A game we played last Saturday. There were three players and a GM. Ruleset: Argad.
The events happen in 469 AD in western Gaul, on the river Loire somewhere between Portus Namnetum (Nantes) et Andecavis (Angers).
The Western Roman Empire is near its end and now only rules a small part of Italy (with its capital Ravenne) and north-western Gaul. Other parts of Gaul are now ruled by Germanic tribes (Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Burgundians, Alamans, Franks). Armorica is almost abandoned, still populated by sub-Roman Gauls and almost isolated Roman garrisons of foreign origins, but also receiving immigration from sub-Roman Britannia, and under Saxons threats.
The map below shows the overall situation in this period:
Euric, new Visigothic king of Aquitaine and Hispania, is thinking about expanding north of the river Loire, but is more urgently dealing with some Gallo-roman opposition inside his kingdom. To help these pockets of resistance the Roman emperor Anthemius organises a great army of sub-Roman Gauls, sub-Roman British, and Franks, to attack Euric in Visigoth territory. A sub-Roman British army crosses the Channel with the intention to join the Franks of Childeric at Avaricum (Bourges). However the Visigoths stop and defeat them at Deols. The sub-Roman British survivors retreat hastily...Player characters:Fritigern, the Visigoth
Fritigern is in hot pursuit of scattered groups of British or Bretons who escaped after the battle at Deols.
His king, Euric, told him that these foes must not cross the Loire, if they do so they could join other enemy forces. He ordered Fritigern to stop them if possible, and to bring them south to slavery or to take their heads if they are reluctant to this reconversion. The king would also be very happy if Fritigern could take control of crossing facilities on the river.Connogan, the sub-Roman British
A young nobleman from the south of Britannia, Connogan joined the forces of Riothamus with his cousin Meriadec, with the idea to gain lands in Armorica or elsewhere as other sub-Roman British warriors have already been doing since some generations. Crossing the sea has not been easy and the ship of Meriadec was missing. Then Riothamus' army walked south of the river Loire but was routed by the Wisigoths. Trying to save their life, small groups of defeated warriors head north-west to Armorica with the intention to stay there or, if things get worse, to go back home on their ships.
On this nice morning, Connogan and his followers reach the banks of the Loire. The other side of the river still is Gallo-Roman territory where they could reorganise and wait for any news of cousin Meriadec.Lady Marcia, the sub-Roman GaulA female character background for a female player.
A young woman of the aristocracy, she was married three years ago (without asking her advice) to an older man who rules this village. It is an important position on the river because of the ferry on a commercial road (from northern Gaul, to Aquitaine which now is under Visigothic rule).
Marcia's husband does not take much care of his domain, he prefers to spend his time hunting, drinking, and chasing maids. In fact Marcia herself has been more and more in charge of affairs, her energy and will are appreciated by the population. She also secretly learns to wield weapons with a handsome young officer.
A short time ago her husband was ordered to take part in an expedition south of the river. He took half his forces with him, letting the other half and the young officer in the village. There is also a small cavalry unit of Equites Taifali who have Germanic origins, Marcia does not trust them entirely if things get bad.
The village on the northern bank of the river Loire (view from the west). The large wooden pillar between two houses near the bank holds the ferry rope.
Same village, view from the north:
The southern bank and the small fortification protecting the ferry crossing on this side:
A close view of the ferry:The river Loire appears narrow enough on the gaming table (it would have taken too much room at real scale!) but we imagine it is much wider.
Connogan and his small troop enter table, coming from the south. His infantry runs as fast as possible towards the ferry, with himself and his cavalry on the flank.(pic taken when installing troops just before the game began - the two mounted archers on the pic were replaced by mounted spears.
Fritigern and his Visigoths have entered table from the south-east a short time later. The sub-Roman British infantry reaches the gate of the small fort...
...While the cavalry takes position on a low hill to face their pursuers. The two enemy chiefs are near enough to have a short talk. Fritigern suggests that the British warriors should lay down their arms and follow him south, to Aquitaine where rich local landowners who pledged allegiance to the Visigothic king need more unpaid workforce on their fields; they would be well treated and well fed. He also says that it is a very ancient and honourable custom, called "Vvvoofynn" in Visigothic language, but that's not true.
Connogan does not agree.
The sub-Roman British infantry officer shouts and calls to open the gate, but the monks and armed servants inside would not open to any armed troop without orders from the Lady in the village on the northern bank. As soon as they have seen all these soldiers coming they have lit a fire to alert the village and also other garrisons along the river.
Panic spreads in the village. And two sub-Roman Gaul messengers have just arrived, they want to talk urgently to Lady Marcia. They tell her that her husband has been killed in battle after a glorious fight. They also bring a message from Count Paulus (a superior authority) telling Marcia not to let any armed troop come from the south and that reinforcements will soon arrive.
Marcia puts on a chainmail and tells her few soldiers to get ready for a fight if necessary.