Monday, January 10, 2011

The Rescue (1)

Chronicle of a RPG adventure set in the Principality

Under the label of "The Rescue", from now on you'll find here the narration of a RPG adventure played by a group of Catalan gamers, who are following the evolution of this 1713-1714 Campaign of Catalonia refight, and would like to contribute to the slow building up of this Imagi-Nation's alternate history. The gaming group is using a variant of GURPS ruleset and consists of 4 players, directed by Marc -their GM. They started gaming on last weekend, and expect to complete it in the next weeks. My wargaming mate Jordi and I are enjoying this our Imagi-Nation's autonomous proof of life, and eagerly (nearly anxiously) looking forward the result of it all. I'll be doing my best to properly translate it into an acceptable English in the next weeks; I beg your pardon for eventual errors in text, and wish the narration pleases either usual or occasional readers, despite the errors it will for sure contain.

Introduction

For over three weeks, Tarragona inhabitants and Imperial soldiers had been anxiously hanging from news coming from Tivissa town. The unexpected resistance of the Gaspar de Córdova Imperial Cavalry to surrendering the town to the Two Crowns had been received with unbelief both by civil and military authorities. At first it was a common opinion that Sergeant Major Lanuza, who was in charge of the unruly Aragonese regiment, would order a withdrawal after an initial murky incident -otherwise fully understandable due to tensions inherent to the garrisons replacement process. But when later news from Tivissa confirmed that Lanuza troopers would not leave the town without a fight, a wave of genuine sympathy towards the Aragonese soldiers shook the city. Their brave attitude of resistance, deprived of subterfuges or excuses, represented a real breath of fresh air for Tarragona and the whole Principality. During the following weeks, the old city held breath while the Tivissa drama inexorably unfolded. To the wondering why Lanuza's Aragonese would not surrender the town, the most accepted popular explanation was "For their guts", an explanation easily understood by people, but hardly palatable to Imperial authorities in current circumstances.

After the Catalan Ebro Riverside "Miquelets" Regiment unxpectedly joined Lanuza's troopers and helped them rejecting against all odds a first Spanish assault, the events came to turn into a legend. The joint exploits of Aragonese and Catalan soldiers grew higher and brought to everyone reminiscences of past glories. Everyone realized the resistance of that handful of braves would crack sooner or later, but on the air of canteens' improvised chats it could be elusively felt that everything was possible. The reinforcement column lead by the Military Deputy of the Principality was exaltedly cheered by demonstrations of popular enthusiasm all around. Somehow, despite all the odds, strategies and agreements, Catalan Authorities were finally doing what was due.

Given the circumstances, it is not surprising that the fall of Tivissa, on August 10th, was a terrible blow to the morale of Tarragona inhabitants. News talking about a victorious extreme resistance gave then way to radically different ones, referred to retaliations on non-Imperial combatants so terrifying than many believed that such kind of accounts -massive executions or diezmo de horca on civilians- were no more than exaggerated rumours. But the arrival in city of the first refugees not only confirmed such terrible events, but also it was known the set on fire of the town. The shadow of Tivissa and the fate of its defenders got hovering on Tarragona inhabitants as a baneful warning...

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