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The Enemy Within (actual play)


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#61 valvorik

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 11:39 AM

The Death of Two Companions

 

A good villain always has a Plan B - for Bomb!

 

Hearing the call to put a stop to the bell, Magnus starts struggling up the tower despite his crippled leg. Korhadriel remains below.

 

The Dwarf attacks the bell-ringer Wilhelm had wounded and fells him, forestalling the next ringing of the bell.

 

Important, #5 was going to start channeling dying soul energy to Schott in his masterplan.

The one remaining underling tries to push the dwarf out of the tower but fails and Mandelbrot’s magics are failing him, he stabs at the dwarf and manages to inflict another critical wound through his perverse affects on fate or chance, whatever it is.

 

However, the bell stopping means there is only one more reverberation (Corruption for everyone!) and the daemon below now suddenly evaporates in a purple cloud (the smoke coming off him before was his ‘slow evaporation’).

 

The Dwarf fells both the remaining underling and Mandelbrot himself, his axes biting deep and putting an end to the Professor’s plots, whatever they were.

 

A close thing, the Dwarf was at one point 1 Fatigue away from dropping (failed Terror 4 check with two banes and fatigue tear)

 

There is a regathering of those who fought the daemons and exchange of information, Wilhelm answers when asked that he does not think Mandelbrot was the Black Cowl. He was trying to summon the “old ones” it seems, according to Wilhelm.

 

[not actually what he said but so it is recalled and related].

 

A check is made – no PC saw Holy Inquisitor Siebolt’s ignoble actions and contribution to the death of Claudia von Leitdorf.

 

Episode end and recovery etc.

 

The comrades are thanked and retire. Wilhelm seeks out the Averland Electoral Palace hoping for Clothilde’s hospitality but the guards of Graf von Bitternach turn him away.

 

She's busy - and knows ways in and out of palace these guards don't!

 

The comrades return to the Seven Stars inn and rest. They are sent expert medical care overnight and all but Korhadriel choose to rest (extended rest) the whole of the next day (the 10th).

They do receive an update on the raid on the Cellini Ironworks. Some sort of experimental explosive device controlled by clockwork was being made using the remaining blackpowder. The inventor responsible, Konrad Mahler comes forward as he thought he was working on a weapon to present to the Empire. He explains the details, the audible ticking he has not yet corrected, the size (a trunk/chest) and confirms that six were made. Someone took them away from the ironworks the day before.

 

It is speculated that they were to be used as part of an attack on the noon-day service, the attack frustrated by the companions’ deeds.

 

Wilhelm, and his comrades get an invitation to the unveiling of the statue of Leos von Leibwitz taking place on the 11th in front of the Wissenland Electoral palace. The Countess Emmanuel von Leibwitz is honouring her departed brother. She wishes to thank the PC’s for their forestalling of an attack which would have put many of the empire’s luminaries at risk – including herself.

 

Metagame – how they tell the story and act post events is a big part of how they are perceived and rewarded, also the degree of influence the PC’s have in affecting decisions about other people. Everyone gets to make checks/roleplay their actions.

 

A host of luminaries is here, many of those who would have been at the cathedral including 3 electors, the Grand Theogonist, Patriarch Balthazar Gelt and others great and notable (Seigfried von Saponatheim, Witch Hunter Captain Leopold, Hierophant Ingrid Strauss). Graf Kaufman is still laid up from wounds in the temple, Clothilde is still secured behind von Bitternach guards, Captain Baerfaust and Luminary Mauer were evidently not invited.

 

The whole Averland crew is absent hee hee hee.

 

However the event turns into another attack!

 

When the band stops playing, everyone having gathered, and the speeches are to start, several PC’s hear a “ticking noise” coming from the temporary stands (boxes) that poles holding Leibwitz banners are in – these being all over the place (more than 6, which ones are the bombs???!!!)

 

Players now choose the degree of risk they will run to try to save (almost certain death for easy check to help save people, midding risk for middling check, just warn who you can while running out hard check to be helpful but easy check to avoid harm).

 

All but Korhadriel choose the run the gravest risk of harm to save who they can, Korhadriel being a more middling cautious route (but still surprising his comrades in not just running screaming like a girl)).

 

Wilhelm tries to use Leadership to guide others out safely and in orderly fashion (fails completely), the Dwarf tries to Intimidate people into fleeing (fails), Magnus tries to gently persuade his betters (fails). Only Korhadriel (who had a harder check!) succeeds and he manages with 3 successes to warn Patriarch Gelt, Hierophant Strauss and a Shallyan.

 

It turns out 2 of these choices were strategic, the Patriarch uses gold magic to transform Countess Emmanuel into metal (temporarily) to protect her. Strauss uses Berrona’s Time Warp to in a blink of eye whisk the Grand Theogonist to safety. The explosion then goes off.

 

Checks are then made to see if PCs survive.  For PC's taking the most risk (and having failed to produce any effects on first roll that would have better positioned them, moving them into lower risk group) this is like the Theater Explosion check.

 

The Dwarf dies trying to use a table to stop the blast reaching others and Magnus is impaled by a Leibwitz banner – expiring wrapped in the Countess’s colours. Wilhelm and Korhadriel survive (wounded but alive).

 

I am SO lucky in my players.  They chose their actions role playing their PCs and there was not ONE word of complaint.  The play aid on table made clear this was the "almost certain death" option and they accepted they had chosen that risk.

 

Misfortune die is then rolled for each other NPC (failure = dead, bane = badly wounded, statistically a 3rd of those present should die).

 

As it happens only two die: Graf Siegfried von Saponatheim and Witch Hunter Captain Wilhelm Leopold. However, both of the other two electors and the Emperor’s key advisor Graf Otto von Bitternach are badly wounded (this is like Kaufman a “out of commission for extended period” sort of wounding that does mean they are not providing effective leadership in this dire time), as is the noted foe of chaos Lord Magistrate Heisman von Bruner and the noted bane of milkmaids and winsome serving girls Graf Theodosius von Tuchtenhagen.

 

Emmanuel was the real target.  Clothilde is getting depressed - is she ever going to have her revenge for her humiliation in the Leos affair when she was a teenager?  That woman has Tzeentch's own luck!

 

As the smoke is clearing, Wilhelm and Korhadriel see a black-cowled figure atop the roof of a nearby building, turning and vanishing from sight.

 

Wilhelm runs to his horse (tied up at the edge of coutyard, sort of like Varsuvius’s familiar in OOT the horse is “around” unless noted) and riding past Korhadriel sweeps him up to try to catch the fleeing figure (the elf adds two misfortune dice to ride checks).

 

To catch up he will have to jump a wall, Ride 3D, he fails and the black-cowled figure makes good its escape….

 

I really, really, really wanted him to make that check.  To catch up and without any more support have to face the Black Cowl (and Katrina) and realize it was Clothilde, the woman he favours.  Oh that would have been sweet - would Wilhelm rather have died in the square with his comrades than face the truth?  But the roll failed.

 

We will resume here and introduce others new PC’s “in media res” or otherwise. The two players are thinking of taking "existing background NPCs already involved in the adventure" as their new PC's for continuity reasons.  Their own idea, again, I'm a lucky GM.

 

As noted, Wilhelm and Korhadriel both are well-rewarded with the level of success rolled on their actual "parlay this into something" checks. The actual presentations to come but for record keeping- Wilhelm gets a masterwork blade, Korhadriel a “luckstone” useful to wizards. The noble Wilhelm gets an annual pension of 12 gold karls, first year paid immediately and payable again on the 2nd Festag of each Nachgeheim (anniversary of events). The brass tier Korhadriel likewise receives a pension of 2 gold karls.

 

Each of them is offered and will receive the Blessing of the Grand Theognoist (helpful against Chaos and Daemons, can be lost when gaining any corruption points).

 

Their influence is used (they have marks = successes rolled) against Luminary Mauer (-2), to help Avallyne Valndar (2) and Eothlir Valandar (1), Clothilde (2, all Wilhelm), and to help Captain Baerfaust (1).

 

This will mean:

 

Luminary Mauer’s role in facilitating the creation of a falsely-purified clapper causes great scrutiny and doubt about him. Curd’s revelations about him having a sister alive who is a witch were shared – meaning he was in for trouble in best of times. He is questioned and the attention paid to him means (an NPC makes a check) that one of his amulets (wizards wear so many gew-gaws) – an unassuming silver orb – is recognized as a symbol sometimes used by witches – of the sort his family was!!!! Well a chaos star on that check means Mauer realizes things are heading a particular way and he goes on the lam. Mauer is missing and wanted for questioning. Could he be the Black Cowl??

 

Avallyne Valandar is able to have imperial authorities approve her purchase of Kaufman’s Southlands treasures (at least those her father said were the sort of things to keep away from humans – gold plaques with inscriptions etc.). This is at a “fair market price” which Kaufman is unable to object to (meaning the possible profits on elven purchaser with unlimited funds are lost).

 

Eothlir is also recognized by imperial authorities and won’t have to work for “entrepreneurs” anymore if he doesn’t want to.

 

Both elves, in particular Avallyne, are grateful to Korhadriel.

 

Captain Baerfaust, whose bravery in the great temple was noted, benefits from Wilhelm’s support. He does not become the new governor of the Imperial Penal Colony of Sudenland (hot enough to boil a dog as they say), though his career is no longer on the rise as it briefly was.

 

Clothilde, whose reputation in Altdorf was suffering under attacks and the stinging words of the Countess Emmanuel though benefiting from the support of Graf Otto von Bitternach, benefits from Wilhelm’s support. This is particularly useful with Graf Otto laid up after the explosion (the dice were sending her efforts in to limbo without Wilhelm’s help). Her petition for an Imperial Plenipotentiary is granted.

 

As soon as it is clear that the Emperor has returned to good health and assuming the war effort continues to go well enough to not require his presence, that noted son of Averland, General Ludvig Schwarzhelm will come to Averheim and  ONE WAY OR ANOTHER – this nonsense will come to an end. Averland will have a new Elector or someone will explain why not to the Sword of Justice.

The Gravin has not seen Wilhelm in the past couple of days but did send word inquiring about his availability to escort her back to Averheim.

 


Edited by valvorik, 25 January 2014 - 11:43 AM.


#62 valvorik

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 03:35 PM

This will probably wrap my record of The Enemy Within.

 

The Black Cowl has survived.  The  "mad genius" plot of the bell was foiled and Mandelbrot, her most useful tool, slain, what is more the Black Cowl's true ambition to assassinate Emmanuelle von Leibwitz and her coterie of hangers on (those who humiliated her years ago) was foiled on the 9th and the back-up plan was foiled on the 11th.  She follows Ecaté, the moon goddess of witches, as taught by Kat.   Revenge is justice in her eyes.

 

Both times Clothilde's plans were foiled by Wilhelm and his comrades (it's the old world, though he is not the brightest bulb, he's the noble so everyone assumes it's his crew), however the Player did make rolls to win her favour wooing her.  That's the one reason she hasn't tried to assassinate him.  His heart is in the right place it's just his sights are misplaced, she sees that, and most lately, he has used what influence his deeds gained him to speak favourably of her and that may be useful when the Plenipotentiary comes to Averland.  Wilhelm is younger, lower tier and not very bright - so he's "fun on the side" not a real partner (she likes older men, older higher tier and not very bright would be an acceptable husband, older - equal or higher and a mind to respect could be a real partner).

 

At least two of the others died, and neither Wilhelm nor Korhadriel tried to save Emmanuelle herself from the bombs.  The elf, well elves are strange folk, she is not certain what to do about him - he is the smartest of them but he has relations around that would look into his death.

 

Sending them both into the Southlands for an extended period, that might suffice.  In the meantime, she will keep them close to see what they might know or suspect, though she cannot afford a scandalous liaison with a lesser noble in Averheim.  If Wilhelm is to keep company with her, it will have to observe all proprieties.

 

Barring players being inventive (who knows what they will pull out of their hats), we will resume with them heading back to Averheim, hopefully in time for the Wine Festival, aboard the Emperor Wilhelm with a cast of characters including the two current candidates for the Electorship of Averland (Clothilde von Alptraum and Ferdinand von Leitdorf) and the corpse of Claudia von Leitdorf on ice, courtesy of the Ice King of Kislev.


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