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How do I rescue my GPC, or: What happens if Ambrosius Aurelius lives?


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oof.  Player Knights will be the death of me, in all the best ways.  We're in 480, the first year of the Book of Uther.

 

Revna Friggasdottir of Skane, a.k.a. Sir Jasper ap Hewgon, who was told by Merlin the Magician that a new type of warrior was coming whose power came from the force of their virtue rather than the strength of their arm, and that he was the first, the Knight of Women, struck down the newly minted Sir Madoc ap Uther ap Constantin within a single medieval hour of his recognition by his father.  Why, you might ask?  Because his second in the Knighting Ceremony was Sir Gouvernail, who had struck Jasper down before he called upon the power of his goddess to rise him up and strike Gouvernail down for his continued attempt to slake his thirst upon the ahem virtue of a servant girl.

 

So, this session, they arrive at the battle-camp near Bodenham for the Battle of Salisbury, and a deathly ill Aurelius Ambrosius summons Sir Jasper to his tent.  Where he proceeds to yell and rage at the Cymru-adopted Northman for slaughtering his way up Aurelius's family tree.  After some quite skillful oration on the part of Sir Jasper and his friend Sir Briatn ap Gerin, styled of the Open Hand, the High King relents and scars Sir Jasper's face (quite consensually) to balance the scales.  Jasper being so happy and willing to do it as a way to make things right (cuz Northman, duh) really made it hit extra hard when I as DM stepped in to say, "And with that wounding of the Knight of Women by the High King, Guinevere's marriage is doomed."  Anyway, Revna proceeds to use the blood to bless the High King with healing....

 

....and crits the Generous roll!!!!

 

I left it somewhat ambiguous, but/and it's gonna feel hella cheap and deprotagonizing if I let Eopa just give the Pendragon a higher dose of stronger stuff and kill him anyway.  What do I do???  How do I get rid of Aurelius Ambrosius to allow Uther his reign?  How does everything change if Sir Jasper has saved the Pendragon's life?  Any ideas?

either e/em/eir pronouns OR fey/fem/fear OR be/bim/bos pronouns {if you don't want to learn new words, singular they is OK}

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As I replied in Discord:

Knights are not magicians or miracle workers. The trait critical is just a trait critical.

However, YPWV. If you want that to matter a bit, and if you have already portrayed AA as ill, have him recovered the next morning, the fever having broken. A healer monk arrives to court, quite confidently promising to heal the king with the elixir. 'Thank you, but I am feeling fine. I have no need for your services, good monk.' 'W-what???' Play up the surprise of the monk a bit, but then he slinks out of the court, unable to poison the king. This means AA is Hale and hearty when the Saxons arrive, and rather than the defenders being in chaos with their king dead, they are confident of victory. Especially AA, who might be feeling a bit too confident after the miracle healing. He leads the charge into the midst of the enemy, gets cut off and slain by berserker axes.

Thus you can have your cake and eat it, too. But players who know that he died by poison in HRB might appreciate this difference.

Especially if you claim that had AA been poisoned, the Battle of Salisbury would have been LOST by the Cymri, leaving Salisbury burned and ravaged until Uther's victorious army would have caused the loot-sated Saxons leave.

 

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Sure, the Pendragon's life is saved for now; but there's lots of battles coming up and plenty of time for him to die in them. Or perhaps that meddling monk will try again later, a different way.

Maybe the only thing that stopped lots of Aurelius Ambrosius's court dying the first time round was the fact that there was no easy route to the High King directly, and otherwise said monk might have had to attempt to poison all of the nobles in court? You could foreshadow events to come if he doesn't get away with it this time because of PK intervention. (Or heck, even if he does succeed but this time it's small-scale, giving him ideas for later...)

I think you should roll with it and let us know how history diverges...

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This came up in the Discord, but as developed by Wace and Layamon, the Saxon who disguises himself as a monk to poison Aurelius (Eopa/Eappas/Appas*) is a very formidable and capable character.  

So as piersb suggests, he probably would not give up, although admittedly his motive was a reward that Paschent promised him, and Paschent is now dead.  But suppose that he swore to do it, and even if there’s no reward, Appas always keeps his oaths.  Who’s to say if he disguises himself as a monk next time?  I’m sure that he has more than one string to his bow.

Alternatively, though, I think a lot of the GPC can be kept on track as long as Aurelius dies no later than 484.  Off the top of my head:

  • Aurelius dies heroically in the first battle in 484, and Uther rallies the army and attacks the Saxons in camp, pretty much as written.
  • No Bedegraine campaign until 485, but it plays out pretty much as in 481 (which is arguably a good thing, as 485 is a bit anticlimactic after the BoU)
  • Relations with Somerset/Summerland are harmonious and peaceful, which is to say that you can later on play 488 as written, without the BoU’s retcon, although you could probably transfer some of the 482 material to flesh it out a bit.
  • 483 can stay the same — Madoc doesn’t need to be the immediate heir for that story to work.

Essentially, you need your own adventure material in 481 and 482, but that’s about it.  I would play up the Uther-Gorlois tensions a lot, to prepare for the rapid breakdown of relations after Uther’s accession.

* I’d personally go with Layamon’s “Appas,” simply to keep him sounding distinct from Eosa. 

Edited by Voord 99
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