This is my epic campaign based on Bernard Cornwell's 'Warlord Chronicles' ('The Winter King', 'Enemy of God' and 'Excalibur'), a retelling of the Arthurian saga based in late 5th Century Briton at the height of the Saxon incursion. The aim was to run each book across the space of a week at our annual Petecon gathering in northern Sweden. The experiment has been a huge success, although each campaign has seen some considerable divergence from the events in the novels. I've kept the core intrigues and characters appearing in the stories the same (so Lancelot is craven and vain; Guinevere crafty and manipulative; Sansum oily and deeply annoying), but the events structure has changed a great deal.
Eowald (Pete) - a harp-playing warrior of Dumnonia
Efford (Howard) - a noble-born warrior and counsellor of Dumnonia
Dagrun (Colin) - a Saxon-born slave given his freedom by Arthur
Forni (Tim) - a love-lorn warrior and favourite of Nimue
Galahad (Dave) - Prince of Armorica and brother of Lancelot, now the King of Siluria and protector of Dumnonia
Nimue (John) - a cunning druidess and Merlin's protege
Culwch (Carl) - a gambling, whoring warrior from Dumnonia; one of Arthur's cousins
The characters work together as a warband, in the service of the edling, Mordred - although over time they have attracted their own followers and so are now commanders of several warbands. I'll summarise their story across separate threads as its pretty extensive. We'll begin with 'The Winter King'.
The Winter King
Norwenna, King Uther's daughter-in-law, gives birth to Mordred. The child has a club-foot, which is a poor omen for the Britons. Uther sends Norwenna and Mordred to live at The Tor, Merlin's stronghold in the marshes of Avalon, while he decides who shall marry her (her husband having died at Saxon hands a year or so before). The characters, all visitors to the Tor, are given the task of acting as Norwenna's honour guard.
At the subsequent high council, it is decided that Gundleus, King of Siluria, will marry Norwenna. Gundleus is sly, warlike, and ambitious. Uther falls ill and dies; Gundleus makes his play for the control of Dumnonia by marching on the Tor, killing Norwenna and attempting to kill Mordred. The characters stage a defence against Gundleus's warriors and succeed in helping Mordred escape, along with other residents of the Tor. Nimue encounters Tanaburs, Gundleus's druid, and so begins an extensive vendetta.
Gundleus tracks the characters to Caer Cadarn, Uther's old seat, and lays siege. His warriors gain access to the hillfort and the characters have to marshall the meagre forces to defend Mordred. Eowald takes command of a shield wall for the first time and finds himself in single combat with Gundleus's champion, Braesca. Eowlad fights well, but the Silurians have the upper-hand until Gundleus, intent on murdering Mordred, is slain by Efford. Tanaburs regroups the Silurian warbands, but the plans to raze the Tor are stopped by the intervention of Arthur, who has returned with his cavalry to support Mordred. Knowing that they are routed, the Silurians surrender. Eowald gives Braesca his freedom - something Braesca will remember (and lead to a firm friendship later).
So Arthur has returned to Briton and become its protector until Mordred is old enough to take the throne. The characters are rewarded for their valour and Arthur asks them to continue as Mordred's honour guard.
In the next thread I'll continue with the Winter King and describe the momentous events that lead to Arthur's first betrayal of Briton, and how the characters handle things...
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