Home Forums Renaissance [Argad] New adventures in the 1590s in Brittany

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    Avatar photoPatrice

    AARs of two Argad games we played on 29 and 30 October at LudOuest games festival in Theix-Noyalo (Brittany). Both games were part of a campaign in the 1590s in Brittany in the last years of the French Wars of Religion, locally called “la Guerre de la Ligue” (the War of the League). Protestants and moderate Catholic supporters of the new king Henri IV of France, allied with England, fight against the ultra-Catholic “Très Sainte Ligue” (Holy League) allied with Spain.

    The scenario of the first day was somewhat inspired by the proximity of All Saints’ Day (um, or of Halloween…) All player characters had appeared in one or more previous games of this campaign (although not necessarily in the same games).

    First game: A banquet before All Saints’ Day.

    In a small village near the coast, a few days before All Saints’ Day. Most inhabitants of the area are Catholic, some support the League, others are tired of the war. League supporters of the area (petty noblemen and merchants) gather for a feast.

    Player characters:
    Antonin le Hir de Lost Bras a petty nobleman and Catholic League officer, always seeking fortune. His orders are to go the village to reassure the local people about the strength of the League. One of his soldiers has just inherited, from a cousin, ruins of a manor which belonged to a rich uncle dead 30 years ago. He also has in his troop a fanatic monk who can strengthen the morale of his men but is totally uncautious in battle.
    Yann an Tan (meaning: John the Fire) a former brigand, perhaps of petty nobility, Catholic League supporter. Previously considered as a brigand he is trying to gain fame and respectability. He heard about this event and wants to come in case he could meet important people, but he has no received any precise order because he is not yet considered reliable.
    Ned Poins an English officer. His orders, as usual, are to fight enemies (Spaniards and League) without taking too much risks in this foreign land. Two of his men are from Cornwall and are able to talk with local (Breton-speaking) people if needed. A master gunner with a small cannon should also join his troop soon but has been delayed (still off table).

    There is also a Royalist troop (NPC could have been PC), and a small Spanish garrison (NPC) not willing to move from its camp.

    Coming from the west, the English see two carts and four men waiting on the seaside road, they look Spanish, they come forward to attack them, the men run away (NPC morale test failed), the English kill those on foot and take the carts, a mounted officer escapes to the village.

    A small boat with two men appears near the beach to bring goods to the shore. It sails farther when they see this fight.

    The English send a rider to talk with the Royalists (NPC) who do not seem to move.

    Yann an Tan enters the village with his men and explains who he his to the gathered Ligueurs (NPCs). They look at him with some disdain.

    North of the village, a Spanish camp (NPC, not willing to move).

    As soon as he comes out from the Spanish camp (where he entered game) Antonin Lostbras heads in the direction of a hill in the north-west, not to the road to the village as his orders implied; he is more interested by the idea that there could be a treasure in the ruins on the hill.

    Not far from the hill he sees a man trying to hide beneath a tree.

    He catches this man, who says he is from the village and was hiding there because he wanted to see a ghost who sometimes haunts the ruins by night before All Saint’s Day, the ghost of the former owner murdered 30 years ago. The man does not want to come too close, he says the ghost is dangerous, a priest who had wanted to exorcise it was found dead nearby. Antonin forces the man to join his troop, and walks up the hill to the ruins.

    The boat has come ashore not far from the village, the sailors throw the merchandise on the beach (less practical than on the dyke as they previously intended).
    When the mounted Spanish officer enters the village and says that his convoy has been attacked, Yann an Tan runs to the coast with his men, followed by some villagers and a Spanish merchant who apparently owns some of the trade goods. They retrieve the merchandise just when the English are approaching (left of picture).

    Then they carry these goods in haste to the village, the English still behind them (right of picture).

    The English officer has been wounded in this fight near the coast (PCs survive their first wound.) He goes in a fisherman’s house where people seem willing to help him. In this house also stand two people (NPC) he had met in a previous adventure: an old protestant nobleman and his niece who holds a light crossbow.


    Avatar photoPatrice

    Yann an Tan takes command of the village, removes tables from behind the customers plates at their astonishment to build barricades, and places guards…

    The Royalists begin to advance towards the village …and receive a few shots from a field. They do not advance farther.

    Apparently not interested in the war and walking slowly, an old woman (NPC) who lives in a small hut comes to both sides and tries to sell apples to opposite PCs. When she arrives at the fisherman’s house she gives medecine to the wounded English officer.

    League local leaders and supporters in the village complain that they should have received more reinforcements. One of them rides to the Spanish camp, where he is told that Antonin and his troop went straight to the hill in the west. The rider arrives on the hill to find Antonin Lostbras and his men religiously gathered around their monk who is praying to exorcise the ruins.

    The messenger asks, then begs, Antonin to come to the village at once with his soldiers. At each request Antonin answers with a broad smile that yes, he will come very fast …in the morning! He wants to take his time, the whole night if needed, to search and dig everywhere for a treasure. The messenger goes back alone and furious.
    Antonin continues to search everywhere, and finds two small chests full of coins and of precious objects. The soldier who inherited the ruins says it should belong to him. Antonin says that would be half and half: half for the owner and half for who found it (himself). Then he notices that some coins are not old! it cannot be the uncle’s treasure, he will keep everything.

    The sky darkens, night is coming… Antonin and his men see a white shape in the dark!

    After being unable to move for a while, Antonin and a few men regain courage and cautiously approach towards the ghostly shape.

    The ghost retreats quite hastily, so they gain courage and they run after him. They surround him before he could mount a horse to escape. It’s a man in disguise!

    After being threatened the man says he comes there to frighten people because he serves La Fontenelle (NPC, a famous brigand, historical character) who sometimes hides some booty here.

    Yann an Tan has placed guards around the village for the night, and he goes to sleep in one of the village houses. The English officer sleeps in the fisherman’s house.
    Suddenly, they find themselves in the countryside, near the hut of the old woman. They can see each other at near distance. The GM asks them to tell secretly what they do. Ned Poins tries to talk with his enemy; Yann an Tan draws his sword and wants to attack …but none of them can move nor talk, as if they were stuck in oat porridge (a traditional Breton dish).

    It happened so fast that we do not have pictures of this …dream …but what they saw has been re-staged:
    The old woman comes out of the house, she hasn’t seen them, she begins to sweep the path in front of her house (in the middle of the night!)

    …then she rides her broomstick, and flies!

    Yann an Tan and Ned Poins then realise that both of them hold a loaded caliver in their hand (as if they had not previously noticed it). The GM asks them again to tell secretly what they do. Both decide to shoot at their enemy, not at the flying woman. Yann an Tan misses, Ned Poins hits, Yann an Tan feels the wound…

    Then both of them awake in their beds (Ned Poins still in the fisherman’s house, Yann an Tan still in the village) at the sound of two real shots outside.

    The young lady with a crossbow, and her protestant uncle, have apparently convinced some Royalist soldiers to launch a small attack in the night.

    Ned Poins is a bit unhappy not to have been warned, but orders his men to arm and to join them. Yann an Tan realises he is not really wounded (although he can still feel the pain) and comes running out of his room to defend the village. There are some fast and vicious fights in the field near the village. Yann an Tan is wounded (really this time). The attackers withdraw after a while, happy enough to have caused panic in the village.

    Overall results (we don’t do victory points, we comment characters’ achievements and consequences).

    Ned Poins had not many casualties, was gloriously wounded, and succeeded in creating a feeling of insecurity amongst the League supporters in the village and area this is politically important. He also captured a Spanish officer in the last fight and will ransom him (after some difficulty to prevent his men from killing this prisoner).

    Yann an Tan helped to reassure the League supporters, to recover Spanish trading goods from the boat, and to defend the village. He will be rewarded by the League and begins to be accepted as a reliable officer. A local scholar says there probably is nobility in his ancestry and that he will research it (it is suggested that he probably descends from a knight character played by the same player in our HYW campaign). He also receives a reward from the Spaniards because he saved the merchant’s trade goods (and there were some important letters inside) and they welcome him at their camp and they feed him with donkey chorizo, tapas, and paella 😉 and some say that Walloon soldiers of the Spanish army also offered him mussels with slices of a vegetable recently brought from America. 😉

    Antonin Lostbras keeps the small treasure he found in the ruins. The peasants are happy that he got rid of the false ghost (many of them believe that there also is a real one, and say that two ghosts was too many for their small village). However, League noble supporters and officials are angry that he didn’t obey orders and that they were in danger because he did not come when asked; it will be bitterly remembered against him in next games. Also it’s the second time he steals booty from La Fontenelle (historical unfamous brigand, NPC) who probably will want him dead.

    AAR and other comments in French:

    The events of the second game are supposed to happen a few days later (with another GM) and will also be posted in this thread.


    Avatar photoMike

    That is most excellent on many levels!!


    Avatar photoDarkest Star Games

    I agree, lots of good roleplay there, and the fact that the Royalists were smart enough to cause some panic but not fight to the death (unlike most people in most games).

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    Avatar photoPatrice


    As often is the case, players did not react at all as I expected (I had planned that Yann an Tan and Antonin Lostbras would meet in the village before doing anything else, and that there would be a rivality between them…) it’s always fun anyway.

    I ran a simpler and faster version of this scenario for a demo game in another event some days later. Two opposite troops (Royalists vs Ligueurs), each 10-12 men strong, both had been ordered to fight their enemies and if possible to take control of the coastal road; both had also heard about the treasure in the ruins (so they had to choose their priority). The ruins were not seen however, player characters had to ask local people to find where they were. It went so fast that the witch did not appear (she would have if the fight had slowed down with more cautious players). I’ll have to write this in another PDF document.

    the Royalists were smart enough to cause some panic but not fight to the death

    Fights to the death happen quite often in our demo games with new players. In our campaign games it almost never happens because players know that their character can still have a life after the game 😉 and will take part in other adventures, and that his/her fame, fortune, and future, do not necessarily need a military victory.


    Avatar photoPatrice

    As promised (and after some delay) the AAR of the following game : For God or for the King (or for both)

    It’s supposed to happen two or three days later. Quite far from the coast this time, the large village of Le Faouët is in the hands of the Holy League.

    It was not the same GM. Player characters:
    Yann an Tan (meaning: John the Fire) perhaps of petty nobility, Catholic League supporter. Previously considered a brigand he has gained some respectability. His mission today is to hold and defend the town of Le Faouët / Ar Faoued against the heretics. He has some twenty men, and a small cannon and its gunners.
    François de la Nouë a Royalist officer, Protestant. He would want to capture Yann an Tan so that this brigand be judged and condemned. He also wants to bring to the house of a lady of the town, Jeanne de Bonneville, Bibles written in French and Breton for education of local people in the Protestant faith (the Catholic Church still using Latin). He has about 40 men, 12 of whom cavalry, and a cart to carry the Bibles.
    Philibert Le Fresne a Royalist officer, of Protestant opinion although he doesn’t advertise it too much. His sister told him that five Royalist calivermen are hidden in a house in the village and want to attack when the bells will toll for mass but they have no powder. He must send powder to them. He has 10 soldiers, including two mounted; and a cart and peasants carrying powder (looking as innocent peasants going to the market, moved by the GM till they arrive).
    Don Lopez del Aquila a Spanish officer, fighting all Protestants, French Royalists, and Englishmen. 30 soldiers, amongst whom 10 cavalry; his troops fight well in the countryside but can be tempted to loot when in town, he must then roll morale to keep them in order. It made him reluctant to enter the village at first; he succeeded the morale tests when he did.

    Fearing an attack, Yann an Tan and his Ligueurs immediately build barricades around the church.

    It is market day and the three peasants loaded with black powder by Philibert le Fresne have no difficulty to enter town with the crowd.

    It could seem obvious to search anybody entering town, but to keep realism, playability, and fun, it has been stated in our games that control of civilian trade is not as easy as it seems. It takes time to guards to search people; and they don’t always do it well enough to find hidden things; also, blocking the trade or killing passers-by at random may trigger strong reaction from local nobility, merchants, and people against the culprits, or at least it could have unpleasant political consequences. Yann an Tan, still unsure of how his authority was accepted and thinking more of preparing the defense of the town, did not try it.

    Troops are moving in the countryside in the morning: Royalists in the east, Spaniards in the west. Both are heading towards a chapel.

    The Spanish troop is already on the hill.

    Royalist cavalry boldly attack this strong position …and is beaten.

    François de la Noüe is captured! Things do not begin well for the French Royalists.

    His lieutenant manages to take command. The surviving cavalrymen take cover behind their more cautious infantry.

    In the village, Yann an Tan hears the noise of this fight, and orders to toll the bells for alarm. …he doesn’t know that this also is the signal for the Protestants to attack. Those hidden in the house of Jeanne de Bonneville are unhappy they don’t see any target so they come out of the house and take position beneath another building and begin to shoot at the Ligueurs gathered around the church.

    After some hesitation Philibert Le Fresne attacks the suburbs to support them…

    …but suffer casualties from the defenders’ fire.

    Philibert is defeated, wounded and tries to get out of the place!

    He rides desperately in the countryside, poetically and philosophically inspired by the crude beauty of the landscape.


    Avatar photoPatrice

    After many movements all around, the Royalist troop enters town. They bring a cart full of bilingual, French & Breton, Bibles that they must bring to the house of Jeanne de Bonneville.

    They also build barricades to fight the Ligueurs.

    The Spaniards have hesitated to enter town (Don Lopez not being sure of holding his men) but are now arriving.

    WIth the Spaniards in their back, the French Royalists attack the Ligueurs near the church.

    But Yann an Tan has become a master in the art of fighting in town!

    Calivermen in a house have a nice line of fire against attackers who wanted to take position behind the abandoned barricade.

    And his gunners are happy to fire at the Royalists from behind!

    Meanwhile, a small English party had appeared north of the town, but still very far from other actions.

    Philibert has met the small English troop not far from the village and joined them. Philibert’s player then takes control of this English unit; he decides to play them very cautiously, considering that the English don’t know exactly what’s going on in the village and have no strict order to attack, and also that Philibert himself may want to avoid more trouble.

    The English approach the countryside chapel, and smash its doors “after some time” (random time in the rules). There is only one Spanish soldier inside, a flag-bearer! He is killed. The English bring out Catholic statues which were inside …and, unexpectedly, one of the small statues (taken at random from a spare box) happens to be a statue of …saint Joan of Arc! The English are happy to burn it, and take the flag as a prize. Philibert is happy to take postures with the English soldiers but they know he didn’t do much to help them.

    Three English cavalrymen who approach the village receive arquebus shots from a window, one of them is killed. The English bring forward their small cannon and destroy this window and a part of the house but they don’t approach more.

    The Royalists take the church in town, but find themselves caught between the Ligueurs and the Spaniards. After some discussion they accept to leave the town, safely and with their officer who was previously captured. The Ligueurs are happy to accept as they really want to retake control of the church; understanding this, the Spaniards do not object. The village stays in the hands of the League.

    AAR in French:


    Avatar photoMike

    Cool. I keep coming back to this to steal ideas.


    Avatar photoPatrice

    Cool. I keep coming back to this to steal ideas. 😀

    It’s not stealing, it’s sharing inspiration. 🙂


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