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Flashing blades: the Man Behind the Mask (Part Un) 

Cauldroneers Antoine, Chevalier Remi and Joesph are enjoying a quiet nice their house mates away on campaign or banking business. They are visited by an rough English seaman Johnny Coppers and s mute Spaniard Perdu who offer them an interview with the Archduke De Mainz who wants the Cauldroneers to do him a service. 

They accept and go the following morning to the Archduke’s hunting lodge outside Paris. Taken by his spartan study especially yellowing Italian texts with strange devices in their pages. The gold masked Archduke commissions the PCs to take his armoured carriage, Perdu and take a sealed letter to Marsailles before getting the next stage of their mission. He promises them great reward of wealth, position or favour despite a stern cross examination by the Chevalieur.

On the road south the party note they are followed by red carriage they manage to lose. Later on the journey they find the red carriage has been asking for them at inns having over taken. Taking a route to avoid ambush the Cauldroneers manage to overcome brigands in the  Inn of  Mother Blue Coat mascarading as staff to the thanks of the Magistrate of the local town of  Valence. 

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Flashing blades: the Tavern de Beverage Noir 

Claudroneers Joesph, Antoine and Chevalier Remi go their local tavern to gamble and drink. Antoine gambles with the ill mannered and poor loosing Baron Jean Paul de Gilloir which results in accusations of cheating and brawl with the nobleman and his henchmen. Victory for our heroes follows and the Baron sent with a flea in his ear swearing revenge. Only Remi suffers a damaged hand impeding his theological studies. 

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Flashing Blades: Adventures of the Cauldroneers! 


I’m running Flashing Blades ! Here are our Characters you share lodgings at the House of the Bubbling Cauldron.

Stefan d’Anjou: (soldier) A tall Royal Dragoon of average build, he has a medium complexion, Dark hair, bright blue eyes and an anchor beard. His clothes are the fashion from about 5 years ago but quite serviceable. He wears a low slung belt from which hangs a cavalry sabre and a leather pouch. A flintlock is attached to a cross body leather sash along with 6 charges. He is often seen fingering a couple of #lucky# dice that he will sometimes roll if asked something. Pausing to look at the result before replying. His rank is in limbo while we negotiations continue on a loan from Jean de Griz to purchase a commission.

Joseph La Fontainbleu: (Gentleman?a young man high of voice and clean of chin, but even at a young age has the tanned skin of a life spent often outdoors, A noble by rank and dress, he nevertheless seems lacking in some of the more modern graces, as befits his obscure country upbringing. He has clear hazel eyes and unruly brown hair he keeps pulled back from his face. He carries a rapier and main gauche, along with a bow carried on his prize possession; a fine horse brought from home. Accompanied by a lackey Pierre Davide , a cousin of their landlord, who has a pleasant, open, face and as the son of tinker speaks man languages and leans on a heavy quarterstaff.

Chevalier Remi Sordeau: (Gentleman) Of average height with broad shoulders, a barrel chest and a growing paunch, his dark cropped hair and fair complexion give little away about his lineage. Yet this is never an issue for those he meets, for his pleasant, disarming demeanour and engaging repartee wins him both friends and influence in the right places.

When travelling or ‘on business’ Remi likes to be prepared and wears padded armour, gauntlets and boots. For many years Remi has developed a habit of testing his disguises and can frequently be found after dark in various establishments playing out one role or another. Some people know him as Pierre, others as Armand, yet others as Guillaume – some of these people are friends to his other identities; he knows of their business, families and mistresses. His disguises and espionage skills have led him to uncover the identities of a number of heretics. Remi’s crucifix is worn on a strong chain; although he has never used it as such, he wonders whether it could be used as a garotte.

During daylight hours Remi is devout man, some might say a religious fanatic. He is driven by his duty to God and the Church and by his loyalty to the Knights of the Dagger. He is also studying at a Jesuit Seminary for the Priesthood.

Antoine Sapine: (Rogue)

Antoine is best described as “short & thin”: coming from a poor family, his father died when he was young, leaving him to fend for himself on the streets – a fact that left him malnourished for most of his formative years, hence his small stature and general impoverishment.

Despite his upbringing, he is surprisingly dextrous – a skill that was essential to his surviving this long. Whilst his clothes are of (very) poor quality, he does possess a good quality rapier, which he guards jealously.

Jean de Griz (gentleman) a hot blooded banker with a substantial fortune and nose for intrigue. 

A brief word on lodging the characters live in the Maison de chaudron bouillonnant (the House of the Bubbling Cauldron) owned by Anton Davide  it is in the heart of Paris opposite the rough but adventuresome Tavern de Beverage Noir (Bar of the Black Drink) a scurrilous alehouse. 

The lodgings are comfortable with the PCs having rooms on the ground floor and a shared sitting room and the family an apartment above but surprisingly cheap. There is a shared kitchen. Natural any lackey sleeps on the floor. 

Why is it cheap ? Why Anton is alchemist and his basement bubbles and stinks with the occasional experiment puts the less courageous tenant off! 

Anton Davide – the Landlord ! 

Anton’s father was a successful merchant based in the Christian quarter of Tangiers who returned to France to live of his investments. Unfortunately the investments collapsed but Anton secured an income though his wife who was a wealthy widow the beautiful and flirtatious Francesca who has a healthy rental income from city properties. He also has a job as a minor official at the Hotel de Maison (City Hall) but this takes very little time. This frees Anton to pursue his primary loves clubbable company, political banter and alchemy.

To be fair Anton is excellent company – he has particular hobby horses and is prone to ramble on in them in a succession of stage whispers and comedy asides. Primarily amongst those is the Divine right and infallibility of Kings, the woeful advisers surrounding the monarch and the economic curative that state backing of alchemy would produce. As Anton doesn’t have the ear of anyone important this rambling doesn’t get him into trouble but if he ever did…the Cardinal’s agents may take a poor view of it.

Anton’s second tier of conversation is sport – horse racing, cock fights, bull baiting, duelling…anything really though his conversation on this topic is fuelled more than opinion than knowledge and he rarely puts a wager were his mouth is. His third is gossip.

Anton’s alchemical experiments don’t seem to get very far – Anton asserts this is due to lack of funding. However a neutral observer may consider that his numerous social engagements at taverns and coffee houses, the innumerable circuits of chats between chores and his ability to be distracted by new theories and equipment might be the problem. Focus is not Anton’s strong point.

Anton is a loyal husband though he has yet to be blessed with children; he is also a loyal son of the Church and pays his taxes.

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Cheshire Pendragon: Year 498

The year starts with a bang as the grateful Bella of Oswestry forces her may into the Dux’s villa to announce a Sugales-Orfoise army is on the march attacking in alliance with Cameliard.

Sir Renauld is despatched to secure the aid of King Rhyons of Norgales with the Squire Errin.

Rumours of King Pellinore being held a prisoner in the midst of the Sugales Army and the expectation that he will be used to provoke some mischief with Norgales sees the Squires Piran, Spurius and Mathuin despatched to se eif they can rescue him.

Embassy to Dinas Bran

Sir Renauld bonds with King Rhyons who is suspicious of Cheshire cowardice. He also discovers Brother Padrig (that Sir Hannibal met in Moels) has converted the Norgales to christanity though ths does not seem to stop the rapine and cannibalism of the court. He sympathises with Father Michael the priest assigned as Rhyon’s confessor and meets Sir Belsen the rough hewn Castilian of Dinas Bran. The Armies of Norgales ride to the aid of Cheshire.

Attack of the Squires 

Confirming the prisoner as King Pellinore the Squires concoct a plan whereas Piran escorts Spurius as a Pirsoner and Mathuin will create a firey diversion.

Piran is escorted into the midst of the Sugales camp escorted by Spurius. The Roman Squire stands out a little but there are Roman mercenaries amongst the throng so he is able to blag his way past curious on lookers (valorous check for both Squires for keeping their nerve.)

The Suglaes-Orfoise Army is a throng of civilised Cymric knights, Squires and men-at-arms, wild mountain men, Mercenaries not only Romans but Irish from Estregales, Franks and Saxons. Piran will recognises and draws his cloak around his head when Orofoise and Cameliard knights he saw at Guinevere’s christening pass close. Eventually you draw close to Pellinore – his cage is attended by a burly man at arms with a spear and shield.
Mathuin means while assembled his kindling only to be interrupted by a peasant boy shepherding goats he cannot bring himself to slaughter the boy and blows his cover to provide a diversion, Defeating a guard Piran and Spurius escape with the delirious guilt-laden King. Exiting the camp they comes across the Lady Ygraine – to be exled north for talking to Piran of the secrets of the order and she gives them some time to escape before raising alarms.
Sir Gregory of Stafford leading a small contingent of Cameliard with the Sugales force chases Mathuin and captures him with the aids of his sallow and sinster comrades the three brother Cerebus.  He hoists Mathuin on a st Andrews cross and promises him unending torment in revenge for his brotThe her. So great is the Knights quest for vengeance that he has sworn himself to the Devil and the brothers Cerebus, expert trackers each, as his reward.
The View from the Beeston Crag 
The Knights engaged in observation spot a Cameliard force advancing on Middlewhich. Sir Anerin and Sr Gato ride out for close reconissance and end up defeating and capturing Sir Brutus  and Sir Alfred, exiled Knights of Gotham, refugees from the Saxons now serving under King Leogandance. While they garner intelligence Sir Hannibal and Sir Gilmere encounter an insect munching knife wielding maniac Reinfield who professes to love of ‘the Master’ tied to the prior home of the blood sucking lice – Beeston Crag.
The Battle of Chirk 
King Rhyons with Sir Renauld accompanying him leads his army to the village of Chirk where they meet the Sugales force. King Pellinore left by Spurius as he seeks Renaulds council and as Piran goes back to rescue his friend Mathuin wanders onto the battlefield confused,. he is nearly killed by King Rhyon’s mighty bow but Renauld provides a distraction.
Battle is grave and bloody. Renauld  leads a cavalry force round the flanks but misses the master stroke of King Belisans of Sugales who had hidde cavalry Renauld rode past which attack the Norgales flank causing King Rhyons to hold the line while his Army escapes the field. Spurius has a failing of will be is surely injured in the retreat. Piran manages to slip behind the lines and rescue the half crucified Mathuin.
Pellinore is found after the battle surrounded by bodies and escorted to Chester by Spurius – the confused King has a curious battle sanity that seems to leave him as the thrill of battle grows old.
The Battle of Middlewich
The kignhts of the Crag rejoin at Middlewhich and judging the townfolk incapable of a defence fake a garrison with scarecrows and antics by local village lads in order to trick king Leogandance to deploy his army to take the town. They are joined by Cunwrich a rider for Rhyons despatched to tell them of the defeat at Cirk. Sir Gilmere parlys with the King to create further delays but seeing he is getting nowhere challenges the King to single combat.
Give King Leogandance is still sore that his favoured Knight (Sir Gregory) has sworn himself a Satanist due to Sir Gilmere order the torture of his brother (Sir Geoffrey.) THe King accepts. Int he course of an epic battle the Sir Gato and Sir Hannibal evacuate the townsfolk and at the end both Leogandance and Gilmere lie bleeding an unconscious on the battlefield. Despite the narrow victory for Sir Gilmere the Cameliard forces sack the town.
Sir Anerin meanwhile has scouted for forces of Cameliard – identifies a force of Roman siege engineers. Caputirng and then killing their leader he makes it look  like the activity of the Cameliard forces leading the Romans to quite the army. he further exercises his capacity for deception by pretending to be  a rider from King Belisans telling the grievously wounded Leogandance that the Suglaes Army is defeated in retreat. Consequently following the raising of Middlewich the Cameliard forces starts to head south.
The Battle of Wrexham
The Dux taking the advice of his Knights rides south to check the Sugales Army. Renauld is again despite wounds that keep Mathuin and Spurius in Chester under Brother Cadfel’s care sent out to parley with Rhyons. King Leogandance is also in Chester.
The Chester forces meet Sugales outside Wrexham. Outnumbered they charge the skirmishers giving the Chester foot a chance for an orderly withdrawal then regroup behind their foot before repeating the process. They do this three times – with Hannibal losing his horse and behind surrounded and captured despite having being rescued once by Piran. All are gravely injured.  Rhyons arrives all 8 foot of him charging on foot at the head of his cavalry but on thi day King Bellisans is a better general than Dux or King of Norgales and manages to escape with his army in good order. The allies shepherd the Suglaes Amry back to Orfoise taking crops and mounts but enter Winter anxious for renewed hostilities.
All is not grim – Sir Anerin manages to ride upon the battle late and pulling a similar deception claiming to be a Knight of Camelird purchases Sir Hannibals freedom even if he cannot restore his dignity.
But Sir Gilmere is changed hands at Stafford a taken to suffer innumerable indignities at the hands of Sir Gregory and the brothers Stafford. Who will save him ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sir Gato, Sir Anerin, Sir Hannibal and Sir Gilmere ride swiftly and make camp on the blasted top of the Crag. From there they have a view in 8 counties and kingdoms.

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Cheshire Pendragon Year 497

There were Four adventures in the year.

The Adventure of the Moel’s Mission

Sir Hannibal and his Roman squire Spurius travel to Moels to help Admiral Nemo keep an eye out for raiders. On route they pass Thor’s Rock where the Formorion was kiIlled. The rock is surrounded by a ‘green chapel’ of undergrowth – investigating they disturbed a strange green ogre which fled roaring into the Wirral forest leaves tendrils attached to it bleeding curious sap. It seems the site maintains it’s magical properties – does the great emerald warrior have any connection to the wildling’s witch Munro?

At Moels the Knight and Squire are entertained by Sir Nemo who complains of cattle theft. They meet the cantankerous Father Padrig on route to Ireland to convert the heathen after missionary efforts in Norgales. After a feast they are awoken by the Moels hoestead on fire – marshalling fire fighting efforts with Padrig they find out livestock has been stolen.

Racing across the sands, accompanied by Marines under Optio Semperfis, they are ambushed by from the dunes following a false trail laid by the wily cattle thieves. Battle ensues and having interrogated a prisoner they chase through the forested hill of Wallasey aware they at being tracked and surrounded in the undergrowth. They come to a surprisingly civilised settlement around a natural harbour (or ‘pool’) not fancying their chances against the palisade and well armed warriors they parley wit the old Crone who runs the settlement ‘Mother Red Cap.’ The settlement, Wallasey was abandoned by the Romans and has had to fend for itself against Irish and the wildlings. Sir Nemo’s men have attacked her’s on sight leading to the cattle raids. She proposes peace for her being married to a knight and bringing the village into Cheshire. Sir Hannibal already married agrees to take her proposition to the Dux.

The Adventure of Guinevere’s Christening 

Sir Renauld and his Squire Piran ride with the Dux under the truce with Cameliard. The Dux entrusts Renauld with gathering intelligence at the wedding on matters in Camelird, Orfoise and the whereabouts of King Pellinore the fallen king of Norgales, replaced by the monstrous King Rhyons and reduced to hunting the Questing Beast.

At Stafford they learn of the continuing fury of Sir Gregory of Stafford for Cheshire in general and those who tortured his brother Sir Geoffrey in particular. They meet Ganieda, Merlin’s half sister who appears to have some leadership position amongst the Sisters of Minerva a pagan order. They discover she is in conflict with Friar Stephen over who has care of the baby Princess Guinevere and members of the sisterhood are spread throughout Logres and the south.

Renauld discovers via an embassy arranged by Sister of Minerva Lady Nia that Cameliard’s ally Orfoise is being led to conflict with Chester by it’s liege lord King Belisans of Suglaes who is engaged in a struggle with King Rhyons for the Welsh mountains. At the Christening a clash breaks out between the rivals of Clarence and Gloucester but Renauld pacifies the fighters and in gratitude he is awarded mounts for him and Piran by King Leogandance.

Piran charms a younger Sister of Minerva Ygraine and discovers the following about the order:

” Of course the sisterhood of Minerva predates the Romans – it’s the Celtic goddess Belisama who is our ultimate patron but a Roman name turns the heads of lords and ladies….
I don’t pretend to understand what goes on between Ganedia and Merlin – he seems perfectly fine to me but she can’t stand him. It’s confusing but it’s something to do with we provide the flesh and he provides the steel ? Then we guard the steel and he guards the flesh? – whatever that means? It’s all above my ranking in the mysteries but you hear bits you know…” when they leave Lady Ygraine is seen in tears.

 

The Adventure of clearing Beeston Crag

Sir Gilmere and Mathuin are sent to clear Beeston Craf so that a castle may be built there and enable a watch to be set over the south of the county. Talking to Brother Cadfel the confessor of the Dux and a keen man of letters they here a strange tale that the crag is the head of a giantess killed by Brutus the Trojan ancestor of the Britons when he claimed this islands and rumours the crag is haunted by the dreams of the dead giantess.

The truth is more mundane and more terrifying. They find after losing a horse a horde of blood sucking intelligent lice the size of small dogs. Fighting them off they escape and return with Brother Cadfel. (It turns out Cadfel has no liking for Merlin ‘the magnesium dust wielding charlatan.) ‘ With the brothers wit and there keen eyes they convert a wagon to spout Greek fire burning the forest and the lice.  However they are surrounded at night an the pumps jam – through heroism with holy water, fire and sword they destroy the rest and indeed the ‘Mother of all lice’ and thousands of nits she protected having to flee on a brakeless wagon hurtling down the slope as the top of the crag explodes behind them.

The Adventure of Watching upon the Tarn 

Sir Gato and Anerin are assigned to watch upon the Tarn for Cameliard perfidy during the truce. In so doing they comes across a parade of a Baachus type figure with parodies of Baachante and Satyrs around him and a elederly Silenius type figure. Approaching they are set upon and find the defeating the attackers find evidence of cannibalism bbut their attackers are local lads and lasses. The Baachus admits that Silenius is the actual cult leader and despite being pursued he manages to escape.

The Chester men come across the village of Oswestry and find the youngsters have ran off to join the cult where Silenius has taken over the Kynaston caves as his cult centre. It had been a home to a pagan witch Kynas but she had been driven out by the visiting Cameliard fanatic Friar Stephen who unleashed some spirit she’d had imprisoned.

Sir Gato and Anerin ride out. The Wizard seems more erect and less pot bellied than before with uniformly filed teeth. Aided by stout Oswestry alewife Bella and cudgel welding folk of Oswestry they find his followers taken on a demonic aspect in this his place of power. Through strong hearts and strong arms they force there way on forcing him to flee

The gratitude of Oswestry shall prove a boon to Cheshire in 498AD

Anerin’s Wedding 

Anerin is knighted and becomes the husband of Mother Redcap. After rough handling and an adventure in the caves of Wallasey he joins the Cult of the Labyrinth which prepares him for the rough handling of his wiry crone of his wife…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Adventure of Watching upon the Tarn 

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Dissecting Worlds University (v.1) 

Based on a recent excellent episode of the almost educational podcast I’ve put together my ‘ all time faculty’ for a fictional university. I didn’t the time restraints they did recording a podcast  so have expanded facilities and because this is based on US system we have sports coaches. 

University of New Brighton 

Sports teams: The Seagulls 

Chancellor: Bessie Braddock

Motto: Through struggle to the Stars 

Heads of facility 

History: Robert E Howard 

Economics: Arnold Swarzeneggar 

Mathematics: Ibn al-Haytham

English Language Arts: George Orwell

Physics:  Mary Somerville 

Biology: Mary Anning

Chemistry: Marie Curie

Medicine: Mary Seacole

Engineering: Hedy Lamarr

Art:  Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun

Music: David Bowie

Politics and Government: Talleyrand 

International Relations: Duc de Richelieu 

Business: David Allen 

Sports: Percy Cerruty

Soccer Coach: Johnny King

Cricket Coach: Duncan Fletcher 

So what do think and I wonder what my podcast partners would do with this challenge. 

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Devacon Game: Mystery at Melchester Rovers

I am lucky enough to be running two games at Devacon on Saturday 29 April 2017. The Convention is £10 in advance or £11 on the door at the Crowne Plaza, Chester. In the afternoon I will run my old Grogmeet Gangbusters game ‘The Nefarious Nine’ and in the evening I will run one of a UNIT game.

It’s 1977 Melchester Rovers are a world famous English football team who play at Mel Park. They being investigated by the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce (UNIT) from Doctor Who because:

  • Strange lights are seen over Mel Park at night
  • When the team plays in South America it is inevitably kidnapped and the kidnappers come to increasingly sticky ends with vague investigations.
  • Melchester seems to have a strange pattern of disappearances around Mel Park.
  • The Team also seems to alternate between winning the league and battling relegation year on year. UNIT scientists have tracked this with the ebb and flow of solar radition.
  • Since joining the team in the 1950s Team star  Roy Race appears to be getting younger year on year.

The following UNIT Investigators are available as pre-gens with a note on how they discovered aliens and came to join UNIT.

  • Professor Ian Westbrook – seconded from the British Rocket Group and former Oxford Blue Fly Half .He’s worked closely with Professor Quatermass.
  • Lt Matthew Farr – seconded from the Royal Engineers, former Bomb Disposal technician. Dealing with a unexploded bomb in Norwich he found a buried alien time capsule.
  • Dr Imogen Christie – former  Porton Down (British Chemical Weapons Lab) researcher and War Crime Investigator. In the course of working in Bangladesh she uncovered a crashed alien space ship.
  • Flight Sergeant Harry Joseph – seconded from RAF, a electrical and avionics expert. He witnessed UFO battles as  a radar operator on a Vulcan bomber.
  • Private Sophie Serena – seconded from Intelligence Company 14 / Women’s Royal Army Corp (an unit which operates undercover in Northern Ireland doing surveillance in Republican communities.) She was instrumental in dealing with a Sontatran  in Londonderry.
  • Justina Bellindo – a glamourous investigator seconded from Interpol, a top level undercover drugs investigator originally from HM Customs and Excise. She busted a drug ring of Zygons.
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