This game was played on Saturday 30th April at LudOuest festival in Clohars-Carnoët (south-west Brittany). It was intended to be a very simple demo game and no AAR was planned... but we made a few pictures, and the player characters distinguished themselves in action, so it would be a shame not to post something.
So, it's late 16th century in Brittany (again...) during the Wars of Religion. Supporters of the new king of France Henri IV, allied with England, fight against the ultra-catholic Très Sainte Ligue (Holy League) allied with Spain.
A village near the coast. Most inhabitants are Catholic, some support the League but many are tired of the war and could accept the new king. Not far away an old tower, belonging to some local petty nobility, had probably been pillaged a few times ...and appears to be on fire when the game begins.
A group of men hastily comes out of the burning tower. Are they bandits, or soldiers? Their leader is called Yann an Tan (in Breton: John the Fire) some say he is a brigand, on the side of the League when it suits his own interests.
These men see a mounted soldier watching them, and a short time later they receive a few shots (without effect) from a small party hidden behind some bushes on a stream bank. They quickly take refuge on the edge of a bushy hill. They try to see their enemy, after a while they see that the enemy officer wears a white scarf: French Royalists.
Seing these men coming from the burning tower, the Royalists thought they were bandits and shot. But, inferior in number, the Royalist officer sends his lone cavalryman to find reinforcements (off table; he will return later "after some time" with five other mounted Royalist he found on the road).
Farther near the coast, another group of soldiers is advancing. Their unit banner does not give a clue about their identity.
The French Royal officer knew that English allies could arrive from this direction, so he comes towards them, and they talk friendly.
The English are cautious and ask questions to whoever they meet on the road. Here, two women who bring vegetables and cider to the inn.
Explanation of the main character roles:
— Yann an Tan
a brigand (although he may wish to become respectable). One of his men had set fire (perhaps unwillingly) to the abandoned tower where they had halted. His main objective is to find a League official called Jean Breut who was collecting testimonies against brigands and to threaten him and tell him to drop all charges (based on historical fact). He is also willing to take all booty he could find. He heard that Jean Breut could be at the local inn.
— Ned Poins
an English officer. This character had appeared in a previous game:https://leadadventureforum.com/index.ph ... msg1511087
His orders are to assist and obey an English master gunner (NPC) who had recently be captured by enemies, and released — in another previous game:https://www.thewargameswebsite.com/foru ... ack-again/
This gunner now is with him, and tells him he wants to recover a small cannon, hidden two weeks earlier before he was captured. Generic orders for the English are to fight the Spanish and the League but not to take too much risks if not enough French allies are involved (it seems Queen Elisabeth issued such an order).
— A third character, the French officer was given on the spot to a visitor who said he came especially to watch the game after seeing it mentioned on FB; he was immediately given a few troops and explanations, and choose for name Grégoire de Saint-Germain
(otherwise this character would have been NPC). His orders are simple: fight the enemy, and try to know the political inclinations of local noblemen and merchants.
Although not so inclined towards stealing than the brigands, all officers would seek treasures or ransom prisoners if they could, it was the fashion of the time.
The group of men who came out of the burning towers divides in two. Some stay on the edge of the bushy hill; others with their leader run to the inn. Yann an Tan enters the inn and some shouting is heard. The innkeepers later said that a delegate of the League, a man called Jean Breut, was at the inn and had recently collected testimonies against all brigands of the area (many of whom pretending to support the League) because their activities had become unbearable for local people.
Hearing a heated argument between Yann an Tan and Jean Breut, a few League soldiers, who were resting in a nearby house, look at their window and hastily come out. They find that the two men seem to have accorded themselves: instead of threatening Jean Breut too much (as his character sheet suggested him to do) Yann an Tan tells him that the tower had been set on fire by unknown brigands and that himself is chasing them because he is loyal to the League. Although not entirely convinced, Jean Breut, who had heard the shots a moment before, says to the League soldiers to follow Yann an Tan at the edge of the village to fight these unknown enemies; himself, not a warlike man, stays in the inn.
Yann an Tan takes position behind the banks of a nearby field, with all his men (those who had stayed behind have just rejoined him) and the League soldiers, and also two wandering fanatic monks who were passing by the village (can't do a proper Wars of Religion game without a couple of these!)
The English master gunner (in red clothes) tells the English officer that his cannon and some ammunition are hidden on top of the hill.
So the small English troop heads that way, avoiding the village. The brigands and Ligueurs fire at them from behind a field bank, an Englishman is killed (then the "English" player shouted: "Oh my God! They killed Kenny!" ...some of our players are too literate).
Meanwhile, the Royalists have entered the village from the other side. They see a pricey horse near the inn and they think his owner must be inside, they want to know who it is.
When they enter the inn, a man runs up the stairs to the upper floor. They follow him and catch him ...it's the unlucky Jean Breut again. They question him and after some hesitation he confesses he his a member of the League assembly. The Royalists bring him downstairs, thinking of keeping him for ransom.
...But, when they walk outside... a whole group of Yann an Tan's men and League soldiers come running at them from the nearby field! Seing that there is no time to escape, the Royalist officer kills Jean Breut rather than letting him free! The Royalists are defeated in the ensuing fight, their officer is wounded and must surrender.
On top of the hill, the English gunner and soldiers reach a small ruin which was totally hidden in the vegetation (so well hidden that it had not been displayed on the table before, to avoid players curiosity; the villagers could have mentioned it if asked).
In this ruin the English also find two civilian supporters of king Henri IV who were hiding there since a few days, and who are happy to join them. They come down the hill dragging the cannon. In the plain they fire shots at the Ligueurs, but they only have canister, not roundshot, their target is too far and they don't want to come closer. After a few shots from both sides everyone decides to stop fighting and to go away.
Yann an Tan seems really sad about the death of Jean Breut, and goes back inside the inn for a few minutes. The fire in the chimney burns fiercely.
The enquiries about this event will prove that Jean Breut has been killed by the Royalist officer; and that Yann an Tan tried to save him, for this feat he receives thanks of the Duke of Mercœur.
Unfortunately, all the written testimonies that poor Jean Breut had collected earlier against brigands have mysteriously disappeared and also his personal money.
GM note for inspiration: Yann an Tan had to go from the burning tower to the village; and the English troop from the far countryside to the hill: their path crossed. A fight in the village could have happened sooner with a more competitive scenario; but they had no need of fighting each other, they could watch each other with suspicion and awe as long as they liked. With the third player involved the village became more important.