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3/18/2018 12:56 am  #1


Honor + Intrigue Campaign: 1666

The game is set in the Bourdeaux region of France in 1666. Louis XIV reigns as the Sun King from his new palace in Versailes. King Charles II sits on the English throne. It is an age of art and culture. It is a time of burgeoning science and shadowy superstition. It is a world of Romance and Adventure, where mysteries, horrors, and wonders await yet undiscovered by man.

 Our Heroes found themselves at a carnival in the town of Mornay Pessac, celebrating the grape harvest. Many games of skill and chance with plenty of food and drink and entertainments made for a very enjoyable afternoon.
 Our Heroes for this session:Julie d'Aubigney: A swordswoman and opera singer with an eye for beauty and a thirst for adventure who lives life to the fullest.

 Wilhelm: A mercenary from the German principalities. He's been fighting in one damned army after another since he was seven. Now he is a guard in the town garrison, just hoping for a little peace.

 Alec MacRath: A Scotish noble whose home and parents were destroyed by an unknown terror. He pulled the family sword from the ashes and took his sister to France where his family also had a small estate.
 Alex's character (I don't recall a name): A Scotish warrior-bard who has come to the local university as a professor of English, Literature, Legend, and Rhetoric.

 (There are a couple of other characters made, but they were not part of Session 0).
 NPCs met in Session 0:Baron Isaac de Parthau du Vallon de Bracieux de Pierrefonds, (A retired musketeer formerly known as "Porthos") His barony is nearby and he can serve as a patron and contact to the party. He serves as a patron for a few of the PCs.

 Le Comtesse Angelique Du Mornay: The leader of the town and the largest landowner in the area. She is a patron of the arts and letters. She introduced herself to Julie and asked her to perform at the local theater next month, and has been considering building a proper opera house. She also commended Wilhelm on the job he was doing as a guard (breaking up a fight) and remembered his name (unusual for a noble).

 Sergeant Gaspar: A seemingly bumbling commander of the local garrison, he was "delayed" in relieving Wilhelm on guard duty because he was (winning) an eating contest. He gave Wilhelm a Livre and a sausage for his trouble. Gaspar is a very large and bombastic man whose uniform has been taken out a few times.

 Jean Garnier: He is the Comtesse’s Major Domo. He is described as being a bit creepy looking and is known about the town for being lecherous, but he has done his job well, and Madame le Comtesse has had no call to dismiss him. He seems to have been absent at the festival.

 Inquisitor Damien Montenegro: A Spanish priest, who has been sent to France allegedly as part of an agreement between the two nations (dating back to 1660, when the King married the Spanish Infanta Maria Teresa). He had a bit of a heated exchange with Julie when they bumped into each other as she rushed across the square to bring Clarisse some of her favorite (and ridiculously expensive) eclairs.

 Clarisse LeFleur: Daughter of the Innkeeper of the Fleur du Mont Inn, and the most beautiful girl in town. Julie lost a practice duel (with 5 sous on the line) because she caught her eye; they immediately got along. Clarisse had to attend to some chores while Julie tried to get her some eclairs from a very high-end bakery on the other side of the square.

 After some fun (and a few ruffled feathers) during the festival, Alec noticed the distant sound of a woman's scream. He ran for guards at the other side of the square. Wilhelm rushed to the side of the Comtesse du Mornay, sword and pistol in each hand. Father Montenegro drew steel as well. Julie grabbed a rope from the maypole and swung across the square onto a fruit cart and sprinted towards the scream. Seargent Gaspar dropped a turkey leg and also unsheathed his weapon. Alex's Scotsman ran towards the square where he grabbed an enemy's horse by the reigns and pulled it to the ground in a feat of pure strength, breaking the man's leg beneath the beast. Porthos unsheathed and grabbed a hunk of burning firewood in his offhand to fight off any ruffian who crossed his path. He cut down three men, but not before he had been both shot and stabbed. He will need a surgeon's care.

 Bandits rode on the town. The Comptess was attacked but managed to fend off some of the brutes with her fan, while Wilhelm and Damien defeated them (Montenegro used the hilt of his sword to knock one out.. he wants to question him). Heroes cut them down or shot them, and saved many townsfolk, but they could not save all. A number of bandits rode off after grabbing one of the local women and hoisting them over the saddle horn. Clarisse and Alec's sister (not yet named) are among the missing.

 Julie has ridden off at full gallop after them and had nearly caught the ruffians when a group of three of them broke off to fight her, allowing the others to get away. She must be extremely careful; the men still have hostages on their horses.

 In town, people have noticed that the only people kidnapped were young and attractive women of the village (though the bandits shot, stabbed, and trampled many other people)When our adventure continues, our Heroes will doubtless seek to vanquish the fiends and rescue the town's daughters.

Last edited by BASHMAN (3/18/2018 1:03 am)

 

3/18/2018 6:35 am  #2


Re: Honor + Intrigue Campaign: 1666

Bloody brilliant!

I love the fact that Julie is included in the mix - a really great real life character, who proves that history provides often better rpg inspiration than fiction.

​Please keep us updated on the campaign - More! More! I want more!


My real name is Steve Hall
 

4/09/2019 5:05 pm  #3


Re: Honor + Intrigue Campaign: 1666

Julie’s speeding mount was surrounded by three bandits who also each had hostages. Just as they were crossing a bridge, a musketeer (Girard) managed to see them. Fixing his pole-brace, he leveled his musket and fired, dropping low one of the bandits. Julie capitalized on the distraction to cut down the other two from horseback while also managing to stop their mounts before the prisoners suffered any harm.

Meanwhile, back in the town, Baron Porthos received medical attention from Wilhelm and a foreign Healer. Comtesse Du Mornay ordered the town guard to set a defense up around the city in case more bandits returned. Montenegro makes preparations for his interrogation. Meanwhile, the PCs go on a search party after the missing women.

Tracking the bandits, they find a fork in the trail leading into the dark forest; a dozen horses go one way, and two horses go another. Alec sees a scrap of his sister’s dress in the direction of the two horses and follows. He comes to an area in the woods where he finds Mary-Alice tied to a tree and two dead bandits, their heads crushed together. Mary-Alice says she was rescued by an enormous man dressed in furs who said to them “this girl is not permitted to die!” The horses ran off when the stranger approached, and he also did not stay to untie her or let her get a proper look at him

The other PCs found a clearing in the woods at the center of which was an old windmill along with a ruined building that was acting as a makeshift barn for the bandits’ horses. Wilhelm was annoyed that the other PCs immediately abandoned his plan and charged towards the windmill, blowing their chance at surprise. A firefight ensued between many bandits inside the windmill and PCs on the edge of the clearing, though some bandits did engage in melee outside with some of the PCs. Julie charged on horseback, grabbed the turning windmill blade and swung into the third-floor window, goading the bandit leader there into a duel amongst the turning gears and clouds of flour.

Meanwhile downstairs, Evylyn engaged in a shootout with a bandit leader at the top of the stairs. Her pistol misfired while the bandit began to take aim. Before he could shoot, Eliot the Highlander charged up the stairs, lunging with his mighty claymore, only to embed it deep into a wooden beam. The bandit fired one of his pistols right next to Eliot’s ear, temporarily deafening him (“what’s that chiggin’noise?” became his go-to piece of any conversation for the remainder of the session) but missing Evelyn. As he made ready to blow Eliot’s head off with the second pistol, Girard (who had already fired his musket and entered the windmill), from the base of the stairs, drew his sword and flung it straight into the bandit’s heart, killing him and pinning him to the wall.

Upstairs, Julie began to whittle down her opponent, who offered to tell them everything he knows in exchange for safe passage out of the town. Initially, Julie promised “I swear no man shall harm you” but when the bandit asked Girard for his word as a Musketeer he said “you will not be harmed” preventing Julie from a (hilarious) double cross. The bandit told them that their boss is Rinaldo, an Italian mercenary who is planning to sell the women either to Corsairs (who will sell them for harem girls) or to Caribbean brothels. However, one woman in particular (Clarisse) was to be brought alive and unharmed to their paymaster, a man called Lucien. Only Rinaldo ever met with Lucien and only he knows where Clarisse was to be brought. The bandit tells the PCs where Rinaldo and his men are camped and is set free. 

As the PCs are making their way to the bandit’s camp, they realize they are being followed. Rather than shooting at their pursuer, they wait and talk to him, discovering it is Inquisitor Montenegro behind them. Montenegro managed to find them by interrogating one of the surviving bandits from the town attack. He did not know if the PCs would have found them and did not want to wait to find out and set off on his own after them. They agree to work together.

The PCs plan to surround the bandit camp and attack, and initially, things go according to plan. Several PCs use stunts to defeat a large number of Pawns at once, collapsing tents, swinging off tree limbs to slam into a group like a wrecking ball, while other PCs elect to simply cut down multiple bandits. Wilhelm’s Blessed Boon was activated twice during this fight as musket balls whizzed by his head. Julie faces off against Rinaldo in a one-on-one duel that she begins handily winning (she begins carving slashes into his buff-coat to accentuate her questions). Just when Rinaldo is ready to give up and tell the PCs everything, one of his bandits pulls a grenade and chucks it into the campfire and runs (Wilhelm’s Cursed Flaw was activated, as he was standing right next to the fire). Eliot managed to swing his claymore like a golf-club, launching the grenade (which was going to explode at the top of next round) to a safe distance

Now captured, Rinaldo tells the PCs about Lucien, the bearded old man who hired him to kidnap Clarisse. He’d been paid 1,000 Livre (in a bag containing 50 gold double Louis d’Or coins) to kidnap her alone but was told he may kidnap and sell off other women to increase his profits and cover his tracks. The other women were to be sold either to the harem (200 Livre apiece for those chosen by the Corsairs) or the brothels (60 Livre apiece for all who were left). Clarisse was taken to the seaside caves by two of Rinaldo’s trusted lieutenants. Montenegro (and the other PCs who will not appear next session) will take the girls and Rinaldo back to town, while the PCs head to the seaside caverns…

Last edited by BASHMAN (4/09/2019 5:08 pm)

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4/09/2019 5:10 pm  #4


Re: Honor + Intrigue Campaign: 1666

The PCs make their way to the seaside caverns, where they found the water to be knee-deep. At the cave’s entrance, there were two bandits floating facedown in the surf. Examination of the bodies revealed nothing about the cause of death, but Evelyn the Astrologer used her magical gifts of divination to scry the last thing one of the men saw, which was a hooded man with a white beard pointing his finger at one of the men, who was clutching his chest and falling to his knees. Evelyn surmised (correctly) that this was the result of sorcery. 

After taking some time to be abundantly cautious, I began to let the PCs know exactly how many minutes had passed since they arrived at the cave entrance and appointed a player in charge of keeping track of the time. This really kept slowdowns and hesitation to a minimum as whenever they stopped and discussed something or searched, etc. I told the timekeeper to add more minutes to the elapsed time. As the sun was setting, the PCs figured that perhaps time was of the essence for poor Clarisse and decided to hurry. 

Winding their way through the tunnels, carrying torches made from driftwood, our heroes happened upon a gigantic spider web crisscrossing the tunnel. Julie nearly walked right into it but was fortunately warned by Wilhelm in time to avoid it. At this moment some nine-legged spiders the size of housecats dropped from the ceiling and the PCs began fighting them off. A bit shaken but relieved to have killed them, the PCs got another surprise when a terrifying spider—the parent of those “babies”, a nine-legged monstrosity the size of a pony, skittered across the webs towards them. The PCs were fortunate enough to avoid being bitten by its venom. While its carapace turned a couple sword slashes, the creature proved quite vulnerable to black powder and it retreated across the webs. Before it could fully escape, Julie, who had watched its every step, followed it walking across the webbing (spiders are not immune to stickiness, they can walk on webs because the know which strands are not sticky; she simply copied the creature’s footing with a very difficult Footwork check). And then lunging at the beast’s back, slaying it. 

Alec found an egg sack containing several ostrich-egg sized eggs, and Evelyn had a mind to begin extracting venom from the beasts, but Wilhelm and Julie reminded them of the urgent nature of their mission and they said they would come back later. They burnt a path through the webs and round the corner, where they found eventually a set of stairs leading up to a temple-like structure. 

Alec noticed footprints on the floor… and that these prints were made int what appeared to be bone dust. Another set of stairs led up, and there was another set that led down into a pit full of bones. Not wanting to waste time examining bones, Julie began bounding up the stairs, while Alec noticed the bones begin to move. 

Suddenly the giant pile of bones had arranged itself into the shape of a bone golem. The creature was enormous, as it was made of a fusion of dozens of skeletons. Evelyn shot it with her musket but did little damage as being a skeleton, bullets had nothing to really “sink into” as they whizzed through ribcage etc. Alec discovered the amazing properties of his sword as he fought the creature with a sword in one hand and a flaming torch in the other. Though the creature had a very strong resistance to most attacks, his family sword “Night Reaver” cut through it like warm wax. As the creature took damage, bones that flew off stood and formulated disjointed skeletons, but Alec put these down with his torch before they could become a threat. Julie and Wilhelm focused on keeping the creature distracted so that Alec could focus his attacks on it. Eventually, the creature was destroyed. Once again, the Heroes took no time to examine it or the room it had emerged from and began bounding up the stairs. 

Upon reaching the top stair, Julie triggered a sliding stair trap that inflicted minor damage; however, this was not a serious impediment. At the top of the stairs, Julie opened a door to find herself standing on the other side of a bookcase, in what appeared to be the castle Du Mornay. The room in which she opened contained several bookshelves, a fireplace, and a writing desk, upon which stood a lit candelabra and lay an open book. There were two other doors leading into the room that she saw, one of which had a jiggling handle. Julie somehow believed this would be Clarisse arriving into the room, and rushed to embrace whoever came through that door. Alec ran to the book and quickly examined it, finding it to the official ledger of finances for castle du Mornay; he threw it into his backpack. Wilhelm entered the room standing at attention. Evelyn had not yet finished ascending the stairs. The door opened to reveal Jean Garnier, the Comtesse’s majordomo who was taken by surprise to see Julie in his office so suddenly. He placed his hand upon his sword and yelled for guards. Wilhelm replied “Yes sir!” and presented arms. This is the cliffhanger we left off on.

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4/09/2019 5:12 pm  #5


Re: Honor + Intrigue Campaign: 1666

Erstwhile, our faithful heroes had burst into the office of Jean Garnier via a secret passageway that connected a hidden subterranean temple to pagan gods (Dagon, Ba'al, Tiamat, etc.) As soon as she emerged from what appeared to be a cabinet in an office, Julie noticed the door on the other side opening, and rushed to what she thought would be Clarisse, but turned out to be Jean Garnier, a bearded older man who always gave Julie the creeps. 

Immediately she came to the conclusion that Garnier was Lucien and must have taken Clarisse, and challenged him to a duel on the spot to reveal her location. Having none of this, Garnier shouted for guards. As other heroes came through the secret passage, ten guards led by Seargent Gaspar burst into the room. Gaspar attempted to obey the orders of Garnier to seize them, but his sword arm was quite slow and he had just run about 50 feet down the hall, so he needed a breather.Evylyn offered him a chair and he gratefully accepted, as well as the cup of wine that was already sitting upon the table. 

Cooler heads prevailed and Garnier expressed to the Heroes' (even Julie) satisfaction that he was not the culprit and in fact had no idea of that secret passage's existence. Garnier explained to the PCs that Lucien is some sort of charmer and he has great sway over the Comtesse; she had given him the run of the castle and ordered all people not to disturb him. They went down to inspect the pagan ruins and the bone pile; while Wilhelm thinking of the Comtesse's safety told two guards to go and warn her what was going on. (I tossed him a Fortune Point for that). 

Convinced the Comtesse was in danger, Garnier and Gaspar accompany the party where first they searched Lucien's rooms, in which they discovered a chest of drawers containing a hooded robe... and a false beard. Evylyn and Angus also came to the conclusion that if a sorcerer were planning to harm Clarisse for some sort of magical ritual, it would likely need to be under the light of the full moon (which is that night in a matter of minutes!). Realizing that the only likely place is the roof of the castle, they make their way there only to see two guards cross halberds at the entrance to the stairs. 

They refused to let the PCs pass, saying the Comtess had ordered them not to let anybody by no matter what (these are the same two guards Wilhelm had sent to warn the Comtesse). Even Gerard the Musketeer's attempt to pull rank and order them to move in the name of the King did not work. It came to violence, with the two guards fighting surprisingly well in the narrow hallway with their halberds, but they were ultimately defeated. 

The Heroes emerged from the rooftop stair to see Clarisse laying unconscious upon a slab, her skin painted with arcane runes while the Comtesse du Mornay stood chanting over her in a tongue unheard by human ears for millennia, a pink mist rising from Clarisse's mouth and being inhaled by the Comtesse. Julie rushed towards her and hurled her main gauche at the Comtesse, but missed. The Comtesse screamed, "HOW DARE YOU INTERRUPT MY REJUVENATION RITUAL!" At that moment she said some more arcane words, and the rooftop gargoyles came to life with red glowing eyes and flew upon the Heroes. Julie lept onto the slab, standing over Clarisse's body to protect her as she stood against three gargoyles AND the Comtesse. In spite of their frantic attacks, Julie held her ground unscathed while her companions tried to fight off the gargoyles whose stony bodies were proving rather hardy (though Angus did grab one and break its wing before shoving it over the side of the wall, killing it). 

Realizing Angus would make a valuable asset, le Comtesse used her magic to bewitch him... and it worked. Angus attacked Wilhelm and badly wounded him (were it not for his armor he might have died). While some heroes continued to subdue gargoyles, Alec and Angus faced off in a clash of the Highlanders on the roof. Amazingly, Alec managed to disarm Angus... who then proceeded to bearhug and crack some ribs. Jean Garnier helped hold him fast and Alec managed to bring the pommel of his sword down on his head (a Mighty Success) knocking him unconscious (I gave Angus' player a Fortune Point for accepting the unconsciousness). 

Meanwhile, the Comtesse cast another spell turning her own skin into a porcelain-looking stone, allowing her to absorb a musket shot with only minor damage. Forced by a sword attack by Clarisse to Yield Advantage, the Comtess found herself standing against the parapets, her back to the sea and the crashing rocks below. Seeing herself now outnumbered and surrounded, the Comtesse told the party "I shall remember this! Each of you is marked for death!" She then fell backward off the roof as a trio of remaining gargoyles flew to catch her. They saw her emerge in the sky about 100 feet away from them. With their very last loaded musket, Wilhelm took the shot and winged the Comtess badly... but she survived. By the time a new weapon could be loaded, they were dots on the horizon. Epilogue: Clarisse was awoken with the aid of the healer Ali Funda's smelling salts, and given some clothes. Julie revealed her true nature and Clarisse seemed amenable to it. The Comtesse's room was searched, revealing an onyx chest build directly into the wall. The chest depicted various animal-headed figures and had five keyholes on it. Upon inspection, the PCs came to the conclusion that the keys not only had to fit the locks but had to be opened in the correct order. However, the Comtesse has the keys... and she plots her revenge. I awarded Advancement Points and had the PCs make some plans for what they plan to do with their downtime. They certainly earned it.

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4/09/2019 5:20 pm  #6


Re: Honor + Intrigue Campaign: 1666

Interlude: The Garden Party
Our heroes have had a month of downtime in which to spend their money and Advancement Points. Wealthy nobles collected allowances while less financially secure characters had to find a way to pay for their cost of living. As a spendthrift, Julie had difficulty keeping her head financially above water, and as a noble she had difficulty “working” for a living, although she has been doing some opera singing to pay the bills and giving fencing instruction to some of her friends (who in turn “lent” her some money). Alec drew a larger-than-normal allowance in the last month due to some strange events that have befallen the village. 

It seems that many local cattle have been slain; sometimes seemingly by a pack of wolves, other times by a large animal such as a bear, and at other times by no apparent cause. What all these livestock killings have in common, however, is none of them have targeted any of Alec’s cattle, allowing him to gain a really good contract selling beef to a nearby army commander taking his soldiers on campaign. Recently, some cattle bearing other brands were found mutilated on Alec’s property. Needless to say, some of Alec’s neighbors have begun to treat him with suspicion or at the very least, standoffishness. 


Sure that the curse that haunts his family is somehow at work, Alec chose to use his sizable fortune to buy silver bullets, crossbow bolts, flasks of holy water, and various other things that have some in the town considering him to be paranoid. He freely gave many of these items to his allies, who were likewise witness to the sorceress powers of the old Comtesse and the inhuman monsters she keeps in her employ. He even purchased a wheel-lock musket for Wilhelm, reasoning that the best shot in town would be their best shot at defeating some supernatural threat. Needless to say, the town’s weapon smiths and silver smiths were also grateful for a surge in business in the last month. 

Meanwhile, Baron Porthos has been on the mend, and decided to host a party in celebration of the town’s rescue and his own recovery. The PCs were the guests of honor at this party, as was Sergeant Gaspar. Fray Montenegro was invited but declined to attend such “frivolity”. 

Alec was a bit put off by Porthos’ servants’ insistence that weapons be checked at the door, and nearly insulted them when he did not accept their assurance that his family blade would be most safe in their care; they even offered to lock it up for him and give him the key to the safe, but he relented and allowed it to be taken in along with the rest of the armaments. Angus (who bought a silver dirk himself after witnessing supernatural horrors and succumbing to a mind-controlling spell of the Comtesse) managed to sneak a dagger inside, but elected to leave his claymore at home. Wilhelm, as a guest rather than a guard, elected to leave his armor at home as well, but did bring his weapons which he also checked at the door. One can never be too safe these days with monsters about…

The Garden Party afforded the PCs a chance to meet many new NPCs. Among these were: 

Chevalier Gerard Thenardier: A noble in less opulent clothing who was asking Porthos to use his influence to help admit him to the Order of the Red Plume, a local social club of nobles that meets in the city of Bordeaux. Porthos explained that he would like to help, but the other members of the club are snobbish and snub Thenardier for his lack of wealth. He is sympathetic (he was not always a baron you know, and was snubbed himself a few times) but feels there is not much he can do for him.

Signeur Remmy du Fontaine: An extremely foppish noble, who is also a first class bully. He is dressed in extremely immaculate (and frilly) clothing. Dupris (Evelyn’s Incompetent Servant) spills a tray of drinks on him, causing a cluster of ladies to laugh. Dupris makes an even bigger mess as he tries to clean it up, and Remmy explodes at him, raining blows upon him with his cane as well as insults until Alec intervened, grabbing the cane. Remmy demands satisfaction, as the clothes are ruined and the outfit cost 100 Livre! Though he expected this to initiate a duel, Remmy is even more angry to see that Alec simply pay him the 100, plus 20 more to buy a “better hat”. Technically without cause to duel, Remmy will nonetheless remember Alec’s intervention. Meanwhile Evylyn took Dupris aside and tried to comfort him (he is truly a gentle giant). 

Baroness Almeritte de Araund: A noble woman (a widow) who lives in Bordeux and is a patroness of the opera. She also was talking to Molier. She also has a great interest in “natural philosophy” and when she heard of the spiders in the caverns she arranged with Evylyn to buy some dead ones. Her manservant, an Italian bodyguard named Vicenzo will be awaiting their delivery and will make the payments. 

Corporal Pierre “the Bear” Bastogne was invited along with all other members of the King’s Musketeers within the region, as Porthos loves to host members of his former company whenever he can. Pierre was one of Cardinal Mazarin’s Guard who was absorbed into the King’s Musketeers when those units were combined upon the Cardinal’s passing. He is also a major rival of Corporal Girard, who is bucking for the same promotion to Sergeant. Bastogne mentioned that he was now more likely to receive the promotion due to his recent orders to serve notices on behalf of the King; a number of nobles have refused his majesty’s “invitation” to come to Versailles, and he has been reminding them (or in some cases arresting) those who don’t come. The two eventually exchanged insults, leading to a challenge to a duel (to the first cut) to take place the following Monday behind the convent at 2pm. 

Sword Grandmaster Trujillo Maldanado, a personal friend of Baron Porthos seeks out “Julius”, the famed swordsman who helped rescue the town, at the same time Molier, the famed playwright is seeking to meet Julie, the local opera singer who he thinks might be perfect for the new comic opera he is planning to write. Julie (who is wearing men’s attire at the party so that Clarise could be her date with less gossip) tells Molier that “my sister” would love to meet you in Bordeaux soon. Meanwhile Trujillo gets “Julius” to agree to help with a fencing demonstration planned for the entertainment that evening, and also mentions he may be seeking new sword masters to help take on some of his classes at the school as he is beginning to plan his retirement. 

The Abee d’Herblay, formerly known as the Musketeer Aramis is in attendance and embraces Alec warmly; it turns out he was the priest who baptized Alec as a baby. He says he has much to discuss with Alec, but it must be done in private. 

Portia du Vallon, the “natural daughter” of Baron Porthos makes the acquaintance of Angus, and he is immediately smitten by the bombastic blond bombshell. She is a very “healthy” (she stands about 5’11”) looking girl, who takes after her father’s hardy frame, and prefers to drink beer over wine. 

Athena la Fere, the daughter of Athos also shows up; she is Portia’s best friend and tries to serve as Portia’s voice of reason. She has dark hair and eyes that shine with a keen mind. Girard and her manage to hit it off. 

Porthos arrives and announces it is time for the first of the evening’s entertainments; a fencing demonstration by Trujillo Maldanado. The Grand Master asks for six volunteers… then agrees to fight (with blunted foils) all of them at once! About half the party volunteered, as well as Portia, Athena, and Pierre. I ran this as a sort of “skill challenge” type scenario rather than a fully statted-out fight, where each person got to make 1 action of their choice. Most failed utterly, owing to the fact that Maldinado is a master of six dueling styles. Those that succeeded (often with a Mighty Success) managed to cause Maldinado some setback in the fight before they were eliminated by a “touché” (Alec for instance managed to bind Maldinado’s blade, but the master simply used a Glide to escape while rapping Alec on the bridge of his nose with his foil). Portia attempted to catch the master off-guard by hurling a (full) beer mug at him then following through with a lunge, but slipped in the beer (which Maldinado sidestepped) and managed to be caught in the arms of Angus. In the end, only Julie and Maldinado were left standing. A feverish flashing of blades ensued as the crowd held their collective breath. In the end, Julie gambled on a risky Tag maneuver and felt the blunted tip of Maldinado’s foil as he exclaimed “Touché”. However, he also noticed that Julie managed to cut the rose from his lapel almost simultaneously. Impressed by “his” swordsmanship (it is clear that Maldinado is merely playing along at this point), “Julius” is invited to come to the fencing school both to give and receive lessons. 

Later that night, the frivolities give way to a game of Blind Man’s Bluff, a land-based variant of what we know as the swimming pool game “Marco Polo”. Julie and Clarisse use the opportunity to “get lost” in the vineyards. It is during the came that Clarisse releases a blood-curdling scream as her and Julie stumble upon a freshly killed cow. Alec ascertains that the beast was killed by something as large as a bear within about twenty minutes, and he is also able to discern the beast’s direction of travel, towards the Bois Sombre (the Dark Woods). Baron Porthos announces a reward of 100 Livre to whomever brings that beast’s head, and the Garden Party is split into various Hunting Parties. Several people also elect to stay behind, but the festivities are moved indoors and protected by a number of armed guards (whom Sergeant Gaspar volunteers to supervise). Alec ordered his sister Mary-Alice to stay at the party, playing cards with the other ladies under the protection of the guards. 

Portia, Athena, Aramis, and Porthos compose one of the hunting parties, while the PCs compose another, and other NPCs compose a few more. The chase is afoot! 

Aided by Alec’s tracking skill and the light of a full moon, the PCs make their way to a rocky riverbend in the forest, where they are then ambushed by a pack of over a dozen wolves. Perhaps fearing the worst, and spurred on by Alec and Angus’ tales of werewolves, a number of PCs elected to use silver bullets (at least for the first volley) of this fight. However, they turned out to be regular wolves (but still very dangerous). They manage to fight them off, with most wolves fleeing when they are significantly hurt rather than fighting to the death. 

Afterward, the PCs continue to follow the trail that leads them to an old ruins in the forest. The sky darkened, and it began to rain. At the ruins, they found a sealed letter… addressed to MacRath and sealed with the letter “K”. (I made a prop of the folded and sealed envelop). Before they have a chance to read it, however, they are ambushed yet again… but this time by shadows that seemingly come to life. This fight is truly terrifying (every PC had to make Terror checks) as they see their weapons go right through the monsters. They do discover that silver weapons do hurt the creatures (but do only half damage). The creatures are also very difficult to hit. Holy water does full damage, however, but they don’t have enough to destroy all of the shadows. When the shadows touch any of the PCs, they drain sap them of their strength and have a chance to inflict still more terror upon them. In spit of this, Angus managed to grapple one of them and stab it repeatedly with a silver dagger saying “Dodge this, ye bloody shade!”. Alec MacRath tried to bring down his family blade upon these creatures, but each time it was as if he were under some terrible curse. The first time, a flash of lightning struck his upraised sword, causing Alec to drop it and suffer terrible agony. At this moment, Wilhelm spied from a cliffside the figure of a large tattooed man dressed in furs with long unkempt hair. The lightning originated from the tattooed man’s direction. On the second attempt, after picking up his still-hot sword (he took a point of damage for picking it up, as the rain was still steaming when it fell upon it) he rolled a Catostrophic Failure, at which point he accidentally struck Angus a serious blow, rather than the shadow Angus was wrestling. 

While the last shadow was slain by Julie (whose sword went right through, but it’s silver hilt caused it to boil away into vapor) Wilhelm trained his musket upon the cliffside watcher who was turning to flee. Wilhelm was unsure whether his bullet met its mark or not, but the stranger escaped. While looking for his tracks (and finding none) they did manage to find a leather-bound book, seemingly quite old, left several yards from the cliffside. Opening the book, they could see it written in a language none of them recognized (Cyrillic) and the margins adorned with pagan images, mathematical diagrams, and seemingly arcane symbols. While their first instinct was to burn the book, Alec had a feeling that answers he needs were in that book. 

Meanwhile, opening the sealed letter, the contents filled Alec with dread: 

“Mary-Alice has grown into such a fine young lady. So lovely… so innocent… so… vulnerable. That day in the forest, I could not allow those bandits to harm her. It was not yet her time to die. I gleefully snapped their necks like twigs and she thanked me though she could not see me. How polite. How… naïve. You needn’t worry, MacRath. I will always be there to watch over your darling sister for as long as she lives. 

Your Most Obedient Servant,
--Grigori Krovavich”


At this point, the PCs raced back to Porthos’ chateau to find Mary-Alice perfectly safe playing cards with some of the other guests by the fireplace. Ali Funda saw to peoples’ wounds. Aramis asked to have that private chat with Alec, who relayed all that had happened. At that point, Aramis showed him his sword, which bore the same insignia near the forte; a series of Greek Letters “Πραιτωριανto” which translates as “Praetorian”. Aramis explained that their families were descendants of an ancient order of protectors now known as the Bogatyrs, devoted to destroying unnatural fiends that stalk the land. This is the reason why his sword was able to destroy the Bone Golem so easily and why their enemy used sorcery to prevent its use against the shadows. Aramis acknowledged that Alec has already taken up the calling without knowing the full story; and now he needs to know all he can, and to receive the proper training to become a true Bogatyr in the service of protecting humanity from the darkness. He also knows something of the terror that has stalked the clan MacRath, saying that he knew their family originally emigrated to Scotland from Russia about a century ago. It would seem some creature followed them. Indeed, the clan MacRath has had very few members die of old age. The recent fire that destroyed MacRath Castle seems to be only the most recent of such tragedies. Aramis advises that Alec hold onto the book, and seek someone who might be able to help translate it.

 

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4/09/2019 5:56 pm  #7


Re: Honor + Intrigue Campaign: 1666

After this point, I ran a series of adventure modules.  The first was "Death of a Swordsman" which is being published (tomorrow) as part of the Duelist's Guidebook for Honor + Intrigue. This is when I stopped posting adventure updates online because I didn't want to give anything away from the story. I did adapt the adventure by moving it from Spain to Bordeaux. There was also a twist in that one of the NPCs ended up being entangled not only in the events of "Death of a Swordsman" but turned out to be in league with the Comtess as well. This was not originally planned, but the result of allowing the PCs to create plot points by listening to their theories and conjectures (that is a very useful GM tool). So there was a side-plot in Bordeaux involving an NPC giving shelter to the Comtess in exchange for taking them on as a disciple and to use the rejuvination ritual on them as well. 

Investigating this lead, Angus headed to the Hotel of the NPC where he was allowed to enter and shown into a drawing room... then promptly locked inside. As he looked about for a means of escape (tried impaling his sword through the floor only to manage getting it stuck) the bearskin rug in the room came to life and attacked him. He somehow managed to fight off this creature just in time for a group of guards to arrive. Stabbed, clubbed, shot with a crossbow, he managed to leap from the banister and make his way out the front door when he saw the Comtess who put him to sleep with a whispered word. Hours of darkness passed and he awoke inside a gibbet in a dungeon beneath the floor! By his strength and determination, he managed to swing the gibbet into the wall and smash it open and fight his way through the guards to escape and reunite with the rest of the party (who were dealing with the non-supernatural events of "Death of a Swordsman". He informed them that the Comtess was back!  The party had one more final showdown atop the roof of the du Mornay estate, this time succeeding in killing the Comtess who had summoned a very powerful demon during the combat. Wilhelm managed to bring the demon to the brink of death when it pledged to serve him in exchange for its life. To the shock of EVERYONE he agreed, ordering it to "Go beneath the surface of the sea and do not emerge for the rest of my life." The demon immediately obliged. He is immortal, after all. And Wilhelm has such a tragic fate in store for his future... it won't be long. This caused a rift in the party and Alec chose to leave the party, returning to his family lands in Scotland where he is determined to face Krovavich in one final showdown. 
 
After this excitement, the PCs once again took rest, and were invited to visit Versailles as part of Baron Porthos' entourage. News has also come that negotiations are going very badly with Spain and it is all but certain that King Louis means to start a war with his poor little brother-in-law Charles over his wife's dowry that had never been paid (history calls this the War of Devolution). 

This was the set up for me to run an espionage-themed adventure: "Juego de Damas" (Game of Ladies) originally published in Spanish for the Capitan Alatriste RPG. I adapted the setting to move the action to Paris. The heroes were sought out to come to the aid of a beautiful Italian lady Madonna Cosima and recover a glove of hers that was stolen (as part of a blackmail scheme) only to discover that the beautiful Madonna was a spy! The PCs were approached by the Comtess Isabelle Du Auroix, aka "The Black Princess", a beautiful noblewoman with an eyepatch who runs Le Cabinet Noire-- King Louis' very own counterespionage team-- with an offer to make things right by finding out what the Madonna was up to. The PCs were on the guest list for a party thrown by the Madonna and managed to sneak about her "uncle's" mansion to acquire a secret message with her instructions. During the spy intrigue, Julie succumbed to seduction by the Madonna (or was it the other way around?) allowing the PCs to escape with the information intact. With proof of her status as a spy, Madonna Cosima was expelled from the country... but it will surely not be the last they see of her.  At this point, PCs were allowed to begin taking ranks in the Spy Career if they chose to. Julie also paid a price for her infidelity; after confessing it to Clarisse, they broke up. 
 

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4/09/2019 7:03 pm  #8


Re: Honor + Intrigue Campaign: 1666

Next, I decided to run a horror module, very derivative of the old original TSR "Ravenloft" module.  I changed the setting to the fictional town of De Greve in Brittany and the main antagonist to "Marquis Claude De Greve". For the set-up, I had Pierre the Bear and two other musketeers sent to go an collect the Marquis and bring him to Versailles (nobody refuses the King's hospitality). When these musketeers never returned Captain D'Artagnan (upon the recommendation of his good friends Baron Porthos and the Abee D'Herblay) enlists Girard and his friends to find out what happened to them and to bring them back (and arrest the Marquis for his defiance). 
While many aspects of the adventure were based on the Ravenloft module, I did give things a unique spin. I had one of the PCs (Evelyn) be the reincarnation of Claude's true love, Henriette. I also had Claude's brother Leon be the true Villain-- a ghost whose curse overshadows all of the lands of DeGreve-- and wants nothing more than to see his brother and his harlot destroyed. To this end, he offers to aid the PCs in finding The Sword of St. Jeanne (Joan of Arc)-- the only weapon that can permanently kill the vampire Claude. 

I also didn't have there be any evil "mists" surrounding the place that would poison them if they tried to leave. Instead, the villagers who lived in De Greve thought themselves under a curse (but in reality, it was the water from the town well under a curse by Leon. Anybody who drinks the water for a few months becomes dependent upon it. Leaving causes one to go through withdrawal which feels like a terrible sickness. The Roma (I don't like the word "gypsy") are immune to the curse because they don't drink from the well (partly because of the townsfolk's prejudice and partly because they don't stay long enough to fall under the curse). They are not evil, nor are they "in league" with Claude. 

One rule option I created during this adventure was something called "The Climate of Fear". Whenever the environment called for a Terror check by the PCs, lost Composure could only be restored when the PCs were in a "Sanctuary" from evil (such as a consecrated part of the castle) for at least an hour. The result was that failing a Terror check became much worse, and PCs drained their supply of Fortune rather than risk long-term Composure loss... which also played into the more grim nature of the setting. A special item that was found at one point in the adventure was the Rosary of Father Jerome (the priest who served at the castle almost a century ago). Anyone wearing it for an hour or more was considered to have Sanctuary; allowing that character much greater ability to withstand the effects of fear. The Crucifix of Father Jerome (which was made of silver and could be used to stake vampires) also gave the bearer +2 Defense against undead as they could not bear to look at it. 

I did not base many of the encounters or specific events off Ravenloft, only the main structure of the adventure; I had a lot of fun adding new twists and encounters and took some inspiration from quite a bit of film for this. For background music, I had the soundtrack from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Phantom of the Opera playing at different moments. 

Some fun encounters included: 
Madame Petit, a friend of Wilhelm's and leader of a traveling caravan of Roma in the area did a reading for Wilhelm. The cards revealed the Queen of Swords (St. Jeanne's sword is alleged to be in the castle) and the Two Faced Knave (all is not as it appears) and the Three of Cups (the missing musketeers have only 3 more days to be found alive).  

A Headless Horseman riding a Nightmare who guarded the bridge leading to the castle. The bridge was so narrow, PCs could not Yield Advantage... and the Nightmare could trample them and breathe fire and had batlike wings in case it fell off the bridge. 

At the end of the first session Claude himself showed up, grabbing Evelyn and barricading a door with one hand. Even though Evelyn shot him (twice) he did not seem to even care-- he was so overjoyed, tears of blood ran from his eyes. He did not harm her, but instead told her about who she was in her past life and that she must go to the library to see the truth for herself. When Angus finally forced the door to open (using his whole body against Claude's left hand), the entire party got the fright of their lives fighting him. He seemed to ignore most damage, rolled 3 initiatives per round, and though he had a sword on his belt, didn't even draw it, instead pulling Julie into a vice-like grip and opening his jaws wide to slake his thirst. A point-blank called shot for extra damage WITH A MUSKET to the head did enough damage that he decided to retire, turning to mist and fleeing through a secret door behind the throne. It was clear to the PCs that to have any chance against him (he was fighting with one hand, not even using his weapon while trying to hold onto Evelyn-- and also using his body to shield her) they would need some sort of edge. 

A hedge maze with a number of topiary monsters (inspired by the novel "The Shining") at the center of which was a gazebo (which wasn't haunted) where they found the Rosary of Father Jerome. 

Several Stained Glass Golems in the (desecrated) chapel. They were made of razor-sharp glass. Hitting one with a melee attack caused it to shatter a bit, causing the person who hit it to take damage! Shooting it caused it to shatter much worse, causing everyone adjacent to take damage from the glass. This was very fun to run and the players were both amazed and scared of this encounter. (I had printed stained glass windows depicting knights and angels and such which were on the terrain as set dressing, but turned out to be "monsters" that came off the walls). The film Young Sherlock Holmes inspired this encounter. 

A mirrored ballroom full of ghosts (they could see them reflected on the mirrored walls in a room that looked otherwise empty). There was NO WAY the PCs would be able to fight these ghosts. There were over a hundred of them. Moving through the room required them to make checks or swept up into the dancing, each turn they would lose 1 Lifeblood. Angus had to be physically dragged out of the room by the rest of the party. They took every possible pain to avoid entering this room again. 

Caverns beneath the castle where the Sword of St. Jeanne resided... protected by giant worm creatures rising from the abyss. The floor was extremely fragile, making the fight even more perilous. 
A long hallway with paintings and statues (I used primed but unpainted minis for the statues and printed mini baroque paintings on cardstock). Statues came to live and attempted to drag Evelyn into her past-life's portrait (which would have transported her to the Library where Henriette's ghost resides) but the PCs destroyed them first. 

Leon De Greve offered the PCs safe haven to rest in his chamber within the castle, and initially, everyone liked him and thought he was on their side. There was a broken mirror in the section of the castle that led to the tower where he was isolated. Leon explained that the ghosts in the castle could only travel via mirrors and he was too far from any to escape the tower. The PCs then went looking for a mirror for him, allowing him to escape once and for all. This ties in well with "what really happened". Henriette was once Leon's wife. Leon was a cruel and indifferent husband who only cared about money and warfare. While he was away on campaign, Leon's younger brother Claude and Henriette fell in love. When Leon returned, she decided to tell him the truth (that she was with child, and that it was Claude's), whereupon Leon pushed her off the tower. Knowing his brother was to blame, Claude (who was always smaller and weaker than his brother) pledged his soul to the forces of darkness in exchange for the power to kill Leon and see his Henriette once again. This pledge was granted by turning him into a vampire. With his newfound strength, Claude was at last able to kill Leon and have his revenge, slaking his first vampiric thirst on his brother's own blood. But he paid a terrible price. Not only do vampires cast no reflection-- they are incapable of seeing any as well (a mirror just looks like a flat shiny metallic surface to them). And this was the cruelest irony-- for Henriette and Leon's souls were both bound to the castle's mirrors. Claude could be in the same room as Henriette's ghost-- and he could neither see her nor hear her. Leon's ghost could manifest outside of a mirror but was bound by mirrors to travel. 

One by one, the PCs managed to find the missing musketeers. Two were found in weakened states locked in dungeons, but Pierre was found in a training ground possessed, believing himself to be fighting to defend the King and that the zombies and skeletons at his side were his soldiers to command... against the PCs who were there to assassinate the King! They managed to subdue him and escape alive, just as the skeletons began to rise for another round. They barred the door behind them and made their way to the library. 

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4/09/2019 7:26 pm  #9


Re: Honor + Intrigue Campaign: 1666

Claude was hoping that by bringing Evelyn to the Library at Midnight (the hour when Henriette's ghost emerges each night) he would be able to convince her to undergo a ritual which would meld their body and soul. Though they had the sword of St. Jeanne, the PCs did not attack Claude, instead trying to talk to him and Henriette. This was the moment when Leon chose to reveal himself and play his hand, attempting to KILL Evelyn "so this time, you can watch her die." 

This is when Julie, wielding the sword of St. Jeanne managed to kill Leon, destroying him once and for all, as well as ending the curse on De Greve (which literally was hanging over the town like a cloud; the next dawn would be the first bright sunshine in almost a century). The PCs (along with Henriette, repeating her words) manage to convince Claude that Evelyn is her own person with her own soul, and that Henriette will not be joined with her in some mockery of life. Further, Henriette pleads for Claude to seek redemption so that they can *truly* be together again. He agrees, and after atoning, allows Julie to strike his head off with the Sword of St. Jeanne. The party sees two ghosts (a much less imposing looking Claude) join hands and fade away. 

As our heroes leave the castle bridge, the last of the unholy magic that held the castle together unravel, and the castle collapses into the sea. As they leave the grateful people of De Greve, they have one final encounter on the road-- Captain D'Artagnan, the Abee D'Herblay, the Ambassador the Compt de La Fere, and Baron Porthos all riding toward the town (just in case these young-bloods need rescued themselves). To their delight, the three missing musketeers are healthy enough to report what has transpired. Official state records will declare the Marquis de Greve to be dead, and the seat of peerage will be stricken from the royal rolls, with the town of De Greve becoming part of a neighboring barony. 
All the PCs are richly rewarded. Some with money (200 Livres each) and others with promotions. Wilhelm requests choice of his next posting, which he decides will be some peaceful town where he can settle into a less dangerous existence (the player decided he wanted to make a new character who we will meet next time). Girard got his promotion to Seargent and earned the respect and a handshake from Pierre (a rival now becoming a friend). And Julie was offered a commission as a Musketeer... if she wanted it, knowing the difficulties a military life might entail (she ended up accepting it). 

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4/18/2019 6:30 pm  #10


Re: Honor + Intrigue Campaign: 1666

A Winter of Discontent
February 1667. King Louis continues his saber rattling against Spain, and is mobilizing resources and people and raising money for war.
Minister of Finance Jean Baptist Colbert has agreed to sell the title of Count of Mornay to Thenardier for a a sum of more than 100,000 Livre.
Trouble In Town! New Characters are introduced.
The character of Wilhelm has been retired and replaced by a Polish Hussar named Stanislaus. This character seems in part inspired by Flashman—a devilishly handsome womanizer with a strange combination of incredible luck and misfortune. Wilhelm lost his arm on the battlefield, and with it his commission in the Hussars. As Poland has just lost the war of the Deluge against Sweden and Russia, a number of nobles have become expatriots. One of these is Karolina Wielopolski, an elegant, dignified, noblewoman (hiding her tomboyish nature).  She is in love with Stanislaus and his tales of adventure, wants to be a valiant hero herself. She has hired Stanislaus as a bodyguard and Stanislaus’ sister Wiera as a handmaiden.  Karolina is also a friend of Comtesse Isabelle Du Auroix, and it is through this friendship that Stanislaus was approached along with the rest of the PCs to take part in the adventure. Karolina is also a friend of Baron Porthos, and is enjoying his hospitality at his estate while visiting the Bordeaux region when the story begins.
 
Our scene opens once again in the village of Mornay du Pessac where Stanislaus has come on his day off to enjoy the local tavern’s wares (and with luck, the company of a beautiful lady). Instead, he meets Seargent Gaspar, the jubilant jolly (albeit seemingly incompetent) leader of the town’s guards. The two men get along famously, and Gaspar buys him a drink and offers to take him to another tavern in town, the Fleur du Mont (as leader of the guard, it is part of his duty to ensure the “safety and quality” of the local wines served by various taverns, and he takes his duty very seriously indeed). The pair are joined by most of the rest of the PCs, who are laughing and having a raucous time.
 
It would seem that everybody loves Guillaume, Clarisse’s new beau. Everybody except Julie, who cannot bring herself to show her face in the Fleur du Mont tavern. Guillaume is a French-Basque huntsman and scout who is a crack-shot and expert mountaineer. He regails the townsfolk with stories of his adventures, and most of the party, joined by Athena and Portia, take an instant liking to him.
Gaspar also reveals some news of what’s happened in the town since the party’s been away (it has been several months since their last visit). Has been drilling troops in the town square in case war breaks out with Spain, though he doesn’t relish the thought of fighting Spanish soldiers. His Majesty is currently recruiting a new type of soldier “Grenadiers” but none of Gaspar’s men meet the height requirements.
He also tells that the new Compte is a real grouch. He has taken Gaspar off Castle protection duty and has instead hired his own men for the task, as well as guarding the coffee shipments.
 
Athena is excited that her father, the Compte de la Ferre, and royal ambassador will be taking her with him on a “Grand Tour” as he embarks on official business of state. She is also taking her best friend Portia with her. Portia is also excited to be invited on the Grand Tour, though her father will need convincing. Baron Porthos is a bit apprehensive about letting Portia go on the Grand Tour. He could be persuaded only as long as someone he trusts (like Professor Elliot) will be there to protect her.
 
The party’s revelry (and Julie’s spying upon it from across the street) is broken up by a shouting mob in the town square. The PCs and Seargent Gaspar go to investigate and see a mob of rough men with snowballs, but some with rocks and chunks of firewood, surrounding and harassing someone. As the party draws close they see the victim is Father Montenegro, who has been subjected to a great degree of ire and suspicion because he is a Spanish priest (and King Louis is trying to amp up animosity towards Spain). Montenegro is unarmored, but does has a sword on his hip, though he never reaches for it.
 
The leader of this mob is a long-bearded pirate with a large dueling scar that goes from his left eye all the way across his right cheek. He is known by the nickname “Saberface” and has become quite a bullying nuisance in the town. He attempts to strike Father Montenegro, who sidesteps the attack and says “Not on your best day, my son.” At this point, Saberface urges the mob to attack with their cudgels.
 
At this point, the PCs begin to intervene, brawling with the ruffians until they retreat, though the hirsute menace swears “’Tis not the last ye’ll hear of SABERFACE!”. A good laugh was had by all at this pronouncement.
 
Montenegro is a bit embarrassed, but he humbly thanks the PCs for their aid. He especially single’s out Julie for thanks, and asks forgiveness for misjudging her earlier.
The Hidden Mines Part 1
Later on, each of the PCs (including Stanislaus) receives a letter from Comptesse Isabelle Du Auroix “The Black Princess”. She asks them to meet at a nearby tavern (The Singing Bottle in Bordeaux) and to come at once. When she arrives she tells them that His Majesty has been expecting a delivery of canons from a foundry in Bordeaux. However, the deliveries are always coming up short. The foundry claims that it is not receiving enough iron ore to keep up with the demand. The mining town of Le Fer (not related to the Compt De La Ferre) has claimed that bandits have seized some of the ore.
 
The Cabinet Noire wants the PCs, who are somewhat local to the region, to figure out what happened to the missing ore. His Majesty will not be denied his cannons so near to war!
 
The PCs ride a couple days to the mining town of La Fer. They learn that the mine has been filling large orders for iron ore since October even though the war rumbling has only been going on since December. The main buyer of the ore before was a local leader of the Blacksmith’s Guild, a man named Henri Martel who owns a shop in Mornay du Pessac. They were sad to lose his business. The foundry in Bourdeux pays much less for the iron than they used to get, but they must honor the order since the King needs the cannons.
 
They also hear that bandits have held up the caravan three times in the last month! (nobody was killed, thank goodness). The PCs convince the mine’s quartermaster to let them guard the caravan to the foundry in Bordeaux. Either they will see it safely arrive, or they will be attacked and be able to discover who is behind the thefts.
 
According to plan, the caravan is attacked along a bend in the road near a waterfall. When the PCs refuse the bandit’s demands to surrender the cargo, a fight ensues. The highlight of the battle was when devil-may-care Stanislaus pulled out a grenade and hurled it into a crowd of bandits. This is a tense moment because in Honor + Intrigue, lit grenades have a secret Initiative roll whereupon they explode. It could explode in ten seconds… or it could explode the instant you try to light it. A grenade was left hissing away on the battlefield and one of the bandits (a Retainer) managed to flee from it in time, but the others (Pawns) were caught in the explosion. According to plan, Angus managed to subdue one of the bandits (one who seemed to be a leader) and take him alive so they could interrogate him.
 
The bandit sang like a canary that he was hired by “the hooded man” to rob these caravans and to deliver them to an old warehouse in the woods outside Mornay du Pessac near the old windmill. Based on this description, some of the PCs know where this warehouse is, though they thought it to be abandoned.
 
They then take the guise of bandits, and ride to the warehouse, which they see has been converted to a smithy. They meet the blacksmith, Henri Martel (the original customer of the iron prior to the army’s cannon order) who has built a secret workshop. The PCs reveal who they are and why the blacksmith is in trouble. He admits that he was hired by “a hooded man” to make chains, cages, and lengths of iron rail, among other things. Once these items were made, he would leave them loaded on a cart, which would be driven off by men in the employ of the hooded man. He pleads with the PCs that the only reason he did this was because his daughter is very sick and the medicines that he needs to keep her alive cost a fortune… and the Hooded Man paid in gold. At this point, Ali Funda offers to treat the girl if he will cooperate with them. Martel agrees and tells the PCs that a wagonload was just driven off by men a few hours ago. There is fresh snow on the ground, so the wagon ruts should be easy enough to follow… but it is starting to snow hard. If the PCs wish to be able to follow the tracks and catch them in the act, they shall have to hurry…
 
The Hidden Mines, Part 2
 https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47639686591_c8883abc45_k.jpg
Outside the Hidden Mines by epochrpg
New PC joins the party. Ariel, one of the musketeers rescued from the Castle De Greve is chosen as the character of a new player joining the group. Ariel has the spy career, and it is determined that she is an agent of the Cabinet Noire. She is assigned at first to follow the PCs, then later to join them and see that any malefactors are brought to justice.  
It begins snowing hard; the PCs know they can follow the wagon tracks, but they have to hurry or they will lose them. Hurrying into the woods, the PCs arrive on the edge of a clearing, across which they can see a group of ruffians unloading the crates from the wagon and the mouth of a cave.
Though some wish to take the stealthy approach, Stanislaus wants to charge on horseback. Julie and Angus end up joining him in this course of action. Galloping across the snowy valley, Stanislaus leaps over a rock… only to crash through the ice of a frozen pond (previously concealed by snow). With a Mighty Success on his Horsemanship check, he manages to clear the stirrups and land on the ice (and a good thing too; plate armor is nortoriously difficult to remove in freezing water when you have only one arm), but his poor mount was desperately trying to tread water. Each time its front hoofs struck the ice, they chopped it further away. Stanislaus spends his turn trying to calm the horse and lure it to “chop/swim” towards the shore.
Julie and Angus follow on horseback, managing to avoid falling into the pond. Angus draws enemy fire by goading them with a display of his… kilt. This infuriates the thugs who attack him. It takes a few Fortune points for him to avoid bullets fired in his direction. One of the thugs instead turns and runs inside the cave.
The next round began with Angus at the top of the Initiative count. He leapt from his horse sith a devastating corkscrew attack (moulinet) that cut down two of the thugs and left one badly hurt.
Ariel rode past an enemy and threw a knife from horseback, managing to bring him down, then dismounts and draw her sword on a bandit who was advancing on Evelyn.
Girard took aim and fired, bringing down a bandit armed with a musket standing atop the cliff. Evelyn pressed her musket to the back of a bandit’s head, and suggested he drop his weapon. Girard handed him a rope and says “be a good lad and tie yourself up.”
The PCs began to speculate on what exactly was going on here. I had those from the area make Savvy + Career (noble) checks to realize whose land this was: the Compte du Mornay. They also realized that at the time that the work began here (several months ago) the county was the property of the King (since the previous owner, the Comptesse du Mornay was dispossessed of the lands). The miners are essentially stealing the King’s gold from his own mines! Julie, who had pocketed some of the looted gold from some of the bandits, examined the coin finding it to be a perfect, newly minted gold double Louis-D’or (worth about 40 Livres). In fact, all of the gold found on the bandits was newly minted. It seems that counterfeiting (even if it is real gold, it is a crime for anybody to mint coins without the king’s approval) is also part of the scheme.
The bandit who fled into the caves is stopped before he is able to cry out a warning (and noise outside the cave, even gunshots, were not audible from within. The inside of the caves is filled with the din of metal clanging on stone.
Shortly after entering the caves, the PCs discover what the iron rails were for: minecart tracks. Seeing an empty minecart sitting in front of her, Evelyn chose to leap directly into it… and proceeded rolling down hill at great speed, running over one of the guards pushing  a minecart. This hapless guard was then trod upon by the rest of the party sprinting to catch up.
Evelyn’s minecart then careened onto a flimsy bridge across a chasm, which then broke apart. She managed to end up on the other side of the ravine dangling by her fingers. The other PCs, running downhill in the dark mine did not realize until it was too late they were at the edge of a cliff. Unable to stop, one by one they lept the chasm (with some surviving solely by the use of their Fortune Points). On the other side of the ravine, the party dispatched yet another group of guards. The tunnels branched off from here, and the PCs chose to follow one path where they beheld a horrifying sight.
Two cages filled with emaciated and sick people looked on in horror with their sunken eyes. A platform had been laid between the two cages, and a pair of slaves were being forced to fight one another on the platform. Two guards each held a child with a gun aimed at their head to compel the slaves to fight, while two more guards were shouting at the men to kill one another. There is so much noise in the room, and the guards are so fixated on their amusement that nobody has yet noticed the PCs. At this point, instead of a Horror Check, I have the PCs roll a “Fury Check”. Anybody who failed would have -1 to their Defense and be overwhelmed by murderous rage towards the guards.
This was the cliffhanger for next session, with the PCs having the advantage of surprise.

Last edited by BASHMAN (4/18/2019 6:48 pm)

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