound and the knight that took it, and Sir Ysabel to bring back the lady and the knight. 

The three knights accepted their quests and left, to arm and then depart. Sir Bedivere, clearly enamored with Ysabel kissed her hand and told her to hurry back. The feast continued, and the knights could smell roast boar as they left.

 

The Tale of Sir Lucas

Sir Lucas picked up the trail of the knight with the hound quickly but could not seem to catch up. At mid-afternoon, he found himself by a ford at a river, where he was challenged to a joust by one Sir Felot, apparently emulating King Pellinore’s behavior. Lucas accepted, and then proceeded to near impale his young opponent. Charitably seeing to the unconscious knight’s first aid, and sending him with his squire back to Carlion for Chirurgery, Lucas rode on.  After several more days of tracking, Lucas finally came to a clearing near a large manor house – in front of which was a group of 9 ladies, all dressed in white, who had the white hound with them. When he inquired about the hound, the ladies told Lucas to seek out a knight, Sir Bellus, ‘who had wronged them’ and slay him. Lucas followed their directions and found Sir Bellus, who knew of no affront he had committed. The two of them returned to the ladies, who refused to give over the hound unless Sir Bellus be slain. Lucas would do no such thing, nor would he raise a hand to the ladies, so he and Sir Bellus returned to Carlion, as the ladies shouted insults after them.

 

The Tale of Sir Ysabel

Ysabel quickly rode off after the Black Knight, following directions given to her by some men-at-arms at the gate. Unfortunately, her hunting skills failed her as the trail reached the forest, and she wandered for several days - perhaps thoughts of Sir Bedivere were clouding her mind. The trail seemed to continue, and then disappear for a time, and then pick back up. She could not understand. Finally the trail came within sight of an old roman stone tower, but again disappeared. She approached the tower. The first floor was filled with tables strewn with the most amazing feast food she had ever seen, but something twitched in her memory. Tales her mother and her mother’s friend had told her of a similar experience. Ysabel made her way up the tower, ignoring the temptations of food and treasure until she reached the roof and discovered the Black Knight, his steed – a griffon, and his prisoner, a young lady. Challenged to single combat, Ysabel and the Black Knight dueled. Finally, fueled by passion to complete her quest for Arthur, Ysabel chopped the black knight down, and the felled knight begged for mercy. Ysabel sent him off with a wave and went to see to the young lady. She revealed that she was one of the ladies of the lake – Nimue, and the two returned to court.

 

The Tale of Sir Caoilfhionn

Sir Caoilfhionn headed out attempting to track the heart. She brought her Saxon antlers that would help her hunting skills, but despite this, she became lost in the forest. 5 days later, tired and hungry, she stumbled into a clearing, and there on the other side, was the white hart – ignorant of her presence. Unable to think of how to capture the beast, Caoilfhionn charged it with her spear, successfully skewering the beast. As she hopped down to retrieve her spear, another group rode into the clearing – a knight, a lady and several men at arms. The knight appeared shocked at the sight of the dead hart, and challenged Caoilfhionn to a duel for slaying his beast. The two fought equally, until Caoilfhionn, perhaps still frustrated by her days of wandering, grew tired of the contest and became enranged. With a mighty chop she disarmed the knight and brought her sword up for a killing blow. But just as it fell, the lady threw herself in the sword’s path and Caoilfhionn near clove her in two. The knight fell to his knees, disbelieving. He tried to pick up the woman and left, giving Caoilfhionn a steely glare.

Caoilfhionn shook her shocked squire, Dan, and told him to prepare to bring the hart back to court. As they rode, seeking the path back, they were surprised by a group of men-at-arms, who rushed forward to attack ‘I don’t care what Sir Ablamor said, lets get him’. Wheeling to fight, Caoilfhionn tried to hold off the four, but a lucky blow took her from her horse and the men pounced on her, beating her nigh into unconsciousness. The last thing she remembered was a lady’s voice and the beating stopped. When she awoke, she was being led back to court by her squire, who said that Sir Ablamor’s sister had arrived and stopped the men-at-arms from killing her.

Back in court, Caoilfhionn tried to pretend that the wounds she received had come during the hunt, and neglected to mention anything about her duel. Guenever seemed to know that something was amiss and chastised the knight she now referred to as Caoilfhionn the crooked.

 

Back at Camelot

In Camelot, while the knights were out adventuring – the wedding festivities had continued. It seemed that the King had held a tournament. King Pellinore was proclaimed the champion of the tournament, as Nimue and the King and Queen looked on but one last thing remained. King Leodegrance had one last wedding present for the King. He led the court to the great hall of Carlion castle where a huge Round Table had been set with 150 places.

'Let this be filled with the greatest knights of your kingdom' said King Leo. Arthur was delighted, although Leodegrance stocked Arthur with 100 veteran knights, leaving only 50 spots for Arthur to fill. Some saw this as an attempt by Leodegrance to have some measure of control over the young king.

Arthur began by inducting Sir Ector, Sir Brastias, King Alain and Sir James to The Knights of the Round Table and there was a grand celebration.

Sir Ysabel looked on, and before she left to return to her manor, she introduced Nimue to Merlin. As she left, she could not help but notice the old wizard look upon the young lady of the lake with lustful eyes.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, BioKeith said:

Back in court, Caoilfhionn tried to pretend that the wounds she received had come during the hunt, and neglected to mention anything about her duel.

She lied to her king, murdered a lady, showed no remorse... If I were Arthur, I will have put her in a trial, with a possible beheading at the end.  By the way, it was a big insult to give nothing to the king.

Otherwise, nice little tale. How do you manage to play the 3 little solos with your party?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I've been looking forward to this year - the adventure of the Grey Knight - one of my favorite of the published adventures. Definitely a bit 'cutscene' heavy, but lots of fun!

Year 515 - Part I

The realm enjoyed a fine harvest and a mild winter. Sir Ysabel Starling and Sir Bedivere spent their honeymoon training, as the two knights enjoyed testing each others skills. Sir Alfred concocted an elaborate plan to propose to Lady Jenna on a local hilltop overlooking Stonehenge one morning, but when the moment came, the blood rushed to Alfred’s head, and he fell into a faint – awakening on the hill some time later with no sign of Jenna (And the curse of Alfred's fumbled passion rolls continues).

In the spring, the knights of Salisbury began making there way to Carlion for the Great Easter Tournament.

Traffic was heavy as they neared the city. They knights came upon a crowd around an overturned peasant’s cart on the road, where nearby a young knight was beating on an aged peasant with his mailed fist while another peasant lay a short distance away having just suffered a similar fate, surrounded by his wife and two children.

Sir Ysabel immediately rushed up to the knight and seized his arm to prevent any further beating, and the two knights soon squared off. The young knight was named Sir Agrivaine and he cockily asserted that Ysabel should mind her own business, adding ‘Perhaps you’ve heard of my uncle, King Arthur?’. The two knights continued to provoke each other until Agrivaine stalked away, but not before a challenge had been issued to Ysabel, to be satisfied at the coming tournament.

Sir Ysabel and Sir Alfred mercifully saw to the peasant family, providing first aid and having their squires help right the wagon, impressing a nearby Friar (Friar Coombs) who called them both ‘the finest examples of knighthood from Arthur’s court’.

As the knights rode into Carlion they were greeted with a spectacle of colour, pennants and flags flying all around. Every new group of knights riding into the city was cheered loudly – even the young knights were greeted with chants of ‘Salisbury!’.

The closer to the palace the knights drew, the more difficult the going became as crowds thronged the city streets. Outside the palace, the knights were forced to halt entirely. Looking up, they beheld King Arthur and Queen Guenever waving to the happy crowd from a high battlement.

As the King and Queen returned inside, a line of servants led by two knights passed nearby making their way into the castle. Near the knights, a large wolfhound broke away from its owner and Sir Ysabel and Sir Sir Caoilfhionn could not control their already skittish horses and they bashed into the servants causing a chain reaction as servants spilled their food everywhere and also sending the two escorting knights crashing to the ground covered in food. Sir Kay rose and started shouting at the 'Idiots who could not sit a horse'. Sir Ysabel slyly implied that it was the fault of Sir Alfred, and with a roll of his eyes, Alfred did try to apologize to Sir Kay. Only then did Ysabel realize the other knight was her husband, Sir Bedivere and he, seeing his wife, tried to calm Sir Kay. Kay though, was having a fit. He seemed intent on having every knight of Salisbury banned from the tournament when into the fray rode another knight who laughed at the sight of Sir Kay covered in food scraps. 

Kay was practically apoplectic but before anything came of it Bedivere again stepped in and was treated to more of Kay's abuse. The knights rode off with their new companion, who introduced himself as Sir Gawaine. He led them to the Herald of the Lists to register for the tournament. As they rode, Sir Ysabel told Gawaine of the incident with Sir Agrivaine, only to learn that Gawaine and Agrivaine were brothers. Although he did express displeasure at his brother’s ‘proclivities’, it was obvious he was also fiercely protective of his family, so Ysabel did not press him too hard.
That evening, as the great pre tournament feast was layed out, Sir Caoilfhionn was called before the head table where the Queen asked her if she would like to add to her story of the white hart from the previous year. In the wings, Caoilfhionn could see the knight she had confronted on that quest, but she stuck to her story that nothing untoward had happened. Guenever could be seen to be visibly disappointed and anointed her, 'Caoilfhionn the Crooked'.

As the feast began, everyone commented on the food being much more enjoyable than what had been served at Arthur’s wedding and that probably resulted in the crowd being in a much better mood. As the first formalities of the evening, King Pellinore de Gales was inducted as a new member of the Knights of the Round Table.

Sir Kay and Sir Bedivere were seen busily fussing over all of the details of the feast, and were so preoccupied that Kay did not even notice Sir Alfred (a fumbled awareness roll for Kay and finally a bit of good fortune for Alfred).

At their table, two knights were overheard discussing Sir Balin. The first, Sir Cynwal was saying one of her kin had recently visited a land laid waste by Balin’s “Dolorous Stroke“ and found it a most fell place, populated by monsters and demons too awful to mention. Cynwal contended that Arthur’s banishment of Balin was wrong and had Arthur not taken action, the foul Wastelands would not now exist. The second knight, Sir Graid replied that King Arthur was right to banish Sir Balin and it was Balin’s own lack of chivalry that was responsible for the Wastelands. Sir Caolifynn sided with Sir Cynwal, much to Sir Graid’s displeasure, and Sir Alfred sided with Sir Graid, which Cynwal did not appreciate.

Later in the evening, Lady Jenna and Alfred shared a dance, and the two were soon seen laughing and enjoying each other’s company – the incident on the hill forgiven. Lady Jenna asked Alfred to ‘wear her favor’ in the tournament.

The next morning, as the knights gathered for the tournament, the first action was a call for any challenges. Sir Alfred was challenged by Sir Cynwal, and though she was able to unseat Alfred, she proved a gracious victor. Sir Caoilfhionn was challenged by Sir Graid and surprised herself by winning the joust. Sir Caoilfhionn was also gracious in victory. Finally, Sir Ysabel was challenged by Agrivaine. Agrivaine’s arrogance was on full display as he scoffed at his opponent. As the two charged at one another, Ysabel, perhaps distracted by her opponent’s chatter, was unhorsed and Agrivaine trooped around, exalting in his victory, near trampling on his fallen opponent. Bedivere rushed to pull Ysabel away, sparing a withering glance at Agrivaine.

The Main tournament then began – a glorious affair as several hundred knights competed in the jousts. Sir Caoilfhionn was immediately unhorsed. Sir Alfred faired little better, surviving only one round. Sir Ysabel, seeking to atone for her earlier performance, steeled herself and fought much better. One opponent after another fell to her until she reached the final – only to find that her opponent was none other than Sir Agrivaine.

Agrivaine appeared almost jovial at his opponent, again scoffing at her skills as he had ‘anticipated a harder fight’. Ysabel saw red as the two charged at each other. As the lances crashed together, once again Ysabel was flying off her horse, and Agrivaine was left laughing in the saddle. The crowd, which had been behind Ysabel, applauded lightly as Agrivaine was named ‘champion of the day’. As he stood before the King’s box ready to receive his accolades, suddenly a clap of thunder was heard. Fast upon the thunder came a bolt of lightning. A mist rose and riding out of the mist was seen a misshapen figure – a bearded dwarf seated upon a donkey. The dwarf lifted a horn and the sound echoed across the lists.

Two more figures rode out. The first, a woman in mourning garb, a black veil hiding her face. Behind her was a giant of a knight attired in grey armor, his shield showing a deaths head. The lady addressed the stands.

"Arthur Pendragon, Killer of Babies, I accuse you in the name of all those innocents you have so foully slain."

It became apparent that she was accusing Arthur of being responsible for the may babies incident back in 512 and challenged any to face her champion lest Arthur's soul be condemned. 

Sir Ysabel tried to respond to defend Arthur’s name, but her voice refused to come out. Striding past Ysabel, Sir Gawaine strode forth, looking resplendant, and he flung his gauntlet down, accepting the challenge.

The lady looked on with a terrible smile and promised to return at the Pentecost to deprive Sir Gawaine of his life.

The dwarfblew another note that pained everyone's ears and when it stoped ringing, dwarf, lady and Grey Knight had entered the mist and disappeared. The King and Queen rushed off with a most distraught Merlin.

That evening, there was a feast, but no merrymaking. The next morning it was announced that there would be a royal proclamation. At the tournament field the proclamation was read by Arthur himself:

"I Arthur Pendragon do hereby charge all knights loyal to my crown to set forth this day on a quest. Roam the lands of Britain and before the Pentecost bring back to this Royal city the Thirteen Treasures of Britain."

As the gathered knights milled around, seemingly unsure of what to do, Merlin appeared in their midst. "Arthur's charge should be reason enough for any knight to ride forth. Without question." All could see the flash in Merlin's eyes and suddenly the field was full of action as knights called for their squires and prepared to ride out. Sir Alfred was one of the few who did not succumb to the urge to ride out immediately and went to seek out further information. As he was doing so, he was approached by Lady Jenna – she had discovered (although she would not say how) that someone named the Queen of the Wastelands would know more about which of the 13 Treasures they would need to find. Remembering Sir Cynwal’s tales of the wasteland, Sir Alfred found Cynwal preparing to leave and was able to get directions to where she had seen this fell land (near Pase).

Catching up to his friends, Alfred let Ysabel lead the group towards the Wastelands which they reached after a week of riding. It was a terrible place - miles of stark, jagged cliffs, dead ground and filled with the scent of decay. After the first day of riding an abbey made of dark stone was spotted – strangely it had no religious symbols of any kind, The sole occupant introduced himself as Brother Taman and he laid out a meagre meal for the knights, although the wine was excellent. As everyone grew tired after dinner and retired for the evening, Taman showed them to their individual rooms. All of the knights had deep sleeps filled with erotic dreams and felt drained when they awoke – on the ground, with no sign of the abbey.

Riding on, after a few more days, the knights found themselves in a desolate gulley. Ahead could be heard the sounds of two large animals fighting. Rounding a bend, they saw a large lion fighting an equally large white serpent. Unsure of the sight before them, the knights were surprised by a child's voice from right beside them asking them to intervene.

Looking down a small 3 year old boy could be seen dressed one side in white, the other in black. The boy asked them if Good could hope to defeat evil without the help of those of goodwill.

The suspicious knights could get no further information from the boy, and could not decide what to do with the beasts that were fighting in front of them. As they watched, the serpent slew the lion. It then slithered to a nearby rock; thrust its head beneath, and came out with three lions cubs in its mouth which it devoured in one gulp. As its jaws crunched down, a spray of blood rained down.

The boy turned to the knights and said that evil had triumphed and the Grey Knight's cause was proven and he then vanished. Sir Alfred rushed over to the rapidly dissolving body of the Lion and examined the smoking blood on the ground. He thought he saw images showing Arthur being slain by some knight he could not identify.

Still the knights pressed on. One night at camp, they suddenly heard a frightful sound – a gibbering wail, that became louder and louder. Suddenly skeletal, half seen apparitions shrieked and flew around the knights, lifting and knocking them to the ground. Sir Ysabel knew what they were from her grandmother’s tales – the Sluagh. As Sir Alfred and Sir Caoilfhionn shrieked in fear, Ysabel bravely fought them as best she could – chanting bible verses to steel her resolve.

Through the night they were beset by the spirits who continuously taunted the knights – urging them to give up their quest, but the knights, led by Sir Ysabel, bravely persevered, despite feeling their very souls being drained.

Finally dawn broke and the spirits faded away. In the distance could be seen a Priory. The tired knights made their way there where they were greeted by a stately woman – the Queen of the Wastelands.

The Queen saw to the weary knights  and they relayed what they had seen during their journey. The Queen explained what she could. The dark abbey had contained a succubus and her demon guardian, once a High Abbot of a Christian order.

The serpent they beheld represented Satan. The lion was a messenger of God. The lion's cubs, symbols of young knights who would fall to the influence of the spawn of Satan, represented by the boy in the tunic. She deemed the serpent's message a false prophecy sent by the devil to dissuade them from their quest. And the Sluagh were obviously a test of dedication to the quest, a test that they had passed.

Inviting the Christian knights to pray with her, the Queen sat in contemplation for several hours. When she cease her prayers – she said god had shown her what the knights needed for their quest. The must go to the Forest of Arroy and seek out the Castle of Hautdesert whose master was the gate to the prize they needed, the whetstone of Tudwal Tudclud.

As the knights left for the forest Arroy – they felt refreshed, their wounds healed. Back in the wastelands, Ysabel again was the one to lead them. She guided them to the Forest of Arroy which seemed dark with enchantment. As the knights rode through its confines they heard strange noises - cries and whispers and bell-like music, but never caught sight of anything. Often they had to walk their horses, the forest was so thick. Ysabel became lost, but her pride did not allow her to tell her friends, so they stumbled on through the forest, Ysabl insisting they were on course.

Sir Alfred, sensing something was wrong, was able to guide Ysabel back to a path and after a week in the forest, they came to a large, well appointed castle with a moat and a raised drawbridge. No one appeared to be about. Calling up, a porter called back a welcome to the Castle of Hautdessert.

Inside, the knights met with Sir Bercilak and his wife Lady Elavane. He indeed knew the whereabouts of the whetstone, but had been sworn not to reveal it. He asked the knights for time to consider the matter. The next day, Ysabel rode out on a hunt with Bercilak, while Lady Elavane asked Alfred to remain behind to engage in a game of chess with her. Alfred proved an excellent chess player, and his devotion to Jenna kept his attention on the game -which he soon won. When he asked Lady Elavane to sway her husband’s judgement, she deferred, seemingly disappointed in the type of attention Alfred had paid to her.

Meanwhile on the hunt, Ysabel proved herself a most able hunter – impressing Sir Bercilak as she brought down a large stag. She appealed to Bercilak’s sense of justice and he, impressed with the young knight – agreed to guide them to the whetstone.

After a feast back at the manor and a night’s sleep – Bercilak led the knights many miles out into the forest Arroy along a poorly defined trail. The knights horses grew skittish, and Sir Bercilak turned and pointed to a great oak before them telling them the whetstone lay down the path in the 'Kingdom Inapercu', though they must enter is 'speaking no word'. He also asked the knights not to reveal how they had come to the path, as he had himself been sworn to secrecy about it.

The knights – realizing that their horses could not be quieted, left them with the squires and proceeded forward as silently as possible. Some minutes later, they realized that they had entered the realm of the Fae.

Dense forest had given way to a wide field on which scores of richly-hued silken pavilions stood. They beheld patches of flowers large as trees and everything seemed imbued with a golden glow. The faerie music continued to play and the knights beheld a great gathering of fae folk - all eyes fixed on the knights. On a nearby dias sat a handsome elf lord and a beautiful elfin damsel. The elf lord addressed each knight by name, asking how they had found his kingdom. Sir Alfred gave a long winded deceitful answer, trying to make it seem like they had just stumbled on the place. Raising an eyebrow, the elf lord then asked them their purpose. When told of their quest, he agreed to give them the whetstone, if the knights agreed to perform a service for him. His lady’s horse had been captured by a giant and he wanted it returned. Agreeing to the deal, the knights were led by an elven courtier back to the forest Arroy and to the base of a hill. A cave was visible half way up and smoke could be seen rising from a fire outside.
 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/4/2021 at 6:22 PM, BioKeith said:

Sir Alfred concocted an elaborate plan to propose to Lady Jenna on a local hilltop overlooking Stonehenge one morning, but when the moment came, the blood rushed to Alfred’s head, and he fell into a faint – awakening on the hill some time later with no sign of Jenna (And the curse of Alfred's fumbled passion rolls continues).

Poor guy. Best romance ever ^^ 

The tournament was well done, and I love how you managed to portray Aggravain as a vilain. Did you players enjoy their journey into the wastelands, or did it was a missed opportunity?

On 4/4/2021 at 6:22 PM, BioKeith said:

As he was doing so, he was approached by Lady Jenna – she had discovered (although she would not say how) that someone named the Queen of the Wastelands would know more

Funny. When I played the Grey Knight, I used the same trick (the intel given by the paramour of a PK)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...