This session we used A Quiet Year mechanics to forecast the future for the Barony of Bromwich and the surrounding Tams countryside. We had two maps going – each with their own ‘Scarcities’ and ‘Excesses’ – one for the town/Barony of Bromwich and one for the region spanning Bromwich to Tamworth.
Session Lead In
- Sandwell Priory
Benedictines from Coventry arrive to assist in the cleansing of the priory and invest Father Nolan as the prior of Sandwell Priory. They also bring a small collection of books to establish the library and sacristy.
As part of Tristan’s penance, he is tasked with making copies of these books so that the originals may be returned to Coventry. The rest of the group volunteers to assist in the scribe work, as several of the volumes provide interesting information about the region.
- The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the Legenda Sanctorum
Two books are of particular interest. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is a collection of nine manuscripts that describe the anglo-saxon settlers of the Tame river valley after the Roman retreat and their first kings that ruled the region. The Legenda Sanctorum is a collection of legends about the saints and is printed as popular reading material.
- The Saxon Hero of the Tame / The Legend of St. George
A very similar story appears within both books; that of a hero defeating a dragon. In the Legenda Sanctorum, this hero is identified as St. George.
Within the valley of the Tame, a plague-bearing dragon dwelt that poisoned all the countryside. To appease the dragon, the Tomsaete fed it two sheep every day, and when the sheep failed, they fed it their children, chosen by lottery. It happened that the lot fell on the king’s daughter. The king, distraught with grief, told the people they could have all his gold and silver and half of his kingdom if his daughter were spared; the people refused. The daughter was sent out into the wood, dressed as a bride, to be fed to the dragon.
A hero, by chance, was riding through the wood. The princess, trembling, sought to send him away, but the hero vowed to remain. The dragon descended upon them while they were conversing. The hero fortified himself with a mystic ward and charged it on horseback with his spear, wounding it grievously. He then called to the princess to throw him a lock of her hair, which he wound about the dragon’s neck. When he did so, the dragon followed the princess like a beast on a leash.
The princess and the hero led the dragon back to the village, where it terrified the people at its approach. But the hero called out to them, saying that if they consented to become Christians and be baptized, he would slay the dragon before them. The king and the Tomsaete converted to Christianity, the hero slew the dragon, and the body was carted out of the village on four ox-carts.
Events in the Tamslands… as they may come to pass
- The Horror of Abenford Wood
In the spring, travelers fear to travel at night, because an unknown beast in the Abenford woods is preying upon them when they near the river and wood’s edge. Eventually the village of Tamworth sends out some men to discover what this creature, with its great claw marks, is. Though the attacks diminish in frequency, several of the men fall victim to it and do not return. Later in the year, a small group of Canes de Deus make it their mission to investigate what supernatural creature could be plaguing the countryside and believe they find it out. Three succubi, concubines of Asmodeus, may inhabit the woods. The group learns their names and how to banish them.
(Looks like it might actually be Abenfarn, not Abenford. Correct me if I’m wrong!)
- At the beginning of the year, young Ossenna Taylor is rumored to be tempting other teens into dark practices. Parents hold their kids close to home. But the possibility that she could be a witch eventually drives several of the Streatham townsfolk nearby into action. They hunt her down, place her in a gibbet and leave her to die. Weeks later, on the night of a full moon – both her body and the five youths she was corrupting disappear. It isn’t until many months later that the remains of the children are found. Most of the remains, that is. And the body of Ossenna is never discovered.
- Near the end of the year, someone happens across the nearby hamlet of Ravensby which had been all but forgotten since emptied by the plague years before. Ravensby also has a priory – long abandoned – in which ancient and powerful relics may reside.
- Early in the year, strange lights are seen atop Molder’s hill – where an ancient cairn stands in ruin. It alo turns out that this old Saxon site is actually built upon an even older Roman burial ground.
- A ruby is found outside a mine, but bandits lurk inside it. They attack Bromwich and several die, but eventually they are cleared out. Once the mine is explored, people discover a passage leading to another buried chamber – in which there are four ox-carts, but no bones.
- Late in summer, a terrible earthquake shakes the valley – destroying Farmer MacTavish’s dream of growing rye, leveling many of the buildings in Bromwich, and making a new branch for the river. It is later discovered that the new branch runs directly along a strong lay-line. Further a cliff with a cave, normally hidden, is exposed and is found to be emit sulfurous smoke. When the Feltham townsfolk go to investigate it, they never return.
The crack also provides an opportunity for the people of Bromwich, who had made it their missionº to increase their livestock, to lay claim to some stray sheep. Originally from Feltham, perhaps, but certainly on the Bromwich Barony lands given the new division made my the river-branch. The people of Feltham see the Barony of Bromwich as their enemy. Bromwich begins to arm itself.
ºSaemus: Brian, was this you? I love it.
- Industrious scouring of the historical texts of the area reveals that the bog near Abenford Woods is rich in peat! Farmer MacTavish, after his rye fields fail, makes peat his new enterprise and trading relationships with Tamsworth (upon whose land the bog is) flourish. This bog will also be a source of pig-iron, which can in turn, be made into weapons.
Excesses of: Wheat, Rain, Mines, Sheep and Bandits (partially dealt with)
Scarcities of: Safety and Men at Arms
Events in Bromwich… as they may come to pass
- Theo, with the blessing of Baron Marnham, rides out to encourage people in the neighbouring surrounds to settle in Bromwich – and is successful! Craftsmen come, including a Tanner and a Brewer. Alas the Brewer diesºº and Nigel (the loser in a recent dispute of choice farm land with Joce) quickly takes up his mantel. Unfortunately, he does not know how to brew. However, eventually, with the help of Theo and the productive development of an apiary, Nigel produces very fine mead.
- Baron John Marnham decides to undertake the ambitious (and foolhardy) enterprise to build an observatory for his estate. He makes little headway before deciding to turn it into a dovecot instead.
- A deeper stretch of tunnels is found beneath the Priory’s catacombs, leading between the Church and the house of the Chandler’s. The Chandler’s house stands next to the Preste’s, and it is believed that the tunnels served an ungodly purpose – evidence of witchcraft is found within. Along the tunnels, an old roman mosaic is discovered and once it has been carefully but thoroughly cleaned it shows a person crying next to the bedside of another person who appears to have died, whose body is blackened, but is reaching from the bed to touch the head of the person crying.
- Several of the houses on the edge of Brumwich are stricken by the plague. They are immediately quarantined, but it makes everyone anxious and depressed.
- We discover the the family of Godeyiere are the descendents of the Hero of the Tams / St. George!
- Agnes, a healer accused of witchery, moves to Bromwich from a nearby town, but it is a long time before the people of Bromwich are convinced to treat her without suspicion and allow themselves to be healed.
- A good omen – two swans, seldom seen along the Tams, glide past the village.
- Early in the year we build a bell-tower to bring people to prayer, but later in the year our best mason, Henry, is killed – apparently by a falling stone in the priory.
- Father Nolan is stricken with a terrible illness and traditional medicines cannot help him. Though many pray, it is Theo who is by his bedside when he finally awakes. The sudden recovery boosts the faith of the Bromwich citizenry and attracts the attention of the Bishop who comes to witness the site (of a possible miracle). However, Father Nolan’s personal faith is shaken – he does not believe that God was behind his recovery. He is further distraught when the village decides to turn away a plague-stricken monk rather than risk infection. He retreats from his duties. Eventually his doubts become too severe, and, one cold winter night, he wanders away from the village alone.
Lodgings, Acorns, Trade with Tamsworth, Land, Pig Iron, Peat
Craftsmen, Livestock, Faith, Children, Beer, Healer, Prior Nolan’s Faith, Enemy: Feltham
ººAnyone remember how he died?