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The Crusade of the Child (my 1000 Thrones)

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#1 valvorik



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Posted 20 April 2012 - 02:24 PM

Some background on my tinkering here:


Father Erich, Magister Hans, Anselm von Bruner (newly minted noble) and Findulas the Asrai (wood elf to the slow witted humans) arrive in Marienburg in Vorhexen, last month of 2521.  The heroes disembark at the Suiddock wharfs in Marienburg. As newcomers they are grossly over charged for a gondola ride to the Kruismuur district and Hans’ relations mansion.

Hans is here to read a letter his grandmother, Lady Theodora von Stauffer wrote before committing suicide.  His uncle Eldred von Stauffer has it, being here with is wife Wandalina (following up on Edge of Night).

Hans looks to find the Tarnopol mansion where his uncle winters with wife Wandalina's family in the Kruiersmuur district - a good quality district though it looks to have seen better days. The Tarnopol's mansion has also seen better days but Hans is welcomed and the heroes offered some refreshment. They will be able to sleep here at least their first night (assuming Hans is on good behaviour).

Hans goes off to be closeted on family matters with his aunt Lady Wandalina, his uncle being absent.

He learns from distraught Lady Wandalina that Eldred has been caught up in some band of Sigmarite lunatics following a child, Karl, that an old Sigmarite priest named Helmut has proclaimed Sigmar's heir after some nonsense in the Winkelmarkt (being a Marienburger by birth and Manaan favourer not Sigmarite she has no time for this sort of nonsense).  Eldred seems to have fixated on the boy as both holy and the son he can never have (see curse below).  She begs Hans to look into the boys background and find evidence to sober Eldred up, hopefully to then overtake this mob - that left the city a few days ago to walk the 400 +  miles to Altdorf in winter - and extract him before they all end frozen, burned or worse.  She offers reward if he can accomplish this  (She is thus the Crispin role in original, with the PC's uncle instead of a missing daughter - trying to build stronger PC connections).

In the course of this meeting he sees a last letter from his grandmother which reveals she used magic to seduce his grandfather, betrayed the witch that gave it to her, and caused the bloodline to be cursed to end badly and with magic (the generation of Krijn and Hans being when this manifests...)

Not long after they arrive there is a knock on the door as a messenger is there for the Sigmarite priest who has recently come to town (apparently comings and goings at the Suiddock wharves are a subject of some talk). Father Erich is called away to a meeting.

Father Erich meets Lady Therese von Sydow, a noblewoman from Altdorf here wrapping up her deceased husband's business affairs (a devote wealthy widow, what every priest needs one or two of - an early 30's widow too, the early 30's of the nobility not the peasantry).  She arrived too late to see this boy Karl but has heard of him and seeks a trustworthy Sigmarite to investigate the background of his claims.  She is level headed and knows he's probably one or other kind of false heir to Sigmar (fraud, fool, cultist etc.) but cannot to ignore the possibility he is legimitate.  She hopes so to see the Empire strengthened by another Sigmar or Magnus.  She offers no reward (that's so crass, this is a holy matter) but is very generous with some cash to help finance investigating (One guess who she is from the original.....)

The other two heroes hear gossip with Tarnopol staff, everyone learns about the Crusade of the Child (basic information)

Six days before heroes arrived, a rag tag band of fanatics left Marienburg, lead by an older Sigmarite priest named Helmut. They travel under the Thin Tailed Comet banner of a boy named Karl who is proclaimed to be Sigmar's Chosen or Sigmar Reborn.  They numbered a few more than a hundred, or two hundred or three hundred depending on who is talking.

The boy Karl came to public attention only 14 days earlier when he escaped chaos cultists trying to kill him - a street brawl ensuing in which he took up a blacksmith's hammer and defended himself ably. The sight of the boy wielding a hammer to smite evil-doers lead to a frenzied proclamation of his holiness when the twin-tailed comet of Sigmar was seen upon his very flesh.  Marienburg is happy to see the mostly-former Empire, Sigmarite fanatics who flocked to this pair leave - some say the Directorate encouraged it.

Altdorf is 400 or so miles away depending on route. A mob such as this will make poor time.  Most doubt the fanatics and fools will survive the journey - particularly in winter as they go into the mainland where the weather is harsher.

I adjusted timelines for various reasons of consistency and ensuring the Crusade has a good enough head start even with its slow speed - I have mapped out the actual route and travel times of the Crusade to keep track of "necessary delays" for the heroes etc.

So, with that, next session we will start playing Chapter One of the campaign.  I've had fun converting stuff to 3rd edition with its multivariate outcomes etc.

#2 valvorik



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Posted 21 April 2012 - 06:58 AM

eep, the von Stauffer bit is following up Witch's Song not Edge of Night.

#3 valvorik



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Posted 27 April 2012 - 02:07 PM

62nd Advance, Anselm's player absent

In which the heroes learn more of the boy Karl and hear differing views of him.

A reminder - spoilers if ever planning to play the published adventure 1000 Thrones, even if I am tinkering.

Hero's Call Arrives

Father Erich is now a Warrior Priest and Hans reveals that counselled by his mentors he is a Battle Wizard (yes a Battle Wizard of Light, laughter breaks out each time this is mentioned thereafter).

In their interviews, Hans asks if anyone induced Eldred to get involved with this movement and Wandalina says he just heard about them and went to take a look, came back going on and on about the special child.

Elsewhere, Father Erich asks if Lady Therese has seen more and she has not, having arrived after the boy left. In fact, since she sailed from Altdorf and heroes took barge, she left Altdorf after they did – meaning she heard of them as the heroes who frustrated vampiric conspiracies involving Graf Steirlich von Bruner (nobles keep up on gossip about nobles) and she connects Father Erich, asking if this was he. He humbly admits so and her eyes take on a particular shine now as she speaks to him.

Father Erich asks about Lady von Sydow's plans, which were to return to Altdorf in a week but she will delay if the situation calls for it. Father Erich appreciates that and says in any event the heroes will return to Altdorf and they may meet there. She offers to fund horses or other means of helping the heroes overtake the Crusade assuming that becomes needful (as a large mob is moving at half or so the pace a hardy group could make on foot, never mind mounted – to think of it mathematically, if you left on foot 10 days after they did you would overtake them before they were half way to Altdorf or sooner – assuming you had fewer complications they then of course and they don’t all freeze to death or get massacred by local nobility on the way).

Both Father Erich and Hans tell their patrons that they will report back with whatever they learn.

The heroes reconvene and compare notes, Hans reveals his uncle Baron Eldred has gone off with the Crusade and Father Erich tells how a visiting Reikland noblewoman, Lady Therese von Sydow, has asked him to look into the background of this boy Karl. Hans recalls (education check that the von Sydows are a minor but still very prosperous Altdorf noble family with extensive holdings).

Hans and Father Erich head to the Winkelmarkt, the bustling lower class market that lies stretched out between the busy wharves of the Suiddock and the poverty of the Doodkanal.

Findulas meanwhile follows up on the letter he dictated to Hans and had sent to the High Elves of Marienburg when they were in Fauligmere, warning them of Dark Elf intrusions in the region, heading to the Elf Ward. He has no idea who to talk to really but ends up meeting with a high elf (sea elf as they call them hereabouts) named Avatil of the Foamstrider House.

I had no plans to introduce Avatil having two other patrons from the published adventure woven in, but the player's choices naturally lead here.

Avatil is aware of the letter and the investigation that was pursued, the high elves scouted the area to be sure there was no other threat from Naggaroth (the realm of the Dark Elves) and found none. With the underground river destroyed, the Dark Elves are unlikely to pursue trying to pass through that area. Much as they would like a route into the interior for their slave raids, the dark elf foe wants one they can sail on.

Findulas takes a wild shot and asks if Avatil has heard of the Crusade. Avatil becomes more measured and is regarding Findulas carefully, even suspiciously, saying that he heard of some band of fantatics, asking more about what brought Findulas to Marienburg. He says these things usually harmless but sometimes tools of Chaos. Humans are such weak creatures, prone to corruption. Findulas agrees, and Avatil adds it’s just as well humans are short lived (less time to become corrupted). Findulas leaves not sure what Avatil’s unexpressed interest/concern was.

The high elves are curious what game the wood elves are playing in Bretonnia and know that something is going on, Findulas is not the first wood elf to pass through city following the Crusade (a fact that might have been learned in the Winkelmarkt but wasn't, in part because Findulas himself didn't ask around there to be told he wasn't the first one).

Father Erich finds that for once in his life being a priest of Sigmar is not a route to deference and help as attitudes to Sigmar are so different here. He learns little in the Winkelmarkt. Hans looks first to find somewhere serving his favourite food – blood sausage – and then broaches the topic with other aficionados of this delicacy (a more roundabout route but ultimately one with more bonus dice). Bits and pieces of information are revealed ~ not always agreeing with each other bit:

-- The Crusade of the Child is run by conmen who plan to use threat of the boy to blackmail the Emperor for noble titles and trade concessions - as if Jan Vanderpeer would be involved if there wasn't coin to be made. The whole business with taking on those cultists with the hammer was a trick - there weren't even any bodies!

-- Now that Helmut and the Shallyan Abbess have revealed the boy is the Heir of Sigmar, the faithful are marching to Altdorf with him so the Child can lead them in a great battle against the Chaos Hordes that will soon invade the Empire from the north.

-- They say the boy is Sigmar Reborn because he appeared at noon, out of a shaft of golden light from the east, with the mark of a twin-tailed comet on his chest. A dozen evil men attacked him, but the boy brained each of them with a single blow of his hammer.

-- It wasn't cultists that the boy escaped from, it was daemons - you could tell by the way they dissolved when slain. He hardly had to tap them before they fell to pieces - Sigmar reborn!

Stories about Karl’s heroic actions at the blacksmith’s have the heroes tracking down this site where they are accosted by a seller of “relics of the holy boy Karl” who does not impress Father Erich. The workday is ending as they find it and talk to the blacksmith.

He tells how the boy came running, being chased by evil looking men, and picked up a hammer to defend himself – dropping one that melted away (must have been a daemon says the blacksmith). This matches the story the heroes heard, though after that point it seems the popular story has elaborated on facts. According to the blacksmith, it was he and his lads, with help of some passersby, who dealt with the other would-be-kidnappers, not being inclined to let such a nice lad come to harm. The blacksmith is not a Sigmarite and doesn’t hold with all that stuff about Sigmar Reborn, didn’t see anything supernatural about him, but says that some in the group claim to have. The heroes get a good description of Karl from the blacksmith.

Karl is a good looking boy of 9, big for his age, with blonde hair and dark eyes. His features are kindly and he is the picture of innocence.

The old priest of Sigmar Father Helmut came by and the boy went with him.

The heroes got several not all rumours from official adventure, modified a bit by me - more than enough to lead them on.  I was ready for the decision to investigate the blacksmithy cited in rumours as it was logical move.

As dusk is turning to dark, and the night is cooling rapidly (Marienburg is on a warm ocean current that moderates winter but still it gets quite cold at night this time of year) the heroes come to the Wings of the Dove orphanage - on the edge of the seedy Doodkanal.

Father Erich easily gains admittance as the nuns believe he was sent from Altdorf because of Karl (they were expecting someone just not so soon). Father Erich did come from Altdorf and is here about Karl and does not correct the unspoken assumptions the nuns are spinning around those facts. He is taken in to see Abbess Lutzen.

Abbess Lutzen confirms they have cared for Karl for seven years but is vague about where he came from before then. She is a “Karl fan” extolling his virtues. Hans thinks she is holding something back about his history and engages in a ‘staring contest’ to break her down but (as Findulas suspects) she is experienced with wilful boys and does not crack, deciding these people are not here to recognize Karl’s holiness and ending the interview.

Hans switches to intimidation (upping the stakes) and the Abbess is shaken (success can look different in different situations) and as she summons sisters to ensure the heroes leave she offers excuses that she can hardly be accountable for things, having only just become Abbess, and the conflict between the heroes and her is obvious to others, so much so that another sister slips a note into Hans’ robes:

Lutzen is a Sigmarite fool who lies to you and herself. Speak to the true Abbess if she still lives, outside the old Temple of Sigmar in the Templewijk. The boy is in danger. One Who Is Silent but Not Blind

Father Erich remarks on the peculiarity of the Abbess Lutzen being a Sigmarite fool (since she's a Shallyan nun).

Going to a local tavern, Father Erich looks for a local guide to take them to the Temple of Sigmar in the Templwijk (the district where all the major temples are located). He is successful and (two boons) actually finds a Sigmarite, who regrets not going with the Crusade but couldn’t due to his bad leg, he is happy now to help Father Erich. He transports the heroes in a small skiff and takes them to the island on which the old temple of Sigmar stands. Once grand (of course), in the decades since Marienburg’s secession many of its building stones have been carted off and only one small wing really remains – the rest of the ground being a slightly uneven open area. From one column in this area hangs an iron cage in which a figure is huddled.

The heroes also see four city watch (2 pairs of 2) patrolling the area. Their guide points out the “witch who tried to denounce holy Karl” in the cage.

Approaching the guards, Father Erich speaks with them and with the application of his personality and some silver gains access to speak to the witch - former Abbess Maida Widmann. She is in a bad way, from exposure and abuse. Hans examines her for “signs of witchcraft” (mutations etc.) and finds none. She manages to tell the heroes her story..

Karl was brought to the orphanage seven years ago by witch hunter Osrik Falkenstein. He rescued the boy from a cult in the Cursed Marsh. They named the boy Karl, in honour of the Emperor.

As the years passed she saw him being praised more and more and treated as more important than the other children, though he himself was always good and generous, sharing all the gifts given to him with the others.

Widdmann sought to keep more isolated and made inquiries to superiors here in Marienburg. The priestess sent declared him a charming, healthy boy and the sisters merely guilty of excessive mother's pride. Widdmann comments that this was Sister Astrid von Nimlshein, had to flee the city a few weeks later after suggesting that mutants were entitled to Shallya's mercy.

She sent to Altdorf for further advice but never received an answer.

Then the orphanage was assaulted and poor sister Hirtzel killed, the boy taken. She is sure they were no natural beings that preformed the atrocities done poor sister Hirtzel and the fact no sign of how they entered or left was found.

When she heard of a boy the Priest Helmut declared to be Sigmar’s Heir the next day, "I knew it could be no other than Karl."

She brought Gerda Lutzman and the other Sisters to reveal the truth but Gerda and the others denounced her instead, saying she was a pawn of Chaos like Sister Astrid and sought to keep Karl from the people.

She emphasizes that Karl has never himself been anything but kind and good, but she cannot see the hand of any god in these matters [obviously referring to her present circumstances] and he never had any mark of Sigmar on him. If the witch hunter Osric still lives, he is the only person who can lead you to the boy's origin.

The heroes wonder why she was not affected by him. Widmann says she was impressed but was often away from the monastery - it's a full time job wringing donations out of the city's merchants to support the orphans.

The heroes are unwilling to leave her to her fate, she will die in one or two nights left where she is in this weather. She appears to be convicted on the strength of Father Helmut’s word (as the watchmen say, the one thing Sigmarites are good for is sniffing out witches and chaos) and the fact that her sisters from the orphanage were not objecting.

Father Erich goes to the local watch captain to present his views, as a Sigmarite, that Father Helmut was mistaken. It’s not easy for a Sigmarite to persuade Mareinburg authorities of anything but they are trusted on witchcraft etc and the idea of one Sigmarite saying the other erred and falsely condemned a Shallyan as a witch has a certain “cachet” (what would get misfortune dice in the Empire gets 4 fortune dice here). Father Erich is successful with a Chaos Star (well really, there was a Chaos Star inbuilt into succeeding in this particular effort, “Extra Extra, Sigmarite Priest Wrongfully Condemns Shallyan Nun Who Runs Orphanage, so says Other Sigmarite Priest, Extra Extra).

The next day, Vorhexen 13, the heroes try to track down Osric Falkenstein. Father Erich narrowly averts a dunking in the canal by some dockworkers who say that Osric doesn’t need no Sigmarites. Hans is more successful and learns he suffered some injuries at the hands of Karl’s followers and is “convalescing” in the Golden Lotus “dreaming club”.

Going to the seedy establishment at the end of Three Penny Bridge, the heroes endure the strange vapours (Findulas finds his eyes water and the disgusting scenes are stressful to Father Erich) till they locate the injured and (willingly) drugged witch hunter (who does have broken limbs and looks black and blue – several criticals in game terms). Passing a few coins to the doorman, they take him away to a nearby inn (Grey Gull, serving sailors).

Hans applies First Aid in an effort to get Osric revived enough to talk (otherwise it would be next day). Osric is not happy to be conscious (he was “feeling no pain”). Father Erich cures a critical but Father Erich’s attempts to reach out to him fail (despite his healing and initially favourable reaction when learning the heroes helped Widmann) – Father Erich can’t catch a break with the people in this city.

Hans does better and Osric relates what he knows of Karl: rescued him from cultist/mutants out in the Cursed Marshes seven years ago, most of whom died trying to complete a ritual with him, a sacrifice Osric thought. He now believes that the boy must be a mutant or daemon the way he inspires such fanatical devotion - thought him a jolly lovable tyke all those years ago, would run him through or shoot him dead on the spot now.

We break with the heroes debating whether to investigate the site in Cursed Marshes to try to learn more of Karl’s origins (Osric noted it was too wet to burn and that a few survivors escaped the mercy offered them), it being perhaps 3 day journey into Marshes though one “in the opposite direction” (well not really but as good as) to the Crusade’s path inland.  The crusade is moving slowly of course and heroes could overtake it on foot never mind with horses.

#4 valvorik



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Posted 04 May 2012 - 10:02 AM

63rd advance

All heroes present.

Close Mouthed Elves and Chatty Mutants

On the 13th, the heroes all go to speak with Avatil Foamstrider (the true house name if not butchered by human tongues is Aisellion), curious about his shift in attitude when Findulas asked about the Karl.

I was combining 1000 Thrones and Sold Down River material here deciding "Foamstrider" isn't a very elven name.  The additional Sold Down River material on elves in Marienburg helped me handle what followed on the fly.

Avatil is at first interested, thinking perhaps they have information about Karl, but as they question him he becomes less engaged. He professes to know nothing more and Hans’ insight determines only that (a) he’s holding something back, but he is truly interested in whatever the heroes might know/learn and (b) Avatil is actually spending most of the time surreptitiously watching Findulas. Findulas is enigmatic and betrays nothing – an inscrutable wood elf (Player clarifies actually he’s oblivious and wondering about what he will have for dinner).

Leaving, the heroes are unsatisfied and curious about what local high/sea elves know. Hans’ education in Altdorf included some reading on the Marienburg high elf colony (Hard check, triple success!) and he knows enough to know that Aisellion/Foamstrider is a lower tier house providing services in region (including security, reason it would be dealing with the report from Fauligmere and the heroes presently) but that there are more influential houses.

The heroes decide to seek out the most powerful house, Ulliogtha, and see what they can learn insinuating that Avatil of Aisellion has for some reason not been forthcoming in matters about this Crusade of the Child.

Gaining entry to the magnificent household (by Empire standards an obscene amount of crystal being used in the structure to create something with a great deal of natural light, “Liberace could live here” one Player comment).

Findulas amuses the Exarch, Tarmonagh din Ciobahn, referring to Foamstrider as “house flotstom and jetsam” (very droll!) and Anselm engages the sea elf lord well enough (despite the customary 2 black dice for being a smelly human) that Tarmanogh is chatty and openly asks if Findulas is with the “other wood elves”. It turns out there were other wood elves in the city just recently, though the Exarch doesn’t know much about them.

[Metagame - The Exarch actually knows very little about the goings on in the continental interior – he cant’ be bothered really - one reason he is more chatty than the better-informed and thus more close-mouthed Avatil].

This all took a while (delay rolls) and the heroes return to Tarnopol mansion to rest. The next day, 14th, they go back to the Winkelmart with Findulas now as a “sample”, asking if wood elves were here (Findulas was never before wandering around the Winkelmart in previous information gathering).

Heroes find a local merchant, Hugo, who recalls that there were elves like him (Findulas), not like the sea elves, here a few days ago (timeline wise they arrived about time Crusade left, were around 2 days, and left three-four days before heroes arrived). They were asking questions about kin of theirs that had gone missing seven years earlier (5 men and 3 women) but became interested in the Crusade when they heard about it (apparently thinking Karl must be a mutant).

The heroes find this shift of interest from elf kin to a human band of religious fanatics very strange. They are unable to find any more information about the wood elves (no names, no sign of where they were staying, they are like ghosts).

The link at top to my tinkering in Karl's history likely explains what these elves are all about.

Well, armed with this information and sure such elves would have ended up seeing Avatil Foamstrider (who must have been keeping word of them from Findulas and the heroes) the heroes go back for their 4th elf interview in 2 days (wanting to speak to Avatil before the “house flotsam and jetsam” comments gets back to him).

Avatil is even more nonplussed now and seems frustrated seeing Findulas and the humans together, giving Findulas many searching/frustrated looks. He exasperatedly explains not telling anyone about the other wood elves as “keeping out of the affairs of the Asrai”. In the end he is angry enough that in Eltharin (Findulas would understand, others would have to make Education 3D check, 2D for Hans as ‘magic theory’ is sometimes written in Eltharin) that he explodes at Findulas, saying that the wood elves actions are going to blow up in their faces someday and the humans will wipe them off the face of the continent.

Avatil suspects what all of us who read the published material do about wood elf schemes in Bretonnia etc., with no more proof though.  He's never read Guardians of the Forest by McNeil for example.

That’s the end of seeing Avatil (for the foreseeable future), though Findulas is mystified by it all (Findulas is not really the best informed asrai, by Player choice of how to handle all this, one reason he was safe to send outside Athel Loren).

The heroes muse a bit about Karl. Father Erich knows that sometimes people speak of “positive mutations” (usually before they get burned as heretics). The only “positive mutation” school of thought with any traction being the “wizards are all really mutants because working magic ain’t normal” (which isn’t really a “positive mutation” school of thought as this theory usually leads to “and so we should burn them too”). Anselm hypothesizes about “mental mutations” rather than physical ones.

They do know (with the assurance and certainty that all facts are known in the Old World) that mutants wouldn’t have a “normal child” so if Karl came from a group of mutants either they “got him from elsewhere” or he’s a mutant, though mutation does usually have physical manifestations (e.g., Hans cousin Krijn from Fauligmere may have looked normal but cried tears of blood under stress, and received wisdom says he would have shown other signs in time)

The heroes are confident they can overtake the Crusade, particularly if they have horses, so are willing to take some time and explore the site where Karl was rescued from mutants to see what they can learn – particularly since some survived. They search for a guide and (triple success) find an excellent one, Jekil Sumpfmund – author of a pamphlet on the Cursed Marsh and an enthusiastic fan of its wonders. With his aid the 3 day trip (each way) becomes a 2 day trip each way though he does want 4 shillings from each hero.

[metagame, Jekil was the person to be found in any case but how helpful or disastrous he was would turn on the roll, a really bad roll and he might have been a secret ally of the mutants - this is an example of how I try to combine GM simplicity of railroad linearity with sandboxy - it is what play make it, who knows how many things may turn out handled just this way….]

Over the course of 2 days going out (leaving into the 14th and travelling 15th, arriving early on 16th) the heroes avoid undue problems in the Cursed Marsh, having only a bad experience with thin ice over muck while portaging (Fatigue Findulas) and a short encounter with a lashworm that is quickly felled by bolts and arrows.

[I used one ring travel rules modified with a handout for players to put their stand up on the box of the travel role they were filling, and a modified Cursed Marsh encounter deck for winter season, recylcing material from Witch's Song]

They come to the eerie mist-shrouded isle Osric ’s directions singled out. Findulas and Anselm scout (passing checks against the best relevant observation among those they are approaching), feeling their way through the mist. A ruined keep (three towers joined by walls in a triangle, the walls with significant collapses in them on each side and the southern point tower also a fallen shell. There is a fire inside the enclosed area and strangely shaped forms are gathered around it, roasting bog octopus it seems.

Returning to their comrades, Anselm proposes a plan. Findulas will take one side, Hans and Father Erich a 2nd and he will approach from the third, posing as someone who has sought out the mutants with a proposition. Luckily (no chaos star on challenge die roll) there is no patrol just now so the three heroes draw up to Medium range in the mists (as close as they can get without having to make checks for stealth) while Anselm approaches. He traded clothes with Jekil to look a bit more “low class” and suitable to be out here.

Anselm hails the mutants, seeing a collection of mostly human unfortunates, three true mutants with tentacles, internal organs showing or looking more like “the creature from the black lagoon” than a human (passes his fear check as does Senor Bitey) and in answer to his hail a fishy-faced man in green robes with a staff and giant toad pet comes out (Dhalbert, a one-time tailor he says).

The mutants are willing to talk and offer him a seat at fire to share in bog octopus (though some eye him and Senor Bitey with more appetite than their octopus) as he explains his reasons for being here, mentioning this special child with influence who came from here. Anselm fails to read the crowd’s reactions (bad roll misses perceiving their hope and joy) only sensing a reaction and restlessness, and chooses a Fake Out action of a persona “criminal here to make money from using the child, offering to reward mutants”.

Unfortunately for him, his roll becomes moot, as the chosen persona is an outrage to the mutants. Dhalbert cries in alarm, “He is a danger to the sacred child”, pointing his staff and sending a flaming bog octopus to latch onto Anselm (automatic Wound each round it stays on him). Findulas manages to react with a quick shot at Dhalbert Me First) even though the other heroes have not yet realized what is happening - the mists almost making him miss.

 - Anselm is mystified by the failure of his appeal to avarice, guess you can never tell with mutants, they’re abnormal they are.

A mutant attacks Anselm and two charge into the mist to engage Findulas after he shoots at them. Anselm’s rapier pierces Dhalbert as (spending some Fatigue) he manages to disengage and flee (joining Hans/Erich).

Father Erich charges into the fray, appreciating the fearful howl that goes up as more than one mutant cries in alarm “Sigmarite!” (having earlier made certain his comrades understood that as a Sigmarite, he could only offer the mutants a merciful death as their best option, something the mutants know without the reminder he now delivers). Dhalbert falls when Father Erich smites him (after rapier and arrow had already struck).

Hans conjures blazing light to ward himself and any by him (Anselm at moment) from attacks. The outraged mutants check their morale but their rage at the threat to the Saviour (??? so says one) outweighs fear at seeing Dhalbert fall and they fight on – the heroes realizing a winged mutant lurks in the tower ruin overhead…..

[I checked Disicpline for the-most-likely-to-break but they held - sometimes monsters succeed against 2 challenge dice with only 3 dice to roll]

We pause with the 2 mobs of mostly-human-still mutants and the winged mutant still to act.

[Father Erich and Findulas both owe fear checks for the mutants they face/see up close]

-- I really enjoyed this session.  Players were roleplaying what the dice results meant (eg, the failures on the black dice show his prejudice against humans comes out) and wandering around the “sandbox” in ways I didn’t expect meaning it was so much more than “seeing them go through the adventure”.  I never expected so much “elf interaction” and the “I’ll go and con the mutants” strategy was wonderful to see in action.  I was completely prepared to let it work as  a way to deliver information but alas the dice and Players choices just lead to a fun start to the melee.

#5 valvorik



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Posted 11 May 2012 - 09:25 AM

64th Advance

Hans' player is absent so other than allowing his Body of Light to help ward his comrades he doesn't figure much.

What's An Elf Got to Do With It?

The heroes defeat the mutants suffering light wounds doing so. Only the winged mutant escapes, others are slain though one is captured (Senor Bitey runs him down as he flees and pulls down his loin cloth making him trip). Player references the old Copper Tan commercial.

The mutant is put though an emotional roller coaster before Father Erich mercifully ends his miserable life. Pleading he's harmless, he is overjoyed to learn the blessed child is still alive saying that Shallya sent him to save the mutants and return them to their true forms - he can be cured! Anselm then tells the mutant that Karl is now a Sigmarite, some say Sigmar reborn, which shatters the poor thing - no, it can't be, Shallya's Saviour of the Changed has become a Sigmarite dedicated to their destruction? Noooooo!

Father Erich's player is clear mercy is not an option.  We will be "testing that" and other beliefs about mutants in a Burning Wheel style as we go. I had fun playing the mutant, "It's not my fault, I didn't hurt no one" - and playing up the "Sigmarites are the monsters, out to slaughter us all" perspective he had.

The mutant joined a few years ago and was not part of cult when events happened earlier but their leader Dhalbert did sometimes tell them of their saviour that the Sigmarite Witch Hunter killed. He knows that they recently heard from contacts in city of a child like their saviour being searched for by a man named Jurgen Baer and Dhalbert wanted to find this man.

The heroes find a folio of notes, directed by their prisoner (it was behind some stones in one tower - they would not have found it otherwise without carrying out a search of the ruin). Father Erich reads this record of pathetic community's life. Their threadbare existence, the tragic births of mutant children, the need to "put down" those among them who started to hear the "Call" of the Ruinous Powers.

The folio, written in two hands does contain several mentions of the "Blessed Child", which condensed amount to:

The Blessed Child was found in the arms of a dead elf-woman in 2514. The child was untainted by sign of corruption. Immediately we knew he was special, for even those soon to hear the Call saw a child to love and protect.

I feared for the Child when Dhalbert seized him, for we were to convene that night to pass judgment upon Dhalbert for he was beginning to answer the Call. We rushed to save the child and found Dhalbert holding him and crying. Holding the Child, Dhalbert no longer heard the Call.

Shallya has sent the Child to save the Changed and sway the hearts of the men to be merciful to the changed [mutants]. It is the coming of the fortold Great Saviour who will return all the changed to their true forms. We feel Shallya's Love when we are with him.

[whoever recorded before it ends - kiled in the attack next described, now Dhalbert records - it is not made explicit but implicitly this shows Dhalbert hung around for seven years after encounter with Blessed Child not "going over to Chaos", until he met his end defending the Child against exploitation by Anselm's 'criminal persona']

When the boy was to be consecrated and named, witch hunters attacked. The changed fought to protect their saviour, but the attackers were savage – the witch hunters burned what they could including the Blessed Child’s body.

At least, so thought the few who escaped that night alive. A month ago, the changed learned from contacts in Marienburg that a man named Jurgen Baer seeks a boy with powers to sway hearts like their missing saviour's. They discovered Baer frequents a tavern called The Jolly Boatman, in Marienburg’s Doodkanaal Ward. The journal's last entry speaks of a plan to capture Baer to find out what he knows and learn if the Saviour still lives after all.

Father Erich uses what oil he has to try to burn the bodies of the most mutated - experiencing the same frustrations Osric spoke of that the place is too wet to burn much.

The heroes make the 2 day trip back to Marienburg, experiencing a few more of the Cursed Marshes dubious delights. Findulas gains a point of corruption from exposure to a dark flurry of frozen marsh water blown like a "sandstorm" across its surface.

Again using my Cursed Marsh encounter/hazard deck created during Witch's Song, updated a bit for winter.

Back in Marienburg on Vorhexen 15, the heroes go that evening to the Jolly Boatman. Anselm takes the lead in seeking out word of Jurgen Baer - his impressive (triple success and comet) abilities allowing him to realize that far from not knowing anything about Baer people don't want to talk about him. However, a barmaid indicates someone will talk in a back room.

The fact Baer is a feared figure could have meant considerable delay looking for him but the good roll produces faster results.  I did not use the original adventure's "contract killing" approach as that made no sense for these heroes.  In this situation, Hugo simply sees them as trouble he can send his enemy's way.

There the heroes meet Hugo Buisman who has a grudge of some sort against Baer and the gang he controls, the Hounds of Crab Lane. Baer is a feared man it seems (reason most don't want to talk) but Buisman is happy to send a group containing a Sigmarite etc. after him. He directs the heroes to the gambling den the Hounds operate out of. He note Baer hasn't been seen for a couple of days (he was seen after the Crusade left so it's not that he went with it).

The heroes decide just after dawn is the best time to visit the gambling den (because it won't be full of customers then). They go to rest and recover a bit from their exertions.

Father Erich, at least, among the heroes makes the possible connection between Baer and the men/daemons who kidnapped Karl.

At Tarnopol mansion Lady Wandalina receives an update. She has obtained the horses requested by Hans and winter gear as well. Hans, at the urging of his  companions does not reveal the reference to an elf woman. Father Erich sends a note to Lady Therese von Sydow to advise briefly of the heroes continuing investigation.

The next morning, Vorhexen 16, the heroes gain entry to the gambling den. Anselm arrives with "a package for Jurgen Baer" and as the door is opened the others barge in. The large doorman takes a swing at Anselm but before a melee gets going in earnest the heroes manage to convince the gang leader Pim - who arrives on scene - to talk, saying they are from Karl.

Intrigued as much as anything else, he has them go into the game room and sits down to talk (his lads taking positions behind the hidden archery slits just in case of course).

It turns out that Jurgen Baer was not well liked by the Hounds, he was an agent for a crime lord in the Empire known as the Tilean (yes that crime lord - the one who the heroes except Hans were actually all guarding a smuggling shipment for when they first met though they didn't know it at the time). He was also, according to the Hound, Pim, a chaos sorcerer (made people shrivel up) and met with a likeminded bunch in the sewers.

Baer has not been seen for a couple of days because he's dead. When the Hounds realized that the rest of Baer's buddies were gone (after the Crusade left town) they decided to take care of him. He was last seen floating facedown away down a canal (Father Erich is disappointed he wasn't burned).

Pim provides a map of the sewers they found on Baer - it shows the route to his meeting place. Pim had sent a couple of lads to check it out but they never came back and he has not wanted to send more.

The heroes are not afraid to go where thugs fear to tred and set off to explore this chaos cult angle.  Pim invites them to come back when the house is open, offers to arrange any entertainment they want (what happens in Marienburg….), Father Erich leaves before losing his temper.

A short trip through the sewers (Hans providing illumination, never say a Battle Wizard of Light isn't handy) encounters a few perils, including a giant lizard from Lustria that must have escaped from some boat and a swarm of maddened rats that Anselm manages to fend away from the heroes drawing on his first career's skills. Ominous noises cause stress and Findulas narrowly averts being "slimed" by a misstep into the sewer stew.

As they draw near the end point of the map the walls have skulls and x's on them, crude "keep out" signs in effect. The very air seems filled with corrupt energy and as they enter another of Marienburg's sunken cellars the heroes must make a Corruption check (several points of corruption are gained among the heroes).

The heroes then hear a sinister but compelling voice telling them their efforts are doomed to fail, that Change is the natural state of the world, Change cannot be stopped, it should be embraced, glorious Change….. It takes strength of intellect to resist the logic of these word and that is not the strong suit of many heroes who end up Overwhelmed, in some cases Perplexed and even gaining more Corruption!

[This was a magical trap, a curse in effect, placed on the room by Tobias - structurally I added this so that putting Sewer + these checks together we have about 2 acts worth of rolls and trouble to build up some Stress/Fatigue before the next encounter, which is the "big fight".  Without those building acts and possibility of Stress/Fatigue mounting, I find they're not as important]

The air in the chamber is alive with energy and coalesces into a daemonic entity - a thing of twisting flesh, organs that protrude and trip acid and flame. They must resist fear at the sight of it and Findulas's first arrow goes astray. Anselm and Father Erich also attack the creature, whose archane physiogomy is resistant to critical wounds.

It spouts flame at Findulas, also splashing Anselm, inflicting a critical wound on the elf (one which adds Fatigue whenever he suffers it) that is particularly bad in this situation (as Findulas will suffer additional fatigue as the after effect of the flames).

We pause with heroes to take another action, and as the multicoloured residue from the creature's flames seems to be coalescing into another daemonic form….

[This is a Flamer of Tzeentch, because my players higher level I added the effect that its flame residue will generate Horrors of Tzeentch - they will likely kill it before that attack recharges but it makes the fight a bit more serious than one Flamer would have been - the Overwhelmed/Perplexed conditions are hampering them now too with their added challenge dice.  Aside from creating a more deadly fight I want to really hit them with - okay you poked around town and fought some mutants but the REAL fight is when you start running up against the Chaos Cult….]

#6 valvorik



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Posted 18 May 2012 - 01:28 PM

65th Advance

In the footsteps of the crusade

All present

Heroes defeat the daemon and its secondarily spawned horrors, though Findulas is fatigued and stressed (strained) and the after-effects of the flaming daemon’s attack weighs heavily on his sanity (three temporary insanities of which 2 are shaken such as Misanthropy [for a moment he wondered what the point of hanging around with people was, they just take you down into sewers, animals are so much better] and Lethargy becomes permanent).

The heroes find a locked door, one that locks from their side, and after speculating what fearsome thing awaits on the other side (Player speculates:   Mariah Carey?), Findulas opens the lock and Father Erich then opens the door. Beyond it is another sunken room, actually three connected ones. Runes of Tzeentch (Hans identifies, he is strangely familiar with them just as he seems to recognize the voice that spoke of the futility of resisting Change) adorn the wall daubed in a dark brown substance.

A filthy, long haired man with wild beard wanders into the room from a side chamber, munching on a rat, wanting to know where Jurgen is and muttering about the lecture starting soon.

The heroes are thus introduced to Professor Ruben van Toor of the University of Marienburg (so he says at least), who is asking where Jurgen is because he’s hungry and he needs his medicine so he can sleep, he hasn’t slept in days and his head feels like it will explode (he indeed has bloodshot eyes etc)

Hans examines the Professor and decides he is not a mutant (though he also hasn’t bathed in a couple of months – really should have forced a check against Queasy there) The Professor seems knowledgeable in astronomy and astrology and suddenly finds (in his empty hands) his notes and launches into his lecture. [Player remarks:  A crazed astronomy professor – which RPG is this again…I recall the Warhammer is where you think you're playing D&D but really it's Call of Cthulhu line]

Heroes must make Intelligence checks to catch anything intelligible in his crazed ranting drivel (must have tenure). They discern in his lecture about constellations and stars, significant planetary events etc bizarre references both obscure and personal. He says that Hans knows blood is important, and looking at Anselm says that Ulric’s Cold Hand Still Reaches, that he took the sun from them but Sigmar’s blood could give it back, that she has lost her champion, that fly and caterpillar raced and caterpillar won but caterpillar cheated, always cheats and that he’s missing his pipe (gesturing at imaginary diagrams or up in the air about “he, and she” etc.).

The Hans and Anselm references relate to personal character plot lines.

Hans tries to get him to repeat some things but is admonished that visiting students get no special treatment (talk to the TA if you missed something).

A search of the chambers finds only a pile of rat tails (evidently the Professor does not eat that part) and a crumpled up paper that turns out to be a letter to Jurgen from someone very Tzeentch- Changer of Ways-Breaker of Fates cultist-sounding about going off with the Child and his followers to guide the child to the Master’s embrace. The professor doesn’t know who the letter is from.

The heroes take the Professor with them and Father Erich decides, since there are no witch hunters handy (front line of psychiatric care for Sigmarites – first we have to be sure you’re not tainted etc.) that they will see if the Temple of Shallya can see to his care (for a generous 40 shilling donation they are more than happy and accede to Hans’ request to note anything interesting he says). Father Erich is a little worried he may be a source of corruption.

They return to Tarnopol mansion, Hans briefly speaks to Wandalina (oh Eldred, what have you got yourself into) and disappoints once again on not having any concrete “sobering up” evidence. His friends point to the letter Jurgen received but Hans says “I could have written that” – displaying the rigorous standards of proof used in the College of Light it seems.

The heroes decide it’s time to follow after the Crusade. Puzzling over what they know so far, they decide there are cultists and elves interested in Karl. Findulas again professes ignorance of what wood elves would be about or what happened 7 years ago and who the elf woman found dead alongside Karl might have been (his 3 Intelligence not being good with the Folklore, he’s a Waywatcher, was off in the woods shooting intruders not gossiping, singing and dancing about with the other elves Player riffs a bit about how annoying the other elves are, glad to be gone from the endless partying).

It’s speculated that the situation is more “all the people around Karl” than it is Karl but then also observed that Karl’s strange affect on people can’t be overlooked. Anselm says the dead elf woman might simply have been another “victim” of his influence.

The heroes sleep their last night in Marienburg (having had end of Episode recovery and now a good night’s rest). Father Erich heals Findulas’ critical wound and aside from the Corruption all suffer and Findulas’ Insanity (gained on Vorhexen 16, so checked for monthly recovery on 16th of each month), they’re right as rain to head off after the Crusade on Vorhexen 17, 2521. They are in a bit of a hurry and there is no time to find a bowyer to repair the damage suffered by Anselm’s bow (chaos star during melee).

Father Erich does not see Lady Therese again – and yes she is very disappointed, she actually had a nice high quality map for him to help plot paths to Altdorf and get a bonus on those sorts of checks, and her personal physician had put together a “healing tinctures” care package of 4 herbal preparations, ah well.

The heroes are mounted on horses and have winter gear supplied by Lady Wandalina

[Ride checks, Wind Score of Horses, Custom Winter Gear Card all set out.  One Ring style travel roles being used.  Each community they pass there is chance to learn information]

On the way through the Cursed March, along the great raised road, the heroes experience a winter storm that slows them and forces them to press on to avoid losing time, being hard on horses, and it is the 20th when the reach small village of Salfen.

They learn the Crusade passed through 10 days earlier. Salfen “buttoned down” seeing the 100 or so size mob (being 38 people themselves) and traded them some supplies (which Crusade paid for) but didn’t otherwise interact.

An itinerant Shallyan priestess who had been in Salfen a while, Sister Helena, decided to join up with the Crusade – they were sad to see her go, she had “Shallya’s Grace” for sure (narrative-speak for “she can actually invoke blessings”). The heroes sleep overnight in a barn and continue the next day.

On noon of the 22nd, they reach the town of Leydenhove (still in the Wasteland territory of Marienburg). This large community of 500 interacted more with the Crusade, in there was a preaching by Father Helmut and the boy spoke (you could only really hear him if you were up front). 50 or so people joined it.

The man the heroes speak to was not impressed, the Crusade has many factions and can’t even agree on Karl’s nature and role (Sigmar reborn, Sigmar’s heir, going to reform Empire, clean up corrupt church [of Sigmar], become Emperor, Emperor’s Champion, lead armies against Chaos etc.). Baron Eldred von Stauffer plays conciliator among them. They learn the Crusade planned to go on to Calden – following the road away from the river and into the Empire.

There was also a Strigany caravan of several vardos at Leydenhove the same time which went off after the Crusade as well. The heroes realize that the Strigany being tinkers and “odd jobs sorts” make a useful support group to the Crusade (Father Erich recalls them providing similar services to military at time) and likely increase its “viability” over that of a “random assortment of religious fanatics”.

The Strigany are those official version has I just added where they joined up.  Of course they are Anselm's relatives.  The Shallyan is my addition - just as I made the mutants are more sociable group borrowing from Dying of the Light adventure ideas I have borrowered her, Sister Helena is a pseudonym….

The heroes spend the afternoon in Leydenhove and get some rest in its inn, Anselm finds a bowyer who repairs his bow. On the 23rd they ride out of Leydenhove.

The heroes are told when roads are clear it’s two days to Calden by horse or choach and there’s a secure coaching inn at the halfway point. This is the imperial border, more or less, and a few Middenland soldiers (10 or so) are garrisoned there making the inn even more secure.

To make the inn in one day, since it’s winter and snow has fallen, they have to push their horses a bit (ride checks to avoid Wind loss). They are now passing through the edge of the infamous Drakwald Forest , darkest of the Empire’s forests having been “retaken from civilization” over a 1000 year ago. In the afternoon they see a “mound” under the snow and fearing the worst, scrape snow away. However, it's ten dead beastmen piled up that they find.

As the day draws on the sky darkens, another storm coming, but they see the fortified inn ahead of them, the Reaper’s Bounty. Coming closer, their satisfaction turns to concern when they realize no smoke rises from its chimneys and its gates stand open. Father Erich approaches first, looking about (failing Observation) and the heroes eventually enter to find the “marie celeste” of inns – everyone (and everything that wans’t nailed down) appears to be gone. There are no signs of struggle.

The heroes carry out a search. They find a hand-printed bill proclaiming Karl and calling on the faithful to join his crusade, a nice pipe and tobacco pouch hanging on wall and an elf hiding in rafters.

It’s Findulas who spots the elf over his head and asks in his matter-of-fact style “what’cha doing up there?” The elf gets down, wincing a bit to move (3 critical wounds - bad gash, purple shoulder, bandaged chest) and explains he hid when he heard people coming, not sure who they were.

The elf explains he was with comrades hunting beastmen when they met with misadventure and had to disperse. He eluded pursuit and found his way here, to deserted inn, and decided to hole up and rest to recover from his injuries before trying to find his comrades.

His name is Lorinoc, Findulas can tell from his tattoos that Lorinoc is of the Arhain Sec kithband (a group which deals proactively with threats to Athel Loren from beyond its borders – the black ops/navy seal/cia of kithbands).

Lorinoc is armed with a curved blade and two-headed spear - each end a leaf-shaped blade etched with patterns (Findulas knows the latter weapon requires real skill to wield properly, the typical wielder is no pushover).

Lorinoc asks Findulas why he is with these humans, which exasperates Findulas (he keeps getting asked that by every elf he meets) – really, no one asks me why I have a horse, why fuss about the humans. Lorinoc doesn’t know what happened to the inn staff, he assumes they went off with the mob of humans moving through area (unless the mob ate them – Lorinoc doesn’t appear to put that past a human mob). The heroes supply the “Crusade” name for the mob and Father Eric tends to Lorinoc, invoking Sigmar’s Blessing to close up the Horrible Gash in his side (curing one critical wound).

There is no more time to speak with Lorinoc this session; the heroes close the inn gates (they are heavy, one alone would have to make an Athletics check, 2 can manage it without, and yes this a nice thick bar to go across them) and Father Erich talks of starting a fire to warm up the place.

We break.

Lorinoc will suggest leaving off lighting a fire until dark (the smoke will be less likely to be seen).

Some GM notes:

I plotted out Crusade travel times and am thus able to tell heroes they are 10 days ahead at first community, only 7 days ahead a last one.

I'm using a modified "It's Snow Fun" table to randomly determine weather, adapted from Ghost of Mondstille adventure.

#7 DevoutBadger



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Posted 18 May 2012 - 07:30 PM

I'm sorry to derail your story-thread here, but I just made this account after about a year or so of lurking and wanted to give my first post to you and your group, as you guys are a large part of why I am here.

I have always been a "cool" fan of Warhammer in my many years of gaming, picking up a 1st edition Warhammer Fantasy book in the early '90s from a friend and loving the unique style. The past few years my growing disatisfaction with D&D and desire for greater story than just "we spend 3 of our 4 hour session, every session in combat" made me look for something new, and about a year ago I "refound" Warhammer Fantasy. I read the forums here to see what I could about this new edition before finally deciding to purchase 3rd edition for myself and pick up some older materiels for reading and background.

Anyways, your stories have always been my favorites, so much so I have went back and read from your groups begining in their first advances to these latest events and have loved them. As a player and GM I have been absolutley impressed (and quite honestly, jealous) at the level of effort you put into your game and what comes out of it. If I could manage a game half as good, I'd be quite pleased with myself. I find reading this series quite inspiring to do better as both a player and GM, as well as if I read nothing else, it would have sold me on WRFP3, just from the way you guys use the system. It even makes me curious about looking into One Ring.

Anyways, this post sounds more rediculous now that I wrote it than when it was in my head. Bottom line is: Thanks, Valvorik, to you and your group for 65 Advances (and counting!) of great stories. I wanted you to know that you have at least one fan who looks forward to a new posting every week and looks forward to more in the future.






#8 valvorik



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Posted 19 May 2012 - 03:14 AM

Thanks for the kind words.  Gaming is my "one hobby" and I do put effort into it.  I left D&D as too much grind effort for the story output and find WFRP a much better ratio.  Something about it also encouraging the players to get more creative.

Admittedly, in terms of effort, my partner is a teacher and she putters many evenings on stuff for school leaving me free to putter on game stuff (which she sees as a blessing that I'm not annoyed with how much time she devotes to making her classroom great and I see as a blessing she doesn't grouse how much time I spend on my game stuff).

One Ring is a beautiful system and drips Tolkien every page - it implements a Tolkienesque feel very well.   For example there is no "player character magic" but as characters grow their "natural talents" allow them to do near-supernatural feats which fit perfectly with the source material (e.g., an elf can eventually conjure lights that lead people astray if they choose to so develop - cf The Hobbit and Mirkwood episode).  Every mechanic ties back to  quote from Tolkien text - it's a real labour of love and the system does get lots of love.  However, I found its mechanics ultimately left me a bit unsatisfied (I have a post in the one ring forum at cubicle 7 under same user name where I asked for feedback on my impression).  WFRP manages to be "open" while still giving a fair amount of crunch (what are your choices of what to do mechanically).  One Ring is has less crunch (your choices of what to do mechanically are fewer) but instead of being a real "narrative system" still gives the feel of relying on the mechanics.

I find myself wishing they had used the WFRP 3rd edition dice system swapping Chaos Star into Eye of Sauron and Sigmar's Comet into Gandalf Rune, Corruption Points becomes Shadow Points, Fortune Points become Hope Points, the fluff on action cards is reskinned (blessing and spell cards removed) and there you go.

#9 valvorik



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Posted 25 May 2012 - 10:05 AM

66th Advance, all present

Defence of the Reaper's Bounty

The heroes “batten down” the inn, closing gates and being alert to trouble. Lorinoc’s advice about postponing a fire is followed. Lorinoc appears confident his kithband will find him without signalling.

When Findulas asks, in Eltharin, how many they are he says 20 (which Findulas knows to be a very large contingent to be outside Athel Loren).

Not long after, before sunset, heroes hear the sound of a team of horses and wagon or coach approaching, and looking out see an impressive black coach with a team of six matched horses, flying pennants with the Twin Tailed Comet, approaching inn. They open the gates and it comes into the courtyard, the two men atop it in the garb of Hammer Bearers of Sigmar.

They are calling out for stable boy as they ready the foot stool for coach’s occupant to descend, announcing Father Johannes. Several heroes have heard of Father Johannes (Folklore Hard), while passing through Altdorf – an example (of the worst sort) of Sigmarite priest. Everything the cult’s critics point out in one bundle of greedy, prejudiced, quick to judge and confiscate property of the accused, intolerant of others bundle. Such an embarrassment, that even the hierarchy in Altdorf had to get rid of him, sending him off to hunt cultists and witches in Middenland (the Ulrican, not-fond-of-Sigmarites province ~ which happens to be the province the heroes are now in).

Father Erich does a quick triangulation of hierarchy and realizes that though neither he or Father Johannes have authority over the other, on anything that is Father Johannes “official mission”, Johannes has the right to expect the aid of any Sigmarite priest etc. (e.g., like a federal marshal calling on locals to help serve warrant).

The immense, fur-robed, Father Johannes himself appears, snapping at the “boy” (17 or so year old initiate) who accompanies him to step lively. The lack of inn staff does not improve disposition. The heroes are unimpressed. It transpires the Father has not heard of the Crusade (he came up from Rutten, but is headed to Calden) but snaps at his boy, Nils, to make a note of it – exactly the sort of heretic blasphemy he was sent to Middenland to root out. That will be after Nils carts the Father’s immense gold hammer (an unsightly blemish to Father Erich’s eyes but a tidy sum of cash in hand looked at another way) into the inn (he struggles with it until one of the hammer bearers helps him). A hammer bearer makes a fire to help the Father get warm.

Lorinoc, who was in courtyard when coach arrived, has vanished away (and does not reappear until the Father has turned in, which he does early).

Nils, the initiate, inquires after supplies in the inn and is down-faced learning there none (the heroes don’t offer anything) and he goes to the coach to draw on supplies there.

[2 chances to be nice to Nils and make him chattier in the end went by – helping with hammer, easing his task of keeping Father Johannes happy at meal time]

The heroes talk a bit on their own. There is concern that Father Johannes would try to use the Crusade to his own advantage and they don’t really want him near it.

Very prescient of them, for any who are familiar with the published 1000 Thrones and yes I'm going to be following that part of it.

Nils comes to interview the heroes about the Crusade. Father Erich gives a generally accurate picture without naming anyone or going much into background (e.g., Hans’ uncle Eldred’s name is not scribbled down as part of the band of heretics) and leaving out dead elf women etc.

The heroes are described as going from Marienburg to Altdorf , which is what the Crusade is doing, rather than “following/investigating” the Crusade (no roll to pass off this half-truth is needed, the initiate of course trusts Father Erich).

Father Erich offers to take any messages or reports to Altdorf , to which Nils responds with a slowly phrased, “I don’t think the Father wishes to report just now”. In the course of talking Father Erich tried to ascertain Nils true views etc but failed to be at all intuitive. Nils is a dutiful loyal initiate (as are they all). Nils is alarmed that “everyone” at the inn joined it, as that seems excessive success for a band of zealots.

Father Johannes and the Hammer Bearers have turned in (talking the larger rooms of course). The heroes decide they will sleep in the hayloft over the horses to stay close to their mounts, be together and also with thoughts of “making a clean getaway in an early morning departure” (without Father Johannes). Anselm was planning to short-circuit his rest a bit to tend to horses (mechanically, risk being a bit fatigued tomorrow to make Animal Handling and have mount recover more Wind).

However, it will be a long night with little time for tending horses …

Findulas takes the first watch, atop the parapet that runs along the top of the wall encircling the inn. Snow continues to fall and the winds are blowing it about, obscuring vision. The stars are hidden by clouds but through gaps the sickly green light of Morrslieb begins to shine (a weak manifestation, only a sliver of the Chaos Moon showing to slightly discommode Fear/Terror checks and make stress harder to recover).

[So we have weak Morrlieb and Snowstorm modifiers in effect overall - I have various Light of Morrslieb homebrew cards, this is my weakest]

Findulas hears some scrabbling sounds coming from the wall and going to investigate sees a human-sized figure climb up onto the parapet, letting a rope down behind them. Thinking this may the other elves of Lorinoc’s scattered kithband, he calls out softly in Eltharin. However, the figure turns and he sees instead a bird-faced mutant – who is calling out (in feminine voice) to whoever is below that they should hurry, as she turns to Findulas and draws two knives.

Findulas sends a storm of arrows into the mutant, which falls to its knees and then topples over at the 2nd arrow. Exerting himself (Fatigue) he wastes no time in running to the spot on wall and cutting the rope. Two figures take a short tumble and he sees them scurry off to join a dozen or so others who melt away into the snow and woods.

As his comrades, the hammer bearers and Lorinoc come out into the courtyard (waking to his call), Findulas kicks the mutant’s body down off the parapet to the ground before them (“crunch” – no need to check if she’s dead or not now). The mutant looks like she was starving and carries nothing special nor any signs of affiliation with a particular chaos cult. The heroes suspect this is simply a roving band of mutants looking for shelter, hopefully now scared off.

The hammer bearers offer to help with the watches now, the next watch being Anselm and Hammer Bearer Ernst. A horn is heard blowing in distance and Lorinoc appears to declare that is Korska, the Doombull, a Minotaur with the Mark of the Blood God (responsible for 2 of the 3 critical wounds he was carrying), not a good sign at all. The heroes resume trying to rest as they may.

The band of mutants reappears, begging up to Anselm and Ernst to be allowed into the shelter of the inn. Ernst isn’t having any of this (the horn is probably their trick just to get in so they can slaughter us all) and Anselm tells them it’s not safe for them here (in the walled in), they should move on (into the beastman infested woods) [something he manages to say with a straight face].

The mutants move off but only moments later there is the sound of a brief skirmish in the woods, shrieks and wails and then the gruesome sound of beastmen feeding. Anselm must make a Fear check, though he has no empathy for mutants, the speed which they were destroyed and the sounds of the feasting are distressing (2 stress from failed check).

The heroes now face a beastman assault on the inn. An hour or more passes (3 rounds mechanically) as waves of the weaker ungors are sent to probe the defenses, the heroes taking a few wounds but managing to destroy some of them (1 gang) using the abstracted “inn defenders dice pool”. Father Erich uses immmobilizing shots to pin down attackers, Finduals finds weaknesses among them, Hans wards off harm with a body of light spell and Anselm takes snap shots at opportune moments.

Nils is asked to keep Father Johannes (whose panicky presence was hurting the defence) out of the way, while the Hammer Bearers and Lorinoc assist the defence. Lorinoc and a hammer bearer have to retire with wounds.

The first part of the attack was handled abstractly, in a way similar to Hero's Call dice pool, the Beastmen were 5 challenge dice, the bad weather 2 misfortune, the inn walls 2 green, Lorinoc 1 red, each Hammer Bearer a Blue and then each hero a Blue or a stance die of their favoured time if they narrated how they used an action with Recharge 3+ during the fight.  A table-top handout spelled all this out along with one round of chances to make prep. rolls to gain fortune dice etc., and what success (whittle down attackers) and failure (wounds and/or allies out of commission) meant.

There is a brief lull as the heroes then hear a crack from the inn gate – gors have now come up with a tree trunk they are using as a battering ram. During the lull (rally step), Lorinoc was returned to the fray by first aid.

(We are now in initiative encounter time)

The gate will not hold long under this assault but the heroes have two rounds of missile fire and spells to try to weaken the gors (they do not fall as readily as the nearly hornless ungors but heroes manage to cut down a gang of them, though the snow and wind is hurting the heroes’ effectiveness with missile fire).

As the gate cracks apart and beastmen pour in the heroes and other defenders face a chaotic melee and must make the Fear 3 check required as the Doombull itself comes forward.

Korska is over 12' tall, a bull-headed beast, with matted red-black hair and two curling black horns capped in bronze. He carries a great axe and wears a bandolier across his massive chest from which hang six human and elf heads. He carries a large horn carved with profane glyphs of Chaos.

I personalized the leader more - he's a Minotaur with Hero's Call Hero Template + Mark of Khorne and a Profane Horn to enhance his Bestial Howl.

Anselm has not Seen Worse (player wants to use that talent to help on fear check but I rule "nope, not this time").

Father Johannes pushes Nils out into the Courtyard to help “Remember Sigmar Initiate!”, before slamming the door shut behind him.

The heroes try to engage the great minotaur doombull and gors, leaving the other defenders to face the ungors as the fight rages about the courtyard (abstract/narrative, players and GM can narrate whatever is cool etc.)

Father Erich charges forward and invokes Sigmar’s favour to deal a most impressive blow to Korska which also cripples one of his hands (among the 4 criticals it inflicts - he used a blessing/attack combo epic action, Anselm used his Seer ability to give him a comet!)

The PC's were very lucky with that critical draw (and the attack that warranted it) - it meant instead of melee attack + horn {mental] attack each round Korska can only do one of those, choosing melee of course – otherwise each round would have been everyone possibly seeing more Stress pile up and other mental conditions under the Morrslieb– easier-up-than-down effect, whatever else happens.  For all those who say critical wounds don't hinder monsters, bah.

Korska responds with a Reckless Cleave of his battle axe which deals 25 damage and 2 critical wounds, Father Erich having only enough favour on hand to grit his teeth and ignore the lesser of them (having spent rest already for his own attack boost), leaving him Short of Breath (he will now take 1 Fatigue each time he uses an active defence). Father Erich soaks what he can of that and is still standing but barely so…[it will be 3 rounds before Korska can use that attack again, he was badly wounded by Father Erich but the Father’s attack also revealed Korska’s very impressive Soak score – it will take the “right stuff” to take him down].

The Gors attack Anselm and Hans (an individual Gor and a pack of them). Hans’ improved defences as a Wizard of Light with some nifty talents soak all his damage (but the minimum 1 – laugh at the battle wizard now).

- we break – the first round of attacks of the ungors remain to be taken, along with Hans and Anselm's actions, as we do quick “one die roll” checks to see how the NPC’s fair against the foes they are squared off with.

GM note-

This all played out pretty much along the lines in official adventure, no plot tinkering here.  Some fun 3e'ing it all.  I used a blow up print out of the inn from the pdf of 1000 Thrones as table top map layout. with home made handouts to remind of the effects of snow, morrslieb etc.


#10 DevoutBadger



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Posted 28 May 2012 - 10:22 PM

 Just as a general question, I know you mentioned the minotaur was especially boosted for this fight, but I am curious about the gors and ungors: are these basicly the same monsters statisticly that the group was fighting 60 advances ago, give or take a die?

I am just curious how "flat" WFRP is at the level you guys are at. Is it "I am confident I can take on this gor" where they will win the fight but may take a few wounds, or is it "a gor, awww how cute" as they just swat it aside without thinking.

#11 valvorik



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Posted 29 May 2012 - 02:31 AM

The gors and ungors are the same that adventurers faced at about 6th advance when in Gathering Storm they squared off with Izka and crew (and one died).

The difference is that at that point "one or two gors" would be an impressive obstacle for them (recall this is a no-tank group, no dwarf in platemail here, Father Erich plays the role but takes a beating for it) and now they mowed down a gang of 4 gor henchmen with missile fire before the beastmen broke in.  Without the Minotaur, the fight with the mobs of ungors and gors and a few individuals of each would be hectic, leave one or two criticals, but not threaten unconsciouness.

They're feeling their "heroic level", which was part of point of having them face gangs of what were once fearsome loners.

They would definitely now clean-the-clocks of the beastman group that at advance 6 they had to work hard not have a TPK not just one death from in Gathering Storm.  The beastman nice "savage strike" basic action (2 successes for a critical) means that any beastman getting lucky can "give you something to remember them by" even if they're not onstage very long (assuming your soak doesn't leave them dealing only minimum damage, Hans pulled out all his smarty-pants-wizard tricks to accomplish that in the last bit above).  So I would say it's not "how cute" for the rest but it's the Minotaur they are worried about (there was repeated "his soak is what???" practically an unrolled fear check failure).

I don't pretend to have "appropriate threat level" down to a science.  In part I'm testing with this encounter "so one bad-ass bad guy and a host of supporting ones - hows that work".  The next couple of big fights will be (optional fight so may not happen) more "multiple notable but not so bad as that bad guys and host of supporting (e.g., no single foe whose defeat is critical)" and "bad ass bad guy + moderately bad ass lieutenat + host" and we'll see how they all work.


#12 DevoutBadger



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Posted 30 May 2012 - 07:55 PM

That is very close to the feeling I got from your story and was actually the answer I was hoping for, thank you!

To bug you a bit more, I'm curious on the gear your guys have. Father Erich in particular is always up front fighting, I know he has a lot to spend his advances on, so his Toughness may suffer a bit, but as an ex-soldier (mercenary?) and Sigmarite I don't imagine he would shy away from heavy armors, I would think he would have enough for plate mail at this point, no?

In more general terms, do they have a lot of Superior quality items at this point or have they not bothered and used cash for other things?



#13 valvorik



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Posted 31 May 2012 - 03:51 AM

Nobody has plate (they like to keep Enc low), but Superior of better weapons are in the hands of the damage dealers - Father Erich has a Blessed Warhammer from Signs of Faith, Findulas has a Bow of Athel Loren.  Anselm has his Lucky Charm (houseruled to be even better now that he knows it was once his mother's). Most of their nifty stuff has come from gifts from patrons or other narrative fashions rather than buying something.

Father Erich started as a soldier and has good To (his Wp/Fel are the low ones that he's been improving of late, but a Sigmarite has the most no casting roll blessings).  I forget his armour but it's mid-range, he's 2 handed fighter and uses no shield.

#14 valvorik



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Posted 01 June 2012 - 07:34 AM

67th advance, all on deck

 It seems Khorne does not want to see Korska fall easily as both Findulas and Father Erich find their own wills to attack compromised (Corruption Point spend from each’s collection to add challenge die to attacks).

Father Erich retreats from Korska, after another attack that fails to injure the minotaur. Findulas shoots at him again, and Hans invokes magic dart (despite Korska benefiting from Khorne the Blood God’s dislike of magic and the resistance against it many of his servants possess) – then, somewhat protected by the brilliant light he has conjured around himself (Body of Light), Hans tries to engage Korska to protect Father Erich. Hans is struck nonetheless and suffers Internal Bleeding (critical sev 3).

The heroes’ allies suffer minor wounds facing the ungors, dealing some damage in return and killing some henchmen level ones.

Korska falls finally (heroes managing to whittle him down to 6 wounds, then 4 wounds, then 2 wounds, then 1 wound, then finally taking him down with a minimum damage hit!) but with a drying stroke lashes out and nearly fells Hans (left standing with 2 Wounds).

Father Erich and Hans are both near falling from wounds, with a critical each, and Anselm has a fair number of wounds as well. Findulas is unscathed - he observes in an aside to Lorinoc, “now you see why I travel with humans”.

The bodies of the dead beastmen, except Korska, are dumped outside the inn (Hans has some thoughts of a trophy or something with Korska but ultimately abandons them given the lack of means to transport body). Korska’s profane warhorn is secured (it is later burned). Father Johannes reappears to congratulate Nils on his courage. Nils and Lorinoc both have a few wounds (between first aid and a night’s rest they are reach almost fully healed shortly).

In the final watch, Lorinoc’s comrades arrive – 17 asrai, one being the leader Coriael – an imposing elf-warrior-woman with veronica-lake peek-a-boo hair over one eye look). The heroes invite the asrai into the inn where all are introduced, Lorinoc appearing and telling of the heroes’ bravery (all in Eltharin, the human heroes mostly just see him talking gesturing at dead Korska, Hans and Father Erich [who still bear many wounds, a critical each from their encounter], and Coriael’s reaction of approving glance at them). Lorinoc asks if there are still beastmen in the area and Coriael advises there are none (living) within the near few miles, the inn is safe enough to rest in for rest of night.

I made Coriael female not male just to mix things up gender equality wise.

The heroes, not having had much of a night’s rest, decide to sleep late that day - the 24th - (effectively sacrificing the day’s travel). Father Johannes has no such concerns (or consideration for his underlings) and it is clear he plans to continue on. The heroes have decided they don’t want him getting near the Crusade (Father Johannes + Crusade = bad outcome is their view), so Findulas tampers with his coach – weakening an axel to give out after an hour or so (Skulduggery).

[after the fight ended there was Episode Recovery and Heroes now get a full night rest – we are effectively into the next Episode]

The heroes talk with Coriael (she is the only one of the asrai who talks with them, it’s not clear if the others speak Reikspiel or not). At first Coriael disavows any knowledge of Karl etc., saying only that they are aware of the large mob of humans moving through area.

Hans education is enough he can understand some of the Eltharin she speaks with Findulas (since magical theory sometimes written in elvish), what’s more he even recalls seeing the tattoo pattern all these asrai have (their Arhain Sec kithband mark) in a book once with an entry “marks a band of murderously ruthless and cold-blooded wood elves who kill without hesitation anyone they deem a threat to Athel Loren” – couple of stress for him as he makes a mental note to chose words carefully (all the foregoring from a chaos star + very successful check). His intuition tells him that Coriael knows more about Karl than she is saying and wasn’t even surprised to learn he was originally found in the arms of a dead elf woman.

Coriael takes a walk with Findulas and reveals more to him, asking him in confidence about his comrades. “Some humans are stout enough foes of Chaos while others are grasping opportunists looking for coin, what are these ones”? Findulas gives her glowing accounts of Father Erich and Hans’ reliability and courage and then, after a brief pause, says of Anselm, “he’s good with dog”. This appears to satisfy her (particularly hearing that Father Erich would gladly sacrifice his life to fight Chaos, “Excellent!” is her remark) and she returns to share with them what she was telling Findulas.

Coriael’s account:

Nine years ago a human boy child was born with great potential, and also potentially a great risk due to his lineage and star signs in conjunction at the time of his birth. Custody of the child was given to members of our kithband for his protection.

However, others searched for the child and came upon his guardians, overwhelming them. All perished, the last dying in pursuit of the intruders, in the area of Marienburg. The child vanished. We thought him dead or taken and feared the worst. When we heard of the Crusade of the Child, we recognized the Child’s influence at work.

[summarizing some Q&A’s]

He engenders great affection in those who see him, whether because he merits it or by influencing their thoughts I cannot say. He is warded against Chaos – to be corrupted he would have to be persuaded to it, he could not be tainted by Chaos in the ways humans often are through exposure.

The heroes make the connection between Karl and what Anselm was “supposed to be” (faked as, the Steward of Grauwerk adventure) in Lahmia plots (Anselm and Karl both grew up in orphanages too, though Anselm was bought to be a ratcatcher’s aid and Karl discovered to be the Heir of Sigmar so their paths deviate a bit around there….).

Coriael confirms that the kidnappers who tried to steal Karl were the Lahmia’s servants. Vampires have a prophecy about the birth of one who will be key to undoing the curse that makes the Sun their foe. Anselm is certain in that case that the Lahmia, being the sneaky ones they are, they probably already have agents in the Crusade.

Hans still detects some prevarication over how Karl came to be with the elves to begin with (he doesn't challenge her, wisely).

Coriael proposes the elves travel with the heroes after the Crusade. The asrai will avoid towns and villages, as they would attract too much attention (possibly Lahmian). Holding the plan lightly for things change, she proposes when finding the Crusade that the heroes reconnoitre without getting too close to Karl (lest they fall under his influence). If the heroes can "get the lay of the land", then the asrai will go in to extricate Karl (having some skill at stealth).

The heroes are thus the 'native guides' for the civilized Asrai out here far from their home among the human animals. Just scout the lay of the land for us, we'll handle the real work.

The heroes debate Coriael’s plan. Most agree that the boy can’t be safely reared among humans, particularly Anselm. Who would not be influenced by him and compromised? There is some talk of Maida Widdman (the former abbess) as an example of someone who wasn’t. (they're forgetting she was mostly absent from orphanage).

However, Hans is not happy with a human child being given over to elves to raise, asking how Coriael would feel of the reverse (she regards that as a nonsensical question, rhetorical no doubt). He wants assurance that if things do work out Karl can be extracted and removed to “safety”, the elves will negotiate a suitable human role in his upbringing. She agrees to this (ah that wonderful contract agreement to agree later, between civilized people and savages, those always work out well…..)

Findulas fails an Easy Folklore to recall some relevant “most asrai know” information.

The heroes continue on, travelling on the 25th, coming across Father Johannes’ abandoned coach. Scouting around it, they find that today (so the day after it broke down) a number of large horses came by and the horses of the carriage left with them. All signs are that Father Johannes’ party has left with whoever this was, the speculation is that the tracks belong to warhorses – perhaps imperial soldiers.

[The check to stop Father Johannes reaching Crusade was successful but with chaos star some other complication is to result…..]

The heroes push their horses (some wind suffering and horses becoming less manageable for 3 heroes, challenge die on next Ride check they make) and reach the Middenland village of Calden before sunset. Calden usually has a population of about 120 and has an inn. However, the village has lost half its population to the Crusade – which left three days ago (heroes pleased they have almost caught up, unhappy to see the Crusade is still swelling its numbers).

At the inn, where the keeper is more than happy to have some customers (half his regulars being gone) they learn that (according to those who didn’t go) a pack of Sigmarite lunatics came through and convinced half the town to join them. A witch hunter and band of zealots appeared to arrest them for heresy but the witch hunter ended up declaring the boy they’re all crazy about is Sigmar’s Heir and is now his chief bodyguard instead.

The heroes “know the answer” but ask anyway, yes, that was Matthias Krieger who they met in Fauligmere (and passed on their way to Marienburg), and who Father Erich once served under back when he had the nickname “Little Krieger”.

Some local Sigmarites ask Father Erich’s opinion of this “Sigmar Returned” stuff, and are happy (as they didn’t buy into it) to hear him declare he doubts the boy is Sigmar returned though he also doesn’t believe the boy is evil (after all Sigmar isn’t coming from Marienburg and Father Erich doubts he will be born to a Strigany and Bretonnian). The rest of the inn patrons have, in the meantime, been grumbling anti-Sigmarite talk – blaming Sigmarite fanaticism for ruining their village – this is after all Middenland and the Sigmarites are minority, most locals are Ulricans.

A nasty confrontation looks to be brewing as the mostly Ulrican crowd is disposed to take out its frustrations on the local Sigmarites (now having heard a Sigmarite priest of all people say the Crusade is as good as a fraud) and out comes the We Don’t Like Hammer-Heads ‘Round Here progress tracker for situation quieting down/getting out of hand.

Father Erich is not successful at quieting the crowd but Anselm joshes at expense of Sigmarites, while Hans picks out a ringleader to intimidate into leaving with threats and a Staring Contest, followed by Anselm’s I Thought We Were Friends purchase of a round of drinks for rest – and this all calms the situation (Findulas’s solution of “Rapid Fire” action not being adopted).

[There was more at stake here than a few fatigue points in a brawl and the narrative matter of “do local Sigmarites get persecuted or not”, as a bar-fight would have made the next scene get off on worse footing].

Barely has the crowd settled when the inn door opens and (RALLY STEP) in come knights with wolf pelts on their shoulders, and behind them Father Johannes (in restraints!).

Education recognizes the symbolism means these are devoutly Ulrican knights who have earned respect in their cult, and their heraldry marks them as in service to the von Goethe family – Calden is in their Barony. Findulas manages, however, to not only not know much useful but also be assured a misstep with the Knights (chaos star).

We break…, having moved from “Defence of the Reaper’s Bounty” Episode to a new Episode, “The Swords of Ulric”.

Swords of Ulric is a completely homebrew replacement chapter for the Chicken Hunt, revolving around what happens when a group of Sigmarite heretics wanders through Ulrican Middenland and some of the Swords of Ulric regiment is down from Middenheim, with a zealous priest of Ulric among them…weaving in a certain Shallyan from "Dying of the Light" that is too fun an NPC to pass up.

#15 valvorik



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Posted 09 June 2012 - 08:50 AM

68th Advance

All on deck.

The Swords of Ulric

The scene resumes in the Calden inn, the village where half the population has gone off with the Crusade of the Child and heroes arrived just before gates closed for night. The Ulrican locals' inclination to persecute the remaining Sigmarites in Calden has been quieted when knights arrive with Father Johannes restrained.

(social intiative roll)

Anselm, his (carrer) ability as a spokesperons and herald reacts quickly and before anyone says anything, calls out "You have tubby!" He proceeds to mock Father Johannes as to what trouble he has gotten up to and whether he still has his gold hammer?

The knights and men-at-arms behind them chuckle and glance at each other and the red-faced sputtering Father Johannes nodding in agreement with Anselm's mockery.

A GM aside - Not quite as significant as drawing a critical that impaired Korska the Minotaur this was by chance exactly the right approach. Father Johannes was appearing here due to the Chaos Star rolled on the sabotaging of his coach. Yes, he was held up from overtaking the Crusade but a complication, which was that he encountered Middenlanders patroling border and antagonized them to be even more anti-Sigmarite than normal and was arrested for causing a commotion (picture it sort of like making a commotion at US airport security while looking middle eastern). The encounter with the knights was going to be tougher than originally planned due to a "father johannes paved the way" modifier. However Anselm's particular pre-emptive strategy distanced heroes from him and removed that modifier/narrative inclination of the knights to slap all Sigmarites in irons.

That is the sort of thing I like about this game. The dice pool encourages me to tilt encounters different ways I hadn't planned and and open approach I take of respecting player creativity and "you win what you've won" philosophy of success standing and not being nerfed by GM comes together like this.

The encounter unfolds much more differently than it might have. Father Erich and Magister Hans both speak up without making any particular impression though also managing not to detract from the favourable one Anselm has made (failure but with two boons each). Findulas stays quiet, the enigmatic elf (actually the Lethargic [insanity], this-chair-is-comfy-wake-me-when-someone-needs-to-be-shot elf).

Sir Arnolt von Eisenbach, knight in service to the Baroness von Goethe, who rules this region, now much more collegially handles his duty of determining the reasons for travel of all those entering Middenland from Marienburg (the direction this Crusade of Sigmarite heretics came from) and detaining all Sigmarites lest they be of this heretic band.

The heroes reveal some of what they know, Karl being from a Shallyan orphanage and such, killing one daemon of a weak sort not a whole bunch. They convey, convincingly, their views Karl is not himself evil and Hans in particular suggests that the nonimal leaders of the Crusade are likely not responsible for its courses of action - that Chaos cultists are at work.

Sir Arnolt is still determined to obey his orders to bring incoming Sigmarites and their parties to the barony's capital at Schienfeld, but will do so with the heroes as guests. Father Johannes by contrast made such a scene when questioned, standing on his rights as a priest of Sigmar, that he was arrested.

The heroes learn that even now, Sir Arnolt's older brother Whilhelm, the barony's premier knight, is leading a party to arrest the Crusade's leaders. The baroness' policy of letting the Sigmarite madmen pass was altered when a Shallyan priestess was nearly beaten to death by some of the fanatics. The Shallyan is recovering at the Sacred Ground of Shallya, a shallyan temple/retreat a half day from Schienfeld.

Father Erich warns Sir Arnolt that Karl's power of influence does not bode well for this, much alarming the knight. He proposes that the heroes and his party ride tomorrow as fast a possible for Schienfeld (the next town, and location of baroness' castle and centre of command) - it's normally a 2 day trip, they will hope to make it in a day and a half. A couple of men at arms will bring Father Johannes along.

During the rest of the evening, Father Erich finds Nils and the hammer bearers Ernst and Klaus - who are not under arrest having been more moderate in their behaviour. Hans joins in talking with them and they learn that Father Johannes has had a bad couple of weeks. He had a larger retinue but Luther Huss was preaching and most of the Father's retinue abandoned him after Huss used him as an example of what is wrong in Sigmar's church - his gold hammer an example of waste and his waist an example of weakness.

Nils is sure Sigmar is testing him. None of Father Johannes' retinue is actually very sympathetic to him and are with him out of sense of duty rather than anything else.

Several heroes pay for particular care to their horses to recover Wind. Findulas tries to stealthily leave town to brief the asrai presumably out in woods but runs into Klaus and doesn't manage to get away (failed stealth).

The next day, the 26th of Vorhexen, the group sets out. A snow storm has blown in (It's Snow Fun roll to find weather). Sir Arnolt doesn't want to delay and is determined to ride through the storm and the heroes accompany him. This is a challenging ride check though three heroes have more difficulty managing their mounts (chaos stars from earlier indicating their horses are being difficult). Anselm's horse is blown and cannot make the ride - Findulas lets him take his horse and follows on after at a slower pace (allowing him to run into the Arhain Sec kithband and fill them in).

By pressing on, the party makes the trip in time to arrive in Schienfeld by noon the 27th of Vorhexen. It is a large town of 800-1000, with a castle overlooking it (connected to the town wall).

Sir Arnolt leads them to the castle where he finds Steward Zecharius Lauer to report and find out the fate of his brother's mission.

As the heroes feared, it transpires that Sir Wilhelm and the nine knights with him have become the Crusade's latest recruits (along with some not-worth-mentioning number of men at arms).

Sir Arnolt is infuriated, his brother was never a Sigmarite! He storms off vowing to see that Witch Child burn! ("Witch Child" seems to be the local name for Karl among those who haven't seen the light).

The heroes are left with Lauer and go over much what they did with Sir Arnolt. Again suggesting that Karl and Crusade's nominal leaders are likely not the real source of the Crusade's ill. Father Erich strikes the Steward as a most unusual Sigmarite - talking of the need to avoid harming innocents, possibly extracting Karl and dispersing the Crusade. They fail to obtain a desired audience with the Baroness. The Steward does not seem optimistic these three (Findulas being absent) heroes can manage what others have failed though the heroes are confident (here is where Hans wishes he had Korska's head). In any case, the Steward seems open to them making the attempt to extract Karl.

They learn that the Crusade has promised to surrender the men who attacked the Shallyan, the Baroness inclined to avoid confrontation if they do so. This is to happen tomorrow. Not everyone is happy at the possibility of a peaceful resolution.

The Howling Wolf, Wolfgang Kurtz (priest of Ulric), with a company of the Swords of Ulric regiment that is in the area is agitating for the Crusade to be forcibly dispersed.

The Swords of Ulric are camped outside the town and the heroes visit it, speaking to Kurtz but failing to convince him of their "karl not evil, leaders not to blame, it's cultists" theory.

Among themselves the heroes talk of plans to extricate Karl, they doubt the Crusade is surrendering real culprits. Hans gathers some local gossip learning the Crusade is at the village of Gooten a day or so away, that it did not approach Schienfeld as the Baroness threated cannons and other responses if it did. A beggar tells Hans how people are now running off in the night to join the Crusade, leaving without a word to others.

Note - the heroes are now worried Karl's influence is pulling people from far away, actually these night time vanishings are the Strigoi vampire "recruiting" and feeding a bit building up the force to be encountered when we merge back with published adventure events.  This section of adventure is a sandbox and heroes could investigate these disappearances but don't seem like to.

That night Father Erich goes out into woods and finds the elves to talk (avoiding any one suspecting foul deeds of a one who goes into woods at night - I made player roll challenge die saying on a chaos star rumours would spread about him,none came up). He briefs them and they say they will search out where the Crusade is encamped. If they can get to Karl they will but otherwise they will wait for heroes for the agreed plan.

Findulas arrives.

There is some player talk of what is going on.  It's noted Shallyans keep cropping up.  Playing on the official religions are also called "cults", and Findulas' ignorance of human religions etc, it seems Findulas would volunteer to take care of the Shallyan cultists (the other heroes can handle the Tzeentch, Nurgle, Khorne ones).

The next day, the heroes are present in mid-morning when Baron Eldred von Stauffer arrives with two knights ("turncoats"), a number of zealots and two men in bonds. These are surrendered to the Baroness' justice, Baron Eldred offering no excuse but saying they were motivated by what they feld was a blasphemy against Sigmar.

As the Baron's party goes up to the castle, the trial to be held that afternoon, Hans elbows his way to front of crowd and calls out, Eldred recognizes him, "Hans! Good to see you!" This draws some looks at Hans, and Father Erich who is near him.

As they draw close and the Steward learns that the Magister Hans is nephew to Baron Eldred ("lord pigeon" as crusade detractors call him) - "hmm, leaders of the crusade themselves not to blame eh". The steward has a new outlook on some of the heroes' statements.

Baron Eldred and his companions are the guests of the barony, well guarded (for their own security), but Hans and his companions manage to speak to his uncle. Eldred is looking fit and answers many of their questions.

Eldred believes Karl is will grow up to be a champion of the Empire like Mangus the Pious. The plan is to present him to the Grand Theogonist in Altdorf. Father Helmut wants to gather many followers to impress Altdorf and assure the audience. Jan Vandepeer, a merchant who has thrown his wealth behind Karl, is more concerned to move quickly to Altdorf. Karl himself thinks it is a grand adventure.

The heroe are interested in who among the leadership came from Marienburg (thinking of the note they found about a cultist), aside from Helmut and Vandepeer, there are the Mansel brothers who have organized lads to see to order in the camp and Felix Braun who leads the Burdened Hearts - the faction the two men who attacked Sister Helena came from.

Eldred knows about the attack, which saddens him. Sister Helena believes Karl will bring peace and unity to the Empire, eventually becoming able to accomplish such wonders as healing mutation. Eldred admits he finds this a hopeful thought (sigh, poor Krijn, if only ….).  Karl being anything less than a martial Sigmarite figure and Karl curing mutants (fire is the only cure!) were considered blasphemies by some of the others in Crusade.

Helena is not her real name of course, this Shallyan who speaks of curing mutation.  I should mention I found the Cure Mutation Shalyan blessing in Hero's Call and consider it a "special blessing" only a rare shallyan would have - curing mutation is not possible in the 'official doctrine' of the Empire.

The heroes learn that everyone who meets Karl recognizes his nature as Sigmar's heir, a special child, one with a great destiny - the Twin Tailed Comet's foretold champion. Asking if anyone ever doesn't feel this way, Eldred allows that this happens from time to time but, speaking softly, "I suspect those are chaos followers or otherwise carrying a bit of corruption within them." Anselm asks, "How much?" [his player eying the growing pile of purple corruption points in front of him].

Eldred does not seem overtly charmed or enchanted, he repeats no rote phrases etc.

We break with the trial to come later that day.  Sister Helena is to give evidence but all the humans knows Shallyans are notorius for not giving evidence in capital crimes unless it's Chaos Cult/Treason level crime and certainly not if the crime is against themselves.

We will be on break next week to 2 weeks to next update.

#16 valvorik



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Posted 28 June 2012 - 10:31 AM

69th advance, Father Erich absent

In the final minutes before the trial, the heroes manage to locate the antechamber where Sister Helena is waiting. This is through Anselm’s oily charm (the player's words). In the guise of bringing her some water as refreshment, Hans and Anselm question her about the crusade. She still shows signs of the attack on her with bruises and an injured arm (two criticals such as Aches and Pains). Her account of matters aligns with Eldred’s, bearing no malice though commenting more than once on the zealousness of Sigmarites such as the Burdened Heart faction.

She is a “Karlist” but says that those who see him after recognizing his special nature often then bring their own beliefs to their vision of him. Hans’ insight suggests she is not dissembling though she is also not completely passive, being interested in these inquisitive visitors and asking them the reasons for their interest. Anselm’s now innocent charm convinces her they are but travellers who crossed the crusade’s path and are alarmed at its effect. She is encouraged by the supportive interest of a wizard of light and a charming gentleman with his dog and may remember it (Chaos Star on otherwise successful check).

Hans is concerned to determine the extent of Karl’s influence. Sister Helena likens him to a spark that sets off a flame which then burns on its own. Many who join the crusade are won over by the fervour of Karl’s followers rather than contact with Karl himself. When Anselm points out how odd it is that EVERYONE left that inn with the Crusade she points out that a handful of people who were not inclined to go with the crusade would still not likely have been inclined to say behind alone in the isolated inn in winter.

Next, the trial takes place in the castle courtyard with a large audience of commoners, the Howling Wolf Wolfgang Kurtz and Crusade representatives. It sees Sister Helena demur from giving evidence against her attackers (as the court apparently expected), but before the crowd can form an opinion the two accused confess, breaking down in an unmanly display of tears and remorse for what they have done “Karl his-self cried when he heard what we did, we don’t deserve to live.” The two men, who looked like they could make a living strong-arming dock workers before they turned into this pitiful show, are such an unexpected and sorry display the crowd is not sure what to make of it. [Table hint – don’t make Karl cry].

The crowd is starting to murmur “witchcraft!” suspecting such an extreme display is not natural and that the Witch Child’s crusade has bewitched dupes to confess. Steward Lauer, who is the judge, calls for quiet and announces a conviction, with the two to be hanged at sunset for the crime of grievously assaulting a priestess of an official cult – though they will be “put to the question” first to verify their confessions. This mollifies the crowd a bit (post-confession torture to verify a confession is not unusual in the Empire).

As officials disperse, the crowd and Howling Wolf remain. Hawkers of pies and warm beverages appear – a more festive air starts to manifest. “It’s a hanging everyone, come to the hanging! “Get your special hanging pies!” At the same time, the Howling Wolf is holding forth to an increasing audience on the theme of the witchcraft and the unnatural confession, speaking of the crusade as a moving font of corruption. He is riling up the crowd, which the heroes believe will not end well. After some convincing from his comrades (he is at first unwilling to mess about with Ulricans and crowds, perhaps remembering the prophecy of the hand of Ulrich….), Anselm mingles through the crowd – dropping a word here or there – and manages to thus counter the Ulrican’s inflammatory speech. However, he counters it mostly by cautioning at the dangers of confronting the Crusade, now it converts those sent against it, rather than by downplaying the underlying concerns.

The players averted a vigilante movement starting that would have complicated matters.

The heroes speak to Lord Eldred and learn he plans to return to the Crusade after the hanging. Though it will be late, he is anxious to be back even though it means travelling most of the night (it is travelling through mostly settled lands with armed escort). The heroes ask to go with him and he welcomes them, “you should meet Karl!”

This is mostly Hans’ design at work, Anselm is bit leery of “rushing into the Crusade’s open arms” and has little interest in meeting Karl. Hans explains to his comrades his concern at the speed with which the Crusade is growing and how far it has to travel (and thus chance to grow) – if it is not stopped before it reaches Altdorf it will have become a veritable army and the capital will respond with military force (with much bloodshed and loss of life etc.)

Not attending the hanging (though the rousing cheer that goes up signals it has happened), the heroes meet up with Lord Eldred outside the castle. Sister Helena appears and asks to come with Lord Eldred and rejoin the Crusade. He (and the heroes) ask her if this is wise but she feels she is needed and those who assaulted her are dead now (revealing what she did not with certainty at trial, that those are the two men who beat her). Eldred urges her at least to stay in the inner camp, where the guards can ensure her safety, “Karl would want that”.

Eldred also (in what sounds like a recurring plea that again falls on deaf ears) says to her that Shallya would not object if she used her grace to aid her own healing. It is obvious from their speech that the two know each other and have spoken often before. Sister Helena refuses his offer of a place in the inner camp, saying the outer camp and the Sick Tent are where she is needed.

The heroes, keen to learn of the Crusade’s security (and expecting to rendezvous with Coriael and her kithband), engage glances at the talk of “inner/outer” camp.

The party sets off, on horseback. Riding through the winter night, after a couple of hours they see fires burning to the north. The locally-born knights say those are farmsteads (fortified holdings of course). This alarms everyone - Anselm thinks it’s the Crusade’s work though others recall encountering beastmen. Riding to investigate, the party encounters four bestial hounds with a wargor houndmaster before reaching the sites.

This was a regular wargor and 4 hounds of khorne but not applying their Terror Ability or any other special effects with Vicious Bite and otherwise wolf actions.  This made for a tough fight.  If Father Erich had been present the heroes would have suffered a bit less.

A bloody melee in the light forest ensues in which Hans (not the ablest rider - Chaos Star) is thrown from his horse as the hounds charge and while prone suffers a vicious bite that leaves him with a Mortal Wound (sev 4).

Findulas drops a hound early in the fight but the struggle then rages back and forth, so confused that at one point Findulas accidentally shoots an arrow into Anselm - much to the Wargor’s amusement (it points at Hans as if to say “him next”).  [This was a chaos star when shooting into melee without using the special action for it - that's my houserule].

Anselm falls unconscious under the beastman’s savage strikes and though Senor Bitey saves him from one critical he still suffers another. Hans takes another bad gash that impairs his agility (2nd critical, will never heal while he has Mortal Wound of course).

Sister Helena proves useful with prayers to Shallya and extremely able first aid – which she bravely renders in the midst of the fray (reviving Anselm for example). The knights, Eldred and his zealots aided during the fight of course but were not the focus of it (bonus dice to call on - e.g., each knight is an expertise die to invoke at some point, only Helena was actually using her own action cards etc).

Finally the heroes are the only ones left standing (Rally Step). Eldred sends one knight to ride back and warn Castle Schienfeld, hoping that the path back is not beset with peril, and plans to continue on to the Crusade. The heroes will accompany him, riding on as the hour turns later….

#17 valvorik



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Posted 29 June 2012 - 09:09 AM

I neglected to include in summary above:

It should be noted, as doubtless it was by Baron Eldred, the knights, zealots and Sister Helana, that Magister Hans bravely stepped forward into the fray to protect his fallen comrade. His light magic offering him some protection but by no means a complete safeguard.

- Hans does this often enough, battle wizard that he is, showing personal courage, that it should be considered a notable aspect of his character.  That and the odd craving for blood …

#18 valvorik



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Posted 06 July 2012 - 03:20 AM

70th Advance, all present.

- For any comparing with published 1000 Thrones, this is a mix of the homebrew chapter of Swords of Ulric in Middenland with more published material for poking about the Crusade.

The heroes and Baron Eldred's party ride on, pressing through the winter night driving man and horse (Ride challenge 3 check, with fortune dice for Resilience training to better keep on through the night). Heroes and horses suffer (3 fatigue and wind, Findulas' mount - actually Anselm's still - is blown but avoids dying).

It is late, or very early morning (4ish) when they arrive. The Crusade picket hails them. The Crusade is aware of beastmen, they have skirmished with foraging parties (and some parties have not returned).

The heroes ride on to Karl's inner compound, passing through the outer camp. The Baron successfully represents his nephew and the others such that they are allowed into the inner compound.  Not wishing to meet Karl, Findulas fakes passing out (he is Fatigued so gets a fortune die on faking) and falls from his horse. Anselm joins the charade and is concerned for his elf comrade, Baron Eldred directs them to his tent.

The Baron, Helena, Hans and Father Erich continue on. It turns out the Crusade leaders are up early for a counsel about the beastman situation.

Eldred and the heroes join it (it appears Karl is still abed - this was in effect  the result of Baron Eldred rolling a Chaos Star on his check to gain the heroes' entry - he so wanted them to meet Karl, ah well, there will be plenty of chances). The heroes meet Matthias Krieger again, Jan Vandepeer, Sir Whilhelm von Eisenbach and Father Helmut. The crusade leaders are divided about the beastmen, Helmut and Eisenbach wanting to fight them and Jan wishing to leave that to the local Baroness' soldiers and avoid them.

Jan loses the debate. Father Erich tries to use military Leadership to get the crusaders to organize better defences (cutting down trees for them) but fails to get the outcome desired (discovering this later in day, after waking from his rest).

The heroes go back to the sick tent to rest, with Sister Helena praying for them to have a Hopeful Dawn (Shallyan blessing that aids their Resilience checks). Father Erich recovers from his Shortness of Breath (critical healed) but Hans does not recover from any such.

The next morning, the 30th, heroes are at liberty.

Father Erich and Hans are both "outsiders" to most lay members of the Crusade and suffer penalties on social actions. Father Erich in fact arouses some suspicion and henceforth has watchers trailing him. Anselm however so successfully passes for a Karlist that it appears he has some special insights about Karl making him of interest to other crusaders.

For 3rd edition, there is a special location card (oversized) showing the modifiers and special outcomes to rolls in Crusade encampment. They differ if you are "an Outsider" or "One of Us".  It's sort of a fairground and insular small town all at once.

Anselm sees Findulas to the edge of camp, where the elf goes off to find Coriael and the other Arhain Sec. Anselm spots the colourful vardos of a Strigany caravan and goes to speak to them.

Findulas finds the wood elves and relates about the crusade's intention to fight the beastmen, perhaps a good chance to infiltrate and extract Karl. The wood elves say there are a hundred or so (a horde) coming into the region and like Findulas' suggestion. It's so good that they go off to ensure the beastmen come this way and encounter the crusade (it wasn't certain they would otherwise).

Findulas' player could have tried to influence the Arhain Sec to join the fight against beastmen, it was clear some wanted to (they really hate beastmen, more than an average wood elf, due to their history).  However, player chose to "let things fall where they may".

Anselm finds that the Strigany are none other than his relations, his Grandmother Lucinda and uncle Helwig, with Helwig's son young Otto (10 or so, this is my version of Ahmed - the arabic name didn't ring right to me for a Strigany). Anselm tries to warn his kin to flee the beastmen but they feel they are safer with crusade than on their own (coincidentally they are camped on the side of the crusade opposite the direction beastmen coming from). He learns that most of the Strigany are not Karlists though they do not doubt him, saying rather "the Chosen of Sigmar has not come for the Strigany". Grandmother Lucinda calls him the Child of Destiny and thinks they are safe with him. Apparently Karl often sneaks off away from his minders, dodging lessons, and one time he came to have Grandmother Lucinda tell his fortune.

[This habit of his also explains the dual chaos star effect on the camp location card referenced above: you meet a charming boy…]

Father Erich and Hans were in the sick tent, helping the midwife Alette Gruber and Sister Helana. They learned that Sir Whilhelm von Eisenbach saw the light when he met Karl, but some foul cultists tried to murder Karl and were struck down by his valiant defenders, their profane weapons shattering. Hans realizes that the Galloping Trots case he finds in the sick tent is a particularly nasty version and worrisome.

They go to find Eldred and convince him to take steps to combat the spread of disease, though really this is Jan Vandepeer's responsibility (running day to day things). Eldred helps them convince Jan (the heroes meeting Jan and his large ogre bodyguard Hasslich, and the other 4 bodyguards whose job is mostly just finding food for Hasslich).

There is no germ theory in Empire but Hans rolled very very well using First Aid to help out in tent, which is how he spotted the disease, and thus knows as much as common lore could know.  After all Nurglings like to revel in filth - no need to invoke invisible microbes to explain its connection to disease.  The heroes were told it is an unusually strong version of the disease but don't appear to suspect a Nurglist.  I'm using the 3rd edition Galloping Trots instead of the published adventure's disease.  "you keep going" contributtes more to a filthy camp than "you stop going".

They get a first hand account of the assassination attempt. There are no shattering weapons but Jan says how everyone was inspired to defend Karl - he himself struck down one attacker (surprising himself, he's a large-waisted merchant in his 40's). Hans tries to use his insight to see if Jan is dissembling at all when dismissing cultists generally as a threat and Jan is not.

Jan goes off to implement these orders to clean up camp, Jan has better things to do, he summons an aide to do it.

The aide is not named, it is the very able (really brains of Jan's operation) Altdorfer Tobias.

My Jan is a merchant, member of criminal syndicate but not cultist.  Tobias his aide is the cultist.

Findulas stays out in woods a while (to explain how he found out things when reporting later) and comes in late in day.  The player hammed this up with his lethargy insanity - finding a cosy spot to rest a bit.

The heroes find Karl's Bounty, the two wagons with the contents of the inn they passed operated by the former innkeeper Rudi Margelt and his wife Hanna. The stable boy there helps tend to their horses, though Anselm ably cares for his own.

As Findulas is coming in, some riders come and speak with Sir Whilhelm. The Middenlanders are martialling to face the beastman incursion and were trying to get Sir Whilhelm to return with his knights and footmen - he instead said that the Crusade's armed force would join the fight.

The battle is expected to come the next day (31st). The Crusade will send most of its armed force to join the Middenlanders, the heroes planning to along - ha having been welcomed by Sir Whilhelm. This looks to leave the camp under-guarded thus the Arhain Sec plan appears to be working out well.

The heroes rest overnight one more time before the battle (another Rally step for action recharge etc.). The Middenlanders' chosen ground for the fight is only a mile from the village of Gooten and the Crusade.


#19 valvorik



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Posted 12 July 2012 - 04:38 PM

71st advance

All heroes present.

That evening, heroes who warm themselves by the fire may hear some of Sir Wilhelm von Eisenbach's men at arms talking, veteran Middenlanders experienced in facing hated beastmen.

They are speculating on the foes they will face tomorrow. The majority of the warherd will be gors, the horned staple of a warherd, there will be weaker ungors or even brays (small horned to no horned) of perhaps half that number - the most fractious of the herd and least disciplined, treated as fodder by the rest. There will be a handful of deadly wargors, in a warherd this size perhaps four or five as too many of these rivals thin each other - one among these will have been the Champion that emerged when it was formed having the favour of a Ruinous Power.

A warherd this size will amost certainly have a bray-shaman, though if it is one of Khazrak One Eye's it will favour the Blood God and not be a worker of spells - more likely will have used the lure of the Blood God to call other monstrosities as allies. They will have thus have beasthounds with them and at least one greater monstrosity such as a minotaur or worse.

What drives a warherd to strike during winter they do not know, though it is only three days to Hexensnacht - perhaps the beastmen seek to celebrate that dire night with some great offering of captives or similar sacrifices?

They hope that Ulric will be with them, for this is his season, but most of all they take comfort that as crusaders for Sigmar's Chosen, the Blessed Child, they will fight as did the heroes of old. The victory they win tomorrow will prove Karl's provenance and win more to his side.

Still, despite their crusader-zeal, they shudder to think of the dark sacrifices that would have been made at a herdstone, by a would-be champion or a bray shaman, sending the scent of man-blood and flesh into the air to summon beastmen together into such a force - each band's leader challenging for dominance and taking it or dying or else accepting a lesser role.

The one bright spot is if they can force the battle before Hexensnacht as they have no desire to face beastman or other foe on that cursed night.

The next morning, the Crusade's armed forces set off.  Sir Whilhelm, Baron Eldred, Father Helmut, the Mansel Brothers who organize the "Fist that Holds the Hammer" (camp enforcers), Felix Braun who leads the Burdened Heart zealots, Klemens Greir leads Krieger's zealots.  Sister Helena and Butcher Groff are two other notable figures who come along.

Matthias Krieger would like to come but his duty is to protect Karl so he remains in camp, with Jan Vandepeer (and Jan's ogre bodyguard Hasslich), and the many non-combatant crusaders.

The force sets off along trail north to rendezvous with Middenlander forces and face beastmen.

Of course, the heroes are also expecting that while gone the Arhain Sec will extract Karl - though things do not quite turn out that way…

Before the Crusaders can reach the rendezvous, they are attacked by a beastman horde.  The initiative of the heroes means that instead of being caught among the trees, the beastmen cross a "forest glade" and are exposed to what limited missile fire the Crusade has.

(Had a beastman had first intiative fight would have been among the trees where beastmen are more dangerous)

The confusion of battle sees fights everywhere, the heroes fortunes indicating somewhat the rest of the battle (loose chaos stars = casualties and negative "Event Cards" I have prepared and comets can be assigned to drawing positive "Event Cards"  - these cards spice things up but are also for the purpose of adding more narrative/story stuff to a fight scene).

- Note the heroes actions before quelling various troubles and dealing with some issues affected the position of a "preparendess meter" that would affect this battle.  They are at +2 so encounters being at Long Range (instead of medium base) and there are 4 rounds before the next wave (instead of 3 base).

A war chariot pulled by two tuskgors (bestial boars) with a wargor and gor aboard and ungor henchman gang make for the heroes. The fearsome event causes Fear 2 checks (some failures and chaos stars mean stress), leaving Anselm frightened by the chariot.

Findulas shoots the tuskgors and fouls their ability to pull chariot, leaving them to fight on simply as wounded individuals.The fast tuskgors still close the distance with the beastmen move up more slowly. (What was a gang of 2 as chariot team now become 2 individuals, each down the 7 wounds their TO contributed to gang, Tuskgors are simply amped up boars).

A beastman shaman appears on "rocky outcropping" and holds aloft a bloody standard of Khorne as he chants (draw two criticals, keep choice on all critical effects).  His curses and taunts do not otherwise impress them much.

Over the course of four rounds, the heroes defeat the tuskgors and wargor, though Findulas suffers a critical wound to his shoulder that weakens his attacks and both Findulas and Anselm take many wounds.  Hans uses a scroll of Guard of Steel he obtained long before from the Gold Order to summon improvements to his soak (floating steel orbs).

Most importantly during this time, the ebb and flow of battle cause threats to appear first to Sister Helena then to Baron Eldred (event cards).  Each time the next hero to act must forfeit all actions in a round to save them from suffering a Critical Wound (dying if Severity 4).  Father Erich does so for Sister Helena but Anselm declines to aid Baron Eldred when he sees beastmen threatening to overwhelm him.

Baron Eldred suffers mortal wounds (Sev 4 critical drawn) and dies.  Both Hans and Father Erich witnessed Anselm's choice and bear him some enmity for this act (Anselm simply felt no great interest in Eldred's fate) [made Observation check to spot it].  When Sister Helena appears on the field of battle and it is clear she would aid who most needs it, and Anselm then most needs wounds healed, Hans distracts her to seek help as he Splints and Bandages Findulas (also badly hurt but not so much at this point) so at to deny Anselm her aid [which Anselm also spots].

Though later Sister Helena does attend to Anselm.

After four rounds there is a Rally Step as a fresh wave of attackers appears, a gor, tuskgor and ungor gang still present from the first wave.

Again they appear at Long Range, a strong looking (Hero template with Mark of Khorne) Wargor and another back of Ungors.

As they close, Finduals shoots and wounds the Wargor and Father Erich finishes the Tuskgor facing him, but another group of ungors appear (so there are 3 gangs of ungors, a wargor hero and wounded gor).  The ungor gangs with the Wargor Hero are his living shields and interpose themselves against atttacks etc.

More importantly, it is revealed KARL IS WITH US! The adventurous imp snuck among Sir Whilhelm's contingent (at first people thought it was a halfing zealot).  The true Karlists (not heroes) in effect are all inspired and invigorated (though at this point perhaps 20-30 of the Crusaders have fallen, in addition to Eldred).

Meaning that if the Arhain Sec did enter the camp, they did not find Karl there.

We break.

GM Note,

I found Anselm's choices dramatic.  It "shocked table" but not in "I'm angry at you personally" just "my character is going to be pissed" way.  I enjoy players 'shaping things' and this does 'shape things'.  Of course, perhaps good it comes at "climax of campaign".  Shaping doesn't have to mean "knocking things over" of course but confict is fine as long as the consequences accepted (at least that's my view, then again I like IAWA which is all player vs player).

Hans has some interesting urges at times, who knows what could be the result of this…

Part of the purpose of the cards was to add some "narrative aspect" to the otherwise "combat heavy" session so this definitely did so.

Sister Helena is grateful to Father Erich in a "it will mean something to story" way.  The Player can help suggest that or it will just flow.  Eldred being dead means apart from Hans failing in his personal mission, the heroes lose their main access to Crusade's leaders (and what was a moderate voice of diplomacy, doing things such as brokering the handing over of those who assaulted Sister Helena, is now lost).

These things are actually more important to the story to come than who kills what - mostly the fights are about if you survive and at what cost.  Beastmen aren't the real threat…. Hexensnacht will bring something else entirely (as the published plotline or something like likely resumes).

#20 DevoutBadger



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Posted 14 July 2012 - 09:37 PM



Always love your reports but this one really grabbed me.

The use of those card to make the combat feel like a battle sounds terrific I would love to hear more, like do you have a generic set or is it something specific for this one fight?. Though I think it sounds like you both got some fortunate draws plus some great character reactions.

But wow, what a suprise about the in-party drama. I guess I just do not expect it from your guys as they seem to get on so well most of the time. Especially Hans going so far as to head off the Sister to heal Anslem, wow. I was pretty suprised.

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