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5/01/2019 6:29 pm  #11

Re: Honor + Intrigue Campaign: 1666

We began exactly as we left off last time. The PCs have surprise round against 4 slavers, two of whom have children at gunpoint in an effort to force their fathers to fight to the death for their amusement. Most of the PCs are also shaking with rage that will only ease when they finally kill one of the slavers.
Scene 1 Cave Fight overview
 by epochrpg Julie managed to fall on one instantly without alerting the others, slicing him in the shoulder, but leaving him alive. Angus and Ali Funda employed some parkour on the rock face and stalagmites to behead a slaver each. The slavers standing atop the cage was shot by Girard, then falling to be impaled on a stalagmite below. Using his exceptional speed, Stanislaus crossed the entire chamber and slew a slaver before he could think to level his pistol. Ariel drew blood but did not snuff a slaver's life, her rage continues to simmer… The PCs managed to kill all four slavers before they had a chance to react, allowing them to rescue the captives. Evelyn was able to communicate (very poorly) with some of the captives (thanks to her years as an explorer in the past). They were able to find out how many other captives there are, and which of the slavers they most fear-- the Overseer. The PCs asked where they could find him and the captives pointed them towards a slanting corridor. Ali Funda examined them, seeing that many were sick with rheumatism, scurvy, and malnourishment.  Evelyn placed Dupris in charge of taking care of them till it was safer to leave. When he opened a barrel to look for food, a cloud of black powder wafted up (and towards the fire pit). With lightning speed, Julie used her cape to scoop it up before it set off a chain reaction! They also realized that the gangplank set up between the two cages could be used as a makeshift bridge to help escape the area where the minecart tracks had broken across a chasm earlier. The PCs began making their way down the slanting corridor. The floor was at a steep angle leading to a very deep chasm along the right side of the corridor While others began pulling out ropes and pitons and making some sort of plan to most safely cross the unsafe floor, Stanislaus dashed forward and proceeded to slip and fall, catching himself on the edge of the cliff. I gave him a Fortune Point (being 1 armed is VERY inconvenient on the side of a cliff) which he spent to catch himself on the ledge). Down below, he could see the glitter of gold scattered along with a number of human bones. Because Stanislaus has only one arm, he was left hanging and unable to lift himself up. Angus ended up serving as the anchor of a rope team which eventually hoisted him up. The PCs made their way to a tunnel where they could hear the clank of metal on stone, as well as the crack of a whip, and men with rough voices shouting commands. Once again, stealth was abandoned in favor of a full frontal assault. 8 captives were seen mining the walls of a large chamber under the watch of four guards and an overseer, a giant of a man called LeBeuf with a long oiled mustache and beard and a whip in his hand. Julie rushed LeBeuf who sidestepped the attack. He then countered by lashing his whip to bind her, then looped it around her neck with a flick of his powerful wrist. Her vision began to go red as her windpipe was being crushed. Stanislaus came to her aid with a well-placed lunging thrust, but rather than yield, the man stood and took the hit. Angus also joined the fray, chopping the whip in half, giving Julie much needed air.
LeBeuf vs three heroes
 by epochrpg Other party members attacked the other slavers in the chamber, both Girard and Evelyn grievously wounding two with their firearms despite the poor lighting conditions. Ali Funda and Ariel killed and wounded another two slavers. The slavers made their attacks, not doing any damage (both missing and PCs yielding advantage) but completely turned their backs on their captives, who even in their weakened condition, raised their pick axes high and fell upon their tormentors like a wave. The only slaver who yet lived was LeBeuf. At the top of the next round, LeBeuf pulled a dagger and grappled Julie with his right hand and followed with a knife thrust (called shot) for 6 damage. This would have dropped her, but Evelyn's soothsaying ability gave Julie the necessary Fortune point to reduce the damage by 2, allowing her to remain conscious. After this, a bevy of attacks was launched at LeBeuf, who had little choice but to Yield Advantage or spend Fortune. Surprisingly, Stanislaus offered him surrender, which Sargent Girard confirmed, reminding LeBeuf that the law will likely hang him for his crimes. LeBeuf agrees… they bind his hands and set him on the ground for questioning. Julie, dismayed, wanted to kill him, but the PCs stopped her. With LeBeuf tied up, the PCs take turns questioning him while Ali-Funda tends to Julie’s wounds. Ariel takes the lead in the interrogation and discovers that LeBeuf has a tattoo of a coiled serpent on his right forearm, along with those of all the slavers (LeBeuf’s is more ornate, with a skull and wings on it as well). They discover that the tattoo is a marking of a prison gang located in the notorious island prison “LaRoque” which houses all of the most dangerous men. LeBeuf reveals that his freedom and that of the other slavers was purchased by the Hooded Man from a corrupt warden in exchange for their service. LeBeuf eagerly accepted, and was even more thrilled to discover that the enterprise he was joining was a gold mine, rather than an ordinary gang of brigands. He also told them about the Swede, a gifted engineer who was the leader of this band, the only one who deals directly with the Hooded Man. I then did a cut scene, in which I described a man with a crossbow slung over his back walking into the chamber with the dead guards and empty cages. He began piecing together everything that occurred in the room, right down to the number of attackers and which way they went. He then headed down the slanted corridor along with eight guards from the barracks. The Crossbowman successfully snuck into the chamber where LeBeuf was being interrogated, aided by the darkness, while the PCs, holding torches and backlit by a bonfire in the center of the chamber made excellent targets. This time, the enemy would have the advantage of surprise! Gerhardt took aim and fired a crossbow bolt at Evelyn from the darkness, and though she used a Fortune Point to make it a close call, she was unable to spot where the shot came from. At this point, I called for an Initiative roll and this time the PCs rolled well… but not as well as Gerhardt the crossbowman who ordered the guards “Kill them all” then ran off to warn the Swede. Julie, Stanislaus, Girard, and Ali Funda charged forward into the mass of the guards while Angus and Ariel stayed back to guard their prisoner. Two guards fell beneath the PCs’ swords and shots while Stanislaus had a more reckless plan in mind, lighting a grenade as he ran by the bonfire and hurling it into the pack of them! I then make a secret Initiative roll for the grenade's fuse... Using the distraction to his advantage, LeBeuf managed to knock Angus over and rush past him, making his way out of the cavern’s other entrance at a dead sprint. At this point, the enemy guards went, kicking the grenade forward until it rolled close to the PCs who threw it, as they themselves fled into the corridor. And so we left it… with a fuse sparking down dangerously close to the end...
Bomb Hissing Down
 by epochrpg In the picture, the d6 is the hissing bomb, and this is exactly where our heroes will begin next session!


6/24/2019 5:55 pm  #12

Re: Honor + Intrigue Campaign: 1666

When we continued, the PCs managed to kick the bomb back just in time to avoid it exploding against them and managed to take out most of the guards simultaneously. After the combat, the party split with some PCs continuing to try and communicate with the prisoners while Angus sprinted after LeBeuf and proceeded to get lost in the honeycomb of tunnels. Angus emerged into an area that was blazingly hot where several forgers were chained to anvils and there was a crucible full of molten gold that was being struck into coins by the forgers. These forgers were overseen by three guards and Saberface, who is also in league with the bandits. Angus was feeling weak from the intense heat of the room (he has the "Feels the Heat" flaw, giving him a Penalty Die on all rolls in such conditions).

At this point, some of the other players were getting agitated that Angus ran off to do a solo-adventure while the rest of them were doing the responsible (but less fun) thing to help the prisoners get to safety and shelter and find out where Gerhardt went. While it would have perhaps made for a pretty epic-and-cool fight scene, especially because Angus was outnumbered and with a handicap caused by the intense heat, I erred on the side of avoiding combat here so the party would not remain split for the rest of the session. Fortunately, Angus' player also didn't feel like fighting here (with a Penalty Die on all rolls and being outnumbered 4-to-1). Angus attempted to Intimidate Saberface into answering his questions in exchange for a promise to let them go (as long as Saberface also freed the chained forgers). In spite of the Penalty Die, Angus spent a Fortune Point to balance the odds and ended up rolling a Mighty Success on his intimidate check. The result was that Saberface agreed to the terms. He answered honestly that he didn't know where LeBeuf or the Swede were, but he did give directions to the Swede's office (on the other side of the caverns closer to where the rest of the party was). At this point, Saberface and the guards left the key with Angus who freed the forgers and took them with him back to the group.

The PCs made their way to the Swede's office (a shack with a table and chairs inside the caverns) and found his map of the caves, his engineer's notes, a journal written in Swedish (which fortunately Ariel could read) which included plans to "destroy the evidence" once the mines are played out, which he estimated to be soon. The Journal also indicated that the Swede had no clear knowledge of who the Hooded Man was, though he was directly working with him as the benefactor of this entire endeavor. At that point, the PCs began searching the caves some more while the prisoners were left with Dupris (and some extra clothing and food) near the cave entrance with instructions to escape should they be attacked.

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6/24/2019 5:57 pm  #13

Re: Honor + Intrigue Campaign: 1666

Our party split up again, this time with Angus and Stanislaus searching for the Swede. Their search brought them to a set of branching tunnels where they saw three fuses burning down 3 different directions! With only 2 of them to give chase, they really had to hustle but managed to cut the fuses before they reached the end.

Reconvening at the fork in the tunnels, Ariel found a secret passage behind some false barrels. This was the escape route that the Swede and his followers took. Ariel's claustrophobia prevented her from following the small tunnel and instead chose to see what the fuss was leading to (her torch went out just as she walked into a room full of barrels of black powder). She chose not to light it again given the circumstances.

The other PCs followed the tunnel and found a ladder. They climbed up and up until they found a ledge near a waterfall. A rope bridge hung from the cliff, half burned, leaving a 100' drop. The Swede had gotten away.

The party chose to try to sleep in the cave and wait till dawn (and hopefully a break in the snowstorm) to return to town.  

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6/24/2019 5:58 pm  #14

Re: Honor + Intrigue Campaign: 1666

The next session, our heroes emerged from the cave with the light of the sun and milder weather, but knowing that their adversaries had thus far evaded justice. With enough clothing and food, the PCs treked with the weakened prisoners to the relative safety of town. 

They met with "The Black Princess"who commented that it was "such a shame that none of the prisoners survived", and mentioned in passing that the shipping insurance company will be "most put out". None of the PCs tried to disagree with her on this point. She then incidentally handed over travel documents (which just happened to be enough for each prisoner) to Ariel who saw to their safe return home (her player couldn't make this session so this was the reason why). 

The Black Princess then asked the PCs to posit their theories as to who "The Hooded Man" likely was, and most concluded that it was the Chevalier Thenardier on account of his sudden rise to riches and his conflicting accounts as to where his money came from. This was enough to convince her that the Compt du Mornay needed to at least be questioned and ordered the PCs to bring him to see her, and that if he resisted, that they could use force. Stanislaus also made an offer that "someday I would like to have coffee with you, milady" to her, which caused her to raise her one visible eyebrow and reply "perhaps some other time..."

As they were leaving the tavern, they ran into (literally) Seargent Gaspar who told them that some of his men at the military checkpoint complained to him that the Compt and a retinue of men had just hurredly passed the checkpoint in the middle of the night on their way to the city of Bordeaux, where they mentioned they had to be aboard the Vengeful Harpy to sail with the tide. This led the PCs to race to the docks where they spoke to the harbormaster who told them that the ship in question had left hours ago... but that a mere hour ago a furious noble showed up demanding to board the ship... which had left without him. The infuriated noble then hurried off to the stables along with a handful of men. 

When the PCs made it to the stables, they ran into Monsieur Hubert (pronounced "UbeR") the coachman who told them that the Compt had taken his coach and rented a team of horses for his men and road due west as though pursued the devil. The PCs then began to hurry after him, towards the hills leading to the Spanish border... Given that the Compt was using a coach in icy conditions, the PCs with only horses managed to close the gap and a chase scene ensued (in what has become a chase scene tradition at this point in the campaign, Julie's player began playing "I Need a Hero" by Bonnie Tyler on their phone).
I began employing an alternative chase scene mechanic this session. Instead of rolling Intiative, each participant made a Career test for riding (which I decided which Quality and Careers would be used based on the road conditions that round). What unfolded depended on whether one was "Quarry" or a "Pursuer" in the chase. The objective of the Quarry was to "Shake" their pursuers, creating some additional obstacle for them (tumbling a barrel off the top of a wagon, for instance). If a PC failed to overcome this, they lost 1 Composure. Lose 3 Composure and you are out of the chase. A calamitous failure was instant losing the chase. If the pursuers rolled higher, they got to make a melee or ranged attack (depending on how high they rolled) action against the Quarry (who also got to return fire or exchange blows). Being hit not only caused damage, but also cost 1 Composure. For these chase rules, one could not regain Composure during the chase. Riding with a weapon out also reduced your Career rolls, but drawing a weapon subtracted from your attack rolls.
What ensued was Julie's horse immediately throwing a shoe (she rolled Calamitous Failure) but Wilhelm rolled a Mighty Success. He asked if he could grab Julie and put her on his own horse, and I said yes, but this would downgrade him to a regular success, which satisfied him. Because he only had 1 arm, he was making the Career checks to ride and Julie would make the fighting checks from their shared horse (and there was also a penalty to the career checks because the horse carried two riders, which was offset by Wilhelm's excellent horsemanship. Evelyn also Calamitously failed to navigate the icy road, but there was no means by which to save her... and her horse was also knocked out of the chase. She managed to avoid injury while landing, however. Ali Funda and Girard managed to evade obstacles swerved at by the Coachman and got close to the coach. Ali Funda delivered a slash to the bit holding the carriage and to the horse team, sending the coachman "sledding" on his belly while the coach began to come to a stop (sho rolled a Mighty Success). I gave Girard a Savvy check which was also a very high roll. He realized that the fancy-dressed noble in the coach was not Thenardier, but one of his henchmen dressed in his clothes! He also noticed that there was a fork in the road and horsemen riding in each direction.. but one of the bandit-thugs just happened to be wearing lace sleeves. He fired a shot, but missed, and told the other PCs to pursue the horsemen veering right.

With Stanislaus and Julie, Girard and Ali Funda hot on their heels (and a hilarious moment where a horseman was unsaddled by a carefully placed "Tag" at the saddle belt causing the rider to fly off into a fence) they managed to corner Thenardier, who had little choice but to surrender to them.

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6/24/2019 6:01 pm  #15

Re: Honor + Intrigue Campaign: 1666

Le Compt declared his innocence, that he was not the Hooded Man, but merely accepted the money offered by the Hooded Man and followed his instructions to use this money to acquire the position of Compt du Mornay. He swore he did not know where the gold was coming from, assuming it was related to "buying low and selling high" with the coffee caravan between Bordeaux and Paris (this was actually only used to launder the counterfeit* coins). He did not know the true identity of the Hooded Man, only that all the other men involved seemed afraid of him. 

While it was never absolutely proven who the Hooded Man was, there is one conspicuous fact. Among the people who disappeared after the sailing of the Vengeful Harpy (Saberface's ship) was included Signeur Remy du Fontaine, the bully who tried to beat Dupris with his cane after he had spilled a drink on him (which resulted in a confrontation with Alec). This happened at the same party where the Chevalier was seeking help from Porthos to join the Society of the Crimson Plume which snubbed him for being too poor. 

Unfortunately, the PCs had no way to know where Saberface was going to sail to (along with most of the stolen gold). But someday, and soon, they will probably cross paths again... 

*The gold was real, but they were not actually minted by the royal mint, making them non-legal tender.

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7/12/2019 4:48 pm  #16

Re: Honor + Intrigue Campaign: 1666

So we have had another session since these events, and I plan to run another tonight. I've been keeping a journal of how things have transpired, but I want to wait till that adventure is concluded before I post it. Meanwhile, I will post some pictures from last session. This first one is from a bandit attack.
 All of the PCs have dismounted in this photo (except Stanislaus who has his own unique mounted mini), but as you can see if you look closely at the horses on the right, you might notice a clear plastic "pocket" on the side of the horse. Those pockets are what I use for when a character is mounted. Simply slide their standee into the pocket and their miniature is now mounted on the horse! And this one is from when most of the party entered a tavern and hijinx ensued.
 As you may have surmised, the "tavern" tile is really just a piece of laminate flooring from the hardware store that I bought for about $1. You can't really see it too well, but that chandelier was made of cardstock and laminated so that miniatures can actually stand on it. It is also actually suspended from a real chandelier that hangs directly over our table! Some of the furnishings were constructed from dollar store foam-core board (the bar, the tables, the big door), some were 3-d printed (the barrels, the stairs), some was 2-D printed (the long dining table), and the fireplace was from HeroQuest. What's so great about HeroQuest you say? I'm glad you asked.

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