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Session Report for Anglaland Campaign

Session Report for Anglaland Campaign

Postby Thiudans » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:52 pm

First, a little background. I am playing 1 to 1 with my son, 12 years old. The game is set in England in the late 9th century. It is a sort of sand box, where if the character does nothing history will sail along without him. Occasionally I will add an exception where the character, Aelfric, will have to perform a mission for history to turn out as it did; for instance, the battle of Ashdown required Aelfric to complete a scouting and combat mission for Wessex to win. I have a map I made with Old English names, but I will use the modern names in this post except where the names sound really cool to me. The different culters have different combat styles, and different tactical doctrines. The English like their shield wall and wedge formations, and lack large numbers of skirmishers. The Norse are similar to the English, but are on the whole better trained than the fyrdmen, and the invading armies are more akin to the household troops such as thegns, gesithas and cnehtas. Neither the English or the Norse use horsemen as a shock arm--that would be the Welsh. Each culture has combat styles, such as fyrdman (Spear, seax, shield and axe) with nobles or more "professional" folks getting more and better weapons and traits, such as sword and javelin. As far as traits, the fyrdmen have shield wall, but the "professionals" have shield wall and formation fighting. Cultures with "lighter" troops have the skirmish trait or, like the Franks and Welsh, the mounted combat trait.

Anyway, Aelfric has accomplished quite a bit, but one day some raiders showed up at the mouth of the River Avon in Somerset (Somerseate), but the "raiders" were, oddly, not raiding anything. Conveniently, a man from Ireland called Cadan arrives with his own party and says that he is willing to take care of the problem for the Ealdorman, called Wulfhere. The Ealdorman was suspicious and sent Aelfric with three other thegns and their followers to investigate. Cadan, who is actually Flann, an historical figure, goes along too. The Irish were acting suspiciously though, so Aelfric set up a watch. After arriving at the campsite Aelfric discovered that the leader of the "raiding party was one Ailil of the kingdom of Meath, brother to Flann, who is also called Cadan. The English thegns were going to be caught between warring factions of Meath, a likely unlucky occurrence. Fortunately, Aelfric was able to extricate his men and after the warring Irish royals fought for a while, he was able to arrest the whole lot and bring them back to Wulfhere. On the way back, Flann (Cadan) managed to loose his bonds, killed his guard and escaped. In revenge, Aelfric killed the remaining followers of Flann. Needless to say, Wulfhere was wroth about Meathian politics bringing violence to Somerseate, and wants compensation for the slain gesith, and will not pay compensation for the slain followers of Flann--this is a tall order. Ailil says that Irelend (Eirenn) is full of bloody, fighting royals, so it is not n impossible task, one must just be able to navigate the shoals. So off Aelfric goes to Ireland, along with Ailil as Aelfric does not speak Irish.

For transportation, the party used Aelfric's uncle's ship, the Wave Cutter. Needless to say, crossing the Irish Sea without an encounter with Vikings would have been a waste of a good adventure. A snekkja tries to intercept the Wave Cutter. As the Wave Cutter did not have a piratical crew, the snekkja which came out from behind some rocks near St. David's had an advantage in numbers, and an advantage in quality. Aelfric got out of that one with a prayer that God would smite the pagan ship--a herculean task which God granted to Aelfric! Aelfric decided to let the vikings drown. I am not sure how God felt about that.

So, the ship pulls into Dubllin (Dyfelin) and has to bribe the port reeve to dock. Ailil volunteers to seize one of his fortified estates to use as a base against Flann. Ailil suggest kidnapping Fann's mother as a bargaining chip, since wherever the party is, Flann will likely have a larger host, and the Irish love their mothers. Aelfric agrees with this, and starts to trust Ailil. So, the party goes to an estate where Ailil knows the locals love him, breaks into the house, kills the man Flann uses to manage the estates, and then starts to run riot. Aelfric is shocked when Ailil and his men cut off the hair of the man's wife and threatens the two girls, and forbids Ailil to harm the man's children. There is some steely eyed negotiation, deceit and threats, but Aelfric convinces Ailil to do not further harm and let the rest of the family go. The other Saxons in Aelfric's party ask Aelfric what they got themselves into.

So, step one accomplished, now to kidnap Flann's mother. This goes off more or less without a hitch--and Ailil wants to cut her hair off too, but Aelfric demands he not do so, and prevails.

So, back at Ailil's tiny fort, the party awaits Flann's inevitable arrival. There are about 25 men loyal to Ailil in the fort. Flann arrives with about 75 men. At night, Flann's men scale the walls with ladders (the walls are only about 12 feet high) and begin to enter the fort. As Flan's men are more numerous, they begin to push Ailil's men back. Aelfric and the party form a shield wall, and begin to push Flans men on their left flank. As the Irish do not generally fight in a formation (the Scots have no array, in Egil's Saga) the small shield wall, with flanks protected by buildings and walls, simply pushes Flan's men back or kills them. Flan's men withdraw and curse the sassanach. The fort is saved.

Now is the time for negotiation. So, Flann and Ailil are speaking through representatives to each other--in Irish. So Aellfric doesn't know what is happening. It turns out that Ailil and Flann will divide some land, and Flann will pay for the man he killed. Flann will arrive at a feast on the morrow to seal the seal.

So the next day, there is a feast, but no Flann. After some time has passed, all Ailil's Irish leave the hall--and Aelfric knows what is next. The roof is set on fire. After cutting through the wattle and daub wall, there is a quick scrum where the small (about 10 people) Saxon shield wall drives away most of the locals, leaving Ailil just about alone. Ailil challenges Aelfric to single combat and Aelfric agrees. After some blows are exchanged, Aelfric manages to temporarily blind Ailil, and Ailil surrenders. But now Aelfric will have to pass through bout 20 miles of land where Flann's men are numerous. Fortunately for Aelfric, the fact he forbade Flann's mother from being humiliated makes Flann allow Aelfric to pass through his lands, but he will not pay a man price for the Saxon he killed. As the party enters Dublin, Ivar the Boneless summons Aelfric. He is willing to "buy" Ailil from Aelfric for 10 pounds of silver--a princely sum! Ivar wants to use Ailil as a piece in the on-going chess game of who-gets-to-dominate-Ireland. He could have just taken Ailil, but Aelfric is known to be lucky--his cognomen is Eotenes Bana--Giant or Troll killer. (A previous adventure). It is not good to simply mess with a lucky man for simple greed, Ivar is known for his wisdom, after all. So Ailil is sold to Ivar, and Aelfric and the rest go back to Badon. Wulfhere is initially wroth, but when he sees ten pounds of silver, he is less so. Aellfric gets one pound of silver as his reward from Wulfhere.

My son kept talking about this adventure. Also, he has an interest in Anglo-Saxon history now, which is OK by me. Beside slaying people and monsters, there is a lot of social interaction. Aelfric is involved in a blood feud, because he refused to follow Wulfere's orders to force his daughter to marry a drunken, lecherous son of an Ealdorman. The broken contrac cost Wulfhre an eye, and Aelfric a powerful enemy. The daughter is now in a convent.
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Re: Session Report for Anglaland Campaign

Postby Jon Reinhardt » Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:10 am

Thanks for the rapport. Hope to there will be more episodes of this epic story. Its always nice to see people that play with their kids :D
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Re: Session Report for Anglaland Campaign

Postby Pentallion » Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:39 am

This is really a wonderful adventure. My son was 9 yrs old when we first gamed together. Enjoy. Before you know it, they discover girls and then....
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Re: Session Report for Anglaland Campaign

Postby Thiudans » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:29 am

Thanks for the encouragement. He really got into this last adventure, and is looking forward to more. There is more mischief I can make for him--his son, Aldhelm, was cursed by a nicor, which is another story. :evil: So if bad things start to happen, maybe it is because of the curse. ...
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Re: Session Report for Anglaland Campaign

Postby loz » Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:28 pm

Great stuff! Looking forward to more tales.
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Re: Session Report for Anglaland Campaign

Postby Thiudans » Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:51 pm

We had another session today, so here we go....

There is an on going blood feud between Aelfric and one Ulf Svensson, called Ulf Redhand because of the number of men he has killed. Ulf is a Dane, and a member of the Haelfdan Ragnarsson's host, called the Great Heathen Army by the Anglo-Saxons. He has an estate in Jorvik, and some men loyal to him in Lynclyne. While the hosts of Mercia and Wessex were gathered before Snottingham, a man came out from the Heathen Army and began boasting. Aelfric impetuously challenged him to single combat, not knowing who he is. Wulfhere and his mean groaned, but luck was with Aelfric, and he slew the man, stripped him of his weapons and armor in sight of both armies, and returned to the Wessex host covered in glory with his lord Wulfhere smiling brodly. It was Ulf's brother, which adds anothe log to the fire. Now, Ulf had taken Aelfric's parents as slaves (Pre rolled in character generation!) so it seems Ulf's and Aelfric's fates are intertwined.

Needless to say, there is a lot of bad blood between Ulf and Aelfric. As it happens, Aelfric's wife, Halla, was supervising some of the tenants when four men came out of the woods and abducted her. They rode off to the north. One of the tenant women immediately notified Aelfric. Aelfric gathered some of his gesiths and followed after them. The weather made things very difficult--it is early spring and there was a constant drizzle with cool temperatures. The drizzle made tracking difficult as the ground was sodden. Aelfric hoped the men would either light a fire or otherwise give away their position. As it turns out, he saw a fire in the distance one night. While approaching the camp, he had his men surround it. After successfully sneaking up close to the fire, he and his men surprised the men there; startled, they went for their weapons. Seeing four fully armed and armored men though, they submitted. A search of the camp revealed these were not the men they were looking for. Though they were probably brigands, Aelfric had more important things to do than clean up a small local gang.

Aelfric decided it would be best to go to Ciren Ceaster, a Mercian trading town, as there would be a good likelihood of finding more information, since as a trading center there are a lot of people coming and going. So Aelfric entered the town, hoping to find news of his wife.

Entering the guest hall, he asked a man for some food, and some information. The man behind the counter asked if anyone had seen a red-headed woman (Halla). Immediately, a man got up and ran out the door. Aelfric's love of his wife pushed him to eventually catch up to the man who ran away, but Aelfric's men fell behind. The chase was messy though with over turned stalls and jostled people, and Ciren Ceaster is not a very large town by any means. As Aelfric had finally captured the man, the local thegn and his men grabbed both of them to find out what was going on--violence and disruption can be bad for business, and the Viking invasions have already hurt trade quite anough.

So, as a thegn, Aelfric used his higher social status to influence the thegn in Ciren Ceaster to let him go--Aelfric was also also shocked that the gang member spoke perfect English--he had assumed they would be Danish. Being a just man, and with no real proof from Aelfric that the other man did anything wrong--and no real enticement from Aelfric, the local thegn lot both men go with the proviso they leave the town and cause no more trouble.

Fortunately for Aelfric, his gesiths were combing the town and had located the hall where the four horsemen were staying. When the man went back there--Aelfric did not trail closely so as not to scare him off--the hall was positively identified. But now what to do? Aelfric thought it would be good to either lame or poison their horses, but his gesith's attempt to bribe the stable keeper failed--bribing a stable master is beneath the dignity of a thegn. A direct assault on the hall would likely end in Aelfric's capture and execution by the Cirren Ceaster thegn and his men. So they decided to wait for the horsemen to leave, and rescue Aelfric's wife. Unfortunately, there are four gates. So, one of Aelfric's gesiths watched the hall and on his signal the chase would begin.

So, the men leave, and Aelfric and his men pursue. Both parties exit the gate at full gallop. Unfortunately for Aelfric, he is not much of a horseman, so he was slowly falling behind all but one of the men. This man had a sack on his horse, which Aelfric assumed contained his wife. As Aelfric's gesiths were slowly catching up to that man, he simply cast his "package" off his horse. A concerned Aelfric cut ope the sack, and fortunately Halla had a minor bruise n her arm as the only injury. Halla is a tough cookie--being half Danish and half Frisian, and also having been abducted due to the machinations of her family in Dorestad. At one time she rallied the locals to drive off a Viking raid, though not fighting herself. Because of this, the locals have great affection for her. She paid close attention. Her kidnapper is one Garic of Lynclyne, a thegn who has lost his land and is now a freelance mercenary. Amoral rather than immoral, Garic will do what he has to do. He was hired by Ulf to kidnap Halla to lure Aelfric into a trap as he tries to rescue her. Halla learned all this over the three days she was a captive.

So now Aelfric has to cross a disintegrating Mercia to lands being slowly taken by the Danes. Driven by his love for his wife and his desire for revenge against both Garic and Ulf, he steels himself for what must be done.
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Re: Session Report for Anglaland Campaign

Postby Thiudans » Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:10 pm

While crossing Mercia and skirting around Ardenes Weald to avoid the hostile spirits there, the party arrives on the outskirts of Ligora Ceaster (Leicster) Because of the conflict between the newly arrived Norse and the locals, the bishop has sequestered himself within the cathedral. While the party rested in Ligora Ceaster, Aelfric attempted to get the bishop to come out of his sequester. The cathedral was dim and a pall hung over it. There was no singing or liturgy, only the bishop sitting silently in his cell. As the bishop was apparently under some sort of spell, Aelfric was unable to convince him to leave his sequester. Repeated attempts to communicate were rebuffed by stone cold silence, with the bishop staring into the windows. The bishop could not be moved. Without forceful leadership by the bishop, the locals will slowly come under the influence of the old gods, and with that, the land will be fertile for Norse settlement. (This is an ongoing theme--the old gods trying to reassert themselves in a basically Christian England--with temporal effects depending on how that goes. E.g. the bishop of Wintan Ceaster is quite active in his advice to the king, and managing his diocese, and Aelfred is so far a siccessful king, so not much paganism there...)

With that out of the way, the party trudged on toward Lynclyne. Occasionally, there were refugees on the roads--fleeing the strife brought about by the advent of the Norse. While most of the Norse arrive as settlers, there is still a large amount of displacement--and Burhred seems powerless to stop the disintegration of his once mighty kingdom. The relative lack of law and order worked both in their favor and against them. It was decided that locating Garic would be the best way to start, and taking lessons from Cirren Ceaster, a low profile would be maintained.

While approaching Lynclyne, a town located on a bluff overlooking the river Witham, a small band is leaving and traveling on the road towards Ligora Ceaster. As the band came closer to the party, it was apparent they were a family leaving Lynclyne. When asked, the father volunteered that he and his family were cursed by a seithkrona, and they were on the way to Ligora Ceaster to see the bishop and have it removed by him or one of his arch proiests if possible. Aelfric informed that that the bishop would not be of much use as he stays in his cathedral staring at the wall. This caused no little bit of consternation to the family. The gesith Wulfgar, one of Aelfric's followers, asked if they would accompany them back to Lynclyne, After some hesitation, the father agreed.

Of course, problems follow! When asked who he is, Aelfric responds that he is Aelfric of Badon--this tips off Garic, who is in the crowd. He immediately runs--and uses his superior knowledge of the town to escape. Their cover blown, and now with the full attention of the locals on them after a chase through the streets, their task became much more difficult.

Enter a pair of Danes--Snorra and Ingjeld! Looking a bit ragged, and being hasseled by the guards, they eventually push through the gate and enter the town. Wulfgar enquirers why they have such long faces, and they relate that their lord, Sygtrygg Hring, was captured by a wyrm in the fens. Aelfric asked why they are alive here when their lord needs them, and they respond that there is no shame in fleeing unacnny things, and they are looking to recruit some men and go back for their lord post haste as they lack the strength to take on the wyrm. Aelfric is good at reading people, and he saw they were truthful. Further discussion revealed that they are locals, and Hring has a hall here in Lynclyne. Wulfgar said if the Northmen will help them find one Garic, they will help them find their Lord. After a short negotiation, a bargain was struck. Neither group completely trusted the other, but Wyrd had brought them together.

Warily, Aelfric and Wulfgar went into the smallish boat, owned by Hring, with the two Northmen. Some of the rowers were not happy with the prospect of seeking a Wyrm--and so two left despite the pleading of Aelfric and Wulfgar. None the less, the now expanded party began to travel down the river Witham to the large fens near the sea. River travel being faster than land travel, the party arrived by nightfall. Unfortunately, this made finding the wyrm's lair, and hopefully Syggtrygg Hring, much more difficult.

Aelfric suspected a trap, so he made sure that Wulfgar was always near him. Happily, on of the northmen came close and said he had found the Wyrm's lair. There is a small mound with a large hole in it. Beside the hole are two large trees, very ancient willows. A plan was needed. Snorra suggested they charge into the lair and slay the thing, and rescue Hring. This was rejected as too rash. Aelfric suggested Wulfgar go to the top of the mound, and that Aelfric and the two Norse will make noises to lure the beast out. When the wyrm leaves his lair, Wulfgar will throw his spear and the others will do likewise as the fight continues, until the thing is slain. This was agreed to. So, in the dark though moonlit fen, the men took their places. Several attempts were made to lure the wyrm out--and it was a few minutes until they were successful. Wulfgar did as he was asked, he cast his spear as the wyrm emerged. It glanced off the wyrm and he lost heart and fled.

Next the Wyrm went for Aelfric--and fortunately for Aelfric his mail byrnie kept him from being disemboweled--though he was rather severely bruised in his abdomen. Injeld threw his spear and it too glanced off the monster. Aelfric's attack was similarly ineffexctive--but Snorra's spear transfixed the Wyrm's wing, though the wound was by no means serious. The now wounded wyrm reared his head and went for Injeld. Ingjeld tried to leap out of the way, but the wyrm caught him by the leg and bit it clean off. Ingjeld sank into the muck with his life ebbing, and died very quickly. Snorra, seeing his partner dead, thought about fleeing, but then remembered his lord, who had been good to him and gifted him often. Drawing his sword, he swung, but only scratched the wyrm. Now Alefric attacked the wyrm with his axe, a gift from the now killed King Eadmund. He swung at the wyrm, and though his axe did not cut too deeply, much blood began to flow from the wyrm, and it recoiled in pain, and perhaps fear!

As the wyrm fled, Snorra closed with his sword and cut deeply, and another large blood flow began. In less than a minute, its life draining into the swamp, the wyrm was overcome by a mighty blow from Snorra's sword. Now Snorra and Aelfric planned to enter its lair. As Wulfgar, shamed, had returned, he was sent back to get some torches with some comforting words from Aelfric, and as Snorra had said, there is no shame running from uncanny things. Aelfric and Snorra entered the lair, calling out for Syngrygg Hring. Eventually he was found, dead but still warm. They were too late to help Syggtrygg.

His Lord dead, Snorra cut off the head of the Wyrm as proof of their valor. The party gathered Hring and Injeld's bodies, and returned to Lynclyne.

With the sight of the party returning with a giant serprnt's head, they were the stars of the town. Snorra had some of Hring's other men search or Garic. And as they approached Hring's smallish hall, hi wife, Asa approached Snorra, and saw the two bodies being carried. She asked "What news is there of my lord Syggtrygg Hring?" "He is no longer with us, lady..." said Snorra. With that, Hrings children began weeping and crying out for papa. In the back, a youngish woman was sulking in the shadows, watching Aelfric with growing malice. This is he seith woman, Aelfric and Wulfgar reasoned. Clutching their religious symbols, they stood firm in the hall.

With that doleful event, Hrings men were able to locate Garic. He was a little roughed up, but conscious. Aelfric asked him "Do you know who I am?" Garic answered "Aye, dryhten." What followed was negotiation along with some physical encouragement, shall we say--Garic gave details of Ulf Redhand's steading near Eorforwic, also caled Jorvik by the Norse. Aelfric got the layout, how many men he has etc. Also, Garick agreed to pay weregild for the kidnapping, as Aelfric saw he was desperate and did not want to just kill him.

When the party returned home, Halla asked if Aelfric killed that kidnapper, as she had been kidnapped before and was now unable to sleep or think clearly. Aelfric said he had accepted weregild, and he did not kill Garic. Halla more or less asked "What about me?" Aelfric gave her the weregild, a full pound sterling, and said "let this strife be done now, Garic will never harm you again."
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Re: Session Report for Anglaland Campaign

Postby Thiudans » Sat Apr 01, 2017 6:18 pm

It is now Yuletide, and Aelfric and his party are celebrating this holiday. While the hall was filled with merriment, a servant enters the hall and says that he is sorry to interrupt the celebration, but there is a man, two women and two children at his house and the man says he knows you, and asks you to grant him hospitality. He speaks like a Dane, and not like "us." As the children traveling with him were exhausted, he asks if they could come to your hall--his name is Snorra and he says you know him."

Aelfric agrees and goes to fetch Snorra, providing rides and a small (two man, Oslac and Oswy) escort. The escorts are not happy about working on a holiday but that is the cost of swearing to follow a lord, even a lowly thegn.

So the party fetches Snorra, Asa, her two children and Kolbrun, who is the seithwoman from the previous post. Kolbrun advises Snorra and Asa in spiritual things, and has malice toward Aelfric, and hence Aelfric's followers. Kolbrun, unbeknownst to the people in Aelfric's hall, is quit a powerful seithwoman, and has her own ideas on how things should go.

As the guest were granted hospitality, they were provided with food and clothing, but often received coldly, being Danes. All this changed when Snorra got up to tell of the exploits of Sygtrygg Hring. Here is the gist:

1) Syggtrygg held off a band of vikings in West Geatland through a ruse: when the band arrived, he acted like he was going to assist them in looting his host Knut's steading. He told them where they could find the treasure they sought and was leading them there. After gaining his trust, he got them into a sturdy barn, closed the door and burned them alive inside. Knut was happy and rewarded him greatly.
2) Won the hand of Asa by defeating a giant in a series of Taffl games. The games lasted through the night, and all the while, Sygtrygg was bargaining for more time, saying they should play one more game. As he was playing each game, he would first seem to lose and then come back and win. This made the giant surley, but Sygtrygg would offer to play again, giving the giant a chance to win. The giant eventually won and was glad, and so he agreed to let Asa go on the condition that Siggtryg bring him a gold ring from a barrow. Sygtrygg agreed and so got the name Hring after opening the barrow and fighting a draugr.
3) Beat Hubba Ragnarsson in a holmgang. Hubba had, while drunk, insulted Sygtrygg's honor by comparing him to a piglet. Hring immediately drew his knife and went for Hubba, but some of the guests stopped them--after which Sygtrygg challenged Hubba to holmgang. The fight was to the first blood, and Hring scored first after much verbal sparring and exchange of blows.

Though suspicious of the pagans, and of the fact they are Danes, the crowd loves the stories of Sygtrygg's exploits--who doesn't like a good story? Snorra is visibly saddened, as he remembers his lord Hring, but the mead and roast pigs flow. As it happens, Giodgifu, Aelfric's sister, is smitten by Snorra, giggling like a schoolgirl when he speaks with her.

As the celebrations die down over the next few days, it is apparent that Aldhelm, the infant son of Aelfric, is ill. As things take a turn for the worse, Kolbrun offers to cure Aldhelm. This riles Fr. Perwyn when he gets word of it, but Haella is torn. As little Aldhelm is getting more ill, Kolbrun asks Haella point blank "Do you want your son to live? Do you love your son? If you do, let me help you, and do as I ask of you. I do not ask much, lady Haella." So Haella is conflicted, she is torn between her religion and her love of her son. Ultimately, she does not agree to let Kolbrun cure Aelfric, but just barely! Aldhelm begins to get better on his own, or perhaps from the assistance of God or a saint. The townspeople want Kolbrun gone, but Aelfric more or less stands up for her, and says that she has done nothing wrong as of yet, and that she is his guest. However, she does go out into the local woods occasionally, which raises questions. Aelfric's men follow her, and not being detected, see nothing more than "typical" dabbling, which is more or less tolerated in any case. One day Aelfric decides to follow her, and this time something more happens. Aelfric sees and hears her casting, and a dark figure appears. While he could not make out all the words, the "shadow" was heard saying "You know the price!" and envelopes Kolbrun. She cries out in pain and and short while later begins to go back to the hall. This is a little too much even for Aelfric, and now even he wants her gone. So he and his men plan to capture Kolbrunn and arrest her. As Kolbrun is a guest, this becomes tricky--neither should the Danes be gratuitously offended. So Aelfric and his men wait until she is asleep--except she is not asleep. She stares for a long time at Oswy, one of Aelfrics man, and at Aelfric himself. Both fall asleep, and when they awaken Kolbrun is gone.

So much for the better! So as the day winds down, and the sun goes below the horizon, a loud shriek is heard from outside. It does not seem to come from any particular direction, but it is not local. The people in the hall, including the remaining Danes, are fearful, as the uncannyis wont to make people feel. Oswy went outside to check, and it was pitch black. He brought out a lamp, and while it lit up the area somewhat, the light did not seem to penetrate very far. The door was barred, and Fr. Perwyn tried to calm the more panicked people in the hall. As the night wares on, a series of knocks were heard at the door.Aelfric peered through a knothole and saw a man-sized figure move by, but nothing else. Soon the pounding became more persistent, and the door begins to buckle. Enter an animated body, waiting to do Kolbrun's bidding!

While there are four warriors and a priest waiting for it, the fact is that fighting the undead can make one freeze in panic, or run away. The children of the hall, their mothers and the servants all ran to a far corner. The light inside the hall was dim, only lit by some lamps and the hearth fire. Two gesithas, Oswy and Oslac, freeze in terror. Snorra and Aelfric do not panic. Fr. Perwyn begins trying to perform an exorcism, so far to no avail. The people on the far corner scream in terror as the fight begins.

Snorra takes the first whack--a success! The problem is that the thing is really a desiccated corpse, so edges do not harm it much--a small sliver of bone and tried muscle and skin fly off the monster. Next the monster strikes, trying to grab Aelfric, who successfully blocks this with his axe, the one he received from King Eadmund of East Anglia before he died. Some say it is imbued with the power of the saint, others deny this. None the less, when Aelfric counterattacked, like Snorra he only damaged the thing a little. Another tactic was required.

The two gesithas were still frozen in fear, and the mothers and children were screaming in terror with each blow. Oswy was struck on the head and lay bleeding out, Aelfric decided to wrestle with the thing, and luckily succeeded. He grabbed the thing by the arm and then also grabbed it by the leg, throwing it onto the fire. As it stood up, and moved, to the astonishment and terror of all in the hall, to attack again, one of its legs, damaged in previous attacks, gave way. This made finishing it off easier. The hall now stinks of burnt desiccated flesh, no one wants to stay there. It will take a while for Fr. Perwyn to cleanse the hall, and by now it is mid-winter.

----Game notes

Interestingly, a lot of the way things turned out depended on narrow wins/losses on opposed skill rolls. For instance, the wrestling match, Haella's passion conflict, Oswy having his head busted open, Syggtrygg Hring bleeding out just before the players found him etc. A couple of marginally different rolls and e.g. Haella dabbles in seithr, Syggtrygg lives (and we have a different campaign...) and Aelfric has his head twisted off. Good stuff!

Also interesting is the "social conflict" resolution I have been using. Basically, as this is set in a nominally mid-Anglo-Saxon milieu with fantasy elements added, people are more or less only REALLY loyal to their own kin, and as a secondary loyalty to their communities possibly up to the shire level. Loyalty to e.g. Wessex is there, but it is ot too strong. This means the traveling players have to follow social conventions or they risk offending the locals. This could be anything from eye-rolling to attempted murder of the PCs if the motivation of the NPCs and social conflict resolution rolls are sufficiently bad. I have been adding this slowly, and it seems to work and makes going into a village, say, and bossing around the locals rather dangerous, especially since any local authorities--who are likely members of the community--will take a dim view of any interlopers. Having said that, staying at someone's hall and helping them with the chores and maybe intimidating some local brigands has a salutary effect on the locals' opinion of the new comers.

My son got really creeped out, which I thought was cool. :-)

Syggtrygg Hring is an NPC (Now dead) with a detailed background, which will fuel further adventures.

Finally, I originally saw this as a very low fantasy setting, but the players like fighting the supernatural, so I will give them more of that!
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