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A Favour For Fostenklauster or The Hill of Bones


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#1 valvorik

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 12:49 PM

This is a homebrew adventure - a murder mystery in a Sigmarite monastary/old zealot's home.  Inspired by a short story in the "Hill of Bones" by the Medieval Murderers.

Sigmarite Father Erich, the Wizard of Light Hans, the wood Elf Findulas and the Charlatan, a'hem, gentleman Anselm return to Uberseik after their prior adventure.

http://www.fantasyfl...=3&efidt=577497

Having paid 20 shillings in fare, the heroes return to Ubersreik on Kaldeziet 16, 2521 (about 2 and half months to go before year's end).

 

Heroes were last here on Erntezeit 10, 2521, when they left by coach with Lady Agnetha.

At the heroes' first meeting with their patron Lord Aschaffenberg on Kaldezeit 17, he welcomes news of their doings. They were gone all of Brauzeit and the start of Kaldezeit. Hearing of their doings and actions against Chaos, he is pleased and Vern will be handing over the Brauzeit and Kaldezeit retainers for 40 shillings each all around.

Hearing of the Krokargh matter and their rescue of Lady Agnetha, Lord Rikard is sobered. He is grateful for the heroes' bravery in saving her. He asks that they not speak of her additional troubles. The superstitious claim only those already wicked are ever possessed and it profits no one to cast further shadow on the von Bruner name.

... the von Bruner name, Anselm has to make an Easy (1D) Guile check to avoid betraying some gesture, start or other reaction at the idea of shadows on the von Bruner name......

For discretion, Vern will be handing them each a pouch with another 50 shillings each on their way out.

Ah the old world, 20 shillings a month for fighting Chaos, 50 shillings for keeping names of noble's inlaws out of it.

Lord Rikard asks the heroes to return the next day for a meeting with Lector Gunther Emming of the Temple of Sigmar, there being a mission he believes the heroes would be ideal to carry out for the Lector. He does not give details as "that is for the Lector".

The Lector supports Graf von Jungfreud politically rather than Lord Rickard, although Lord Rickard attends his temple regularly.

The next day the heroes return to learn that the Abbot of nearby, wealthy Fostenklauster Monastery, Blessed of the Hammer Stafke Garmann, has written to the Lector seeking assistance in the form of an outside, neutral party to investigate recent deaths at this Monastery of the Anvil (Sigmarite order).

- of course, "neutral" still means "Sigmarite".

In the past few months, the two next-most-important officials at the Monastery have both met with untimely demises – Prior Holger Esker and Aldred, the Master of the Hospital attached to the Monastery. The Abbot writes that rumours are now circulating that they were murdered and the Abbot is asking for an impartial external inquiry to either dispel these rumours or find the murderer.

Abbot Garmann promises his full cooperation. He does not himself believe anything sinister is afoot but wishes an external validation.

Lord Rickard’s conversation draws out additional information from the Lector to assist the heroes. The Lector allows that yes, Abbot Garman is very well-connected in Altdorf meaning it is not good to get on his wrong side. That the Abbot is not asking a witch hunter to come shows his lack of true concern – particularly given that the Abbot has friendly connections with several witch hunters (another reason not to get on his wrong side).

Lord Rickard considers resolving this matter satisfactorily and without causing harm to Sigmarite cause to be a first rate idea. If Abbot Garman were to hold a favourable view of the Aschaffenberg name, that would be useful – the issue of Ubersreik’s status is likely to be resolved this winter. The Order of the Anvil advises on interpreting doctrine and law - good to have them in your corner.

The heroes, mostly Father Erich, ask a few questions. The deaths are blamed on wolves which Father Erich finds unlikely. It happens that Aldred was known to Erich years earlier when he was a mercenary in a devoutly Sigmarite company - not a man to be taken down by a wolf.

Hans is happy for a reason to visit Fostenklauster given the Profane Artifact (horn of beastman slain by Fosten himself in the Great War Against Chaos) he has been charged to try to destroy by finding the Hammmer of Fosten. A coincidence? Hmmm, the Order of Light sees far and perhaps knew something when giving him this task.

The heroes accept this mission and Father Erich is given a letter from the Lector indicating he is the Sigmarite representative being sent to conduct the inquiry.

The general information the heroes know without any effort is that the Monastery of Fostenklauster is named after heroic priest Fosten the Fury from the Great War Against Chaos. It is a Monastery of the Anvil with a Sigmarite Hospital attached to it.

The Hospital is not a medical treatment establishment, rather more an veteran's home for invalid soldiers of virtue, old zealots and witch hunters in their declining years who failed to relieve heretics of enough wealth to assure their comfort.

The monastery has a wide ranging set of entitlements in the area to tithes and tolls that make it quite prosperous (one reason it can support the Hospital). It is best known for the Fosten Eisenbock, a 13% proof ale that it brews and supplies to Ubersreik region (they don't make enough to really export further). It is a popular quality local brew that dwarfs give the highest commendation they would to a human beer, “It’s nae piss”.

The Monastery stands within sight of Flussberg village, which is about 10 miles upriver from Ubersreik.

The heroes can decide their own approach to the mission from here.



#2 Angelic Despot

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 12:05 PM

valvorik said:

(1) Having paid 20 shillings in fare, the heroes return to Ubersreik on Kaldeziet 16, 2521 (about 2 and half months to go before year's end).

(2) ... the von Bruner name, Anselm has to make an Easy (1D) Guile check to avoid betraying some gesture, start or other reaction at the idea of shadows on the von Bruner name......

(3) Ah the old world, 20 shillings a month for fighting Chaos, 50 shillings for keeping names of noble's inlaws out of it.

(4) the issue of Ubersreik’s status is likely to be resolved this winter. The Order of the Anvil advises on interpreting doctrine and law - good to have them in your corner.

(5) Hans is happy for a reason to visit Fostenklauster given the Profane Artifact (horn of beastman slain by Fosten himself in the Great War Against Chaos) he has been charged to try to destroy by finding the Hammmer of Fosten. A coincidence? Hmmm, the Order of Light sees far and perhaps knew something when giving him this task.

(6) The general information the heroes know without any effort is that the Monastery of Fostenklauster is named after heroic priest Fosten the Fury from the Great War Against Chaos. It is a Monastery of the Anvil with a Sigmarite Hospital attached to it.

(7) The monastery has a wide ranging set of entitlements in the area to tithes and tolls that make it quite prosperous (one reason it can support the Hospital).

(8) It is a popular quality local brew that dwarfs give the highest commendation they would to a human beer, “It’s nae piss”.

Sounds brilliant!   Some comments/observations/questions:

(1) I notice you've been emphasising dates a fair bit.   Given that I imagine that with the old world calendar they are quite hard to keep track of, why is this?   Is it important to the visions you've been giving your players?   Or just some book-keeping you've been doing?

(2) What was it that Anselm was at risk of betraying?   Something to do with his parentage?

(3) Love it!

(4) Wasn't Ubersreik's status resolved during 'Edge of Night'?   Did you choose to drag it out, or does the adventure state that the final decision happens much later?   I assumed that there was a lot of urgency in swaying the political factions there because a decision was due soon.

(5) One think I like about WFRP is that this kind of 'fate' (i.e. cheesy plot hammers) can be used every now and a get without actually spoiling the mood of the game.   The characters are fated to fight chaos (however they see fit/can manage) and every now and again, Fate lets them know it...

(6) Shouldn't it be named after a priest called Fosten the Furious, not the Fury?   I'm assuming this was the priest also famed for driving really, really souped-up carts in illegal races?   (And for hanging out with gorgeous women?)   :)

(7) Did the heroes negotiate any explicit payment for this mission?   And if so, by Lord Rickard, or by the monastery itself?

(8) Love it!



#3 valvorik

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 04:42 AM

Angelic Despot said:

Sounds brilliant!   Some comments/observations/questions:

(1) I notice you've been emphasising dates a fair bit.   Given that I imagine that with the old world calendar they are quite hard to keep track of, why is this?   Is it important to the visions you've been giving your players?   Or just some book-keeping you've been doing?

(2) What was it that Anselm was at risk of betraying?   Something to do with his parentage?

(3) Love it!

(4) Wasn't Ubersreik's status resolved during 'Edge of Night'?   Did you choose to drag it out, or does the adventure state that the final decision happens much later?   I assumed that there was a lot of urgency in swaying the political factions there because a decision was due soon.

(5) One think I like about WFRP is that this kind of 'fate' (i.e. cheesy plot hammers) can be used every now and a get without actually spoiling the mood of the game.   The characters are fated to fight chaos (however they see fit/can manage) and every now and again, Fate lets them know it...

(6) Shouldn't it be named after a priest called Fosten the Furious, not the Fury?   I'm assuming this was the priest also famed for driving really, really souped-up carts in illegal races?   (And for hanging out with gorgeous women?)   :)

(7) Did the heroes negotiate any explicit payment for this mission?   And if so, by Lord Rickard, or by the monastery itself?

(8) Love it!

Thanks for kind words.

Re #1, I use pdf downloads of calendars a fan-fanatic did for 2e that have calendars for all years that calendarize weeks and full moons etc., taking account of odd length months and intercalanary days.  They include "month print off" making it easy to note what day things happen on.

I do this to keep track of days' healing checks for crits, monthly checks for insanity recover and monthly stipends and generally to add depth to the world.

#2, he just found out he's a von Bruner bastard, so it was the von Bruner name being besmirched he might have "twitched" at.

#4, in canon, the Edge of Night doesn't really resolve issue.  It's for Emperor to say and I played it as a slow boil of rival factions winnowing each other down to a climax.  In "Lure of Power" description of local nobles, it's still assumed Ubersreik is up for grabs.

#6 now you're making me see him as Nicholas Cage, that's just wrong.

#7  payment was not mentioned on either side, generally Father Erich and Master Hans are above such worries, Findulas oblivious and Anselm confident he'll find a way to turn a profit regardless.  We've made the transition from "treasure haul" gaming to "it's what my character would do" very nicely - though to be fare even in D&D they were very character driven players.

 



#4 valvorik

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 05:45 AM

Xmas break was longer than expected but we resume!

50th advance, all heroes present (bonus fortune die next time for Father Erich's player for being on time!)

The heroes spent another day in Ubersreik before leaving town for Fostenklauster.

Anselm met privately with Lord Ascaffenberg to talk about Steirlich von Bruner (orphanage raised Anselm's father it turns out).  This is part of setting up a trip to see dad that likely comes after this adventure.  Details of chat with Lord Rikard will be included if that adventure takes place and is recorded.

Hans went for his blood sausage breakfast at the Hofling Blutig (bloody/murderous courtier, high end "sausage-house" in Wizard’s Way (an area otherwise filled with apothecaries, alchemists). There he met (good folklore check) Herr Hans Rutsch, another gastronomic fancier, a historian from the University of Altdorf here in Ubersreik to write a history of region and a source of information about Fosten the Fury of Sigmar.

Herr Rutsch was happy to relate the history of Fosten from humble village priest to war hero, his battles against the greenskins (goblins, orcs etc.) in The Great War Against Chaos, his eventual founding of monastary and presumed interment there. He did not recall any tales of significant hammers, other than the fact Fosten wielded a two-handed hammer smiting greenskins two or three at a time with it. He had been to the monastery as part of his local researches and recommends talking to Brother Rumpolt who is most familiar with the monastery's library since he is using it to write a legal interpretation treatise.

Father Erich spent 40 schillings buying some vellum and other things he expects would be welcomed by monks. This is loaded on a cart, a draft horse borrowed from patron Lord Aschaffenberg to pull it. The heavy (encumbrance 8) lead box in which the profane beastman horn Hans is charged with lies is loaded in cart for transport.

GM note - the profane artifact card says Enc 8, I ruled that the protective leaded box in which an Enc 2 horn lies.  Str 3 Hans can't cart that around easily without a cart.

These affairs are handled on the 18th of Kaldezeit. On the 19th, the heroes rise early and make a 4 hour walk up the banks of the Teufel to Flussberg, with horse and cart.

They stop for lunch in the village's open air eatery. They are amidst many soldiers of Graf von Jungfreud and, in their Aschaffenberg livery, are subject to some insulting banter about their patron (seen as a rival to the Graf). They notice a short, rather portly monk deep in conversation with a taller, wild haired zealot-looking monk (more tattered robe, chains to hang hammer from, prayer strips pinned all over clothes) and manage to overhear the two sharing criticisms of Verenan approaches to chaos (studying tomes instead of burning them and that sort of thing).

From there, they head up to the monastery on the hill overlooking town.

Image on display showing the stone walled monastery complex atop hill with its low wall around surrounding sheep pasture and the dome of its bell tower.

This is the image from current and earlier edition rule books for priests that has a priest in foreground.

There is talk of being discreet about the reason for visit, except with Abbot, but upon introducing selves to the hammer bearers (guards) at gate they find that an investigator is widely expected and Father Erich is immediately assumed to be him.

Entering the walls, they see the monastery courtyard with stables, brew house, kennels and the main monastery-hospital complex. An impressive structure obviously built up and added to over the past 200 years.

A Monastary Homebrew Card comes out - large size - it's a combination location card and group Favour tracking sheet as in Witch's Song.  It notes career traits that can be used to help interact with the monks better, some particular die outcomes etc, consequences of reaching higher or lower Favour (popularity) ratings.

The heroes ask to see Abbot Strafke and are taken through the halls to his chambers, which they gain entry to after only the shortest waits.

The distinguished and handsome Abbot (picture a trim 50'ish sort who would run for public office and be telegenic) has comfortable though not lavish apartment (e.g., his chair has no padding, he is Sigmarite, but it is an elaborately carved handsome chair).

The Abbot relays the "facts" of the case, the deaths of the two next most important officials.

TEXT OF HANDOUT

Hospital Master Aldred Bek died Nachgeheim 26th. Prior Holger Esker died two months later on Brauzeit 9th. Both were a full Mannslieb. Both men’s bodies were found on the slopes of the Knochenhügel (Hill of Bones) just under a mile from the Monastery.

Aldred was missing in the morning and a search made but his body was not found for 2 days, when Hammer Bearer Eldred came across it on Nachgeheim 28. The Prior’s body was found almost immediately as he was heard being attacked atop the Knochenhügel the night he died. Hammer Bearer Eldred came to help but found no attacker atop the hill by the time he arrived and the body was not found until morning.

Hammer Bearer Ortulf, an outdoorsman, found wolf tracks the second time, thus conclusion a wolf or wolves were responsible both times.
The men’s bodies were marked by cuts and their throats torn, consistent with a wolf attack while at the top of the hill and then falling off the steep edge and down the rocky slope. Both were attired normally and had all expected possessions. Aldred wore the mail shirt he always wore outside and carried a sword; the Abbot had his robes and warhammer. In both cases their weapons were drawn but neither appeared blooded.

Father Schadrach Burke, from Ubersreik’s Garden of Morr, came to give each proper rites. Master Aldred’s remains were interred in Ubersreik’s Garden of Morr on Nachgeheim 32 and Prior Holger was interred in the Monastery Vaults on Brauzeit 12 with the other deceased brethren.

The heroes then have the opportunity to converse with and question the Abbot (progress track based on lowest Intelligence, the Abbot does not suffer fools, Anselm extends it a space playing up noble connections, the Abbot also has his own special die outcomes, which Hans will trigger below).

The heroes begin a trend of minimal to great success mixed in with a great number of chaos stars during social interactions.

The Abbot is not impressed at suggestions goblins (with wolves) might be responsible - inquiry already tried and discarded, the Graf's men keep goblins from getting this far down out of mountains, goblins would have despoiled bodies etc., Aldred at least would have accounted for one or two and the greenskins aren't known for carrying off their dead.

Hans broaches the subject of the Hammer of Fosten explaining his Order's handing of profane artifact to him for destruction. Unfortunately, this sets the Abbot off - a profane artifact was brought within the monastery walls without warning!

Had the dice been positive the Abbot would have been helpful, honoured the Order thinks the monastery patron could be source of aid, but the dice said his reaction would be otherwise. - as GM letting the die roll really "take it wherever it goes" is part of my fun.

The Abbot summons hammer bearers to escort Hans and the artifact (meaning the cart with the heavy box it's transported in) off the property post haste and calls for a gathering of brethren later to pray and cleanse the courtyard. He reminesces about his days with Marius Felberg and what would have happened to foolish wizards mishandling artifacts then (Marius Felberg being famed as the Witch Hunter's Witch Hunter who always gets his man, 100% conviction rate with no successful appeals).

In the course of his tirade the Abbot also dismisses the idea of a hammer relic, Fosten had a hammer of course - you can see it in the murals (some of the best mural work you will see outside Altdorf says the Abbot) but it was not exceptional. The "story of Fosten" is the story of a common priest instilling bravery in common men to rise to the defence of the Empire and its people without the aid of magical artifacts or such (no wizards in it either).

Hans can expect a challenge die added to dealings with Abbot for at least this and next day, and the group's Favour generally with Monastery falls by 1 as word of this gaffe spreads.

The Abbot explains, when asked, about the Hill of Bones. So named because early attempts to plow lower parts kept turning up bones. Turns out it contains pre-Imperial Unberogen burials. There is a long-standing local legend that only a man pure of soul can survive a night atop the hill when Mannslieb is full.

Thus there is a sort of "rite" or "trial" one may undergo by attempting this "ordeal". The Abbot banned anyone from trying it without his permission four years ago after the last monk who tried it, Brother Dankmar, came down off it in a state viewed as problematic, a zealot's zealot. Brother Dankmar is now the new hosptial Master (appointed to replace the dead Aldred) since he certainly has the respect of the residents and the Abbot is hoping the responsibility sobers him up a bit.

The Abbot did not give permission to either man to attempt the rite and doesn't think Aldred would have - Father Erich agrees, Aldred was more a man of action who would prove any question of his character more directly. Prior Holger might have, he was made Prior by the Abbot when Strafke became Abbot as part of reversing the monstary's drift into the Red.

In the last years of the former Abbot Wolker's tenure, when the old Abbot was ailing, the brethren began to get more extreme and favour the "Sigmar alone is fit god for empire" school of thought (red monks). Prior Holger was a good pure-doctrined disciplinarian and "helped beat the red out of straying minds." This didn't make him popular and made some question him thus he might have wanted to prove himself.

The red monk faction is something I got from an old issue of Warpstone. 

Father Erich tells the Abbot of hearing a monk talking with a wild looking fellow in the village (sounding red in their talk now that it is thought of). The description matches Sacrist Herbord Fromm. The Abbot sighs and shakes his head, "our last little red", he will tell Prior Walther (the new Prior replacing Holger Esker) to follow up.

The Abbot is wistful for Esker over this. Walther's a good man, been with the Abbot for years, but he has a soft heart and favours avoiding confrontations. Esker would have had Fromm doing 36 hours of prayer prostrate on a stone cold floor, Walther will probably tell him to contemplate his error while churning butter or something.

The man Fromm was talking to is identified as the hermit Volker. He was expelled/left the monastery when it reversed its drift into red doctrine and now lives in a cave nearby.

The heroes are givena  handout with a list of all the monks and hammer bearers etc of note and all the locations of note (imagine if the list of clue characters and locations).

The Abbot doesn't have much else to say but seemed sincere to the heroes' (Hans employing his intuition on the way out the door).

It's getting to 2:00 in afternoon and heroes split up to interview different people.

Hans is taking care of finding a place in the village for the cart with his profane artifact. Eva Mueller the miller's widow rents out a room, and has a shed with a lock (a fine place to store a profane artifact). A handsome woman if you can look past her 35+ years (time tells fast on a person in the Old World if you're lower class, bloom falls from the rose quickly). Hans being a Light Order wizard is not going to be good company for her however.

Anselm goes to see Sacrist Fromm. The Sacrist is responsible for monatery relics and treasures. Anselm "the face" plays up wanting to see relics of Fosten out of holy respect etc which impresses Fromm (boatload of eagles, undoes the negative influence on Favour from Hans' gaffe). He sees Fosten's sandles and belt, but confirms there is no "hammer relic". The Sacrist does remark some things didn't survive "the fire".

Findulas goes to the village with Hans and finds hammer bearer Eldred to interview. Hans joins him and they verify the facts of the Abbot's story but discover (sensing some dishonesty in Eldred's account) that when Eldred went there with the Prior and heard growls of something atop hill attacking Prior - he did not race up the path to find nothing, he fled the scene - terrified of whatever that was atop the Knockenhügel on the night of full moon.

As the afternoon wears on (clock advances - I am using the 12 hour clock gadget from the Elder Sign boardgame to track time on table),

Father Erich talks to the new Prior, Walther, a thin man in his 40’s with intelligent eyes and a neat tonsure. large boxer-like Tilean hound accompanies him. He "walks and talks" with Father Erich with a progress track for how long the interview can last based on Fellowship (instead of Intelligence as was case with Abbot). Father Erich presents the vellum and other materials he purchased earlier and Prior Walther is favourably impressed (fortune die).

Walther is questioned about the 'red' issues and if that might have lead to murder, the connection of Fromm and Volker. Walther doesn't think Fromm would be a part of violence (it's sad to watch his feeeble efforts during morning hammer time practice) but zealot-like Volker or Dankmar for that matter could explode and kill someone any time.

Findulas and Hans also find hammer bearer Ortulf to question about the tracks. The mountain of a man Ortulf is with his smaller framed sly looking friend hammer bearer Elkil when they find him. Elkil wants to stay and speak for Ortulf but Hans invokes his air of authority and forces him to leave, though not before he reassures Ortulf not to be scared and remember they can't do anything to you without the Abbot's permission and the Abbot takes care of us. Hans is angry at this "coaxing".

Findulas takes over talking to Ortulf, who is a bit forlorn at his friend going away but seems fascinated by the elf. Ortful speaks slowly with a bit of a stutter but questioned gently by the elf he confirms he found wolf tracks - but larger than a normal wolf, and that they appeared and vanished atop the hill, "a g-ghost w-w-wolf". Ortulf ceases to be informative after that as he looks around more and more distressed to see where Felkil has got to.

Hans considers what limited information they have (torn throats, terrifying growl - Eldred said it was much more than just a dog-like growl, which he imagines is what a wolf would sound like), wolf-like tracks but larger) with his Education and intellect (which he has recently honed to 6!). He comes up with a list of: mutant wolves, chaos wolves, Hounds of Knorne (daemon hounds), shapeshifters (hmm, amber wizards), werewolves or even Strigoi vampires like the one the heroes met previously rescuing Lady Agnetha.

We break with Father Erich and Anselm about to go to the hospital to interview Master Dankmar - the only man around who has survived a night atop the Hill of Bones when Mansslieb is full.

Anselm is speculating on a red monk being a werewolf but his companions are unsure if this is the tale telling of the charlatan or the insight of the seer.

......

A while ago, I was asked to post images of my table and stuff I use.  I got around finally to putting some up on my infrequently updated blog:

http://valvorik.livejournal.com/

Rob

 



#5 Angelic Despot

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 09:40 AM

Great.   Sounds really interesting.   And 50 advances...   Wow; congratulations!

I would like to hear about Anselm's private discussion with Lord A (I'm not sure: was this roleplayed out, but just not written up, or dealt with as a 'you have a private discussion but we'll roleplay it later'?).   I love all these relationships you've been building between cannon NPCs and your own player characters.

Speaking of NPCs, could you post the NPC list you've given to players?   Partly so I (and anyone else) can use it for inspiration but also to make following your write-ups easier.

Where do all the names for the clerical positions come from?   Prior, hammer-bearer, etc.?   Are they titles you've taken from the novel-source, cannon WFRP stuff (which books), or a combination of the two?



#6 valvorik

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 01:00 PM

Angelic Despot said:

 

Great.   Sounds really interesting.   And 50 advances...   Wow; congratulations!

 

 

Thanks.  There were a number of "we turn 50 tonight" jests, several of us are closing on that in real life (the nucleus of our group started at a game club in 1986).  The high level book is eagerly awaited.

Angelic Despot said:

I would like to hear about Anselm's private discussion with Lord A (I'm not sure: was this roleplayed out, but just not written up, or dealt with as a 'you have a private discussion but we'll roleplay it later'?).   I love all these relationships you've been building between cannon NPCs and your own player characters.

 

This was not roleplayed but posted on our private message board.

Player:

Anselm's plan is to first approach their patron Lord Anschaffenburg and advise him that Anselm has learned that he may be related to Steirlich von Bruner and ask if we may go visit said reclusive relative to convey Lord Anschaffenburg's best wishes as well as make sure that all is well. If there is anything that our patron would specifically like us to look into or find out while are there, we will, of course, be delighted to be of service, but if possible he would ask our patron for a letter of introduction, which letter need only mention that we are his men, and need not mention the possible kinship, as that might give offense. This means that Anselm will not be disclosing his relation to said reclusive relative, at least until he has checked out the situation.

My response:

By wearing Ascheffenberg's gold eagle and blue tunic colours you would identify as Ascaffenberg men (the Agent career would really clinch it - the one where coincidentally the artwork shows someone wearing those colours exactly).

You will have had time to talk to Lord Rikard von Aschaffenberg, this in the interlude before going to Fostenklauster.

Lord Rikard,

"Ah, off to see the Steward of Grauwerk eh? You could be "related" you say. [knowing nod, there being only one sort of 'relation' likely in this instance]. Interesting chap. Accounted for a respectable number of cultists in his youth as is the von Bruner habit. Haven't seen him in a decade or so ever since the von Bruners sent him up there to Graudstadt, couldn't make it our wedding but I didn't take that personally - bit of recluse now.

Hmmm, now that you mention it he did send a nice painting as a wedding gift, good eye for art. We sent him a thank you note, but a more personal thanks might be in order. When you're set to head off, pop by and I'll have a crate of Couronne Red for you to take as a proper thanks.

Unlucky in love poor chap ... [pause] no recognized heirs and doesn't seem likely to get any now.

- background aside for Player:  It is wide and common knowledge that a bastard has no legal claims in the Empire but they are at times used as "heirs of last resort" if someone really wants a blood heir, which is a common desire. Without formal recognition, even if there were no other heirs, a bastard would have no claim. A common plot of plays and "wish fulfillment" comedies for the low classes is the poor boy who makes good when he is revealed to be the bastard heir etc, and a common plot of tragedies favoured by nobles is the kindly grandmother or grandfather who takes in the bastard of their dead son in an effort to continue the line as is repaid badly since how can anyone not properly bred and properly raised turn out other than badly?

Back to Lord Rikard, "Please don't look like you're appraising the place for me. Wouldn't want to look like I was appraising the family silver. Unless my father-in-law Lord Heinrich wills it otherwise, the holdings there will eventually come to my good wife Ludmilla. Graf Steirlich is steward of the mansion on his behalf. Mines were worked out several decades ago, just a fortified manor now I understand, village abandoned. Von Bruners maintain it and keep the area clear of menaces as part of their ancestral duties. It has no income I can see so it's a bit of burden though there are some tales that the waters there are quite restorative for rest cures."

This represents Lord A. being helpful and informative as you have been useful agents to date fighting chaos and being handy in family matters (well, except for his nephew Maximillian, which he doesn't seem to hold against you - but you can expect after what happened with his nephew, he will not be asking you to escort his daughter home from the convent school when the time comes, Lord A has a nearly-adult daughter in school in Altdorf from his first marriage; you can draw your own conclusions that he was willing to let you escort his sister-in-law Agnetha to Frederheim).

* Not posted, my aside here - every patron needs a young daughter just about to come out of the convent into the world.....

 

Angelic Despot said:

 

... could you post the NPC list you've given to players?   Partly so I (and anyone else) can use it for inspiration but also to make following your write-ups easier.

Where do all the names for the clerical positions come from?   Prior, hammer-bearer, etc.?   Are they titles you've taken from the novel-source, cannon WFRP stuff (which books), or a combination of the two?

 


 

 

I use historical position titles for Abbot and Prior, Sacrist etc., though I have seen these used in warhammer books at times.  Hammer Bearer is from canon, the 2nd edition Tome of Salvation has description of them etc.  I'm not sure if 3rd edition has used this term yet.

This is the handout:

DRAMATIS PERSONAE
 

Monks (in addition to 9 others – total 14 plus Abbot and Prior)
The Abbot – Blessed of the Hammer Stafke Garmann
Prior Walther (Mittelberger)
Master of the Hospital Brother Dankmar (Feuer)
Sacrist  Brother Herbord (Fromm)
Cellarer Brother Gilbrecht
Brewmaster Brother Karolus
Brother Barthelm - Hospital assistant
Brother Rumpolt - scholar and legal historian


Hammer Bearers (in addition 3 others, total 6)
Hammer Bearers Felkil and Ortulf – Chief Guards for Abbot
Hammer Bearer Eldred – toll collector
 

Lay Brothers (in addition to 3 others, 5 total)
Markus – clerk, assists Brother Gilbrecht
Adric – young dogsbody
 

Notable Hospital Residents (in addition to 5 others, 8 total)
Hernrich Tubbman – elderly witch hunter
Pyotr – “prophet of the goose”
Gismar grisswalder – retired Vampire hunter
 

Other
Brother Volker – hermit, does not live in monastery
 



#7 Angelic Despot

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 12:13 PM

valvorik said:

 

This represents Lord A. being helpful and informative as you have been useful agents to date fighting chaos and being handy in family matters (well, except for his nephew Maximillian, which he doesn't seem to hold against you - but you can expect after what happened with his nephew, he will not be asking you to escort his daughter home from the convent school when the time comes, Lord A has a nearly-adult daughter in school in Altdorf from his first marriage; you can draw your own conclusions that he was willing to let you escort his sister-in-law Agnetha to Frederheim).

* Not posted, my aside here - every patron needs a young daughter just about to come out of the convent into the world..... 

He he he.   I'll remember that very good advice!

Do you have anything in mind for her story-wise?   And what about Maximillian?   Is he likely to make a reappearance at some point?   I can't remember what became of him (besides picking up all the new severe critical injuries going)...



#8 valvorik

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 12:40 PM

I hold all this stuff lightly in terms of plans.  Assuming the heroes stay in the "Aschaffenburg orbit", the daughter and Max will re-occur.  I don't have any particular plans for them.  I keep index cards with various things listed on them to "reincorporate", there's an Ascaffenburg card and they go on it.  When I'm at a loss or just wanting to "not fall into my own habits trap" (being a long term table I have to avoid being predictable) I pull a couple randomly and see "what pops up again this time".

 



#9 valvorik

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 01:40 PM

 

All heroes present, 51st advance

Tonight the heroes learn the deaths they investigate may have reasons lying in a hitherto unsuspected murder....

Father Eric and Anselm go to the Hospital to interview Brother Dankmar, its new Master. On the way they pass a small section of floor that is roped-off, in which a blackened claw print of large size is impressed into the stone (they later learn this comes from the Bloodthirster’s attack on the monastery in 2459).

Partly inspired by a "devil's footprint" in a cathedral in Germany.

In the large open area of the hospital where its residents mingle, they ask for Dankmar and meet Gismar Grisswalder, retired vampire hunter, who takes them to the monk.

As they pass through the residents, a goose-bearing man in sackcloth comes up to them – the goose squacking at Anselm, and the man proclaims the goose’s prophecy, “Ulric’s cold hand shall lead thee to Morr” (Anselm fortune/misfortune die roll coming up blank/1 failure, Eric’s blank/blank)

I generated prophecies using earlier edition table of possible 'dooms' and ajdusted a bit.  Each player had good and bad ones, they could get either, both, or neither based on rolls.  Anselm got the worst bad kind of result, in a situation where the above applies, the GM gains 3 challenge dice to add to rolls, though only 1 per roll, as fate conspires against him.

Brother Dankmar is a large bulky wild-eyed man in his 50’s, with a simple shift, bald head, a torc about his bull neck and a hammer at his side, otherwise decorated by a series of chains off which hang prayer sheets and holy texts (Toronto Mayor Rob Ford after a bit of a diet).

They learn Brother Dankmar (another audience track this time based on Willpower) regards both of the dead men as having failed a test and met the consequences of that, “Sigmar’s judgment on them”. He is vague about his own experiences but to Father Eric he goes so far as to say "the spirits of the ancients tested me and the powers of Chaos sought to daunt me but Sigmar’s hand protected my soul from them." He urges Father Eric to face the ordeal and not let the Abbot stand in the way, no one has the right to deny a man an opportunity to prove himself.

Before dinner they see the murals spoken of showing the deeds of Sigmar, Fosten and the defeat of the Bloodthirster - the former Abbot Wolker as an initiate ringing the monastery bell and praying, the hammers of the monks and hammer bearers glowing with Sigmar's light and the monastery defenders falling on the daemon to destroy it. Quite inspiring for any Sigmarite (free Assess Situation with fortune dice bonus if contemplating for an hour).

Hans uses his magical sight to verify there are no enchantments about the monastery's public areas.

Rejoining each other, the heroes eventually go to dinner. They arrange to speak to Brother Rumpolt, the legal historian, afterwards. At dinner talk is all of the Bok Blessing tomorrow. They will bless this year’s main batches of Bok but to show respect they will first ensure all of last year’s brewing has been consumed. This is apparently the “big day” in the calendar for the monastery as the brethren look forward to doing their duty.

The players henceforth call this the Bok Fest.

After dinner, they join Brother Rumpolt as he does some work in the Library, which lies under the monastery. He tells them of the episode, commemorated in murals, of the Bloodthirster’s attack - how Fosten's own fury was summoned to inspire the monastery defenders.

Brother Rumpolt reacts more positively than the Abbot to news of a profane artefact to be destroyed by “Fosten’s Hammer” (though also not knowing that that might be), seeing this as favourable to the monastery. He is surprised it is a beastman horn as Fosten was not famed for fighting beastmen, it was greenskins and daemons (as shown in murals, now that they think of it one mural shows a huge daemon, the profane artefact horn would be just the tip of its horn if it’s the same one) He helps the heroes locate in the library, in the earliest mostly intact areas, a record of the Bloodthirster’s attack written by the Abbot at the time. Records before this are spotty as the daemon’s attack set fire to large part of monastery (one reason library now kept underground).

Father Eric suggests that the ‘hammer of Fosten’ may not be a literal hammer of the priest-founder of the monastery but the ‘hammer of the fosten monastery’ or some other phenomenon – the records they have found perhaps describing its manifestation. Hans turns his magical education to the subject of how that would work but, as he is not such a heretic as to think miracles ultimately come from the winds of magic just as do spells, he cannot figure it out.

Hans reads these records with interest, as Brother Rumpolt discovers another book is shelved behind this record – The Veiled Courts of Araby,Reikspiel translated publication of a Tilean text. This is not a religious text at all, and by the inscription in cover, was a gift from a deceased hospital resident – an old knight who travelled widely – to the former hospital master Aldred Bek (first of the men to die). Master Aldred was down here looking at records before his death and must of accidentally reshelved it.

Brother Rumpolt is happy to have it out of the library as it is filled with Lurid and condemning accounts of the politics of the corrupt and wealthy land of Araby – its evil ambitions, the clever tricks and influence of its far-travelling merchants, salacious accounts of harems and spurning of the Old Gods in favour of their “prophets”.

The heroes go down to Flussberg to bed down in the Widow Mueller’s spare room, though Father Eric sleeps in front of the shed with Hans’ cart and artefact. Hans wants to check on the artefact and finds it still there, all the heroes look at it – for the first time – and it seems to respond to the regard of multiple people – they suffer some stress but resist its corrupting influence and lock it back up.

Hans reads the Tilean text found in the Library and discovers a marked page with underlined text about a poison of Araby called Sultan's Fire, used to "speed lingerinmg elders on" to gain inheritances and a handwritten note: Flux and fever leading to death, water tasting like brine to the afflicted – were we poisoned? Who would have had it? Traveller, merchant, cultist, someone who could confiscate it or buy it?

Hans Medicine skill leads him to believe that this poison is generally unknown in the Empire.

Speculation of this being connected to Adler's death abounds.

The next day, Kaldezeit 20,

Hans finds a venerable village elder named Burgholt (fortune point spend for fact, it was unlikely anyone of this sort still lived but I let player spend fortune point to find one) who is still lucid (challenge die roll determines his condition/demeanour - blank means no hindrances) and well remembers Wolker, who he was friendly with. The heroes learn that Wolker rang the bell when he prayed for aid and Fosten’s inspiration for it was originally cast with the head of Fosten’s hammer made part of it.

(Father Eric is feeling quite pleased with his speculation about the Hammer of Fosten seeming to be demonstrated true)

Hans believes that Aldred received the book and reading it realized there had been a poisoning - making the notation in it. The theory is Aldred started to make inquiries and was killed. The heroes want to also make inquiries about deaths of flux where victims talked of the water tasting salty, but recognize this would reveal their hand and put them on the same path. They decide to seek out the hermit Volker and ask him.

The hermit’s cave is three quarters of a mile from the village and they get directions in Flussberg, so arrive early in morning. Volker is a muscular zealot (same cloth as Dankmar but trimmer and more hair).

He eyes Findulas suspiciously (misfortune die on interactions of others - he's a zealot with xenophobia) but warms to his favoured topics of the shortcomings of the current Abbot and Prior and the tragedy that after Abbot Wolker’s death in 2517, Prior Reinhold died of flux when the delegation went to Altdorf to get a new Abbot appointed. This is exactly the sort of thing the heroes were looking to find. (social skill/action rolls to see how well they do getting information but once on this topic certain information flows automatically).

They go through the list of figures at the Monastery to find who was on the mission, who got sick and then also who among the monks supported who for new Abbot.

The delegation to Altdorf was: Prior Reinhold Hagen (a red), Prior (then Brother) Walther (not red) and Master Aldred (then a hammer bearer), Abbot (then Hospital Master) Stafke (not red), deceased Prior (then Brother) Holger Esker, Brother Dankmar (red), Eldred (hammer bearer), Brother Volker (red).

Reinhold, Walther and Aldred fell ill but only Reinhold, the eldest, died of the illness.

Volker makes clear his contempt for Abbot Strafke (witch hunter's pet lawyer), Prior Walther (merchant, likely to embezzle and abscond not stick out as monk, used to work with Strafke for Witchhunter Marius Felburg, going into towns first to gather information), deceased Prior Holger (martinet).

At monastery, they go up the bell tower and magic sight sees the bell does have a constant swirl of the Light Wind of Hysh around it. Hans can still not see a way to invoke the effect told of in the records (poor wizard simply cannot let go of finding a way to reproduce a miracle).

At the Bok Blessing, Father Eric and Anselm participate and avoid the effects of over-indulgence, until Anselm accepts the challenge that Gismar Grisswalder sets out to see if someone can out-drink him (compare rolls, Gismar’s 4 blue and 2 yellow).

Anselm wins and gains Gismar’s Seal of Sigmar and the Intoxicated condition, the old vampire hunter is happy to see it get back into circulation as the days of Chaos are coming worse than ever and all Gismar really wants is to die peacefully and enter Grandfather Morr's keeping safely ("the fight's for your generation now lad, gods have mercy on ye").

We break (whatever Hans and Findulas up to during this time to be resolved).

GM Notes -

Two sessions without a fight.  I checked with players they were having fun etc. and yes, roleplaying fun, fact the system uses same mechanics fighting and social appreciated, Hans' player got to use Elucidate action he took for first time with Rumpolt.  There was lots of jesting and roleplaying.  Father Eric has far too colourful a history to think of taking the Hill of Bones test for "purity" for example, Hans is skeptical but not a heretic.
 



#10 valvorik

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 01:09 PM

52nd advance, all present

As Father Erich and Anselm participated in the sacred ceremony of Blessing the Bok (hic*), Magister Hans and Findulas sought out Eldred the Hammer Bearer to interview him again, armed with their new suspicions.

Having been an escort for the deceased Prior Holger, Eldred is “in the doghouse” and one of the skeleton crew not participating in the duty of consuming the last of the former year’s brewing batch. He is grateful heroes have not told anyone of his cowardice the night Prior Holger died and Hans further encourages his cooperation by making his eyes glow and saying he “can see lies” (which he can’t but Eldred is so scared he will believe anything – the only problem the heroes might have is he is ready to tell them what they want to hear not just what he knows…

The player had wanted to take the action that lets the light mage 'see through deception' thinking that meant lies but I interpreted the text literally - it being through darkness and illusion as stated, not lies.  It was on his mind so this came out in play.

As Eldred was on the 2517 delegation to Altdorf for new Abbot where illness and death visited the delegation, they ask him about that. There was nothing suspicious at the time, everyone was concerned about someone ill (since between red Reinhold, anti-red Walther and hammer bearer Aldred there was someone sick from every faction/way you can slice up the group). Eldred says the reds, Dankmar and Volker, were convinced it was a murder when Reinhold died - to stop Reinhold becoming Abbot but the care in Auerswald (where they laid over while the illness raged) found nothing and when they got to Altdorf a Doktor from the University came and interviewed everyone to determine if mischief was afoot and found nothing. Asked who Aldred was friends with/might confide in, Eldred points to hospital residents such as vampire hunter Gismar and witch hunter Tubbman.

As the drinking continues, Hans and Findulas go to the Hospital (despite being not very Sigmaritey and an arcanist – thus getting some bad dice modifiers). The goose again has nothing to say about Findulas but now issues two prophecies for Hans (Morr sits at table with thee [negative misfortune dice] and When the Bell Tolls it Tolls for Thee [positive expertise dice pool]. The two find 70 year old retired Witch Hunter Tubbman, too old for the Bok blessing, relaxing and interview him.

Tubbman liked Aldred and is glad his death is being looked into, suspects foul play. Doesn’t believe in this nonsense about the Hill of Bones and full moon, thinks it’s all superstition, He believes Aldred would have gone there to meet someone if he wanted the meeting unobserved (as any meeting around monastery or village likely is), since it’s an easily found landmark spot nearby that most would be avoiding and thus a good place for a confidential meeting. He doesn’t know who or about what and can offer no clues to records Aldred might have left, though Aldred could read.

Hans and Findulas take the opportunity, while so many at the Bok Blessing, to poke around in the Hospital Master’s office – where Aldred once worked and now Brother Dankmar. They believe they have found a sealed box containing something interesting only to discover what they have really found is the Old World’s equivalent of a “hazardous waste disposal canister” and both must check to see if they come down with a disease (three chaos stars among them on the check!). Luckily for them, they both resist the exposure – Findulas elder race nature in particular helping him. They do not otherwise find anything of note.

There was nothing to find, I made them roll mostly to see if chaos stars etc. came up to indicate something bad happened, so many did - thank you dice gods!  I improvised the finding disease tainted items and had fun with it.

As the blessing continues in later afternoon, Father Erich and Anselm continue to take part (fortunately, it would be disrespectful to leave) and Father Erich continues to hold his liquor. The intoxicated Anselm fails another Resilience check to hold his liquor and now in addition to being intoxicated can expect “an epic hangover” to follow (there being no double-intoxicated condition, a third failure after more drinking would probably mean passing out).

Hans and Findulas continue to poke around the monastery, which is on “skeleton staff” making this a good time to poke around.

Hans realizes the Abbot’s quarters include “servant passages” for servants to discretely add fuel to fireplace without having to enter the room – this being another means of entry through the (large) fireplace. He and Findulas do so (Hans uses a cantrip to avoid tracking soot all over) and carefully search. They find a secret compartment in the Abbot’s desk with correspondence going back to 2516 (when he first came to the Monastery to become new Hospital Master).

The discrete passage for servants to feed fires from behind is a real-world aspect of some later medieval etc. architecture, I saw one in castle in Germany once on vacation.

The letters reveal Stafke Garmann left the witch hunter’s company, bringing his friend Walther with him, to become member of the Fostenklauster community (Walther becoming a monk at that time) at the request of the Order of the Anvil’s hierarchy in Altdorf . The correspondence with the Keeper of the Word reveals Stafke was sent to investigate the “slide into the Red” during old Abbot Wolker’s declining years and gather information to report to the hierarchy. No one, not even Walther, knew of this mission. When Wolker died, the hierarchy in Altdorf was insistent that Stafke must come as part of the delegation to present his evidence and prevent the Red Reinhold Hagen from becoming Abbot. Correspondence after this date notes the new Abbot Stafke’s gratitude at the trust placed in him and progress in “stamping out the Reds”.

The heroes also confirm that the Abbot has a nice window that looks out over the exterior wall to monastery, though it’s a bit of ways to ground and they don’t quite imagine the Abbot (in his 50’s) shimmying up and down ropes to go out and murder people on hill tops at night. They find a secret door in the floor that leads down to a storeroom near the kitchens. The kitchens have an exit door from the monastery (deliveries etc.), a stout oak door with a solid bar. The staff there relate someone is always here (lots to do) and that staff change up duties often enough it would not have been the same each full moon someone was killed (e.g., a theory of exiting/entering side door with complicity of particular kitchen help doesn’t pan out).

Hans and Findulas go outside the Monastary to complete their inspection of ways in and out. As they are returning round it, they see three riders coming hard down from the hills, with a “tide of greenskins” behind them – including leading elements of wolf-mounted goblin archers. A WAAGH!.

One rider splits off to hail the monastery and warn it while two make for the village. They are Graf von Jungfreud’s mean, sparing time only to raise the alarm before all ride on to Ubsersreik to call up the garrison there. The local and imperial troops there should be equal to the task of facing the greenskins but will not be able to relieve area until tomorrow morning at earliest.

Hans realizes that the profane artefact is in Widow Mueller’s shed in the village and gives the key to Findulas who sheds his armour and runs down to the village to grab the artefact’s carrying case and return it to the monastery.

Villagers are fleeing in that direction as the monastery is the ‘safe haven’ in such times. Goblin riders are fast approaching and Findulas must make an Athletics (running) check to see how well he does (how many squads of goblin-wolfriders get a volley off at him). He runs like the wind and against the odds manages to bear the artefact back to monastery and suffer only one attack (which misses). Alas not all the villagers are so lucky, but it is not long before “all who are going to make it” have entered the monastery and its gates close.

(Rally step)

The monastery defenders are under the weather for most part from the Bok Blessing, only those on the “punishment duty” of standing guard during blessing still sober. Turning back the initial assault on the walls of monastery falls on the heroes. A goblin shaman summons the power of WAAGH to blast apart the kitchen door as others charge up, under cover of goblin arrows.

The heroes shoot down as many goblins as they can – Findulas accounting for a dozen or more including their shaman, Anselm doing less well due to beer-goggles affecting his aim.

Father Erich rushes to defend the kitchen with Hans’ help. A large orc leads a pair of goblins in, letting off such a roundhouse swing it takes out both the goblins and then lands on Father Erich for (maximum damage, increased for each goblin it took down), and only Sigmar’s favour saves Father Eric from a critical. The heroes manage to turn the tide of this initial assault and get the cowering kitchen staff to block up the door with heavy tables.

(Rally step)

As the sun sets, the monastery defenders organize. Brother Dankmar organizes the defence which includes getting the kitchen fires burning hot and warming up whatever can be tossed down on any goblins trying to break in (the zealot may be mad but he seems to know his stuff on this front). Findulas finds some more arrows from the old vampire hunter, who is happy to pass them on – just sorry his eyes not good enough to make use of them himself. The heroes’ esteem in monastery/hospital has risen.

It’s a long night and heroes take stress and fatigue as they stay up to ward off goblin assaults. In the dark hours after midnight, the goblins make another attempt to swarm the walls but the heroes and other defenders hold them off, more fatigue being suffered from rushing about here and there.

As the gray light of dawn begins to break…

(Rally step)

By this time Anselm is sobered up and into his epic hangover - Intoxicated condition to be replaced with Under the Weather condition.
 

- at this point everyone has a smattering of fatigue and stress from the long night, Eric and Findulas have taken quite a few wounds but gotten variety of healing, Findulas used a healing draught.  Eric's player was remarking he was happy he took a Wound advance as his advance at start of session (not knowing at all a fight was in offing).



#11 valvorik

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 01:02 AM

I should add another player chimed in afterwards to say he was really enjoying the system's ability to handle things other than combat and the way you are not limited to repeating the same boring actions over and over (player of Hans the Magister) - you can do "whatever seems to fit".



#12 Angelic Despot

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 09:48 AM

This is great!   I'm really enjoying following the story.   It's especially intesting following something homebrewed.   I have no idea what to expect.   (Didn't see that goblin invasion coming at all!)

Do you have a map(s) of the setting, but any chance?   Or are you preferring to keep it fairly abstract?

And do you have location cards (with specific effects) for different parts of the monastry, etc?



#13 valvorik

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 01:17 AM

The map is just a sketch using the existing maps and showing Flussberg a bit upriver from Uberseik (you can actually see it on my blog in one photo).

Beyond the picture of monastery and "location list" it's abstract.  I wing it (e.g., you want to get from the wall down into the kitchen below it during melee, that's two moves - so move/action convert to move, or spend fatigue to do it and arrive in time to bash an orc).  In part I didn't want players to focus on a map because it's the "people" not the "places" that matter (hint, if you have a relationship map of the NPC's, with the information revealed so far, "the villain" should be emerging though not the "exact method", e.g., Professor Plumb on the Hill of Bones but with what.??).

For locations in Monastery, I have a couple of cards handy for library and belltower but generally have used:

A montastery oversized location/faction card - the monks react well to some traits, there's a Favour track for monk attitudes to heroes.  The overall effect is that a Sigmarite can pray (maneouvre) to get the ability to convert a coment to a success AND boon (not or) - based on Temple of Sigmar card, with some notes about special inspiring murals that allow Free Assess Situation.

A hospital oversized location/faction card - the retired witch hunters and zealots favour and disfavour different traits and there are other consquences of entering hospital - encounters with the Goose of Prophecy and its keeper Pyotr, and on a bad enough social roll there a hero would "come down with" an insanity having found one of the zealots "compelling in their insight.".

Re goblin invasion, well it serves a bit of a purpose (apart from the general background theme in campaign of "bad times are coming") as you will see, and also I tend to the view that an Old World mystery needs to be more "film noir/crime drama" than "agatha christie" - a few bad guys need to bust down doors even if they're not the real villains, just to keep the hero off balance.



#14 Angelic Despot

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 06:27 AM

valvorik said:

(hint, if you have a relationship map of the NPC's, with the information revealed so far, "the villain" should be emerging though not the "exact method", e.g., Professor Plumb on the Hill of Bones but with what.??).

 

encounters with the Goose of Prophecy and its keeper Pyotr, and on a bad enough social roll there a hero would "come down with" an insanity having found one of the zealots "compelling in their insight.".

Re goblin invasion, well it serves a bit of a purpose (apart from the general background theme in campaign of "bad times are coming") as you will see, and also I tend to the view that an Old World mystery needs to be more "film noir/crime drama" than "agatha christie" - a few bad guys need to bust down doors even if they're not the real villains, just to keep the hero off balance.

Ooh...   I confess I've got no idea who the baddie(s) is/are...   But I'm finding it quite confusing to follow who all of the characters are and what their relationships are with each other.   I should try re-reading your write ups and create a relationship map.   It would be interesting to see if doing so would help things (not just interesting to guess who it is, but interesting to see how helpful such a relationship map can be).

I love the danger of being convinced by the mad guys!

I fully agree with your thinking behind the goblin distraction too.   As much as I like story and characterisation, it wouldn't be warhammer without a bit of (comedy-horror) violence.   The feeling of fear you can get from physicaly confronting your enemies makes a good contrast with the fear you can (or should be able to feel) confronting your enemies socially/politically!



#15 valvorik

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 07:57 AM

Don't know if this Wordle helps flag possibilities....

http://www.wordle.ne...lauster_Mystery



#16 Angelic Despot

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 10:32 AM

valvorik said:

Don't know if this Wordle helps flag possibilities....

http://www.wordle.ne...lauster_Mystery

In true Cluedo (or just 'Clue' I think it's called in North America) style; I've got it!   It was the Abbot, in the Monastery, with...   the hammer!   Well, one of them.   Or possibly the artifact....

Hmm...   I think I'll have to re-read the stories.   Ah well, can't say it'll be too much of a chore!



#17 valvorik

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 11:31 AM

 You will have to wait to see, this week and next week games cancelled for scheduling difficulties.

Rob



#18 valvorik

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 02:19 PM

54th Advance, all present.

As dawn fills the sky on the 21st, Anselm becomes under the weather as intoxication has worn off. A cheer goes up on the monastery’s north wall and looking to see the cause the heroes see the colours of the Imperial army and Graf von Jungfreud – troops must have marched from Ubersreik not long after midnight to confront the Greenskins. The greenksin mass moves to confront the imperials (this is the border garrison and Red Axes, it’s a pretty competent force).

Brother Dankmar is inspired and calls for the able bodied to sally forth and fall on the greenskins from behind. Though many of the monks are able bodied and train regularly (better than a simple militia man) this does strike the heroes as a bit over-zealous.

Anselm and Hans would have stayed within the walls and let the army sort it given his druthers, Findulas is ambivalent (he wouldn’t plan on getting close and has just discovered he can run very fast anyway) but Father Erich joins the sally and soon all the heroes have done so.

A small number of greenskins (2 henchmen mobs), 3 wolf-rider archers (thus also 3 giant wolves) and 2 orcs turn to face the sally. The fight is short and bitter, fatigue from the long night is wearing on the heroes (penalty dice being felt on some physical actions), Father Erich being the only hero in the fray alongside the Fostenklauster folk for most part while others support from a distance.

The heroes turn back the attack though Hans does suffer a critical wound (later healed by Father Erich's invocation of Sigmar's favour) when a wolf frenzied at loss of its goblin rider breaks through (using the rules about checks for wolves when rider dies). Eight of the 16 monks and hammer bearers who sallied fall in the melee (only one engaged hero meant more brunt of battle on them, misfortune dice were rolled an on failures a dropped monk or hammer bearer was dead, on a skull they could be saved by first aid, on a blank they would recover - rolled no skulls and lots of failures).

The heroes turn to the Fostenklauster and truly catch their breath as the imperial forces make green hash of the greenskins. Their esteem in the monastery and hospital rises to maximum for their valour [End of Act recovery]

(I actually expected this might be a social effort to persuade against the sally and not a fight, with the risk of losing favour – but a fight is fine, and little impresses Sigmarites more than diving into a fight when outnumbered).

Hans goes to check on the horn (profane artefact) which was brought from village and placed in bell tower. Opening its case he finds it gone! Sometime during the long night or the morning sally someone has taken it (assuming simply being under the bell overnight didn’t cause it to disintegrate).

Meanwhile, in the battle the greenskins are broken, the survivors fleeing south towards the foothills.

The Imperial forces regroup with most planning to continue on and hunt down survivors. They are lead by Graf von Jungfreud himself. The heroes could manage an audience if they wanted under these conditions (their brave sally) but decide against drawing attention.

(I point out that advancement and misfortune both attend on such encounters, riches etc. coming in Old World more from such things than looting dead goblins you just killed, on the other hand the heroes have avoided the risk of being drafted to go on a goblin hunt in the hills with soldiers who don’t like their Aschaffenberg colours).

Hans tries the daunting task of locating the horn with magical sight (4 challenge dice to find the disturbance it would cause in the winds through walls and such, assuming it’s in monastery). He is very successful and leads the heroes to the hospital and Brother Dankmar’s cell off its main hall (where Hans and Findulas searched previously). Dankmar is there, sleeping (most of the monastery folk have gone to bed or are otherwise sleeping, dead tired). Hans detects the emanations coming from the wooden chest he and Findulas opened before and found diseased rags and other “medical waste” in.

Father Erich retrieves the horn, wrapping his hand and arm in a shirt and avoiding disturbing the rags (Skullduggery, not his strong suit but he manages and does not have to check for disease). Unfortunately (chaos star!) as he pulls the horn out and is standing there (holding a profane artefact aloft over the opened chest of diseased rags) that’s when Dankmar wakes up and bleery-eyed begins challenging these intruders.

The heroes manage (amazingly) to both convince Dankmar they have found a profane artefact someone tried hide in his chamber and satisfy themselves this is indeed all news to him. He’s outraged of course. With his support they ask the hospital residents if anyone saw someone going into his chamber last night – Pyotr the Prophet of the Goose comes forward, the Goose is a witness! A coweled monk passed through with a package – the Goose noted the monk wore the fine quality sandals that monastery officials like Abbot Stafke and Prior Walther have imported from Ubsersreik.

The heroes are not surprised that corruption resides at the very top of the monastery hierarchy, but are leery of bringing accusations based on the word of a goose (as translated by Pyotr). It’s noted this would be about par for the quality of testimony in many trials in the Empire but the Abbot or Prior is not a peasant girl accused of witchcraft and will take more to convince/convict. Father Erich is very aware of the Abbot’s influence.

They rolled well looking for witness but out of the residents would it be a reliable ex witch hunter or a mad Kislevite with a goose.... answer is obvious!

After some hurried discussion, the heroes decide to conceal that they have found the missing artefact and act as if it is still missing. They will secretly transport it to the hermit Brother Volker’s cave the next night for safety.

In the meantime, they (mostly Father Erich) ascertain that Brother Dankmar usually disposes of the “waste chest” by taking the whole thing – once full – out to a field and burning it in a bonfire. He gets a replacement chest (they’re sturdy wood boxes not elaborate – built to contain and then burn) sent from Ubersreik, usually ordering it before he burns the current one. They convince Dankmar to act as if time has come to burn the chest, placing his order for a new one – which would likely come in a day or two. They hope whoever hid the artefact in a “place no one mucks about in” won’t want it burned (that wouldn’t destroy it, but might reveal it) and thus will try to retrieve it and they can “catch them”.

Actually it was put there to frame Dankmar and the plan won't work, as the villain doesn't really care about it, but other heroes sabotage plan before a few hours pass anyway.

Dankmar cooperates. He is sure the Abbot is behind it all, trying to frame him. He says the Abbot only appointed him Hospital Master expecting him to fail and thus be able to get rid of him (one of the last of the truly faithful [Reds]) and is disappointed Dankmar hasn’t failed. The heroes are less convinced it’s the Abbot. The heroes go to their well-deserved rest, sleeping through to late afternoon (a night’s recovery).

At dinner, Hans and Anselm absent themselves to take the opportunity to search Prior Walther’s chamber (which is across hall from Abbot’s) to see if they can find any incriminating evidence. Suspicion is focusing more on Walther than Stafke. The two find a travelling chest, old and well worn, with a false bottom. Eagerly opening it, they trigger an intense conflagration (some sort of naptha-fire trap) [Chaos Star!] Diving out of the way (Coordination check, Dodge speciality) they are none-the-less singed, Senor Bitey saving Anselm from 1 of 2 critical wounds and Hans also suffering one.

Hans braves the fire (Resilience check) to try to retrieve something before everything (some of which is hopefully incriminating) is destroyed (the trap is dual purpose attack/destroy what it protects) – he comes up with what Education identifies as a Slaaneshi sacrificial dagger (not magical but a nasty thing, one doesn’t like to think how that is used….) – an odd curio to find in a Sigmarite Prior’s belongings.

Unfortunately, there will be no concealing the mess made even through the two clean up and do not to a superficial eye appear wounded.

After dinner, as the monks retire to their chambers for individual evening prayer, the heroes gather to share information. The plan had been for several of them to take the profane artefact to Volker that night, with Dankmar, however Father Erich is alarmed that his comrades may have alerted Prior Walther. He decides he must go to the Abbot immediately and Hans accompanies him, though Hans counsels against presenting the Goose’s evidence (as it is from a Goose).

Father Erich is a bit perturbed at his plan to lure the culprit with the burning the chest being short circuited - but that is to be the least of the situation his friends put him in......

They arrive to find the Abbot already meeting with Prior Walther, who is there reporting an intrusion into his chambers. The Abbot’s two hammer bearers, Felkil and Ortulf are present.

Father Erich asks to speak to the Abbot alone, though he has to press the matter for “alone” to be understood as without Prior Walther, and is unhappy that it does not in any case appear to mean without the hammer bearers. Prior Walther excuses himself, to look into the question of who was in his chambers (giving the two heroes a hard look as he says that).

Father Erich now walks a tricky line, conveying certain information as part of raising accusations against Prior Walther without going into muddy details of how obtained (breaking into rooms, from asylum inmates who translate for geese).

The Abbot is clearly dubious about accusations against his long time friend and dismisses the dagger as Walther’s penchant for souvenirs from their past – the Slaaneshi cult, where did we help Felburg deal with that, ah Delberz it was - but if there is a witness that saw Walther taking a profane artefact into Brother Dankmar’s cell – that is more serious.

The case is presented well-enough that Abbot Strafke’s legal mind is persuaded to go with the evidence (if on one hand justice favours one’s friends in the Old World, on the other, those with experience know even your friends can turn out to be corrupt). The Abbot sends his two hammer bearers to find and detain Prior Walther.

The interview moves along and to the point the Abbot wants to interview the witness in Hospital. At this point Hans decides to join the other heroes and make sure the hammer bearers have got ahold of Walther (leaving Father Erich to present Pyotr and Goose alone, the actual witness having not yet been named to the Abbot).

We break as –

Father Erich and the Abbot approach the entry to Hospital, the Abbot eager to get to the bottom of these accusations by interviewing the witness, Father Erich praying Prior Walther makes a run for it and his “witness” becomes moot.

Hans, Anselm and Findulas, having followed reports of where the hammer bearers went as they followed reports of where Walther went (apparently to check on his Tilean hounds), find the two hammer bearers dead – their throats torn out (hmmm, sort of like those murders at the Hill of Bones…)

- The high point was Hans player deciding to look for Walther and the others rather than accompany the Abbot and Father Erich to the Hospital.  Having put Father Erich in the position of feeling he should bring things forward, he leaves him to "face the music" of telling the Abbot his arresting his long term friend on the word of a goose.  The cross-table chatter was hilarious.

-- Comments welcome.



#19 valvorik

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 02:02 PM

55th Advance all present.

In which buying Omens of War starts to pay off..

Our heroes are in two groups.

Father Erich and Abbot Strafke enter the hospital, the Abbot eager to meet the witness. Brother Dankmar is absent, which concerns Father Erich who asks after him and is told that he left a few minutes earlier, with Prior Walther. Father Erich gives the Abbot a “knowing look” but that Abbot sees only that the Prior is not fleeing. He again asks to see the witness, whereupon Pyotr the cassock wearing prophet of the Goose is introduced.

The Abbot’s left eyebrow starts to steadily rise and the right to steadily sink in an arch look as Pyotr happily recounts What the Goose Saw, adding that the Goose now says that the footwear seen on the mysterious figure was definitely not the Abbot’s.

Father Erich tries to diplomatically charm the Abbot into accepting the evidence and (miraculously, Sigmar must have been watching) he does – animal divinations have a long history in the Empire and have been used by Witch Hunters such as Stafke long accompanied or apparently the Abbot is familiar with the precedent of “The Estate of Giant vs. Jack” in which the Golden Goose’s testimony was pivotal.

Father Erich and the Abbot now hear a bestial scream/howl…

Flashing back a few moments, our other heroes had found the two guards dead with throats torn out. Magister Hans Junkers had time to confirm a large set of powerful jaws was involved (necks were broken as well as throat torn) before a dazed and bloody Brother Dankmar appeared.

Approaching Dankmar carefully, Hans realized that the blood on Dankmar isn’t his own, also found a strange chill radiates from him (1 fatigue). Backing quickly away he warns his comrades, this arouses Dankmar’s hostility who declares the heroes “the Abbot’s pawns, just like the others” and transforms into a larger-than-man-sized wolf creature.

This is a terrifying sight (Terror 2) – back in the orphanage poor Anselm was oft told stories of werewolves eating bad little boys who didn’t do their chores. The Goose’s prophecy of Ulric’s Cold hand reaching for him is relevant and an extra challenge die is added to his terror check (using up one of the three that can apply in this context, another one is used later in fight, leaving one when it’s done). Findulas also suffers fatigue and stress.

Father Erich ran through the monastery to the sound (spending 2 Fatigue) to arrive in the hall leading to kennel and join the fight.

Folklore recalls that silver is a myth but that werewolves do heal wounds not caused by fire.

[The heroes didn’t try much folklore etc., and only made a basic success when they did try, so never really go the connection of wolf/shapeshifter/Ulric/cold despite the invocation of Anselm’s dire prophecy of Ulric’s Cold Hand - others will make this connection afterwards]

A melee ensues, Father Erich trying to engage Dankmar to protect his comrades and being picked up and thrown into the midst of his comrades - landing on a couple so that most are prone as the werewolf (its ‘toss aside blockers to get at juicy targets’ action successful) follows up with a vicious bit that would have dealt a critical to Anselm had not Senor Bitey managed to distract the monster.

The werewolf’s cold aura makes it fatiguing for those close to it to spend additional manoeuvres. Father Erich’s positive prophecy warning him of the man who is not a man is used twice – the second time the expertise die it adds to a roll means that in the gooses honking he hears advice leading to a Comet/critical! (one use is left when encounter over). Father Erich also avoids a critical with Sigmar’s favour.

Hans focuses on the torc that Brother Dankmar still wears and wonders if it is a means of shapeshifting. Sifting his memories, he recalls no stories of such items but does recall that the Old Faith (which favoured magic dealing with plans and animals etc., and has a bloody reputation) did create items for controlling beasts – it’s not a torc of shapeshifting, it’s a torc of “obedient werewolf” – a means to control the monster!. A chaos star on the roll turns a “free action for what you know” into a “moments lost in thought” action.

The fight rages on, Anselm getting a torch off the wall to use to Fluster the monster and aid his comrades. Critical wounds to the werewolf injure its claws (misfortune dice to its claw etc. attacks, not to bites – its favoured kill attack). Eventually the monster falls (not burned though).

[there is no werewolf monster in game, I used Stone Troll stats, gave it a “challenging monster, extra challenge die on all actions against it”, and set of werewolfy actions with a couple of Ulric blessings as special effects, as well as keeping some of Dankmar’s “mad zealot benefits” (insanity severity one-time abilities to increase soak, amp up damage etc.) – this created a foe that made my 55 advance set of PC’s work for their kill], its "toss and attack" combo was my GM fiat of letting the Athletic toss action if successful combine with an attack - necessary let a solo monster be menace.

The heroes catch their breath (Rally Step) as they hear the sound of the doors to the hall closing and being barred, and in the shadows at the far end see Prior Walther and his two Tilean hounds.

The Prior muses aloud, “Such a shame you will have found the werewolf responsible for the deaths but not survived the encounter…” as his Tilean hounds transform into daemonic Flesh Hounds of Khorne and he takes on a bloody aspect, producing a black sword (Chaos Champion of Khorne).

[the heroes come out of the first fight with some respectable wounds, some key actions such as Findulas’ multiple shot action still recharging – this was also important to keeping the pressure on in the 2nd fight, had they not been softened up/some things recharging, the 2nd fight wouldn’t have been as dramatic]

[The flesh hounds are straight flesh hounds, 2, the Champion is a straight Champion but with the “challenging monster, add challenge die to all actions targeting” mod].

This is a Fear/Terror set of checks and the fight ensues. Findulas and Hans manage to destroy one Flesh Hound before the monsters engage. Senor Bitey worries the torc off the fallen werewolf’s neck and returns it to Anselm (to the consternation of Hans who wanted to try to unlock its secret to seize control of the werewolf, which still haven’t been burned).

- metagame – the werewolf was ‘down’ for one round per severity of accumulated criticals – heroes did lots before it fell so it was down for count really – this approach means if a werewolf or similar creature “springs up” it springs up having healed all those etc. and being “fresh” (likely time for a rally step).

Father Erich again tries to shield his comrades. However, he pays dearly for his bravery. The remaining hound leaps upon him and its jaws clamp upon his wrist rendering his right hand useless (potentially Permanent Critical, sword hand useless – hand not lost yet, but just about the worst draw in the critical deck for a one who favours 2-handed weapon).

The Prior is a dangerous opponent with his sword and difficult to damage (high soak) and fells Father Erich (who gets another potentially permanent critical wound – garish scar, Fellowship penalty – not nice for a priest - Omens of War brings the grimness excellent) and then Anselm (whose dog was among the few sources of damage getting to the Prior due to bypassing some soak), and bloodies Hans severely (one more hit from falling probably), while Findulas has run out of room to back up and shoot by the end of fight.

Healing draughts etc. revive the two fallen enough they can add their efforts to the desperate fight [about 4 healing draughts were used this evening, I think that’s a record] and finally the Abbot and final Flesh Hound fall…..

- Obvious outstanding issue is Hans’ profane artefact. (chances to address that have passed - the effect of turning all hammers in monastery into "fosten's hammer" can be invoked by pious (Piety check) bellringer IF the monastery is under attack (such as by goblins or werewolves etc.) - but heroes never figured that out.

- A time-limited offer is made to the players – the Abbot was a witch hunter’s aid and can likely ‘figure things out’ (or put together his story very well). If a Player/Players put forward a theory (it would have to be the only theory endorsed by heroes, taking 4 wild shots hoping one hits doesn’t work) of “so what happened” – who killed who, why, what’s a werewolf got to do with it (3 things then), this will earn a notable reward or avoid a notable problem (depending on what is really going on). They can post it on our own message board or discuss at table next game night, though resolving this by post clears more time for moving play along.

- Phew that was fun – pending the high level box I’m using my own approach to “amping up” monsters and I think it’s working but itching to see the Hero’s Call stuff on this; this was the most melee-fest session we've had for a while which is okay now and again.

- There's a Player comment that monsters don’t care about many criticals -yup I see that as intentional, the draw a critical on monster outcome is sometimes useful and sometimes not - the werewolf's dice pool on some actions was affected by some done it.

- After we wrap this adventure, it's an Interlude for personal agenda and shopping - then off to see Anselm's absentee father the reclusive Steward of Grauwerk (from the Lure of Power fluff).



#20 Boehm

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 07:14 PM

Sounds like a nice adventure :)

Whats the party composition crunch-wise? (careers, Strenghts & weaknesses,  actions / tactics etc ... )






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