Thursday, May 24, 2012

[Duty & Honour] Session 4: The Night Attack

Session 4: March 16, 2012
April 1809, Portugal

The watches set, the 13th Light Dragoons and the 30th Northumberland prepare to defend the bridge for the night. The evening is quiet, at least until the late watch.

Private Greenleaf sneaks from his tent and, leaving behind his sabre and his carbine, he passes silently through the camp, past the pickets and crawls under the bridge, looking for his clue about the booze he's seeking.

In the dark, he feels his way along the stones on the French side of the bridge, using his fingers to find a loose brick. Prying it loose, he sticks his hand in the cavity and comes out with a clue!

And that's when chaos breaks out!

Screams come from the Spanish camp on the French side of the bridge, screams of pure horror and pain. Screams that drift over the wind, screams of "Fantasma! Fantasma!"

The 30th Northumberland picket on the French side of the bridge starts firing into the darkness. Then they start screaming, in horror and pain, too.

Greenleaf crouches below the bridge, thinking the French are attacking. He prepares to leap out and plans to kill the French commander.

Limekiller awakes and sees that the the chaos and confusion is freaking out the horses. Without horses, the 13th Light Dragoons can't do their duty, so he rushes to the lines. Unfortunately, some of the horse break free, running through the camp, adding to the confusion.

Lt. Hardrick and Cornet Wyle rally the 13th Light Dragoons around them and grab some of the 30th Northumberland as well. John Crossley, on watch at the back of the camp, rushes towards the bridge, trying to rally the 30th Northumberland pickets on the British side of the bridge but they are totally paniced, firing into their fellows on the other side in a crazy blaze.

Greenleaf leapt out of from under the bridge and came face to face with ... a lion! Not the French!

The lion jumped on Greenleaf and savagely mauled him as another lion ran rampant through the Spanish camp. The British camp was still in chaos but Hardrick was pulling them together.

After they had their fun, the lions went off into the darkness, leaving their destruction in their wake.

Hardrick finally gets the camp together and they rush to the bridge, finding the dead and wounded from the pickets friendly-fire and the lion all along the bridge. They also found the mauled Greenleaf.

Rushing to save his life, Wyle and the crew did their best to patch him up, making him at least upright.

(The appearance of the lions was quite a shock to the players. I told them that the lions were part of a local Spanish nobleman's menagerie and when the French came and burned out the nobleman's villa, the lions escaped and, in the midst of the war, there was plenty of food and chew toys to play with.

I told them the lions appearance was based on the movie The Ghost and the Darkness, hence the "Fantasma" screams from the Spanish camp)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

[Duty & Honour] Session 3: The Dinner Party

Session 3: March 2, 2012
April 1809, Portugal

The 13th Light Dragoons and the 30th Northumberland set up camp near the bridge and set out pickets. The 30th Northumberland takes the pickets nearest the bridge.

Hardrick orders a dragoon patrol to check on the French and Sgt. Finkauf, Corporal Limekiller, and Private Crossley head out. Once out of sight of the bridge, the PCs rode hard, looking for the French and Crossley failed to notice them! An ambush!

The fight was quick, with the flashing sabers of the 13th Light Dragoon taking down the enemy French dragoons. One managed to ride off, wounded, and they pursued. They ran into a larger patrol, commanded by a French Lieutenant riding a fine horse - Limekiller vowed to steal that horse before they rode off, escaping the larger French force.

A dispatch from command comes with orders and a letter forwarded from Wellington. Private Wyle is granted an Cornet (Ensign) commission and Wintergreen sent along a used uniform for him, at least until he gets his own. The transition from Private to Cornet is sudden and shocking for Wyle and already he's found that he's distanced from the rank & file, on account of his sudden raise in rank, yet not quite trusted by the officers, as a fellow who that morning was just a common private and not a gentleman.

The patrol returns with a French prisoner and Wyle and Greenleaf patch him up. While talking to the prisoner, Greenleaf gets a lead on the booze, finding out that there's a rumor of info on the booze underneath the bridge. He plans on looking at it during the late watch.

Lt. Hardrick hosts a dinner party with Lt. Seinheit, Lady McFaine, Don Miguel, Bex the horsetrader, and several of the Ensigns and the Spanish noblemen from Lady McFaine's entourage. Corporal Limekiller serves as a waiter for the party.

Hardrick knows that one of the people in the camp or nearby is the French spy Durand and need some clues. Under cover of the dinner party, he manages to host a nice enough party that when conversations are occuring, the two Spanish noblemen are exposed subtly by Don Miguel. Limekiller notices Don Miguel's expression and successfully read it. He let's Hardick know that at least one of the Spanish noblemen are fakes.

Bex corners Limekiller at the dinner party and tells him he's heard about the plan to steal the French Lieutenant's horse. Bex wants Limekiller to sell the horse to him but Limekiller says no, instead he'll let the horsetrader use the horse as stud for some great foals. Bex agrees to that but secretly plans to steal the horse from Limekiller.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

[Duty & Honour] Session 2: The Bridge

Session 2: February 17, 2012
April 1809, Portugal

(The session started with the Players outlining the personal missions of their PCs.)

Lt. Richard "Rick" Hardrick of the 13th Light Dragoons is ordered to cross into Spain and hold a bridge. Accompanying the 13th Light Dragoons is a company of the 30th Northumberland Regiment of Foot, under command of Lt. Seinheit. Hardrick is given overall command of the joint force.

Hardrick seeks to find the French Spy Durand before he escapes with Wellington's battle plans. Greenleaf heard about some fine liquer hidden by the French during their retreat. He wants to find it. Sgt Finkauf sees Lt. Seinheit and takes that as an opportunity to restore his family name with the nobility of Hanover. Young John Crossley seeks fame and glory in battle, vowing to himself to take the French Eagle. Nobleman York, only a volunteer, wants to gain a commission and Corporal Limekiller sees an opportunity to embarrass the French by stealing their best cavalry horse. And Private Wyle, well, he's interested in just screwing off.

The 13th Light Dragoons, with the 30th Northumberland, head for the bridge. Accompanying the party is Lady McFaine, a frienemy of Lt. Hardrick, and her a bunch of her hangers-on, including some Spanish noblemen.

While the company assembled, Sgt. Finkauf managed to embarrass Lt. Seinheit, with the help of Lt. Hardrick, by showing off how well the 13th Light Dragoons act more like soldiers than the 30th Northumberland.

Lady McFaine and her entourage cause some problems for Hardrick but the company makes it to the bridge with little problem. On the French side is a camp of Spanish refugees, damned close to the bridge.

Hardrick, along with a few of the boys, go over to talk to them. Their spokesman, a grizzled nobleman named Don Miguel, eyes the British Officer with suspicion and his men with contempt. Hardrick tries to convince the nobleman to get his folk to move on the British side of the bridge, for his protection. Don Miguel refuses, at least until the next day.

Monday, May 21, 2012

[Duty & Honour] The 13th Light Dragoons

Dragoons, doing their best work
13th Light Dragoons (Historical)
Commander in Chief: The Queen
Barracks: Penzance, Cornwall

Player Battalion: 1st
Player Company: E Co.

Commanding Officer:

    Col. Lord Wintergreen (Very Brave [+], Ill-Fitting Wooden Teeth [-])

Officers of Note:

    Major Percival Shanks (Well Organized [+], Perpetually Lost [-])
    Captain Richard Teniel (Excellent Singing Voice [+], Thrashes the Troops [-])
    Lieutenant Vandermoore Otherson (Skilled Gambler [+], Horrible Cheat [-])

Rank & File of Note:

    Colour Sergeant Hisad, Regimental Sergeant Major (Mean SOB)
    Corporal Worthington (Brown-noser)
    Private Habib, Foreign Non-English Speaker
    Private Pennymore (perpetually broke Private)


    Members wear fezes with a hawk feather.
    The Regiment has a feast at deployment (traditionally March 1st).

Battle Honours and Failures:

    Honour: Second Battle of Hattien (Fictional)
    Failure: Battle of Lexington and Concord (19 April 1775), during the American Revolution

Sunday, May 20, 2012

[Duty & Honour] Private John Crossley

Private John Crossley
Player: J
(English, Protestant, Farmer, Dragoon)
13th Light Dragoons

Experiences: 2 (1 background/1 military)

Guts 3
Discipline 3
Influence 1
Charm 5

Skills: Awareness +3, First Aid +3, Haggle +2, Riding +4, Scavenge +1, Siege +1, Skulduggery +1, Soldiering +5

Wealth: 0

Reputations: Personality (Major Shanks, 13th Light Dragoons) +1, Personality (Col. Lord Wintergreen, 13th Light Dragoons) +3, Institutional (Rank & File) +1, Institutional (13th Light Dragoons) +1, Institutional (Quartermaster Corps) +1

Traits: Illiterate, Second Language (French), Strong as an Ox, Chosen Man, Officer Patron (Col. Lord Wintergreen), Fearless.

Personal Mission: Capture the French Eagle!
Number of Challenges: 4 - three completed successfully
Deadline: [ 4 ]
Reward: +1 Influence, +1 to 13th Light Dragoons reputation
Failure: 13th Light Dragoons reputation is maimed
Mission Challenges:
1. Spot the enemy before an ambush! [N]
2. Develop Esprit de Corps [N]
3. Capture the Eagle [Y] - held onto it for a few moments before it was taken back
4. Capture the Eagle [Y] - held onto it for a few moments before it was taken back (counts twice)
5. Set-up 13th Light Dragoons defenses [Y]

John Crossley is a young dragoon with few experiences. His personal mission is to capture the French Eagle during the defense of the bridge. He succeeded in laying hands on them briefly but in the press of battle, he lost hold of them and the French recovered them.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

[Duty & Honour] Session 1: All the Pretty Horses

Session 1: February 3, 2012
April 1809, Portugal

The 13th Light Dragoon is part of Wellington's forces in Portugal, set to take the fight to Boney and his French Grognards.

Lt. Richard "Rick" Hardrick commands the 1st Patrol, E Company, 1st Battalion under Colonel Lord Wintergreen. Sgt Hanz Finkauf keeps the men in line, specifically Corporal Ambrose Limekiller, Privates Reese Wyle, Calvin Greenleaf, John Crossley and Volunteer William York.

Private Pennymore comes to Lt. Hardrick with a message from Col. Lord Wintergreen, saying "Sir, the Colonel needs you for orders, sir!"

Hardrick turns to the men and tells them that orders are forthcoming, so they need the horses ready to go. Hardrick reports to the old man and is ordered to cross into Spain and seize and control a vital bridge from the French.

Meanwhile, the men go to the pickets to get the horses. When they get there, Greenleaf and Wyle notice that several of their horses are missing and poor quality horses are in their place. A quick visual found the missing horses in the pickets of F Company.

Sgt Finkauf tried to bluster his way into F Company to get the horses back and while he was doing that, Greenleaf and Wyle pulled a fast one and got the lot back, under the noses of the F Company bastards that had stolen them.

Friday, May 18, 2012

[Duty & Honour] Volunteer William York

Volunteer William York
(English, Protestant, Noble, Volunteer)
13th Light Dragoons

Experiences: 3 (2 background/1 military)

Guts 4
Discipline 4
Influence 3
Charm 2

Skills: Awareness +2, Courtesy +1, Diplomacy +1, First Aid +1, Intrigue +1, Quartermaster +1, Riding +5, Romance +1, Scavenge +1, Skulduggery +1, Soldiering +3

Wealth: 6, Eton Tie (+1 Eton Alumni)

Reputations: Personality (Lt. Otherson, 13th Light Dragoons), Institutional (Eton College Alumni) +1, Institutional (Officers' Mess) +2, Institutional (Rank & File) +2, Institutional (13th Light Dragoons) +1

Traits: Literate, Second Language (French), Lancer, At Home in the Mess, Known around Camp, Blameless, Is But a Scratch, Sir!

Personal Mission: Promotion!
Number of Challenges: 4 - two completed successfully
Deadline: [ 4 ]
Reward: Commission as a Cornet (cavalry for Ensign)
Failure: Officers' Mess reputation is maimed
Mission Challenges:
1. Make favorable impression on commanding officer [Y]
2. Impress regimental agent [Y]

William York is a rich nobleman who didn't have a commission in the 13th Light Dragoons so he volunteered, planning on earning/buying a commission in the field. So far, he's been working towards that goal. He's fairly popular with both the Officers' Mess and the Rank & File.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

[Duty & Honour] Private/Cornet Reese Wyle

Private Reese Wyle
Player: C
(Welsh, Without God, Artist, Dragoon)
13th Light Dragoons

Experiences: 4 (3 background/1 military)

Guts 3
Discipline 2
Influence 2
Charm 2

Skills: Awareness +2, Courtesy +2, Engineering +2, First Aid +2, Haggle +2, Intrigue +2, Profession (Carpenter) +1, Quartermaster +4, Riding +4, Scavenge +1, Skulduggery +1, Soldiering +3

Wealth: 1, Sliderule (+2 Quartermaster)

Reputations: Personality (Wellington) +3, Institutional (London Black Market) +2, Institutional (Carpentry Guild) +2, Institutional (Rank & File) +2, Institutional (13th Light Dragoons) +1

Traits: Literate, Second Language (English), Second Language (French), Second Language (Spanish), Keen Eyed, Destined for Greatness, Student of War, Crackshot x2, Good Horsemanship.

Personal Mission: Class A Screw-off
Number of Challenges: 4 - one completed successfully
Deadline: [ 4 ]
Reward: +1 Rank & File reputation, +1 Influence
Failure: Rank & File reputation is maimed
Mission Challenges:
1. Take food from supplies [N]
2. Slack during set-up of the camp [N]
3. "Work" without working [Y]
4. Taking credit where credit wasn't due [N]

Private Reese's personal mission was to be the best slacker the 13th Light Dragoons had. He's still working it but will he have time to complete it before the final battle with the French? To complicate matters, he received a letter from Wellington, raising him from a private to a cornet (the cavalry equivalent of an ensign).

Monday, May 7, 2012

[Duty & Honour] Private Calvin Greenleaf

Calvin Greenleaf
Player: P
(American, Protestant, Criminal, Dragoon)
13th Light Dragoons

Experiences: 8 (3 background/5 military)

Guts 4
Discipline 4
Influence 4
Charm 4

Skills: Awareness +4, Command +1, Courtesy +1, First Aid +2, Haggle +1, Intimidate +3, Intrigue +2, Riding +5, Scavenge +2, Siege +1, Skulduggery +6, Soldiering +4

Wealth: 0, Brass Knuckles (+2 Intimidate), Shiv (+1 Skulduggery), Riding Crop (+1 Riding), First Aid Kit (+1 First Aid)

Reputations: Personality (Anthony Arkwright, fence) +1, Personality (Thomas McKean, forger) +1, Institutional (Comte. of Secret Correspondence) +1, Institutional (Rank & File) +2, Institutional (13th Light Dragoons) +2

Traits: Illiterate, Second Language (French), Destined for Greatness, Scoundrel, Cutpurse, Handy in a Scrap, Strong Swordarm x3, Under the Lash.

Personal Mission: Find the 1697 Cognac that the French hid nearby
Number of Challenges: 4 - FAILED
Deadline: [reduced from 4 to 3]
Reward: +1 Officers' Mess reputation, +1 Wealth
Failure: Rank & File reputation is maimed
Mission Challenges:
1. Schmooze for info [Y]
2. Find clue under bridge (unfortunately it is in Spanish!) [Y]
3. Mauled by Beast [N - lost one deadline]
4. Decode clue message (recipe revealed location) [Y]
5. Liberate from Lady McFaine's quarters (underneath) [N - fire broke out and destroyed the liquor!]

P made a criminal but very skilled with the sword and chose the standard "Find the Booze" personal mission. This was a one-step forward, two-steps back from the get-go. Finding the clue under the bridge was excellent luck - except it was in Spanish, a language he doesn't speak. Unfortunately, the booze ended up under Lady McFaine's camp quarters (the ruins of a previous building was made comfortable to accommodate her). During a swordfight between Calvin and the French Spy Durand, the place caught fire and Lady McFaine's quarters burst into flame, fueled by the 1697 cognac! Oh, the humanity!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

[Duty & Honour] Corporal Ambrose Limekiller

Corporal Ambrose Limekiller
Player: D
(English, Protestant, Vicar, Groom)
13th Light Dragoons

Experiences: 3 (2 background/1 military)

Guts 3
Discipline 4
Influence 3
Charm 2

Skills: Awareness +1, Command +1, Diplomacy +1, First Aid +5, Intrigue +1, Music +1, Quartermaster +2, Riding +5, Scavange +2, Soldiering +2

Wealth: 1, Fine Saddle (+2 Riding)

Reputations: Personality (Messrs Bex & Rhys, horsetraders) +1, Institutional (Royal Veteriniarian College) +2, Institutional (Rank & File) +1, Institutional (13th Light Dragoons) +3

Traits: Literate, Veterinarian, Second Language (French), Good Horsemanship, Natural Rider, Fair of Face, Chosen Man.

Personal Mission: Steal the French Lieutenant's prize horse, keep it for a few weeks and return it painted with the Union Jack.
Number of Challenges: 4 - two completed successfully
Deadline: [ 4 ]
Reward: +2 Personal Reputation with French Officer
Failure: Rank & File reputation is maimed
Mission Challenges:
1. Identify the horse to steal [Y]
2. Offer Messrs Bex & Rhys stud service [N] - Bex will steal the horse from Ambrose
3. Slay the Beast for scent to recover horse from Bex [Y]
4. Steal the Horse [N] - the first attempt!

D jumped straight into Limekiller's personal mission to make the French look foolish. I threw a wrench in his plans by having Messr Bex offer to buy the horse (I received a "But that would go against my mission" comment from D, to which I replied with a smile "I know" and he said "Bastard!") - he countered with just stud services but I said if he failed the challenge, Bex would steal the horse from him. He failed and when he delivers the horse for stud service, he'll have to steal it back from his side to fulfill his mission.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

[Duty & Honour] Sergeant Hanz Finkauf

Sergeant Hanz Finkauf
Player: S
(Hanoverian, Protestant, Soldier, Dragoon)
13th Light Dragoons

Experiences: 5 (1 background/4 military)

Guts 4
Discipline 4
Influence 3
Charm 2

Skills: Awareness +2, Command +4, First Aid +2, Intimidate +3, Intrigue +3, Riding +6, Soldiering +5

Wealth: 4, Imperial Cross badge (+2 Intimidate), Cavalry Sabre (+2 Sword)

Reputations: Personality (Col. Lord Wintergreen) +1, Institutional (Hanoverian Rifle Club) +1, Institutional (Rank & File) +3, Institutional (13th Light Dragoons) +2

Traits: Literate, Second Language (English), Second Language (French), Natural Rider, Known around the Camp, Blameless, Hard as Nails.

Personal Mission: Restore family honour
Number of Challenges: 4 - success!
Deadline: [ 4 ]
Reward: +1 to influence, +1 to Hanoveran Aristocracy reputation
Failure: Hanoveran Rifle Club reputation is maimed
Mission Challenges:
1. Embarrass rival Lt. Seinheit, 30th Northumberland [Y]
2. Bring the Beast to bear [Y]
3. Rally the 30th Northumberland [N]
4. Repair Rank & File Reputation [Y]
5. Confrontation with Lt. Seinheit [Y]

S created a German sergeant who was from a disgraced noble house. His personal mission was to restore his family name, which he succeeded in doing, but in the process earned the undying hatred of the 30th Northumberland.

Friday, May 4, 2012

[Duty & Honour] Lt. Richard "Rick" Hardrick

Lt. Richard Hardrick
Player: X
(English, Without God, Merchant, Dragoon)
13th Light Dragoons

Experiences: 8 (7 background/1 military)

Guts 2
Discipline 2
Influence 3
Charm 2

Skills: Command +6, Courtesy +1, Diplomacy +3, Haggle +5, Intimidate +4, Riding +3, Scavenge +3, Soldiering +2

Wealth: 5, Fancy Hat (+1 Romance), Monocle (+1 Haggle), Hunting Horn (+1 Command)

Reputations: Personality (Lady McFaine) +2, Personality (Monsignor O'Flaherty) +2, Personality (Col. Lord Wintergreen, 13th Light Dragoons) +3, Institutional (East India Co.) +2, Institutional (Bank of Surrey) +2, Institutional (Baker Rifle Co.) +3, Institutional (Officers' Mess) +2, Institutional (13th Light Dragoons) +1, Institutional (Horse Guards) +1

Traits: Literate, Swimming, Second Language (Spanish), Second Language (French), Officer Patron (Col. Lord Wintergreen), Educated, Cosmopolitan, Letter from London.

Personal Mission: Find the French Spy Durand (before he escapes with the battle plans)
Number of Challenges: 4 - success!
Deadline: [ 4 ]
Reward: +1 to intrigue, +1 to influence
Failure: Officers' Mess reputation is maimed
Mission Challenges:
1. Impress Lady McFaine for information [Y]
2. Learn about two suspects [Y]
3. Set-up duel for clue to the spy's identity [Y]
4. Unmask Durand [N]
5. Running battle with Durand [Y]

X made Lt. Hardrick as a merchant, first and foremost, looking to increase his family's influence. His personal rival is Lady McFaine, the scion of an enemy merchant house.

His personal mission was to find the French Spy Durand and stop him before he fled with Wellington's battle plans. He succeeded but Durand escaped, and Hardrick and the 13th Light Dragoons gained a personal enemy that day, an enemy that will show up again to bedevil them in Spain.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

[Duty & Honour] The Best Laid Plans

If my campaign doesn't end like this, then I'm not doing my job as a GM!
"But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!"
- To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough 

As I mentioned last time, I started a Duty & Honour campaign for one of my game groups and we're having a good time. I had originally planned on a different genre game all together but, like the poem says, "the best laid plans" and all that.

It sounded like the perfect name for a campaign, so I'll be posting the characters, missions and situations that my players get themselves into for your enjoyment.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Ring Vaults

Hey Folks,

It's been over three months since I last posted and, boy, have I been busy.

I've been gaming steadily with my various game groups and writing bunches of stuff and drawing maps, lots of maps.

I've been running Duty & Honour with one of my groups and it's going smashingly! The 13th Light Dragoons are defending a bridge in Spain from the French. And one of the PCs was nearly killed by a ... I'll tell you later, don't want to spoil the surprise! No worries, you'll see stuff on it soon.

I've been playing in a Savage Star Trek game and we're about to perform a board action on a hostile Klingon Bird of Prey. Once we kill the crew and take the ship, we'll chase after the Andorians who attacked our ship (the U.S.S. Ramirez) and stole secret Federation science data.

I've floated a Dresden Files weekday game via Google+ to a few people but it's still in the negotiating stage (with the others and the significant other).

I played a session of Eclipse Phase, a very interesting %-tile based system. I made some PCs with little experience with the system but realized later I should have made an Octomorph (coolest PC concept EVAR).

I've also been doing a lot of writing - some of which will appear here and some elsewhere.

And, while I haven't even come back to this blog full time, I started another called The Ring Vaults. It's going to be my take on the mega-dungeons. And it'll have maps. I've gotten a few posts up but check them out.

So don't be blue - more Asshat Paladins to come!