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Cheshire Pendragon 503ad: Lices, Taxes & Marriage

Against the background of everyone in the County suffering from Merlin’s plague of lice as part of his Moses curse.

The year starts with Sir Gato marrying Lady Nia of the Sisters of Minerva.

Sir Piran & Sir Mathuin had their own marriage issues with their proposed marriages to the twins Rose and Lilly respectively, daughters of the gruff Sir Scipio of — and Menna of who they have to impress in the adventure of the in laws. Sir Piran is somewhat tongue tied but Mathuin manages to impress with his sincerity and oratory.

in the rest of the county

  • Afrer patrolling the west against Norgales raiders Sir Renauld investigates a convoy of broken limbed women coming over the border,
  • in the south Sir Gilmere, Baron Middlewhich and Sir Gato march to fend of attacks from King Leogandance
  • And with the Dux subjecting the county’s pagans to a heavy levy as a result of Sir Spurius enlisting the Pope to sanctify martyred Ennis, Sir Hannibal escorts Brother Hector the levy Inspector to Wallasey where Sir Anerin is not paying the levy.

The Broken Convoy

Gilmere encounters the convoy led by a young woman Nerys with her baby Geraint, they are the the remnants of Silennus/Lord Toads cult and confess their injuries and babes in arms are the result of Sir Anerins frenzy & debauchery during the quest at Lord Toad’s mountain.

Sir Renauld offers to escort them to Anerin or Chester for justice and then choose to make their case to Sir Anerin.

Travelling up the Wirral they encounter Monroe, witch of the Wirral who blames the knights of Cheshire for the curses of the county. Sir Renauld gets cryptic promises of aid from Monro in investigating and combating Merlin’s magics and then journeys on to Wallasey.

The Southern Front

The initial campaigning season is spent skirmishing on all fronts – however it becomes clear King Leogandance fancies his chances and his arranging his forces for invasion the Dux calls a council of war.

They decide to ride south on mass withholding from the raiding and ravaging in the interests of speed. Passing through the village of Madeley and hear that Leogandance is assembling his forces at Baldwin’s Gate a few miles to the south.

Following the River Lee south the Dux will call the men of Baron Middlewhich and sends then scouting south.

They harry out to Baldwin’s Gate following the lee of a brook for cover then passing through a copse.

King Leogandance has learnt lessons from previous Cheshire camp raids. His camp is no open encampment for raiding.  It is an organised fortified camp in the Roman manner. Spikes protect the sides and sentrys are posted. The king himself is walking the bounds handing purses to craven peasants  who are pointing back towards the Dux’s forces.

in an attempt to draw off the King Baron Middlewhich sends Sir Gato to drive off Cameliard peasants. He does so with perfect courtesy but  remains ready for battle.

At this Leogandance saunters out his  camp munching an apple.

“. Men of Cheshire – I salute your restraint under your pious Dux. But  I’m wise to your plans and your location – runaway to your Dux and tell him not to worry – I’m coming – in my own time.”

Seizing the initiative the Baron calls down the rest of the Dux’s forces to bottle up the King in his camp. Sir Gato harangues the Cameliards outside of bowshot.

Rash young Cameliard knights ride out and chase Sir Gato – and are promptly hit by the Baron’s charge.

The men of Cheshire slam into the fresh faced Cameliard knights and Squires sending them sprawling. The skirmish is shortly done and Baron Middlewhich, Sir Gilmere leads the cheers.

King Leogandance throws his apple in temper after a page whispers in ear. He calls for his horse and his army.

Neddig, Sir Gato’s rides up pulling a young squire by his ear – “ Baron Middlewhich ! Sir Gato – this Squire Elyan he’s apparently a bastard of Leogandance’s ! “ Sir Gato treats the pup with all civility having killed the squires knight.

Baron Middlewhich’s party glee the vengeful Cameliardians who gain as the Dux’s forces arrive. The King turns to face the Dux so the player knights lead there men in turning to the flank and engaging the King on the side.

A tight charge and some frankly miraculous riding rolls the Middlewhich force smashes well timed into the flank of the Cameliard forces. The timing is superb is it mirrors when the Dux’s charge hits the front of the Leogandance’s line.

The combined shock rattles  the southern force hacking left and right at enemy knights as they turn and run.  Joining together with the Dux’s forces Sir Gato & Sir Gilmere run them off the battlefield and capture they’re fortified camp – Leogandance having the sense not to bottleneck his forces by trying to get back in the camp.

The Dux gallops up ‘ Middlewhich ! Sir Gato ! Well played ! Well played the day is ours – I say Middlewhich you should name that Sir Gato your Marshal the way he led that escape.’

Sir Gilmere names Sir Gato his marshal to the Roman’s further glory.

Taxes

Sir Hannibal escorts Brother Hector to Wallasey. Despite the officious enthusiasm of Hector they retire to a party. There Hannibal abandons his woes and inhibitions to the pleasures of Sir Anerins pagan court.

Hector is not so easily seduced and while on his crone wife, Mother Redcap’s advice Sir Anerin attempts to seduce him through a battle of wits at the chess board he is resolute.

Morning brings sore heads and other parts. Hector is keen to get on with the collecting and speaks to Sir Hannibal our of turn and given short shift By the knight

“Insolence? Who do you think you are to order me around like a lackey! This man has entertained you as a guest and you insult him? I have escorted you across the realm and you speak to me of Rebellions and Vipers? You little turd. I was doing my duty to the Dux in face of blood-drenched enemies from all sides whilst you shit your breeches and hid behind your ledger books, no doubt.”

He bats Hectors paperwork to the mud.

“I am sure that my brother-in-arms here will pay what is fairly due, and what this war-ravaged manor can afford. And that can be the end of it.”

Sir Renauld arrives with the Convoy which is treated with courtesy Sir Anerin agreeing to get the fostered at his manor and brother knights offering to help too.

Winter the Dux is livid – refusal to pay by several of Middlewhich’s pagan or non-Christian knights has sparked a more general tax rebellion – with even violence in some parts (including Sir Renauld’s wife giving an Inspector a busted nose.) Baron Middlewhich backs up the Dux.

However Sir Renauld, Sir Gato and other conspiring with the sympathetic Brother Cadfel make the following case presented by Sir Renauld:

Renauld glances at Cadfel and stands up.

“My Dux, fellow equites.

I was not trained here but had a good Roman scholar in my youth.  My understanding is that we still hold to Roman law, hence we call our lord by the noble latin word Dux rather than some vulgar term.

I cannot call myself Christian and it is distasteful for me to pay a tax to the bishop in Rome.  But under Roman law the Dux can proscribe taxes necessary for the defense of the realm, and we must all comply, as long as it is applied with equitas.

My lord Dux – it is not my place to direct you, but may I suggest this: transfer the tax into a common levy on all manors, applied equally, for the common defense; and each manor can deduct it’s religious tithes or duties from that.  That way the burden falls evenly on all manors, regardless of religion; the Christians can pay for the duty to Rome; the old believers can pursue Merlin; and those few of us that still follow old Roman way can pay for the legions.

I would ask you to consider my proposal, and perhaps consult with the scholar Cadfel, to see if it meets with the ancient laws and customs, by which we are all bound by our mutual oaths.”

To which after visibly reining in his temper the Dux retorts:

‘ equitas, aspersions on Cardinals – these words make my heads hurt – I gave orders they have been disobeyed. I rage.’

The bishop and staff look smug. The Dux raises his hand… ‘ but shall I show the opposite errors of my predecessor ? Rashness rather than vacillation? Or shall I show temperance.’

He closes his eyes and lets out a long deep sign his fists clenched veins nearly popping.

‘ when elected I promised justice. Let them there be justice – let the tithes be flat the cost be spread and mashed in with other taxes so no pagans pennies are directed allocated to papal expenses.

Let there be an amnesty now for rebelled to cease being outlaws over the 12 days of Christmas.

In future these charges will be discussed openly the winter before.”

He breathes heavily again but draws himself up to his full height

“ but mark you this – any hint of rebellion after this mercy will be punished across all family of the perpetrator – by iron and fire. Old men will be grabbed by their beards and smashed against rocks, maidenheads spilled and matrons butchered with the babies spilling from their guts and any knights involved in such infamy will be broken on the wheel, hung, cleaved and displayed on spikes.

Do we understand each other.”

So settled the matters though a spy of King Lots, Banquo, a refugee of the Orkney invasion from Man goes around promising pagans aid should they need it – Sir Gato persuades him to declare himself Lot’s envoy and so be seen in plain sight.

to move on from the anarchy we are going to fast forward 6 years next turn to the horizon of the boy king.

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GURPs Afternath Tenerife: a concept and an appeal

My GMing docket is full with ladies cricket & the 17thc-musketeer-1980s-game that shouldn’t be named but deserves a grognod.

HOWEVER if have a long standing desire to run a post-apocalyptic game set on the island of Tenerife. I think the fraught ecological balance of a holiday island, the tourist attractions – absorbed or changed into survivor communities and the varied terrain & climate of the island have a lot off potential. It would NOT be a gonzo SF more Aftermath style but using GURPs and tactically hard edged though the emphasis would be on community & exploration 20 years after the disaster.

I’d do a ‘pre-game’ with potential survivors during the actual disaster (I’m thinking club / hotel entertainers) till they get to a place of safety.

I’m being vague about the disaster as I’m going to get player input into that. I favour a limited nuclear/biological exchange & super computer virus collapsing the internet myself. I don’t want anything magical or SF.

Then fast forward 20 years & they play their communities kids reaching out to the island.

THE APPEAL

Two parts

Who’d be interested in playing (just an expression of interest now.)

And I’ve done research on potential communities for the island – would anyone like to be given one (for example the internationally ran mount tiede observatory ) and write up in a couple of paragraphs what it might be like as a community 20 years after a disaster ? Major NPCs, how it survives, defences, Adventure seeds

worried be bit samey if I did them all

Thanks and regards – offers to my email, social media if you know me or pick up in the comments

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Pink Gins & Googlies 3:2 Columbo Cocaine Adventure – KMT Leg Theory

Following from their disgrace and investigations Mavis and Mags find themselves at dinner sat with Hettie and Petra Rebecca Lomax, a throughly modern woman. Both are up for helping with the investigation into Shun Wu’s curious Cocaine and the Italian espionage.

Determine to make an early morning constitutional part of their training and set off before breakfast to peer at Shun Wu’s radio transmitter. Whoever they notice the shop and by extension they are under observation by a young Chinese man in western dress outside s neighbouring chai / coffee house.

They too take up residence on the terrace outside the chai house. They note the man has a KMT (Chinese nationalist) star on his cigerette lighter. Hettie with her characteristic subtlety strikes up a conversation. The man whose name is Duong believes Shun committed a crime in Shanghai – if she repeats it here he’s to take her back for Chinese justice.

After some evasions and wheedling by the girls it seems the banks of Shanghai simply gave away money belonging to KMT generals. Their officials thought to be users of Shun Wu’s Cocaine. As it’s just after tax collection time I Ceylon Duong expects it to be her next target.

Mags disappointment in the pedestrian use of a world conquering technology gets sharp glances from her team mates.

Parting allies and having exchanged contact details they rush back for breakfast and nets.

They are tailed by middle class local man in western dress. He continues to observe them at nets. Mavis and Hettie propose a plan where hettie will bowl a blinder and Mavis flick it over so another girl can challenge him when retrieving the ball.

However disaster – rather than take the ball on the back foot and slog it Mavis goes forward for an ambitious sweep, misjudges it and it connects with her chin knocking her out cold for several hours (0 HP she could have died but if you will fumble.)

After practice while most of the team go on to visit an elephant orphanage. The girls head to question the Civil Servant Wilkes who Mags and Mavis met at the Ball. He works at the board of education. They are still followed by their ‘shadow.’

In suds he doesn’t understand their concerns thinking they are talking about misplaced exams or marking scandals however two things happen

  • Mags feels funny but manages to keep control of herself
  • Walked answers become very stock and as the ladies talk of going to the authorities he goes for a letter opener in his drawer.

Fortunately Hettie has an eye on him and smashed the draw close on his fingers causing him to pass out. Examining his eyes his whites have a bluish tinge an affliction that hasn’t affected Mags despite her sampling. Mavis on the other hand is still recovering in the hotel sick room.

Next week – is Duong an agent of justice ? Is Shun Wu’s plot so pedestrian ? Can the party animals resist the pull of blue cocaine …

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Pink Gins & Googlies : Tour Match 2 : Shiekh Mumabrak’s Harem

A trial broadcast from Lieutenants Beaunt & Boycott of HMS Thunderchild on the recent match.

“Good morning everyone and you join us at a very exciting days play at a somewhat makeshift pitch put on by Shiekh Mumabrak for this tour Match.”

Cranford Innings

“Well Captain Agatha has won the toss and put the Cranford Old Girls XI in to bat. They made steady progress but it was Gwendoline Devonshire who really made things come alive with a pantherish 31 until DJebar adjusted her length and drew both Devonshire and Carstairs-Lomax out their ground for a stumping in short order. ”

” It was just terrible batting my Grandma could have blocked that with a stick of rhubarb. No excuse for the lapse in concentration and dashing down the pitch like that. Just silly.”

“Well quite. The Arab bowling was very disciplined not a wide or no ball given in the whole match. 109-8”

Harem Innings

“Despite the heat and her having been bating to the end of the over Captain Agatha opened the bowling with Hettie Larwood paired with Mavis Winthorpe – two wickets falling to Mavis and catches in the slip cordon in the fourth over.”

” diabolical”

” perhaps though the locals rubs dried up into ex-Cranford old girl Jane Southerby made some rapid runs in the 15th and 16th overs includes a beautiful 2 off a short ball of Flashard rotating herself on strike before being caught in the 17th over”

” well it was just daft – she was set in nicely and then it all goes to her head – and it was a waste – the bowler Lady Lilly Bouchet was rattled had bowled two no balls and then she just thick edges it to Devonshire at silly point . Daft.”

“Rather. Well Stirling works by the home side tail was put in by Azar Saadwi within 18 runs and Fatima Nafisi on 16 the former deceived by the leg break of Edith Tremoux and the later by a long hop by Lady Bouchetz”

“Daft”

” perhaps – all in the locals scores 92 all out 15 runs and 2 wickets within the Cranford total with 4 overs to go which seems excellent for their inexperience.”

” I think we say something about the umpiring the RAF lads umpiring only gave no balls and wides against the visitors – I’m not saying they were intimidated but-”

” yes so moving swiftly on the game was very well played by both sets of ladies in the best spirit of the game. Lady of the match must be Kady Bouchet with 7 wickets ”

Scorecard

Cranford Innings

Abigail ‘smasher’ flashard 8 bowled Khalifeh

Agatha Graves 15 bowled DJebar

Mavis Winthorpe 15 bowled Kachachi

Gwen Devonshire 31 stumped Djebar

Carstairs – Lomax 12 stumped Djebar

Mags Hebblethwaite 4 stumped DJebar

Petra Harvey 13 stumped Saadawi

Contessa Lemichello 3 not out

Hettie Larwood 8 bowled last ball Saadawi

109-8

Harem XI

Jane Sotherby 20 caught Devonshire off Bouchet

Ghana Ashar 2 bowled Winthorpe

Radwa al-Sauman 0 caught Hebbelthwaite off Bouchet

Ahlam Djebar 9 caught hebbelthwaite off Bouchet

Assia Kachachia 1 bowled Larwood

Inaam Khaliefh 2 bowled Bouchet

Salnar Mornissi 5 bowled Bouchet

Fatema Nafisi 16 bowled Bouchet

Azar Saadawi 13 bowled Larwood

Maryjane Al-Shaukhn 18 bowled Bouchet

Hanan Satapi 2

2 wides 1 leg by

92 all out

Cranford win by 2 wickets

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Pink Gins & Googlies 3:1 Columbo Cocaine Adventure – Let’s have a Ball

Arriving in Columbo after their march against Sheik Mumabrak’s harem XI (results ) and Aden Adventure the girls of the Cranford Old Girls XI arrive for their match in Columbo. However that evening they are guests of honour at the Ceylon Civil Servants Ball at the Governor’s residence.

However Mags & Mavis soon her up to mischief noticing that many of the civil servants appear very animated – outspoken even. A bit of ferreting away to a long suffering wife Gladys Wolks reveals that many have been taking Cocaine to cope with a long hours – a special brag game procured from a Chinese apothecary Shun Wu in the Docks. In the ladies they find a flapper Holly Myers and Mavis and Mags after peer pressure from Mavis try some. Though mags notes the drug is cut with galena – radio crystals.

Under the powerful influence of the drugs the girls don’t cover themselves in glory

  • Mags harassing a crowd of youngesters with the joys of mathematical proofs
  • The pair starting an impromptu cricket game / food fight with a salmon tray and orange
  • Mags singing obscene sea shanties
  • Mavis attempting to seduce the governor & vomiting on his shoes
  • Mags attempting to rationalise the residence’s plumbing causing a flood

The pairs banging heads the next day are awoken by Captain Agatha who admonishes, advises them they won’t by playing next tour, are expected at nets and on 9 o clock curfew. Only their heroic efforts in Aden is stopping them being sent home.

After an exhausting nets session they wander the docks bumping into Flávio Bucci, the irascible Italian outfitter from Aden, following carefully they see him take photos of Royal Navy ships in harbour and them his film collected by an employee of the Italian Consulate. The surmise Bucci is an Italian spy.

Swiftly before dinner curfew they check out Shun Wu’s shop – it has a top of the line radio transmitter disguised as an old receiver and insider has many sundry bizarre nick-naks. The image below gives an idea.

Shun Wu proves to be a lithe well muscles diminutive Chinese woman with a pig tail. When asked about cocaine she asks what was the ‘ Fifth vice of the jade emperor ‘ and unhappy with the guesses shuts up shop.

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Lunchtimelairs B&B2 Manifest Destiny !

Lunchtime Lairs is a regular Wednesday lunchtime game 12-2 at justplay games in tithebarne street, Liverpool

Rapscallions Jirad Priest of Yerlot, Thief Seneca of the Streets, Moloch a fellow thief of exhausted temperament & chocomancer conjouer Farqual Neely having arrived in silver rush town of Promise City get a further insight into the election politics by grilling the batman of the Gay lady saloon.

They decide to leverage their fame and Farqual takes to the stage and tells a nearly truthful account of the vanquishing of Hershey and heroism of the party to a standing ovation.

Then Jirad decides he wants to sneak back stage. Seneca decides to make a distraction by lashing a beer mug into the crowd killing Dorota Figueres an owner of the el Parador Cantina. In the resulting bar fight the hardy adventurers are able to control things and Moloch ‘ knocks out’ Seneca in a sham fights. Farqual finds a knife on the lady and fast talks she as a open faction member was trying to kill the bar man a floating voter bar man as an act of political terrorism.

While Jirad woo’s Lilly Von Poop, the rapidly fashioned tale of Farqual works on Marshal Hollister who investigates the death. As a member of the civic association & the law & order faction he recommends they speak to Cassidy of Cassidy lumberyard the law & order mayor candidate about work.

Cassidy greats them enthusiastically but it’s clear the kind of work Cassidy has in mind is either menial or brute squad stuff. The player characters aren’t renown for their morals but it does strike them if they’re going to be taking the moral low ground they may was well do for themselves and lure out the KFC assassins at the same time.

Therefore back at the Gaylady they get enough votes to register for candidates Jirad as Mayor, the test as councillors and finding other PCs Hector the hoplite, Blegrim and Romulua as Marshal. The ‘ money for everyone’ party is born !

Meanwhile it turns out Dorites had a husband Pedro and sundry friends at the Cantina – Seneca better watch his back

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Lunchtimelairs B&B1 Go West crushers of the chicken industry

Lunchtime Lairs is a regular Wednesday lunchtime game 12-2 at justplay games in tithebarne street, Liverpool

The story so far after sundry adventures the adventurers got to the town of Celebration found it was a cunning trick of Farqual’s evil brother Barqual unwittingly released the chocolate Kaiju demon Hersey – Hesse’s to the Guy Farm made an alliance with giant chickens such a Cluck Norris & Attila the Hen – tide them into battle against the infernal confectionary behemoth saving Thieftown…

The resulting fame and fortune means Farqual the chocolatier conjurer, Moloch the thief & Jirad the Cleric of Yerlot of the party ended up sharing digs doing the celebrity circuit of being wined and dined by the great and the good. The wine, the fine clothes, the groupies taking their toll.

However they are accosted after one night of debauchery by elite assassins with poison daggers they defeat them though Moloch is badly wounded & Farqual hurt. Through turning poison on a captive and providing the antidote they find the assassins where from the Deep Spies, the secret arm of the Konsolidated Farmers of Chicken (or KFC.) guild.

See the Colonel, leader of the guild despatched them as the new temporary governor as banded the consumption of chicken or eggs as a thank you to the giant avian saviours of Thieftown. The guild wants revenge on our ‘heroes’ for the sudden poverty of its membership.

After allowing the captive to die of poison and a nights rest the trio are awoken by hecklers in the street. With the discovery of silver in the Sulphur Spring Valley (over West beyond the Pavel Ranch) cavarans are advertising for the poor to ‘go east’ to mine silver. This includes many chicken farmers.

Deciding this may be a way to find ‘the colonel’ our three amigo’s blag their way onto Bantam’s Caravan which means drinking, eating and bullying peasants. It seems Jirad in particular has let his VIP status rather go to his head. This leads to a confrontation when they reach the caravan end ‘Promise City’ and it turns out Bantam thinks food & drink & transport is payment enough for their ‘services.’

The part head to the Gay lady tavern where Jirad becomes awestruck by the chanteuse Lilly Von Poop

Moloch meanwhile notices the games of chance in the house are fixed by the thieves guild. Talking they find out an election is coming with an ‘open party’ for the little guy and free market ( thief’s guild & open rangers ) v a ‘law & order party’ (big ranches & big mining companies.) The PCs are already suspicious of the big mines having seen Dwarfs signing up tenderfoots to the Silverbell mining company on dodgy terms.

A town open for the taking ? Could our celebrities leverage their fame to a political career ? Or their talent for thuggery ? Time will tell in Ballots & billyclubs

Yes I’m adapting classic boothill scenario ballots & bullets to blackhack should be interesting.

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