I haven’t updated some of the game play posts since the big push to get Airships of the Pulp Era and Sky Pirates of the Mediterranean out this summer. The not-D&D campaign set in end of Roman/pre-Arthurian Britain had trucked along to a satisfactory breaking point but here’s the recap of about six sessions of play.

The party had discovered that Magnus Maximus, the de facto ruler of Britain under Emperor Gratian, had been sending creatures to kill of Aiden macQuint, the unwitting son of the Eastern Emperor, Marcellus. They had discovered the reason — that Magnus was moving against Gratian, who had put Marcellus on the path to become the Eastern Emperor, and who back ed him over Theodosius — Magnus’ kinsman. Worried about having an imperial heir on his flank, Magnus is looking to take him out of play. The Roman general has already put out his call for every able bodied Briton to join him in his invasion of Gaul, but Aiden and his group are moving to take on Magnus.

They pulled together a coalition of leaders of British tribes after an encounter with a hag that had convinced many Aiden was protected by the gods. But to seal the deal, he has been convinced by Myrrdin Caledoniensis (Merlin) that he needs the approval of Cymru, the great red dragon that is the symbol of the land, slumbering under Dinas Ffaraon, the hill near the Segontium, the city of Octavius (or Outham Senis to the Britons), the slef-proclaimed “King of the Britons” who has been backing Magnus — to the point he’s married his daughter to him, and send his best son Conan Meridoc to fight with him. The party takes a swift route overland to get to Dinas Ffaraon, while their single legion, the II Augustus, and the massing armies of Britons follows at their best speed. They have a headstart thanks to Myrrdin’s calling in favors from the gods to create a massive storm in the center of Britain that is making Magnus’ army or two legions and a small force of Britons slower.

They came through a town, Trowford, to find the people were highly suspicious of them. To pass, they had to speak to their “Father” — a devout priest of God, they were told. The characters quickly picked up on the strange vibe of the town; they were both grateful to and scared silly of the priest, whose church was next to the bridge they needed to pass through. The church was enormous and appeared to be a repurposed mill, but inside the place was beautiful — full of dramatic but crude paintings and lots of silver and gold fittings. And their man of God turned out to be a troll! This was a nice call-back to the original Germanic campaign, as the troll, Dufex, was the one who had repeatedly been trouble for the party until one of the characters, a warrior monk, had convinced him to turn to God…or at least not steal and eat people.

The priest of Trowford is a pious man with a uniquely incorrect view of the Ten Commandments. The characters had to tip-toe around his explosive anger, especially where false witness was involved, and they had to give generously to the church, which owns the bridge and charges usurious rates to cross. The characters very nearly manage to get on Dufex’s bad side, but wound up repairing relations, and perhaps even having earned a grudging ally.

Their next encounter was with a group of Irish elves — the same tribe that had wiped out the tribe of siblings Fianna and Faolin. This was one of several invading groups of the “children of the gods”. While stopped, Faolin was lured into the woods by a white stag, which turned out to be the “green man”, Cernunos, who intercepted them to teach Faolin and Myrrdin how to wake Cymru without leading to the destruction of the towns and people near his nest. He warned the two that once they woke him, they would also wake all the dragons of the world, as they share a special bond. He then taught them how to sing the song that would wake Cymru safely…after that, they would have to convince the dragon to lend them his approval of Aiden as king of Briton. If they mess it up, they’ll probably be eaten.

While they were doing this, Aiden was having a hard time convincing Fianna and her now-husband Sigmon not to start a war between a local Brythonic town and the Irish interlopers. He wins out by taking his Roman escort on a scouting mission that leaves Fianna with no troops to train and egg on the villagers.

Finally, with Myrrdin and Faolin prepared, they travel the last leg to Dinas Ffaraon, but before they can locate the dragon’s cave, they are intercepted by a force led by the sons of Octavius, Gadeon and Gurthien. They are escorted to Segontium, and brought before the King of the Britons (the man whose job Aiden is looking to take) and they had a tense meeting in which they manage to sell the king on aiding them against Magnus, with the understanding they were looking to secure the old man as the King of the Britons. They then slipped out of town to the dragon’s lair.

After a typical small dungeon crawl through the caverns under the hill, they arrive in the lair of the dragon. The gigantic creature has been sleeping for centuries, and centuries of offering from the henge on top of the hill are scattered around the place. They sing the song, almost screw it up, but wake Cymru without a paroxysm of violence. They then have to convince him to support, at least symbolically, Aiden’s coronation. Aiden, aided by Myrrdin and Faolin with spells to make him more charismatic and brave, still almost scotches the whole affair when the dragon demands a sacrifice — one village must be given to the dragon to show he is ready to do the hard work of a king. Aiden waffles and just as the dragon is ready to incinerate the whole lot of them, they realize they have just the town — the Irish elves!

Cyrmu bursts through the henge overhead and takes to the sky, and when the characters return to Segontium, they have the support of a friggin’ dragon, which collapses support for the old man. Aiden is king. And shortly after that his army of Britons and Romans arrives to seal the deal. However, they are only a few days ahead of Magnus. A plan is cobbled together to defend the city, but Faolin suggests slipping into his camp and simply assassinating him, thus avoiding bloodshed between the legions. His sister Fianna takes this as carte blanche to attack immediately. There was some arguing back and forth — it is a roleplaying game with people trying to “plan” — and they prepared a morning attack on Magnus. Myrrdin would work his magic to keep the Roman general’s pet demi-angel busy, and Fianna and Faolin would attempt the assassination.

It promptly goes to pot. Myrrdin creates a hell of a show using crows and insects to create a ghostly face and intimidate the troops. He brings in thunderclouds and lightning. Fianna’s arrow almost catches Magnus while he is out rallying his troops, but is stopped by his aasimar (or barukhim, in our game) magician. The jig is up and Magnus’ cavalry starts chasing Aiden’s small force that was positioned to take advantage of the chaos, should she have succeeded. The barukhim and Myrrdin engage in some serious magical combat involving lightning, angelic light and fire, and it ends with Myrrdin blasting Magnus and most of his command staff with a bolt of lightning which has called down with an entreaty to the gods. While gloating over his victory, he is run through by his magical nemesis and almost dies. But before he can be taken by Pluto, another intervenes and he hovers on the edge of death.

Aiden and the rest of the crew are locked into combat with the cavalry chasing them, and Sigmon goes proto-Viking on them, murdering his way through a host of the enemy, while Fianna and Aiden sort quite a few with their bows. But toward the end, most of them are nealry out of arrows, they are injured, and the Romans have just kept coming. Then Faolin breaks the Romans advance, having called in his version of the cavalry. Faolin turned to wolf form and has called all the dogs and wolves he can to his side, including the massive guard dogs the Magnus’ camp employed. They, along with the Saxon Murder Machine (Sigmon) — who has a spectacular battle with the leader of the troops that were chasing them — rout the enemy and that is right about the time Myrrdin blasts Magnus and his staff to ash.

They have won the day, but they have a seriously injured Myrrdin and Aiden to contend with. Faolin worked his Druidic magic and managed to save the both of them, while Sigmon found out the man he’d battled and cut an arm from was Conan Meriadoc. Octavius will not be pleased — he’s lost his throne to an upstart kid, and his favorite son is injured.

They returned to the safety of the II Augustus camp outside of the city where they could heal, while Aiden’s tribune set out to find and rally the broken forces of Magnus’ army to his side. And while healing, they are visited by a beautiful young man in Roman armor, but definitely not one of them. They were victorious! He’s really surprised! Now it’s time for them to get better — at which point, using the caduceus he is carrying, they are all healed — because they’ve made some very bad moves. There’s not just one, but many dragons loose around the world, and they have to be sorted. Cymru is their responsibility, but they can’t kill the creature…it is tied to the land. If it dies, this land dies.

We broke at that point to take up some Hollow Earth Expedition, and to give me time to think about what was next for them.

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