Duty & Honour Actual Play, Conpulsion 2008
The Battle of Benevente
Kerri (playing Captain Lonsdale, the dashing pioneer) - a current playtester
David (playing Corporal Jenkins, the thieving git) - returning to RPGs after some years
Civi (playing Private Pike, the pious innocent) - new to indie games as a whole
Steve (playing Sergeant Potter, the ox-like brute) - a playtest GM
The Military Mission:
Hold the Ford at Benevente! Days before the Battle of Salamanca, Wellington learns that a column of French infantry, horse and artillery have landed to the north and are marching against him. Whilst he outnumbers them, they would harry his flank and that could be the deciding factor in his upcoming clash with the French. After receiving intelligence on the local area, he orders Colonel Jeffers of 22nd Lothian Borderers to send a company to hold the ford at Benevente until they receive reinforcements in the form of the 15th Kings Light Dragoons. Colonel Jeffers dispatches Captain Lonsdale and 2nd Company for this deadly task.
The Personal Missions:
Captain Lonsdale had to find the lost Ensign Spencer, the cousin of his lover, the Lady Spencer. The young officer had gone missing during a prior scouting mission.
Corporal Jenkins had heard that there was excellent brandy to be had in the monastary of Benevente and he had promised the lads in camp that he would bring some back
Private Pike was lost in this barren, deadly land and he needed to seek out spiritual atonement.
Sergeant Potter wanted to stamp his authority on the men (over the apparently favouritism shown to Corporal Jenkins) by featuring his strength at any juncture.
After the initial briefing scene, everyone had a chance to author a scene for their character. David decided to try to steal some salt beef from the Quartermasters (in order to trade it for some brandy - making it a Challenge against his Personal Mission) He failed and he was hauled in front of his Captain by the Quartermaster. Captain Lonsdale saw off the Quartermaster, risking his Reputation with the regiment and sent him away with a flea in his ear. Pike was sciving and was caught by the Regimental Sergeant Major and chased back to Captain Lonsdale whilst Potter was hard drilling some privates for having dirty muskets. Kerri became more than aware that being the officer wasn't always easy.
Everyone chipped into the planning of the Military Mission. They decided that initially they would plan four of the six Challenges (Getting There, Gaining the Trust of the Locals, Spiking the Ford and Battling the Frogs). After a quick trip to the Quartermasters (normally it would have been a given but under the circumstances it merited a little scene!) they set off.
'Getting There' was one of their set Challenges, so I put in a French cavalry patrol to harass them. Rather than signal a retreat, Kerri grabbed the bull by the horns and we entered the new extended Skirmish Rules (with added Cavalry options no less!). The British outnumbered the French so they received a +2 mod and there was no territorial advantage. I stated that this would be a short 2-phase engagement. Kerri ordered Sgt. Potter to Form Square and then Volley! and Steve proceeded to bark out orders. The French orders were two Passing Charges. In the two phases the British won 7 to 1 (!) and Captain Lonsdale easily won the Command Challenge, winning the battle and seeing off the French with barely a scratch. One of the Military Mission challenges was accomplished. And there was much looting for colour!
They proceeded to Castranostra, the village on the ford where they met with the local priest who explained the lay of the land. Kerri decided that Ensign Spencer had to be around here somewhere and she stated that her challenges would be (Investigate Castranostra, Investigate Benevente, Find Ensign Spencer, Tell Lady Spencer). She had a Challenge with the priest and won, so she found out that the Ensign was in Benevente. Pike also befriended the Priest and convinced him that, despite not being a catholic, he would like to attend mass that evening.
Whilst Potter laid the boulders and spikes on the ford to break up the inevitable French column, the others went to Benevente. Jenkins sought out the Monastary but he failed in his challenge to persuade the monks to give him some brandy. So far he had failed three times to get even one of his four challenges ... it really wasn't looking good.
Pike and Lonsdale met with Rodriguez, the leader of the local Guerrillas (and the brother of Jenkin's wife, Maria!) Rodriguez was not happy that Jenkins was here because it inevitably meant that Maria was being brought near danger. Lonsdale was then shown to the Inn where she was presented with the injured Lt. The Lord Percival - the officer in charge of the lost patrol. A wonderful - and pivotal - scene occured where Lonsdale asserted his rank over Percivals noble title and threats of retribution from Horseguards in order to release the men who were tending the injured officer to aid in the battle. Kerri decided that this should be a double challenge, authored into the main military mission 'Get the Guerillas on side' as the fifth challenge, and then included that with her personal challenge to get Ensign Spencer out of there. She won and the Ensign was released into her control whilst the Guerillas were happy to aid in the battle, impressed by Lonsdales fighting oratory! Lonsdale immediately sent Spencer as a piquet to watch for French cavalry. It was a move to keep him out of danger but in the end it saved their skins!
Pike wanted to attend mass but he was under orders to stand guard. He attempted to bribe another private to do his watch and baulked when I said it would be a Larceny check ... a skill he did not possess. Still, he flipped his one card (testing the unskilled rules!) and a Joker appeared. He slipped away and attended mass, fulfilling his short two challenge mission (gaining +1 diplomacy as a result)