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Author Topic: Two dukes, one crown (and five game tables)  (Read 5849 times)

Offline Patrice

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Two dukes, one crown (and five game tables)
« on: April 28, 2016, 07:40:56 PM »
A large game we played on 16-17 April in Rennes (Brittany) for the 20th anniversary of our ruleset
(ahem, I'll post more pictures and AAR as soon as translation can be done; it may look a bit confused as so many things happened).

The events take place in the mid-14th century during the War of the Breton Succession (a conflict between two opponents who wanted to be duke of Brittany; if it had not happened during the HYW it would perhaps have been resolved peacefully, but the king of France supported one side, the king of England supported the other side, and Brittany became a battlefield between "Anglo-Bretons" and "Franco-Bretons").

Game preparation:

After having considered a traditional idea (make the moves on a strategical map and then tactical battles on the tables) the two Game masters preferred something simpler: each table represents a part of Brittany (not all parts being represented) and are not proportional to reality (it's an adventure and RPG game after all!) only some towns and village appear in the game, and distances of 50 or 60 kms between them is reduced to 2 metres or so. What's important is the feeling of distance (they still seem far for player characters) not true proportionality.

So that's the overall plan, on 4 tables: "Léon and Cornouaille" western Brittany / Central Brittany / "Vannetais" center south Brittany / "Rennais" a part of eastern Brittany. A fifth table, much smaller, is only for special missions (a farm in eastern Brittany on Saturday; a small manor in western Brittany on Sunday). That's 24 m2 of game surface.

The town of Rennes and its suburb:

The town of Hennebont, already besieged by the French on "Saturday morning 1342" (time is not proportional either!)

Some wall portions may look strange because the terrain elements were taken from more complete walls, we had to make four tables from every bit we had.

Player characters (some of these PC already take part in an unformal campaign, others were created for the game according to the players' will…with some surprises added). Each of them had more special informations (not detailed here):

– Amaury Guillou de Kernet, a pro-French Breton nobleman.
– Ricceri Grimaldi, a captain of Genoese crossbowmen in French service.
– Thomas Baskerville, an English knight (yes the player had choosen this name and had painted a miniature dog to escort him). The GMs told him that, in search of fortune, he had married a local widow Marianne de Quenhuen who owns the small manor of Kervasquer.
– Marianne de Quenhuen, Lady of Kervasquer (playing only on the second day). Widow of Denez de Kervasquer (a local nobleman who died at sea 10 years ago while coming back from a pilgrimage in St. James in Spain) she had inherited his manor and she has married an English knight to protect her property.
– Denez de Kervasquer. A Breton nobleman, went to a pilgrimage to St. James in Spain 10 years ago with some of his sergeants and servants; for the way back he was tired and he decided to go back home on a merchant ship but they were captured by North African pirates and spent 10 years as slaves in Alger. There a local chief took him in his service because of his fighting skills, and eventually gave him his freedom with his friends. He comes back home (in light clothing and with short weapons only) and does not understand what this war is about.
— (Name unknown) a young man who had begun some clerical studies (for social promotion in these times) but got caught in bad affairs. Begins in a tavern of bad reputation in the suburb of Rennes with a small group of friends.
– The Bastard of Quimerc'h, a pro-English Breton nobleman (unhappy that his bastard birth deprived him of his rights; in previous games he had assembled a small free company to gain fortune).
– Guilo Clec'h, a pro-English Breton nobleman.
– The sire of Gleievec, a pro-English Breton nobleman.

Offline Bryanbowdell

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Re: Two dukes, one crown (and five game tables)
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2016, 08:45:39 PM »
Looks good, looking forward to seeing more!

Offline Furt

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Re: Two dukes, one crown (and five game tables)
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2016, 09:23:46 PM »
Love these types of games you put on.

Love to see more.
“A prisoner of war is a man who tries to kill you and fails, and then asks you not to kill him.”


Online Captain Blood

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Re: Two dukes, one crown (and five game tables)
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2016, 10:24:02 AM »
Very good Patrice.
I've walked around what remains of the town / castle ramparts of Hennebont, and cycled along the Blavet from Languidic down to there and back. A very pleasant, atmospheric and historic Breton town :)
Looking forward to the rest of your pictures  8)

Offline Patrice

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Re: Two dukes, one crown (and five game tables)
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2016, 05:02:03 PM »
Thanks guys.

More about the players' missions:

– Some players could ask to be "sénéchal" of a table for their own side. It gave them the ability to move the local NPC garrison, an interest in the tactical events on their table (they went richer if the tax-paying villages of their table were not pillaged by the enemy), and it created a sort of hierarchy. It worked well and the seneschals players acted as police authority on their table.

– Each side had to send a cartload or wagon to each of their villages; and, on Saturday the Franco-Bretons had to send wagons from Rennes to the besiegers of Hennebont; on Sunday the Anglo-Bretons had to send wagons from Brest or Hennebont to the besiegers of Rennes.

– There were lots of small mysteries and secrets which took a large importance in the activity of the players. Oh, nothing extraordinary, all the usual RPG stuff that happens all the time, and lots of NPCs: a parchment about a treasure, the bishop of Vannes raising pro-French riots in Hennebont, an alchemist who had invented some weapon, a so-called werewolf, a witch buying human bones from an executioner, some monks spying for the French, individual burglars, etc etc; and, as our players are accustomed to talk to almost every miniature they meet on the game table, the GMs also improvised some more. There was purposedly too many of these small mysteries, some were not explored or not even activated: when hearing about them, the players had to decide if it was a priority or not for their character.

And so, on Saturday…

A train of wagons, led by Amaury de Kernet seneschal of Rennes, comes out of this town and heads south. In the small suburb, the customers of the tavern (of bad reputation) watch it and laugh.

Further south, a group of people in light clothing arrives in the country.

After their long trip, these people see the massive walls of the town on the horizon:

When the seneschal of Rennes meets these people he his worried that they could be thieves. He prepares to charge them, to protect his wagons! The leader of the small band hastily explains that they are honest people coming back home from 10 years of slavery in Africa, his name is Denez de Kervasquer.

The seneschal has never heard this name; but an old knight in the escort remembers it:
– The old knight (a GM): Oooh Yes… Denez Kervasquer? he died at sea, many years ago.
– Kervasquer (player): I did not die, I tell you. I spent 10 years in Alger!
– The old knight: Ahem… there was an official enquiry. You were declared dead.
– Kervasquer: I'm not dead. I am here, alive, with my friends of captivity.
– The old knight: And there was a second enquiry. When your widow ...remarried.
– Kervasquer: She's not my "widow" …what?
– The old knight: …with an Englishman.
– Kervasquer: WHAT!???

Some time later, Kervasquer arrives in Rennes with his group:

Meanwhile, some customers of the tavern (the "Young Thief" player and his group) seem to be preparing something.

…they go in town, and knock at a door… some of them enter a house… after a while, they come out, and go to another house (this is discretely run by a GM, RPG style, without placing the miniatures inside the houses: the other players don't suspect anything).

A woman shrieks. Hearing it, Denez de Kervasquer, who was telling his whole story to a secretary in the gate tower, comes running and a few town guards come with him. The Young Thief and his group must run away (with a large sum of money they have stolen from a Lombard moneylender in the first house), they go out of town by a small potern and ask a fisherman to carry them across the river Vilaine.

The seneschal of Rennes has secured communications with the southern village…

…and now heads to the north-west, to go to Mauron in Central Brittany. There a local garrison is waiting for him:

Far from there, the Bastard of Quimerc'h, and Guilo Clec'h seneschal of Vannetais, enter Hennebont (it is still possible to come in and out of town as long as the French besiegers do not receive support):

Some time later, they come out by the main gate…

…and take the road to Central Brittany; the French besiegers are not strong enough to stop them.

« Last Edit: April 30, 2016, 09:01:03 PM by Patrice »

Offline Patrice

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Re: Two dukes, one crown (and five game tables)
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2016, 05:02:16 PM »
Very far from there, in the castle of Brest, the English garrison feels safe enough...

…but news come that ships of the French admiral Louis of Spain (Luis de La Cerda) are near the coast of Cornouaille! Genoese mercenaries are already on the shore.

An English troop moves south as fast as possible.

The Genoese are already attacking the small village of Roscaquen. The peasants try to resist, but must surrender or run away.

The village of Roscaquen is pillaged; but the ship must sail away from the coast when the English arrive.

Thomas Baskerville, English seneschal of Brest, arrives in Roscaquen and talks to the surviving peasants.

The  Genoese are cut from the coast, so they walk inland, to the Vannetais area when they join the French besiegers of Hennebont.

Thomas Baskerville, who is interested in things of the past, had also sent a few men to explore an old burial mound in the countryside. The men push away the heavy stones which block the entrance. Inside the mound they find some bones, and very old and greenish bronze weapons. They throw these rubbish away. They also find a gold torc and bracelets which they bring back to their master.

The Young Thief and his friends have decided to go far from Rennes (having escaped once again from town guards who wanted to arrest them in their tavern). They arrive in the village of Theix, in the intention to go to Hennebont where they know another tavern. Unfortunately for them, Guilo Clec'h seneschal of Vannetais is patrolling the area and is very suspicious (he just had to face pro-French NPCs riots in Hennebont which he repressed with unshamed police brutality, and he also had to forbid three pro-French spying NPC monks from entering the town). He does not know who the Young Thief is, but he tells him that if he comes near the town he will attack and kill his group and him. The Young Thief decides to avoid the town and to walk to the west.

Guilo Clec'h also visits Theix, and suspects that the local population does not seem very loyal to the Anglo-Breton cause.

Later in the day, a few Franco-Bretons from Rennes visit this same place. It will have tragical consequences for the fate of this village.

« Last Edit: April 30, 2016, 09:03:51 PM by Patrice »

Offline Patrice

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Re: Two dukes, one crown (and five game tables)
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2016, 05:02:45 PM »
In Central Brittany, the small pro-French garrison (NPC) of Mauron is still waiting for the wagons coming from Rennes (from the east) to help the besiegers of Hennebont…

…but the sire of Gleievec, and some English soldiers of the Brest garrison, are coming from the west, escorting other wagons for the besieged town! They have already passed through Callac and are looking at the situation:

The first battle of Mauron begins.

The sire of Gleievec is hit by a crossbow bolt …and the location die gives its result. As he was charging the enemies in front of him when he was hit, all players immediately draw terrible conclusions.

This wound, and the fact that the wagons from Brest are now safe far on the southern road, decide him to withdraw slowly to Callac where a healer lives.

The French wagons reach Mauron. Their enemy has withdrawn, but time runs short.

On the large hill in the south-west they can see the English wagons heading south.

The English wagons enter Hennebont; the French besiegers do not feel strong enough to interfere seriously.

Another pro-French troop has arrived in central Brittany and bypasses the village of Mauron: it's Denez de Kervasquer and his men, now fully armed by the Rennes armouries.

The Anglo-Bretons see Kervasquer advancing fast and they do not know his intentions. The sire of Gleievec comes out of the healer's hut (and, um, all players decide that he had suffered the amputation of a gonad, which was subsequently thrown to the pigs, and that he will therefore be known as "Iron Ball"). He decides to quit the area, and, unhappy to let a village of his own seneschalty being pillaged by the enemy, he pillages it himself before leaving. Kervasquer enters Callac and stops there for a while.

Thomas Baskerville, coming directly from Cornouaille, enters Hennebont. A short time later, English ships appear on the river Blavet (historical fact which ended the siege).

Far from there, the French fleet is trying to threaten the suburb of Brest, but has not enough men on board to be effective.

We must also mention, not far from Brest, a half-mad beggar who lives under a tree and sings religious hymns to the Virgin Mary. We'll talk of him again.

So, during this first day:

– The Franco-Bretons refused full-sized fights most of the time, except in Central Brittany; but they managed to secure communications with all their villages, to pillage Roscaquen, and to take control of Central Brittany. They failed to support the besiegers of Hennebont (their most difficult task) but they have a strategical advantage.

– The Anglo-Bretons almost dominated the west and the south, and are well placed to counter-attack…

As I said, nothing in this game was proportional to reality. Historical events mentioned in the Saturday game happened at the beginning of this war (siege of Hennebont 1342, battle of Roscaquen 1342). For players characters the Sunday events only happen a few days or weeks later (time to heal their wounds and to reorganize their strength) but, as we wanted an evocation of this whole war, we shall see the siege of Rennes by the duke of Lancaster (which happened in 1356-57) and the Folgoët miracle (1358) in the pictures and AAR of the second day… which will be posted later.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2016, 05:19:18 PM by Patrice »

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Re: Two dukes, one crown (and five game tables)
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2016, 05:08:41 PM »
Great stuff  :)



Offline Bryanbowdell

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Re: Two dukes, one crown (and five game tables)
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2016, 08:43:01 PM »

Offline Patrice

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Re: Two dukes, one crown (and five game tables)
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2016, 02:35:10 PM »
So, on Sunday morning there were some new events.

Henry of Grosmont duke of Lancaster is besieging Rennes:

On the walls, the banner of Bertrand Du Guesclin, one of the (NPC) defenders of the town:

Not far from Brest, a great miracle happened: a very devout beggar died, and on his grave a flower appeared with the words AVE MARIA written on it. People come to see this miracle. The bishop of St. Pol de Léon, and a cardinal who was travelling in the area, come to enquire.

The English garrison of Brest keeps an eye on this: it could cause a breach of public order …or bring money.

In the village of Callac, Denez de Kervasquer is ready to continue his travel. But in the morning one of his men is found dead near the village. He cannot lose time so he tells three men who are just arriving in the village that he will give them a good reward if they find the murderer. Villagers talk about a werewolf…

The three men (former customers of the tavern near Rennes, and not cowards) search for clues…

…and, some time later, they find a sort of werewolf in the graveyard! or it's what they believe they have seen in the dark. They run away, but regain their spirits and come back from the other side… after a fight they kill a man wearing a wolf skin. It was the village healer, who sometimes donned a wolf skin to protect the villagers from thieves and robbers.

Far from there, Anglo-Breton wagons come out of Hennebont, heading for the siege of Rennes where the duke of Lancaster is waiting for them.

They will have to pass through Mauron, where Franco-Breton troops are ready to fight them.

After 10 long years away from home, Denez de Kervasquer arrives near his small manor. He doesn't know what he will find there, he only knows that his wife has remarried with an Englishman.

One of his men, an African who was in slavery with him, approaches discreetly… and sees that the manor if full of Englishmen!

Denez de Kervasquer has not enough men to outnumber the English: he prefers to ride peacefully to the manor. Thomas Baskerville and Marianne de Quenhuen come out to meet this visitor …and they are very surprised when he says his name!

After some talking, they believe him and discussion begins. Denez de Kervasquer (left) knows that he is deep in pro-English territory; Thomas Baskerville (right) knows that the Anglo-Breton troops are occupied elsewhere, and that his Breton allies will be reluctant to support him in this case; so they are both trying to avoid a battle. Marianne de Quenhuen (centre) appreciates the unexpected and unusual feeling of having two husbands, and thinks about the possible benefits.

They decide to bring the matter before the Church authorities. And they have heard that high-ranking Church officials are gathered near Brest, so they decide to go there.

Offline Patrice

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Re: Two dukes, one crown (and five game tables)
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2016, 02:35:42 PM »
In Vannetais, some men-at-arms and sergeants arrive in the village of Theix. They want to know which side the inhabitants support.

The people of Theix do not support one side or the other, they are willing to acclaim anyone if asked to, they agree with any nonsense the men-at-arms say to test their loyalty. The men-at-arms become angry: they burn the village, and they commit atrocities that we don't want to remember (…and the players who did it say it was not them and that other players did it!)

On the Menez Hom (a hill in western Brittany) a group of people walk to a chapel. The peasants militia watching the coast talks with them, then go away.

It's the Young Thief and his group. The Young Thief has a small part of an old parchment (that he bought from a customer of the Rennes tavern) and thinks it's about a treasure but he doesn't know more. He searches the chapel, without result.

He doesn't know that: Denez de Kervasquer has another bit of the same parchment (given to him in Rennes by a clerk of the castle who couldn't make anything from it); Guilo Clec'h has a third part (given to him by a frightened civilian during the Hennebont riots); and Baskerville has heard about it in the Brest tavern but has no proof of it.

In Central Brittany, a second battle of Mauron begins. The Anglo-Bretons approach the village to open the road to Rennes.

On the Franco-Breton right flank, Ricceri Grimaldi (mounted figure) has placed his crossbowmen behind local pavise-bearers. He always stays near the soldier who carries the gains of the pillage of Roscaquen in a chest.

The Anglo-Bretons try a cavalry attack on this flank:

They are met by Franco-Breton cavalry. Some leaders fall on the ground, wounded. Woodcutters hidden in the forest watch this with fear:

At the other end of the battlefield, some Anglo-Breton footmen are attacked by Franco-Breton knights.

The Anglo-Bretons decide to continue their attack on the centre …very slowly:

And all this happens on the table where we were playing on an old green cloth because we didn't have enough terrain boards for all tables:

« Last Edit: May 04, 2016, 09:27:43 PM by Patrice »

Offline Patrice

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Re: Two dukes, one crown (and five game tables)
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2016, 02:36:21 PM »
Thomas Baskerville, Denez de Kervasquer, and Marianne de Quenhuen, coming from the manor of Kervasquer (the small table in the background) are on their way to Brest. They notice some people moving on the Menez Hom.

Thomas Baskerville (as seneschal of Brest) has these people surrounded and he questions them. They say that their leader is going to Brest and has a part of the parchment with him. Kervasquer and Baskerville ride after the Young Thief…

And find him and a girl near the gallows…

The Young Thief avoids the gallows by giving his part of the parchment. He and his group are released in the hills. Later they go to a tavern in Hennebont, avoiding any more trouble.

Thomas Baskerville had also sent a rider to Guilo Clec'h to ask him the third part of the parchment.

Baskerville (left) and Kervasquer (right) are now trying to convince the Church authorities (a GM, centre) of their rights on Kervasquer manor.

The same discussion …on the game table:

English patrols are still watching the suburb of Brest.

The duke of Lancaster is still waiting reinforcements in his siege camp. Bertrand du Guesclin (NPC) and a few ribauds do some skirmishing (but all players are occupied elsewhere, so nothing really happens there).

Thomas Baskerville (still accompanied by his famous dog…) and Denez de Kervasquer return to the chapel on the hill with the three pieces of the parchment, which read: "I swear before God that I have buried at six toises west of the threshold of chapel Sainte Marie du Menez Hom the chest of the Temple" …They dig there, and they find a large treasure chest hidden by local Knights Templars when they were arrested in 1307.

A short time later, in the castle of Brest, Baskerville accepts to let the manor (and his wife) to Denez de Kervasquer if he is given the larger part of the treasure, with which he wants to purchase land elsewhere in Brittany. The cardinal is happy to see this difficult matter resolved (and is also happy that a tiny part of the treasure is given to him for charitable purposes) and says he will suggest to the Pope to dissolve the second wedding.

Baskerville escorts the cardinal on the road to Rennes ("all roads lead to Rome" including the road to Rennes; and the duke of Lancaster is still there awaiting support).

Marianne de Quenhuen must do a short pilgrimage to Mt. St. Michel, to repent for having had two husbands albeit unknowingly.
On the road, she thinks that her two husbands could have provided a better carriage for her; but perhaps it's part of her penance (or a sign that we should make nicer wagons).

Near Mauron, the sire of Gleievec, Guilo Clec'h, and the Bastard de Quimerc'h, slowly advancing and with help of the unexpected arrival (at last!) of Thomas Baskerville, force the Franco-Bretons to retreat.

Thomas Baskerville, the Bastard de Quimerc'h, and Guilo Clec'h have taken the village of Mauron (the sire of Gleievec is not there, he fell in the last fight and his unconscious body has been taken by the retreating Franco-Bretons).

However, the duke of Lancaster must lift the siege of Rennes.
Problem: the duke had sworn that he would not go away before his banner is on the wall of the town!
(Historical fact) the defenders tell him that he can come in with a few men and display his banner on the wall for a short time before leaving:

So, in the second day / second part of the war, the Anglo-Bretons counter-attacked and took control of Central Brittany, but had not enough time to help the besiegers of Rennes.

The players and GMs:

« Last Edit: May 03, 2016, 02:44:51 PM by Patrice »

Offline Bryanbowdell

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Re: Two dukes, one crown (and five game tables)
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2016, 03:53:16 PM »
A great campaign and write up, thoroughly enjoyable.

It's inspired me to finish my Breton force!!

Offline wolfkarl

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Re: Two dukes, one crown (and five game tables)
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2016, 05:38:28 PM »
I hope your writing all this down, this is great stuff. I love the fortified manor house and the coastal tower, are these scratch-built?


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