Mythic Britain: Summer Blood and Winter Snow

Today marked the final session of character development, and the first session of actual play for our Mythic Britain campaign. It is a bit ridiculous that this campaign, slated to start in September has not seen play until November, but life is not always kind.

Due to recurring scheduling conflicts which will continue into the foreseeable future, we are down one player and are looking for someone to fill the seat. We play at 2:30 pm Korean standard time on Saturdays.

The group at the moment is an interesting pairing of a game hunter/trapper and a young druid struggling to find his place among his revered fellows in Caer Guricon. This is an unlikely pairing made all the more so for the hunter’s well-known practicality and obtuseness when it comes to matters of the spirit.

The hunter, Heilyn ap Airell, serves his people well but tends to spend his time far from them. Kind to some and given to some generosity to those he likes, he prefers to spend his time in the wilds. He is a good man to have in a fight, and he knows the lore of his people well.

Vaughn ap Edgard labors under many ill-omens, but has managed to carve out a place for himself among the druids of Caer Guricon. From a dishonored family whose men are known to die young, and suspiciously corpulent, Vaughn is something of a sensualist with a strong passion for food and praise.

A Long Winter Comes

As readers familiar with the setting will have already gathered, we are starting the campaign with the characters in their homeland of Cornovii.

The campaign began with Vaughn ap Edgard being sent by an acolyte of Askrigg out of the kitchens and into the woods. It has been a hard summer, and a poor harvest followed. The winter stores are insufficient, and the greed of others has hit the once-wealthy community with thefts, raids of livestock, and encroachments into their wild lands.

As partial encouragement, the druid, a man named Calder, urged Vaughn to seek for signs of changing fortune for distant spring, or barring that to return with food enough to feed Askrigg and his followers. No easy task.

Vaugh sought out Heilyn, who had often accompanied him on his exiles into the woods in the past, and the two made good time away from Caer Guricon. It was not long before they found the tracks of a busy squirrel, and chose to follow these tracks to its hideaway. A tiring trek later, an hour or more had passed, but they had found a massive tree, as much dead as alive, and in it, at about head-height, was a hollow.

The hollow was lit with a brilliant shaft of winter sunlight through the bare branches of the forest. Within the hollow was the cache of the squirrel which Heilyn decided to take just in case, but also the glint of something silver. This proved to be a large brooch worked in the Celtic style with the tangled thorns and running wolf of the region in bold relief. Unusually, the brooch bore a clear gemstone in the place of the wolf’s eye. The cloak pin which would secure the brooch was not to be found.

Vaughn sought to make much of this, but Heilyn’s practical nature could allow for no thought of omens or signs. The squirrel was all the explanation he needed.

Believing this would appease Calder, and perhaps even Askrigg, Vaughn announced they should return, but at that moment both men heard the terrifying sounds of a wild boar, close by. In moments, the boar strode into sight and challenged them with a defiant toss of its head. Regardless of their thoughts, the two knew they could not outrun it, and stood their ground.

The boar was a brilliant white, but its head, chest, and part of its back were a brilliant red, the edges of the colors warring and twining around each other like flames. As the boar charged them, it veered away from Vaughn and struck hard at Heilyn, beating his shield aside and tearing into his left leg as it passed. A fierce battle ensued with the boar circling to charge, and the men trying to hold their own. Heilyn was armed with short spears, and Vaughn with only a dagger.

Heilyn scored a cruel and impaling hit on the boar’s own left foreleg, severely hampering its movements, but the creature gored him seriously in the left leg again, causing him to fall. Vaughn rushed to his aid but his dagger could scarcely find purchase against the beast’s rough hide. He too was injured before the downed Heilyn was able to recover his wits and drive another spear into its hindquarters, again impaling the beast.

As he looked at the beast, to Heilyn’s eyes, the red fur looked both like blood and flame, but as it turned to face him he noted distantly that the shape of the splash of red across its head and shoulders was similar in shape to Corvnovii.

Panting, the three huddled in the blood spattered snow under the hard winter sun. The boar tried again and again to reach them, to rip and rend, but could not. Heilyn, scarcely able to avoid its tusks, tried to end its misery but was hurled aside. Vaughn,  meanwhile was gripped by a vision. As the blood of the boar spread from its crimson and white hide across the diamond brilliance of the glittering snow, he saw his homeland being torn apart from within, parceled away by its neighbors, and threatened from afar by invaders. He saw hope for spring, but also cause to fear. He saw fire, ash, and heard the clattering of steel… from all directions.

When he came to his senses, the boar was dead and Heilyn was on the verge of unconsciousness. Using his skill as a healer, he bound his friend’s wounds, and then the two prepared the boar, before cutting tough poles suitable to help them drag the massive creature back to their community. Vaughn, buoyed by his vision and the promise of roast pig was seemingly immune to the cold and the exertion of their work. Heilyn struggled mightily, but was nearing exhaustion when they finally found their way to an outlying farm of the Caer.

A feast was called for the next night, whereat they would be the honored guests. Heilyn asked to be granted the boar’s hide, and thus sowed the next seeds in our campaign in Mythic Britain~

8 Responses to “Mythic Britain: Summer Blood and Winter Snow”
  1. That boar could have been the end of the story. Sounds like an exciting encounter!

  2. Luxor Man.D says:

    I was really looking forward to the MB Actual Play. Thanks for the post!

  3. Simon Thompson says:

    Nice post, a well described and exciting encounter.

    I came across this blog in a Google search on Runequest and it seems to be in the kind of gritty role playing style that I hope to bring to my own RQ (solo) campaign. Can’t wait to read more!

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] With my mind on running printed campaigns I of course thought about the loose campaign in Parallel Lines which would be a fantastic challenge to try to complete given its variety and scope – even for Luther Arkwright, but that very thought led me to what has been what I have understood to be my answer right up until the point that I sat down to write these words: Mythic Britain. […]

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