Friday, 26 February 2016

Dux Britanniarum's campaign world explained

Simple, really.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

"To Britain's Shores" - Chapter 13 - Complacency

"We..." Aelfric's voice is dangerously soft, that low, intense tone that I think we've all come to fear. "We are become fat and lazy." Grey eyes flick round his men. "And we have paid the price." 

I follow his gaze. Even now, Lavinia and a number of others are still adjusting bandages, poultices and the like on our battered band. It didn't go well.

The Young Wolf's hand grips his spear, bangs the butt on the low wooden dais on which he stands. Everyone - I confess, even I, and I'm half-expecting it - starts. "Fat. Lazy. Complacent " The words are snarled. "The best among you today were a beardless boy and a woman." 

To be fair, that isn't quite true. His own hearthguard made off with one of the three wagons the British were driving towards their fort, and that unscathed. But... Sithric, by all accounts, felled a tall Briton with a swing from the butt end of his banner, and Lavinia and her small band of archers, with her usual calm efficiency, did their bit to draw the British into a spot of our choosing with no losses. The rest, however...?

I sighed. No. It didn't go well at all. And I'm not going to quibble over his choice of words. Not this time.

He's berated us before, and there have been mutters of disagreement. This time, there are none. All of us know it to be justified. Necessary. Even Ecgwine. A glance at the young lord's face tells me I won't need to knock sense into him on this occasion.

"Get up." It's a snapped order, and I note with a degree of pride that every man who can scrambles to obey so, even if they have to lean on a comrade. "Look around you. This is my hall. Our hall. Our home." Aelfric raises his voice, "We fought to win this. We will fight to keep it. But if we fight again like we did today, we will be headed back to Wulfhere's steading like beggars hoping for a roof over our heads and scraps from his table." A deep breath. "Is that what you want?"

A few mute shakes of heads, mumbles of disagreement.

The boom of the spear butt on the planks of the dais jerks those lowered heads up to him. "Is that what you want?" 


It's Beornwulf. Wulfhere's own bastard son. Beornwulf, with his shield-arm strapped up tightly, who raises his voice from next to me, cuts through the sudden silence.  "No, it is not." He catches my eye for a moment, the slightest of nods, and I recall our conversation from the other day as heads tun to him. He, at least, tried, eventually having his band of warriors driven off from the wagon they were trying to lead away. Just the moment's pause as he realises he has everyone's attention, then: "We..." The stress on that word is subtle but unmistakable, "We will hold what is ours. We will take what the Britons claim as theirs..."

That earns him a chorus of agreement, and a curt nod from the Young Wolf. Snapped. "Good. Godric? Start drilling them tomorrow. Work out how to deal with that gods-dammed shieldwall of theirs properly. Learn how to fight in one if you have to."

OOC battle report to follow tomorrow. A tale of some pretty dismal dice rolling.

Monday, 15 February 2016

"To Britain's Shores" - Chapter 12 - Winter in Aelfric's hall

"It beats paying a tithe to my father, I suppose," Beornwulf admits, grudgingly.

"Aye." I look up at the rafters of the hall in Caer Lind Colun which has been our winter home for what seems like an age. Without thinking, I add, "Though I'd still trade that for him charging us for Leofric's mead..."

To his credit, the blond king's bastard doesn't balk at being reminded of the man he replaced. Thoughtfully, after a moment, "Aye. Wish I'd known him." 

I grin across at him, answer what he doesn't voice. "You're doing fine. They've started seeing you as one of us these days, not your father's man."

A short bark of laughter. "Not that I ever was."

"Aye. True." My eyes catch Ecgwine - another king's son - and his raven-haired woman Lavinia. "Not the only one we can say that of." You'd still not mistake her for a Saxon, even though she's taken to wearing much the same as our lads do, bow across her back as the pair walk in through the hall's great doorway. That hair, glossy and dark as a blackbird's wing against his straw-pale locks, proclaims her as British - pure-blooded - for all to see. Or, it occurs to me, even Roman.

Beornwulf laughs.  "It's not his father that has a hold of that one."

"No. But...." She catches my eye, treats me to that quick, slightly mischievous smile of hers. "She seems to be good for him. Surprised they're not handfasted yet."

He purses his lips. "Mmm. Maybe. I heard...." A pause, then he shakes his head. "Never mind. It's of no matter."

I frown, making a prompting noise, but he won't be drawn, looking up as our Cyning, Aelfric the Young Wolf crosses to us from where he's been talking to young Sithric. 

"Ready?" Aelfric is grinning. Sithric, meanwhile, is hurrying across to Lavinia and Ecgwine, talking excitedly.

"Ready?" queries Beornwulf, with an amused glance at the young man.

"Mm." The Young Wolf bares teeth in a smile. "The weather omens are good. It's time."

I nod across at Sithric. "What's got into him?"

Aelfric chuckles. "I made him my bannerman." 

I glance across at where the huge banner old Martha fashioned in our last winter in Petvaria, the grey wolf Fenris, hangs from the rafters. I know his mind is made up, but I still have to point out, as befits my position as the Young Wolf's conscience, "He'll have to get working on that beard, then..."

Here's a cast list, for those desperately trying to remember who's who. Characters marked with *'s are force Lords in the Dux Britanniarum game.

The Saxons:
  • Godric, Aelfric's champion and our narrator
  • *Aelfric, Cyning of the Saxons in Caer Lind Colun
  • *Ecgwine, son of Ecgfrith, cousin to Aelfric
  • *Beornwulf, bastard son of Wulfhere the Red, replaced Leofric
  • Wulfhere the Red, lord of Petvaria, where the Saxons wintered for a couple of seasons
  • Leofric the Drunkard, killed by the British well over a year ago.
  • Lavinia, from Petvaria, leader of the Saxons' archer band, British heritage - occasional narrator
  • Theobald, veteran of Aelfric's hearth guard and mentor to Ecgwine, killed in battle
  • Sithric, young archer in Lavinia's band (until just now).
  • Ecgfrith - Saxon king across the North Sea, Ecgwine's father
  • 'old' Martha - servant to Wulfhere in Petvaria.
The British:
  • *Andrusius, Praefectus
  • *Maximus Minimus
  • *Geraint
  • Bedwyr, Andrusius' champion, killed by Godric
  • Mascuidius, former King of Caer Lind Colun
  • Publius Lirarius, chronicler and Andy's narrator
  • unnamed new champion :D 

Hereward Wargames Show - advance tickets now on sale.

After more Wordpress configuration and tweaking than I care to recall :D...
You can now buy advance tickets for the show (£3 each) from the Buy Tickets link in the menu bar.
Additionally, as last year, we will not be running a bring and buy: however, borrowimg an excellent idea from the folks at Hammerhead and elsewhere, we will be running a tabletop sale...
More details here

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Can anyone remember the Dux Britanniarum rules? :D

..cause neither Andy or I are sure we can, after this long!

First game of Dux Brit in ages tomorrow at the club - busy trying to find my Saxons.

This may not be a campaign game, as it would be a shame if we spoiled it by screwing up. Watch this space for pics!
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