Wednesday, April 2, 2014

All for One, and One for All!

It was that time of the month again. The stars were right, the winds howled as rain poured from the skies, and Bob Fanelli was hosting once again at 7th Dimension games. 

This time, Bob had set up a 3 Musketeers themed game. We where in for an adventure full of swashbuckling, plumed hats, intrigue, betrayal, and plenty of dice rolling! And lots of people affecting terrible French accents. Really, really terrible. 

The setting was the small, fortified town of Guiche, somewhere in rural France. Normally a quiet town, rumor was that the Chevalier Eustache had been arrested by the King's orders. He would be escorted into town by a small group of the King's Guard. 

Meanwhile, a carriage stops just outside of town as a certain Cardinal waits for his own men to arrive. 

The town was quiet. For now. 

As always, Bob's games are full of wonderfully painted miniatures that belonged to a variety of factions. There were two 'squads' each of King's Guard in blue tabards, Queen's Guard in black tabards, and Cardinal's Guards in red tabards. There were two squads of 'The People' who were an anti-royalist faction, some English spies, and other groups of ruffians just out to make trouble. For the most part, the game revolved around the Eustache and his secrets that everyone was out to either gain for their own or, failing that, at least prevent from falling into the hands of the others. 

I picked a squad of the Queen's Guard, led by Capitaine Bartholomew Pompoi Le Bret and Robesmichel Roland Clouseau. The other three members of the squard were Guy Squeezi and the brothers Pierre and Andre de le Douche. 

And here was the missions assigned to Le Bret by the Queen herself, unbeknownst to the King. 

Le Bret led his men into town and straight to the blacksmith, in some hope of getting Guy's firelock repaired. No such luck, but the blacksmith did have a rare salve that he sold to Le Bret. 

Guiche was unusually busy on this day. A squad of King's Guard had arrived separately of Estauche's guards in search of the infamous criminal, Pamplemosse (who quickly became named Pimplemouse amongst the players).

Also odd was the arrival of the Cardinal along with a group of his men.

The squad of King's Guard that was escorting Eustache arrived in town. They hadn't made it 30 feet through the main gates before they were suddenly set upon by Pamplemosse and his men!

Meanwhile, Pierre was enjoying a streetlady's hot buns. Her hot cross buns, that is.

Now, the rules featured a rather detailed method that allowed Principles - the leaders of the squads - to duel in a proper gentlemanly way, with each player choosing 5 actions in a round. This could be Slash, Thrust, Lunge, En Garde, Rest, Recover, Jump Back, Back, Close, Kick, Beat and others. It was a fascinating way of having fights between the more important characters. If I had any complaints to voice about Bob's rules, it was that the duels could take a little while as the other players were forced to wait until the combat was resolved to get back into the game. We were, however, able to entertain ourselves for these interludes, so it wasn't really a problem. 

What was a problem, however, was the fact that Pamplemosse and the leader of the King's Guard managed to skewer each other at the same time, killing each other. 

Le Bret, seeing that the King's men were in trouble - and that Eustache was finally in town - charged into combat with the rest of the Queen's Guard.

The melee devolved into a four-way fight. The Queen's and King's Guard were fighting Pamplemosse's men, while another group of anti-royalists looted the body of the leader of the King's men, finding the keys to Eustache's shackles. The group of English spies, led by a man named Buford, took the opportunity to sneak up behind Eustache and start jabbing him with their knives, hoping to silence him forever. 

The leader of the other squad of King's Guard, seeing his objective - capturing Pamplemosse alive - crumble in front of him, decided to throw caution and honor to the wind. He attacked the Bishop of the Guiche church, and stole their charity and a valuable golden chalice. The Cardinal, unable to watch such an impious act, abandoned his own objectives in order to place the rogue Guards in their place. 

His first act was to put the rogue leader in his place, killing the man in a single blow with a solid whack of his crosier. 

The other melee continued. Pamplemosse's men were handily dispatched, and the English were losing a 3-1 fight against the Royal Guards and the anti-royalists who banded together momentarily to at least keep the Chevalier alive. 

Meanwhile, the Cardinal's Guard put the rouges out of their misery, dispatching all except for the Robesmichel, who managed to run away. He then found a rather stunning lady with an impressive bosom who decided to tag along for the rest of the game.  

His men dead, Buford was forced to accept a duel to the death by Le Bret, and was summarily executed for crimes against the French Crown. 

The aftermath. The Queen's Guard was relatively unscathed, while the King's men were down to only two members left. Eustache had been freed by the anti-royalist leader, who was revealed to be his sister!

In a flash, Eustache and his sister were racing away in the back of the appropriated cart. One of the anti-royalist men managed to get away on foot, but the other had only taken a single step when he was skewered by a couple of Guardsmen. 

Although another group of King's Guard came to reinforce the others, Eustache and his sister managed to escape, thanks to a poor decision on the Cardinal's part, who'd decided to ally with Eustache and a hired gang in opposition to the King's and Queen's Guard. The cart took off, the driver killed in the melee. 

It was at the climax of this fight that the already wounded Le Bret was slain by the gang's leader. Au revoir, mon ami!

Three shots of the aftermath of the battle. Bodies were strewn across Guiche. The Comte de Guiche, Capitaine of the King's Guard, was dead, as were many other Guardsmen. It was only through the Cardinal's orders - and the fact that by then, his men were the only ones unwounded - that the fighting stopped. Eustache had escaped, and it would be a long time before the Chevalier could be tracked down again. And the rift between the three branches of the Guards was only deepened after the incident in Guiche. 

I'm starting to think it's impossible for Bob to put on a bad game. We had plenty of laughs and cheers during the game, especially with the dueling system. 

We're eagerly looking forward to Bob's next game, which will be set in the Dark Ages with the Battle of Tara. 

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