Thursday, May 31, 2007

542: Good News, Bad News

Greg's still out of town, so I figured we'd have an evening of simple errantry, especially since the last month or so we've slogged through a pair of major outings: happy, happy Gwaelod, and the bitter north of Pictland. Add Malahaut, another region where our characters seem to always have a difficult time, and, well, everyone decided to head south this time.

Was that wise?...

Logres is crawling with bored knights hanging out at every crossroads, bridge and ford, demanding to joust. For love. For glory. For the hell of it. After a few rounds with knights both famous and not-so, our band of knights—Sir Brevis of the Dike, Sir Gerin the Weaker, and Sir Ebble the Younger (youngest son of the Great Duke, Sir Bellengere)—a bit worse for wear, heard from a young knight riding hard and fast through the countryside that King Arthur was missing. Egads! They very energetically set off that very moment in search of the Pendragon.

Instead, they found Lady Nimue and two of her handmaidens passing a hermitage on their search for Arthur. Our trio of knights fell in with Nimue at her request and escorted the ladies on their way. In short order [I had a series of short adventures planned] the fellows came to a large creek—or was it a small river?—and standing guard at the bridge was...a crack. A what? The very pagany Sir Gerin informed his companions that a crack is a hideous-looking, small troll, very cruel. Ah! Attack it! Only, it's very hideousness makes it difficult to muster the courage necessary to attack; only Sir Brevis got to his sticking point and lanced-charged. Gerin and Ebble, uh, "guarded" the ladies. Only while they were guarding them, their awareness was consumed with the fight before them and neither noticed Nimue impatiently attempting to ford the water...until she was swept away by the current and cried out for help. Which happened just about the time Brevis went down in a heap.

So Gerin and Ebble ride into the water. But the bank was steep and the current tricky, and somehow—cobbly river bottom? Snags? Who knows, but their horses stumbled and into the water they tumbled. They, oh kind game-mistress!, were able to use their considerable knightly strength to wade to the bank and clamber up. Sir Gerin remounted and took off down the river after Nimue while Sir Ebble attacked the crack.

After one more dunking Gerin managed to pluck Nimue from the waters and bring her back in time to see Ebble finish off the crack with a mighty critical whack. Then they finally became aware of the fight on the opposite bank: three knights against one knight, wounded and down on one knee, with a woman exhorting them to "Finish him off! Kill him!"

Oh, sure, they managed to recognize the shields of the three nameless and completely unimportant knights fighting the lone figure...whom they did not recognize. Or the most famous sword the woman (also unrecognized) picked up in order to smite the wounded knight. Nor could they manage to come between the woman and the wounded knight in time for the woman to strike the knight a blow with the most-famous sword. This is when Wayne, who did make his Awareness roll, mentioned that "When Arthur dies, the campaign is over. Greg won't like you ending the campaign while he's gone." Fair enough! So the wounded figure is only majorly wounded. Then two inspirations fail, and tears and even worse die-rolling abound. They manage to kill the unarmed woman (from behind) but are unable to vanquish her henchmen...

As Sirs Gerin and Ebble fade into unconsciousness, Nimue comes in and saves the campaign.

Back in Camelot, being feted and feasting at the return of the king, riding high on their glory, they got to sit at the high table. Oh, yeah, do they owe Nimue for the tale she told at court. She orates well, and isn't hampered by chivalry or piousness when it comes to embellishments. But then news came of the death of pompous Sir Borre, King Arthur's oldest, if illigitimate, son, and the party was over.

We also realized that in 543, Sir Leodigrance the Lesser's love-child from the Rome campaign will be 15 years old. Will he show at court? Will he wait til he's 21? Or...?

I've never seen so many high-number skill rolls missed in one night. Man.

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