09/03/2022 at 12:25 #169803
An adventure played last Saturday in a local games festival at the Maison de quartier Francisco Ferrer in Rennes, Brittany.
Ruleset “Argad” (a mix of miniature skirmish and RPG).
Late 16th century in south-west Brittany. Supporters of the new king of France, Henri IV, allied with the English, fight against La Sainte Ligue (the ultra-Catholic “Holy League”) which is allied with Spain. The story begins with a small party of “Ligueurs” taking position to ambush their enemies. They know that a group of Royalists, and a group of Englishmen, are approaching and outnumber them; Spanish troops are expected to come later, so it’s a matter of gaining time.
In fact there was only one player and a GM. The player was acting as his Ligueur character “Antonin Le Hir de Lostbras” who already appeared in a previous game. To make things more interesting he wrote secretly where his men were hidden, the GM (handling his opponents) did not know it! More scenario details explanations at the end of the AAR.
The gaming table. On the right, a large village near a dyke. Smaller houses are on the left, near the road.
Local peasants are worried to see a group of Englishmen coming.
Farther north, some Royalists are approaching too.
First ambush of the day, and a real surprise: two Ligueurs were hidden on a cliff near the road! They shoot their arquebuses at two English cavalrymen.
A neat result.
English foot with ranged weapons, four calivers (arquebuses) and a longbow, hastily advance while the two Ligueurs reload. In exchanges of fire, the two Ligueurs fall, and also another one of the English.
The English and the Royalists continue to advance: other Ligueurs appear in different places and shoot.
Others are in a sunken lane with a very small cannon. Some Englishmen run towards them, and the Royalists approach from the other side, the Ligueurs decide to fall back.
https://www.anargader.net/09/03/2022 at 12:26 #169804
Antonin (the PC Ligueur officer) rides fast to the village to understand what the villagers think (he knew they are generally on his side), he calls them to resist to the “huguenots”, and asks a local merchant for informations. The merchant has not much to say; but there is a small group of bad-looking individuals in the street, probably bandits; their leader is a very young man, his name is La Fontenelle (an historical character) a brigand who supports the League for his own interests only. Antonin asks for his help, La Fontenelle accepts to send one of his men, with an arquebus, at the other end of the village to fight the enemies, but seems more interested in gathering some chests and a prisoner he kept in a house.
Antonin rides back to his troop, which slowly continues to recoil. Four Catholic fanatics (left of picture) arrive, holding a large cross and a League standard …and singing religious songs (a funny time as the GM is expected to act it). They seem difficult to control (if they had arrived earlier it could have hampered the ambushes) so Antonin encourages them to attack the enemy on their own.
Antonin notices a women in red clothes, holding an arquebus, who arrived with the fanatics and now seems to be sneaking alone behind his troop. He has met her before (in another game) he knows she seems to support the League but takes part in mysterious affairs. The woman runs across a field, heading towards the dyke.
…perhaps she has seen La Fontenelle who, with three of his men, a cart, and a prisoner, is trying to get away from the village before the English arrive.
At the other end of the village, some Englishmen who were advancing receive an arquebus shot from a window.
Three of them begin to smash the door of the house (an action which “takes some time” in the rules). The longbowman stays to watch around and, not seeing any enemy in the street at this moment, practices target shooting at a catholic statue he thinks is idolatry.
https://www.anargader.net/09/03/2022 at 12:28 #169805
And then… a small Spanish vanguard appears at the other end of the dyke. La Fontenelle, although technically an allied, apparently does not want to meet them. He abandons the cart which cannot turn round on the narrow dyke and walks back with his men and his prisoner, but not to the village, they follow the bank of the pond (they can be seen in the background). The Spanish walk around the cart and enter the village.
The woman in red has joined La Fontenelle’s group obviously trying to leave the place as fast as possible.
Seeing this, Antonin the League officer follows his instinct (and is gaining confidence with the Spanish approach). With some soldiers on foot behind him, he rides towards La Fontenelle to stop him and to ask a few questions.
La Fontenelle protests and say they are on the same side, and that he his going away with his own belongings and a prisoner. Antonin has more men and more firearms, and thinks that stealing from thieves is a good thing. He says he’ll keep the prisoner, and also the three small chests, and that the thieves carrying them will follow him too. He lets the furious La Fontenelle go away alone with sword and horse.
Antonin does not let the red woman go. She says her name is Katell Ruz (that means Red Cathy in Breton, probably not her true name). He thinks they are on the same side but he does not take any risk and he confiscates her arquebus. (A smiley die says that) she is unhappy of this and she slaps him.
He then asks the prisoner who he his. The man answers in English “my name is Robert Davidson, I’m a master gunner, je souis maître canonnier…” (with the GM accent…) So this man is a highly qualified English technician, La Fontenelle wanted to ransom him (that’s why he did not want the Spanish to see him, they could have killed him).
The attacking Englishmen are too far to hear these discussions but ask themselves what is going on.
Far from there, near the poorest houses, some peasants are interested by the load of the mule left behind by the English.
The Royalists think it’s time to go back to where they came from.
The English decide to go back too. Two Spanish cavalrymen charge some of them…
…One of the Spanish riders is shot before contact, the other one rides over a caliverman. The survivors of both sides disengage, the English continue to retreat without haste, the Spanish vanguard follows them but not fast.
Antonin returns to the village, this time with his troop. Having cautiously avoided melee contact all the time he had not many casualties, and with a few of the fanatics still alive and the three thieves pressed into his service he now has more men than before!
He has accomplished his mission, and as ever he does not forget his own interests (…some players have a great imagination for this and may surprise the GM, who cannot plan in advance all possibilities and ideas and must follow as well as possible).
He sends one of his men to the retreating English to ask them if they want to buy the prisoner! It appears that this man is highly considered and needed (recovering him was a secondary mission for the English). After some discussion they accept to pay 200 livres for him.
In the thieves’ chests he finds some jewels, precious things, and coins, probably stolen from nearby manors. He gives the coins to the village priest for charity and to pray for him, he keeps the rest which is more than 200 livres value also.
He then invites Katell Ruz to the village inn. She says (it was quite obvious) that she works for the League on important secret matters. He politely asks her if she wants to spend the night with him, but (a smiley die says that) the answer is no. He does not insist and gives her her arquebus back.
Conception details, for inspiration:
Two weeks before the event I didn’t know how many players could be present, if any, and if they would be new gamers or not. So I decided to go for an easy scenario to run, with very small and uneven forces (the rules are not really intended for traditional battle on equal terms).
First part of game: two groups of attackers advance towards the village, outnumbering a group of defenders which can use optional rules for ambush (which basically are that the ambushed cannot shoot back or strike back in the game turn when the ambush happens; in a skirmish between small groups it has some effect).
Second part of game: defenders reinforcements or allies arrive from the other side of the gaming table, the situation is reversed.
This could have allowed to cut the game duration in two halves; and also to accept different numbers of players. There was only one player, so he handled the defending group (and the GM the attackers). With two players it could have been the contrary. In such cases, with one or two players “against” the GM, players are given some good advantages over their GM-run NPC opponents as in good old RPGs. If more players they would have been on opposite sides, so even with unequal forces an overall balance would be more important. Small squads could also have been handled by passers-by, even for a short time, but visitors were more interested in looking at the terrain and discussing details or history than actually trying to play.
Note also that the importance that some NPCs take in the game often depends on the players themselves: if the players ignore them they stay …almost ignored, or idle; if players develop an interest towards them the GM gives them more reality and motivations on the spot and it can be more interesting and funny than the main tactical situation (as happened in the second part of this game).
https://www.anargader.net/09/03/2022 at 12:43 #169807MikeKeymaster09/03/2022 at 14:31 #169814Darkest Star GamesParticipant
Really entertaining. Like Mike, these are exactly the types of “RPG-lite” games I like to play and run. Have even run some in Vietnam. I can appreciate how much time in planning and setup is required, and having a lot of different miniatures at your disposal certainly helps as well!
"I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."09/03/2022 at 16:18 #169822willzParticipant
Lovely looking wargaming eye candy, thanks for sharing.11/03/2022 at 12:51 #169893
I can appreciate how much time in planning and setup is required, and having a lot of different miniatures at your disposal certainly helps as well!
Yes there is work required. Although, we run RPG-esque games quite often, so many tricks and ideas are already there or just need to be adapted from our other historical periods.
There were not many miniatures involved in this game, and the oldest ones had not seen the light since many many years (that’s why some bases need improvement) it happens when we want to explore a historical context we did not often play before.
https://www.anargader.net/11/03/2022 at 14:41 #169902Jim WebsterParticipant
A cracking good game 🙂
https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/11/03/2022 at 16:38 #169907John D SaltParticipant
Splendid stuff, magnificently presented.
I hope to see the flame-haired Katell Ruz in action in future games.
All the best,
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