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The Enemy Within (Göteborg, Sweden)

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#21 herrquisling



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Posted 15 January 2014 - 01:12 AM

Well, from what I've heard from the mouths of pc:s and players (they have stated their initial intentions for next session) they are reacting to this in different ways. 


Waldenfrau, who made a quick examination of the girl, is absolutely certain that the girl has mutated. She knows not what to do, but from her travels she knows (or believes she knows) that mutation is not always proof of association with the ruinous powers. She's delivered babies and baby animals and seen mutations with no trace of corruption in the parents. She turns to von Stangel and whispers warnings...


von Stangel first thought that she'd been force fed. His first reaction was to pick her up and hold her, but before they left he covered her up so that her tattoo wouldn't show. As Waldenfrau whispers that the girl might be - or at least seen as (she's careful, that one) mutated - he makes a quick decision. He can't take her to the ulricans. They are not likely to be very understanding, he feels, and the sigmarites would be worse and also that would mean the witch huntress. Going into hiding would be futile and would do Anna no good, leaving town; well, that might be an option. Eventually. Right now he makes for the temple of Shallya where he hopes to convince the priestesses to take care of the child.


Kühnheit has not understood things yet, neither has Joseph. Kühnheit would likely want to throw her off the rock. Joseph would probably be conflicted. von Stangel has asked him to kill Anna for him if it turns out that she is beyond redemption from corruption, but is she? In the light of the ritual? Reinhardt would probably want the child slain, but he'll likely not come around to saying that out loud in the company of von Stangel. 


As for von Kaufman, the child obviously means more to him than he himself can grasp. If he learns that she's been saved and about her faith, he might just turn against Bauerfaust and aid the pc:s; depending on what they've done with Anna. If he can find a way to blame the pc:s on the other hand, he might just do that. We'll see. 


#22 valvorik



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Posted 15 January 2014 - 07:56 AM

Interesting, nice conflicts and Rping.  I too raised the hint/hope that the "Middenheim Ritual" might be able to cure mutation (possibly killing the subject if they were too far gone).  If you're crossing campaigns etc. there's the renegade Shallyan in Dying of the Light who thinks mutants deserve mercy etc.


Of course, there actually is a high level Shallyan blessing for curing mutation though I don't allow that in my campaign except as a major epic outcome.

#23 herrquisling



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Posted 20 January 2014 - 08:38 AM

Some player contributions between sessions (about Anna, that is)


Wulfgang was sitting on the bench, waiting for the Shallya priestess to return. His eyes were unfocused and he was unable to sit still. His thoughts and feelings were in an uproar; guilt, regret, anger and apathy.


This is not right. It can't end like this. If the Gods have guided my steps, how can they let this happen? Anna, poor Anna. No, this is not over, do the Gods want vengeance? Well, then I'll hand it to them. Markheim and Glückstein – run whilst you can... Or has all been in vain? Are the Gods laughing, holding our strings? Or is there no-one?


Wulfgang looked no older than the twenty years he'd just turned. He buried his face in his hands and soon tears were running down his cheeks.


- - -


Von Stangel had seemed relieved when they decided to split up after exiting through the manhole. Joseph had felt the same way. He needed time to sort out his thoughts. Finding Anna wasn't what he'd imagined. Joseph hadn't thought it'd be easy to handle, but at least he'd expected it to be clear, final. The mixed feelings he now had became to much, the result – confusion. Neither Jospeh nor Wulfgang had mentioned the agreement they'd made during their travels here, but in spite of that – or because of what wasn't said – a barrier had been raised between the comrades.


Wulfgang hadn't let Jospeh get close to Anna. At one point von Stangel had subtly stepped between Joseph and Anna and had given Joseph a dark look. It hadn't been needed. Joseph wasn't able to handle his feelings when confronted by Anna, by what she'd perhaps become. That he'd recently come to see some of his childhood memories through other eyes didn't make it easier. He would never be able to become a witch hunter, someone who was able to pass judgment with absolute conviction.


If Anna had been born to parents of the bronze tier her faith would have been sealed. But now she had a guardian, a background, a family. Who can judge a child? A child whom without any fault of her own had been a victim of the ruinous powers. Of course, that happens all the time, but it was easier to judge and stay true to your convictions when things weren't so personal. It could have been Joseph, as a child. It could have happened to him. Josephine, his sister-who-was-not-real, had saved him.


Who would save Anna? Who would pray for her soul? Joseph will. He owed her that much, he owed himself, he owed Wulfgang, he owed Josephine. He will save her.  

Edited by herrquisling, 20 January 2014 - 08:39 AM.


#24 herrquisling



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Posted 22 January 2014 - 01:19 AM

The Middenheim Final


The pc:s split up under the light of the two moons, of which Morrslieb now was close to full and Mannslieb quickly waning. Joseph and Kühnheit made their way to the temple of Ulric and returned with four knights, the high priest and six-men-at-arms. Confronting the bravos, it turns out that they've been waiting for reinforcements since Markheim, Glückstein and an officer left with instructions to let no-one out of the cellar, since “something has broken through from the sewers”. That was more than one hour ago. The Ulricans investigate the cellar and the many corpses and high priest Weiss and the pc:s talk things trough. They learn some about the trial, about sightings of rat-men around the temple last night and about the cultists they fought.


Meanwhile, von Stangel, Waldenfrau and Reinhardt made their way to the temple of Shallya. A tense scene were von Stangel learns that the best fate he can hope for is to have the girl taken by the Shallyans and transferred to a secret orphanage for children born with the signs (whom the Shallyans claim to be able to keep from “turning”). His spirits crushed, von Stangel leads the others back to Winthund Haulage.


Some more things are discussed, the pc:s learn that brother Köhler and von Stangel are expected to testify tomorrow. The witch hunter has been enquiring about the ritual and seems to be keen to speak to the pc:s, rather than to arrest them, or so the Ulricans say.


The death of Markheim


The pc:s then decide to go after Markheim. It's a couple of hours after midnight, but it's possible that he's had to go to Aschenbeck Manor to get things, destroy evidence or plan his escape or whatever. They go there, in no shape for a fight, straight up to the gates. There they find Bravos and more Bravos, in the gardens, by the gate, on the balconies; lots of them. When challenged by the knight and then von Stangel, they refuse to let them in, claiming to know of the conspiracy against Aschenbeck and his daughter and that the traitor has been killed (that's Glückstein, Markheim sacrificed him to convince the uncorrupted Bravos).


The pc:s don't manage to convince the Bravos, although they are a bit shaken when the authority of the temple is referred to. The pc:s retreat out of range from the crossbows but keep the manor under close and open surveillance. Failing all manner of checks, they get no clues about how to get inside or past the guards. Kühnheit even fails his easy leadership check to bring the Ulricans to the site (they claim having to sort out the 22-dead-cultists-in-a-chaos-temple-business and their inferior numbers as reasons not to come to the manor). It is a three hour watch, and even when a shot is fired inside the manor (bye-bye Rodrick), there's nothing the pc:s can do. They consider getting help from another temple but are not willing to take the risk of Markheim getting away.


As some Bravos leave the manor and later return with horses and a coach, the Bravos form up and are getting ready to leave. The moons have set and the sky has lightened. The pc:s understand that the city gates are probably opening and that this is it, they are going to get away! 40 Bravos, of which a lot have crossbows and all are veterans, five of them on horseback against the fatigued and wounded pc:s... they stand aside as the guarded coach rolls past.


Some quick thinking from Waldenfrau sends a spell to weaken one of the wheels of the coach. It'll break down... eventually. As the Bravos reach the city walls, the coach and the riders speed up and the rest of the company turns and faces the pc:s – who scatter. Kühnheit rides down another road to get to the gates before the coach and the rest of the pc:s run through alleys and down flights of stairs towards the gate. Kühnheit gets there first and unfolds his banner, letting it show clearly to the guards at the gate and orders it shut. The iron gate slams down just as the coach comes round the bend a bit further down the wall, one of its wheels breaking and the whole thing skidding to a halt. At the same time, the pc:s come running out into the street in front of the gate and some distance away, beyond the coach, a large group of Bravos come running. There are also some Bravos approaching the pc:s from the top of the stairs whence they came.


As the Bravos surround the coach, the mounted soldiers ride up to the gate and shout about princess Aschenbeck's life being in danger and that Kühnheit and the others are traitors. The knight and von Stangel protest, of course, claiming the truth to be the opposite. The pc:s eventually win the dice-rolling contest and an crossbow bolt fired from the gate tower sends the riders back towards the wagon.


Meanwhile, Waldenfrau tries to convince the group of Bravos on the stairs to stay away, but they surround the pc:s, crossbows and blades raised, making no move to attack. As some confusion and uncertainty seems to have struck both sides in this little drama, another side enters the fray. Behind the coach, witch hunter Adele Kettlebaum and a following of ten armed men, some of the obvious Sigmarites, appears from another road and she raises her voice, shouting that Markheim is under arrest and will hand himself over, now, or suffer the consequences.


Still, the Bravos number too many and the pc:s are surrounded; but Markheim has really got nowhere to go. He leaves the coach, surrounded by the mounted men and the twenty-five or so on foot. The pc:s are faced with them advancing, perhaps to take the gate from within, their numbers should be enough. The witch hunter and her men walk after them, but are not armed with ranged weapons and are “out-gunned”. Which is when Waldenfrau's player holds up a card, saying “Perhaps I can use this”. Huh? No-ones ever seen the card used, the words “Avalanche” are printed on top of it...


...and the Bravos are buried beneath a few tons of snow (all of them being engaged with each other), Markheim and miss Aschenbeck the only exceptions (two boon effect). Joseph tries to intimidate the Bravos surrounding them to let them go, but it falls to Kühnheit who spurs his horse through the soldiers, trampling on of them. He is pursued by a volley of bolts but is barely wounded, armored as he is. This – in conjunction with the avalanche (which requires three average athletics checks for the targets to dig themselves out... averaging perhaps five rounds for the Bravos to break free...) - gives Reinhardt a clean shot. Clean, that is, except for miss Aschenbeck who now has a pistol to her head. Reinhardt fires the crossbow (two purple dice included, one chaos star on one of them means the shot hits the girl) and kills Markheim with an arrow through his left eye.


The Bravos who can flee, flee. The rest are easily rounded up by Sigmarites, guards and the pc:s. Kühnheit gets the girl out and von Stangel and Adele face each other over Markheim's corpse.




I've been wanting to save Adele for some time now. This session, I believe I succeeded.


There is a tense, silent confrontation whilst Joseph strips down Markheim and finds the mark of Tzeench. Eventually, the silence is broken by Adele who says that she'll handle this mess and meet the pc:s somewhere they choose in an hour to discuss “things”. The pc:s ask her to meet them at the temple of Ulric and leave.


They use the hour to get rid of the “filthy”-condition they are in and are visited by father Frost who has some rather unsettling news. The box where the bell-clapper was put back after the ritual couldn't be opened which confused the pc:s somewhat, since it wasn't the same box as they'd originally had carried to Middenheim. Now, wizard Ganter of the Grey Order (the highest ranking member of the guild at the moment) has examined the box and the bell-clapper. He removed a simple grey-order cantrip, taught to students, which tricked the mind and made the box seem impossible to open. Was that cantrip originally there? Did Mauer have someone to put it there, or did he do it himself? If so, is he a warlock? (yes, I felt it was time to cast some doubts upon the good luminary, so I decided that he'd actually been in contact with his sister for the past years and that he trust her enough to have her help him with this).


Anyway, the pc:s finally meet with Adele who claims that

a) The pc:s might not be as naïve as she thought, if the ritual really has worked...

b) She never doubted their efficiency in rooting out chaos where they were able to see it, but it's all about violence anyway

c) If the ritual has worked – and this needs to be further confirmed by the light order – this might be more important than anything. She alludes to the possibilities this might open up


The pc:s are startled by this new behavior, and they find themselves agreeing with the witch hunter about most of the things she says. Especially since she actually seems to believe that Aschenbeck may walk away from this. She might leave things to Hellstrom, she says. The artifact is too important to stay in Middenheim if there is a siege. Joseph asks her if she intends to go with them, and she says that she might. The meeting goes well, except for when Adele asks if they just intend to abandon the hunt for Anna and leave the city. The question is met by silence... which goes on until Kühnheit says something about the trail not leading anywhere. This, of course, Adele does not believe in but she doesn't really care.


The session ends.


The players have caught on to the fact that there's probably no way to avoid traveling to Altdorf since it is very obvious that the adventure is written that way so they prepare to leave after wrapping up a few lose ends. Joseph declares that he is going to the temple of Sigmar and von Stangel to the Shallyans. Those scenes will be played out between sessions. They might want to wait until the trial is over, but I'll force their hand if necessary with a beastman horde arriving... We'll see.  

Edited by herrquisling, 22 January 2014 - 01:21 AM.


#25 herrquisling



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Posted 28 January 2014 - 04:06 AM

Leaving Middenheim


Right, as we have been in Middenheim for a while, the pc:s have started to ”fast travel” around town (video-game style), not bothering with descriptions of every street corner and the people they meet. Or perhaps that's me, not bothering with that. Anyway, as the pc:s wake up late in the afternoon on the 4th of Vorgesheim, they start chasing down lose threads.


They learn from the Ulricans that there´s been no further messages from the imperial army, but that might just mean that they've been intercepted... Also, they learn that witch-hunter Hellstrom is out of retirement and has let Graf Aschenbeck go for now. The trial has been suspended.


Brother Köhler goes to the temple of Sigmar to seek out his superiors and to beg for atonement. Basically, he wants to be lashed until he can't stand. He also seeks entrance into the martial arm of the cult, the order of the silver hammer, and both his requests will be granted upon the morrow (in the light of his recent actions).


Before he left, he tried to convince von Stangel not to leave Anna in the care of the Shallyans. He wanted her to come with them to Altdorf and that the ritual should be attempted again on her, curing her from her mutations. Von Stangel did not want to listen. There would be no attempt at the ritual, even if the could decipher the professors scribbles and drawings, von Stangel makes it perfectly clear that he does not trust that the ritual actually worked. To many questions about it remains unanswered. Köhler more or less begs von Stangel to change his mind and they do not part on good terms.


Now Köhler wants von Stangel to be his witness during his punishment. He is not denied.


Next, Waldenfrau seeks out the guild of wizards and alchemists to try and understand what it means that someone had cast a spell on the bell clapper. Von Stangel believes that the artifact itself has cast the spell and is quite paranoid about it. She comes to believe that someone, perhaps Mauer, has cast the spell as some kind of precaution. If not the grey wizard she's talking to did it himself, but why he'd do that she doesn't know, since he revealed it.


The rest of the pc:s do several things. They seek out Aschenbeck and speak at length to him and meet his daughter. They are rewarded with ten gold for their help, Aschenbeck making sure that von Stangel takes no offense at being offered money (he doesn't, he's really poor right now). They try to get Aschenbeck to search through his memory for things Markheim has done which might indicate associates here or in Altdorf. The Graf recalls something about Markheim wanting to buy businesses on the Street of a hundred Taverns. He only recalls this because he turned Markheim down and he didn't take it well.


The pc:s next seek out Hellstrom, who is at the Graf's repose, currently sitting by the fire with a few other rich old-timers. After some small talk, the pc:s are granted access to Markheim's papers to search for clues to his associates in Altdorf. Hellstrom points out that they haven't got to the leaders of the Jade Sceptre, neither has Red Crown surfaced here in Middenheim and Adele is quite sure that they are involved. Hellstrom is of the opinion that there actually is a great conspiracy going on, wether or not “the black cowl” is the real leader or not. The pc:s agree.


Later that evening, they go looking for Max (Oppenheim's assistant) but can find no leads to his whereabouts. They want him to go with them to Altdorf to try and piece the ritual back together.


The next day


After the horrible scene at the temple of Sigmar, where brother Köhler, head freshly shaven, his body smeared in ashes, is given twenty or so lashes with the twin-tailed whip, he is initiated into the cults martial order and is carried to bed. Having witnessed this, von Stangel proceeds to go shopping with his fellows. They scrounge the markets and some shops for crossbow bolts, a scale mail, blankets, a nice saber and a shield from the ulrican armory.


Whilst lunching on some sausages in Neumarkt - it is a warm and sunny early afternoon – they are interrupted by the tolling of bells (the GM wants the story to go on!). First from Osttor, and then spreading across the city, the alarm is sounded. The knight rushes through Neumarkt, across the great gardens and up Ulricsmund to the temple, and the rest of the pc:s run to the gates to see what's happening. They are not alone in doing this, but all they can see is smoke raising from the woods a couple of miles away. They learn that it is likely a village, Wellendorf, which is burning. Not a good sign, obviously. They turn and run all the way back through Middenheim, which is roused like a kicked anthill, and arrive at the temple of Ulric, winded.


Kühnheit and the other pc:s have got the same idea, they will have to leave, now. Kühnheit asks permission from the high priest to get the bell-clapper and the professor's notes to Altdorf before the city is encircled (if that's what's to come, but they seem set on the idea). Permission is granted and before the pc:s have time to think things through further, a coach comes swerving into the temple courtyard, driven by the witch huntress. Von Stangel groans.


The coach is loaded up with the ritual-stuff and the bell-clapper, provisions, blankets, weapons and a semi-comatose sigmarite. Kühnheit brings out his well-bred warhorse and his new arms (he'd previously not thought about the two-handed hammer not being the ideal weapon to use from horseback, thus his recent purchases). And they are off.


At high speed, the coach rolls towards the south gate, Adele using the whip and lots of cursing to make people move out of her way. The armored knight of the white wolfs helps as well, and they make good time down the roadway towards the floor of the forest. Refugees are going in, no-one else is going out. Reinhardt rides shotgun and fails his observation check miserably so as soon as the coach is down on the ground and rolling beneath the first branches, a group of mounted marauders and beastmen running on foot appear at middle distance, giving chase.


Battle ensues, and with Waldenfrau's player in the hospital and Köhler's player ill but at home, the other three pc:s are on their own. Adele drives the coach and helps out when a comet is used (thank you for that idea, Valvorik). Reinhardt takes out the leader of the marauders with his crossbow and a beastman is gunned down by Adele before the carnage begins. A huge gor jumps onto the back of the wagon and is shot once, but holds on and leaps to the roof, almost squashing Reinhardt with his huge spiked club. Reinhardt abandons Adele and jumps down on the (whatever it is called in English – the thing between the four horses which they are tied to). The beastmen and the marauders close in...


...some time later the coach travels on, 14 dead attackers on the ground and the remaining three abandoning their pursuit, for reason easily understood. Adele reluctantly stops to let Reinhardt get down and be taken care of by Waldenfrau and von Stangel, even more reluctantly, takes his place beside the witch huntress.


Session ends.  


#26 herrquisling



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Posted 04 February 2014 - 05:19 AM

The battle of Waldorf


Yes, well, there was a battle. Never intended for there to be one. Just a nice but tricky encounter to force some cooperation and perhaps trust between the witch hunter and the pc:s. Oh, well.


The coach traveled on, stopping for a short rest where Adele points out that they need to pass through a village an hour down the road, because there's a bridge that needs to be crossed. Kühnheit knows of the village, says there's nothing about it. Von Stangel raises the possibility that it's been attacked.


Onwards, and as they draw closer to the village Waldenfrau observes that there are no people about, which alarms her somewhat. Adele says that either they've been warned or they've been attacked.


Onwards, and Kühnheit who rides front guard a couple of turns ahead of the coach sees a sign, saying “Waldorf, population 160” and a couple of boots lying in the grass and lots of blood. He also rolls a chaos star and is attacked by beastmen whom he easily scatters.


No matter, still onwards, and the village is sighted up ahead. The banner of Khorne has been raised, heads are staked on the palisade and marauders are lounging about the open gates. A bad sign? Nope. Charge!


I tried. I tried to hint that caution might be needed. What's ahead is basically the none-shall-pass-chaos-warrior-encounter, but with a village filled with marauders, beastmen and no-one else alive. I imagined lots of ways the pc:s could have drawn the troops out, or even magicked their way across the river, but no! Alas, they attack. A village. 30 marauders, 20 beastmen, 1 wargor and 1 chaos warrior of Khorne. Not that they know the count, but a village massacred? They should have seen it coming.


Charging into ten marauders who were somewhat surprised isn't difficult to survive. They were smashed apart, quickly, and the coach and Kühnheit on his war-horse got through into the village. There, the opposition thickened. Bow-men were shooting from a roof, more marauders and beastmen came running to have a go at the coach and the knight. Shots were fired, blows landed, wounds inflicted, heads bashed, limbs cut, bones broken et.c.


Reinhardt got on top of the coach to fire his pistol, holding on for his life (literally!) but managed to slip and fall off, onto the street. He was attacked by two marauders who came running after the coach, but one stabbed the other (redirect) and was himself slain by Fräulein Waldenfrau's magic. The coach slowed enough to let Reinhardt run after it and get inside.


Joseph Köhler, the sigmarite, had been flogged in Middenheim and wasn't really up for a fight (4 wounds left, 1 critical wound, queasy condition, insane) but said a prayer to Sigmar, went berzerk and jumped out of the coach when it slowed and ran up to the big melee where Kühnheit fought everyone and their mother. Together, they killed or drove off them all.


In one way or another, everyone had been involved, fighting from the doors of the coach or from the roof or on the ground. As they moved forward towards the bridge, they were in a sorry shape. Kühnheit, riding his war-horse in front of the coach said nothing of his wounds, but as it turned out he'd taken quite a few hits during the battles he'd fought that day.


The death of a knight


Coming up on the bridge spanning the river, the pc:s saw lots of beastmen off to the side of the bridge, with a massive wargor in their midst. With goat-faced braying or wolf-snouted howling, they greeted the pc:s but didn't attack. On the other side of the bridge were grinning marauders, some wielding those horse-bows of theirs. And on the bridge, an iron-clad knight, one of the chosen of Khorne, a chaos warrior. He held up his hand and called out “Halt”. After a brief (not so brief in real time) hesitation, Kühnheit held in his reins and the coach came to a halt behind him.


A challenge followed (“Wolf-boy, dare you face me? Beat me and you'll be free to cross. Or would the witch-huntress like to have a go first? I'd like to spend some time with you, pretty girl!”) and Kühnheit (who could never back down) accepted. The other players and I didn't know at the time that he had seven wounds left and suffered from two previous crits.


Kühnheit threw down his shield and let his sword-belt fall to the ground, got off his horse and unslung his two-handed hammer and unfolded the banner of the white wolf. The chaos warrior readied his long, black rune-blade and yelled “Wolf-boy, I hope that shaggy god of yours isn't busy banging his ***** Shallya or he'll be to distracted by her c**t to watch you die. Help you he cannot!”.


The first blow struck the chaos warrior hard enough break bones and blood leaked between the armor plates. He attacked in wounded frenzy with frightening speed, but Kühnheit held him off and pushed him off with the hammer and came on hard, swinging but the chaos warrior locked his hammer with the rune-blade and shoved the white wolf off balance. “Blood for the blood god!” he yelled and the rune-blade bit deep into Kühnheits skull, killing him. Two crits, seven wounds, another crit for going down to zero wounds... death.


Von Stangel leapt onto the coach, beside Adele and she lashed out with her whip, the coach rolling up the bridge. The beastmen charge after them, arrows being shot from the other side of the bridge. Reinhardt shoots his gun and hand-crossbow, hitting the chaos warrior in the face and sees him topple over the railing. The beastmen try to pull them down from or out of the wagon, but the pc:s hold them off and the coach gains speed. They smash through the marauders and onto the other side of the river at high speed.


End of session.  


#27 herrquisling



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Posted 13 February 2014 - 02:49 AM

Onwards, briefly


The pc:s discussed whether to retrieve the corpse of the knight or not, but exiting the village on a wave of blood and gore, plowing through numerous marauders and being followed by rather upset riders whilst being on the brink of death provided the winning argument for the "no-way"-side. Consisting of everyone but the sigmarite. 


Getting a new pc-replacement in the form of another witch-hunter who told an improbable story about being captured by the red crown was bad for digestion. No one likes a witch hunter. No one likes two. Double trouble. "They'll soon outnumber us", Joseph complained. Dark looks and nods.


Nothing improves the health like a trip through the dark and ominous woods of the empire! Lots of time to recover. When some red-eyed rat-people come sneaking in to cut your throats, it's just an excuse to get of your behind and do some running. Chasing. Catching at least one of the skaven who'd stolen some book. No snack for the rat-pack. 


Arriving in a proper town a week later or so is great. Good food, great beds, but big rats in the kitchen. And hundreds in the cellar. And sword-wieleding ones swinging in ninja-style through the windows (like in a classic scene from the classic warhammer-setting book only the gm has read). This really upset the stomachs of the pc:s. Sticky, melted rat-goo everywhere.


But the magic rat said that the bell capper was bad, probably meaning good, and that was all right then? They decided to ask Waldenfrau when they'd dug out those warpstone throwing stars which had lodged in her back, doing lots of damage and corruption. She'll become a mutant soon if this keeps happening.


End of session


#28 herrquisling



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Posted 18 February 2014 - 01:56 AM

Altdorf, finally!


(you might get the impression that we're getting nowhere these past sessions, this one included, and that's correct. the following events and creatures conspire to distract and delay us: 2 pregnant wives, 4 girlfriends, 4 kids, 3 cats, 1 horse, 1 new job, 1 renovated kitchen, 1 newly purchased apartment, 1 diseased player, 1 research project, 1 case of girlfriend working late on game night and 1 unplanned trip to another city)


So the witch huntress actually broke down, crying, when she learned about the rats evaluation of the bell clapper. She claimed it was because of "All the suffering and the sacrifice which citizens of the empire have made in handling or destroying corrupt artifacts, which might now be avoided". Later that night the pc:s whispered about her really wanting to be cured from her own mutations. But after Anna, how could they judge the witch hunter? 


A journey on the waterways of the empire was a welcome respite from the eternal jostling on the coach through the dark woods. Sun, rest and having nothing to do improved the party's health and spirits. Perhaps Reinhardt relaxed a bit too much, since two river trolls almost ate von Stangel for lunch during one lazy afternoon. Not to mention Fräulein Waldenfrau being crushed by a thrown tree-trunk (she recovered, eventually). 


The only cloud on the otherwise clear skies was that Reinhardt got worse. His disease seemed to reach a terminal phase as he drew two new painful symptoms, his body preparing to say goodbye and thank you for the Fish (of which he'd been a member back in Avernheim). 


Arriving in Altdorf, the gm had a hard time selling the fact that a small map from an old 2nd edition adventure was all he'd got to show, but he told them about the people, the smells, the wonderful architecture and tall towers of Altdorf and they gave him the benefit of doubt (whilst looking at the Shallyan blessings to find a way to bribe the priestesses to save Reinhardt).


Upon disembarking, the two witch hunters gave the pc:s directions to the Wayfarer's rest (upgraded to strictly silver tier) and told them that they'd meet there by the evening. None were too sorry to see them skulk away. Still, there was the problem of them carrying around a small chest with the ball clapper and a rather heavy chest containing Oppenheim's books and research. They really wanted to keep all nasty little rat-paws and cultist's tentacles away from items, and eyed the open sewers suspiciously. "There's bound to be some old tunnels beneath this town as well, right?"


During the river journey, the pc:s and Adele had had plenty of time to talk about this little issue. von Stangel and Joseph had wanted to go straight to the temple of Sigmar, but upon learning that they'd be unlikely to ever see the items again (Adele counted on the pc:s wanting to see things through properly themselves) and the fact that they'd never find the impossible corner which led to the College of Light, Adele persuaded them to take the items straight to Luminary Mauer. Considering her previous opinions on the good wizard, the pc:s couldn't but agree that this might be for the best (although Waldenfrau was quite open with her distrust of the wizard because of the grey-order cantrip cast on the artifact). 


Anyway, a brief walk through the city, across Karl Franz Brücke and the great squares found the pc:s standing in all their rural splendor in front of the Imperial Palace. Digging out the old letter sealed by Mauer with the sigil of the College of Light, they sent a messenger to get Mauer since they expected him to be by the Emperor¨s side. Eventually, they found him in a large boarding house elsewhere in the Palace District and paid him a surprise visit. 


Having caught up, having a lot of catching up to do, they got down to business. von Stangel was suspicious about the Emperor's fall from the skies and about no real physician or priestess getting to see him. Waldenfrau was suspicious about the wizard himself. Mauer was suspicious about the pc:s dealings with Adele. And no-one trusted the luminary not to lose the research and the bell clapper to some filthy rats or cultists if left in his care in the boarding house. The luminary reluctantly argued against the paranoia, since he'd really had no reason to suspect what the gm had planned for his sister to do, but eventually he found himself agreeing with the pc:s. "Yes, it might be best if you had lunch in the courtyard below and if Waldenfrau assisted me in examining the bell-clapper and the research and if you escorted me, blades drawn to the College of Light". 


The gm tried to bore the pc:s with a lot of humming and as the hours passed, Mauer had to say that the taint seemed to be gone. He then went on to read the research, thoroughly, claiming this might take days. The pc:s decided to stay. And a messenger came calling from the Palace, sending for the luminary who picked up his hat and left (the gm finally having decided that Katarina Mauer will be able to trick the luminary into giving her access to the artifact in the college of light, since corrupted people actually have an easier time entering the college than others, even if it means that she'll have to openly betray him). 


Waldenfrau had used her intuition and was now sure that the good Wizard knew more about that grey-order cantrip than he let on. But did that mean he was a warlock? Hmmm...


It's just after lunch on the 22nd of Vorgesheim and that was the End of this session

Edited by herrquisling, 18 February 2014 - 01:59 AM.


#29 herrquisling



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Posted 25 February 2014 - 04:09 AM

Second session in Altdorf (still the first day).


This is how I tried to sum up the pc:s' first experience of Altdorf in writing:


As the barge was tied down at the docks by something called ”fork wharf”, you all got to see and smell Altdorf close up for the first time. At least two gangs of stevedores where waiting close by to see if they can get work once Yan and Also Yan have dealt with the burger who has approached them, seeking fees and cargo manifests. You, however, get to disembark without attracting much attention. Except from seedy-looking early drinker who seize you up, hung-over whores who wearily try to catch your attention and a couple of bored-looking watchmen in red-and-blue uniforms who eye your arms and armour and seem to decide your not worth the trouble.


Following the witch-hunters down the road by the river, you are constantly jostled by people who bump into or are bumped into by you (carrying those bags and the small chest with the artifact, and Oppenheims books, scrolls and scribbles). The stench of human sweat, dirty beards, the Fischmarkt, the river itself and the open sewage drains from Niederhafen (draining straight into the river) is remarkable. Some of you are probably eyeing the sculpture outside river-front tavern “the breasts of Myrmidia” (which seems a bit disrespectful to an Avernlander...). As you come up by the Three Toll Bridge (“don't use that one”, Holde says) you can see down the Street of a Hundred Taverns. Well, you can see the Street Sign anyway, since this street is also packed close with people, carts, coaches, wagons, day-labourers, watch-men, people watching the watchmen, enclosed chairs carried by what surely-can't-be-slaves and others. Criers call out names of taverns and what they have to offer you, trying hard to out-shout the competition. Adele says your are to meet this evening at Wayfarer's rest, an upper silver-tier establishment down by Königsplatz.


Leaving the witch-hunters behind, you walk down the river with what's called Universität Bezirk on your right (the university quarter or block, that is). Holde points out a large privately owned Observatory with a huge domed roof on top of the impossibly high building. Come to think of it, no buildings are less than four stories high, and all small streets, roads and alleys you spot are in constant shadow from the overhanging upper stories. No easy feat, to climb one of those.


Further down the river you come upon the majestic Karl-Franz Brücke. On this side, the Gold Order have their Collegium. It is… opulent. On the other side of the river, you can spot the towers and spires of the Imperial Place above the rooftops. You manage to cross the bridge, in spite of it being more crowded than the aqueduct-bridges where when you left Middenheim and they were filled with fleeing refugees.


As you navigate the streets towards the Palace District, you can't help but to be impressed. The common burger seems to be living a a house more splendid than the Journey's End inn in Avernheim. Although there is a lot of people, so they must be as closely packed inside the buildings as out on the streets, you imagine. Once you actually have found the gates in the high walls surrounding the Palace, you find yourself on something called Kaiserplatz. Nearby, you see the huge Cathedral which serves as the Temple Of Sigmar. A lot of people are gathered here, probably too meet or to seek to petition the city's leaders. Messengers are standing by the gates, which are closed, as are a lot of armed Reiksguard (and that's not ornamental blades they're carrying).


Once you've established where Luminary Mauer is to be found, you follow the errand-boy's directions into the Palace District with the lavish buildings of the really golden citizens. A whole block has seemingly been turned into a set of apartments, connected by stairs and walkways and labeled “Laurel's rest”. This is where Mauer lives, and it seems to be all apartments and luxurious dining- and social areas, all set at prices to discourage all but the very cream of the Empire to even set their foot on the doorstep. Not being easily turned away, you ignore the bouncer-soldier-guards and manage to hold up your letter from the College of Light which as always manages to clear your path from any and all obstacles. Reinhardt spots a couple of Reiksguard lounging about inside, which is of course far above their pay-grade, so someone has protection. And then you are there.   


Session start


In this session, I wanted a number of things to happen, which didn't. And I had planed for the one-day events to actually occur on one day, tomorrow, but this required some quick thinking to stall the players who were itching for spoiling my plans.


The pc:s had a clue from Markheim's ledgers in Middenheim. They knew that he'd been doing business behind the back of Graf Aschenbeck with someone called Bertold Basserman and that it involved the Dancing Dwarf, a tavern on the Street of a Hundred Taverns. Whilst von Stangel took Reinhardt to the Shallyans to implore them to bless the terminally ill man, brother Köhler and the witch-hunter Erich Gerber (who'd been sent back by Adele to keep an eye on things as she had some things to follow up on, she didn't say what) goes to see if they can find this Bertold-fellow. Waldenfrau stayed behind in Mauer's apartments to keep an eye on the artifact since the good luminary had been called away. 


Sending an ordained member of the martial order of the Cult of Sigmar in full combat dress to a seedy tavern is not the way to get people talking. Except that they become very good at excusing themselves and leaving. The witch-hunter was incognito but he isn't really a people-person. Although pulling the barkeep across the bar by the scruff of his neck and asking for Bertold got the attention of Bertold and his two large Klauses.


Since I wanted the action to get started on the morrow, I had to fast talk a bit in this scene.


Joseph introduced himself as himself and in short told Bertold that he wasn't what he seemed to be and that he represented Markheim who wanted to move his business to Altdorf because of "recent events" and that he had some proposals to the effect. He wanted a chance to have a private chat with the man. Bertold recognized Köhler (intelligence from Avernheim, he knows nothing about Middenheim except rumors of a siege) and knew that he wasn't the enemy, but he might be able to use him if he could get off the hook. Thus, Bertold bascially told Köhler that he knew who Markheim was and got Joseph to accept that they'd meet in the morning when he'd had the time to speak to some of his backers. 


Erich Gerber, the witch hunter, recognized the fact that Bertold probably knew who Köhler was, but said nothing and just reported this to Adele later the same day. Bertold intends to act by TEW, but in the company of lots of armed thugs and face-to-face instead of sending a letter.


Meanwhile, von Stangel successfully convinced the Shallyans to bless Reinhardt, going on about both the heroic exploits and the services to the Empire that this man had done and about "substantial donations". 


Some good rolling had them donating 150 silvers in the end. One of Reinhardt's symptoms disappeared, making his nightly rest less likely to kill him. 


At the same time, Waldenfrau had an important visitor. A Wizard Lord of the College of Light came to collect the artifact and the writings of Oppenheim and to question Waldenfrau closely (he'd had a messenger from Mauer). The Wizard Lord was skeptical, unbelieving even, as to the effect of the bell-clapper having been sanctified. Waldenfrau made her best efforts to explain all that she knew about it, up to and including the fact that she was actually unconscious for a while during the ritual proceedings, the fact that the artifact had been stored in the temple of Ulric for some days and that it had been ensorcelled by a grey order spell. She impresses the Wizard Lord, who then haughtily tells her that it is unfortunate that she's already been trained by the Jade Wizards, since she's obviously fit for "a higher calling" (his order, that is). 


As the pc:s gathered back in Mauer's apartments, they decided that Köhler and Gerber were going to Wayfarer's Rest to wait for the others, Waldenfrau was going to report to her order and Reinhardt and von Stangel would stake out the Dancing Dwarf to be able to follow Bertold to his lair. Gerber left Köhler at the inn to report to witch hunter HQ and to gather some equipment and silver and Köhler found himself drinking alone, watching people and feeling a bit lost. He got to see his first High Elf, though!  


By this time I have come to realize that the pc:s are not going to contact Kaufman (they don't even know that he is here, come to think of it) or Bauerfaust. I'd have liked them to go to Kaufman, tell him about Anna and have Kaufman try to use Adele into assassinating Bauerfaust. We'll see about that… And they are not going to get a chance to be found by Clothilde, who has a lot of things to say to von Stangel. And if the pc:s manage to get the net closed around Bertold, it'll upset the schedule for tomorrow. So this is what happened:


Bertold was nowhere to be found. Von Stangel left and by chance he was hailed by a familiar voice just outside the Temple of Drama, Clothilde! She was delighted to see him and invited him for a glass of wine. In a private dining room in the Crown and two Chairmen the following things came to be said:

  • Clothilde always attends the summer season in Altdorf, there are balls, dinner parties, plays and other important things a young noblewoman must see to.
  • Kaufman and Mauer and Marcus are all in town, and Wulfgang as well, lovely. 
  • Wulfgang would in fact benefit from not tying to make himself dumber than he is.
  • Of course Clothilde had politics in mind when visiting Altdorf. Especially now.
  • She wants an imperial delegate to make a ruling on the Electorship issue in Avernheim, which is in disorder and corrupted at this pivotal time. What if Avernland has no elector and what if the Emperor dies or is unfit to rule?
  • Wulfgang would like to see the Iron Countess on the Electoral Seat, rather than a Leitdorf.
  • Wulfgang is yes in fact free and has got nothing especially important to do the next couple of weeks
  • Clothilde wants to be rid off the constant problem with suitors and would-be-lovers by having a young noble, capable, able to speak for Avernland through his own experiences, someone who's a bit of a hero of the empire by all accounts, and who could join her in her mission to petition for imperial intervention in Avernland (borrowing heavily from Valvorik, as usual).
  • Since Wulfgang can only say yes to everything, he soon has agreed and is informed by the suddenly all-business Grafin that he is required to accompany her to the opening of Cobweb Castle tomorrow afternoon, to the evening prayer for the emperor the same evening, and to the ball at Stirland's Electoral Palace the day after tomorrow. To start with. 
  • And by the way, there's a side-quest about finding missing props for the temple of drama - why yes I'd be delighted to fulfill your promises to the director, Clothilde! Well, the players accept that the story must go on, after all.

At about seven in the evening, all pc:s are gathered at the Wayfarer's rest. People are coming in to see the performance of the great Ozelli and the pc:s are discussing their plans. Waldenfrau is quite upset with von Stangel for abandoning all their plans, Anna and what-not for a large bosom and a smile and party tension keeps rising as lots of things are said which should perhaps have been best left unsaid. 


The pc:s have a meeting on the morrow with Bertold, a servant of chaos in all probability, or at least someone who can lead them to cultists. Wulfgang says that there's something fishy about the temple of drama, "remember that rumor we heard about them using live beastmen on stage?" So the pc:s decide to get to the temple now, not later, not to have it interfere with their plans for the morning. The actors are probably all there anyway, rehearsing, since the grand opening is tomorrow. 


I'll have to stall them! I look at my metaphysical watch. It says that I can get away with it being about eight in the evening. So enter Great Ozelli.


The pc:s and players are having a good laugh and we are actually seeing Reinhardt get into the spirit of things, throwing a tankard after the high and might elf when he departs after his snide remarks. But after the first movement, they start to get their stuff back together.


"Guys, should you check in first. You are after all still carrying around, well, everything?"


Works like a charm, the money-issue has been a long-standing issue with the pc:s. von Stangel still has to come to grips with the reality of finances, Waldenfrau has always got a lot of coins which she reluctantly uses for anything but books and essential supplies, Reinhardt never has any (until he coughs up 150 silvers at the temple of Shallya) and Köhler always lends his money to von Stangel (and never gets repaid). Eventually, they have settled things with the proprietor. "We'll just dump our things on the mattresses and then we go knocking at the temple of Drama, spoiling our GM:s plans for tomorrow!"


Oh no, you're not. Enter gun-powder incident. 


The witch hunter eventually makes himself heard over the sound of the Great Ozelli's second movement, putting on his black hat, slamming his axe into the bar and shouting for everyone to get out. He then demonstrates what the powder is to the astonished lingering guests and staff, whilst brother Köhler silences the great Ozelli who has not noticed anything (his eyes are closed whilst performing) and finally gets through to last members of the audience (who has drunk a lot, but not more than that the sudden realization that everyone else is gone makes their flight-fight instincts kick in, and so they're off). 


Investigations into the beer cellar and threats to the proprietor make it clear to the pc:s that the barrel seems to have ended up at Wayfarer's rest by accident (or the barkeep is lying and is in on it, the witch hunter has him believing that he's committed treason and will be summary executed if he doesn't cooperate and his quite good at intimidation). The witch hunter has some guardsmen remove the barrel after it has been determined that there is no more gunpowder to be had and the pc:s finally get to dump their things, lock up the inn and go to… the Cat and Fiddle. To the Four Seasons local office. 


Better than them going to the temple, and it's now officially about eleven pm. By the way, the office is of course closed at this hour!


"Closed, you say? So none of the staff are there. No spare key? Well, will find our own way in. Make sure no-one disturbs us." 


Damned witch hunters. But investigation gun-powder theft believed to be instigated by cultists is definitely under their authority.


Reinhardt quickly picks the lock, and while von Stangel and Köhler have a beer (by now, von Stangel is intoxicated, having drunk his fair share at various establishments: at Laurel's Rest, the Dancing Dwarf, Bruno's Brewhouse, Wayfarer's Rest and now in the Cat and Fiddle), Waldenfrau and Reinhardt go through the records. A hard check later, they find what they are looking for (specifically, records of the Avernland Brown Ale deliveries and of any complaints about a missing barrel). 


But this takes time, it is now about one am and the call for last orders is heard. The GM saved almost all of the action for the next day! Hurray!


The pc:s walk back to Wayfarer's Rest, telling von Stangel how he seems to have been right in his hunch about the Temple of Drama. They retire after making some kind of schedule for tomorrow's activities.


End of session.


#30 herrquisling



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Posted 06 March 2014 - 05:33 AM

In the case of someone waiting for more posts, there will be a shortage of them for a month or so since my second son was born on the 1st of March. Altdorf is on hold until the 31st or so. But we shall return!


#31 herrquisling



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Posted 10 March 2014 - 04:44 AM



I sent this to the players just to remind them of what's coming in a few weeks (it is easy to get into something new when waiting, the others are already playing the swedish fantasy rpg EON and we are planning for our next campaign in the soon-to-be-released-but-we-have-a-pdf post-apocalypse swedish rpg Mutant: År Noll).


Some of the items thrown into this post is as usual to be accredited to Valvorik.


As the new day dawns, the streets of Altdorf are covered in rolling veils of mist. With dawn comes the witch huntress, Adele, and she bears tidings of the night having been dark indeed, and when you combine what you've learnt, it seems like the coming day will be filled with more things than you can possibly manage. You'll have to make some choices.


You tell Adele about the gunpowder, and about your suspicions (she knows some of what passed since Erich reported to witch hunter HQ and sent a barrel there during the night). The temple of Drama, suspicious disappearances, possible gun powder plot. A meeting with a supposed cultist associate at the Dancing Dwarf.


In addition to this, Adele tells you that Kaufman has apparently sold a lot of the items from the expedition to a Professor Mandelbrot at the Universität. He is to make a public lecture about these items at noon, and what more is: he has been under the suspicion of heresy for some time because of his writings. If he actually brings up any of his writings in the lecture, he might be arrested and then they can question him.


What more is: the witch hunters and the sigmarites have the inn called Priest's Den near Tempelgarten under surveillance and have had for some time. The reason being that some sedicious elements have taken to meeting there, and when Adele brought news of the missing gun-powder, she was told that there had been to many deliveries of wine there from Avernland weeks ago. The same kind found in Middenheim.


Adele also has some disturbing news from the College of Light, it seems to have been an incident there and the Luminary has been hurt. She knows nothing more since she heard of this just when she left to speak to you. Herself, she is now going to try to see Kaufman about the sale of the expedition items and then she will try to the the College of Light to talk to her about Mauer. She knows not where he is right now.


She hesitates. “I'll not manage all of this on my own, you have things to do – a lot of them, and things seem to be moving fast, To fast perhaps. I'm worried about the artifact, the bell-clapper, and about the gun-powder and everything. There might not be time for me... for anyone... the conspiracy is here, I know it. The black cowl, whoever he is.... Take care.”


And of course, you also have some social engagements today, at least von Stangel does. An opening of Cobweb Castle and the Prayer Service for the Emperor. With the most beautiful noblewoman in the Reich.   


As you can probably tell, the idea is the wrap up the campaign fast before we lose interest and wander off to other gaming worlds than the Empire. The player's have felt a bit lost since they left Avernheim where they'd built up a life for their pc:s and it is time to end this soon. Preferably in two to four sessions. We'll see.


#32 herrquisling



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Posted 09 April 2014 - 03:21 AM

Back at the gaming table!

...and we´re back in Altdorf. The Joy!


At the temple of drama


At dawn, or not much thereafter, our heroes went to the Temple of Drama to search for the barrels of gunpowder they expected to find there. Easily gaining entrance, since they had legit reasons for being there (Clothilde sent them to find the missing props) they soon found themselves enduring the endless ranting of the leader of the Mummers. Who in passing mentioned that his lead actor had gone missing during the night. And that what they had lost was a giant spider.


The heroes (actually, not all of them since the witch hunter and his player were not there) blunder about for a while, eying the doom-trackers slowly building up, and manage to find the barrels (only 24 of them) and eventually the spider (easily bundled up by brother Köhler and Reinhardt, using a grab-stick, a blanket and some rope) and the gun-powder. There is much rejoicing, but some of the actors seem to believe that the main actor has been eaten.


The heroes can count and know that two barrels are missing (they aren't, but it keeps them on their toes, they think the barrels are hidden somewhere in the theatre) and that they are one hour late for their meeting with suspected cultists at the Dancing Dwarf. Feeling that time is running out, they manage some subterfuge, ending up carrying the three barrels of gunpowder out of the theater and leaving it with a message for the witch hunters at the nearest Watch Station. Never mind the actor or the fact that they can't add up the facts of the spider and the gunpowder both being hidden in the same place. Why take the spider at all when all it does is draw attention to the temple of drama and cause a search to be initiated?


By the way, they never told anyone that the spider hadn't escaped on its own.


A deal with the devil


One hour late, brother Köhler enters the tavern alone, in full armour, and makes his way to Bertholds table and sits down opposite him. Berthold, the Klauses and another half-dozen thugs were waiting but have now been caught off guard by the late appearance of the priest.


Köhler begins the old routine about the business proposition, but is interrupted and Berthold makes it perfectly clear that he knows who and what Köhler and his friends are. Köhler then asks wether they'll all come willingly or not... which is taken quite seriously by the cultists. But, they suggest a deal. The enemy of my enemy et.c. and proceed to sell Friedrich Gross as a way to get to the Black Cowl (and perhaps getting an elf out of trouble). Berthold and friends will leave town this very day, or they'll end up dead themselves. This is revenge. Vengeance. Payback. (for what? Köhler never asks, although I try to make him).


Anyway, the deal is on. To the surprise of Köhler's friends who are waiting outside, itching for a good fight. I even tried to poke Köhler into doing something rash by having things moving under the jacket of one of the thugs, tentacle-style. But no. He actually played the scene in conservative, a first for the brother.


The hunt for Gross


The black bat and some intimidation leaves the heroes with the knowledge that Gross is going by a false name and is about to leave. His dealings with the fish seems to be the obvious things to investigate. They assume that in speaking to one of the Fish, they risk alerting Gross. So the players choose another path. Of course.


They find an official at the docks who knows that the elf arrived yesterday and by what ship, proceed to hail the large sailing ship from Marienburg and learn where the elf was staying. At the crown they learn, after dealing with stiff upper lips, that the elf checked himself into the gasthaus but then left and didn't come back. Being a strict upper class establishment, they're worried about the high-profile costumer of theirs and tell the pc:s that the elf was going to travel on to Avernheim shortly. They don't know much more, but can confirm that the elf was the same elf whom Köhler saw last night at the great Ozzelie's performance.


Then they get back on track. Almost. They get Reinhardt to find out that the Black Bat is paying racketeering money to the Fish for “protection” and assume that the innkeep knows more than he's been letting on. So he does. And they learn that they'll probably find Gross at another tavern on the street of a hundred such.


Meanwhile, Waldenfrau and von Stangel has gone back to the temple of drama to find the last two barrels. They eventually manage to figure out that those have been opened, not containing gun powder. They still search the wine cellar, again, to really make sure.


Now, the time is after noon and the grand opening of the Cobweb Castle is in less than an hour. Von Stangel hurries back to the inn to freshen up, Waldenfrau hides in the old storeroom to see if whoever hid the barrels come for them during the play and Köhler and Reinhardt go looking for Gross. And find him, leaving a silver-tier-going-on-gold-tier-establishment. They decide to shadow him, but in spite of a glorious amount of dice rolled, fail, and Gross runs for it.


The chase scene makes great fun. Some improvising keeps Reinhardt on the track, in spite of having an Athletics roll of two blue dice... he just ends up far behind Köhler and Gross. Eventually, having had his fun, Gross is at the end of his endurance and Köhler jumps onto the pier, gripping his hammer in anger. Some of the Fish come running at Gross' call for help, but the angered warrior priest gives on a knee in the groin and hammers one in the chest before they are upon him. He wrestles them, letting go of his hammer to grab one by the throat, throwing him into the river and finally smashing the edge of his shield in the face of the last thug just as Gross has drawn his rapier, prepared to run Köhler through. Köhler uses his momentum, spins, gripping the haft of the hammer and smashes Gross' sword hand. The rapier clatters to the ground, and as Reinhardt finally hauls himself up onto the pier, they've got Gross in a corner. Figuratively speaking.


(Reckless Cleave, Judgement of Vengeance and Who's next was all it took to lay the opposition to waste)


Rescuing the elf


Köhler is faced with an arrogant Gross, who tries to stall and makes empty threats, and is forced to give him one in the kidneys and pull a small sack over his head before he gets him to come with the priest to their inn. Gross tried to get away by telling the heroes that the vessel which the elf was on would leave any minute, but that only got Reinhardt to go running for the guards (having learnt the name of the ship).


Now, unfortunately, Reinhardt does not carry much authority with the watchmen. Being a thief-agent-assassin-marksman-shade of man from another distant city with a tale of kidnapped Ulthuan elves isn't easy. So he gets laughs and threats from the watchmen. And does one of the first brave things in his life. He runs to the docks on his own to get the elf free before the ship leaves.


Meanwhile, von Stangel arrives back at the temple of drama and is escorted by one of Clothilde's ladies to the noble's box where she is awaiting him. The play is just about to start. In the bar upstairs, von Kaufman and von Stangel meet for the first time in months. They talk, briefly, Kaufman enquiring about von Stangel's health and such, before deciding to meet after the Prayer Service to the emperor. Kaufman also invites the rest of the heroes to the Prayer Service, jesting about how Clothilde might withdraw hers now that von Stangel has failed his escort duties.


Reinhardt, upon finding her, the ship that is, sees that's she's a small sailing boat and that she's not really ready for departure yet. Gross lied. Surprise. Two men are guarding the ship, with at least one more man aboard. He sees their tattoos and rolling up his sleeves to show his own (he used to be a member of the Fish in Altdorf, after all) he simply walks up to the guards, telling them that there's been some trouble and that he is going aboard to speak to “them”. It works like a charm.


On the ship, our hero is confronted by the armed and obviously dangerous sailor who is not one of the Fish. Reinhardt says that people might be on to them, and that he needs to check on the elf. This is met by some suspicion, but he gets away with it, learning that “the other three are below, one guarding the pointy-eared fellow”.


Walking down the steps, Reinhardt finds two more armed men, going about whatever tasks they need to complete before the ship can leave. He surprises everyone, the armed men, the other players and the gm alike, by pulling out his pistol and his small crossbow and shooting the two guards with an epic-level ranged attack (One in each eye). We'll see where this ends. Next week.


End of session


#33 herrquisling



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Posted 13 April 2014 - 11:36 AM

Reinhardt's small but vicious fight


…has been played out, since his player couldn't attend tomorrow's game


I find it interesting when a pc has to perform on his own, since so much of the rule system focuses on group combat.


I gave Reinhardt (in my mind) a one-in-three risk of losing this fight. He was up against 4 Soldiers sharing three melee action cards (one of them reckless cleave) and 1 Ruffian without the expertise dice but with the subdue action card (not a good combo). He did get a free round from his reckless roleplaying, though, so he shot first and then we rolled initiative as the soldiers he fired upon drew their swords and took cover in the cramped cabin space (whatever it's called, we aren't boat people with the exception of our officer who wasn't around to correct us).


Turns out I might have been wrong. It was more of a fifty-fifty challenge. And then you should remember that Reinhardt is at about 40 advances, having been into the careers thief-agent-assassin-marksman and now being a duelist. Even so, with few active defenses and with the opposition having the greater numbers, you're in for a hard time.


For those who like this sort of thing:

The battle as it was. Cards in italics.



Battle starts with "One in each eye", wounding both soldiers present, sending them down to 4 and 6 wounds remaining with a non-serious critical each.



Reinhardt then wins the initiative with a tie of 2 for everyone, shoots one soldier dead with close quarters shot. The other soldier rushes him and slashes his blade across his brow (disorienting strike). He improved dodges, uses the dirty trick of kicking over a bunk bed and rolls with it, still getting one wound and the blinded condition.



Reinhardt shoots and kills the soldier who just blinded him (close quartes shot). Another soldier rushes into the room, swinging a reckless cleave but Reinhardt narrowly escapes due to his criminal power which recharged his improved dodge again. The door in the back of the cabin opens and Reinhardt by pure luck escapes a setup strike.



With an acrobatic strike, Reinhardt disarms and wounds the soldier who emerged from inside the hold. In return he gets the soldier's fist in the face, a very successful melee attack doing a bunch of wounds. Then he is stabbed by the other soldier, and although it's just a scratch he is blinded again (disorienting strike). As if this wasn't enough, the thugs from the Fish appear. One of them is told to run for help, the other one rushes inside and subdues Reinhardt who is overwhelmed.



My memory lets me down, but somehow Reinhardt takes quite a beating, starting out with two extra purple dice on all attacks, but still manages to come out on top; a reckless cleave hits and almost kills him, but somewhere down the line he manages to take out the last thug with a sniper shot.


Only one of the opponents holding a weapon as they start to pound our hero probably saves him, since otherwise he'd be down below his wound threshold before he had taken them down.


The last living soldier had fled into the hold and ambushed Reinhardt with a crossbow, but Reinhardt was faster and nailed him with another sniper shot.


By then Reinhardt was down to 3 wounds but was not critically injured. He rescued the elf who got them out of the hold and into the river just as reinforcements arrived. With some assistance from the bashed-up elf, Reinhardt got ashore and they hailed some watchmen before the thugs managed to get to them. This time, the guards listened to what Reinhardt had to say.

Edited by herrquisling, 13 April 2014 - 11:37 AM.

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#34 herrquisling



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Posted 15 April 2014 - 08:26 AM



Eventually, there were assassins.


This session the players were divided for most of the time, which slows progress somewhat, but it was of necessity. The last session they had split up since they felt the clock was ticking.


We started off at the Temple of Drama. Waldenfrau was hiding in a closet in the old store room, von Stangel was entering Clothilde's box above the auditorium. Waldenfrau got a chance to stop things from going from bad to worse when at the start of the second act, she heard a man (one of the Tileans, judging by his accent) being manhandled into the store room and questioned about the missing barrels. Not having any answers, except that he heard that the pc:s carried the barrels away, he gets a knife in the heart. By the time Waldenfrau emerged from her hiding place, the killer was gone and Leonardo Catrazan was dead.


I don't know why she hesitated, but she never caught up with the killer and instead took up guard backstage, between the stage and where everyone working the set and the stage was (by the back door) and entered a trance (magical sight). That meant that she did not get to stop the new improvised plan to kill Clothilde. The assassins dressed up in the black robes and goblin masks which had been seen on stage during act one (by von Stangel at least) and went to work.


In Clothilde's box, von Stangel is introduced briefly to someone who apparently is a friend of Clothilde's, the Elector of Wissenland, Emmanuelle von Liebwitz. As the second act begins on stage, the assassins enter the box and proceed to cut everyone down. Von Stangel realized what was happening to late and had to choose between protecting Clothilde and the Elector and let his heart guide him, so Emmanuelle and some of her ladies in waiting were quickly stabbed.


Von Stangel fought to protect Clothilde, eventually cutting one of the assassins down, pushing on off the balcony and into the auditorium and overpowering the last of them after hard fight. Somewhat cut up, he holds her as Clothilde and Waldenfrau try to save the Elector but fail. Clothilde finally breaks down (Emmanuelle being one of her very few real friends in the empire) and Waldenfrau is stunned by her failure (she got two chances to get rid of a level 3 critical wound, but no) .


In the auditorium, there is panic and several people are injured or actually dies as people run out of the theatre. It takes a while before staff and guards begin to find their way upstairs. Everyone is quite shaken.


We pan out and go to a different scene.


Game mechanics

Here I will describe the fight in terms of actual dice-rolling. SKip this if you just want to know what happened, it will continue further down.


Once again, we had a single pc against multiple opponents. This time, von Stangel had to fight on his own. Being a judical champion, a former watchman, agent, veteran and probably something else that I've forgotten, he has over 40 advances under his belt.


The assassins really did have a hard time against von Stangel. With sword and buckler, he soaks 7 and uses advanced block, improved parry, dodge with catlike reflexes and can make a counterblow. On the offense, he uses insulting blow, margrita thrust, and shield bash if I've gotten this right.


The assassins had nimble strike, acrobatic strike, cut throat, backstab and knife in the crowd shared between them, and also one improved dodge card each.


Basically, von Stangel fought and killed the assassins as he blunted or foiled their attacks. Slowly, they wore him down but by some luck he never was in any real danger (one of the assassins rolled a double chaos star and was thrown from the balcony).


Clothilde was in real danger, though. At one point, one of the assassins slip by von Stangel and grabs Clothilde. His player is told that he's got one attempt to get the assassin away from her, or... But he does it well, cutting the assassin on the wrist, smashing his teeth in with the buckler and planting a kiss on Clothilde's cheek.


Waldenfrau played a small part, having rolled a daunting observation check she realized that something was afoul (perhaps she heard her name being called by von Stangel whilst in her trance), she managed to get on stage, cut a rope, be pulled up onto the beams above the stage and unleashed her magic upon the last assassin. This didn't make much difference in game terms, though.


Friedrick Grosz and the high elf


Meanwhile, the sigmarite warrior-priest, in full armor, his face painted like an ashen skull (I forgot to mention that, did I), isn't bothered by anyone as he drags Grosz through the streets and into Wayfarer's Rest. There, by chance, the Witch Hunter awaits him (the pc, not Adele) and they proceed to warn the innkeep about bothering them even if he hears screams.


In their room, they intimidate Grosz by talking about what they'll do to him. He is clever, clever enough to know that they are quite serious. Gerber is insane, by Grosz's estimate (he is of the order, after all) and Joseph has held a grudge against Grosz since his background story was written and Grosz sold him out to the Tall-worshipers who were hunting Joseph.


Gerber leaves to get some stuff, “preferably a rat”, leaving Grosz to try to talk his way out of a horrible fate. “It was ever only business”, “I have done bad deeds, but I'm not one of them evil cultists” “The man in the black cowl might be, but I'm not” “Not everyone was born with a silver spoon you know, I could have been another Freidrick, a Kaufman, but you have to work with the cards you're dealt”. Et.c.


He then tells Joseph about meeting the black cowl several times, about him or someone posing as him (he is certain that there have been different people behind the cowl) staying at the Holy Hammer of Sigmar and about how he has had assassins kill off people who has been working for him. About the kidnapping of the elf. The black cowl is, according to Grosz, one or more persons, of which at least one fakes his noble-man accent. (after all, Grosz has met Kaufman and Curd Weiss, probably also Bauerfaust and likely Schaffer as the Black Cowl).


He also mentions – but the players miss this, I think – that he has set up the situation where the Red Crown followers are now under surveillance at the Priest's Den. This is a clue which if acted on might save a lot of lives. As would uncovering the fact that Grosz has actually been behind all the gun-powder smuggling. But they never get there.


As Gerber returns, bearing a towel and a water jug, Grosz manages to convince them that he has told all he knows about the black cowl (but other things he has done himself, those he's probably not told) by the means of a good roll for guile. The players have to accept this, but Gerber still proceeds to torture Grosz. He's just started, though, when Reinhardt and the high elf enters, bloody, wet and cut up.


The elf tells his story, which in all seems to be lacking some parts and the heroes decide to tell him nothing of the bell clapper and things like that. They do insist that he comes with them to meet their friends and to confront the man who ordered his kidnapping and killing. He agrees and the heroes insist that they escort him to the Crown (thus he isn't instakilled by the gm's assassins under Linhart).


Joseph then confronts Grosz with his old sins and in a symbolic act takes the gold grosz got for selling out the then young initiate to the Tall-worshipers from Grosz's purse. As they leave Reinhardt to guard Grosz, Gerber goes back upstairs to grab something. The elf and the sigmarite wait out in the streets as Grosz takes the fall from the third level of the inn and is impaled on a fence by the statue of the old emperor.


Grosz estimate was right. Gerber is insane.


More assassins


Upon getting outside the Temple of Drama, our heroes see a great crowd of five hundred or more heads. It's everyone who has fled the killings inside and everyone who has gathered to watch. As the sigmarite, the witch hunter and the elf make their way through the crowds, intuition rolls are made with great success (hard ones). The pc:s spot at least three men moving through the crow towards the elf, and as they quickly look around, they spot a man with a crossbow on a balcony opposite the theatre.


Initiative is rolled, the heroes go first (foresight is a good card to put on the party sheet). Gerber intercepts one of the would be assassins and they dodge about each other until enough opening is made in the crowd for Gerber to unleash the fury and the assassin drops dead. Meanwhile, Joseph runs up to the elf, shielding him with his body and shield. He catches the first bolt on the shield, but the the assassins are on them. Blood is drawn as Joseph pushes the elf out of the way, but not much (a good soak, with the option as a zealot, a flagellant now actually, to use his insanity for more soak and with the additional option to grit his teeth).


As the elf whips out his sword, he is hit by a crossbow bolt. He staggers, and the other two assassins both stab and cut him. He's down. Joseph has prayed Sigmar to lend him his strength, and here comes Gerber in a whirlwind with his flail and axe. The assassins quickly understand that they are outgunned, so to speak, and run for it.


By then, von Stangel comes running out of the building, having been alerted by the watchmen who have arrived. He quickly yells for Joseph and Gerber to chase the assassins as he himself gathers up the unconscious elf. Gerber has no luck with the shooter, but Joseph catches up with one of the others after a short chase (hard observation followed by a athletics competition) and recklessly slays him on the spot.


As the heroes reunite in the Temple of Drama, Joseph has cut the tattoo of Sigmar's Hammer from the forearm of the assassin he killed. It quickly turns out that the assassin von Stangel caught, Nina, has another of the same kind. Gerber gets to try to force her to talk, but she's got nothing to lose and keeps her loyalties.


Authorities arrive


I tried earlier to make the witch hunter's player understand that they are not the only law in town in Altdorf. The latest attempt was by stealing Valvorik's Mandelbrot-character and having him arrested by the Order of Light in a battle of jurisdiction with the witch hunters. He did understand my point, eventually, since as Reiksguard arrive to apprehend the killer of one of the empire's Electors, he releases her to them.


What has happened starts to sink in. An elector, killed. Clothilde has regained her wits and von Stangel has not lost favor with her for saving her life instead of Emmanuelle's. She likely thinks him slightly in love with her, which might be the truth for all I know. The mummers and everyone and their mother are unbalanced, to say the least. When this becomes public...


At that moment, Waldenfrau arrives. She's been running an important errand: to find her Order's masters to resurrect the dead Elector. She believes it can be done. They order everyone out of the Noble's box and as the others start to get a grip in this new turn of events, there is an explosion. A big one.


Some time later we find our heroes poking around in the ruins of the Priest's Den which exploded just as in Valvorik's script. The Black Cowl has killed a lot of witch hunters and sigmarites and perhaps given a few of them the idea that this was the goal of the gun-powder plot. Gerber horse-jacked a horse and got there in time to hear one of his superiors croak “It was a trap” before he too dies. It's about one hour and a half until the Prayer Service for the emperor starts. What now?


End of session.


#35 valvorik



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Posted 15 April 2014 - 07:03 PM

Just catching up, thank you for thinking my stuff worthy to steal from - you do great work with it and if I was playing after you I would pilfer your game too!


Poor Clothilde, things don't go right for her in either of our worlds.

#36 herrquisling



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Posted 16 April 2014 - 01:35 PM

No, and today von Stangel's player confessed that our hero likes the countess indeed, but he will not be surprised if she has had a part to play in things, even though he'll be devastated if she turns out to be bad.


Poor Clothilde. Perhaps it's for the best since she actually is the good girl in my version, which von Stangel's real obsession, miss Artha Schaffer, certainly isn't. I'm sure you can find a reference somewhere in these posts, by he actually spent a night in her company. The thing is, I do believe that Schaffer likes him a lot too, perhaps to the degree that she's kept Bauerfaust from taking him out already. von Stangel might even agree with the conspiracy… in their mind (Bauerfasut really knows the kid, and so does Artha) and if he doesn't and Bauerfaust has gone over the edge… who's to say what sides she might take? 


#37 herrquisling



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Posted 29 April 2014 - 04:06 AM

The bell tolls


Yes, this was the session when it finally happened. And they should have seen it coming, they felt, but they didn't since the gun-powder plot was all they could think of. Just as the black cowl had intended, I guess.


Aftermath of the explosion


Picking up the narrative, our heroes were standing around the smoldering ruins in Tempelgarten. Soldiers and watchmen and the fire brigade tried to keep things orderly, but with half a thousand bystanders and pieces of people and burning wreckage all over, there was not much order to be had.


Reinhardt joined the others, having left the inn since he had no-one to watch over (Grosz being rather dead). A heated discussion erupted, where von Stangel and Gerber (the witch hunter) argued about the best course of action. Gerber wanted to somehow search the Cathedral for further barrel-bombs since it was such an obvious target. Joseph wanted to kill all the bastards they could find at the Holy Hammer, and von Stangel tended to agree. In the end, Joseph found a higher ranking sigmarite and told him about their suspicions. “Don't you think we've thought about that”, was the scolding response. But as it later turned out, hundreds were saved by that act alone.


Gerber, needing to cool of, went to see if he could spot Adele in the area and he did find her, surreptitiously watching the carnage. She was edgy and wanted the pc:s to try to sort out what the College of Light was doing with Luminary Mauer (and the professor they had arrested as well) since they stonewalled her. She wasn't very forthcoming about her own plans.


Upon Gerbers return the heroes got hold of some horses and rode to the Holy Hammer to deal some damage and to get some answers.


At this point, I felt that it was necessary to get some things out in the open. Since we quickly approached end-game and the players hadn't tried to get to either Bauerfaust, Kaufman or Mauer for some plot-enhanching chats. I did mention to Gerber's player, using Adele, that Curd Weiss was in town with Kaufman, and that made the players somewhat suspicious. Wasn't he supposed to manage things back in Avernheim? But perhaps he simply had been sent for, they thought.


Anyway, this meant that I pulled out some clues (not cards, just clues) and put them in the Holy Hammer.


The Holy Hammer


The pc:s knew about the labyrinthine layout of the “tavern” and were prepared for a fight as they entered through the door from the stable yard. Reinhardt knew how to quickly pick even the locks that paranoid assassins use, now being in his 40th game session. Inside, they found the place completely deserted, no staff, no nothing. All evidence – had there ever been any – was gone, burnt.


Obviously some of the 30 rooms had been used for more than dining and drinking, there were ink quills, desks, shelves and even bunk beds in some of them. In two of the rooms they found things. On one shelf, there was a wooden figurine like the ones in Kaufman's exhibition. In one bucket, were papers had been burnt, they found parts of a wax sigil from the College of Light. Not enough to explain anything, but enough to cast some additional suspicions.


The figurine was Curd Weiss' of course, the letter had really been used by Mauer's sister Katarina to issue false documents. By the way, did I mention how Mauer was taken by the College of Light? He and Katarina went in there and she showed her true allegiances as she took the bell-clapper and knocked the Luminary out cold to be found by the other wizards. Awkward. She didn't kill him because she could not, not everything is completely black and white. Although it had been better, especially if the pc:s had gotten round to finding out what happened.


Our heroes then quickly left the place, because the Prayer Service was about to begin and they had a lot of suspicions about gun-powder being put in play there and von Stangel still had a “date” with Clothilde (and the gm told the players in no uncertain terms that they were not to split up this session).


The Prayer Service


You know how this is supposed to go by the book. The big difference was that the heroes were not trying to find anyone, or, they looked for Kaufman but didn't see him as they chatted with Clothilde and watched all the important people dressed in all their splendor. They met an old acquaintance, Aschaffenberg from Eye for an Eye, but didn't make any other moves.


After a while, Gerber and Joseph started for the bell tower since they wanted to get on the stairs to have somewhere to watch the crowd from. That's when Gerber saw a figure in a black hood disappearing up into the tower. With still hundreds of people between them and the tower, they started to push their way through as the bell started to toll... and carnage broke out.


Again, you know what the book says, but here I simply left the changeling out of it and had some “larger, quicker ever-changing demon” attack the heads of the cult. Other than that, there were pillars of fire of smoke from which a flaming tower of twisted flesh, bone and beaks rose and screeching horrors emerged.


The heroes battled their way through one group of demons and some mutating onlookers, a rather though fight since every round had the bell tolling again, but they prevailed (through liberal use of comet-rolls to take out an opponent by having them eating someone else or being hacked down by some knight).


Please note, although it has been said before, that one must make the effects of the bell-clapper less serious. I went with terror 2 checks all the way, for every successful roll the pc gained a fortune die and with three successes in a row the pc had to roll no more. That took it's toll, still, but all the pc:s managed to enter the stairs still standing.


The bell tower


As our heroes ran up the stairs (not Gerber, he didn't have the two fatigue to spend which I ruled it took and thus took his time), Waldenfrau mutated. She was last in line, no-one saw it then, but her body grew and her clothes started to bulge as she turned into... something else. Perhaps not even Waldenfrau herself understood what was happening right then.


Reaching the top of the tower, seeing the bell hanging over a railed causeway over the open stairwell, they finally met their enemy. Or enemies. Two Black Cowls where there, next to the bell, one of them pulling the rope which made it toll. They were guarded by three swordsmen and three men with guns. As von Stangel spoke up, one of the men in black pulled back his hood. Kaufman.


Much was said, and I'll relate the geist of it. Von Stangel accused Kaufman of pure madness, didn't her realize what he had let lose down there? As a matter of fact, he didn't know but he deemed it to be a necessary thing, since the empire had to change, the nobility was to fall and new men rise by merit of their actions and ability.


At this point von Stangel's player realised that Bauerfaust was the prime Black Cowl, because what Kaufman was saying sounded to much like what Bauerfaust used to say in less bloody terms.


As the other Black Cowl pulled the rope again, Reinhardt shot him and Waldenfrau unleashed her magic. He fell, hood thrown back, and was revealed as Curd Weiss as the bell tolled again, for the final time. Kaufman halted his men and the heroes from unleashing the fury by yelling “stop”, since von Stangel just had shouted to him that he'd found Anna.


More talk followed. Von Stangel skillfully tried to get Kaufman to tell who had forced him to do what he does by taking Anna (as he correctly surmised had happened) but Kaufman said that he'd damned himself and that he'd have to pay for that. Kaufman wanted to know where Anna was. Von Stangel told him, basically, that she was very damaged and that she was safe with Shallyans. Kaufman tried to negotiate his way out, to get her... but that's when Reinhardt shot him too...


Now, that was a bad move. Otherwise I'd let Weiss knife Kaufman and everything would have been so much better for the players...


The shot hit Kaufman in the chest and he staggered. At the same time, everyone charged at each other. Joseph made short work of the men with pistols, as he bashed in skulls and threw men over the railings. Von Stangel entered the melee and fought the swordsmen, trying to hold them back. Kaufman righted himself and pointed at Reinhardt, a swirling vortex of chaotic energies building up around him. Blood vessels broke across Reinhardt's skull and he fell (actually mutating as well, but the tail remains hidden for now).


As von Stangel and now also Gerber who comes up the stairs, exhausted, and Waldenfrau fought the swordsmen, Joseph ran around the tower and came at Curd Weiss and von Kaufman from behind. In a few quick blows, they both fell. Kaufman screamed as a rift in reality tore open in his chest and imploded him, leaving the shimmering rift hanging in the air. The last swordsman still standing threw himself from the tower as the heroes closed in on him...




As the heroes gather, Waldenfrau stands off to one side and Gerber backs up so that he has the stairs. Gerber looks at the sorceress. She has turned into... an abomination (we think she-hulk, without the colour). Reinhardt is downed, but lives, it's pretty much just exhaustion (8 fatigue), Joseph decides. Just then, steel-clad boots stomp up the stairs and Marcus Bauerfaust, Artha Schaffer and six grizzled Avernheimer Greatswords enter the scene as a rally phase hits the pc:s.


Bauerfaust takes a look at the scene, lingering perhaps on the mutaded woman before he sees the slumped form of the Black Cowl. “It can't have been him, can it?” he says, “Where's Kaufman?”. Von Stangel quickly replies: “In there...”. “Well, damn.” says Bauerfaust. “We'll need to sort this out, in addition to the mess downstairs. For now, you are all under arrest. Drop those weapons, all of you”. Gerber protests but Bauerfaust says “There is no authority you have which supersedes mine”. He and his men advance up into the tower, past Gerber, who then quickly slips away (down the stairs).


“Kaufman is dead, but not before he told us about his master”, von Stangel tells Bauerfasut. At that Bauerfaust grimly says: “He was always the weaker of us”. He shifts his hands along the grip of his greatsword. “You two, after the witch-hunter. Don't let him get away”.


He had to admit it, had he not?


As everyone backs up, or advances a step or two, von Stangel acts. Perhaps believing that true evil stands in front of him, leans under the bell and grasps the bell-clapper, lifting it of its hook, and as its corrupting influences tear at him, mutating his arm into gross, fleshy proportions, he holds out his other hand to Joseph who hands him his dwarven rune-hammer. Schaffer takes a few steps forward and seems horrified. Von Stangel raises the hammer, and strikes the clapper which shatters, throwing everyone to the ground.


Von Stangel, surprised, lives.


I threw a daunting corruption check followed by a daunting resilience check at von Stangel. The former he failed and mutated. Failure at the later check meant instant death and lots of damage to everyone around him. Now, with success, he absorbed the explosion himself. And lived. It rings true with what we've decided can be done about corrupt artifacts and why it simply isn't done.


End of session

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#38 valvorik



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Posted 29 April 2014 - 07:08 AM

WOOO! Fantastic epic stuff.


Yes, the final scene needs some tweaking but that is great stuff you ended up with there.



#39 herrquisling



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Posted 29 April 2014 - 03:15 PM

The final battle


As everyone at the top level of the bell tower slowly climbs to their feet as the bell vibrates with the shock of the exploding bell-clapper, von Stangel raises his swollen left arm with the shield half melted into it and shouts to Bauerfaust: “You used to tell me all the time in training never to let my guard down. Well, I haven't yet and I never will. This does not make me less inclined to stand in your path. But all the others, the mutations you have inflicted on them... do you intend for the empire to be overrun by mutants and cultists? This seems to be what you want, from where I stand. How can you?”


The answer comes quickly. “These mutants will be dealt with. The empire will not tolerate them. As for cults, well they have been around all the time but that's about to change. The empire has suffered at the hands of corrupt, incompetent, decadent, no-good nobles for too long. You have been here for a while, you've seen a good part of the empire on our way here. Don't you see that it is at a standstill? That nothing good has been accomplished since Magnus the Pious' days? There are good noblemen, like you von Stangel. People like you will get the chance to stay on top, to get things done and to rule. Don't you want it? A new beginning? You can still have it. The stage has been set.”


Unfortunately for Bauerfaust, Joseph has blessed Reinhardt, cradled his head and whispered to him as he panicked when consciousness returned. “You are needed by the empire one last time, so rise my friend. For me, for Stangel, for Sigmar... for Anna”. Joseph himself had felt dead already. As he watched his friends through his tears, he knew that nothing would be the same again. Ever.


As Reinhardt came to his feet, his eyes where wild. He was doomed, for sure, and he'd die, probably slowly and painfully and the next time he awoke everyone else would be gone. He saw Bauerfaust as he finished his monologue, and shot him, one bullet in the neck and a crossbow bolt through a ***** in his armor. Blood spurted and the iron-clad soldiers charged the heroes. Only one held back, Artha.


Joseph and von Stangel rose and the brothers in this task they had taken on, who had come closer to each other than perhaps any of the others, stood up to the charge. But not completely, as one of the long blades cut into Reinhardt and he fell into oblivion. Again.


Waldenfrau ran along the outer walkway of the tower and into the middle, chased by two of the greatswords. She narrowly escaped and ducked between Joseph and von Stangel, slapping Reinhardt as to get him back on his feet, muttering a chant under her breath. As the two greatswords come charging across the narrow walkway, she releases her power and chain lightning arches between her and the armored soldiers. Smoke rises, but it doesn't stop them.


Reinhardt, almost raving mad, staggers to his knees, leaning against Waldenfrau. He sees Bauerfaust come rushing into the melee and shots him again, the bullet tearing a bloody path straight to the grizzled captains body. It doesn't stop him. Bauerfaust knocks von Stangel's shield out of the way and smashes his sword deep into his shoulder. Blood spurts. One of the greatswords slams down onto the walkway, severing Reinhardt's leg above the knee on its way. Blood spurts.


Reinhardt is dying. Von Stangel is still standing only by virtue of his supreme willpower. Joseph has been ready to die since he woke this morning. Waldenfrau's power is exhausted. They are surrounded by their foes. Then Artha's gaze meets von Stangel's. He smiles (hard charm check). And she takes a swing at one of her comrades, cutting him across the back and slamming him into the railing.


Joseph rallies himself, gathers his strength and hurls everything he's got at Bauerfaust, smashing him hard enough to break steel and bone and cave in his chest. Blood spurting from his mouth, he collapses and topples over the railing. Just as Adele and Gerber comes running up the stairs, having killed the greatswords who went for Gerber.


A sword strike almost kills Joseph then and there, as he sees Bauerfaust tumble over the edge, but von Stangel jumps in front of him and is struck down instead (bodyguard with one wound). Then Gerber is among them, whirling, striking, and Joseph's prayers echo in the tower chamber. Waldenfrau is cut down, but so are Bauerfaust's men, by Artha Schaffer, Adele, Gerber and our sigmarite brother. The last man standing is surrounded and jumps over the railing, screaming “There is only one true good please take me save me...”


Silence only broken by distant screaming. Bells ringing somewhere in the city. The light from the open rift lights the faces of Gerber, Joseph, Adele and Artha. “Sorry about this” says Gerber as he throws a hard elbow at Joseph's face. Joseph is faster, and tumbles Gerber to the ground, backing away from everyone. (he had the choice to kill him since he won the competitive check with several Sigmar's comets, successes and boons to spare...)


Gerber gets up. “What are you doing”. That from Adele. “We'll have to take them in. Mutants, they're corrupt”, says Gerber. “You've got enough to deal with downstairs!” says Joseph. Meanwhile, Artha kneels by von Stangel's side. She calls out to Joseph for help, and he kneels, giving his blessing and his prayers and von Stangel's eyes flutter open.


Adele convinces Gerber that no-one is leaving the tower and that they have to go downstairs to discuss things. “This can wait for now”, she says. As they reach the stairs, she lets Gerber go first and cuts his throat. “not every mutant is evil”, she shouts. Blood spurts, but his reflexes save him (a few wounds left). He swings at her, but she's fast with that dagger, and they go at each other, giving their best to kill until Joseph shouts to Adele “Back down, come here Adele”, and she dodges away, coming up between von Stangel, Artha and Joseph.


Von Stangel leans on Artha, raising his mutated shield arm in a guard. Joseph hefts his hammer. Gerber spits on the floor in front of them and turns, walking down the stairs.


The end


There's much talking. Artha tells the others some of what has happened as von Stangel stops Reinhardt's bleeding. She tells them about Bauerfaust and how she's always agreed with him, but never did she think he'd turn to chaos to accomplish what he wished for. She answers questions. But there isn't time. Adele makes it clear that she's a mutant, showing her arm beneath the prosthetic dagger. She says that they will never get out of the tower, not past all the gathered down there, and that Gerber will be back soon.


Von Stangel smiles at Artha and prepares for a last fight, although he hasn't got much. She says that there might be another way. To take the fight to where it belongs, and by that she means the rift. Adele nods to this, and von Stangel agrees. But he tries to convince Joseph to stay, as the only one with a future here. He throws him his gold, meaning well, but Joseph shakes his head. “I woke up today expecting to die. I might still”. Tears and sweat has ruined his death-mask and now it splits in something akin to a smile.


They pick up their fallen comrades and hand in hand they walk into the rift.



The end?










3, 2, 1, Fight!


As we returned for this session at the gaming table, we were set for a real fight. Dramatic as things were, the game mechanics still had an important part to play in this final battle.


Let me introduce the contestants:


In one corner, we had the heroes, who were somewhat worn by then. Reinhardt, a duelist, was unconscious, and had mutated although that is besides the point here since he's also quite insane and that counted for more than a tail in the pants. Von Stangel, a champion of the empire, was in quite good shape, except for having mutated freakishly. Joseph, a prophet of doom, was a bit bloodied and worn. Waldenfrau, still an apprentice, was as always a weak link in this team of fighters, even with her new impressive frame... and Gerber, a witch hunter, had bailed out, or down. The stairs, that is. Still, for what it's worth, they were at rank 5 so this a deadly bunch.


In the other corner, weighing in at over a clanking ton of steel-clad muscle together, we had the Black Cowl a.k.a. Marcus Bauerfaust and his trusted men and women of the Avernheimer Greatswords, including his loyal lieutenant Artha Schaffer.


Marcus had the Lord card (not black cowl, that was for Kaufman who dabbled in sorcery to get an advantage over Bauerfaust, which he dared never use, though) putting him at 27 wounds and a strength of 7 and all the Zweihander actions, Reckless Cleave and Thunderous blow... and of course the Villainous Monologue card. Schaffer had the same ones, but not not the monologue and so did the six soldiers. They were enhanced at one level trained in weapon skill, strength and toughness of 4 and armor soak of 4, wielding greatswords. They could only use their actions with some restrictions, one of each card per turn and never the same card twice for the same soldier.


You know who won...


...but without Artha they could have lost. And that was both due to roleplaying much earlier in the campaign and to that fateful hard charm check.


...but without Adele they might have lost. And she could have died a long time ago. And even if they won, Gerber might have gotten his way and had them burnt at the stake or something like that.


...but also, there was always the possibility that they'd talk to Kaufman about Anna earlier, and then he'd try to kill Bauerfaust, first by using Adele and then by his own hand, setting up a very different and probably easier final battle.

  • valvorik likes this


#40 valvorik



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Posted 29 April 2014 - 05:37 PM

That's an "epic ending".


Do you plan on playing a Chaos Waste episode or to "fade out on them there"?  That is a very satisfying "fade out" dramatically.

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