The first multi-table interactive we've run at Genghis Con is done. Allow me to give you a quick recap of what happened. The grayed sections are taken directly from the adventure itself.
Morning prayers are barely over when all the church bells in Macawi begin to resonate at once. The populace and the Crusaders all gather outside the eastern gate.
On a podium, surrounded by Caneus High Guard, comes the blaring of trumpets. Then from a golden carriage drawn by grey stallions and escorted by a hundred knights, arrives the Empress.
Empress Cassandra the First, second daughter of Emperor Desmond the Second of House Eland, benevolent and wise ruler of the Caneus Empire climbs the steps to the podium. Her white dress, platinum crown, and golden buttons sparkle in the morning sun. Her blonde hair floats in the light breeze as she waves to her people, a radiant smile on her face.
Behind her is a dark and brooding man dressed in stark white and red. The Archprelate Leonid Kaleri of the Sanguine Covenant’s disposition contrasts sharply with that of the Empress.
“Fellow nobles of the Caneus Empire! Retainers! Today, I am pleased to announce the launch of our most Holy of Crusade against the animals that have pillaged our lands, slaughtered our flocks, and enslaved our people.”
“This dream, I shared with my father and my dearest sister, Mercy. But I, Cassandra Eland, Empress of the Caneus Empire gathered such an army that puts the Northern Crusades of old to shame. You, my blessed Crusaders, will bring the righteous hammer of justice and victory upon our enemies! May your swords be guided by the hand of justice and righteousness.”
“I will not hold you any longer… May the Sanguine Lord look over you and your retinues! Scatter our enemies before you and remember what you would do to a wolf that plagues your flock… Mercy and compassion is not due to such beast, act swiftly for you are all blessed in this endeavor.”
The Empress turns to the Archprelate who steps forward. After a moment of silence, he says. “Before this Crusade is over, many of you will find yourselves before Koliav at the Icy Gates. He is anxious to know how many of his enemies you have slain in the name of the Sanguine Lord…”
Raising his index and middle finger, he makes a gesture of blessing over the assembled Crusaders.
The trumpets blare once more as the smiling Empress waves off her Crusaders. Her smile lifts the already high spirits of the Champions .
The army slowly disperses, heading towards the east and the lands of the Janus Horde.
The Crusade has begun!
Thus a large army left Macawi to seek and destroy the animals of the Janus Horde. The Crusaders scattered across the countryside, looking to bring death to an enemy that had plagued their borders for years.
For three days, these adventurers roamed the country, encountering a number of creatures, Hordesmen, and unique situations. A few prisoners were rescued and allowed to go free. The blue dragon Kago who had terrorized the eastern Caneus Empire was seen fighting with the Janus Horde on the side of the Crusader.
(Below, a group of Crusaders fight against the Horde. With Nose-Cutter down following a charge of the Horde...)
After three days of intense campaigning, everyone gathered at Brandenborg Castle to resupply and rest.
(Below a view of the players discussing what they encountered as Chris-S makes a face for the camera...)
Then the Warrior-Queen Thais's own horde appeared. Immediately, front units charged the Crusaders' position.
(Below are the terrain of the tables first Jon, then mine and D'Anne's. You will notice the very natural terrain: the tall grass, shrubs, cut-down woods, ruins, rocks and on D'Anne's table: a pond.)
During the assault of the Horde's vanguard, Sir Heinz von Pushkar who has sponsored a group of adventurers made a successful sortie backed by adventurers. The sortie was successful and the Horde reeled back to reorganize, giving the Crusaders a chance to reorganize. Another group then left the relative safety of their positions to take down a band of manticores, forcing the Horde's healers to try and help their creatures.
The Horde withdraws and sets up camp for an obvious siege. Campfires and magical lights appear all around the ruins of Brandenborg. There are easily thousands of Hordesmen and monsters surrounding the Crusaders.
To the beat of deep and distant drums, a lone rider carrying a white flag approached the Crusaders' lines. Stopping over a hundred feet away, standing on his stirrups and called out.
“Invaders! Your bravery has been noted and Our Glorious Queen offers you safe passage back to the border! She recognizes your military honors! This is the only offer you will get!”
The rider sat back on his saddle, waiting for the Crusaders' next move.
After deliberation, the Crusaders chose to withdraw (by a vote of 2-1).
Making their decision known to the rider, a band of twenty Janus Horde veteran approached to serve as an escort. The Hordesmen did not speak and formed around the assembled Crusaders.
In the morning, the Crusaders came within sight of Macawi. The walls in sight, the raiders drew their weapons to form an honor guard, allowing the Crusaders to proceed between them. Their demonstration done, they kicked their horses and rode back east, towards their home.
Back in Macawi the news was not good. Most of the Crusaders are beating back in defeat, surprised to have met the Queen’s Horde. In spite of the loss, the few veterans of Brandenborg impressed both the locals and the Janus Horde.
First blood belongs to the Janus Horde.
Although the battle was lost, the PCs managed to leave Sametian with military honors. It seems the conquest of Sametia may not be as easy as was originally assumed.
So you know, I already received two proposal for follow-up adventures...