Flashing blades 1624: an Ambassadors Tales: Diplomatic Immunity

The Cauldroneers fleeing the Netherlands on the English sloop Swift arrive in Harwich. Met by a carriage and troop of Royal cavalry they set off for London. There orders from Richelieu are to escort M Beinvieu to London and then set off for Dover and secure a vessel ready to despatch at a moments notice for France.

In London they are taken to Sir Laurence of Dorset’s manse. King Charles’ agent shows them his robust home guarded by the Essex Pike. The Cauldroneers take their leave for a ride to the coast but are escorted by handpicked cavaliers Sir John, Sir Eric, Sir Graham and Sir Michael and their servant Terry the Welsh.

After the short ride to Dover Sir Graham and Sir Michael tend to the horses at the Cross Keys inn while the adventurers and Sir John and Sir Eric accompany them into town.

Antonine manages to get the cavaliers engaged in a game of cards and heavy drinking – while he listens to their drunken stories of dead parrots, empty cheese shops and larches Jean, Joesph and Durand escape to secure a vessel.

After a few false choices they hit upon Captain Gil of the Warwick Greyhound who hints he knows there’s something up with Joesph and makes them admit they’re in the Service of the Ambassador but he takes the job.

Antonine having taken the Cavaliers for the cost of passage they’re breaking even and mockingly head back to London with their hungover escorts.

There M Beinvieu despatches them to Lord Pepperbox’s estate near Norwich to gather papers for the negotiation. Jean stays behind as a messenger and rather than an escort they are given visas.

Pulling in half way to stay at the Priest & Pauper Inn they are interrogated by a party of Bedford Musketeers. Satisfied with their papers the Musketeers start mocking the French – true to form Durand , who could manage to find a duel in an empty room starts a challenge.

Outside the Musketeers and Antonine, Durand and Joesph pair off. Joesph solicits a yield with a thrust which crippled his opponents leg. Durand fights a long hard long but after suffering multiple thrusts to the chest passes out. After a succession of fumbles and near misses and seeing his hot blooded friend is passed out Antonine yields.

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Lunchtime Lairs 8b: a disembodied brain and a part vivisected dragon

Lunchtime Lairs is a Wednesday lunchtime Jane in Liverpool city centre at the premises of the excellent Justplay games 12-2 every week – come and join us. We are currently playing Blackhack.

With the falling tree Farquhar and Hector found themselves split from the rest of the party and attacked by the panthers of the Obsidian bounty hunters.

They despatched 3 of the beasts but when the human contingent of 2 warriors, 2 thief’s and 2 magicians arrived even Hector eventually realised they better surrender.

Observing their captors they realise they’re being taking to the vengeful Baroness Pavel. The Obsidians seem to silently communicated by ruby choker collars. There is a mysterious tank on a donkey they also has a swaying ruby light that they cannot fathom. They try and communicate with the tank to no avail and even to bribe guards but they seem incorruptible.

Travelling south the party is attacked by forest dwellers and the bounty hunters free the adventurers to repel the attack. They all flee through the arrows to the south.

Once clear eventually Hector grabs and shakes the tank and in so doing puts the rest of the bounty hunters into spasm – at which point he takes a choker puts it on and is immediately in its thrall.

He kids Farquhar they are in control now but Farquhar can’t buy notice they are still heading to the vengeful Baroness Patel’s – and start playing for time this is enough for the bounty hunters to decide to kill him which enables Hector to break his conditioning.

As Hector battles the bounty hunters Farquhar attacks the tank smashing it open to reveal a giant tentacled brain with a ruby eye on a stalk which was suspended in green ichor. Attacking it put the bounty hunters into coma enabling Farquhar and Hector to escape. The eldritch sight has upset the balance of the confectioner conjurer and Farquhar talks to ‘brainy’ the corpse of the creature – pats it at night etc.

Avoiding the primitive ambush they reach the secret entrance to the Dragon’s Cage they where advised by Scramblegranite. Sneaking in they hear a wheezing and sawing noise.

The scene that greets them is a worn and wasted dragon having its bile milked, teeth and scales removed while a sorcerer keeps it under I’m a trance. The five adventurers involved in this body looting are from the Far East.

Outnumbered and not overwhelmed they quickly come up with a plan.

Farquhar sauntered in with his purple top hat and started demanding ‘ who ordered the brain!’ While he flim flammed and fast talked the flabbergasted alchemist party ‘ do you want this brain or what ? ‘ Hector snook round and grabbed the Magician.

Then bad things happened.

A very angry dragon awoke in the middle of unrequested dental extraction, brutal skin graft and catheter fitting without any pain control and flew up roaring. The warrior Farquhar was chunnering to attacked him.

This is the scene Seneca walked into having woken up under a tree and tracked his comrades – exchanging arrow fire with the Dragon milkers to cover Farqhuar’s escape. After a few fails Hector torched the skins of Dragons bile causing a major explosion – Seneca & Farquhar escaped outside but Hector got blown into one of the interior exits separated in the dark.

The very angry Dragon killed the rest of the Alchemists.

Brainy did not survive the fight.

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1624: Flashing Blades – Ambassadors Tales – The Binnenhof Affair

Leaving Spain the Cauldroneers have soon rest and recuperation in France in April. In this time Antoine completes learning his letters and adds forgery to his repertoire.

Recalled to the Palais Royale the party are gifted high quality daggers with poison pills in a hollow pommel and sent on new missions escorting Monsieur Ambassador Beinvenu to the free Netherlands and then England.

Sailing from Rouen on the Dutch Frigate Het Onweer they try and slip past the Spanish blockade out of Antwerp through twilight fog. Disaster – the frigate runs aground and lurches, Antonine falls overboard. Joesph throws him a rope he unwraps – which collapses a sail. As Antonine climbs up a Spanish galleon drifts by and the Dutch stop admonishing Joesph to crouch in silence, sweating as Spanish voices of the oblivious crew sail by. Resuming their voyage the reach The Hague.

The Cardinals instructions warn the party that secret papers in invisible ink belonging to the Ambassador may be vulnerable to theft in the Protestant Netherlands.

Reaching The Hague the Ambassadors Party taken to the Binnenhof castle complex and Knights Hall. Hertzog (Duke) Von Almsvelt meets and greets the party. They are also introduced to the undercover French agent Van Rijswig and his servant Haarlemmer.

After the reception in which Joesph provided glittering small talk the Ambassador retired to his apartments – retrieving his quills he found himself barred from the room. After Antoine and Joesph bounce off the door Durand breaks in – they find the glass in the window cut, papers burnt and experienced cracksman Antoine determines the thief has scuttled up the chimney.

Only Antoine was slender enough to give chase – erupting from the chimney he sees a black clad figure leap from their roof to another. The figure turns and shoots the light gleaming off the pommel of the pistol. The bullet sticks on Antoine’s jerkin but trying to leap he looses his footing and plummets but manages to grab some guttering as the burglar escapes.

Rescued by his colleagues out a window Antoine and others go is the French spy Van Rijswig. He gives them the address of a crack investigator Van Zoetermeeter who lives an hour out of The Hague.

Borrowing horses the players race there – after 20 minutes waiting. 15 minutes having their papers inspected, 20 minutes small talk and 20 minutes of circular conversations in which Van Zoetermeeter states the obvious after tortuous sentences that turn into paragraphs the Cauldroneers start to suspect they are being had …

Unfortunately more time is wasted as Antonine proposes a card game as Zoetermeeter is happy to lose money for time. Eventually with Jean and Durand dragging Antonine away they ride back to The Hague.

Racing back crossing a bridge they spot Pikes poking out from hedges – an ambush ! Reigning in their horses rather than charge upon Pikes they spot 2 pikemen, 2 longswordmen in the hedgerows and a leader with rapier and pistol hiding

Joesph attempts to leap the hedge in his horse. Failing – leaving his horse straddling the hedge, falling off the horse and getting stuck in the hedge before falling out ingloriously. He then proceeds to blunder through a sword fight dropping his sword, hitting himself in the chest and generally blundering about. However he opponent after some initial competences manages to stab himself in the foot (literally) and Joesph succeeds into delivering a major wound to his right arm incapacitating him.

Durand let’s off pistols and then charges down a swords men and eventually decapitates him fighting from horseback.

Antonine an unaccomplished horseman dismounts and fights the other swordsman. Stunning him with a strike in the head he slashed the guy to no effect so kicks him in the goolies.

Jean dismounts takes one of his six Savoy muskets and shoots a pikemen him the head. Durand then parties the other Pikemen and when Joesph’s opponent yields the hirelings run off.

So Jean shoots them in the back with his muskets. The Gent.

The leader of the ambush is the cat like Heerlammer – Rijswig’s servant – he also has a silver pommelled duelling pistol and was the burglar. Rinswig is a double agent ! Searching him they find the address of a safe house and silver key.

Leaving him tied up on the basis that he’s a gentleman and he could be an ally against the Spanish one day they continue to ride for The Hague.

The safe house is in a poor area. It’s front entrance is guarded by Dutch cavaliers but round the back is secret entrance that the silver key fits. Leaving Jean on guard Antonine, Joesph and Durand stalk up three flights of stairs and burst in on Van Rijswig and Van Almsvelt heating up the invisible ink on the Ambassadors documents.

As the Dutchmen try to hide the documents Antonine finds a load of evidence of Dutch spy networks in France they depart and quickly sail for England with the Ambassador to England on the Sloop the Swift.

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Lunchtime Lairs: Conjuror’s Club Lectures – the habits and habitat of the building troll

The Conjuror’s Club is a ramshackle club for magic users in The City* which holds lectures on the night of a new moon for its members here is a recent lecture inspired by a recent lunchtime Lairs** antagonist.

An aged wizard takes the stage –

” Our thanks for our visiting speaker Brother Eldritch on the medicinal uses of blood letting – food for thought I’m sure – now to our closing lecture I call Akbar the Audacious (peers at his notes) – really ? Where have all the humble mages gone ? No matter – to present his paper on builder trolls”

(Polite applause) A swaggering smiling young mad hops onto stage and gives an exaggerated bow. He wears a green Fez, a black waistcoat (with many functional pockets and ties kind of like a fishing jacket) green knee length tunic, black bell bottomed trousers tucked into cowboy style boots and carried a staff. He has oiled curly hair, sharp darting eyes and his skin is a deep dark brown.

” Greetings my friends and I bring you facts and figures of a most wondrous creature – the building troll” by a cantrip he projects a still image on the wall behind him

From my studies these are not creatures of flesh but of living rock. They feed not on meat or other victuals but on strains of rock, minerals and in particular crystals and gems.

This is what makes them come in conflict with humans and other races that mine the earth – for in digging for that bounty we take nutrients from the builder trolls mouths. They will raid and wreck mines to gain redress. Furthermore they will attack civilised treasuries to gain their sustenance where surface dweller green has extracted it from nature.

It is fortunate then that they are few in number starved by the mining of the earth. Hunted by humans and subterranean races. They also have vulnerabilities.

Their bodies transform to rock in sunlight so they most move at night or by digging burrows which they can do at great speed. They can communicate between each other with great subsonic rumblings over cast distances (though they can fashion crude human speech) – the same sensitive hearing that makes this possible leaves them weak to sonic attacks. Thirdly being so few in number when they breed – which I think is some form of hermaphrodite affair but have yet to observe in the wild and they are reluctant to discuss – when they breed they are very attached to their young and can be easily bullied, blackmailed or threatened. Finally they our vulnerable to iron subject to simple basic charms I am happy to sell after this lecture – it can make weapons more effective or form barriers they can’t pass.

I’ve been privileged to meet several of these creatures they are irritable cranky but not without honour. Some rather than make war seek trade for their sustainable – while gold is worthless to them other than a means of exchange some will build for races and brings. They’re capacity to burrow is incredible – their claws that can rend an armoured knight can shape and sculpt rock. Finally they can generate a viscous spittle that can bond and seal rock.

Being few in numbers despite prodigious strength, sharp claws, binding spittle and ability to throw rocks they fight crafty. Against surface dwellers they use tunnels and tracks and will dig sinkholes. Fighting against dwellers of the underdark they think in three dimensions will create cave ins, choke points, change the design of the battlefield around their opponents.

Anyway I see we’re getting the red-eye from Maximilian our Steward – I’ll be happy to take any questions at last orders at the bar and of course sell any troll-iron charms….


* The thriving port that is the base of lunchtime lairs adventurers

** Lunchtime Lairs is a Wednesday lunchtime Jane in Liverpool city centre at the premises of the excellent Justplay games 12-2 every week – come and join us. We are currently playing Blackhack.

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1624: Flashing blades: Torre El Diablo (part deux)

Travelling to the Spanish political prison the Cauldroneers leave Jean and his six muskets in an overwatch position while Durand, Joesph and Antonine swim the moat and up the underground stream to the internal well.

In the half moon night they climb the moon noticing a few pairs of lazy drunken and sleepy guards. They see the main prison Cyclopean occupying the eastern wall but are disturbed by a goon sent to water the horses. Successfully sheltering in the gatehouse Durand uses his Dragoon Spanish to start a round of insults in the dark between the water-carrier and prison-door Guards. In the resulting s huddle Antonine picks the lock and gets them in.

He called me what !

Sneaking past a guardroom filled with raucous card playing guards they search cells for the Marquis Des Challes to no avail they find a squalorus quarters of the warden El Loco and his person whip room (which one player found disturbing – heh it’s not like anyone’s aunt was skinned and eaten .) journeying upstairs they found the wretched Marquis.

Regretfully his repeated tortures by El Loco and temptations of salvation for his ‘penance’ by the Cardinal over the years have driven him quite man. He is convinced he has seen the truth of revelation and must be rescued as a prophet. Only the charm of Joesph managed to persuade him to comply with Richelieu’s request for intelligence.

The party where interrupted by a visiting inspecting inquisitor Don Zaragoza drawn by Challe’s ranting – they managed to film flam him (or so they thought.)

Escaping with Challes note they found the guard room empty and silent. Stealing whips from the whip room to fashion a rope the went up a tower. There Joesph furled a guard but was sorely wounded – Antonine pushed ‘him’ aside and joined the fight. Meanwhile the guards colleague was trying to get a shot with his musket as Jean tried to pick him off with his fusillade. Antonine and Joesph eventually defeated their opponent and the Spanish fusilier having missed leapt from the walls rather than face Durand with his blood up. Abseiling the walls the swam the moat and rode into the night before the Harrisson raised by Zaragoza could pursue them.


Lunchtime Lairs 7: Troll Tremors Massacre and Men in Black

Lunchtime Lairs is a Wednesday lunchtime Jane in Liverpool city centre at the premises of the excellent Justplay games 12-2 every week – come and join us. We are currently playing Blackhack.

Following being hired by Baron Pavel the party of

Farquhar the Conjuror

Hector the Hoplite

Blegrin the Warrior

Seneca of the Streets a thief

Andromeda a thief

Jirad thr Cleric Who worships the Yerlot, the god of fate.

Joined by Thoth a cleric worshiping Freya.

Further quizzed the Troll Scramblegranite. Not trusting it and thinking the promise of dragon treasure 250 miles distance a poor reward they decided to return and further quiz the Baron. However Hector who emphasised with the noble troll removed one of the iron pegs setting it free to burrow ‘tremors style’ towards the ranch as the party raced to beat it.

Confronting the Baron as the ranch panics and shepherds ride back in a to defend it’s confirmed he did betray at scramblegranite.

A great subterranean rumble and other tremors like troll spoor appear on the hill tops resulting in sinkholes they accounts for two of the 5 Shepherds riding back to the rescue.

Farquhar goes in the ranch house to protect the women and children. Thoth and Andromeda manage to escape a Scramblegranite sink hole and Hector grabs the Baron and with Jirad and Thoth’s help deliver him to the troll in return for the rest of his clan being called off – Hector being able to ward off the troll with the enchanted spike.

And so the Baron meets a sticky end crushed by Scramblegranite into a bloody block for the troll’s mantelpiece.

The trolls sketches a map from its concrete spittle for Hector and admits to having been conned by an earlier bunch of adventurers the Baron hired who ran off for the Dragon treasure without freeing him.

As the trolls depart the adventures regroup only to met with accusations of murder and betrayal (not unreasonably) by the beautiful Baroness Pavel.

Despite efforts to charm and film flag her she sets her 3 surviving guards on them but they’re little competition for a hardened party of thugs and despatched. Only a lady of the house reaching the arbalest in the ranch house and threatening Hector gets the party to back off (after stealing horses.)

Riding to the north west they head into the alpine pasture and the high forest trading for furs. Getting close to the dragon lair one night on watch Thoth and Andromeda are spot eyes on them in the dark. Waking the rest of the party they find 4 jaguars stalking the camp but scare them off with reflected light from Farquhar’s lantern.

Andromeda is sent to reconnoiter leaping a dry river bed and scrambling up she sees the four jaguars and 7 stress and 6 persons in black.

  • 2 ‘handlers’ with bows and shorts words – one with two falcons on his saddle and an owl on his falconer’s gauntlet.
  • 2 warriors with mighty crossbows, axes and shields
  • 2 wizardly types
  • What looks to be a large jar mounted on a donkey saddle

All in black – all man and beast visible wearing a ruby like choker and no word exchanged between them.

Slipping back she reports to be part my when

A thunderless crack of lightening and a huge tree smashes into the camp – the party dodged either side splitting it asunder

With extra players and more returning next week we have now I think 2 parties so the party will split with me concluding my plot and Neil picking up with other bunch #lunchtimelairs is proving a great success so if your free on a Wednesday lunch do join us it’s a drop in / drop out affair and more GMs welcome too.

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Civic Paganism ?

It strikes very strange that so much of the neo-pagan movement entertains a romantic view of nature paired with a focus on nature based worship.

Working in a City (Liverpool) full of Victorian neo-classical buildings. I wonder if a pagan movement could evolve looking to use these public celebratory places (in a honest rather than jingoistic sense) as places of ritual of power ? Not just neo-classical but other urban ‘places of power’ too ?

After all most of us in Britain live Civic urban lives shouldn’t our worship reflect that ?

This may just appeal to me as I’m draw to working with Belisama-Minerva and there’s many examples in her aspect as Britannia.

What do you think either as a pagan practitioner or as informed outsider ?

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