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The Enemy Within (actual play)


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#1 valvorik

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 03:07 AM

It is the morning of Backertag, 18th day of Sigmarzeit, the first day of summer 2522 when our attention is called to Averheim.

Almost two years ago Elector Count Marius von Leitdorf died in the Third Battle of Blackfire Pass where Averland and Imperial troops held back a horde of greenskins from entering the Empire and Emperor Karl-Franz himself appeared to defeat the greenskin warboss that has slain Marius. The wounds suffered by many are now scars and flowers bloom on the graves of those who died to save the Empire from a greenskin ravaging.

Barges have recently off loaded the Southland’s Expedition’s findings to Graf Kaufman’s warehouse in the Upper City. Averland’s prosperity continues although the effects of prolonged lack of political authority can be seen in the lax attitude of city guards, the growth of petty crime and the lack of progress on the maintenance or expansion of public works.

Dams to control the Aver remain as much a “plan” as they were two years ago, and as the late spring rains lash Averheim, causing the Aver to rise and fall, many in the lower city now keep an uneasy eye on the flood walls.

In the Upper City, the Sulky Sun (Sun of Solland Theatre) has a hit with a revival of the 24th century cross-dressing comedy Hexenachtabend (the heroine, Violetta, disguises herself as her brother for much of the play).

However, all the world is a stage, as Tarradasch once said, and our interest is instead in the play involving a particular set of actors.

The dramatis personae of our play.

Wilhelm von Döhnenleiter is youngest son of a noble family, by way of second marriage, and battle-scarred veteran of the Third Battle of Blackfire Pass. He recently took a voluntary discharge from the Pistolkorps to avoid a scandal over activities of the Young Blades Dueling Society to which he belongs.  He was asked on the 17th to look into disappearance of retired servant Franz Schlemmel by former interest Amalie Steiner. His family are von Leitdorf supporters. Gold Tier

Magnus Holck is also a youngest son of an Ostland family that serves the interest of the noble von Hoffs of Ostland, Magnus being their Agent.  He arrives as a foreign messenger by coach in Aveheim delivering messages to von Hoff trading partners von Kaufman (they are interested in the return on investment in that Southlands expedition), to the Wilhelm's family with whom they also have some relations though more personal as it is whether there is any news of Magnus’ two older brothers who served at Blackfire Pass and afterwards joined the Southlands Expedition. For the past week of his trip, as he road down from Wurtbad, Magnus was in the company of the dwarf slayer who works as a guard on the Red Arrow Coach line at times. Silver Tier.

A dwarf of Karak Azgaraz, who with his two brothers went to fight gobbos at Blackfire Pass. His brothers perished and he sword to have a glorious death beside them but instead woke up later to discover not only that he lived but that an elf had saved his life. Such was the shame that he took the Slayer Oath and became a self-imposed outcast. To make things worse, the bookish elf never exposes himself to a menace other than paper cuts thus making it hard to repay his blood debt and get on with finding an appropriate foe to face. This has all driven him to drink, which he funds by working as a guard on the Red Arrow coach line at times, having met Magnus Holck a week ago in Wurtbad though this channel. Brass Tier. When he arrived in town on the 17th he heard news the wife of a man he owed a debt to was looking for help down on the docks. The dwarf regards himself as already dead and does not tell people his name, making him variously “the dead dwarf”, “dwarf with no name” and “The Slayer” (which would make Korhadriel his “Watcher”).

Korhadriel Valandar, a high elf student and academic, has left Ulthuan to escape his overbearing father’s interference in his life. Too proud to return even though he has been reduced to poverty (Brass Tier), Korhadriel has ended up in Averheim after trying to sign on as a scribe with the imperial army and instead being given a bow (after all, you’re an elf) and sent off to fight at Blackfire Pass. He manages a good dinner and some at least passingly interesting academic conversation from time to time as a member of the Sun Society. Korhadriel has an interest in the peculiar dwarf species and saved the life of a dwarf soldier he was “observing”, resulting in the odd outcome of the dwarf lingering about to try to return the favour. Korhadriel recently received a letter from his cousin Eothlir Valandar but lost it somewhere in the docks area before he could read it.

Harry (Hieronymous) a survivor from a village wiped out by elf cultists of some sort when he was in his teens. A sad childhood, in which he ran away from the opportunities offered by Curd Weiss of the von Kaufman household, though Curd still respects his fundamental character. A criminal forger, Harry also fought at Blackfire Pass as a crossbowman. A shady sort, Harry is still a patriot when it counts having tried to frustrate a smuggling shipment when he realized it was of something dangerous to Averheim, an event in which he crossed paths with Wilhelm (while the latter still in Pistokorps). A fixation with elves and grudge against them was softened when he saw an elf save a dwarf’s life in the battle though he still keeps an eye out for anything elven such as lost packets of letters an elf academic is looking for. Harry’s own life was saved by Wilhelm, which he sheepishly admits, he disregarded Wilhelm’s orders to fall back when he should and was almost killed. Only Wilhelm’s intervention saved him, and it was this intervention that left Wilhelm wounded and convalescing after the battle, unable to sign up with the Southlands Expedition. Brass.

The curtain rises:

The actual table time of play this session was about 90 minutes as much of session was completing character creation and weaving backgrounds together.

On Backertag, 18th of Sigmarzeit, Wilhelm von Döhnenleiter finds himself more interested in doing a favour for Amalie Stein, lady in waiting in the von Kaufman household, than heading over the Temple of the Hammer to stand through hours of hymns and praises to our Eternal Emperor and Founder Sigmar (this being Sigmarfest).  They once walked out together and she has asked him to find a retired family servant who has gone missing. He rendezvouses with Magnus Holck, who arrived in town yesterday with letters to deliver and is staying at the von Kaufman household (where they met and reacquainted yesterday when he went to see Amalie). Magnus is looking for word of his brothers from the Southland expedition and going down to the docks in search of this missing retired servant Schlemmel fits with asking around down there about them. Being a Taalist, he too isn’t keen on going through a high Sigmarite service.

As they head down the Bruckburgstrasse, the well-dressed pair run into the “looking a bit threadbare if you look closely” high elf Korhadriel Valandar who is heading down to the docks to meet Harry (who is not religious at all, thus explaining why the third human is also not at a temple this Sigmarfest). Harry’s a ‘lowtowner’ but like Wilhelm and Korhadriel a veteran of Blackfire Pass and known to each other. Korhadriel lost (perhaps had stolen) a letter while in the docks area from his cousin and Harry has apparently managed to find it and sent him a message to meet him at the Upright Pig Tavern to reclaim it.

The “dead dwarf”/”dwarf-with-no-name” Slayer is shadowing Korhadriel as usual though satisfied to be heading to docks since he heard yesterday that Olga Klinski, wife of a man who saved his life, is looking for help.

[few rolls are required as most conversations are simple, occasionally a roll is needed to prompt a memory or get more out of an NPC who would just as soon go on about business]

As they come down to the Griffon Bridge district, Korhadriel sees a crudely written note offering a reward for finding a missing man, Rolf Haller.

At the Upright Pig, a colourful tavern of saucily dressed ladies, gambling, quiet nooks with nondescript fellows conversing, merchants and tradespeople etc, they all get a table with Harry who passes over the letter (which he separately paid to have translated due to his great curiosity in things elven). Korhadriel reads his letter while Harry watches him closely. As he is so occupied, Magnus sees Frederick Grosz and goes to ask him hoping for word of his brothers, the Slayer goes to talk to Olga who is at her fish stand nearby, and Wilhelm goes out to ask around on street after Schlemmel ending up talking to the busking girl Ute.

The investigators learn that the Southlands Expedition wares have been whisked up to the Upper City under guard, the von Kragsburg mercenaries in charge (Grosz says they’re nasty ones). Grosz would be very interested in learning more about what the Graf von Kaufman has stored in his Red Arrow Coachline warehouses now up on the Plenzerplatz (coins in it for someone), but has no word of Magnus’ brothers. The Slayer hears Olga’s tale of her missing husband Jurgen, missing since the 10th, lost looking for wood on a rainy night. Ute doesn’t know a “Schlemmel” but knows (to see) old Franz in his faded waistcoat. She hasn’t seen him since the 11th (she remembers because the last time she saw him he was being harassed by some youths and tripped into the mud on that rainy day). She appreciates the couple of shillings Wilhelm gives her and promises to ask around. Wilhelm notes the eyes of several dockers on him as he talks to the teenage waif.

They regroup and share their information, Korhadriel recalling that the note about a missing Rolf said to “sea Werner” at east docks, Harry knowing (Easy Folklore for Criminal) that that is almost certainly Werner Klebb headman of the Wharf Rats Docker Gang. They decide to go down and check out this third missing person story, though as they prepare to go Wilhelm realizes (having failed an Observation check) that his purse is empty – cut open at bottom (some cutpurse hit a jackpot, the Affluent Gold Tier Wilhelm was carrying all his cash on him). [He is Int 2, an "ideal" gold tier character for Brass to hang out around]

After Magnus pays the 2 shilling tab (the role of the Silver Tier, to pick up nobles’ bills for the privilege of their company), they make their way to the east docks.

Gunnar and Harry try to find someone useful to talk to on the street, eventually settling on the gong farmer Gotfried. He relates that most people assume Jurgen fell into the Aver when drunk – they haven’t told Olga as it would mean revealing Jurgen’s many trips for firewood were really to the White Horse for a drink and respite from his wife. He was last seen leaving the tavern soused and saying he was going to “fill the Aver” before going home. The river was high that night and it was still raining and messy out.

At the same time, others enter the White Horse – a lower class though striving to be clean (if not completely odour free) establishment that manages to look a bit more proper (working class) than the colourful Upright Pig. Talking to the Wharf Rat Boss they hear of Rolf Haller going missing after leaving the tavern (though unlike Jergen steady on his feet). The Wharf Rats are sure the Fish have done for him and will pay 30 shillings for proof. Intuition suggests the docker boss is telling everything he knows.

Investigation continues as Wilhelm talks to the Shallyan initiate running soup kitchen down street (it’s late in day, winding down, recalls Schlemmel as a regular who was here last Backertag but not today, doesn’t think any other regulars missing), the White Horse tavern keeper (relates a similar tale of Jergen as Gottfried and says that Schlemmel comes into a bit of money every month, spends a few days drinking at the Upright Pig, as funds decline at White Horse and then out on street cadging for the last bit. By the time he vanished, Schlemmel was in his “street” phase).

This makes the tally Backertag Sigmarzeit 10 – Fisherman Jurgen Klinski last seen drunk leaving White Horse late at night in rain; Bezahltag Sigmarzeit 11 - Docker Rolf Haller last seen sober (relatively) leaving White Horse late at night in rain, aging former servant Franz Schlemmel last seen during the day on street close by Griffon Bridge (Ute’s location).

Magnus goes to check out the bridge and river, seeing nothing he ends up asking Ute about his brothers. She is pleased to chat with another gentleman but doesn’t recall seeing anyone like them (big strapping northern sorts), saying how many of the expedition seemed to stay in Marienburg and rest are up guarding its findings in the Upper City.

Korhadriel, the Slayer shadowing him, decides to look around the neighbourhood for anything suspicious. It is late afternoon when, going down a laneway behind the warehouses on the Handel Weg he finds a body. A hard faced man (broken nose, scars) has been stabbed and left here, not exactly “hidden” but you have to look to see the corpse in the corner. Korhadriel suspects he has found the missing Haller. The slayer stays to keep watch and the elf returns to the east end of docks to gather his fellows and report to Werner the Wharf Rat Boss. Werner knew it! That’s Fish territory, them filthy Marienburger scum did for Rolf!

Werner rises to go with the investigators and identify the body, summoning other Wharf Rats to come as they head towards Fish territory. As the boisterous crowd draws closer to Bruckburgstrasse, Fish dockers see them coming and call to each other, rushing to come forward and defend their turf…..

We break.

It's not Rolf of course, the description of body not being decayed etc. should have tipped off it's not a week old, but Korhadriel glossed over that apparently.

[Note the letter has the information Korhardiel might find helpful writing his paper about magic for the Society as well as other information alterting Korhadriel to his cousin's concerns about some of the expedition's findings and asking Korhadriel to "keep an eye" while Eothlir looks into some things, it also includes at least one relevant tid bit for the observant that does not appear to have been absorbed…]



#2 valvorik

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 11:08 AM

All present, no XP awarded so far (only 1.5 hours of play).

Harry is now Herrig (his family name) [thanks to Michael H. for confirming Harry is not a good German name)

Wilhelm calls for calm, exercising the noble’s role of influencing the rabble and temporarily by virtue of his Leadership keeps the Wharf Rats and Fish from confronting each other.

The dwarf hears the ruckus and decides to bring the body to it, while Herrig tries to add to Wilhelm’s words. Alas, he lacks the magic spark a noble has and his peers are far from quelled by his words, instead being tipped into confrontation as they rush at each other.

The investigators must rely on brute strength or agility to avoid getting swept away and trampled in the rush (as they are not participating in it, Athletics/Coordination choice). Herrig falls and suffers a Wound being trampled. Magnus runs across Griffon Bridge to the Toll House on north bank to summon the guards there.

The dwarf arrives and with the deep timbre his race is known for calls the humans to stop and see if it is the missing Rolf Haller or not (successful Intimidate).

The dockers do so and the “fight goes out of them” as they realize it’s not Rolf at all. Chaotic simultaneous chatter and whispers go on all around which investigators roll to pluck useful information from, hearing that this was unloved Klaus Keller a criminal, that this is what comes of refusing to join, could Bischoff – no he’s still laid up, then Meinhardt – no he was with a couple of girls upstairs at the Pig all night, you mean the Cowl has a 3rd assassin!” Clearly the “Brotherhood (of the Black Cowl)” is being held responsible for the death and the discovery is sparking fear.

(The investigators take the mistaken identity (hee hee, in joke for afficiandos of WFRP) in stride – I expected some recrimination there and Party Tension but since none of the first none of the 2nd)

The guards arrive (pleased to have to only arrange for a body to go to the Garden of Morr and not try to stop 40 dockers from going at each other). Herrig and Korhadriel take a look at the body and realize the stab wounds look odd – the skin is greyish and becoming soft like Bretonnian cheese. Thoughts of chaos and warpstone immediately pop into some heads.

As evening falls the companions repair to the Upright Pig for a bite and drink and to take counsel. In the Pig the heroes are coming to the view that murder of criminal and disappearance of “no bodies” don’t seem to fit together.

A cutpurse tries to steal from Magnus and is caught, a young man who tries to look naïve and claims he was just trying to get money for the Shallyans to care for his sister and no he didn’t steal anything from Wilhelm – Magnus’ intuition tells him the thief is lying and he is forced to produce what he has of the money he took from Wilhelm (being 48 of 98 shillings).

The cutpurse's appeals for aid from others in the tavern don’t get him any, including to a flamboyantly dressed bravo identified as Meinhardt who appears to have no sympathy for thief who gets caught so easily telling Fritz Ranald wouldn't be impressed.

(Or perhaps he is not inclined to get into a fight with an Upper City noble in front of a room full of witnesses, the watch would actually do something about that).

Wilhelm gives the cutpurse 2 days to come up with the rest of the money he stole.

Herrig talks to Frederick Grosz who thinks that the Brotherhood must know what is going on even if they're not behind it - he finds the vanishings suspicious and the Brotherhood is into everything these days. He is mostly pre-occupied with the question of the Brotherhood and whether to knuckle under, asking Herrig his plans (Herrig commiserates, says he is hoping maybe to change his career with his current efforts rather than have to face joining).

Wilhelm talks to Meinhardt and tries to gauge if he/the Brotherhood of the Black Cowl is involved in the vanishings. Magnus observes carefully, and to his mind Meinhardt appears quite honestly both utterly uncaring and uninvolved – he knows about the missing fisherman and Rolf, an old servant gone astray is news but not alarming to him.

Meinhardt is one of my own inventions as a Brotherhood member, a cut throat enforcer.

The investigators continue, going out into the evening, when the cast on the docks changes a bit (e.g., Ute has gone wherever she goes, streetwalkers best seen in poor light have appeared).

As the evening goes on Korhadriel begins to feel the effects of a long day and goes back up to the Averburg barracks where he sleeps (I did not mention actually but now that I think of it, the gates there close for night about “step 5” so he would have been pushing it to not return unless he wanted to sleep somewhere else for the night). The other investigators ask about a bit.

Wilhelm talks to Margie, a streetwalker offering a nip around corner for some against the wall, however he declines while offering payment several times what she asks for information about barges delivering Southlands expedition finds. The investigators are wondering if something or influence brought back from it is causing the problem in the docks.

It is clarified that noble wastrel Wilhelm does not know what streetwalkers cost in this part of town.

Those barges are all gone and several different people relate how the offloading was under guard with people held back, even the regular dockers not used to unload.

Herrig talks to Rambrecht the Agitator to learn some of this (honest dockers denied their pay!) and buys some of his pamphlets (receiving the proletarian discount).

Magnus at last has luck getting news of one of his brothers who were on the expedition, a beggar who was there watching the barges arrive relates how a man matching Gunnar Holck’s description came off them – but when all the others were moving things and keeping crowd of gawkers back he ducked off into the crowd and vanished. Magnus is puzzled at his behaviour.

As evening turns to night (the Averburg’s gates close, Korhardiel definitely in for the night now – to be clear the Averburg is grounds and fortress, a complex etc. not one building but the whole thing is enclose in an outer wall and that outer wall’s gate that faces onto the big Plenzerplatz square is what I’m talking about closed)

The dwarf had seen Korhardiel safely to his door but returned. The heroes decided to “stake out the neighbourhood” to see what is up at night. The sky has clouded over so it is a dark night (less so to the dwarf).

Wilhelm and Magnus climb atop a warehouse while Herrig and the dwarf keep watch along the shoreline (going under the bridge to the mudflats). As the night goes on, the sound of a fight (clash of blades) is heard. Herrig and dwarf cannot quickly get there and Magnus fails to be nimble climbing down off roof so only Wilhelm manages to race towards the sound at best speed, narrowly avoiding running into a closeline.

In the darkness of an ally he fails to make out what is going ahead, and rolls a poorer initiative than a killer which escapes away as there is a sharp cry and silence, all the straining to see things and mental checks have been very stressful and he develops a troubling lack of confidence (or perhaps he did see what was there and his mind is twisting itself in a refusal to acknowledge it….) temporary insanity

There is another body, stabbed and lying there. Herrig and Korhadriel do not manage to see anything (such as where fleeing killer fled when it moved away from Wilhelm’s location). Lighting a candle and looking around, there are just near the body bloody footprints where it is assumed the attacker stepped in the blood gushing out of his victim’s intestines after they were opened up. A bare foot with claws, not human.

The investigators think the attacker may have gone to river and look around in the mudflats closest to scene of fight, again with lights and find no sign of anything. This attracts the attention of a patrol boat of the watch who want to know what is going on. The watch end up being taken to the body and confer about whether they need to “call for him” as the wounds don’t have the strangeness about them of the first body. The investigators say maybe it just takes some time for them to look that way and watch agree, asking the investigators to stay while they send for the wizard.

The body is Hermann Halhaemer, another hold out against the Brotherhood (the ranks of which are dwindling fast).

In about half an hour, a short wizard of light appears (though he has a tall majestic hat to compensate) providing his own illumination, Luminary Konrad Mauer (Korhardriel knows him but is not present). The wizard inspects the body and area, getting the investigators’ statements and as he examines the footprint is overheard (succesful rolls) exclaiming softly under his breath to himself “Skaven!”.

He says the killing is linked to the earlier one and orders the body be taken to Garden of Morr and put with the other one to be purified. There is a taint of chaos about the wounds, a poison perhaps that has as its base some foul substance such as warpstone.

The Luminary is investigating the matter as it involves the supernatural, at the request of Captain Baerfaust. He is impressed by what the investigators relate and asks them to meet him the next day for lunch at the Journey’s End, well actually he invites Wilhelm and whoever the noble decides to bring from among his hangers-on.

The investigators turn in and sleep late the next day to make up for their late hours (and facilitate perhaps being up late again the next day with fewer penalties).

This is a rally step (not full night rest) in this 'more narrative approach to time'. Wilhelm’s recovers from his temporary lack of confidence (temporary insanity goes away).

Yes I moved this murder up a night.  I could give an elaborate explanation but really I just goofed looking at notes and they were so eager to see something- they're also bit skattered, if a stakeout didn't work first night rather than realize they should try that several nights they would have been off to another strategy etc.  It worked out fine, the Skaven murder on low-water nights and kidnap on high water nights, this is a low water night.  Wilhelm didn't see the skaven assassin it was just too much stress from mental check banes etc. for a WP 2 character (a few PC's have low WP, I've joked I'll have to create a special group card for the "Insane Conspiracy Theorists" before we're done).

Sigmarzeit 19, Bezahltag

Korhadriel rises first, having been to bed first, and goes across the Plenzerplatz to Journey’s End stables to see the dwarf who sleeps there. He finds the dwarf sleeping and decides to just stay and watch the dwarf sleep (as part of his study of the peculiar species – that’s not creepy at all says the dwarf’s player).

The day really starts about noon for most of the investigators, by which time the overcast skies have started to rain, when Wilhelm and Magnus go to lunch with the Luminary. The brass tiers are not invited along though Korhadriel hears of the lunch from the dwarf and “appears”, this not going as badly as it might as it turns out he knows his way around the Journey’s End and knows Luminary Mauer.

Wilhelm impresses Luminary Mauer sufficiently (good roll with bonus dice for the facts investigated so far being related etc.) and the wizard shares his thoughts, being guarded still in exactly what he says.

The Luminary explains there are a type of mutant creatures that are oganized and hides in cities (he does not speak of ratmen or Skaven). The idea that the missing people and dead criminals are coincidences does not sit well with the Luminary. He reveals these mutants he speaks of might work for a criminal gang or might manipulate it for their own purposes – unknown to its members perhaps (so perhaps if Meinhardt really doesn't know anything about the disappearances the latter is the Luminary's thought in this case). The point is these mutant creatures also take people as slaves at times – so they could be responsible both for the murders these past two nights and for the vanishing of “nobodies”.

Korhardriel tries to recall if he knows anything of such creatures, but Ulthuan is without them and the check is hard, he only achieves a bare success using his Academic background to recall reports from elven travellers in places like Marienburg that talk of sewer-using mutant ratpeople who are likely what Mauer is talking about.

Mauer plans to report to Captain Baerfaust and will see if the Averburg has a plan to the sewers as he hopes the investigators will continue their efforts.

Magnus also used lunch as the opportunity to deliver a letter from the von Hoffs to Luminary Mauer. Mauer thanks him and will read it later, asking if he could return the next day in case there is a reply.

Magnus then goes to the temple of Sigmar to deliver his last, sealed, letter to Disciple Kurgan. The Disciple also asks him to return the next day in case there is any follow up. M

agnus speaks to Curd Weiss in the von Kaufman household to see if he can get a look at the Southland expedition finds but this is a difficult request and Curd reveals that any disclosures prior to the exhibition von Kaufman plans would be worth his job or more.  He asks Curd about his brothters and Curd goes off to look at the rosters and logs to see if he can find something.

The investigators decide to stake out/guard remaining “targets” (hold outs) and decide Frederick Grosz is the best choice. The other known holdout, Mathilda Durbein the fence, keeps to public places and puts herself at less risk.

They head down the Bruckburgstrasse to the docks to implement their plan (Magnus is to catch up, he is off at the temple of Sigmar at this point), but find instead they are caught up in a burning barge episode.

Wilhelm and Herrig try to help the barge owner (a merchant type to be clear not a bargeman per se) fight the spreading fire and do, eventually putting out it out and letting focus on getting his wife and twin daughters to safety (who are also dressed as merchant silver class folk not brass barge river folk).

Korhardriel and the dwarf chase down arsonists - well chase and shoot down, one is left standing to face the dwarf – offering to tell everything if released but refusing to surrender as it is death for him anyway if he does.

We break as the dwarf prepares to ‘subdue’ the surviving arsonist.


 



#3 valvorik

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 11:13 AM

While others fought fire Magnus did get a report from Curd.

Borgir and Gunnar Holck, formerly of the Imperial army, among several mustered out after Black Fire Pass and recommended by Captain Baerfaust as reliable sorts for the expedition.

Borgir missing and presumed dead. Lost with Johann Templemann and sailing mage Ernst Feir to a lizard man ambush while exploring, reported by survivor Franz Bischoff.

Gunnar mustered out at Marienburg taking his pay and brother's funeral pay.



#4 valvorik

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 04:52 AM

Sigmarzeit 19, Bezahltag (day 2) late afternoon.

All present, XP awarded (4 hours reached, with about 10 minutes to add, this session lasts 2.5 hours so no XP next session, I'm awarding 1 XP every 4 hours of play basically).

Magnus Holck is in the upper city having delivered his letters to Luminary Mauer and Disciple Kurgan has a few drinks in the Maid's Fancy contemplating one brother's death and the other's odd behaviour. Later, pondering what to do with the evening - there across the Plenzerplatz is the Sulky Sun (Sun of Solland) theatre with the Hechenactabend playing and he pays 5 shillings for a middling good seat away from the groundlings and is suitably distracted.

He runs into Wilhelm's older brother Klaus who engages him in discussion, Klaus wanting to know since Magnus is staying at von Kaufman's what he knows about the expedition's finds. Magnus can tell Klaus is very anxious about the subject and mentioning the von Hoffs invested and he is trying to find out about how their investment has fared he learns why as Klaus mutters, "If only we had only invested as little as the von Hoffs".

It seems if the expedition were to suffer a loss for investors, it's not only von Kaufman in trouble. Wilhelms' family might need to marry him to a wealthy merchant's daughter post haste.

Meanwhile on the docks the Dead Dwarf undergoes great stress (shifting stance significantly from Reckless to Conservative) to try to subdue the surviving arsonist and not give him a fatal smack upside the head. He manages to "tap" the human into unconsciouness (it's such trouble not killing the badly made things). Korhandriel observes his dwarven subject with interest.

We're using my homebrew subdue card, you can't subdue being reckless.

Wilhelm and Herrig are thanked by the barge-owner, merchant Adolphus Stark. Stark wants to get his wife and daughters settled and puts off answering questions but offers to talk later in the Knackered Horse (explained to Wilhelm meaning the odorous White Horse).

Herrig remonstrates with Korhadriel about killing an arsonist, saying the Brotherhood will respond. Korhardriel is not very worried.

The surving arsonist is turned over to the watch who take statements (no one actually saw the fire set but these two were running away immediately afterwards and a noble is saying it's the arsonist - that's good enough to hang a peasant here in the Old World). He is taken off to the local gaol; Wilhelm says that he and his comrades may wish to speak to him and the watch officer sees no reason that couldn't be arranged.

As evening begins, the four on the docks complete their plan of convincing Grosz to let them shadow him in case he is the next target. He arranges this with them away from the Upright Pig which is now completely a "Brotherhood" hang out.

It takes a bit of talking by Herrig as Grosz won't then be revealing any contacts etc and effectively will be "not working" for that time but news that clawed footprints are associated with the attacks has alarmed Grosz. He says he was thinking of giving in and joining but if there are mutants associated with the Brotherhood, well he's leery of the outfit now, "Where there are mutants there are cultists and where there are cultists witch hunters show up and burn everyone sooner or later". (of course that's only true of the cultists that get found out….)

They shadow him that evening but no attacks are made on him. They learn he is staying in rooms above the Sword of Sigismund, a respectable tavern favoured by soldiers.

On the 20th, Konigstag (Day 3), as he rises at the von Kaufman estate, Magnus is approached by Curd Weiss and asked to enlist his associates in a mission (paying 30 shillings, divide as Magnus wishes) to be part of a 'decoy' shipment to deal with bandits that have been raising Red Arrow shipments. Weiss reveals that the shipments targeted have included black powder coming from Nuln and that Red Arrow keeps that information secret. They don't know how the bandits know which shipments to target and are worried about a leak somewhere (thus the direct engagement of outside agents).

Magnus thinks his companions will be interested, making an indirect connection to the upcoming exhibition of the Southland expedition's finds.

Magnus sees Disciple Kurgan who reveals that the von Hoff correspondence revealed evidence of the Purple Hand being at work doing typical Purple Hand sorts of things (note passed to player).

Magnus and the others reconnect. They are beginning to form an identity as "Defenders of Averheim" - whatever they think of its rulers etc., perhaps they all share an interest in stopping harm to the city and its people.

Magnus' information about the loss of his brother presumed dead leads to realization the survivor of that encounter (when expedition leader Templemann was also lost) is named Bischoff, which is the name of a Brotherhood enforcer bandied about at a death scene earlier.

Magnus, Wilhelm and Korhadriel go to see Luminary Mauer (all three having lunched with him the day before and Magnus wishing to follow up on the letter he delivered). They see him at his rented home on the Plenzerplatz. He is excited and alarmed by the letter, which asked him to decode some symbols - these symbols are the writing used by the mutants he told the investigators about at lunch.

If these mutants, often found in the sewers of the Empire's cities, are in league with a chaos cult often found working within the Empire's institutions (the Purple Hand) this would be a disastrous alliance by which both would strengthen the other.

Magnus asks him if he means Skaven (having heard him murmur the word at the crime scene) and the Luminary is startled and emphatically denies it. Skaven are a myth, you will get no where talking to people about Skaven. These are mutants.

As he's saying this, Korhadriel can't help but notice the scatting of books and scrolls all about the Luminary's chamber, many are open to various pages (Korhadriel's finances do not permit nearly as much reading as he would wish, oh to gain access to such a trove). Being the only one present who can read, only he sees references to Skaven on many of the open pages and the occassional illustration of ratmen, including lurid battle scenes in which they are hauling strange engines about with great smoking bells and other oddities.
(player shown some illustrations)

At the gaol, the investigators pay 2 shillings for some "private time" with the prisoner. However, they find he has hanged himself. Herrig notices he has some wounds on his arms he didn't get in the fight the day before. The guards insist he had no visitors, though a man named Meinhardt did come back to see another prisoner.

Korhadriel remarks to Herrig that since the Brotherhood evidently silenced the captured arsonsit he doesn't see how they would object to him lessening their work by killing the other one. Herrig remains convinced that Korhardriel has made his own death a prospective recruiting stunt for the Brotherhood.

(The back and forth is adding to Party Fortune and Party Tension)

A short night with Herr Grosz again finds him not being attacked. The evening is not long as investigators turn in to be able rise and be at the Red Arrow coaching house for their morning commission.

On the 21st, Angestag (Day 4), the heroes learn a slight change of plan when they meet Curd Weiss (Herrig hangs back to not be recognized, for his own reasons). A cart that was coming from Nuln has gone missing just yesterday according to reports from travellers who overtook it not far from Averheim and then the fact it didn't arrive.

The investigators are asked to look along the trail to Nuln as far as the Welcome Rest inn (about 12 miles) and learn what happened.

The investigators set off, Wilhelm mounted, the others walking though a cart is borrowed with a draft horse (that's about 68 shillings owed if it's not returned) to carry anything found.

They meet some Strigany who didn't pass any cart but noticed ruts in the mud, heading off the trail (the rain has meant lots of mud though the weather today is sunny).

The investigators notice a barge run aground, on the other bank of river, with no one around it, and find the ruts heading off trail. They follow the ruts, soon seeing a spinney of trees from which a thin bit of smoke is rising.

Herrig tries to crawl up and scout the area, but is spotted by a watcher and shot at by bow. A melee ensues as the investigators are attacked by five mutants! (Fear 1, as much because there is a swarm of them as for their mutations).

The melee is broken (two mutants have fallen, the others' turn to attack) by session end.  This ends our 3rd session of play, about 6.5 hours of play (not counting time spent reviewing cards for advances etc.)

GM notes

The barge belongs to the 2 bargemen skaven abducted night before, they cut it loose and sent it downriver and it ran aground here.  I have not had to fiddle anything that the nights the PC's shadowed Grosz the skaven were doing other things than going after him etc.

 

 



#5 valvorik

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 05:29 AM

I should add, the high point of session was when Magnus explained to rest of group how he proposed the 30 shillings be divided.

Wilhelm as a noble would get 10, Magnus as silver tier 5 and the others could split the rest equally. 

It was pointed out Magnus had just managed to pay himself the same as all the brass tier PC's, to which the player replied his agent character is not often entrusted with the financial aspect of negotiations.



#6 valvorik

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 04:57 AM

Wilhelm absent from action this session. 

Resuming on Sigmarzeit 21st, Angestag..

The investigators defeat the remaining mutants, killing all five, and examine their camp in the copse of woods.  Wilhelm saw a 6th fleeting and rode off after it (explaining absence).  Korhadriel uses his untrained First Aid skills to tend to Herrig and helps him negate the effects of most of his wounds.

The remains of the drovers and ox are found (all butchered for eating) and the cart with some of its contents.   Magnus’ eye spots a bill of lading (the document certifying what was loaded onto cart that is presented at other end when cart unloaded to keep records and show in part that “nothing feel off the back of the cart” in between).  Korhadriel reads it and investigators realize:  there scatted about is the cloth for Adolphus Stark, there mostly drunk is the wine for the Journey’s End Inn, but missing are the casks of “chemicals” for the Averburg.  Korhadriel also spots hoof prints showing at least four horses have been here and left (they are followed north to the trail, where they cannot be followed further).

While at the river, the dwarf swims across (cumulative 4 swimming successes needed) to check out the beached barge on other side.  It’s a simple flatbed barge such as used to move livestock and there is no sign of its owners or a cargo, nor any tracks in the bank to show anyone coming or going.

Regrouping Investigators behead one mutant to take back the head as proof of mutant involvement, load the cloth onto their cart and head back to Averheim.  Herrig takes a shortbow and 22 arrows (effectively 2 bundles for encumbrance purposes) from the dead mutants.  A second shortbow is put into the cart (they hope to sell it next Marktag for perhaps [10] shillings - half the value of a new shortbow). 

The investigators push themselves to make it before dark which fatigues several of them resulting in the Sluggish condition.  At the Journey’s End, a messenger is sent for Curd Weiss who appears to hear their account (Herrig again fades into the background as Curd appears)

Weiss is very perturbed at the mutant head (not particularly squeamish though).  Mutants working with others to ambush the Red Arrow’s trade and take the blackpowder from it is even more alarming.  The “chemicals” was blackpowder, sending some by a low key cart was a ruse being tried.  Blackpowder is labelled chemicals for security reasons. 

Curd’s concern over a leak somewhere in Nuln or Averheim is fuelled.  He pays the 30 shillings originally agreed for this day’s work (when it was to be the coach-trap) and adds 25 shillings for the business of having to deal with mutants which is divided equally as 11 shillings each (in a fit of egalitarianism, or perhaps because the math to do other than “one for you, one for you….” Is beyond them).

Weiss still plans to carry out the “noble in a coach” trick to lure bandits but it is rescheduled now for the day after tomorrow (tomorrow being Festag).  Investigators have the next day to themselves.

Korhadriel wants to turn in and rest.

Herrig takes his other companions to a herbalist, Pietr Autzeg, and buys some distilled valerian that acts as a stimulant (energising them and warding off the sluggish condition) for a shilling a dose.  Magnus decides not to take it, the dwarf and Herrig do. 

Herrig's player figured he (criminal) would know where to find stimulants and I created one off the cuff.  The downside becomes apparent later.

As the night goes on Magnus is also “overwhelmed” (condition) by how tired he is – the heroes finding Herr Grosz again and shadowing him into the wee hours.  Herr Grosz relates that today has seen the docks start taking missing people issue more seriously, as Ute the Busker has gone missing (the teenager was “everyone’s little sister”) and that the Brotherhood’s grip is getting stronger.  The enforcer Bischoff has finished recovering from some work-related injuries that had him laid up and is “back in action”.

The next day is Festag, 22nd of Sigmarzeit.  Investigators sleep in for the most part rising around noon.

Little investigation about the missing is done this day as different efforts are made to follow other threads.

The most excitement is when Korhadriel decides to return to the Averburg and separates from the rest of his comrades (the dwarf relaxing and enjoying some ale and pastries).  While making his way, alone, up the street (still in the lower city), Korhadriel observes (check passed) that three men are moving through the crowd towards him (one from ahead and two from behind), their hands within cloaks as if to draw weapons swiftly. 

Korhadriel decides to try to run past the one ahead (the choice otherwise being to run off into side streets).  His competitive Ag check fails and the cut-throat attacks him, stopping his flight.  The other two race up to join in (a bit less effective than they might have been, blowing all Aggression dice on moving not bonus to attack) as knives slash and stab at the elf.

These 3 cut throats teaching the elf a lesson about interfering in 'business on the docks' much as Herrig predicted.  When he hears of this, Herrig actually recovers a point of stress from the satisfation that things work as he thinks they do.

Being in daylight, it is a sudden attack of only one round but Korhadriel is left 4 or so wounds from falling and has suffered two critical wounds (disfiguring scar and short of breath) as he flees shouting for help.  Being in public, the attackers melt away into sidestreets and do not pursue him.

The others have gone to the Upright Pig as Magnus wants to talk to this Bischoff person, having learned Bischoff is likely the sole survivor/witness of the Southlands Expedition party in which is brother Borgir was lost.  He finds Bischoff in the Upright Pig, at a table with Meinhardt and a 3rd man (another tough).  Bischoff is a scarred man with throwing hatchets and hand axes all about his person. 

Bischoff is my creation, in the official text he's the nameless "one who came back" from the event that saw Templemann lost, which I have made also where one of Magnus' brothers died.

Bischofff says he remembers Magnus’ brothers, good soldiers never backed down from a fight.  Yes, Bragnir was lost with Templemann in the mishap that ended the whole expedition.  A small party had gone to investigate a ruin their strikes into the jungle had bypassed before, it being on the map Templemann had from some prior explorer and considered likely already looted.  However, Templemann wanted to check it out in case anything had been missed. 

It turned out the ruin was full of lizard men and their damned smarming lesser skink kindred.  Bischoff didn’t see Borgir fall but he must have, no one who didn’t run survived.  The last he saw of the other brother Gunnar was in Marienburg and he hasn’t seen him since, not in Averheim.

Magnus is bringing his intuition to bear towards the end of this discussion and finds that Bischoff is controlling a good deal of anger as he talks and is holding something back – something is off about what he is saying.  Magnus tries to charm Bischoff but finds the man resolutely immune to his fellowship (as in that roll should have succeeded but he just does not want to engage in any casual chatter or talk friendly).  Magnus leaves with the final request that if Bischoff sees Gunnar could he let Magnus know and Bischoff assures Magnus he will “be on the lookout for Gunnar”.

Gunnar is indeed in Averheim, he too is recovering from wounds incurred in the fight Bischoff got his and you bet Bischoff is on the lookout for him.

The investigators have realized the barge they found likely belongs to two bargemen who the locals are puzzled by having left last night without any apparent cargo.  Herrig tries to make a “finder’s fee” from the brother of one of the missing bargemen (failed roll, by this point he is Perplexed due to withdrawal from his distilled valerian stimulant last night, not paying another shilling for more).  The bargeman insists on being told where to find his brother’s property unless Herrig wants to be turned in for extortion, which Herrig grudgingly does.

Another late night for all but Korhadriel ensues.  Grosz goes over to the north bank and spends some time gambling.  Magnus joins in and makes a shilling.  A young woman they have seen before in the Upright Pig doesn’t do as well, making desperate bets to cover her losses and ending up broke.  Efforts to hear gossip etc. during the game don’t produce much of value.

Investigators must arise in good time the next day, 23rd of Sigmarzeit, Wellentag.  It rained heavily overnight but it's clearing in morning and looking to be warm sunny day for a trip.

This is the day of their mission on behalf of Graf von Kaufman and the Red Arrow Coaching Line.  Korhadriel has recovered many of his wounds but still suffers his two critical wounds.  Korhadriel and Wilhelm have had a normal night’s rest.  The other three are operating on less sleep and will see “penalties for being up too long” start sooner this day as a consequence (hopefully any bandits or other troublemakers will have the good graces to fall for the trap in the morning not late afternoon).

When they regather, the other four learn that yesterday when Korhadriel was at the Averburg, he was approached by a Lieutenant in the Greatswords Company, Arta Schaffer.  She was asking on behalf of Captain Baerfaust (commander of the elite company of the Greatswords, hero of Blackfire Pass, de factor military ruler of Averheim at the moment) if the men who had faced those mutants would meet him for a drink and to talk, at the Sword of Sigismund this evening.

Korhadriel said he would pass this one but was more interested in resting from his wounds than going to find his comrades (or sending a message etc.).  When they find this out, the other investigators are chagrined (Party Tension +1) at the lost opportunity to talk to “the man in charge of the military and law enforcement” (who is probably not used to being stood up when he invites someone for a drink), particularly given that since Grosz rents a room there (for its security) they would easily have received any message to meet etc.

At the coaching house, Curd briefs them on the plan to let the travel plans of a noblewoman known to have some expensive jewellery circulate more than they usually do, spiced with suggestion perhaps blackpowder is being transported to be stored at her estate - Heinzstadt, some distance down the road towards Heideck. 

The investigators are introduced to said noblewoman, Gravin Chlotilde von Alptraum, a late 20’s radiantly attractive, curvaceous and pleasant blonde noblewoman who’s clothing includes owl feather and dove pendants (symbols of Verena and Shallya) among its jewels, and her aged bodyguard Giselburt Kuhn.

- The Gravin nods and smiles at Wilhelm.

- The dwarf may remember something about the van Alptraum name from his background (his clan owes a debt to the Alptraum family making repaying favours to them a matter of honour, part of his backstory I created to weave into campaign).

It’s agreed that a single outrider would fit as security and shouldn’t spook bandits so Wilhelm may ride his horse, the dwarf play the regular role of coach guard and the rest will ride inside with the Gravin and her bodyguard (to avoid scaring off bandits).  The dwarf is up top with the coachman, Werner – a taciturn sort who the dwarf has worked with before on the Red Arrow and appreciates for not being too chatty except to comment on his rheumatism.

The coach sets off.  The land south of the Averheim has orchards and vineyards.  During the ride the Gravin chats pleasantly with her inferiors (the mark of a true noble, no one has mentioned bathing since the adventure started but she doesn’t even visibly wrinkle her nose).  Friedrich (she refers to Graf von Kaufman familiarly) has told her they destroyed some mutants and she wants to hear all about their exciting heroic deeds. 

The investigators actually relate little of their deeds, Magnus turning the conversation to von Kaufman’s expedition and what return investors may expect.  The Gravin reveals she is looking forward to the exhibition Friedrich is putting on in a couple of days, he will be showing some animals in the menagerie in the Averburg gardens and some of his choice finds.  Everything he touches turns out so well, she is sure this will, “he has a dwarf’s nose for gold” (what we would call ‘the midas touch’, thanks to Franc for the term).

After about 30 minutes the coach stops as some branches have been blown down onto trail.  Werner and Giselburt go to move them.  The investigators are wary of a “classic trap” and looking about, Korhadriel spots movement in a hedge that runs along a hilltop parallel to the road (long range).

We break…



#7 willmanx

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 07:48 AM

Your work on the campaign is amazing, Valvorik. You created strong link between PCs themselves and with the story. I really appreciate how creative you were about the Silver tier Messenger looking for 2 brothers involved in the expedition and the Gold tier battle-scared working for a minor noble involved in the later expedition show organized by the graf. Plus the veteran them that create deep and believable links between a dwarf outcast, an academic elf and a criminal forger. 

How did you finally arranged the Cowl identity ? You were working on a team up of the three, with only one fallen into Chaos - which one ?… I'm going into this because I really enjoy the idea of 3 leaders agreeing to change society politics and economy, reveal the old world secret, and manage to get more and more power to do so.

 

Can't wait to read your Enemy Within version further !



#8 valvorik

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 01:44 AM

Thanks.  All the prep in world doesn't survive contact with creative players of course so we will see where it goes.  Though the players (with some urging/pointers) created the links for most part (e.g., Magnus player imagined having 2 older brothers who were part of expedition during his initial character creation, from there it was "obvious" to me that one would have died with Templemann giving him a personal stake in things etc.).

I haven't decided a Black Cowl yet or any of the "background details".  Mysterious and suspicious meetings by a cabal of the powerful are still a fun idea I like. 

My plan was to wait till all suspects have been met, though thanks to Korhadriel's preference for resting Baerfaust has not been met yet.  Mostly I am currently doing a "is there anything inconsistent in what they are doing if they were the Black Cowl" test for the actions of the 3 while mulling other possibilities.

One of my players who speaks some German (often adding a bit of flavour to the game) recognized Herr Grosz as being "Mr. Big" in German for example, though they don't suspect him.  And Chlotilde is such a fun choice (Wilhelm the noble has a crush on her from his days in the Shallyan hospice).

It's not stated in the play summaries, Herrig keeps avoiding Curd because when he was younger Curd actually took him in and was trying to "set him on right path" (player created backstory, all I did was ask "why would the Red Arrow coachline not distrust you", but the independent Herrig ran off (to end up in a life of crime, I think it's shame as much as anything making him not want to be seen by Curd, we haven't played it out).



#9 willmanx

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 08:42 PM

will there be only an isolated black cowl in your game ? Or a team-up with one of them fallen to chaos ?



#10 valvorik

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 01:05 AM

We will have to see……



#11 willmanx

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 12:00 PM

valvorik said:

We will have to see……

 

interesting idea to build the mastermind part of the campaign as the game goes… However my players wouldn't agree with this, considering it isn't fair because they couldn't work on the case from the start as they really enjoy investigating and asking themselves questions between games :)

I need to build the whole BC thing before starting (and I still have some time to do that :) ).

 

Can't wait to read your next chapter. By the way, your work around the expedition source, story and npc is really great.



#12 valvorik

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 07:51 AM

Understood re not "writing the mystery as it's investigated". 

My players haven't started trying to figure out "who is the Black Cowl" yet (they only just got him really on their radar screen in last night's session, to be posted soon, I expect they may turn to that angle now) and don't show any sign of thinking "it might be someone we know with a secret identity".  - for example no Intuition or similar checks have been tried on Mauer, the Graf von K, Curd, Schaffer or Chlotilde or Grosz for that matter.

If anything, I think they suspect the Black Cowl is a skaven/skaven agent.



#13 valvorik

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 02:25 PM

All Players present.

Wilhelm rides through the orchard up the hill to hedge and looks about, poking it with lance but sees nothing (failed Observation, Wilhelm not being the most observant fellow - Int and Wp both 2).  The dwarf examines the felled branches as they are cleared and spots that they were cut (Player specifically says he's looking for that so no roll required).

The coach continues on but as they get underway as he looks back, Wilhelm does see a series of flashes of light from the hill top he was poking about.  Heliography is known to exist in the Empire (after all the Emperor is building an entire network of heliograph stations) (Observation succeed this time, dwarf riding atop coach also had chance but missed roll - I changed horn to signalling mirror as a less obvious way of signalling).  He slows his horse to let the coach catch up and advises his comrades as it continues.  They discuss tactics about how to deal with whoever has been signalled but as they continue on tactics become moot, “Stand and Deliver” calls out one of the three mounted swordsmen who appear on road ahead, as two with pistols drawn and pointed appear on one side and one on another (6 total as Players +1 in number)

Well, our bold investigators stand for nothing of this sort and deliver only death to such miscreants.

A bloody fight ensues that sees the bandits’ readied pistols fired to devastating effect (Herrig trying to get a shot off is hit by two shots and slumps to the floor of the coach critically wounded and unconscious).  Wilhelm charges the sold musketeer and though shot wounds him with his lance, however controlling his horse at same time (it not being war horse and being alarmed at the blackpowder fire) causes him to be thrown.  The dwarf leaps from the coach as it draws to a halt at the horsemen in front and engages them.  Korhadriel and Gunnar use crossbow and sling against riders.  Werner’s blunderbuss and Giselbert’s pistol also aid in the defence.

In the end, all the heroes but Korhadriel are badly wounded, and Wilhelm also suffers a critical wound.  Only his ability to “roll with it” saves the dwarf from a critical (increasing his soak enough the hit becomes a minimum damage so negating the critical that woujld have happened - good use of talent by Player).  The heroes are determined though and despite trying to break and flee the bandits are all slain (ranged fire or Wilhelm’s mounted attack with lance accounting for them).  They collect horses and pistols, noting the weapons and horses all bear brands or marks showing they are ‘state issue’ for Averheim military.  Several heroes have army experience and Korhadriel recognizes one dead bandit as Hector – a soldier he met before the Third Battle of Blackfire Pass who was (like Korhadriel) unhappy about being corralled into this venture and who deserted before the battle.

Several PCs were close to dropping.  I pulled no punches in this fight, the pistol shots rolled really well.  There was no real danger of anyone dying and Chlotilde would, as adventure scripts, have saved them by surrendering jewels if it came to it - it wasn't like facing ghouls or beastmen etc. where unconsciousness = death or awaking being prepped for dinner etc.

The coach is closer to Averheim than Heinzstadt, the Gravin’s estate, and she suggests it return to Averheim and the Temple of Shallya see to the wounded.  They arrive back in Averheim before noon, first going to the Journey’s End and summoning Curd Weiss.  Graf Friedrich von Kaufman appears with him, seeing the wounded he is immediately concerned that the Gravin is all right.  Other than a bit of bloodspatter on her dress, from Herrig being shot in the coach with her she’s fine and gives a glowing account of the investigators’ heroism.

Wilhelm reports on the suspicious presence of so much military gear which concerns the Graf greatly – he’s getting a bit worked up about the whole thing and the Gravin has to calm him with a gracious pat on shoulder.  The Graf orders Curd Weiss to check it all and make an account, and asks the investigators to return tomorrow morning to be on hand as he plans to present all this to the Steward of the Averheim.

The dwarf suggests that as it’s only noon, perhaps they could return to where the ambush took place and the light was spotted, to see if they can find more evidence.  The Graf thinks this is a great idea (as it indeed turns out to be).  Wilhelm manages to charm the Graf into letting him retain use of one of the pistols in the meantime (the Graf is quite keen to have all that evidence presented to the Steward) (Charm role is made, with noble to noble bonus).

Herrig decides to rest at the Temple of Shallya, receiving particular care due to the Gravin’s concerns being conveyed to the Temple.  The others don’t want to lose the afternoon and accept first aid instead (those who have not already benefited from untrained attempts at it, which is most).  The Gravin, out of concern for them as they venture out again, gives Magnus (highest Fellowship) a healing draught that he stows for future use (really the smile she gives him is the greater gift).

It’s midday by the time investigators find a trail behind the hedge and observe (check) where horsemen have been, finding a well-made camp nearby.  Orderly military-issue tents, a make-shift hitching rail for horses, fire pits, and some scattered boxes and casks.  Coming in quietly, they find the one inhabitant – an 11 year old girl who was mending a shirt when discovered in a tent.  Gertie professes to know nothing of the “hunters”, she comes from a nearby village. 

When Wilhelm says they are taking her to Averheim, despite her protests (Ma warned her about the city), she breaks down out of fear.  “Hector said if any of us showed our faces in Averheim the man in the black cowl would kill us.” (Wilhelm as a noble is good at intimidating brass tier peasants).

It turns out the bandits’ source of information about which shipments to attack (for blackpowder) was a “man in the black cowl” who Hector met.  This mysterious man provided contacts to dispose of goods but took custody of stolen blackpowder personally.  Only Hector dealt with him.  The investigators immediately connect this with the “Black Cowl”  who is the mastermind behind the “Brotherhood of the Black Cowl”.

The investigators found 35 shillings and (after accounting for damage breaking open box it was in) a 25 shilling pearl necklace.

Returning to Averheim in late afternoon (really end of day for all heroes who were up late last night, Wilhelm and Korhadriel being the exceptions), the investigators go directly to the von Kaufman mansion (where Magnus is staying).  There is a dinner event tonight at the mansion (Magnus is not invited) and it’s busy but Curd summons the Graf to hear their report.  Curd is puzzled by reference to the “Black Cowl” (here in the upper city we don’t follow every back and forth among the gangs down in the lower city).  He and the Graf Friedrich are intrigued/puzzled at the introduction into mix of “deserters and too much military gear for comfort” of the new element “criminal gang/mastermind”.  It’s not that the connection per se is unusual but Graf Friedrich doesn’t see how some gang leader in the lower city would know about his blackpowder shipments.  There is something of conspiracy and treason to all this business, says the Graf (Wilhelm is the most talkative during this exchange and that is his thinking too).

The Graf still wants to present the stolen weapons and horses to the Steward the next day (that will be Aubentag Sigmarziet 24), with investigators on hand to testify to how they found them. He would like them to keep quiet until then.  Curd plays the heroes a generous 40 shillings each for their heroism (and testimony and keeping quiet till the Steward is seen - the established tradition in campaign is you get paid not so much for what you fight and find but for how the story reflects on your patron's interests, also the Players may or may not have noticed that Curd pays them more when the Graf is personally present than when he's not).

• Note that the wounded Herrig did not keep from Curd Weiss’s sight at this point and the dour Curd raised an eyebrow when seeing him. Recognizing the orphaned boy he took in as a favour to a friend years ago who rebelled at discipline and being educated, running off to end up in a life of crime (Player created this connection as part of back story).

The Graf's reasoning about presenting evidence can flow from several motivations.  Simplest is that the disruptions in blackpowder delivery are putting his contract for this carriage at risk and he wants to show that the problem is not the Red Arrow's responsibility but something "more serious".  As a member of the Conspiracy he wishes to keep his credentials as a stalwart citizen intact.  If the Black Cowl he is even more interested in throwing of suspicion, if any evidence is found that he can't hide he would want to be the one to bring it forward.

Meanwhile, at the Temple of Shallya, Herrig in one afternoon of special care has received the equivalent of a night’s rest.  In the later afternoon, Gravin Chlotilde comes by to see how he is doing (having changed dresses, now a demure but attractive powder blue suitable to visiting a Shallyan temple).  She hands him a purse of 100 shillings “for you and your comrades” as her thanks for their bravery.

(If all the money ends up in common pool that’s 35+25+100 = 160 to share out in addition to the 40 each just received, of course who knows what carry charges Herrig deducts).

The investigators split up.  Magnus stays at the von Kaufman mansion as he is a guest there.  He uses a bit of stealth to get a look at who is coming to this dinner the Graf is holding.  He does not manage to overhear anything but sees Luminary Mauer and several people he does not recognize (not being a local): a distinguished military man, a portly woman with many jewels, a well-dressed scholarly sort and a wispy priest of Vererna (or just someone really fond of dressing up in Verenan holy symbols – he’s got a sword & balance in gilt relief on vestments).

This is a private meeting of "the Conspiracy" as a political movement with its own views of the best future for Averland.  Captain Baerfaust, Unterlector Glotz are the two "official TEW" NPC's beyond Mauer.  The others are Schott Mandelbrot, professor from Streissen and Frau Hurdleburger, rich cattle magnate's widow (courtesy of Luke's NPCs).  The dinner will be get a bit lively as the rift between Baerfaust and Kaufman starts over Kaufman's distrust of how military gear is turning up with bandits etc.  Unless the Player risks poking around with misfortune dice he will just hear some muffled raised voices as he tries to get to sleep in his room.

[Magnus is now getting rather tired, if he wants to poke around more etc. this evening he will have penalties]

Wilhelm had wanted to see Luminary Mauer but it appears the Luminary is busy this evening.

[For Wilhelm the night is still young….]

Korhadriel goes to the Temple of Shallya and using the Gravin’s reference manages (despite never having made donations etc.) to get overnight care there (for a boost on overnight recovery check).

The dwarf is tired and apparently turns in (at the Journey’s End stables).

We end…

The investigators are expected back at the Journey’s End for about 9:30 tomorrow, Aubentag (day 7), for a 10:00 at the Averburg.

- play wrapped glossing what happens to Gertie.  Unless players have other ideas, Curd Weiss was going to take custody of her at least until tomorrow’s Steward audience.  She’s being nicely treated by the condescending Graf [who talks to her like she’s 5 - after all you have to talk to all peasants as if they were 10, so a peasant child…] but she seems suspicious of it all].

So we have just ended Day Six.  Total playing time at table so far is 15 minutes short of 12 hours.

 



#14 gmanjkd

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 12:08 PM

@ Valvorik.  Hello sir.  From your experience with TEW so far, Do you feel that the first 3 books of the campaigne will indeed last 30, 4 hour game sessions?

 

Thanks for you ideas, looking forward to hearing from you

 

Gary



#15 valvorik

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 01:49 PM

Hard to say, we have 25 pages of part one played, there are 134 pages left including bits that call for GM fleshing out, such as the Miiddenheim quests and travel bits, not counting stat pages etc.  I am just now considering travel events and so on.

Without fleshing out if at same pace that is a bit over five times the play time so another 15 sessions of 4 hours.  However I expect play per page rate will very lots such as last session which was 3 pages for 2.5 hours



#16 gmanjkd

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 03:01 PM

Thanks for the info.   Sorry to be so exact.  But do you calculations only include the 1st 3 books?   i.e.  12 hours so far plus 15 game session to finish the 1st 3 books and prep for the 4th book?

 

 

Thanks


Gary



#17 valvorik

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 03:24 AM

The page count is everything, leaving out all the pre part one intro stuff.



#18 valvorik

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 02:59 PM

All players present

Still the evening of Sigmarzeit 23rd, a slightly tired (couple of misfortune dice) Magnus tries to Charm some more information about the dinner party out of a serving girl, Elke.  He learns the Graf is having a regular dinner, that he fusses quite a bit about getting right for everyone’s tastes with Captain Baerfaust, Luminary Mauer, Professor Schott Mandelbrot of that hotbed of political radicalism Streissen University, Frau Hurdleburger the cattle magnate's widow (ridiculously wealthy), and Unterlector Glotz (highest priest of Verena in Averheim).

Resting that night Wilhelm recovers from his traumatic blow (no crits left), but Korhadriel and Herrig both fail to recover from critical wounds.  Resting, courstesy of Gravin Chlotilde von Alptraum’s influence, at the Shallyan Temple’s hospice Korhadriel and Herrig are woken when a burn victim who has been making a bit of noise from time to time (a good sign actually, recovering consciousness) goes silent – both observing a Shallyan – or is it, something flickers and a black cowled figure is seen for a moment – leaving the bedside.

Korhadriel screams and leaps up, running from the dormitory by the opposite exit, Herrig rolls off his bed to the floor and tries to get a better look at the fiture(it's not pitch black as there are lights in halls etc. but lighting is poor, 3 misfortune, and having just woken a challenge die for grogginess).

The PC's were without weapons as the Shallyans don't permit them.

The figure exits into a hall and Herrig is sure there wasn’t enough time to get out of it but the hall is empty by the time he gets to the doorway to look about.  He goes to the burn victim and (Chaos Star) manages to find the knife in the dead man just as sisters come to investigate the scream.  It takes a returning Korhadriel’s testimony and some time to convince the Shallyans Herrig isn’t a killer (as it stands they used up their good graces for the moment but manage to avoid being completely persona non grata with the Shallyans).

The dead man was Arkhosh, burned in an attack down on the docks a few days ago – saved himself by jumping into river and being fished out by the watch.  A Kislevite “enforcer”, the investigators establish he ran afoul of the Brotherhood.  (They will later learn that word of his death in the hospice circulates, adding to fear of the Brotherhood due to its ruthless implacability – if they want you dead they don’t stop till you’re dead).

Homebrew addition, Arkhosh's attack and fate part of the Brotherhood's expansion, his attacker is Bischoff who has the Mark of Tzeentch and thus a coupl of spells, Grey college ones for concealment etc. that make him a good assassin etc.

On Sigmarzeit 24th, the investigators rise and before meeting Graf Kaufman all seek medical care.  They receive first aid form Peiter Autzeg the herbalist in the lower city, each paying 11 shillings and getting varying benefit from his care.

Hee hee hee, some were overcharged but didn't notice or ask about it though the basis for overcharge was disclosed, meaning of course they weren't overcharged for the price is what you pay.  I noted that 11 shillings was for those critically wounded and he then asked same of those not critically wounded, who paid it.  He's a specialise and uses Exp die on his First Aid.

Meeting the Graf and Curd as arranged, they attend as the Graf goes to an appointment in the Averburg with Steward Tochfel to present the evidence of deserters and garrison gear, mutants and possible links to a criminal gang called the Brotherhood and its cowled leader.  The investigators are mostly window dressing for this exchange (they note Gertie is not present, she was placed in Curd’s care the previous day). 

Graf Friedrich praises the investigators and their work (all being instigated and paid for by him of course, attempts to Intuit if he is earnest in his praise find nothing).  

Between using Leadership to figure out the Graf’s strategy/spin and Intuition to gauge the Steward’s reaction, the investigators realize (a) Graf von Kaufman’s focus is establishing that since it seems a compromised Averburg/garrison is the source of leaks causing shipments to be intercepted, the disruptions in blackpowder deliveries are not the Red Arrow’s fault and the contract for carriage of blackpowder from Nuln should continue to be held by Red Arrow, though he does faithfully relate all the points investigators consider key and encourage investigation and action; and (b) the Steward takes this all seriously but is obviously “taking this seriously among the countless other things he must take seriously”.

Leaving, the Graf appears happy with the outcome and offers the investigators further employment tomorrow.  He’s having the first showing of some choice expedition finds for select invitees in the Averburg Gardens & Menagerie.  He’s now concerned about relying on the garrison for security and thinks the investigators would be better security and minders for the event anyway – an elf scholar to comment, a noble and an agent to help keep any political animosities from boiling over, a slayer to look impressive and, well he’ll find a nice tabard for Herrig to wear. 

The investigators are interested and he invites them to join him for dinner at the Journey’s End that evening to discuss further..

In the afternoon -

Wilhelm makes an effort to find the Lieutenant who spoke to Korhadriel the day before yesterday (22nd) about meeting Captain Baerfaust. Female officers rare enough that identifying Arta Schaffer, right hand to Captain Baerfaust, is not hard. 

They find her and she recognizes her drinking companion the dwarf and the elf who she gave a message to – frowning at him at asking what happened, the Captain didn’t appreciate being stood up (the investigators will see Captain Baerfaust later and even accounting for fact it’s not in conditions likely to put him in a good mood he gives off the aura generally of someone with no patience for foolery and timewasters).  Still, after they relate concerns about mutants and cults and such she says she will ask the Captain if he still wants to have a word with them (it was word of mutants that aroused his interest).

They then go to see Luminary Mauer and update him.  He’s appalled at word of the bandits possible connections with the criminals who may be tied to "even worse elements" - the growing lawlessness of Averheim is unacceptable.  He agrees to raise the need for action against the Brotherhood with Captain Baerfaust.  Korhadriel asks about magic that could explain the disappearing figure at the hospice and the Luminary says there are a variety of spells for transportation etc., though they are powerful ones, simpler magics allow passing unseen or hiding in shadows and he suspects those.    A Chaos Sorcerer ignoring the divisions among the winds would have a range of these.  Too much time has passed (it’s been 8 hours at this point) to make it worthwhile for him to bother going to look with magical sight.

Passing through the docks, no new disappearances have taken place (at least none causing comment) though rumours are now circulating about slavers or cultists making off with people.  Most of the talk is about the Brotherhood, between Arkosh’s fate and the sight of the elf with his new scar (one of his criticals that won’t heal) opinion is solidifying that “you don’t cross the Brotherhood, join up or stay of the way”.  There is no sign of Frederick Grosz but no word of his demise either.  The investigators have no time for more inquiries as they wish to turn in in order to rise for their day at the Graf von Kaufman’s big event.

Dinner with the Graf confirms their commission and they retire early to be well rested on the morrow.  Wilhelm speaks with his older brother (who invested heavily in Kaufman's expedition and was about to sell off the investment fearing a loss, Wilhelm discourages that as it seems it will do well in his estimation, his brother brighens up, "We might not have to marry you off for money after all".).

- Episode End, Full Night Rest takes place and advances taken.

Marktag Sigmarzeit 25th comes and investigators report to the Journeys End on Plenzerplatz.

I'm using my rewritten Menagerie with roughly same events just more PC involvement and a tracker for event.

They meet Arta Schaffer and two other soldiers and escort two wagons with cushioned beds loaded with the sealed crates containing the items to be put on exhibit.  (The von Kragsburg mercenaries guarding the warehouse they are in not being permitted on the Averburg grounds).  Though early, the Plenzerplatz is starting to fill with merchant stalls and early bargain hunters for Marktag.  Some young pickpockets being chased spook a horse and Wilhelm fails to control it, Arta Schaffer saves a crate from falling off wagon – shaking her head at nobles and telling the dwarf he now owes her a drink.

Whatever camaraderie might have developing comes to crashing end at the entry to the Gardens where the Graf’s plan to exclude garrison soldiers from his event becomes clear.  Schaffer objects and Captain Baerfaust himself appears to see what the commotion is and says much the same as his Lieutenant: the garrison is responsible for all security on the grounds. 

Kaufman produces an order with the Steward’s seal making the Gardens von Kaufman’s for the day and allowing him authority over who is present or not.  Baerfaust is not happy at all and makes clear he’s now present at the event only as a guest and Kaufman can be responsible for anything that goes wrong.  The soldiers loiter around the Garden entrance.

Investigators have some time to familiarize themselves with the layout before guests arrive.  There are caged animals, including the crowd favourite Pookie the Demigryff and a variety of new Southland creatures (Magnus just wants 15 minutes alone with the caged lizard man - because of his brother's fate of course, though the line gets quite a few looks from others and "the quote of the night"). 

Among the Graf’s people there is the expedition artist Luis Dalmotti – Magnus talks to him about events.  Dalmotti doesn’t remember his brothers by name but recalls the dreadful event when Templemann was lost and only one soldier, Bischoff came back.  Asked about Bischoff, Dalmotti has only one word to use, “sadist”. 

The duck pond is poked to ensure nothing lurking, the border hedge of the area checked for breaches etc., the animals checked out in case they might be used as distractions. 

Hmm, this was Wilhelm's player's idea - which is course what is planned.  We'll see if they keep the watch for that noted, the noble Pistolier character is actually Int 2 so I'm not inclined to let his "clever ideas" get them very far.

During the event the Graf is more concerned about disruptions among the guests, in terms of threats to the items it’s during the packing up at end of day he’s concerned.  He doubts anyone is going “grab something and run for it” during the event.  Graf Kaufman doesn’t think cultists would have any interest in his finds, they were all vetted by wizards on the expedition as not being corrupt etc., the gold plaque is the most conventionally valuable find (and heaviest, it is observed an ogre would be needed to run off with it ‘solo’).  Herrig is given a map of the hedge maze that borders the exhibition area, in case anyone gets lost in it.

I did create a problem for myself describing the gold plaque as I realized that it would be very heavy - any decent amount of gold or solid gold object is - will have to ponder how it is absconded with.

Guests start arriving.  The Graf explained earlier he did not invite the heads of the Leitdorf and Alptraum families as the political attacks have been so vicious he doesn’t think they could get along, instead he’s invited more level-headed representatives of the major families, Ferdinand Leitdorf and his wife Claudia and Gravin Chlotilde von Alptraum.

(the ‘how well is the event doing’ as the ‘sales launch’ for expedition finds/employer’s satisfaction with job investigators do’ is set out).

The Graf welcomes all his guests and invites them to look at the animals, be entertained by a display of falconry as the final touches are put on the exhibit (which is being set up under drop clothes, Korhadriel managing to catch only a glimpse of a large egg and a heavy gold tablet).

During this time:

Herrig witnesses Captain Baerfaust’s protests to Ferdinand Leitdorf about von Kaufman ("landless jumped-up petty noble") and demands the Council of State clarify his authority, and Leitdorf’s response that the Captain can have all the authority he wants in the lower city but the Council won’t compromise any noble prerogatives in the upper city.  Herrig doesn’t try to talk to Baerfaust as he storms off, leaving the exhibition area to go talk with his soldiers just at the entrance to it. (- for track).

Korhadriel fails to intervene in Claudia von Leitdorf’s pained (headache?) interactions with her ladies in waiting, seeing only venomous looks at Chlotilde von Alptraum and despairing looks at her husband as Claudia has one of her ladies take her off to the hedge maze for some quiet (- for track) - the investigators must reach their own conclusions for the thoughts behind the looks.

It's political but some players leap to assumption of affairs and shenanigans between Ferdinand and Chlotilde.  I decided Claudia would retire to the quiet  of the hedge maze not the Averburg as that offers more fun later….

Wilhelm intervenes to make Waldermarius Loamdelve feel more secure about birds swooping too close to him during the falconry display (Coord check to keep himself between the halfling and birds without being too obvious about it) that is + for track (after causing him some annoyance by not announcing him as requested upon the Halfling’s arrival and also not explaining that guests weren’t being formally announced).  He thus hears Chlotilde’s chat with the halfing elder about theatre’s moral instructive value and Waldmarius' thanks to von Alptraums for removing the ban against halflings on stage in time for the Great Detective’s performance. (+ track)

Magnus encourages the chatter of guests to turn more to expedition matters than the political situation.  He learns that the Templemann-Kaufman expedition’s masterminds in Averheim were actually, with Graf Kaufman:  Captain Baerfaust (who advised on military matters and recommended mustering out veterans to supplement the von Kragsburg mercenaries) and Luminary Mauer (who recommended wizards to seek out to take on expedition and advised on supernatural threats generally).

The players react to the news that all three had their hand in the expedition as they are sure it's "some sort of mischielf"

- We break -

Total playing time is 855 minutes.



#19 valvorik

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 10:24 AM

Magnus is called upon by Graf von Kaufman to retrieve some speaking notes from the Kaufman mansion and departs. (Player Absent)
 
A Joke in Poor Taste
 
Hogweed, the young jester of the Tuchtenhagen contingent, tells a malicious joke about halflings to Waldemarius and his patron, Theodosius when hearing Waldemaris’ complaint compounds the insult.  Wilhelm manages to assuage the halfling’s injured ego enough he does not leave the event.
 
The halfling elder’s gratitude will also translate into a 20% discount on a future purchase of something Wilhelm wants.
 
Who Invited the Inquisition?
 
Meanwhile, Korhadriel and the dwarf see a tall woman in a broad hat and black leather arriving – not being Imperial humans neither automatically recognizes her for what she is (Folklore check) but Korhadriel has (Folklore 5 success + Chaos star) heard so well the human tales of Sigmar’s Witch Hunters and their roving authority to accuse/try/execute on their sole personal judgement that he must make a Fear 2 check (which he fails).  The Dwarf has no such knowledge and intercepts her on her way to speak to Captain Baerfaust to ask her business, being told to step aside as she is on the business of Sigmar’s Holy Crusade against Chaos!  (He does).
 
The Dwarf manages to hear a bit of her exchange with Baerfaust, who apparently knows her and hails her as Fraulein Ketzenblum.  No old Gregor is not with her, "he has retired to Middenheim." and yes she is here "on Sigmar's business".
 
Different investigators are nearby as the witch huntress moves about the event speaking to:

- Luminary Mauer - Korhadriel hears an unfriendly exchange in which his status as an expert on corruption is suggested to have a darker side and he refers to some past event

- Graf Kaufman - Wilhelm does not manage to hear anything only seeing the accompanying gestures – she pointing and talking rapidly, the Graf taken aback, shaking head, looking perplexed and exasperated in turns. 

On the way out she speaks again with Captain Baerfaust and The Dwarf hears her suspicion about this expedition and man in black cowl, thinking it all tied together and being suspicious of all involved.  The Captain observes he was involved and she says, “Yes, you were”, before leaving.
 
Herrig is circulating among the guests while this goes on, hearing catty chatter, "what is a Templar of Sigmar's interest in the Graf?" "I didn't know our Temple of Sigmar had a witch huntress - no they don't, she must be from outside Averheim" "Isn't that old Gregor Helstrum's protégé?" "Poor Graf Kaufman, this will be the talk of the city (said sarcastically)".
 
The Reveal!

To get things back on track, Graf von Kaufman calls his guests into the marquee.  Wilhelm and Korhadriel are “inside the tent” (noble and educated Sun Society member).  The Dwarf keeps an eye outside, Herrig (with his map of the hedge maze) goes to find Claudia von Leitdorf and make sure she is all right.
 
The Graf is best showman style begins unveiling his exhibits, while pointing to Luis Dalmoti’s drawings of the creatures and sites involved and the large map showing the expedition’s path.  There are oohs and ahs (the event track makes some gains moving more comfortably into the positive range). 

As the unveiling completes, Wilhelm notes the jester Hogweed collapsing in a fit, the lady in waiting Wanda trying to see to him.  He goes over and makes sure the jester is removed from the tent before causing a scene.
 
Guests can now view the exhibits as the Graf mingles and chats.  Korhadriel adds his Educated observations, studying the great gold plaque that caused quite a stir and attracts the admiration of Theodosius and Dagobert.  Despite the challenge, he realizes and shares with the audience that this plaque is the work of the creatures who predate the lizard men of far Lustria, creatures elves call the Old Ones – the awe evident in his voice (and the 3 stress he has suffered seeing works clever apes were not meant to meddle with which is causing him to speak aloud realizations that Ulthuan’s folk do not usually share so readily with humans).  Well, though Korhadriel is now almost at his breaking point for stress, this causes further impressed oh’s in the crowd and Graf von Kaufman beams (event meter up again nicely).

Luminary Mauer Interjects
 
However, Luminary Mauer interrupts the mood when he raises an alarm about a smoky jade effigy that looks like an odd contorted (goblin?) face.  An argument breaks out as Mauer says it is corrupt and should be surrendered to him while von Kaufman points out all his exhibits were cleared by wizards Luminary Mauer himself recommended for the expedition. 

The Gold Wizard Dagobert is called away from gazing at the gold plaque to give his opinion on the piece’s corruption.  Dagobert’s eyes acquire a metallic sheen as he walks around the effigy studying it, glancing at Luminary Mauer, before stepping back and declaring in mock alarm, "Why yes, I see what the Luminary is saying, there is something of evil about this item.  Can't you see..", he turns to the audience and points to the effigy's mouth, "This is where you would put in the cheese!"  
 
Many start laughing or smirking and a few whispered comments are heard, “I wonder if they will ever want him back in Altdor”, “He’s had them down into the sewers how many times?”  Dagobert, wiping tears from his eyes, adds, "Seriously, my own Aetheryric Vision detects no corruption in the object.  I see no basis to warrant its immediate seclusion.  I question its creator's taste but find no hazard."
 
When his demand is refused, Luminary Mauer straightens up to his full (not so impressive) height and puffs up, turning red and sputtering in inarticulate rage.  He storms off, pausing at the exit to talk to Captain Baerfaust - pointing angrily at the marque.  He then leaves and after a moment’s thought Captain Baerfaust goes off after him - both leaving the immediate area.
 
Korhadriel in the meantime offers his own opinion, he has no magical sight but it seems to him the piece fits no style he knows of and that the substance is not actually jade but actually an amalgam of some sort.  “So rarer than jade!”  von Kaufman helpfully spins things.  Overall the outburst was a bit of a downer but the clearing of the accusation and added “story” to the item are positive effects as the dust settles.

My version of Luminary Mauer has raised false (or at least unproven) alarms about rat mutants in the sewers and such several times during his years in Averheim and is regarded as a bit of a crank on the subject of mythical rat people.  My players are bit too blase about "of course skaven exist, we've met them in past campaign" and I'm trying to drive home how you will be viewed for that sort of thing and raise doubts about whether it's skaven.

A Game of Mazes, Theft and Murder
 
To help decompress from the tension, the von Kaufman lady in waiting Amalie Stein proposes a game of hide and seek, with her to be sought, in the hedge maze.  Several guests take up the offer, some others do not being familiar with the maze or not minded to.  Herrig is still in the maze, having not found Claudia yet (he encounters Amalie who, when she realizes he is not a player in game [peasant] urges him to move along and be quiet so as not spoil it).

Not long after this game starts, Pookie the Demigryff (the children’s favourite exhibit) lets out a piercing cry and breaks from his cage, bounding over scrambling party guests in an apparent desire to be away from the crowd – leaving a fallen, bloody Albrun Falk in his wake, as he heads into the greenery of the hedge maze. 
 
Graf Kaufman urges the investigators to go after it and make sure the guests aren’t hurt, “and see if you can subdue it rather than kill it, the children love it so”. 

Wilhelm and The Dwarf pursue the demigryff, Wilhelm taking to horse to do so.  Korhadriel does not, instead inspecting the cages to see how it got loose (failed observation sees nothing).
 
Herrig has the misfortune to run into Pookie face to face as he nears the last of the 3 spots Claudia Leitdorf might logically be, which Pookie seems to be heading to as well (the sundial).  Herrig fails his Fear check against the beast but runs to warn Claudia and her lady in waiting to get out – as Pookie burts into the Sundial clearing Herrig flails his arms to attract the beast’s attention and suffers a grievous swipe of claws, giving the women time to escape.
 
Wilhelm and The Dwarf arrive to help (it not being too hard to follow the large creature) and Wilhelm jumps from his horse onto its back to try to restrain it.  Herrig rapidly fires arrows from his bow, alas hitting Wilhelm as often or more than Pookie (chaos stars on ranged attacks, not threading needle).  [between fear and running and other effects, then wounds, Herrig is 1 wound, 1 stress and 1 fatigue from falling – just a question of which].
 
Matters are complicated when there is sound of explosion and smoke rises from the marquee, greenish smoke that quickly obscures the marquee and surrounding area even as far as the duck pond.

Korhardriel tries to enter to see what is happening but the fatigue and stress of the strange favours deter him and he falls back, running to get help.  He finds Lieutenant Schaffer and her men, the Lieutenant expressing her regrets that the gardens are off limits to the garrison for the afternoon and her confidence that “you and the Graf’s other men will be able to deal with the situation”.
 
It will be The Dwarf who manages to brave the smoke (though acquiring temporary insanity making his senses a bit unreliable) to find a mortally wounded Giselbert being tended by a coughing, crying lady in waiting Fausta, while outside there is a splash and cursing (apparently Dagobert fell into the duck pond trying to get out of cloud). Fausta didn’t see anything but Giselbert manages to cough out “a little figure all in black - great big yellow fangs!” 

Alas, though he is carried clear and Korhadriel tries to save him his wound is deep and is showing signs of corruption – Giselbert dies, Chlotilde running to his side too late to bid her beloved footman farewell (having been in the maze and having to exit).

Investigators draw the connection between this wound and the ones of men killed on docks etc.
 
Meanwhile Herrig falls, overcome by fatigue (not wounds) and Wilhelm fights Pookie alone.  It rolls to dislodge him and eventually Wilhelm also falls, as he tries in vain to subdue Pookie (suffering a mild critical of punch drunk, being battle scarred).  Pookie isn’t really hungry and wanders off now that no one is bothering him (he will eventually be recaptured by Averburg garrison).
 
Back in the smoky tent, The Dwarf realizes he can’t see any large gold plaque or leering jade mask that he heard being talked about. Theft and Murder!  Looking for footprints (the gold plaque would have been very heavy to carry) he finds them heading to the duck pond.  Hmmm, the same one the gold wizard fell into – The Dwarf realizes the gold plaque is under the silt in the pond!
 
The Dwarf keeps quiet about his discovery until he reaches Graf von Kaufman.  Dagobert is with his patron, looking like he has a stitch in his side.  The Dwarf says he has found the plaque, not the mask, and suspects the gold wizard but can’t prove it.  Kaufman suspects this too and is angry at anyone who tries to steal from him, but one can’t be accusing wizards without evidence.  He appreciates The Dwarf’s nose for gold (apparently a trait they both have in different ways) and whispers that whoever hid the plaque in the pond will try to come back for it at some point – so we will keep quiet about knowing it’s there and lay a trap for them (looking at Dagobert as he talks).
 
Herrig recovers consciousness but Wilhelm is still unconscious from his wounds as he is brought out of the maze.  Iced drinks and damp clothes are used to tend to the stressed and fatigued as the smoke begins to clear.
 
We break (episode end recovery).

Total playing time 1005 minutes (16 hours, 45 minutes)

Note I am playing around with what's going on a bit, not the main thread of things but the theft of plaque etc.



#20 valvorik

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 01:24 PM

I think the reactions are, so far,

Kaufman, That is an erudite elf, wondrous things he had to say,  handy saving my falconer, no use in a fight, guess that is what dwarfs are for, and that dwarf, worth almost his weight in gold!

Mauer, oh you were there, oh yes, in that fool Kaufman's service.

Claudia Von L., what a brave young man!  He must be propertly thanked, Ferdinand see that Graf von Kaufman rewards his man. (his scrawny looking (str2) average fellowship (fel3) young man, just to be clear)

Amalie, so there was a monster loose in the maze, there I was blindfolded and my ears sealed for the game and no one came to get me?

Waldemarius, too many avians!  Belong in a pie not loose at a party.  Those Tuchtenhagens, they're for a different pie.

Chlotilde, mourns the death of the man who has been her bodyguard since before she could read and the only man she ever trusted or would tell a secret.  Someone will pay far more than the 5 gold karls she offers as reward for justice.  The most dangerous woman in Averheim does not wear a Witch Hunter's garb.






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