Game Location: July 23, 2015, at the house of Ron W. (Wheat Field Circle in Bluffton, SC).
James P.: Turpin deLoure – French Christian
John H.: Galien – French Christian
John S.: Celsus – Roman Christian
Josh K.: Romulus – Roman Christian
Rod F.: Jaufre – Occitanian Christian
Ron W.: Damahaut – Cymric Christian
Tony G.: Donecus – Roman Jew
Absent: Robbie W: Riorden O’Fergus – Irish Pagan
Guest: David C., who played Riorden on Robbie’s behalf
Mini-Adventure: A Lesson in Stewardship
Theronde the Sage, sensing that the characters would receive their own lands soon, decided to give them lectures in Stewardship. While at his home, some of the characters noticed a book open on his table showing an illustration of a black raven with blood red beak, legs and claws. This, of course, resembled the live raven they saw at the end of Session 9, which was greedily eying the silver and sapphire bracelet belonging Countess Lanna. The Latin text accompanying the picture had the following title, “Veneficia Corvos” (i.e., “sorcery for ravens”). Theronde explained that there was a spell a person could cast on a raven’s egg, allowing it to raise the creature to do his bidding. Having heard about the strange raven which was spotted in Beale Valet, the sage was doing some research, suspecting that all this ties into some of the strange thefts which have been occurring in the region.
The Knighting of Sir Celsus
Squire Celsus was knighted this year, and successfully did the Leap. He is the last original member of the Company of the Crimson Hawk to “receive his spurs.”
The Huntington Campaign Anniversary Ritual
We started the Huntington Campaign on July 18, 2014, with the first adventure being: “The Battle of St. Albans” (A.D. 495). It took place in the Guild Hall’s Atrium building with the Huntington Campaign having the distinction of being the first event (game or otherwise) held there since it was purchased by the Guild Hall.
Being the Huntington Campaign game for July of 2015, Session 10 included a special anniversary ritual which involved the lighting of a candle dedicated to St. George. The Roll of Membership was then read aloud, being the list of all players and guests at the Pendragon table over the previous 12 months. Although this ritual is meant to also include a mention of character fatalities, there were none to report thus far in the campaign. The names of the characters who had achieved knighthood during the first ten sessions were then announced.
Next, the ritual involved a reminder of how the characters first heard the Prophecy of Caesennia (from Session 5; A.D. 499), and then the prophecy was recited.
The Anniversary Ritual concluded with three brief games of chance: High Roll, Highest Card, and the Hi Lo Card Game. The winners of these contests received game perks.
The silver bracelet adorned with sapphires belonging to Countess Lanna, the same one that was used last year in the Quest of Raul the Fool, has been stolen! According to what people are saying, it disappeared from the royal chambers of the Castle of Beale Valet. Earl Dafydd is infuriated and was heard saying “Enough is enough! This plague of thievery must come to an end!” Castle servants are being questioned and soldiers are conducting a house-to-house search throughout the entire county.
Minerva & the Magic Sword
Minerva (the Witch of Raven Wood) told Donecus that it was her old spell book which Regmar the Brigand King found and is currently using. In addition to learning her nature-oriented magic, he has learned demonic magic on his own. For example, he used demonic magic to summon the Hell Steed, and to forge a powerful weapon called the Mace Malevolence.
So far, Minerva has enchanted Donecus’ sword to have the following properties:
1) Enhanced sharpness & balance, resistance to breakage.
2) Protection from demonic magic.
3) Slaying Power vs. Regmar.
However, all these abilities rest within the metal of the sword as latent powers. None of them are in effect until Minerva does the final activation ritual. She was willing to go ahead and do that during this game session, but offered to delay it another year if Donecus wanted to have one additional enchantment placed upon it. If he got her the much praised and much maligned herb known as jo jo jo po, she could make the sword’s special slaying power extend from Regmar to include anyone in his bloodline. Knowing that Regmar has at least three sons who may one day grow to be powerful adversaries, Donecus decided to get the jo jo jo po.
Where is Sir Kendrick?
[Royal Insignia Adventure #1, based on the episode “Where is Everybody” from The Twilight Zone ]
Two quests were available, and Earl Dafydd decided that they would be good tests for Sir Jaufre and Sir Celsus, both of whom were recently knighted. Celsus was randomly determined to go on the first one, involving the search for a knight named Sir Kendrick. Damahaut, Donecus, Riorden and Romulus accompanied him.
According to Theronde the Sage, in A.D. 468, a bachelor knight named Sir Kendrick went to a place called Oakwood in the faerie realm to find a legendary stash of diamonds. His intention was to bring them to King Aurelius whose war chest was almost depleted in his ongoing battle against the evil King Vortigern. Merlin the Magician (as a young man but still renowned for his magical talents) led Kendrick to a faerie ring within the Savauge Forest and used a magic dust derived from the belladonna plant to summon a portal. The enchantment had to be activated at midnight during a special alignment of the stars and planets, and it would only allow a single person to enter. Moreover, the portal was only temporary, and closed at the rising of the sun. Kendrick stepped through it and was never heard from again. King Aurelius later erected a monument in the City of London commemorating Kendrick’s bravery.
In his travels, Theronde acquired a wooden box adorned with an image of the bird known as a merlin. In contained jars of various herbs, most of which were old and useless, but there was one which had fresh belladonna. Theronde determined the belladonna to be enchanted, and theorized that this box once belonged to Merlin. He believed that he could not only reproduce Merlin’s process for making the magic dust, but even improve upon it. Whereas Merlin’s portal would only allow one person to enter, Theronde’s would (theoretically) allow five. But there was no limit as to how many could come back through it, including Kendrick and whatever denizens of the faerie realm deigned to follow! Because the proper alignment of stars and planets had once more occurred (the first time in 36 years), it was time to launch a rescue mission for Kendrick, or at least bring back his remains for a proper Christian burial.
Skipping ahead a bit, Celsusm Damahaut, Donecus and Riorden successfully made it through the portal, leaving the night-shrouded Forest Savauge and appearing in a sunlit forest along a road. The road took them to a tavern which seemed to be fully open for business (plates and mugs on the tables, food cooking in the kitchen, etc.) but no one was there. The road led to Oakwood, which appeared as a typical British town (of Phase 1). Everything seemed in pristine condition, but the place was completely deserted. The town square contained five statues of knights brandishing swords along its borders, and statue of a woman holding a bowl and a sword stood in the center. Each statue was carved from some type of reddish stone, and the bowl contained several uncut diamonds. The diamonds, though, were immaterial; an illusion.
Shortly after this, the knights heard the sound of a harp and a man singing an old Cyrmic folksong. Following the sound, they eventually found Sir Kendrick, who has lived alone in Oakwood for the past 36 years. Nevertheless, he had not aged a day since he stepped through the portal. Kendrick had no idea why a humanlike town was in the faerie realm, nor why it was deserted (although the town’s food and supplies perpetually renewed themselves). Sometimes faeries visited him out of curiosity, but when he asked questions about the mystery of the town, they would simply say, “Well, these things happen.”
Kendrick was more than willing to return to Britain, but not without the stash of diamonds that he came for in the first place. Even though King Aurelius was long dead, Earl Dafydd could use such funds in his battles with the Saxons. During his time in the faerie realm, Kendrick had learned that pouring water from the local well upon the diamonds caused them to obtain material substance, but it also caused the statues to animate and attack any who attempted to take them. The party of knights agreed to assist him, resulting in a big slugfest with these enchanted statues. The party prevailed and managed to get back through the portal before it closed. However, after exiting the faerie realm, they discovered that the diamonds had turned into worthless red stones.
The Angel of Death
[Royal Insignia Adventure #2, based on the episode “One for the Angels” from The Twilight Zone ]
The second quest was undertaken by Jaufre, Galien & Turpin. Three nuns were passing through Beale Valet with a little girl named Enith, the daughter of a knight named Sir Endwalt. The girl was obviously sick, and had to be transported in a carriage. According to the nuns, last year Sir Endwalt and his wife refused hospitality to a poor old woman in ragged clothes. The appearance of the old lady changed to that of a younger woman in elegant attire, who identified herself as Queen Ester of Boston. In anger, she slew Enith’s parents with black magic and pronounced a curse upon Enith, requiring her to journey to the cottage where she was born (a house which is now lying in ruins in the woods near Langston Village). She must be there at midnight on her birthday (i.e., that very night) and must journey into the woods alone, doing this vigil alone. If she did not make it, she would die before the sun rose. Unfortunately, her health was so frail, there was the danger of her dying of exposure regardless of the curse.
If Enith made it to the cottage in time and survived her illness, the curse would only grant her five more years of life, and then kill her regardless of where she was or what she did. The curse could only be broken if a blood relative was there at midnight to give her a drink of wine mixed with a drop of his or her own blood. But her only known relative was an uncle named Sir Ernorbat, who made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land six years ago and had not been heard from since. The nuns were to take Enith to the woods and then she was go the rest of the way alone. The knights are to act as escort, and then retrieve her, or her corpse, in the morning.
Along the way, Jaufre encountered a man with black hair and black robes who identified himself as an angel of death. No one else could see or hear him. The angel told Jaufre that his visit was a type of precognition, and that he was destined to die in his sleep that very night. The angel said that an appeal could be granted upon one of three conditions: 1) his death would cause an undue burden upon a wife and children (but Jaufre was not married at the time), 2) he was on the brink of a great discovery that would benefit humanity (which was not applicable to Jaufre, either), or 3) he had a great mission to fulfill. Jaufre said that the latter condition applied, because he had not seen the conclusion of the quest involving Enith. The angel claimed that he had a quota to fill, and if he did not take Jaufre that night then he would certainly take Enith. But the angel then communed with the heavenly choirs and learned that neither the fate of Jaufre nor Enith was set in stone, and both their lives would be spared (at least for the time being) if Enith was saved “…from the bear man.” The Angel of Death then vanished.
After Enith ventured into the woods by herself, a peasant boy came to the knights and told him that he saw a mean looking knight in the forest whose heraldry displayed a red bear on a black shield. This identified him as Sir Sagfallon the Scoundrel. He was overheard speaking to a ghostly apparition of a woman whom he called “Your Majesty.” She said that she wanted “that miserable little brat dead” and that he was to insure that she does not make it out of these woods alive. Could this be the “bear man” the angel spoke of?
A peasant girl (the sister of the boy) then appeared, telling the knights that she saw a crazed looking man wandering in the woods, naked except for a loincloth. He was dirty and disheveled, carried a bag and a huge spiked club, and was muttering “Enith, Enith, Enith.” The party realized that when the angel said to protect Enith from “the bear man”, he could have actually been saying, “bare man.”
The mother of these children then arrived, and told the knights that she saw a savage-looking Saxon warrior, dressed in chainmail and brandishing a sword & shield, stomping through the woods. Instead of a helmet he wore the skull of a bear, and used its bear hide as a mantle. Naturally, this could be the “bear man” destined to threaten Enith.
The three knights had to divide themselves and confront each of these challenges. Jaufre tracked down Sir Sagfallon the Scoundrel and knocked him unconscious in single combat. He later turned him over to the local sheriff.
Jaufre clashed with the Saxon warrior and slew him.
Turpin confronted the “bare man” and learned that he was none other than Sir Ernorbat, the uncle of Enith. He had learned of her plight and wanted to break her curse. Unfortunately, he was waylaid by brigands who robbed him of everything and left him for dead. A poor peasant family gave him a loincloth, sack, portion of wine and knife (they had nothing better to give). They helped him fashion the club in case he encountered more brigands. Exposure had made him sick, resulting in a fever and sneezing fits. Turpin was worried that he was the “bare man” the Angel of Death spoke of, who would unintentionally get Enith sick, causing her to die due to her already frail condition. But Turpin figured that he had to let Ernobat go on his way, because a chance of death was better than certain death. Turpin gave him a cloak and Ernobat eventually found his niece in time, giving her the wine mixed with a drop of his blood. She survived the night and the curse was broken. Although the characters had no way of knowing, fate had determined that Sir Sagfallon would have gotten lost in the woods, but the Saxon warrior would have stumbled upon Enith and Ernobat, killing them both (had he not been stopped). The Saxon, therefore, was the “bear man” the Angel of Death warned the party about.
The Granting of Estates
Earl Dafydd decided to elevate the status of the characters to vassal knights, giving them estates along the south-east border of Huntington County to serve as a buffer between his realm and the Saxons in the Kingdom of Essex. Using the procedure previously determined by Riddle Quest #9, the knights received the following fiefs as grants:
Barrow Hill – Sir Romulus
Madison Wells – Sir Jaufre
Rook’s Watch – Sir Damahaut
Saint’s Ford – Sir Kendrick
Seven Pines – Sir Galien
Thaddeus Hall – Sir Celsus
The Doleful Moors – Sir Donecus
The Fell Marches – Sir Turpin
Wolf Hollow – Sir Riorden