Feints & Gambits: Tá an rí-ard ag teacht!

Last night was the latest session of Feints & Gambits. We were short two players, so the house was only moderately crowded.

The game picked up in a pub1, with Liam Dalton explaining his plan to put the faeries back in their place in Ireland. It was pretty simple, on the surface: he would become High King of Ireland, which gave him authority over the doings of the fey in Ireland by the rules of the Unseelie Accords. It wouldn’t give him any temporal, political power, but it would make him the mystical ruler of the island. With his lineage, he said he had a blood-claim on the title, and bet that, generationally speaking, he was senior to any other claimant, having died in 1263.

Mark questioned how he could assume the title; if he had been revived by the True Guinness, he probably only had a year of life before the effects wore off, based on how often the beer needed to be delivered to Padraig Pearse’s ghost. Liam said he had taken care of that, and tapped his chest a couple of times, and the gang realized that he had implanted himself with Saint Lawrence’s heart, and that it was keeping him alive now.

To allay his last misgivings, Mark soulgazed the man, and saw his noble, regal spirit. He fell down on one knee, tears streaming down his face, and swore his service to Liam. That meant that Nate agreed to help, as well.

The other three were more problematic. Rogan’s family of were-smilodons stretched back as far as Liam’s, but had always been separate from the human kingship. He told her he understood this, and did not ask for fealty, but only for aid. Rogan agreed to this. Kate’s from Canada, and this isn’t her fight, strictly speaking, but she told Liam should would stand by her friends, and he thanked her for that. Firinne, being half-fey, had, in Liam’s mind, divided loyalties, but she assured him that she would happily do anything that inconvenienced the Courts, and jumped readily aboard.

She also mentioned that Elga, the Warlord of the Winter Court, owed her a favour2. And this reminded Nate that he owed a favour to someone on the Summer Court3, which he confessed to Liam4. Liam told the whole group that they were free to leave him at any time, but asked that, if they intended to change sides, they tell him and accept his safe passage away from his forces, because he had no stomach for treachery.

And then there was drinking to celebrate.

The plan to become High King required five things:

  1. An army. This wasn’t strictly necessary to become High King, but Liam felt that things would come to battle before this was over, and he would need a force – a more-than-mundane force – to hold off the combined might of the Summer and Winter Courts while taking the kingship.
  2. The Stone of Kings, one of the four treasures of Ireland.
  3. The Sword of Nuada, one of the four treasures of Ireland.
  4. The Spear of Lugh, one of the four treasures of Ireland.
  5. The Cauldron of the Dagda, the last of the four treasures of Ireland.

After some discussion with the group, it was decided that it would be imprudent for our heroes to act as envoys to Baba Yaga’s people that they had met in Hell, as that hadn’t ended well. Rogan agreed to broach the matter of an alliance with her mother; bringing the Pride on board would be a real advantage for Liam. Other groups discussed were the Ash Circle and the Malleus Maleficarum, both of which the group thought it might be problematic to approach5, so Liam said that his companions, the Thief, the Lady, and the Nun, would deal with that side of things if the others would retrieve the four treasures and assemble them at the Hill of Tara before Midsummer.

Then it got a little drunk out.

Next morning, they decided to start with an easy treasure: according to tradition, the Stone of Kings sits on top of the Hill of Tara6, right there in front of God and everyone. All they had to do was go see if it was the real thing.

So, they drove out to Tara, and climbed the hill. Kate felt uneasy on the ground near the Mound of Hostages, a passage tomb on the hill, and moreso as she approached the summit, which had, in addition to the Stone, a memorial for the mass grave of men who died in the 1798 rebellion. This is due to her new aspect, Defiler of Graves, that she got for, well, defiling some graves under St. Michan’s church. The dead are a bit uneasy around her, now.

Anyway, she got to the top of the mound and opened her third eye to look at the Stone of Kings. She wound up having a fairly cultured conversation with a dapper older man who claimed to be the Voice of the Stone, and he convinced her that this was the true Stone they were looking for, and that he would proclaim the High King if the prospect was worthy. He then shifted and changed into a mountainous stone man holding her in the palm of his hand and demanded that she not fail to bring him a High King so he could fulfill his purpose. Kate collapsed in a seizure, and had to be carried down off the hill7. When she recovered, she told everyone what she had seen.

After that, they headed out to Rogan’s mother’s house, and Rogan tried to convince her to bring the Pride to stand with the High King in the battle. There was some pretty good emotional twisting in the scene, and some great roleplaying from Fera, but a misunderstanding meant we had to backtrack and redo part of the scene with clarified views of what was going on. In the end, Rogan’s mother has agreed to lend the Pride’s strength to Liam’s claim, but in return, Rogan must return to the pride and give up her outside allegiances when the battle is done.

Somewhere amidst the conversations, the players remembered that the Dagda’s Cauldron had been in Aengous’s care at the Guinness brewery, and that it had been the source of the True Guinness. And now it was missing, along with Aengous. So, they decided to go see if Macha could be convinced to tell them anything about Aengous’s whereabouts.

All Mark could get out of her on that score was that Aengous generally turned up when he was needed. Nate jumped in to help the discussion, and wound up fulfilling one of his long-term goals: getting Macha to toss him bodily out of the Silver Arm.

Not getting anymore about Aengous, Mark decided to take a chance and see if Macha knew anything about the Sword or the Spear. She just stared at him and said, “Ye been coming into my pub, called The Silver Arm, and it only now occurs to ye to ask about the Sword of Nuada of the Silver Arm? Well, I buried it with him, didn’t I?”

There was some stunned silence at that point, and then the players started kicking themselves8. She explained that she had buried the Sword with her husband at Newgrange.

That’s about when we called it quits for the evening. Next time, we’ll see if they go chasing the Sword at Newgrange, or head up to the Giant’s Causeway, where rumours say the Spear was lost in a battle against the Formorians.

  1. Pretty much the default location for this group. []
  2. For finding and destroying the Ghoststone. []
  3. For letting him use the fire of the sun to blast the Chain Hound of Pussy’s Leap. []
  4. Strange that he didn’t mention the three favours he owes the Fates, isn’t it? []
  5. Kate: We’re not really diplomats. Nate: That’s fer damned sure. []
  6. One of the nice things about this section of the game is that I have pictures of a lot of the locations from my trip to Ireland last year. More about that here, if you’re interested. []
  7. She failed the roll to close her third eye a couple of times, took some hits to the brain, and conceded to avoid being taken out. []
  8. I thought I had been pretty blatant with the hints – after all, the first adventure was them recovering the actual silver arm hanging outside the bar, and I had just told them the story of Nuada Airgetlam. And there are other clues, but they’re far more obscure. But it’s easy to see the connections when you’re the GM and you know what they mean, and it can be damnably hard when you have the limited view of the story that the players have. []
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