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Rain over the Summerlands: A Mythic Britain Campaign

Re: Rain over the Summerlands: A Mythic Britain Campaign

Postby mark.s » Mon Nov 23, 2015 4:53 am

Session Seventeen (18th November 2015): The Road to Caer Wynd

Unfortunately for Nolan, his leg was too badly injured by Ascwell's axe to be saved, and Newlyn is forced to amputate it at the knee. This will be the end of his journey; he'll remain at Rhyd Rea until well enough to travel, then return south to Caer Penrhyn. Brian takes a scout around outside and finds all the food supplies of the hostel hastily stored in the cattle byre. Ban is also outside, making sure that Eldred (who tried to kill the little girl) dies a painful and ignoble death. Drem helps the women, children, and elders out of the undercroft where they were being held hostage. Hafren was Conall's wife, and the injured girl was Heulwen, their daughter.

Much to Drem's disgust, Newlyn treated Claennis's belly wound so that she would live long enough to be questioned by Cwlhedric. She is given the choice of a quick warrior's death or one by the hands of the druid, and her superstitious fear of magic wins over her prudence. She reveals that she and her husband Ascwell are Saexans from Gewisse, one of the southern kingdoms. Their cyning Wlencing had ordered them to build up supplies from raids into 'Brytenland', but they are not part of a larger force posing a threat to Cornovia. Her story, which is confirmed by Hafren, was that they slew the warriors and began to strip the hostel of its supplies when the characters' approach was spotted. They decided to take hostages to ensure Conall's good behaviour, and kill the characters in their sleep. When they heard the characters saying how a group of lords was approaching, they decided these would make good prisoners for Wlencing Cyning. Cwlhedric makes good on his promise and kills her cleanly with a sword through the heart.

The characters spend the rest of the night and the morning cleaning up from the fight. Hafren organises a rough and ready feast while the Saxon bodies are dragged out of the hillfort and hung on stakes to the east of the settlement. Cwlhedric keeps the helmet and axe of Ascwell and Ban takes Claennis's bow. What small bits of silver they are carrying is also taken. Spear blades are gathered by those characters wanting to have them made into warrior rings, marking their first Saxon kills. The British bodies are prepared for burial by Drem, who cuts the death staves and builds pyres for cremation in the Cornovian manner. Newlyn patches up the wounds (Newlyn: "I've had to cut into your arm to get the metal out.", Cwlhedric: "It was my leg that was injured, you dolt!" OOC: a fumbled First Aid). When the Baddan delegation arrives after noon, Cwlhedric rides out to meet them and tell them what has happened, but assures them of their safety.

Over supper Cwlhedric discusses the issue of the army said to be on the road ahead of them. Custennin is not concerned, confident that a lordling in contest with his father will not make enemies of important people needlessly.

At dawn, Drem sets fire to the funereal pyres for Conall and his men, and the characters set off for Caer Lwytgoed. As they were told, they encounter an army of about ten score men just south of the hillfort. They meet with Gwllyc ap Brochan, who regretfully gives his decision that the characters will not be allowed into Caer Lwytgoed, and neither will their lord. Cwlhedric protests, but Gwllyc is adamant: Custennin is famously Christian, so it is only natural that he might seek to support Brochan — whose marriage to a Christian woman started this contention — against his sons. He promises the lord all the luxury of his camp, but will not go any further. Gwllyc tells them that Hafgan of Dumnonia and Mark of Kernow have already passed through Caer Lwytgoed on their way to the High Council, and both elected to travel via the western route. The characters plan on taking the eastern route. These lands are called Utermierce and are under the control of Hengwulf Cyning. The road they will travel is called Icknield Street and is named for Icel, a thegn who has his hall at Northworthig. The Englans of Utermierce are warring with the Saexans of Gewisse, which oddly enough means that the passage through Logres might be less traumatic than it might otherwise be since all the warriors are further south.

Drem decides to visit Letocetum, the burned-out Roman trading post at the foot of Caer Lwytgoed. Brian joins him for the trip and spots a fire burning in one of the plazas. This belongs to Pendaran a druid trained by Askrigg (Cornovia's High Druid). The two exchange pleasantries, but Pendaran never says precisely why he is in Letocetum. He does hint that in Cornovia, men who marry Christians tend to die young. Later that evening Drem trances, and notices that the spirit world is thronging with crow-shaped spirits, who carry off the spirits of the slain to Annwn.

Newlyn is still worried about the hand with which he touched the ellyll. To him it feels weak and getting worse. Drawing upon his healing lore he remembered a charm made with three rowan twigs bound with three hairs from a red-headed woman. He's been on the lookout for red-heads and finally locates one amongst the camp followers of Gwllyc's army. It costs him three solidus to secure a lock of her hair. Newlyn makes the charm and binds it to the skin under his arm.
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Re: Rain over the Summerlands: A Mythic Britain Campaign

Postby mark.s » Wed Nov 25, 2015 4:54 am

Hi,

I love the players' reaction to the setting of Mythic Britain. To take an example: I've particularly had a great time with the wild child / ellyl subplot. A little girl was seen stalking game in the woods, miles from a settlement (Session #14). She is later caught trying to steal food from the PC's camp. They try to capture her, but she eludes them. One of the PCs decides to leave her some food and drink, and she later clues in that same PC that something is wrong (Session #15).

To modern eyes, she is just a kid fending for herself. Unlikely but not impossible. However, the PC druid tells the characters to leave her alone after the first encounter, that she is clearly one of the ellyllon, or 'good neighbours' ("faeries" to use a French term). They tell an NPC about the girl, and get told that yes, there are 'old folk' in the woods, and one should avoid them because their touch is death. The PC who grabbed at her then starts to worry that he has contracted some spirit-sickness. The druid is smug ("I told you to leave her alone"), and the other PCs are unhelpful ('"dibs on your spear when your arm drops off!"). The whole affair became highly entertaining, with Newlyn obsessing over a cure, and Ban looking for ways to make offerings to the forest sprite.

The thing is, all of this came from the PCs. There was never anything supernatural about the girl's appearance or actions. She was an unusual piece of local colour that could have easily had a mundane explanation. I'm not saying she was mundane, but as GM I did nothing to suggest otherwise. Everything that proceeded from her appearance was down to the players immersion in the setting and having their characters react in an appropriately superstitious manner.

Mythic Britain is huge fun. I love it!

Mark
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Re: Rain over the Summerlands: A Mythic Britain Campaign

Postby skoll » Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:36 am

I wrote a while ago in a different thread, that I had run a version of the Horned Man to my group. Yesterday we finished a version of For the Love of Silver.

In our version one of the PC's, Lloyd, was getting married, and it was his father, who went to collect a debt from the silver mine supervisor Bedwir, and got dumped in a closed-off section of the mines. Two PC's got the blessing of Morholt. One of the blessings helped the team to defeat the possessed bear and save Lloyd's father. But in my version this wasn't it yet. In the night the spirit came back having possessed a wolf, and after the wolf had been skinned, it again came back in the form of a huge boar. At this point the druid went into a trance, and with the blessing of Morholt, defeated the predator spirit in spirit combat, ending the attacks. (This had to happen before the host was killed, which would have freed the spirit for another attack round.)

The group really enjoyed the adventure, so thanks again for the writeups.
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Re: Rain over the Summerlands: A Mythic Britain Campaign

Postby mark.s » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:50 am

skoll wrote:The group really enjoyed the adventure, so thanks again for the writeups.


I'm really glad you are having at least as much fun as we are!

Mark
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Re: Rain over the Summerlands: A Mythic Britain Campaign

Postby mark.s » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:51 am

Session Eighteen (25th November 2015): The Road to Caer Wynd

Drem is nervous about the gathering of death spirits he witnessed, and goes as far as to take part in the night's watch rotation. The night passes mostly without incident; Brian hears the cry of a hunting beast, although is unable to get more in the dark. He confirms from footprints in the morning that it was probably a lynx — exceptionally rare in Britain's forests.
The characters take the morning to enquire about the road ahead and (for Ban) catch up with news from home. Newlyn has a spring in his step now that his arm has been cured of its spirit-sickness. After lunch Custennin and the other lords arrive; Cwlhedric and Drem go out to meet them and pass on the news that they won't be spending the night in Caer Lwytgoed. Drem even warns Bishop Eghan that these people are not best inclined towards Christian ways.

After Custennin is settled in Gwllyc's camp house, there is a discussion regarding the plan for the road ahead. Intelligence is that the Englan of Northworthig are more interested in collecting toll money than they are hassling Britons. It is agreed that the characters will travel with the main delegation for this dangerous stretch of the journey, but scout ahead. They will stop a few miles south of the ford at Northworthig and make the crossing in the morning. Everyone settles down for the night and while the characters set their own watch again, the night is undisturbed.

In the morning, Newlyn notices Cahal talking to a tall man that Drem identifies as Pendaran. The druid hands Cahal something small in closed hands, which the lord of Abona slips into his belt pouch. As the Dumnonians pack up ready for heading into Logres it is noticed that Bishop Eghan is missing. His clothes and horse are still in the camp and a brief questioning of the Cornovians reveal that he was seen leaving the camp heading southeast sometime just before dawn. He wasn't heading for the caer, so they saw no reason to stop him. The characters offer the services of their excellent tracker Brian, and assisted by Cwlhedric they set off in search for the bishop. Several other search parties go out as well, but the characters soon find the trail of a bare-footed man. He appears to be running, and there are also shod footprints heading in the same direction but not overlapping his, as if they were following him.

Just as the characters come across a long earth mound like an oversized grave, Brian hears a splash and heading in that direction comes across three of Lord Cahal's men. They make a clumsy attempt to redirect the characters, but Ban faces them down and Cwlhedric pulls rank. Not wishing to risk a fight, they relent. Rushing down to the river's edge, the characters locate the bishop. He is face down in the shallows of the river with Lord Cahal straddling his back. Cahal has some form of ligature around his neck, but it seems that the bishop is already unconscious. shouting out, Brian jumps off the bank while Cwlhedric throws a spear to attract the lord's attention. Newlyn draws his weapons, cautious of the two fierce hunting dogs nearby. Ban sees no reason to interrupt (he's never liked the bishop or his religion) but Cwlhedric objects to the secret nature of the killing which is antithetical to the Celtic way. Drem is last on the scene, but wastes no time jumping into the river and joining Brian, while cutting himself in the process as a sacrifice to the Goddess Tamas as his geas demands.

Brian uses his shield to batter at Cahal. The lord is intent on his murder, and unwilling to let up, screaming "this pig killed my wife! I will have revenge!". Brian manages to bash the lord aside with his shield, breaking his hold on the cord around the bishop's neck, and Drem follows up with a second bash which knocks him away from Eghan. Cwlhedric grabs for the drowning man and flips him over. The enraged Cahal calls to his dogs Nisien and Efnisien to attack, just as Ban calls out that Cahal's warriors are on their way down to the river.

As the dogs rush for Brian and Drem, Newlyn intercepts the closest (Efnisien) with a mighty spear thrust straight through one eye and out the back of the skull, killing the dog instantly. Cwlhedric has now got the bishop to the riverbank and heads back to the fight, but it is already over. Cahal has sunk to his knees with hands raised, and sobbing he calls off his remaining dog. His men have now arrived at the riverbank, but seeing that their lord has surrendered do not start a fight with Ban. Cwlhedric berates Cahal for his hidden crime but the lord spits at any notion of gaining justice. Custennin would not even entertain a trial and without a King of Dumnonia or High King of Britain, Cahal had no recourse to justice. So he made the appropriate sacrifices to Agrona, seeking permission for this transgression. He claims that Eghan drowned his wife while baptising her — a rite that she hadn't even sought but had forced upon her. He therefore plotted to kill Eghan in the same way and there were supposed to be no witnesses.

The characters allow Cahal to return to the camp with his warriors and remaining dog. They turn their attention to the bishop. Newlyn manages to get some water out of the man's lungs, and he appears to be breathing although is not fully conscious. Dressed as he is in just a nightshift and drenched in the icy water of the Tamas, exposure is a real threat. They wrap him in Ban's cloak — the only one that is still dry. He has a wound to his head, probably from when he fell into the water when Cahal attacked him. Now they just need to decide what to do with him…

Mark
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Re: Rain over the Summerlands: A Mythic Britain Campaign

Postby mark.s » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:53 am

Session Nineteen (2nd December 2015): The Road to Caer Wynd

Realising that Eghan is showing the first signs of exposure, the characters build a fire to warm him up. They have a quick discussion to get their stories straight, agreeing that they will say that they found him drowning and Cwlhedric saved his life. With a bit of warmth inside him the bishop starts to become more responsive, although he confesses not to remember anything after going to bed last night. He blames pagan deviltry and begins to thank God for his rescue, only to be admonished by Cwlhedric. "Don't you dare thank your god when it was men — pagan men — who saved your life."

The smoke from the fire draws attention from the other search parties, and the characters are soon on their way back to camp with dry clothes donated by the searchers. However, as they approach the camp they hear war-horns, first from the direction of Caer Lwytgoed and then answered from the camp. It appears that Lord Brochan has announced his intent to meet his son on the field of battle. There is no way that the Baddan delegation will be ready to leave before the battle, so they agree to hunker down in the camp. Gwllyc leaves a squad of his men to protect them in the unlikely event that the battle will reach the camp. Ban decides to join with Gwllyc's army and Drem accompanies him to the battlefield, but the other characters remain in the camp.

[OOC: the players didn't have a dog in this fight, so two (Mike & Neil) ran Gwllyc's army and two (Graham & Camo) acted on behalf of Lord Brochan]

The two commanders first try to manoeuvre their troops to choose the field of battle that advantages themselves the most. Brochan had abandoned his hillfort in order to fight, but could still occupy a choke-point in the earthworks, or else force his opponent to move through the disrupting terrain of the wood. Gwllyc could also use the wood, but winning the tactical contest he chose to position his warband on the slopes above the dale, granting him the advantage of elevation. He also had a small band of slingers, who he positioned on the west flank of Brochan's army, trapping them against the wood to the east. Brochan's force adopts a square formation [strength 75, frontage 37, depth 2]. Gwllyc's warband forms into a phalanx [strength 75, frontage 9, depth 8]. His slingers are in skirmish formation [strength 25, frontage 5, depth 5].

As the men form up, some personal challenges are taken. Brochan's champion is a hulk of a man called Niallan, well known in the district for his prowess. Ban decides to step up to accept the challenge. Drem provides him with a blessing, smearing him with the blood of an animal sacrifice. Ban is impressed by the warrior's skill, but grasping an opening manages to trip Niallan then follow through with a slashing blow to his calf. Niallan is forced to yield; Ban softens the blow of the defeat by admitting that he had the luck of the gods on his side [OOC: this is true — Luck Points gave him the victory]. Brochan's force are shaken by this swift dispatch of their champion, seeing it as a sign that perhaps Brochan's suit is not the better one [OOC: the army failed its Loyal to Brochan roll]

Lord Brochan then addresses his troops. He stresses the importance of oaths — of a man to his lord, and of a son to his father. He is able to counteract some of the superstitious dread that Niallan's defeat has caused. Gwllyc's attempt to rally his men could not have been more disastrous. Filled with bloodlust from Ban's success, he exhorts his men to destroy the enemy, to spill their blood and break their bones. These 'enemies' are the friends and relatives of his own troops, and the men are horrified. Gwyllc's battle cry of "Brochan must die!" is not picked up by his troops, and they hesitate to follow him to war. [OOC: they will automatically break on the first Morale check]

With Gwllyc's warband stalling on the hillside, Brochan's forces are beset by his sling-wielding skirmishers. Brochan takes the advantage but his men have no missiles of their own to hurt the irregulars. He orders his men to take cover behind their shields. Gwllyc finally manages to goad his men into a charge, and they descend from the higher ground to smash into Brochan's forces. They fail to break through the line, but inflict heavy casualties from the charge downhill. Brochan's spearmen are the first to be wounded and this shakes their morale.

Gwllyc capitalises on the advantage he has, driving his phalanx forward into Brochan's warband, shattering their formation. The force of the attack carries forward to his father's honour guard and the lord becomes a casualty, taking a serious wound to his leg and becoming Gwllyc's captive [OOC: A critical Command roll from Gwllyc and a failure from Brochan allows Shatter and Target Character as Battle Actions]. Realising that they are on the verge of breaking, Brochan's second-in-command Owyn attempts to rally the men, but fails.

Gwllyc's warriors continue to claim casualties, but it is the skirmishers who end the battle. They make a feigned retreat, and the shaken and disrupted warband fall for the ruse. The casualties they suffer combined with the loss of their leader make maintaining morale a herculean task for Owyn, and the army breaks. They scatter into the surrounding countryside and Gwllyc claims the victory.

When casualties are counted, Gwllyc has just 3 men down. Brochan lost 11, only one of which died. Ban distinguished himself in the fighting: not only did he win the personal challenge (+18 reward points) but he also fought courageously (recklessly?) for the entire battle (4 Battle Rounds, +8 reward points). Gwllyc is grateful for his actions, and rewards him with a Roman helmet [OOC: rolls a 25 out of 26%!]. When asked what happens now, Gwllyc answers that as long as King Lend does not interfere, Brochan and his wife and child will be given a farmstead or villa somewhere far away and left to their own devices (Brochan is King Lend's cousin; more punitive measures are not an option). He will occupy Caer Lwytgoed until his brother returns from Caer Guracon. Aiden is older, but Gwllyc has possession, so they have an equal claim. Most likely they will share the rulership until one of them has an heir.

Mark
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Re: Rain over the Summerlands: A Mythic Britain Campaign

Postby mark.s » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:58 am

Session Twenty (10th December 2015): The Road to Caer Wynd

Now that the battle in the valley is done, the Baddan contingent are safe to leave. As they pack up, Drem tracks down Pendaran. He reminds the druid of the story of two dogs who were so intent on fighting that they did not see the wolf waiting to slay the winner. Pendaran replies it is better to be a dog that fights than to invite the wolf into the meadhall and yet forget that he is a wolf. Saxons may imperil the lives of Britons but Christians imperil the soul. Both are servants of the Great White Dragon and he believes the latter to be the worse threat — precisely because it does not appear to be a threat. When questioned Pendaran admits to sending Eghan a dream, and Drem warns him about interfering with Dumnonian matters (because that's his job!).

Drem also has a word with the despondent and angry Cahal. He promises him that his vengeance is foretold by the gods, but rather than a shameful secret murder, Eghan's downfall will be public, and ruin him in the eyes of his lord. Cahal is heartened by this, especially because it has been promised by the gods. [OOC: Cahal made his Superstition roll]

The group sets off, and is soon leaving the Grey Wood and entering Saxon lands for the first time. They see little sign of Saxons themselves, except for a few men digging in the mud (Celts aren't great farmers). Brian rides ahead to scout out the lay of the land and scopes out the ford, the toll, and the hall of Northworthig where the lord called Icel makes his home.

As per the plan, the Baddan contingent camps about two miles south of the ford for the night, planning to cross it in the morning. Drem approaches the bishop, mostly to check he is no longer possessed by whatever gave him nightmares, but also to intimidate him. When the druid makes touch with the spirit world, he finds it harshly different to the familiar British Otherworld. The Saxon gods have taken root even in this newly-conquered land. Bishop Eghan is clean from whatever malicious spirit Pendaran had sicced on him.

During the night Brian hears a shout of alarm, coming from a long way away. He warns the other sentries, but wisely does not investigate himself. Before dawn, Drem breathes in his spirit companion Alwyn, and breathes out a fog that clothes the river valley, blocking the ford from the sight of Northworthig. The travelling party head down into the valley, with the characters up front. They find the toll unmanned and abandoned, with signs of a struggle.

Cwlhedric investigates the hovel used by the gate guards. In it he finds money collected from the toll, about 90 sodales in miscellaneous silver. Ban meanwhile locates a survivor, a Saxon warrior half-concealed in some bushes. The man is badly wounded, probably dying, and Ban gives him first aid. Newlyn manages to overcome his hatred for Saxons with the need to find out what happened here — particularly if it involves Northworthig where he has heard his sisters might be. He agrees to do some surgery on the Saxon's arm in the hope that it will prolong his life sufficiently to be questioned. Fortunately, Gwawl has been teaching Ban some Saxon and he decides to try it out. The man's name is Herebald and while Newlyn is preparing his tools for surgery, Ban asks him what happened. This is his tale, told in gasped-out sentences through gritted teeth

[I've only had a handful of Old English lessons, apologies to any who speak it properly]

"Hie agrettedon ond amyrðredon anum. Hie comon at nihte. Icel thegn aswor þedwrican. Ne he cunnade ic wæs cwicne. He þohte hie wæron sæxna dryhtmenn, swa swa hie wæron englan. Englan!"

[They attacked and murdered everyone. They came at night. Icel Thegn swore an oath to avenge us. He did not know I was alive. He thought they were Saxon warriors, but they were Englan instead. Englan!]

"Alædede huscalas fram Northworthigum. Afor Wodena-Bearu. Blota-bearu. Oþþigeoþ þa þrælas wieliscan."

[he left Northworthig with his warband, heading for Woden's Grove. A place of sacrifice. He took his British slaves.]

"Hæðor ofgengeþ heaðuwæde."

[Haedor (Saxon battle-god) demands blood of battle.]

Ban and Gwawl both understand enough Saxon to understand what he says, but Newlyn does not. While Newlyn begins cutting into the man's shattered arm, they have a quick discussion with Drem and Brian about what they should tell Newlyn…

Mark
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Re: Rain over the Summerlands: A Mythic Britain Campaign

Postby mark.s » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:59 am

Session Twenty One (16th December 2015): The Road to Caer Wynd

There was never really any doubt that Newlyn should know what Herebald said, given that he suspects one of his long-lost sisters may be one of Icel's British slaves. As Custennin and the rest of the delegation cross the ford, Drem announces that they should rest here in the fog while the characters scout ahead. There is evidence that Icel and his warband are ahead of them and it would be foolish to proceed without finding out the situation. This lie of omission is accepted, and before the characters have got even a mile up the road they spy a plume of smoke from a bonfire emerging from a copse on a hill that must be Woden's Grove.

On Brian's advice, the characters leave the road and tether Cwlhedric's horse nearby. They then sneak as a group to the foot of the hill, from where they can hear the Saxons around the bonfire. Brian and Ban creep forward for a closer look, and Brian proceeds alone to within sight of the warband. The bonfire is in a large clearing in the forest. Around the fire is a wide circle of twelve trees; each one has been cut at about seven feet high and the grotesque likeness of a Saxon god carved into it. Between the idols and the fire is the warband. There looks to be about a dozen men, including a man who is clearly the thegn. They are in various states of intoxication. One British man is already dead; he is tied to one of the statues and a spear thrust through his heart. A bare-chinned man is carefully collecting blood from the wound and using it to draw symbols on the helmets and weapons of the warriors.

Casting his eyes around, Brian sees two more captive Britons, a man and a woman. They are tied to one of the other statues, outside the circle. They have guards but the men are more interested in cheering and toasting the words of their war-chief than keeping an eye on the slaves.

Brian returns to the group and Newlyn's hopes are raised by his description of the woman: she has the same golden hair as his mother. After the usual arguments and impassioned discussion, a plan is formulated. Drem calls upon his father's spirit and asks Innis to grant Cwlhedric the swiftness of foot for which he was famed in life [OOC: the spirit casts Mobility]. Cwlhedric then goes to the point in the circle which is furthest from the prisoners and, wearing the helmet taken from Ascwell, expertly imitates a clumsy Saxon scout [OOC: not that he needed much help failing a Stealth roll…]. Icel Thegn commands his men to chase the scout, and Cwlhedric dashes off into the woods heading for his horse. In the meantime, the other characters have sneaked in from the other side, and Brian is sawing away at the ropes restraining the two prisoners to the statue of the barbarian god. Not all the Iclings chased off after Cwlhedric, and Brian does attract their attention. Two of them approach towards the noise they heard, but in their drunk state are not alerted to any danger. With the captives freed, Brian lies in wait for the unsuspecting Saxons. His spear flickers out from his concealment and impales one of the men in his arm. He withdraws it for more damage before the Iclings have even had a chance to raise their shields. His next blow catches the other warrior underneath his helmet from below, immediately dropping the man with a fearful blow [OOC: a critical hit gives him Bypass Armour and Choose Location: Head]. Before the remaining man can even react from surprise, Brian has withdrawn from the fight, sprinting for the cover of the bushes. Ban's thrown spear imbeds into the warrior's thigh; Brian throws another on a run but the man lurches out of the way. By now everyone is clear from the area and the characters vanish into the forest followed by screams of pain and shouts for assistance.

Cwlhedric has been steadily increasing his lead over the pursuing men. He manages to trip once, but thanks to Innis's help he doesn't appreciably lose his lead. He is able to leap into the saddle and set off at a run south towards the ford. The other characters have emerged from the wood further north, and from their hiding place in the ditch on the far side of the road they see Cwlhedric ride away, chased a minute later by eight Saxons in various stages of intoxication. Cwlhedric rides hard into the Baddan contingent, calling out to them that he is pursued. Hefeydd, Custennin's champion, calls for the men to form a shield wall. The Iclings find themselves facing a heavily armed force of Britons over twice their number. They wisely retreat as the contigent advances up the road, sweeping up the other characters as they head north.

The freed slaves are Rowyn and Kenneth. Rowyn is not Newlyn's sister, but does know her. Rowyn was bought in Lundenwic by Icel to match another slave that his wife already owned. Rowyn and Ydwina became close friends and shared many stories about her life, including stories of her brother Newlyn. Ydwina was sold at Ratae after she displeased Icel's wife (jealousy of her beauty may have been a factor). Rowyn doesn't know what happened to her after that.

Kenneth is a warrior of the Corieltauvi, who used to live around Ratae. The survivors fled to Elmet, although Kenneth was captured by the invading Saxons.

The Baddan delegation pushes on through Logres, eager to return to British lands. There is no sign of pursuit from Icel or his men. On the following day the characters spot a cloud of kites, clearly interested in a kill. They investigate, to find the dismembered body of a bear. An eagle sits on the corpse tearing off strips of meat while screaming at the thieving scavengers. Drem interprets this as an omen: the bear is the symbol of Dumnonia and Aelle Cyning is known to use an eagle standard. Sombre at the apparent message from the gods, the characters return to the road.

Mark
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Re: Rain over the Summerlands: A Mythic Britain Campaign

Postby mark.s » Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:01 am

Session Twenty Two (13th January 2016): The Winter Council

Around midday the characters spy a stone monolith overlooking the road, with the graven image of a face. This marks the passage into the territory of the Brigantes and Drem gradually feels the return of the familiar spirits as the power of the Saxon gods recedes.

Towards the end of the day the characters spy up ahead a lone man travelling in the same direction as them. He is old — in his eighties — and dressed only in a knee-length tunic and ratty cape. He is relieved to find the characters are fellow Britons. His name is Lailoken and he is travelling to Caer Wynd to meet up with his sister Gwenddydd. He is unclear over a number of details, such as where he comes from and to whom his sister is married, and the characters are distrustful of him. Nevertheless, Cwlhedric gives him his own fine cloak. They offer to let him travel with them, especially when he reveals he knows an alternate route to Caer Wynd. The road they are on, he says, sinks into the Great Mire well before it reaches Caer Conan. They want the northern route — admittedly more rough going but it will shave two days off the journey as well as avoid the perils of the Mire.

The characters still do not trust Lailoken. At dusk Drem casts his thoughts into the Spirit World hoping to catch the attention of a passing spirit. A wind spirit is drawn to the presence of Drem's own companion, and descends from his lofty journey to exchange words with the druid. From the wind Drem learns that a greedy god called Abus has captured and defiled the Eight Mothers [OOC: the Abus is the Humber Estuary which forms a shallow bay nearly 40 miles further inland than the modern day. The Eight Mothers are the eight rivers that feed into the estuary]. He desires to spread even further inland, and the Great Mire is not safe.

With Drem's support behind Lailoken's route, the decision is made. The old man has made himself comfortable by the fire in Cwlhedric's cloak, and has helped himself to a substantial amount of dinner. He then settles down for the night in front of the fire and is soon snoring loudly. Throughout the night he makes frequent trips to relieve himself, disturbing everyone as he does so. During Brian's turn on watch, he catches Lailoken staring at him with an unusual intensity which unnerves the superstitious Irishman.

At breakfast Cwlhedric is chagrined to see the state of the cloak he leant Lailoken. His wife's careful needlework is now stained with phlegm and the cloth is stained with mud, ****, and other unmentionables. Regardless of his hygiene issues, the man is true to his word, and under his guidance Caer Wynd is in sight after just one more night, a saving of two whole days. Drem calculates from the stars that they are here two days before Imbolc; giving them a chance to settle in and enjoy the feast before the High Council.

Caer Wynd is surrounded by an impressive wall within a ring of earthworks, and the gate bears the carved emblem of Elmet, a bull's head. Banners of two dozen kings and lords flutter from the ramparts and the walls are bulging with the number of people within. Having installed Lord Custennin in the round hut reserved for his use, the characters search around for a place to pitch their own tents. Through Cwlhedric's barked orders and Gwawl's diplomacy they manage to secure a storehouse big enough for twelve to fifteen. The five characters are joined by Boyd, Gwawl, Kenneth, Rowen, and Lailoken (who has yet to find his sister). Drem ensures their neighbours will not encroach with some posturing and ritual urination at the four quarters. They find themselves between a group of Christian Brigantes from Olicana on one side and fellow Dumnonians from Kernow on the other. Lord Cahal is only a few fires away.

Kenneth has met up with some comrades and brings them to meet the characters. Osian, Elidor, and Medyr, along with Kenneth, were warriors in Lord Cailte's warband and were all present when Ratae fell. They want to meet the men who freed Kenneth from Englan clutches. With the Corieltauvi almost extinct, every rescued tribesman is a boon. They have brought with them mead tainted with bitter herbs. They ask if the characters will hear the tale of doomed Ratae and drink the mead with them. This way the city and the tribe will not be forgotten. After the solemn retelling of the military disaster the mood is maudlin. They switch to untainted mead and change the subject to more mundane things, and everybody gets comfortably drunk, even Drem. Medyr suggests that they commemorate their brotherhood with tattoos — he just so happens to have his ink and needles with him. Bryan, Newlyn and (again, uncharacteristically) Drem are soon sporting the knotted serpent symbol of the Corieltauvi. With it comes a pledge of aid from the four warriors, on the understanding that is there is ever an opportunity to retake Ratae, the characters will stand with them. The rest of the night is lost in an alcoholic haze.

Mark
Check out my website for Mythic Britain & Runequest goodies!
mark.s
 
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Re: Rain over the Summerlands: A Mythic Britain Campaign

Postby mark.s » Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:05 am

Phew!

Twenty two sessions in, and we have finally got to the Winter Council, the first adventure of the Mythic Britain Campaign.

Needless to say, everything from hereon in is potentially a spoiler, so if you are currently (or going to be) playing this published series of stories then proceed with caution. Here be dragons...

Mark
Check out my website for Mythic Britain & Runequest goodies!
mark.s
 
Posts: 85
Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:07 am

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