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I'm planning on running the Rydychan Usurpers the next year (499) in our campaign, since it's a year that not a lot happens. However, since it's the first "military campaign" the PKs will be heading, I'm hoping for some help. A series of battles and sieges seems like a rather boring mini-campaign (sieges being the absolute worst at the best of times), and in any case Salisbury alone can't muster an army to take Rydychan, even if Rydychan is split between the Usurpers and the countess. How have you run this, or do you have any recommendations on how to restore the countess to her rightful throne? The three Usurpers in my campaign are all old antagonists of the PKs, headed by Cyagrius, if that helps?

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The account of the Rydychan usurpers in the GPC is a bit limited. I drew more inspiration from the account of that adventure that is found in the Lordly Domains book, if you have that one. In my campaign where they dealt with the usurpers, I had them 'plan' out the military campaign, as one of the knights was Salisbury's marshal at that point. They didn't have enough troops by themselves and had to broker an alliance with Silchester. I don't think we really ran any sieges, but instead I had the usurpers come out to do battle with the PKs when 2 of the brothers came to aid their besieged brother.

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This may not help, but when I was reviewing the GPC, I wanted to make sure to introduce the usurping brothers years earlier (along with the Duke and Duchess) at Uther's funeral (for example) so the PKs had a chance to hate them or warm to them.

I think there is milage to be gained by making sure there are personal stakes. Interacting with, negotiating with one or more of the usurpers can and should be, I think at least one adventure. 

Also, the effort to gain allies on the part of the PCs is part of play too. While the campaign might involved campaigns and seines, I would focus more on gaining the loyalty and alliances needed for the campaigns and sieges. If the PKs have enough allies you can hand wave away the battles, if you wish. The key was the PKs proving themselves worthy of leading or loyalty. They can do with adventures, quests, smaller skirmishes, helping nobles in trouble, and so on.

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The Lordly Domains version has one classic motif that I personally intend to use: a young woman who will betray one of the castles in return for the PK agreeing to marry her, earning the eternal enmity of her father.  (-1 Honour if you do it, plus Deceitful check if you promise to marry her and then don’t.)

I’d suggest that in your version she could be Syagrius’ daughter.  Let’s call her Ausonia.  Ausonia saw one of the knights who were in the invasion of Frankland, unbeknownst to that knight, and fell in love with him on the spot.  Give her a brother, Sir Apollinaris, who will escape and return at a later stage (allowing your players to kill off Syagrius).

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10 hours ago, creativehum said:

This may not help, but when I was reviewing the GPC, I wanted to make sure to introduce the usurping brothers years earlier (along with the Duke and Duchess) at Uther's funeral (for example) so the PKs had a chance to hate them or warm to them.

I think there is milage to be gained by making sure there are personal stakes. Interacting with, negotiating with one or more of the usurpers can and should be, I think at least one adventure. 

Also, the effort to gain allies on the part of the PCs is part of play too. While the campaign might involved campaigns and seines, I would focus more on gaining the loyalty and alliances needed for the campaigns and sieges. If the PKs have enough allies you can hand wave away the battles, if you wish. The key was the PKs proving themselves worthy of leading or loyalty. They can do with adventures, quests, smaller skirmishes, helping nobles in trouble, and so on.

I actually did away with the Usurper brothers entirely in favor of other antagonists (Syagrius, a traitorous mercenary captain and a third one) that I wanted to get rid of and that the players already had history with (made the mistake of introducing too many plotlines and characters early on in the campaign, regretting it for a while as I've been trying to cut off all these loose ends my players keep bringing up :D ). But the principle idea is the same, usurpers have history with the PKs, at least indirectly (since only one is an OG PK from the start of the game, but the rest are some form of kinsman).

The idea @Voord 99 came up with is actually something I'll go with! I'm thinking about splitting the campaign in three adventures, first one seeing the PKs deal with one of the baddies in a less spectacular manner (catching him out hunting, requiring some Recognize rolls) and thus establishing a foothold for the Countess to gather some of her scattered forces for an open battle (second adventure) which will see the second baddie killed, leading to Syagrius retreating to his stronghold in Oxford, where his daughter betrays him to his death. Provided that the dice cooperate and the players don't decide to do something creative :D 

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The idea of knowing the brothers is a good one. They can be introduced at a couple of points, one of which is pointed out earlier.  I have used the scenario a couple of times and not used in another. It depends on what the gm and players campaigns. If the players enjoy a military themed, then this fits the bill.  If they don't, you can avoid it if you want. Another aspect is if the players want to move upward in the noble ranks.  

Yes, there are different versions.  Myself, I have taken the various ones and combined them.  The Countess' age changes with the different versions so feel free to change that as well.  Changing just who she is also is an interesting twist, one I haven't tried yet, but definitely worth thinking about.

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17 hours ago, Luna Guardian said:

I actually did away with the Usurper brothers entirely in favor of other antagonists (Syagrius, a traitorous mercenary captain and a third one) that I wanted to get rid of and that the players already had history with

That makes sense! My method of GMing it to toss things toward the players, and what they get interested in we follow up with. If your PKs already have some nemesis action going with three NPCs, using them as the heavies in the Anarchy Phase up north makes sense!

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