first time Ars SG documents his first campaign

And the info about medieval constabulary is very helpful. Since the adventure says that the hospitallers are immune from secular and church authorities, I need to know the situation of those without immunity, like enrico and the pcs. Also, if they rough up enrico, sneak into the priory, or do other things that would be criminal acts today, I needed to know what the response (if any) of local authorities might be, as well as how available they would be - a constabulary with wandering patrols would have faster response time than a force that sits in the lord's keep.

You can make this into a keg or casket. No need for a whole barrel of the stuff. It still takes time to breach a wall, even if you are immune to iron, yup. Stones and arrows can still hurt you as well as maces. And falling from a high ladder is still mortal. Still, it grants that when it comes the storming of the city is almost granted.

And yes, hospitalliers and crusaders squabbling over an infernal item makes great stuff :mrgreen: Maybe the patron saint of the precinct will send a vision to the hospitalliers about that item not being good for the crusades in the holy land, if you want your players to receive weird divine help. The vision might fail to warn that it is not good AT ALL, though. Mysterious ways et al.

EDIT: A lot of Ars Magica authors post in the forums from time to time. Mark Lawford and Mark Shirley, Erik Tyrrell, Timothy Fergusson or Erik Dahl are just a few from the top of my head here.

EDIT 2: the info on chiurch officials and the like is in City & Guild AND ALSO I think Lord of Men has something about it as well. But C&G has it more fully for sure.


Well, thank you for the mention. That's very kind of you. I hope the rules help to tell the stories you want to tell and I'm really pleased you like them.

I really should have posted that seperately as a review of one of my favorite AM books; perhaps I'll expand it into a full review when my home internet connection is restored - typing on this phone keyboard is most infernal torment.

And yes, indeed, those advanced and mass combat rules will definately help me tell my story. Up to 75 ghost-fairie-vikings, 20 combattant villagers, 100+ non-combattants, and 4 grogs would be an absolute nightmare to run as a standard fight, and just "storying" out the result would remove the players' sense of control over their fates. The massed combat rules will let them role-play through events that determine the outcome of the battle, without having to play through every moment or switch to a command-level viewpoint.

In this case, I plan to use the role-playing they have done prior to the battle to determine the territorial advantage and weight of numbers modifiers. The quality, extent, and inginuity of their defenses will determine the territorial advantage, and the extent to which they have won over and rallied the villagers will determine the weight of numbers.

I have not planned the specific battlefield events in advance, as they will necessarily depend on the the pc's pre-battle choices and actions. But I'm confident that the description of the village and the vikings in RotR and the MC rules in LoM will give me everything I need to construct them on the fly.

I should also mention, for those concerned I'll slaughter the party (and I might...) that I plan on scaling down each level of viking, except for size. There will be no untested boys. Young warriors will use the boy statistics (inexpensive troops in MC terms); seasoned warriors will use the young warrior (standard troops); the chieftan's bodyguards will use the seasoned warriors (expensive troops); and the chieftan will use the bodyguard (special) - they're all going to act at least a little berserk, so I'm not including any seperate berserkers (I'd put them in the special column if i did). If they are able to attack the beached longships themselves, that will count as a "baggage" attack, but without the bad reputation xp.

A (last?) idea for this sunday's tHD. At first, i didn't like the suggestion of St. Ubaldesca intervening; it seemed too heavy handed. But as I mulled it over, I realized that it could tie the whole story together.

When the reconquerer leader, a member of the Knights Templar, sent troops to demand the return of his goods, he sent them to the bishop, town mayor and lord, not the Hospitallers themselves. As his sword makes him prideful, vengeful and wrathful, he demanded that they take action against the priory (he wasn't foolish enough to assault it himself, he needs his main force for his seige) and when they refused, citing the Order of St. John's immunity, he was furious.

His orders to the PC's then are to either force Enrico to make good on the loss or to sneak into the priory and retieve the keg. If they go to Enrico, he appeals to the priory, who escort the pcs back, if necessary, beating them unconscious, so the whole mess can be sorted out.

Similarily, if they sneak in, they will likely get caught and end up before the senior leadership. They can avoid either of these ugly and sinful by simply going and asking for the keg. In this case, the will probably start by talking to a guard at the gates. They will have to convince the guards to take them to the leadership. To speed things up, I'll arrange this as a meeting with the three senior leaders.

Gilbert will be no help of course, Fulk, will be most sympathetic, and Hermann will be in between. It mentions that Hermann bears some resentment to the Knights Templar, and also that he knew St. Ubaldesca personally and has a potent relic of the saint. So, after some rp between the pcs, Gilbert, and Fulk, Hermann will demand proof that they are in fact honest christian warriors and not the moorish-allies that Gilbert claims them to be. Hermann will then meditate on the subject. If the PCs have role-played well, he will receive the suggested vision from the saint - this keg will be of no benifit to the crusade in the Holy Land, and he will return it. If not, the vision will be that this item is sinful and should be destroyed. In either case, if time is short, this will end the adventure. I'll narrate the return to the army and tie things into the fall of the city, which I've already described to them, although the exact causes and effects of the fall will depend on their success or failure.

If they reached this point by directly contacting the Priory rather than threatening Enrico or sneaking in, or we otherwise have time to spare, they might have the option of joining some brother-knights who go to teach Enrico a lesson.

"Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny."

  • Matthew 5:25-27

I'm posting from a phone so sorry for the brevity. Re the question if a lord can take an office away. Legally yes, in most cases, but to do so politically he needs not to annoy other people of the same rank, which may curb his powers unless the holder gives him an excuse like treason. Failing to attend court when called is a popular one. So the King of France calls the Duke of Normandy to attend court, and the Duke, who is also King of England decides that'd be suicidal and does not attend. The King of France then takes away his office. War follows, but the other nobles of France know this wasn't a random sissies of land.

I'm posting from a phone so sorry for the brevity. Re the question if a lord can take an office away. Legally yes, in most cases, but to do so politically he needs not to annoy other people of the same rank, which may curb his powers unless the holder gives him an excuse like treason. Failing to attend court when called is a popular one. So the King of France calls the Duke of Normandy to attend court, and the Duke, who is also King of England decides that'd be suicidal and does not attend. The King of France then takes away his office. War follows, but the other nobles of France know this wasn't a random siezure of land.

In this post, I'll describe how The Hospital's Due went down (major SPOILERS follow). Next week I'll describe the conclusion of Revenge of the Raiders. Then I'll stop using this thread and create a new one, describing the covenant creation and their first magi. This will allow my players to read this thread, which they're eager to do.

This session almost didn't happen. Reality conspired to prevent the usual sun am game, but at the last moment, two players became available sat night. So I started the session after a 9hr workshift, short of sleep; hurray for the modern alchemy of "energy drinks."

I opened with their army's supply chief summoning them to his tent, where they found the leading Templar himself, pacing behind the chief's chair, anxiously clutching the pommel of his jeweled sword. I had planned to describe the chief as physicially decrepid but sharp-witted; given that he had selected a barely christian hunter with a ferral upbringing and an unbaptized skin-changing failed apprentice to complete this important yet sensitive task, it became a light joke to suggest he was somewhat senile as well as hunchbacked and pallsied.

The chief narrated the background, with the Templar periodicly interjecting on the huge importance of this mission to the seige in particular and the crusades in general, and his anger at his Hospitaller brothers for this brazen theft - he assumes they are hiding behind their legal immunity to seize the powder for the crusade in the holy land because they don't understand the importance of the reconquest to the overall campaign against the infidels, unaware that Enrico and Gilbert have conspired to deceive their brother-knights.

The PC's were tasked with either convincing Enrico the Venetian to make good on their loss or recovering the cask from the Hospitallers "by any means necessary." They were informed of the complex Templar-Hospitaller / Reconquerer-Crusader / French-Spanish-German rivalry for glory and scarce war resources, and Enrico the Venetian's past reliability (procuring the magic sword) as well as his greedy, tricky nature. The cask and its contents appearance and purpose were described, with emphasis placed on how opening and using a portion prematurely would render the rest ineffective and the dire fate of the soul of anyone so brazen as to steal this item for their own gain.

They tried to talk the chief out of coin for travel expenses, failed (the treasury is nearly dry) and instead requested and received horses, weapons, rope,and slight provisions.

Next came a five day journey from the siege site, a fictional town named Ibinizia, to Palos, a city I hadn't researched heavily, so I simply rotated the town map in the adventure to suit the local coastline. During the journey, the hunter mentioned that he would like to hunt, not only for provisions, but also for furs and other things that could be sold in town. I assumed this was just rp'ing his character.

When they arrived, they nearly got into trouble at the walls. The failed apprentice dresses oddly, draped in lion and tiger skins, and has an odd compulsion to sketch and take notes whenever possible, traits that led the guards to assume he was insane. They were concerned about this contagious malady, advising the hunter to take his companion to the hospital at once. After being convinced that he was a harmless scholar, they were allowed to enter on condition that they attend mass the following morning.

They made their way to the market, where the hunter traded what he'd collected for the finest quality bread and cheese. Then he went down to the beach by the docks. He used the bread to attract birds, and the cheese, rats.

Using his animal ken virtue, he spoke with the animals, convincing the birds to scout the priory from the air, and the rats from the primitive sewer, with the promise of more bread and cheese for information, the largest award to go to whomever could lead them to the black wooden cask with silver inlay. They then retired to the town commons to rest for the night.

The following day, after attending mass and hearing a sermon on the wickedness of heresy, they returned to the beach. The birds had some information about guards in the courtyard, but the rats were the standout. The most heroic rat of all had covered nearly every inch overnight, except the second floor and basement of the tower, as he was driven off by large numbers of brother-knights on the ground floor.

I had great fun describing things from a rat's point of view, and the player did a great job of role-playing as well. There is a general consensus in the troupe that this rat is likely magical and will make a fine familiar for someone someday, so the grog wants to keep it.

With the rat under his cloak, they visited the priory. They used a story that they were on pilgrimage and needed bandages and such to take with them, in case they were injured in their travels, after assessing that the doctors were too skilled to be fooled by someone feigning sickness. Of course, they were unable to enter the keep via this ruse, but they were able to look around with human eyes and verify the tales of the birds and the rats.

They retired to the town commons to await nightfall. At that point, they snuck to the tower wall, and made their way to the thatched roof via a grappling hook procured from whalers on the dock. The rat peeked through the thatch, revealing the location of the solitary inhabitant below. The failed apprentice acrobatically lept from the edge of the roof to that point, bursting through the thatch onto the man below, as he skinchanged into liger form.

Priory Constable Hermann's vigilant habit of wearing his chainmail even when reading at his desk before bed saved him from instant death when the liger knocked him to the floor and chomped down on his throat. The hunter dropped down as well, throwing axes at the knight. In a few moments, Hermann was severely wounded and incapable of fighting back. As several brothers burst into the room, led by Brother Gilbert, he clutched his relic of St. Ubaldesca, and called out for her to deliver him from this "demonic lion."

To everyone's surprise, the saint herself manifested. First she granted serenity to all present, causing them to lose the urge to fight. Axes and swords fell to the floor and the liger returned to human form. She miraculously healed Hermann. Finally, she asked the pc's why they were fighting their christian brothers, noting that the two orders of knights should be as two arms in the body of christ.

The PC's explained the situation, that they were coming for justice, and that they should get the cask back as they had paid Enrico for it. Gilbert argued that the order of St. John is immune from civil and canon law, and that war necessity justified its taking, regardless of who the original owners were. Hermann conceded that he had been deceived by Gilbert, who had told him the goods were being sold by Enrico to the moors. Nonetheless, he felt that the cask was now the lawful property of the order and would best serve God's purposes in the holy land, and appealed to St. Ubaldesca to award it to them.

The saint reflected, and then informed everyone that God had sent her a vision that the cask would bring no benifit to the crusading effort in the holy land. Thus, she commanded Prior Fulk to retreive it from the basement (being woken up at 2 am by his Priory's namesake saint must have been some surprise for him!) and return it to the PC's. She instructed the Hospitallers not to retaliate against the PC's for their hostile intrusion, and forbade the PC's from retaliating against Enrico or Gilbert, as first steps in repenting their sins, reminding them that Christ instructed man to forgive, and assuring them that God would judge those who do not repent.

The failed apprentice, who was facinated by his first encounter with the divine, expressed the desire to speak with the Saint again. Little does he know it, but she'll be taking an interest in his soul in the future.

With that, our story concluded. They returned to the seige of Ibinizia, where the army had been busy constructing ladders and towers. A pre-battle feast was held, during which the cask-powder laced beer served to the knights and other shock troops, as the Templar delievered a rousing speech promising that while they might fear oil and stone, God's will would protect them from the piercing of moorish arrows and the slashing of saracen swords. Little did he know that the powder was distilled from infernally tainted vis...

For their heroic efforts deliving supplies to the siege of Ibinizia in the winter of 1219, the PC's each received 5xp. They also gained a possible future familiar, 2 possible future enemies (Enrico and Gilbert), the gratitude of the Templar, a nosy saint looking over their shoulders, and sins to atone for (there would have been murder if not for the Saint's intervention).