It’s been a while since I’ve had the time to do a game recap for our Late Roman Britain campaign, so here goes:

There was some concern that the prefect, Ardanus, had betrayed them, but in actuality, it was the tribune of the city, Urbanus, who sicced a small group of troops on them. Fianna had drawn on Ardanus, but Myrrdin had spotted the cambion on the roof of the nearby church. Ardanus managed to warn them the troops were here for all of them, and the fight was on! While the others battled Roman troops, Myrrdin and Faolin (our wolf shapechanger) charged the church. Once there, they convinced the parishioners to run for their lives, and not a moment too soon. the cambion began launching fire bolts from his staff at Aiden, who was able to avoid being hit by hiding behind a local merchants cart (soon to be a local merchant’s pile of kindling.)

Sigmon the Saxon noted the creature on the roof and charged into the church after Myrrdin. They found the way to the roof, while Faolin was getting the people to safety, and Fianna and Aiden were trading arrows with fire bolts. When Myrrdin and Sigmon reached the roof, they found the cambion gone; he had dove down on Ardanus and Aiden, who were able to injure the creature, but were losing the battle.

Myrrdin called down a whirlwind while telling Sigmon to jump (for a thirty foot height, no less.) Not the brightest, Sgmon does it, and Myrrdin used his control over the whirlwind to bring the Saxon barbarian down on the cambion, whereupon he hit it with his axe a ludicrously good blow. The cambion exploded into ash. Sigmon broke his nose. The townspeople was shocked and awed.

After besting the creature, they headed to the tribune’s villa and after a short search, found him getting ready to decamp for Maximus’ camp and safety. Confronted with the group, he groveled his way out of a perfectly good murder and provided them with intelligence and even advice on how to win over the local garrison…because they only way they were going to survive was to win over the soldiers and pose a challenge to Magnus Maximus. But Maximus would still have double their number! Ardanus opined they might be able to win over the other Brythonic tribes, and get their young men to volunteer to overthrow the Romans, rather than fight for them. The tribune Urbanus thought that a difficult sell: the “King of the Britons”, Octavius (or Otham Senis to the locals) married his daughter to Maximus and his son is one of the man’s generals! Myrrdin also had a madcap plan: to provide legitimacy to the affair, they could make a pilgrimage to Dinas Ffaraon, the hill near Caernavon, where the red dragon that is the soul of Britain resides. If they can convince the dragon to support them, it is likely he could pull many to his standard. If not…well, they won’t be around to worry about Maximus.

In a tense evening of negotiating with the officers of the Legio II Augustus, Aiden — with the aid of herbal magic by Faolin and political support by Ardanus (who was playing puppet master to the city tribune) convinced the legion to side with him. Aiden is, after all, the legitimate son of the Eastern Emperor, Marcellus. While this was happening, Myrrdin took the ashes of their foe and used the to scry into who had been holding his leash…the cambion, Maliel, was currently in the great nothing of Hades but there was  a presence behind him, and that presence sensed Myrrdin, as well. “Maliel, like most demons is a masterless soul. Their ruler is in Tartarus, locked away by Pluto in agreement with the one true god,” the presence told him. “The empire is riven in two. The east has returned to paganism, and the Olympians openly support Marcellus. Our god calls on the faithful to do their part. Magnum Maximus is a true believer. He will overthrow Gratian, who is being tempted by Alans, and his kin Theodorus the Great will turn his attention to the east. You have you chance to be forgiven all your sins, Myrrdin of Calendonia, and you know what you must do: kill the boy!”

Having this intelligence, and the knowledge that Magnus Maximus knows they are alive and well, the officers of the legion tell Aiden their time is short. He can call together the VI Victrix (Magnus’ legion) and XX Valeria Victrix in a matter of three days, and it is a seven day march to Corinium. They piece together a plan: to march the legion northwest into Octavius’ lands and find the dragon, with a small force led by the characters to get there with speed. Myrrdin and Faolin do some magic to ask favors of the gods, incurring some indebtedness to them, but making the weather clear for their group, while hammering the Roman legions with rain, hail, and winds.

There was a short vignette for Sigmon and Fianna to get married. the two of them were a match made in some gladiatorial fantasy — violent, reactionary, and out to fight the world. A match made in battle.

They left to cut through Aiden’s village and get his people out of harms way only to find an honest to goodness demon — a spiny-skinned, horned thing my seven-year daughter drew up to give me an idea of “a good bad guy” for the group. (And it was vicious!) It had been hunting his family and was killing off people of the village. After a hard battle that was doing nothing to the creature, but which was getting Aiden beaten within an inch of his life, Myrrdin coated a few arrows in sliver and gave them to Fianna. Whose player then proceeded to roll as good as was possible on his dice. (We are using a modified version of Cortex, not D&D, for this campaign.) Score one dead critter.

While getting the village together, they put the word out to every local garrison to pull in the troops and have them join the main army. They meet with the elders of the local tribes at a nearby villa of a former Roman judge and try to convince them to sign on, but are unsuccessful. The next morning, they notice Myrrdin missing (the player was out on a business trip), and find him floating under the water of a nearby lake, apparently asleep or dead, with the aid of a young woman working the villa who saw him leave the night before. She then pushes Faolin into the lake, but he falls instead into some kind of tunnel under the water. There’s air and the water above acts like a barrier between him and the surface. He can see his body there, next to Myrrdin’s in peaceful repose under the water…and suspects they are in another place behind the Veil. The Fey, perhaps? He can hear the cackling of the woman echoing in the bug infested tunnel and he tries to find a way out, only to discover Myrrdin, imprisoned and immobile in a crystal box.

When the other characters finally found their bodies floating, they have a run in with the hag that put them there and fled (they blew their tests against fear.) Once they steeled themselves and got their fighting gear on, they pulled the bodies from the water and figured their souls were trapped elsewhere. Pooling their knowledge of druidic magic, they cobble together a potion to allow them to join their friends in the Fey. Faolin apprises them of the situation: it’s some kind of ward their friend is in, and the hag is here, somewhere. After some useless attempts by Sigmon to use his axe to free Myrrdin by smashing the crystal over and over again, a few of them realize they aren’t physical here. They try to work on breaking the ward that holds Myrrdin, but the hag and the creature that imprisoned him have arrived. There was a spectacular exchange of axe blows and swordplay on the part of the creature — by all appearances some kind of angel! He burst into bright winged light, blinding Sigmon, then cutting him in half. Sigmon is not dead, but he is essentially rendered useless (Guess who was out this week?) To try and protect the others, Myrrdin, who has not bee able to break the ward, tries instead to expand it, and winds up pulling them all (save Sigmon) in between he and Faolin, they are able to break out of the imprisoning spell and assault the hag and the barukhim (or “blessed”) that was holding them. He escapes through a tunnel and they follow (grabbing Sigmon’s two halves on the way out) and find themselves in their bodies at the villa.

Having come back from the dead, apparently, they have won over the locals, and they hunted down the hag and dispatched her with elan. Now they have seen the face of their sorcerous nemesis in Maximus’ camp: he is an angel, apparently using vile creatures to do his bidding. But how?  And why would his God allow this?

 

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