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Soundtrack: Dio - Straight Through the Heart

Court

Court is held at Winchester, castle of Prince Madoc. The player knights travel to Winchester shortly before Pentacost with the Earl and his retinue. Pregnant wives or wives with young children remain behind.

Special Guests

  • Prince Madoc
  • Praetor Syagrius
  • Lord Maeldrig

Gossip

“But I must say, it worries me! Attacking the Franks! Don’t you think it is foolish, I say, and terribly dangerous?! King Claudas has never lost a battle! What if the Franks start invading us too, like the Saxons?”
“Wonderful, I say, to help Praetor Syagrius! And by God, the cause is so just! Good for him.”
“The king is attacking the Franks! Well, I’ll say I guess we will see some plunder next year! I hope my husband brings me some of that French ribbon!”
“That’s what it looks like, but can the king be attacking Cornwall! That duke has insulted him by
ignoring the summons too often. There can’t be that many Irish raiding his coast!”
“Listen, darlings, the king is just training the new knights with this attack, because there is a new Saxon army pillaging up north. He’ll need veterans next year.”

News

  • Madoc: “The king has ordered the army to muster. One half of all knights and one half of all foot troops are to assemble at the ports of Hantonne and Chichester with provisions for a 40-day campaign. They will accompany me to France. King Uther, with pressing business of the realm here, will keep the other half of the army in Britain.”
  • Brastias: “Prince Madoc will lead the army to France. King Uther, with pressing business of the realm here, will remain with half the mustered troops.”

Royal Conversation

“For the sake of God and my good friend Praetor Syagrius, we will return to the continent and destroy everything that gets in our path. It is a time for all good knights to come to the aid of their king and country!”

Intrigue

Uther is uncertain about his vassals — especially Duke Gorlois. Furthermore, there may be an attack by the Saxons or even some Britons upon the land while half the army is away. The primary culprit in this would be Duke Gorlois of Cornwall. There is also a Saxon army pillaging up in the far north, and even King Lot avoided battle.

  • Critical Success: Lord Maeldrig is present as an emissary of Duke Gorlois of Cornwall. He keeps a low profile; but, the player knights learn of his presence. If approached, Lord Maeldrig will claim that his business with King Uther is not for the ears of lowly knights. A second, following intrigue success will allow the players to glean that Lord Maeldrig's private words to King Uther offended the king and the only thing keeping Lord Maeldrig alive is Prince Madoc's hospitality.
  • Success: Earl Aralyd is nervous because he has been commanded to go to France. He thinks the adventure too risky and wishes instead to concentrate efforts on the Saxon menace. He suspects, rightly, that King Uther commands Hertford to go to France because of the reconnaissance of the player knights from the last year.
  • Fumble: Lord Shirburn of Rydychan is insulted by the probing questions of the player knights. They consider it beneath them to answer to a lowly Knight Vassal and press their case near to the point of duel.

Events

++Pentecost Court

  • Setting: Feast hall and pavilions of Winchester
  • Problem: Lusty ladies and jealous men
  • Characters:
  • Earl Hertford - To Sirs Morial and Rhys, why not get married. Please look into Lady Knebworth and Lady Elaine. Earl Hertford thinks he could arrange something with Earl Roderick for Lady Elaine. The Earl also pushes Diane to court Lord Shirburn.
  • Lord Shirburn - Very much welcomes courtship with Diane and prepares for marriage proposal. Will think arguing with Sir Rhys beneath him; but, does try to be proactive and clear the air between them.
  • Damsel Diane - Has totally fallen in love with Sir Rhys and tries to seduce him to become pregnant to avoid Lord Shirburn. She can use Venus' Perfume to get a huge bonus to her seduction. Since Rhys will not be there, play up the courtship instead.
  • Damsel Iulia - Tries to seduce first Sir Morial then Sir Madog. She's a sucker for a man of learning.
  • Lady Odstock - See's her daughters efforts and becomes worked up herself.
  • Sir Odstock - Drunken fool; but, won't stand for blatant nonsense with his wife. Looks the other way and denies what happens with his daughters.
  • Lady Elaine - Cordial and willing to play the entertainer.
  • Lady Knebworth - Growing desperate.

Invasion of Frankland

  • Setting: The fleet, the coast of Gaul, and the town of Bayeaux.
  • Problem: Invasion! War! This is no problem, this is what we live for!
  • Characters:
    • Prince Madoc - Eager to lead the troops to victory and gain treasure.
    • The British Army - Half the knights of Logres and half the footmen. A plentitude of Irish mercenary kerns come as sailers and expendable foot soldiers. The Briton knights are more nervous than their royal leaders.
    • The Soisson Roman Army - A handful of core resistance against the Franks, who partner with British knights to rally the men of the Manche coast.
    • The defenders of Bayeaux - Mostly a Frankish garrison and those knights who have become loyal to King Clovis over the last three years.
  • Events:
    • The fleet loads, waiting for the right tide and wind combination. (Stress this period of waiting. It happens every time someone tries to cross the British Sea — i.e., the modern English Channel). A wait of two days is needed. The horses become anxious and the floor of the boat fills with offal.
    • The fleet sails.
  • Secrets: The player knights overheard Prince Madoc talking to his household. They hear the noble council talking. (Voices start to rise. Pause for oratory. A second speaks, they laugh. The third is sarcastic. The fourth is angry. Exchanges of anger and sarcasm but no insults. Etc.) Finally, the nobles are loud enough that knights can learn something with an Awareness roll.
    • Success: They hear the prince slam his hand on the table and say, “Four weeks or one city, no more.”
    • The council falls silent.
    • Ask the knights if they will speak about what they heard. How did it make them feel? If anyone makes reference to or acts in accordance with an appropriate Trait, his knight gets a check. If the player knights actually ask anyone who was at the Council what was said, the noble becomes coldly distant, playing the Courtesy card. “The Prince’s council is not to be shared…” he says, and your knight knows he means to say, “…with mere knights.” Yes, the player has overstepped the bounds of familiarity (even if speaking with Earl Aralyd).
  • Solutions: Do your job, Sir Knight.
    • The army lands when a bunch of barefooted mercenary Irish kerns wade ashore from one of the ships. When some buildings on shore start burning, the smaller ships tie anchor and foot troops go ashore in small boats. The fleet weighs anchor and sails to a tiny fishing village nearby.
    • Next dawn, there is the signal at the village, and the ships move one by one to the little fishing pier to unload. It takes four days to unload the rest of the foot soldiers, and then the knights. By the time they and their horses are off, it has been a week.
    • The player knights are among the first of the Logres knights to disembark. They are to join Praetor Syagrius and Sir Brastias on their quest rally troops. There are multiple directions they can take:
      • Roman Knights Gone to Ground
        • About 20 Roman Knights with fading equipment. See stats below.
        • If there has been a significant delay in the player knights reaching these roman knights then the roman knights will seek out the player knights (along with King Syagrius.)
        • Their leader is Sir Belemy, a dashing man in his forties who was known more as a dandy than anything else before the fall of Soissons. Lord Odon thinks little of him. However, since taking up with the "bandits" - the Roman knights gone to ground - he has proven his mettle and earned his place as a leader among men. Use same stats as Sir Èvreoy.
        • After the sacking of Beyeaux these men follow King Syagrius.
      • Lord Odon
        • The player knights will have to treat the Odon Valley as enemy territory. No lord will grant them permission to travel the lands unless they have very good cover and can pose as Frankish knights. Depending on how the players travel the valley, they'll have more or less danger.
          • Seek permission or be obvious: Battle will ensue at all opportunities. This includes Èvreoy, Verson and Creully. Should any Franks escape they will seek reinforcements as quickly as possible to route the invaders. The Franks are already paranoid, having only just conquered the land and then had Cymric knights assault them last year.
          • Be stealthy by riding the wastes: Everyone gets a Prudent check. Travel from the head of the vale to Bayeaux is 30 miles as the bird flies. The party leader makes a hunting check every day:
            • Critical Success: Remain unseen and move 1d6+3 miles through the woods and fields.
            • Success: Largely unseen, go 1d6 miles.
            • Failure: Travel 1d6-1 in approximately the right direction; but, not sure exactly where you are.
            • Fumble: Travel 1d6 miles in a random direction. You are lost and spotted by a peasant.
          • Be careful by traveling quickly and skirting any populated areas. By local road, Bayeaux is 41 miles from the village of Odon. The party leader makes a hunting check every day:
            • Critical Success: Travel 15 miles, unseen or not raising any alarms, in the desired direction.
            • Success: Travel 15 miles in desired direction; but, observed by many folks - enough to be sure someone is spreading the word to the lord.
            • Failure: Travel 15 miles in approximately the right direction. You are certain someone spotted you and is following (for the baying dogs give it away.)
            • Fumble: Spotted by patrolling local knights. In Bayeaux or Creully environs use two Frankish Knights, two archers and four footmen. In Èvreoy, use Sir Èvreoy, two archers and eight footmen.
              • Be reckless by riding all out every day down the road, hoping to outrun any pursuit. This may be the best bet given that the player knights may be traveling in a larger contingent or soon be combining forces with Lord Odon. Everyone gets a Reckless check. The party's leader makes a horsemanship roll:
                • Critical Success: Travel 35 miles in the right direction, outracing all pursuit.
                • Success: Travel 26+1d6 miles in the right direction, encountering a patrol (as above) alone the way.
                • Failure: Travel 20+2d6 miles, encountering both types of patrol at once (i.e. Sir Èvreoy and two Frankish knights plus 4 archers and 12 footmen) along the way.
                • Fumble: Travel 20+2d6 miles, encountering the double-patrol lying in a bushment.
        • Odon and his vassals eagerly join the army. There are about 10 knights all told. After the sacking of Beyeaux Lord Odon and his men follow King Syagrius.
      • Skirmish - A small battalion of Franks foolhardily have come to confront the invading force. The Franks form ranks to fight a formal battle and outnumber the men of Logres 2-to-1; but, Logres has clearly superior forces. This battle only ensues after at least 30 knights have joined the party, along with twice that number of footmen. The battle intensity starts out at 20 (+5 for superior forces and -5 for outnumbered.)
        • King Syagrius commands the friendly army with a battle skill of 17. Sir Èvreoy commands the Franks with a battle skill of 15.
        • There are two eschille of 15 knights in the friendly army, one led by King Syagrius and one led by a player knight. There are four eschille of friendly footmen.
        • There are 12 eschille of Frankish soldiers. When attacking a unit use:
          • First round charge against (d20):
            • 1-17 - Elite Frankish warriors
            • 18-20 - Frankish knights with opportunity against Sir Èvreoy.
          • Subsequent rounds (d20):
            • 1-5 - Frankish Levy
            • 6-10 - Frankish Skirmishers
            • 11-12 - Frankish Veteran Warriors
            • 13-16 - Frankish Levy
            • 17-19 - Frankish Elite warriors
            • 20 - Frankish knights with opportunity against Sir Èvreoy
          • The battle is at most five rounds before the Frankish army retreats, starting with the first round charge.
        • The men of Logres clearly outmatch their foes and passions run high for the Romans collected to help the player knights. After determining battle events for each round subtract an additional 2 to the battle intensity.
        • If the Frankish leader calls for surrender, Praetor Syagrius accepts the surrender but treacherously betrays the Frankish commander and slays him on the spot. A bloodbath ensues.
      • Frankish garrisons from along the coast have been retreating to Bayeaux. At one point the player knights come across a village that has been plundered by Frankish forces on their way through. The village (Bessen) surrendered promptly to Frankish forces after the fall of Soisson and so was spared by King Clovis. However, on their way to fortify Bayeaux from the Logres invasion, Frankish forces pillaged the town and burnt it to the ground.
      • When the player knights have about 5-10 additional knights with them, as well as a fair number of footmen, they come across a comparable group of Frankish horsemen.
        • Every Roman knight who joined them invokes their passion of Hate (Franks). So they are all at +10.
        • After a couple roundsthe survivors take flight. Chasing down the survivors the player knights come to an altar to Freya, goddess of fertility and gatherer of the dead. The priestesses of Freya are chosen for the beauty and sexuality. At the time that the player knights reach them, they are trying to bandage the wounded Franks.
        • Battle ensues as the Frankish horsemen refuse to submit to the Logres knights. It is a massacre.
        • The beauty of two of the priestesses is overwhelming (App 23 and 24). Each player knight who is either wounded or wounds a Frank must make a Lust roll. Success results in a Chaste roll. Failure results in raping one of the priestesses. Of course, a player knight may choose to give in to temptation anyway. Regardless, other knights in their group do accost the young ladies. Anyone taking advantage of a lady in this way gains an Arbitrary and Lustful check.
        • An attempt to stop a raping knight will result in a hard shove by the accosting knight and could escalate to bloodshed.
        • The knights will gain 1d6+1£ to split amongst themselves.
    • After a 8 days of gathering forces from the countryside, the knights muster again at the beachhead. They can see that the engineers have already been chopping down trees to make large siege engines.
    • The army marches to Bayeaux and lays siege to the town. After three days of siege, Prince Madoc orders an assault on the town. Archers concentrate their arrow fire, and kerns rush the wall with ladders and swarm over. The player knights are stationed with Earl Hertford and Prince Madoc.
    • The Irish kerns start to get one gate open nearest the player knights' batallion, but they are clearly having trouble. Prince Madoc sounds the charge and the player knights are first to reach the gate. Their orders are to charge through the gate into the town beyond.
      • There are two Frankish footmen on each player knight. They have great spears and francescas. In addition, one rock attack will occur for the player knights. Choose one knight randomly and have them take a missile attack of 8, with 6d6 damage if it hits (double on crit.) If the players survive the first round they can continue onward into the town.
      • Once in the town, Prince Madoc calls for a charge to the donjon. Since the player knights know the way, they are asked to lead.
      • The town garrison flees for the donjon. In the small square before the donjon a small group of defenders finds themselves caught by the charging knights.
        • One Frankish footman for each knight. They have axes and francescas.
        • The player knights have three rounds before the doors to the donjon close.
        • Every second round an arrow volley will come at the player knights from the donjon.
      • If a player knight makes it to the donjon doors he can charge into the antechamber on his horse or he may dismount and enter afoot. No more than two horses may enter the antechamber and they may not proceed further into the donjon.
        • Inside the donjon there are two Frankish footmen for every knight. On the third round, an elite Frankish footman joins the fray. Should the player knights survive they will have to navigate the donjon afoot.
        • The Franks retreat to the second level. Atop a flight of stairs the player knights will find one elite footman for every knight, though only two player knights may enter the landing each round and all the Franks can fight each round. On the third round the Frankish leader (or Sir Èvreoy if appropriate) will join the fight to the bitter end.
    • In any case, the army gets into the walls and plunders the town. Knights all get £2d6+1 booty.
    • Glory: 25 for being on the expedition; 50 Glory to be among the first assault to cross the breached wall. 25 Glory to be in the first assault of the donjon. Plus Glory for enemies slain.
    • After the Assault the king’s loot is brought out by mule and oxcart, and then taken to the dockyard of Bayeaux, where the fleet has assembled. The sailors are all ashore getting drunk in the wharf front. The foot troops are carrying goods to the docks. Knights are, as usual, assigned to guard important installations and people.
    • The player knights are fortunate to be off duty when Praetor Syagrius rides in with his British escort and twenty smartly uniformed and armored equites, riding through the town to meet the Prince. Praetor Syagrius sees Madoc in the square and rides close to him, then dismounts dramatically as his fancy Roman bugler blasts away from his galloping horse. Praetor Syagrius kneels before Madoc, and with a loud and dramatic voice shouts, “Battle awaits us, Sire! The Franks march on my army at Rouen. Let us meet them and destroy them as your father swore!” There is a moment of silence. “We will not,” says the Prince, self-assured. “We have enemies at our borders and traitors in our west. We depart with the next tide.”
    • Syagrius is dumbfounded. “Your father swore…” “I am not my father,” shrugs the prince regally. The praetor seethes a moment, but then rises heroically and cries out, in Latin. “Then Victory to the Honorable! We go, and leave poison behind us.” He leaps onto his horse and rides away with his escort. Earl Aralyd, watching from nearby, forbids any knights from going with Syagrius if they have such ideas.
    • If they do go anyway, they can follow Syagrius to battle; regrettably, he loses the battle and, since the fleet will have sailed away, they are stranded on the continent. Those traitorous, deserting knights who went against the orders of their liege are Out of the Game.
    • The army loads the ships with loot, horses, knights, and then footmen. The savage Irish kerns torch the town and come aboard as the flames sweep the entire waterfront, where the sailors slept last night.
    • The fleet sails home. Ask the players what their knights say to each other when they are together, and again once they are out of earshot of anyone else.

Frankish Skirmisher
Glory Gained: 10 (in Battle: 5)
Attributes: SIZ 10, DEX 12, STR 10, CON 10, APP 11
Damage: 3d6, Healing Rate: 2, Move: 2+5
Armor: 4+shield
HP: 20, Unconscious: 5, Major Wound: 10, Knockdown: 10
Combat Skills: Spear 10+5
Skills: Awareness 15, Hunting 12

Frankish Levy
Glory Gained: 10 (in Battle: 5)
Attributes: SIZ 10, DEX 12, STR 10, CON 10, APP 11
Damage: 3d6, Healing Rate: 2, Move: 2+5
Armor: 4
HP: 20, Unconscious: 5, Major Wound: 10, Knockdown: 10
Combat Skills: Great Spear 5+5
Skills: Awareness 15, Hunting 12

Frankish [or Roman] Warrior
Glory Gained: 35 (in Battle: 15)
Attributes: SIZ 16, DEX 8, STR 14, CON 14, APP 11
Damage: 5d6, Healing Rate: 3, Move: 3
Armor: 6+shield
HP: 30, Unconscious: 8, Major Wound: 14, Knockdown: 16
Combat Skills: Axe 14, Francisca 13, Spear 13
Traits: Valorous 12
Skills: Awareness 12, Hunting 12
Passions: Honor 10

Frankish [or Roman] Elite Warrior
Glory Gained: 35 (in Battle: 20)
Attributes: SIZ 16, DEX 10, STR 14, CON 16, APP 11
Damage: 5d6, Healing Rate: 3, Move: 3
Armor: 8+shield
HP: 32, Unconscious: 8, Major Wound: 16, Knockdown: 16
Combat Skills: Axe 18, Francisca 15, Spear 13
Traits: Valorous 15
Skills: Awareness 15, Hunting 12
Passions: Honor 15

Frankish [or Roman] Knight
Glory Gained: 50 (in Battle: 25)
Attributes: SIZ 14, DEX 11, STR 14, CON 14, APP 11
Damage: 5d6 (6d6 with axe), Healing Rate: 3, Move: 3
Armor: 10+shield
HP: 28, Unconscious: 7, Major Wound: 14, Knockdown: 14
Combat Skills: Dagger 10, Lance 15, Spear 10, Axe 19, Battle 15, Horsemanship 15
Traits: Valorous 16
Skills: Awareness 10, Courtesy 10, First Aid 10, Hunting 15
Passions: Loyalty (Lord) 15, Hate (Franks) 18 [only for Roman knights]

Sir Èvreoy

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Glory Gained: 100
Attributes: SIZ 16, DEX 10, STR 17, CON 16, APP 15
Damage: 6d6 (7d6), Healing Rate: 3, Move: 3
Armor: 10+shield
HP: 32, Unconscious: 8, Major Wound: 16, Knockdown: 16
Combat Skills: Battle 15, Siege 15, Horsemanship 17, Sword 15, Lance 15
Traits: Valorous 16, Prudent 17, Temperate 16
Skills: Awareness 10, Law 15, Heraldry 15, Hunting 10, Orate 10, Play Harp 15
Passions: Love (Family) 17, Hospitality 15, Honor 16

Christmas Court

  • Royal Court: King Uther and Prince Madoc toast each other all winter. Everyone is happy, and the king hands out lavish gifts to his family and household this year. Now, it is time to get Gorlois obedient to the king and back in line, or else to remove him from his position. He has avoided every muster for years and is a bad example to the other barons. The army must go and “convince him to be good” next summer.
    • This has been a good year for Hertford. If asked about the Prince’s apparent treachery, the earl says, “The Prince will do what he does. It sometimes seems as if kings are exempt from the normal laws of humanity. It’s not our place to question them, no matter how… how iniquitous they may seem. After all, his actions were good for Britain. The plunder will do his empty treasury well, and King Clovis won’t hate us any more than he already does.”
    • Let the players themselves discuss what this ambiguous answer means.

Manor Results

  • Sir Lewarewich - Voraxingluvius again comes to the lands of Lewarewich, this time with a hunger for livestock. He tramples many a field nearly ripe with corn and kills or carries off three goats and 2 cows. Loss of livestock and crops bring total to -3£.
  • Sir Henlow - Nothing special. 0£.
  • High Wycomb - 1/4 village burnt by raiding Cymric warriors and a couple of knights. +3 hate. Late summer thunderstorms destroy lots of crops. Total -3£.
  • Sir Bushey - Critical care of commoners (donate goats and sheep). Total +3£.
  • Sir Shefford - Earl gives 3£ to help rebuild burnt village. Regular harvest. Total +4£.
  • Sir Boxbourne - Saxon raid stopped. Total 0£.
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