489
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Soundtrack: "Fistful of Steel" by Rage Against the Machine
Journal: Many Are My Enemies

Boxbourne Raid

Yet again, in the spring. See the raid description in year 487.

Court

Court is held in Cirencester.

Special Guests

Among Uther’s many powerful vassals present, the following two are most noteworthy.

  • Duke of Lindsey
  • Duke Ulfius of Silchester

Gossip

“Having all these great dukes around every spring makes life here crowded!”
“Yes, but it’s not so bad this time, is it?”
“Don’t you think it’s bad news when they’re here? Another war? Are the Saxons going to come here again?”
“Listen, darlings, if it’s the king and the dukes, then no Saxons are going to get close to here.”
“Well, I’ll say that having all these men around is pleasure for some of us!” [everyone laughs]

News

  • Brastias: “A new Saxon army is in the north led by Octa and Eosa. They are pillaging Malahaut right now, and besieging Eburacum. Duke Lindsey has kept them out of Logres so far.”
  • Madoc: “All vassals of the king must report to war this summer with half their knights. Bring 40 days’ worth of food.”
  • Ulfius: “Word is that Praetor Syagrius was devastated by King Claudas last summer.”
  • Aralyd: "My daughter, Douchess Ilaine of Caercolun, gave birth to a son. Alas but she died in childbirth. The boy is Lucius ap Elmig, heir to the Duchy of Caercolune. Lucius is sick and blue; but, he still lives."

Royal Conversation

“We march on Cornwall this summer. Duke Lindsey will return home to harass the Saxons around Lincoln.”

Intrigue

“The site of the battle has been chosen, the confrontation is set. But the king’s vassals have not brought as many men as they could have.”

  • Critical Success: King Aethelswith has vowed to kill Duke Elmig of Caercolun. The Duke is looking for a manor in Hertfordshire to raise his son well out of reach of King Aethelswith. The Earl is looking for advice on where is the right place.
  • Success: Lord Maelgrum is again present and at some point runs across the player knight. They learn that Duke Cornwall will stand firm against any injustice but still serves King Uther.
  • 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

Journey to Cirencester

  • Setting: Road from Hertford to Cirencester, using the Icknield Way from Hertford to Donnington and then up a royal road from there.
  • Problem: Negotiating a smaller court that is the retinue of Earl Hertford while on the road.
  • Characters:
    • Earl Hertford - Still negotiating with Earl Rhydychan about marrying Damsel Diane to Lord Shirburn, Aralyd is trying to gain concessions from Earl Rhydychan and also provide only a meager dowry.
    • Duke Elmig - Feeling great loss for his wife's death and gloomy about the prospects for his child. Duke Elmig is beginning to believe he should try to wed Diane. This is causing tension with Earl Rhydychan, which Earl Hertford wishes to capitalize.
    • Lord Hemel Hempstead - Impressed with the player knights' accomplishments over the last years and suggests they begin to counsel the Earl directly. He invites them in to the Earl's council a few times (though not Madog due to Madog's flight from battle last year.)
    • Praetor Gilles - Now a constant figure at the Earl's court, Praetor Gilles complains that he must see to his city more and that the Church is commanding too much attention and control.
    • Damsel Diane - Will not want to be openly wanton on the way to Cirencester; but, by the time the party returns she will openly try to be caught having sex with Sir Rhys.
    • Lord Shirburn - Feels a bit victimized by Earl Hertford from being put in a tight place between Earl Rhydychan and Duke Elmig. Secretly behind the raiding of High Wycomb last year, Lord Shirburn is thinking of stepping up the raids due to his humiliation on this trip. goal is to annex the western Chiltern estates.
    • Earl Rhydychan - Is peeved that Earl Hertford is bringing along Duke Elmig. Does agree that Lord Shirburn would be "marrying up"; but, wants an attractive dowry none-the-less. Most interested in a manor estate or two on the western frontier of Hertford.
    • Duchess Rhydychan - The only sane and calm one of the bunch. She's most interested in keeping the peace and fighting off the Saxons. Believes Damsel Diane should take the place of her dead sister Ilaine.
    • Sir Cerled - Any High Wycomb man accompanying Madog would likely recognize Cerled as the Cymric knight who raided last year. Cerled is adamantly loyal to Lord Shirburn.
    • Sir Caralyn - See Cerled. Only difference is Caralyn can be bribed.

Pentecost Court

  • Setting: Hills and Campacorentin Forest (-10) of Cirencester, Great Hall of Cirencester
  • Problem: Hunting and Music competitions
  • Characters:
    • Lots of attendees that the player characters don't know from Clarence, Wuerensis, Marlboro and Somerset.
    • Duke Clarence (Clarence and Marlboro Counties) - The duchy's forces are mobilized and at war with Gloucester, who has rebelled against him. Uther supports Clarence against Duke Gloucester, who has aligned himself with King Canan of Estregales. King Uther refuses to openly fight Canan, though.
    • Marshal Gafin - The military leader of Duke Clarence is interested in learning more about the sword Excalibur. He questions the player knights. In return he divulges some of the political reality of King Canan and Gloucester, as well as the likelihood that Clarence would not send forces to Hertford in aid.

Escalibur's Peace

Source: "Excalibur", directed by John Boorman.
Setting: Outside Somerset, King Cadwy meets King Uther, but neither the Somerset king nor his troops join the marching army.
Problem: The armies meet. Act as if it is a battle, asking the opening battle questions: “Who is your unit commander?” and so on. Across the way, the Cornish army waits in the trees, up a hill, across a stony stream. Awareness. Success = you see armored men in some places, and archers in others.
Characters: King Uther, with Excalibur; Merlin; Duke Gorlois.
Secrets: The armies are prepared, and given the numbers and the terrain, the king’s army will be slaughtered even if it wins.
Solutions: King Uther rides forward to parley, Merlin walking beside him. The king yells, “One land, one king!”
“Justice!” shouts Gorlois back.
“Show him the sword.” Uther draws Excalibur and it gleams brightly even in the morning light. The bright light reveals troops in the woods and they gasp and withdraw. Duke Gorlois looks worriedly at his nobles around him. They are worried.
“Behold the Sword of Victory,” says Merlin, “forged when the world was young.”
The duke holds a hurried parley with his men, then steps back toward Uther and shouts.
“And if I surrender, what do I get?”
“You get…!?” starts the king, but he is interrupted by Merlin, who holds a hurried chat with Uther. Then the king continues, “All the land from here to the sea, to hold for the king.”
“I accept!” shouts the duke. A big cheer goes up from both armies, and everyone can say afterwards they were pleased with the nobility of the lords, and with the good that was done for Logres.
Gorlois and Uther camp together, spend the knight drinking and talking, and late at night the duke
goes away.
Glory: 10 for witnessing this exchange.

Lindsey Skirmishing

At dawn, it is discovered that the Cornish army is gone. Uther looks smug, and he marches his army north to Lindsey to threaten Octa and Eosa. He leads the army into Roestoc, and sends his knights and soldiers to hunt down any Saxons they find. But neither Uther nor Octa and Eosa want to have a pitched battle yet, so the fight is restrained to skirmishes.
Player Hook: There is plenty of opportunity to skirmish against Saxons. The player knights can have an assignment to scout a road and can watch the army of Octa and Eosa ravage its way through northern Logres.
The pillagers travel in bands of about double the number of player knights, with one Saxon leader leading them.
Alternately, this may be time for a short adventure of the Gamemaster’s devising.

Visiting Lady Iulia

Should Morial decide to visit Lady Iulia he will learn through a little inquiry that she is in London this season. Visiting London will find Iulia in hiding. Lord Odstock has taken to Calvados and is constantly overly drunk. Lady Odstock does her best cougar imitation and tries to seduce Morial.

Riding in Enemy Lands

Should the player knights decide to raid into Essex to strike back at the Saxons or Aethilswith the "Riding in Enemy Lands" adventure can be used, slightly modified below:

Setting

The eastern or norther edges of Essex. The northern shores of the Thames estuary are the most densely settled by Saxons. The towns of Maldon, Colchester and Chelmsford are also good targets, with Colchester being most easily accessible to the player knights.

  • Chelmsford
    • The old Roman town of Caesaromagus was intended to be a provincial capital developed in a planned manner to replace the more haphazard Londinium. However, it never really attracted the population to grow larger than a small town and was forever eclipsed by Londinium. There was, however, a small Roman fort and the lands about the fort were leveled and cleared for urban construction. Much of the leveled area is now either farmed or fallow wastes. The old fort is crumbling but still the most defensible structure in the area. The nearby Roman temple is considered haunted by the locals and has been abandoned for over 200 years.
      • The town contains about 1000 souls, one third of which are Saxon. The Britons are considered peasants or slaves of the Saxons and poorly treated. Their health has declined in the past three years since Aethelswith conquered the area. The Saxons are primarily the households of the warriors who defend Chelmsford and drive the slaves. Any able bodied men willing to fight the Saxons have long since been killed or fled. The remaining Britons are a sorry lot who fear the Saxons more than they long for freedom. There is a 20% chance per individual that they will notify the Saxons if the player knights make their presence known. No churchmen have been left alive. There are about 20 Saxon warriors and 5 Saxon horsemen who live here, mostly in the old Roman fort.
      • The old Roman fort is built in the normal fashion, like a playing card with a wide ditch and ramparts. The ditch around Chelmsford fort has been significantly lessened over the years and much of it is overgrown with brush. The Saxons have taken to start clearing it but as yet have only cleared about two thirds of the perimeter. The stone wall of the perimeter is crumbling in some places, having been torn down by the Saxon siege in 486. The northern half is in the best shape and it is here that the Saxon warriors have their stronghold. Only one watchtower remains safe enough to use, in the northwestern quarter. The tower is constructed of that most wondrous of Roman materials, concrete. Although a couple of buildings have some stone walls, the only fully stone structure still in use when the Saxons came was destroyed utterly. As such, the main hall and stables are crude wooden structures.
      • The temple to the Roman pantheon still stands, though most of the free standing columns on the porch have been cracked and destroyed by hundreds of winters. The porch itself is overgrown with weeds and trees have begun to tear apart the flagstones. Small animals and rodents have made their home within the large shelter. The locals consider the temple haunted. One moonless nights (whether a new moon or overcast) temple bells and a glowing lady can be seen to wander the temple quietly lamenting. The ghost will ignore everyone unless someone addresses her verbally. She then will wail loudly and reach out toward that person. She cannot be harmed by mundane means. Her touch will cause a deep chill on her target that lasts for days; but, will eventually subside. The memory of her touch will still haunt the persons dreams until her curse is fulfilled. The next child born by the person (or their wife) will then be stillborn.
  • Herebald Homestead
    • A hastily constructed motte and bailey homestead, Herebald's Homestead consists of a few buildings on a small hillock surrounded by a wooden palisade. The earth outside the palisade has been dug in so that the level of ground inside the wall is about four feet higher. This is true throughout the small fort. Buildings within the palisade include:
      • small stable
      • pig pen
      • chicken coop
      • wooden hall with thatch roof
      • smoking and tool shed
    • The land around Herebald Homestead has not yet been fully cleared. Quinqueroi Forest comes to within fifteen feet of the wall in many places, primarily as light trees and heavy underbrush. Moving a horse through this underbrush cannot be done unseen; but, a man afoot can do so. To move unseen to the edge of the brush make a Hunting roll opposed by the Saxon's Awareness roll.
    • There is one Saxon warrior for every player knight, 4 Saxon raiders for every player knight and Thegn Herebald himself. The raiders will each take 1d6x10 minutes to arrive and equip themselves. Should Thegn Herebald need to equip himself it will take about 15 minutes.

Problem

Attack a Saxon settlement or defense successfully enough to cause significant harm or gain treasure. This likely entails riding unseen to the target and then escaping alive, with prisoners or booty.

Characters

  • Saxon Non-Combatants
    • Farmers, huntsmen or any other Saxons will immediately report the presence of knights to their local thegn as all Cymric knights are considered the enemy.
  • Saxon Warriors
    • Should the warriors be confident in their chances of defeating the knights then they will attack. The Saxon warriors are intelligent and will do their best to neutralize the most potent weapon of the Cymric knights, their steeds and heavy armor.
  • Briton Peasants
    • Either slaves or thralls, British peasants will be downtrodden and generally treated harshly by their Saxon masters. They have a 20% chance per person to report any Cymric knights to their Saxon masters. Any hale men have a 40% of taking up arms against the Saxons if given a chance, though none of them are trained warriors. 50% of any infant is the child of a Saxon man.
    • Most local churchmen have been killed unless they explicitly forswore the Christian god. Other than a strong sense of guilt and self-loathing, they behave exactly like thralls.
  • Briton Bandits/Knights Gone to Ground
    • True desperadoes, these men will kill for basic sustenance. Refusing to flee, beyond living the only thing that drives these men is killing Saxons. If the player knights look strong and capable then these men will join them to assault the nearest Saxons. Otherwise they will attack and take what they can. In many cases they place no value on their own life and will gladly fight to the death, even to the point of taking foolish risks that may endanger others.

Secrets

Trying to ride through Saxon lands differs if the land is more sparsely populated or not. Areas north and east in Essex are less populated than the southern or western areas. The towns are also heavily populated. In heavily populated, subtract 5 from the leader's Hunting skill. Otherwise, results depend on how the characters are trying to behave:

  • Be Stealthy - Ride through the areas where no one lives, in the thin, brushy forest referred to as “wastes” that grows everywhere between villages. Stealthy movement is slow and brings with it the danger of getting lost. Being stealthy earns a Prudent check for the player knights’ leader.
    • The party’s leader makes a Hunting roll each day.
      • Critical - You remain unseen, moving 2d6+3 miles in a desired direction along easy deer paths and the like.
      • Success - Largely unseen, you go 2d6 miles in the direction you want.
      • Failure - You travel 1d6 miles in approximately the right direction, but you are not entirely sure where you are.
      • Fumble - You travel 1d6+1 miles in a random direction within enemy territory. You are lost, and a peasant (hunter, wood collector, bandit, hermit, peddler, etc.) sees you and disappears into the woods.
  • Be Careful - You travel quickly, skirting the heavily populated areas, but otherwise move along an established human road or path, with no stopping to eat or hunt in the daytime. The party’s leader makes a Hunting roll for each day of careful travel.
    • Critical - Travel 15 miles, unseen, in a desired direction (or at least causing no locals to raise the alarm — to most commoners, one knight is much like the other).
    • Success - Travel 15 miles in a desired direction, but observed by many folks — enough to be sure someone is spreading the word to the lord. The hope is to outride the response.
    • Failure - Travel 15 miles in approximately the right direction; you are certain someone is following you (for the baying dogs give it away).
    • Fumble - Spotted by patrolling Saxon horsemen.
  • Be Reckless - Take the biggest roads and ride all out, 20+2d6 miles per day. You will most likely meet local knights this way. Being reckless earns a Reckless check for the player knights’ leader. The party’s leader makes a Horsemanship roll.
    • Critical - Travel 35 miles in approximately the right direction, and no one stops you.
    • Success - Travel 35 miles in approximately the right direction. At some point during that span, you are stopped by Saxon horsemen.
    • Failure - Travel 30 miles in approximately the right direction. During that time, you ride dangerously close to a Saxon stronghold. Approximately 30 footmen and 15 horsemen accost you.
    • Fumble - Travel 2d6+20 miles in approximately the right direction. At some point during that span, you are the victim of a Saxon ambush.

Saxon Warrior
Glory Gained: 35
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: Sword 14, Javelin 13, Spear 13
Traits: Valorous 12
Skills: Awareness 12, Boating 12, Swimming 10
Passions: Honor 10

Saxon Raiders
Glory Gained: 15
Attributes: SIZ 16, DEX 8, STR 14, CON 14, APP 11
Damage: 5d6, Healing Rate: 3, Move: 3
Armor: 8+shield
HP: 30, Unconscious: 8, Major Wound: 14, Knockdown: 16
Traits: Valorous 12
Passions: Honor 10
Skills: Awareness 15, Boating 12, Swimming 10, Sword 16, Spear 15

Thegn Herebald or Saxon Horseman
Glory Gained: 50
Attributes: SIZ 18, DEX 9, STR 15, CON 14, APP 9
Damage: 6d6, Healing Rate: 3, Move: 2
Armor: 10+shield
HP: 31, Unconscious: 8, Major Wound: 13, Knockdown: 18
Traits: Energetic 16, Arbitrary 12, Proud 16, Worldly 17, Reckless 15, Valorous 15
Passions: Rechtschaffenheit 17
Skills: Awareness 10, Boating 10, First Aid 13, Folklore 10, Recognize 10, Battle 11, Horsemanship 14, Sword 17, Spear 14

Bandit
Glory Gained: 10
Attributes: SIZ 12, DEX 10, STR 12, CON 12, APP 8
Damage: 4d6, Healing Rate: 2, Move: 4
Armor: 4
HP: 24, Unconscious: 6, Major Wound: 12, Knockdown: 12
Traits: Cruel 13, Valorous 8, Suspicious 16
Passions: Hate (Saxons) 12, Hate (Cymric Knights) 9
Skills: Bow 8 (3d6), Dagger 8, Spear Expertise 8, Awareness 18, Hunting 16

Knight Gone to Ground
Glory Gained: 50
Attributes: SIZ 14, DEX 11, STR 14, CON 14, APP 11;
Damage: 5d6, Healing Rate: 3, Move: 2
Armor: 10+shield
HP: 28, Unconscious: 7, Major Wound: 14, Knockdown: 14
Traits: Valorous 1d6+13
Passions: Hate (Saxon) 15
Skills: Dagger 10, Lance 15, Spear 10, Sword 19, Battle 15, Horsemanship 15, Awareness 10, Courtesy 10, First Aid 10, Heraldry 10, Hunting 10
Horse: Rouncy (5d6)

Manor Results

  • Lewarewich - Sir Morial's mother collapses in the summer heat and dies. A steward is needed. Though there is no steward to take her place, the commoners mourn the loss of their beloved mother and assist greatly in the harvest. Concern check. 6£ income.
  • High Wycomb - Gravestone destroyed in forest fire during summer heat wave. Crops whither. 5£ income.
  • Henlow - Page, the 8 year old grandchild of Lord Hemel Hempstead, falls into the well and drowns. Madog's change makes him distant from his people and he loses a concern. Summer heat mostly escapes them. 6£ income.
  • Bushey - Magical bull breaks into barn and mounts all the heffers in one night. It causes quite a ruckus. All heffers give birth to a calf this year, which makes up for withered crops from the heat. 6£ income.
  • Boxbourne - Saxon Raid, otherwise escaped heat. 6£ income. Likely 1/4 village burnt for +3 hate.
  • Shefford - Hurt by summer heat; but, wisdom of Lady Obilot saves them. 6£ income. Sir Blegir and Lady Obilot give birth to a boy, who is sickly; but, survives.
  • Knebworth - Escape summer heat. 6£ income. Spend extra 1£ for finding a steward.
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