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Jun. 5th, 2014 @ 07:26 pm Ars Magica campaign: Marehuizen
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My colleague who got himself the Ars Magica Bundle of Holding back in March has been putting together a campaign -- and we've had the first session now. Right now it's just three players (me, him, and one of the players of the Streamdales campaign), but there is talk of a fourth player joining.
The interesting thing is that it's based on the village where he grew up, but then in the Ars Magica time-frame. There is enough real-world stuff going on there to make for an interesting campaign -- even if you would not throw magic in the mix, but we're doing that anyway. ;)
The campaign is called Marehuizen, after the location of the convenant: Marhulsen, a manor near the village of Groenlo (or "Grunloh" as it was called in the 13th century).

Here's what happened in the first session:
Dramatis Personae:
- Matilda, a 12-year old mage apprentice of Senex;
- Kaspra, a huntress;
- Dieter, the horseman;
- Salle, a widow and Dieter's girlfriend in Grunloh;
- Hardger, Salle's five-year old son;
- Captain Gunther, leader of the grogs at Marehuizen;
- Damiaan, a magician from Marehuizen who suffers from leprosy.

Senex has tasked Matilda with finding the source of the Slincke, a river that runs through the area. At the source they have to harvest Aquam Vis by filling a large kettle with water from the source and boiling it down to concentrate the magic within. Kaspra and Dieter will go along with her, to look after her and to perform the various menial tasks that need to be done to keep Matila safe and comfortable. It is expected that they will be gone for a few days.
Salle, who has come to visit Dieter at Marehuizen, is not happy about Dieter's duty. She wants him to stay with her and Hardger. Hardger is a sickly boy, and when Dieter is with Salle, he seems to perk up. Dieter is flattered with Salle's attention: she is, after all, a very pretty lady. But Captain Gunther is not pleased with all the hassle: he is happy for Dieter that he found someone, but duty comes first! Dieter leaves with the group, after promising Salle that he will visit her again soon -- he will only be away for a few days.

The going is pretty miserable. It's raining, and the trio plods through the marshes and moors. Dieter is minding the horse, and Matilda dips her hand in the brook once in a while to sense the flow of Vis, to determine which direction they have to go. Soon, all three are miserable, wet and cold -- but an order by Senex is absolute. Kaspra supplements their provisions with hunting, which keeps them fed at least. It takes them longer than they had hoped.
After a few days, they find the source. Dieter starts cutting small trees and puts them across the river, and together with Kaspra he uses reeds and mud to build a dam to contain the fresh spring water -- as good as they can. Now the two of them are not only wet and cold, they're also dirty... They don't even ask Matilda to help: she is, after all, a magician and can't be expected to do dirty work like that. That's why Kaspra and Dieter are here for!
Dieter also asks if he needs to keep the spring clear of rain, but Matilda doesn't think that is necessary. The large kettle is set up, and now they need to fill it with 25 liters of water. Together, they manage to do this without too much trouble -- and the rain is also letting up! This makes it easier to get a fire going under the kettle, to boil the water down to 2.5 liters -- which will take some time. It's getting late, so they won't be moving from here today. Dieter pitches the tent, and Kaspra decrees that she and Matilda will use the tent -- Dieter can sleep outside and mind the fire.

Matilda had been smart enough to mark the desired water level in the kettle beforehand, so Dieter only had to keep an eye on that. Somewhere early in the morning, the desired concentration has been reached and he takes the kettle off the fire. They manage to get the water in the waterskins after it has cooled down, and they break camp.
It's about a day of un-eventful travel back to Marehuizen, but at least they can find a relatively straight line. Kaspra manages to shoot a pheasant for dinner: at least they'll be warm, dry and well-fed tonight!

When they arrive back at Marehuizen, Salle comes running to Dieter. She is very worried about Hardger: things are going bad with him. And since he always perks up when Dieter comes by, he has to come with her to Grunloh immediately! Matilda is worried and she runs off to find Master Damiaan, who is a capable medic (his leprosy notwithstanding). Meanwhile, Dieter tries to calm Salle, while also taking care of the horse. Captain Gunther disapproves of the whole situation: they can't have all this drama at the convent, and Dieter needs to take care of it! Dieter asks permission to take two horses (one for Damiaan and one for him and Salle) to go to Grunloh to check up on Hardger. He also asks if a mother would leave child if it would be deathly ill -- Dieter is suspicious that there is more to this than meets the eye, and Captain Gunther's reply that his deceased wife would not have left her sick child's side does not allay that suspicion.
Kaspra rolls her eyes at the commotion. She does not intend to get involved in all that hassle. She leaves the pheasant in the kitchen, with the waterskins with the boiled-down water next to them and retires to her room. Senex later lectures her on the importance of Vis and that she should have given it directly to him instead of leaving it in a place where it could have accidentally been used for non-magical purposes! (Kaspra mentally rolls her eyes at this too, but makes appropriately repentant noises towards Senex.)

Matilda, who upto now had not dared to speak with the scary Damiaan, runs to his room and pleads with him to take a look at Salle's poor sick child. Before he knows it, Damiaan has agreed to come with Dieter and Salle. Together they ride to Grunloh, where they arrive after nightfall. The gates are already closed, but Salle convinces the young men at the gate to let them pass while Dieter and (especially) Damiaan stand back. When Damiaan rides through the gate, he needs to cast a spell on them to let him through unmolested...
Hardger lies in bed at the house of Salle's parents. When they enter, Hardger perks up: he is already less ill that before. Salle's parents are terrified of Damiaan, even though Dieter tries to convince them that the mage is here to help. They huddle together in a corner of the house, while Damiaan casts a spell to see what is ailing Hardger. He detects a residu of a poison that has affected young Hardger -- but he is fine now that the poison has been neutralised. Damiaan tells them that Hardger is better now, but that he needs to examine the boy back at Marehuizen, where he has better facilities.
Salle's parents are not enthousiastic about it, but Dieter convinces Salle that Hardger will be in good hands. The four of them (Damiaan, Dieter, Salle and Hardger) leave for Marehuizen -- even though they will arrive in the middle of the night. Captain Gunther will not be pleased, but Dieter is merely operating under Master Damiaan's orders!

The young men at the gate don't feel like letting the group go out again -- they have gotten suspicious about all this coming and going at night. It takes a spell of command from Damiaan to get them to open the gate. The group hurries back -- calming the nerves of the people of Grunloh is for another day.
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kodama