Monday, June 15, 2015

The First Post - Adventure 1: The Hanged Man

For a first post, I thought I would use the write ups for the first sessions of our Honor+Intrigue game. The player characters are Guy de Bourge a young, untitled noble, his cousin Lucien de Bourge a King's Musketeer, and Lucien's former sergeant in the Regimente du Picardie (the Picardy Musketeers) Gaston Thibeault - a soldier who fancies himself a poet.

Guy for Character Sheet.jpgAthos used for Lucien.jpgGaston - Alatriste Viggo Mortenson hat edited.jpg

Adventure 01: The Hanged Man

Chapter I: Guy is given a Mission

The Hanged Man is an introductory mission that allows Guy de Bourges to demonstrate his worth to his would be patron, the Provost of Paris, Chevalier De La Tour De Vezelay. The Provost engages Guy, accompanied by his two friends, to travel south of Paris to the Inn of the Hanged Man. He is to meet a coach carrying certain dispatches and ensure that the coach and dispatches arrive safely in Paris. To speed them on their way, the Provost provides them with a letter allowing them to commandeer post horse remounts on their journey.

The journey south is cold, wet, and uneventful with nothing more interesting than the labor draft doing road repairs by lantern light just north of the Hanged Man Inn. Inside the inn Guy, Lucien, and Gaston hear rumors about strange and sinister Black Wagons. They also notice that the inn seems almost empty except for themselves and two other groups: five sword armed bravos sitting by the fire and a table of four burly brawlers. Guy and Gaston stay inside to get warm and to observe the bravos, while Lucien heads back outside into the wet to watch for a coach. When he reaches the gate, Lucien notices three more swordsmen loitering outside. No doubt they are watching for the coach and will call their friends when it arrives. Well they won’t call anyone if I take care of them. He picks a quarrel with them and kills or wounds all three. He then hears a whistle from further down the road and immediately thereafter, the rattling sound of an approaching coach. Taking down the lantern by the gate, he steps into the middle of the roadway to flag down the coach.

Once Lucien leaves, the swordsmen and brawlers get up and their leader tells Guy and Gaston that he and his men have a task to perform and they would appreciate it if the two would remain seated at their table while they complete their task. Taking this as confirmation that the bravos are here to thwart their mission, Guy engages the leader, a familiar looking Italian, while Gaston tips a table over onto the four brawlers pinning them to the ground, then draws his sword and vizaina[i] to engage the remaining swordsmen. Guy badly wounds the Italian with a single lunge while Gaston renders the hired swords hors de combat. Fearing for his cousin, Guy sends Gaston off to help Lucien, then turning back to the badly wounded Italian, Guy begins bandages him to stop the bleeding, while he works Guy questions the wounded Italian. "You may be dying Signore. You should unburden yourself of your sins. Who sent you?”

The Italian smiles slightly and replies, “One through whom my sins shall all be absolved.”

Aha, Guy thinks. His employer must be a high-ranking Churchman. Now I remember him. His name is Lucalla; he was working as a sword-for-hire when I traveled through the Papal States.

The coach pays no attention to Lucien’s frantically waving lantern. Horses galloping, it races towards him like a juggernaut. Tossing the lantern aside, Lucien leaps aboard the coach as it passes. Inside he can see a beautiful young woman. “Pardon Madam, but the road is out ahead. You really should ask your driver to stop.” But it is already too late, the coach hits the ditch that the workman have dug across the road and overturns, tipping onto its side. Lucien makes sure the lady survived the crash, but is soon distracted by the sound of musket fire which riddles both coach and driver.

Gaston emerges from the inn just in time to see Lucien leap aboard a hurtling coach. What was that whistle? And where is young Lucien off to in such a hurry? Damn it, our horses are already unsaddled. How the devil will I catch him? But just then Gaston hears the sound of a single rider. Aha! The whistle was a signal to alert these corpses here and the rider and whistler are no doubt one in the same. And even if not, here comes a horse ready saddled and I surely am in need of one. As the rider comes abreast of the courtyard door, Gaston leaps into the rider, knocking him senseless and taking his horse. “Merci, Monsieur for the loan of this horse,” Gaston says as he spurs his new found mount after the hurtling coach and Lucien.

Chapter II: Ambush

Well, thinks Lucien. The young lady is safe for now. But if those brigands with the matchlocks can pin us down, they can work their way close enough so their second shots won’t miss. I think it is time for a charge. “Stay here Mademoiselle, I will clear these brigands from our path!” Lucien charges the brigands, but a shot hits him in the leg slowing him. He limps forward, reaching the men with the muskets and cutting and thrusting his way into their ranks just as Gaston rides up. Gaston leaps onto one of the brigands just as he is about to fire at Lucien, but the shock causes the musket to discharge in the air. Soon all six musket armed brigands are dead or fled. In passing, they notice the corpses wear the humble clothes of workmen. Gaston bandages Lucien, then they check on the driver and lady. The lady seems none the worse for wear, but the driver is dead with a musket ball through the chest. Guy arrives with their horses which are used to right the coach.

They head back towards Paris, taking it in turn to drive the lady’s coach. Their journey is briefly interrupted twice. Once by a gentleman who argues with Gaston, who is driving at the time, over the right of way. The gentleman insists that Gaston pull his coach to the side so that he may pass; Gaston refuses to move aside suggesting that the gentleman should give way as the coach is the larger. In the end, the gentleman, one Christian Du Charde, challenges Gaston to a duel. Guy insists that they must finish the mission and cannot stop for trifles. Gaston tells him, “Go on without me. Leave me one of the riding horses. I’ll kill this ass and catch up to you as soon as I can.” Lucien is torn whether to stay with his friend or his cousin, but decides that Guy may be in the greater danger. As the coach disappears round a bend in the road, the duel begins. Gaston quickly realizes that Du Charde is no challenge to him as a duelist. He easily disarms Du Charde, but despite his bloodthirsty comment to his friends, rather than killing Du Charde, Gaston chooses to simply humiliate him. He rearms and then disarms Du Charde a second time, this time he tosses his foes blade into a deep spot in a roadside stream. As a result Du Charde resents, but secretly fears Gaston. Leaving his sword-less foe behind, Gaston spurs his horse to catch up with the coach.

While Gaston is separated from the others, the coach encounters Flarion the highwayman and his gang. While Flarion and his Lieutenant Bull hold Lucien at gun point, Guy sneaks out of the coach and surprises Flarion from behind. Guy shoots two of Flarion’s bandit minions, then defeats Flarion in sword to sword combat. Meanwhile, Lucien fights Bull. The last bandit is preparing to shoot Lucien in the back, when Guy uses Flarion’s own pistol to kill the bandit before he can shoot Guy’s cousin in the back.

Soon after, Gaston catches up with the coach and they all proceed to Paris where they escort the agent to the Place Royale. Guy wonders, The Place Royale! Could this be connected to Richelieu?

Chapter III: Guy gains a Patron

Afterwards, Guy briefs the Provost and engages in a battle of wits, which surprises both of them, the Provost with Guy’s perspicacity and Guy with his. Impressed, the Provost invites Guy to become one of his agents. Guy accepts. At last I have a patron.

The tale continues with Adventure 02.

[i]     A Spanish/Biscayne style of main guache.

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