Thanks to +Il Pella , +Thunder Clonch , and +Wilton Heath for playing!
- We finished the battle where we left off. I kept rolling 15-16 in defense. After the game I checked the books and a critical dodge fail means falling down. So many enemies tripped and got butchered. Tertius one shotted them and Xeno had a telegraphed Neck attack for full damage, with an opponent that rolled an 18 to dodge.
- There was a lone survivor, Cato was instrumental to sow enough doubt for him to listen to what the party had to offer. They gain a clues about:
- silverio has a special relationship francesco the party could not discern. Silverio is 2 days hike away in a hidden cove where he messages francesco.
- the sex slaves (includes children) are actually "military brothels" aka comfort women to keep the soldiers in order. willfully the people enabling this are carried away with the actions they do.
- Berthold wanted to "take care" of the lose end, and Cato prevents him. They pay him to leave, but not without making sure the coin goes very far.
- Adonai points out some things the "men" are too busy to realize (she is a 1cp contact after all - i want to encourage players to Invest their cp in connections and relationships )
- she asks Cato to implore her ladyships to sponsor him in negotiations.
- The party hatches a plan, Xeno infiltrates francesco while Cato and Tertius talk up Lady Oddete. When they seperated we resolved Oddete first.
- Oddete played around with Cato and Teritius but having 15 IQ, Will and Per, plus diplomacy of 18 made things go smoothly. Cato's psychology allowed him to see some patterns of behavior and play to the momentum of the discussion - the desire of a woman such Odette and the cost his plans will take on her - the lost of her lover Bohemon. Cato had to raise the stakes, and as the emperor's vassal and magistrate make promise he will sworn to keep - an advantageous arrange marriage for her (despite her reputation, profession, and exotic beauty). Cato thought hard for various nobles and their status, he remembered a few but was certain he can find an acceptable arrangement. When she accepted, she summon Francesco.
- Xeno found a brooding and ill tempered Francesco swearing at everyone and calling out for Cato's head. Ponziano, grilled him and he barely passed the test, he got some information but nothing to helpful. He just learned that what ever Francesco and Silverio was up to - the stakes were high and he did not want Bohemon from knowing. To throw Ponziano off, Xeno accepted the "help" of men to help search for Cato. A cunning actor, Xeno made a good show of his "loyalty". Adonai arrived and Francesco was quick to heed the summons of Lady Odette.
- When Francesco arrived he was quick to disrobe, only to almost have a heart attack when Cato announced his presence behind him. He called out for help, only to be silence by Odette and proceeded to brow beat Cato for a half hour. Tertius would have struck him several times but like a skilled diplomat Cato kept cool, calmed Tertius, and let the head's fury run its course. Exhausted and having drank, Cato negotiated with Francesco - the got into merchantile and demands. In the end Cato had a quandry - Francesco is in power because of Bohemon, he needs him, and his Patronage. Without Bohemond Roger Borsa's cronies wll get Taranto. A promise that is difficult to keep - Cato fudges the truth enough with a few tasty morsels to appease the large merchant, like letting one of "his" men listen into the deal with Bohemon (knowing smiles exchanged).
- Xeno greeted them, as he is one of the officers of the Bohemmons' army. They were greeted by Tancred, who was checking on their intentions, and led to Bohemmon. They found him to be a very straight forward negotiator. He saw the advantage, and in truth his only problem with Alexios is taking order from someone he's beaten so many times. His main problem is the Byzantine Court - and his need for allies and trusted men. He offered to serve the emperor only if a certain status is given to him, and that the men who came to so successfully pass his measure swear their holy oaths to serve him instead of the emperor. As his loyal men, they had to come clean and Tertius and Xeno's infiltration was put to light. Execution was stayed with thoughtful words and the application of leverage - the value of an honest and highly skilled agent. You can imagine how relaxing it is for a Warlord like Bohemon find it so easy to deal with the only honest napolitan merchant in the known world.
- When the Oaths were sworn, consecrated and the demands written and sent to the emperor in sealed wax another surprise has fallen through - the whole time Bohemon was already in the state of war - his demands from the emperor was support for his army to mobilize quickly and attack.
- in the next story arch, we begin with a war in Italy.
I plan the petty italian war to be quick - One session (hopefully). Another Mass Combat exercise with scouts and tactical map.
It is in the next Arch - with Byzantine Court and the politics with the 7 major houses (doukas, milisenos, komenos, angeloi, etc... ), then Politics and Intrigues in the court of Nizam al-Muk one of the greatest statesmen of the Islamic world.
Honestly the best chance for me to run the second arch is in November.