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Flashing Blades 1624: An Ambassadors Tales – Hapsburg Hospitality (part Un)

Racing across France the Cauldroneers cross through Switzerland and into the Austrian lands of the Hapsburg Holy Roman Emperor.

There they open their secret orders warning them to guard the ambassador in negotiations with Hapsburg Emperor. Changes will result in weaken Baron Otto Von Vulkan a leading member of the Catholic League who is likely to try and assassinate m. Beinvenue to upset the talks. Furthermore the escort must not make a scene or embarrass their hosts while performing their duties.

They are also given a contact Peter Reinke an Imperial herald in the pay of the French as their inside man.

On arriving at the schloss they are received by the Emperor given a packed itinerary of negotiations and social events and taken to their sumptuous quarters. Antoine searching the quarters notices a cloth of gold hanker chief on the balcony but it is blown from his rapier point but he finds the bannister was fatally weakened – if he reached with his hand he would have plunged to his death!

Ferdinand II

Meeting and interrogating Reinke they find that Von Vulkan has a rogue called Rolf in his employ – who he saved from the gallows an expert in poisons and explosives but missing his left little finger.

The next day Reinke advises the team that one of the pastry chefs catering for that evenings banquet has reported ill – the Cauldroneers consider how to react to this information ..,

(This session’s highlights was a fit if the giggles where it was decided that poor Baron Vulkan must look like Gene Wilder and Rolf like Marty Feldman …)

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Flashing Blades 1623: a snap in the dark (part deux)

Following on from the events of Part Un Joesph and Baron Remi find themselves confronted by the Crocodile-man-beast they presume to be the Chevalier D’Avgionine.

The Baron gets a shot off with his pistol and then the adventurers flash their blades in an effort to ignore the beast. It’s tail flails and hurts Joesph but it’s wild blows miss Remi and it manages to cripple it’s own arm and smash Amorartisan loose from the chimney he was hiding in.

Joesph backs off and using a grappling hook and line from the dead burglar tries to snare the beast while Remi tries to entangle its jaws with his cape. The Baron then retreats up the stairs to enable Joesph to investigate down stairs.

At which point the Chevalier grabs the failing Amourartisan with his good hand and brings him down like a club – skull to skull on our hero and apprentice clergyman. With a sickening crack Baron Remi Sordeau meets his maker.

Joesph meanwhile has laid the grapple as a primate trip line. As the Crodillian races after him down the stairs it trips and he races up only to trip on the same line. Turning to face the lunging snaping face Joesph lunges with his rapier leaving it buried in the top jaw of the predator and while it is stunned flees to the roof.

Meanwhile Boulanger Joesph’s ‘faithful’ manservant has investigated heard the Baron’s shits and summoned Anton and Jean to the rescue.

Anton picks the lock and entering the beast charges down at them. Jean managed to discharge two muskets at it before a powerful blow at his head knocks him out leaving Anton to face the beast. Resorting to use a chair to knock Joesph’s sword further into its head or head he manages to knock it out.

Then the building is suddenly surrounded by City Guards the Lieutenant commanding of which is advised by Sonja Evelyne who seems less the seamstress. He commands the survivors – pays them 200L for their silence, expresses satisfaction that they were recommended to her by the Lady Malfleur and assured them as the lap and sleeping beast are loaded into wagons that this will be looked into by ‘top men’

In memorandum

In the words of his player ” Tonight in Flashing Blades I said adieu to Remi Sordeau, priest in training, Baron and member of the Knights of the Dagger. He had his head smashed in by a giant man-crocodile wielding his manservant as a club. It’s how he would have wanted to go.”

Epilogue

The Cardinal looks over the papers. ” Thank you – file this in case we ever have any expeditions to Egypt”

The clerk took the file away. More on this in Chapter II of the Sobek Imitative Sabeurs and Savants at Devacon.

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Cheshire Pendragon 500ad: Wyatt des Routes

@baddicebad lost his son last year, a gamer and had this idea as a tribute

There here is Wyatt des Routes, Cousin of Sir Renauld and Squire of newly nightly Knighted Sir Spurious

Wyatt des Routes 15, is an eager young Squire who has followed the path of his cousins the Duchess of Cheshire and Sir Renauld of Brereton and traveled to Chester to see his fortune. Raised a Christian and well read in Christian works but given to the Occitan values of religious tolerance. There is a hard kernel beneath the social hardworking exterior of the Squire a ruthless (vengeful 13, cruel 13) streak, shown in a lack of quarter given in training – perhaps well suited to the Anarchy.

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Cheshire Pendragon : 500ad Middlewhich Cuckoo and the Bronze Birds of Belisama

Cheshire is ill at ease after a brutal year of war in 499 and many knights join a fraternity the Kibbo Kift devoted to ceasing Cheshire fealty to Rhyons – they plot around Pellinore but take no action.

The Middlewhich Cuckoo

A lead is garnered regarding the disappearance of The Baroness Middlewhich, Aunt of many of the player knights. Sir Gato tracks across snowdonia following leads eventually coming across the Baronesses’s skin abandoned in a stone circle – further investigations reveal it was taken by witches to Angelesey Ynys Mons.

There he finds Raven witches being entertained by Segg-Hutton a sorcerer for hire who is to restore the skinless witch. He reveals the Baroness died nearly 10 years ago replaced by raven witch doppelgänger – the witch Megan who has been using her skin since.

Impassioned by his love of family Sir Gato cannot let this stand and attacks. The Raven witches transform into their namesake and mob him.

Initially Gato is laid about by three birds – holding his shield high he backs to a wall deft forward and backhand strokes despatching ravens as he goes. At one point things look pretty tricky when five sweep about his head the talons and beaks seeking out his juicy eyeballs but he is able to force himself flat against the wall and sever another avian mid flap.

As quickly as the attack has begun a half dozen Raven flap panicking out an open window. On the floor transformed is the rendered and cut asunder bodies of their now human sisters pouring ooze and ichor upon the hall floor.

The startled Segg-Hutton gestures mouth a gape and Geg and Mageg , his guards charge at Gato shields aloft and axes raised. Kicking some furniture at one to delay him Gato steps under the sweeping axe blade of the other – a shield bash throws the Cymric back, opening his guard and Gato’s sword drinks deep of his guts felling the foe.

An enraged brother beats Gato’s guard and his axe drinks deep into the Roman’s flank but despite taking damage the Roman keeps on this feet. He slashes wounds on the retreating axe hand and Mageg falls.

Given to mercy Gato allows him to regain his feet and then deftly cuts his throat with a precise jab downing the guard.

Segg-Hutton looks around eyes agape.

” Sir Knight you have me as a disadvantage” he draws a sharp sagged and holds it to the skinless witches neck ” your word you’ll spare my life and I shall offer you this witchly offering. We cannot effect her chrysalises now with the holy number and your vital essences seem keen to remain in their veins but take her to your Dux and I’m sure the secrets of Rhyon’s manipulations of his court will interest him.

Have we a bargain?”

Gato takes the offer and hails a boatman and making a prudently hiring him to sail him all the way to the Wirral and Moels where he can catches a boat to Chester and escapes crossing Rhyon’s hostile territory.

He shares his news with the Dux and family. The court is alive with rage at Rhyon’s subterfuge and fear now it has been discovered.

The Bronze Birds of Belisama

Refugees from North of the Belisama (Mersey) are impinging on Chester territory driven from their homes by rampaging brass birds. Sir Renauld, Sir Anerin, Sir Hannibal and the Squires Spurious and Rhys travel north. They find a stone eggs the birds hatched from tainted with magic in the dirty pool opposite Wallasey. Speaking to refugees they find tracks and trace the beasts up to Martin Mere. Here at this Lake they find the Lady Ygraine having protected herself and the sword Caliburn in her charge with a magic circle. She is practically catatonic.

Having noted the size of the beasts – three times the height of a man and that they seem bronze they have set traps with nets in the Marsh.

Crashing and smashing through the undergrowth come the beasts. Worse than imaging – skins and wickedly curved talons and beaks gleaming by the light of their fiery breath.

Acting quickly and in concert you charge the lead beast with the net carried on lance points. While the second bird flaps out the way the first is successfully draped and pinned by net though you horses panic in the proximity to the flailing fire breathing foulness and you have to dismount and let the horses flee or be carried away.

With one beast incapacitated you draw swords* to engage the mobile creature. Initially making good progress but after 4 turns the netted beast finds the range of Hannibal with its first breath and despite him raising its shield it renders him hors d’combat.

Spurious runs to his master’s defence.  Anerin fumbles and loses his sword. All this time Renauld is like a one man cohort keeping the mobile bird from attacking them by covering the ground between it and his comrades like a lightening bolt his sword and shield flashing and blocking it at every turn landing the occasional blow.

Spurious shields Hannibal and with a raising shield charges down the firey breath to strike a powerful hit on the weighed down avian but the air being burnt away from him is too much and he swoons.

Anerin takes up Hannibal’s sword  and Renauld join forces to combine against the mobile beast. As a team and manoeuvring to keep their foul foe between them and pinned beast they triumph. Turning on the pinned creature they still work deftly though Renauld gets hit and knocked down but being missed the following turn manages to find his feet and deliver the fatal blow.

The Knights of Cheshire have triumphed but at what cost ?

Fortunately Ygraine knows Chicurgery and can stabilise Romans Hannibal and Spurious who are unconscious. Relived by Sister of Minerva Nia – that the now married Renauld pines for they ride South to ill news of their aunt and the war.

The War

Sir Piran, Sir Gilmere and Mathuin join the Cheshire Army as it ploughs south into Orofoise joined by comrades from Norgales. They hit resistance at Tern Hill cutting off a Cameliard Army looking to join their Orofoise and Sugales allies.

The Chester and Norgales cavalry mans the reverse slopes of hill while the infantry the facing hills with Chesters Legionaires holding the centre. Norgales skirmishers spread in the dead ground at the foot of the hill.

The Cameliard forces blunder into the Norgales in there urgency to join their allies. Peppered with javelins from all around they flounder and try and withdrawal but Rhyons commits the Cheshire cavalry to the west and his cavalry to the east closing around the Cameliardians.

This isn’t King Leogandance’s first battle and his spots the signs of encirclement and pulls his cavalry back however you still have chance to full upon the Cameliard foot caught in the traffic jam behind their van guard as Piran and Gilmere charge  try and snap shut the jaws of the trap.

Both strike well with their lances into the Cameliard foot upending many  – drawing swords they set upon the packed infantry both cleaning their way through sealing the trap in time to trap the Cameliard cavalry.

Riding out of of the Cameliard host comes Friar Stephen: the same Friar Stephen who leaked Sir Gilmere’s comrades so they could rescue him from the satanic Sir Geoffrey of Stafford – however such counts for nought with Sir Gilmere who charges him.

Sir Piran is engaged by the a Neil O’ Muirgheasea an Irish survivor of the siege of Chester now in Cameliard service.

Sir Gilmere , Sir Piran and  Mathuin charge into the fleeing Cameliards trying to seal the trap.

Sir Gilmere is charges at Friar Stephen channeling his trauma and rage into the battle.

Mathuin is battling a Squire Cynon and Sir Piran his knight Sir Tathan.

Sir Gilmere is laid low by the Priest abs has to be sent to his manor to recover. Mathuin is wounded and Sir Piran fails to significantly hurt his foe. The Cameliard’s escape.

Battle of Wrexham

Sir Piran and Mathuin follow the Dux’s Army as he chases after the forces of Cameliard. The enemy avoids battle at every turn and the Sugales Army is reported behind by the Chester rear guard. There is a frantic race to the west to try and slip out of the jaws of the trap  and race up the Chester road. The Cameliardians are laggardly in pursuit but the Sugales sit astride the road at Wrexham blocking the retreat. There is no sign of Chester’s Norgales allies.

With nothing to lose the Dux commits everything to the assault.

Sir Piran and Mathuin meet the clash of lances and are both unhorsed hurt ! Mathuin unconscious. Sir Piran at a disadvantage fends of an assault by an eager Sergeant-at-arms of Sugales eventually seeing his chance and dispatching his opponent with a stab under the ribs and extended shield. However a fumble on a horsemanship roll sends the Sergeants mount skittering into the melee.

Things are getting desperate now. They are going bad for Chester and all around Sugales men mill. Sir Piran successfully calls upon the passion for his Lord and sets to a Sugales knight in a flurry of blows he knocks the mounted man from his horse but again fumbles and sends the south Welsh horse fleeing into the fight.

Things are close now and Piran is close to getting fatigued with one last effort he launches himself at a new opponent taking blows on his shield he manages to smash his sword on his foes kite. Rolling under a wild blow he grabs Mathuin’s sword leaps up despatches the Sugalian, throws Mathuin over the pommel and hurls himself into the saddle – just in time as fatigue sets in next turns as he spurs the horse slumped away from the chaos of the battle.

He joins the stragglers heading north – the flower of Cheshire knighthood has been broken and their will be dark days ahead for the country – surely it will need any friend it can get – even Rhyons?

Dark days for Cheshire – Betrayal by a liege, division within, enemies victorious

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Flashing Blades 1623: a snap in the dark

Only two of the Cauldroneers enjoyed their breakfast – the Baron Remi and Joesph. Joseph’s new man servant Boulanger you replaced the crushed Pierre Davide begrudgingly answered a knock at the door – it was the landlord Anton Davide and a young lady.

The lady is introduced as Madamoiselle Sonja Evelyne a steamstress who has been courting a alchemical colleague of Davide’s the Chevalier Eibon D’Averoigne

She explains her paramour house to all locked with strange noises emanating from it. Out of concern she set urchins to watch it and reported the noises contained at irregular intervals but no exit or entrance to the house. Not even the alchemist’s lackey / clerk Armoraristan.

Arnorartisan

Eager to help a damsel in distress and having established from their landlord no inkling of the Chevalier’s researches.

They inspect the robust detached town house – not someone can clambered the walls with tiger claws and stay at the next door Hotel du Pont. Having heard the curious noises they complain to the manager and offer to investigate, it’s been damaging trade.

Leaping from the roof the hotel Joesph secures a tether and the Baron Remi follows – though he falls short the safety rope and his strength enable him to clamber up. Investigating they find the earlier interloper jacked through the thatch into the attic space and they follow.

The attic space reveals little – the top floor the Clerks quarters appear trashed as does the library with great warhammer type fist dents in the daub and books scattered. The next floor down there is the master bedroom and an alchemical lab also ransacked. Overcoming being startled by a hanging stuffed mummified crocodile they search the lab.

They find the body of a brawny rough hewn pantherish rogue – missing a head. There’s no sign of blood from the missing head (though plenty from the neck ) and a curious long tooth embedded in the deep ‘v’ of missing tissue below the neck. They can also hear a curious bass like snoring from the bottom of the building.

They hear a whimper from the chimney. Searching it is the weak half starved wide eyed Armourartisan who has been hiding there. He recounts how a brigand burst into their home to plunder their secrets.

“Secrets man was not meant to know. His master took the elixir – the elixir that is meant to take men back to the age of Enoch. But worse than that it took him back to a land before tine – it a time of behemoth and leviathan, oh the horror, THE HORROR’

Despite Joesph efforts to calm the servants hysteria leads to rousing noises below – a snorting crashing creaking and then a snapping. The Cauldroneers turn swords in hand to face the twisted giant form of what the Chevalier D’Averoigne smashing up the stairs and from primordial eons past….

(Art from elephant men – read elephantmen it’s really good)

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Flashing blades: 1623 The haunted villa (part deux)

Having gained access to the villa of Viscount Gilbert via the tunnels the Cauldroneers determines to explore the rest of the villa. By quick wits they determine the weight of torches racked ready for use is wrong and that they have been loaded with gunpowder as a deadly trap to the unaware.

Proceeding gingerly by candlelight they proceed up the stairs. Entering the kitchen they open the shutters and see steak knives are missing perhaps taken by Gilbert’s lunatic nephew they suspect is on the premises. They then enter Mosaic room with a haunting figure of death on the floor dressed in red with the motto ‘fire is my medium.’

Going to the main hall and inspected the chimney they find iron handholds – Antoine scales the passage and finds a secret door into a hidden chamber with a casket with holes around the outside and a depression in the top. Fortunately he has the wits to try the ring acquired at the statues in the garden in the depression – this disarms the ‘devils box’ which would have fired pistol shots in all directions.

A veritable Kings ransom of gold coins, crucifixes and 50,000 of (sadly defunct) Elizabethan English pounds is found. The party split it and exit.

They explore the arms room – noting a suit of armour which appears to provide eyeholes into the main entrance chamber. They also note missing pistols.

Travelling out through the kitchen and the library they see a expensive horde of books leave carefully by the front entrance and

Poor Pierre Davide, Joseph’s lackey is splatted by a gargoyle pushed off the Villa tower. Incensed Joesph steps out and fires an arrow up but takes a pistol shot to the arm. Antonine quick wittedly sets fire to the library and the adventures escape through the tunnel.

Leaving the maze they see a figure fleeing the burning villa on the roof top – Jean tries a shot but loses the target in the smoke as the roof collapses…

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Sabeurs & Savants : Set up and Player Characters

This is a game I intend to run this year perhaps at Devacon & Virtual Grogmeet in April using Cthulhuhack.

The year is 1800 and Napoleon has been master of Egypt for a year hoping to liberate the east, establish himself as a new Alexander the Great and open up a route to conquer British India.

You landed with such great hopes a cluster of soldiers and scholars. The soldiers committed to a great adventure for the French Republic. The scholars to raise up Egypt and enhance French knowledge of this ancient land.

However perfidious English under Horatio Nelson have destroyed the French fleet cutting off supplies, the natives Egyptians rejected the civilising French hand of Friendship and the Ottoman Turks seek to reconquer the Nile.

Accompanying General Desaix in his pursuit of the Mameluke Murad Bey you receive sealed orders.

Dear Friends, I am reliably informed that 40 kilometres west of your position just past the oasis of wisna is a buried temple. I have evidence this temple contains artefacts linked to Alexander the Great that may raise our standings amongst the natives. I charge you – keen brawn of French military and brain of French scholarship to unite, locate and place these artefacts in my keeping.

Yours Napoleon Bonaparte.”

Your party is as follows:

Battalion de Marche Russel (military contingent)

Lieutenant Kurt Russel & eleven riders of the Régiment des dromadaires (French camel troops)

A misanthropic cheroot chewing former Royal army officer freed from the bastille to fight the enemies of France. The guillotine hangs over your every decision so you must fulfil the mission even if you think Bonaparte a jumped up Italian corporal.

Lieutenant Keith Davide and 4 assistants of the French Aerostatic Corps

A son of slaves from the French sugar colonies who has by brains and sheer will earned himself a commission in the Army. You have entered the balloon service and are accompanying this mission to give a birds eye view to spot the temple. You are a committed Republican and Bonaparte seems an able general you just hope he isn’t an ambitious Caesar.

Sergeant Roderique Piper and 6 Sappers

Egypt’s rubbish – you were promised loot and adventure instead its like Flanders with worse food, women and weather. Still good old Bony will see you right best make sure these officers and suspicious toffs don’t mess everything up. Hopefully you’ll get to blow something up. At least away from camp you can stop getting into fights.

Agréable Expedition (civilian contingent)

Professor Donald Agréable – classicist and historian

Divine providence and the inspiration of the creator has seen fit to place you in a most enviable position to uncover a new find for history. Best to ensure this blundering military dunderheads don’t mess everything up with brute force and ignorance. Lieutenant Russell is under a cloud, Royal connections you understand, you will need to make clear your connections with the Directory (French government) & Bonaparte could lift him up.

Madam Adrianne Barbeau – mathematical and cartographic savant

This is exciting. Before the Army smashed into Egypt you had already been touring the country exploring the geometry of their ancient sites. Your mastery of the language and culture should enable you to aid the expedition. You care little for politics – a curse on all their houses, but best uncover what we can for prosperity.

Jean Parkour – architect

Napoleon might know how to win a war (though with our fleet sunk, maybe not,) but putting an old fart and a pretty girl on this expedition is just plain balderdash. Then looking at the army contingent they hardly have a brain cell between them (are you surprised) so you best just take charge – it’ll be for the best, they’ll thank you. After all it might be a Republic but the cream should still rise to the top.

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