There was a new player this week, Tom, who picked up a prefilled character sheet, Sir Martin, which Brendan had previously played after Sir Jorddans’ foray with madness. This Sir Martin hasn’t aged, so he’s clearly a different but similar Sir Martin. Note to self: fill out more pregen sheets. Also introduced was Sir Leoric, the younger brother of Sir Leander, with a love of gambling, a high Selfish Trait, and the Passion of Love: Money. Readers may recall that when Leoric was younger and squired for Leander, he foolishly gambled away his charger to Sir Jerren, who remitted the steed for Leoric to serve as his squire for several years.
We started with our knights still garrisoning Castle Terrabil in Cornwall, and now being relieved of those stations as the garrison is taken over by Sir Cadwallon the Younger, (son of Sir Cadwallon the Elder, who is the Steward of Levcomagus and Cornwall, and generally antagonistic to the characters.) Sir Bryce, knight of Levcomagus, mustache enthusiast, and all around thorn in the player’s side showed up, and demanded of Sir Martin where Sir Oban was. Sir Martin (and Tom) having no idea who the heck Sir Oban was, Sir Morian helpfully showed up and informed Sir Bryce that Sir Oban died several years before, fighting in Gaul. Sir Bryce seemed upset at this news, as if he had some unfinished business with Sir Oban.
When helping to oversee the changeover of the garrison, Sir Bersules and Sir Bryce could not help but lob some barbs at each other, Sir Bersules insulting Sir Bryce’s mustache, Bryce insulting Bersules’s beard, various veiled insinuations of treason and dishonor, etc. Looking over Sir Bersules’s sheet for relevant Traits (Pride, Vengeful, perhaps), nothing was high enough that merited a trait check- you can easily let this go, I told him. So of course he didn’t, and challenged Sir Bryce to a joust of honor.
Sir Bryce was a passingly good jouster (Lance 18), but knew Bersules was quite better (Lance 22!), so accepted for honor, but choose not to offer any kind of wager. They tilted… and Sir Bryce botched his Lance roll. Bersules didn’t do enough damage with his lance to unhorse him, but Bryce’s saddle was improperly placed, and he fell. Much wroth, Sir Bryce beat his squire severely. Bersules managed to get Bryce to stop the assault, and called for all young men to make sure they attended to their duties. When leaving the castle, the squire, young Gruffen, revealed that he had been released from his service by Sir Bryce, and asked leave of Sir Bersules to serve as his squire. And thus, Sir Bersules acquired a second squire.
493 does not have many scripted events in the GPC- there is an option to act as envoys to Malahaut, which is pretty bare bones. So instead I followed up a plot hook from the previous adventure, Sir Bersules’s vow to find the errant King Pellinore.
This manifested as a message from Bersules’s wife, Lady Indeg, that a dragon had been seen in her lands, and the peasants were refusing to work! Bersules made haste there, along with the other player knights, eager to prove themselves. They were also joined by Indeg’s stern brothers, Geriant the Younger and Gwern, also interested in the situation. With some legwork and questioning peasants, a description of the ‘dragon’ was had, and it was determined that this was no dragon at all, but the legendary Questing Beast!
Here Sir Geriant & Gwern offered a wager to the knights, that they divide into two groups, and that they and their dear brother-in-law Sir Bersules could find the beast before the others. Sir Leoric gladly accepted the wager. Suspicious, Sir Morian figured out their aim, to get themselves alone with Sir Bersules so they could arrange a ‘hunting accident’. Sir Morian insisted on accompanying Sir Bersules to make things fair, since Bersules was not a great hunter, and they hired Lady Indeg’s huntsman, and now the hapless brothers had two extra witnesses to deal with. They were not happy about this turn of events, but couldn’t really say anything about it.
The two groups set out, having supplied themselves with hunting supplies and hounds, and bringing armor along if needed, since Camelot Forest is known to be quite dangerous. The first group was Bersules, Morian, Geriant, Gwern, and huntsman Robert, the second Sirs Tathan, Leoric, Charles, and Martin.
The group led by Sir Tathan set out into Camelot Forest, and after a few hours, found a large tree in a clearing, which looked particularly restful. All those present had to make Energetic rolls, and those who failed (Tathan and Leoric) felt compelled to go up to the tree and take a nap. Sir Charles and Martin were left trying to figure out how to wake them up- shaking, yelling, and even kicking them didn’t work. They also found another knight resting against the tree on the opposite side, with heavily grown beard and heraldry neither of them recognized. After several failed attempts (each characterized by a failed skill or trait roll), Sir Martin tried trickery, using Deceptive to shout out that the horses were being stolen, and managed to rouse the knights. Here they discovered that the sleeping knight was none other than King Pellinore, who had been following the trail of the Questing Beast, and stopped at this particularly restful tree for a nap, but then ended up falling asleep for several weeks.
Meanwhile, Sir Geriant and Gwern found the tracks of a boar, and tried to encourage Sir Bersules to hunt it. (This was their original plan: find a boar, get Bersules to fight it, then if he wasn’t killed by the boar, do him in themselves with spears and blame it on the boar. A classic, really.) Bersules used Courtesy to insist that as he was their guest, they get the honor of the first shot, and they unenthusiastically tracked the boar, eventually letting it go. After wasting several hours on this, this group made camp, and during the night, Sir Moriant had his squire, Dyfed, the alleged horse-thief, spook Geriant & Gwern’s horses and chase them off into the forest. The next morning, the brothers were horseless. Bersules and Morian lent them some riding horses, and sent them back to the manor, and continued on with huntsman Robert.
It was Tathan’s group who found the Questing Beast first. They agreed that they would sneak towards it to try to catch it. Sir Martin got the closest before it was alerted, and the beast, truly quick, darted off before he could get any closer, but a glorious attempt it was. Sir Charles tried to shoot it, but his arrow went wide.
They met up, exchanged tales, and returned, King Pellinore in tow. He accepted Bersules’s hospitality for a few days (as far as Bersules was concerned, King Pellinore could stay as long as he liked.) Given the news that his kingdom was in chaos, Pellinore was reluctant to leave the hunt behind, but vowed that he would do his duty. Before leaving, Bersules asked if Pellinore would do him the honor of making his brother Harwel his squire. Pellinore agreed, and later returned to his homeland of Gomeret, along with a new squire.
One last event that occurred during the Winter Phase. Sir Bersules, being a bit shy of a 1000 glory milestone, spent 107 pounds libra on a feast, giving him a like amount of glory for conspicuous consumption. Truly, one of the greatest feasts in Salisbury in living memory.