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Who's the (best) Black Cowl? Some Enemy Within thoughts…

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#1 arapinha



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Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:15 AM

First, an advice: if you're planing to GM the new Enemy Within, you MUST read the topic on TEW prep in this forum (http://www.fantasyfl...=761408&efpag=0)…

Not wanting to overcrowd that topic, I brought my question to a new one: which NPC do you think would be the best Black Cowl? I'm still unsure and my group has played through three days on Book One…

  • Graf von Kaufman does not seem a good candidate to me. If he's the Black Cowl, why would he hire the characters to go after the missing coach and risk them finding the blackpowder link? Why would he ask them to increase the security at the garden party if he's the mastermind behind the skaven theft?
  • Luminar Mauer is a good candidate, but he's a wizard and I would like to avoid the cliché that all wizards are followes of Tzeentch in disguise…
  • Captain Bauerfaust? I don't know. He's the NPC the group distruts the most, and I feel that - in my game - he would be the most obvious candidate. I would like to avoid the obvious way, and I kind of sympathize with him. It would be a pity to throw him to the dark side…
  • My main candidate, to tell you the truth, is Gravin Clothilde von Alptraum, but she's not a possibility in the adventure as it is written…

Would I have to change a lot to use Gravin Clothilde as the Black Cowl? Which NPC are you using as Black Cowl on your game?

#2 crimsonsun



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Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:59 AM

I have been thinking about this also, but when I actually get to run the campaign I think I will leave it for as long as possible without deciding and also as I plan to expand the campaign massively I will try too add in another couple of options but sticking with the big 3 a few thoughts.

  • The light wizard would not only be a cliche' but a very one dimensional 'end boss' I will avoid this unless the party really trust and count on him as a mentor.
  • Noble lord, if you have a party whos roots are stuck in the brass tier this guy will be really difficult for them to even consider challenging, but he is essentially the weakest choice when you get to the end game, this in the man for a combat light investigative party, but I would not consider him for a combat heavy group.
  • Mercenary Capt. He is somewhat of a blunt instrument and like the wizard kinda obvious due to his rapid rise in power, and dubious history being head of a deceased Elector Counts body guard (this is the sort of thing that my players would instantly be weary of) but for a more combat based group he ticks all the boxes, solid melee stats meshed with the Cowls special card making him a Exalted Champion of Tzeentch, sadly he lacks the grace and charm of either of the above.

Other characters there are some good options, though I do think they will need working in, with my extention I will try to give myself alot more options and will attempt to bring in some Riekland nobles, as well as some high placed figures from Middenhiem, but i am not decided fully on my direction yet.



The Question of Khaine

    "A God named Khaine, A God of Murder and death and bloodshed, only the willfully blind could not see this is none other than the Blood Lord Himself, cloaked in one of his many guises to beguile and trick those who might otherwise repel him!"

-The Liber Chaotica

#3 Grandmartoni



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Posted 01 March 2013 - 01:02 AM

Im leaning toward beerfast but am going to hold off deciding until after the menagerie. I dont think VonK hiring the PCs implicates him. If your group is anyhing like mine…they certainly are'nt experienced gaurds!!!

#4 No:12



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Posted 01 March 2013 - 01:15 AM


My main reaction to the choice over the BC identity was similar to your view on Mauer. My players would see the wizard and smell a rat (heh heh)…  He does make a great ultra wizard finale npc but its just too obvious for me. I will be developing his relationship with his sister during the adventure and probably use him as a dabbler in illegal magick (secret order of Unity), just to ham up a red herring. (Rats and fish, gonna be a smelly plot for sure…)

Am torn between the other two for possibilities. I like Kaufmans close involvement with the PCs, kinda managing them as they go. Motivated by ego and greed. Bauerfaust appeals to me most on root motivations. Fed up with inept rulers so looks to implement his own, for the good of the people. Gets caught up on the whole power and manipulation, before you know it he's attacking the church of Sigmar for their involvement in Imperial control regardless of the finer points of morality.

#5 Johann Rowlocks

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 02:25 AM

I think dramatically, Baerfaust is the strongest choice.

#6 valvorik



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Posted 01 March 2013 - 02:54 AM

I'm holding plans lightly as I see Player reactions to NPCs.

Making it Chlotilde requires lots of revision to the bomb plot later in game.  She does make a fun surprise villain but lots of work generally I think.

Mechanically, Mauer benefits least from the Mark of Tzeentch (still benefits but he's already a spell user, the biggest step with the mark is gaining spell use).

Kaufman turns into a good spellcaster (high intel).

Baerfast not so much but is the best fighter to survive toe to toe..

I think overall, straight numbers (and you can fudge and change their stats so this doesn't really dictate) Baerfast is best as you get a BC who can hold own toe to toe and have some spell tricks up sleave to escape, go undetected etc etc.

Story-wise, I had questions of corruption of Light College play in last campaign so may not go there again re Mauer (but tease/suggest it by having his sister be involved anyway).  That's my particular situation.

Kaufman is almost "too obvious", it was all his expedition.  Sometimes the "obvious" is right of course, he arranges theft to throw things off his scent perhaps.

Baerfast is, other than Mauer, the most embittered by life and the cruelty that the Empire's order imposes (meaningless deaths of soldiers including his brother).  He defintely makes sense as a "conspiracy" in larger sense participant (they all do) and as a "story of corruption and fall" is the most tragic.  You could see him becoming convinced that "doing away with the corrupt ruling elite" is necessary in terms of plotting etc.

I'm currently leaning to him but plan to keep it open as long as I can as noted.




#7 Spivo



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Posted 04 March 2013 - 12:39 AM

Def. Baerfaust, in every way is he most suited for it.

First of all Players (mine anyway) are likely to suspect him the least, but more importantly for the Lord of Change having a major War Hero, the pillar of the Empire's to be a chaos worshipper is in every way most fun.

Tze can laugh at Khorne for not persuading a warrior to join him, and it's one thing for people to suspect every wizard and nobleman to be in liege with the Ruinous Powers, but if their war legends also joins them, the world is surely comming to an end!

I'm playing my Baerfaust as a brusque short of words clean-cut warrior. I want the players to view him as very cross, but in time of danger make him like a pillar of rocks vs. the rising tides. This ensures the players will view him as the least likely to be a villian.

Kaufman will be the most helpful, offering advices and all, this will put him in the seat of villian-hood (gotta love trying to out-wit your players in regards of them not guessing who is evil and who's not…).

Mauer will be played fairly neutral, which to my players will also make him very suspect…

#8 ragnar63



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Posted 04 March 2013 - 01:52 AM

I've been mulling this one over for nearly 20 months after we were asked to playtest some iof the adventure. Unfortunately we came to the conclusion that all three possibilities have major problems against them as they stand, though Kaufmann came out as our favourite.

My solution would be to have both Baerfaust and Kaufmann working together as the Black Cowl. One compliments the other and both have major grievances against the existing social order. The wizard unfortunately is too obvious but makes a great distraction. Having two Black Cowls also gives the GM a chance to get the PC's thoroughly confused, as the Black Cowl does something with their main suspect standing in front of them.

It will also make the ending that much tougher. I also reason that having two Black Cowls working togerther would be thoroughly along Tzeentchs lines as he turns one against the other, after they have succeeded in their plans.

#9 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 09:09 AM

I must be in the minority, but I think Kaufmann is the best choice, based on the goals of the conspiracy.

Their chief concern is helping their membership make money. All of the political ramifications are secondary to profit. I don't see Baufast or Mauer having as strong of an association with these people. Were the conspiracy more focused on destratification of society, then they would be a better fit.

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#10 valvorik



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Posted 04 March 2013 - 10:14 AM

I agree he's good Conspiracy member.  They all are actually, from different views.  In my version, they are in fact all members of the Conspiracy in its wider, not immediately corrupt sense.  That helps "grey it all up".

#11 Kartigan



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Posted 04 March 2013 - 03:00 PM

I am rather lucky in that all my players are totally new to Warhammer.  Hence cliches like having the wizard be a follower of Tzeentch mean nothing to them :).  Thus I'm probably planning on Mauer though that could change.

#12 Emirikol


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Posted 04 March 2013 - 05:24 PM

This is a grotesque cop-out, but I'm leanign towards all three being a single mutant that separates and re-unites into something massive with perhaps varying guilt and goals between the three.  



#13 valvorik



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Posted 05 March 2013 - 01:31 AM

Or, and again this is a larger rewrite, there's a possessing daemon that members of the "Conspiracy" were exposed to and it flits around acting through them, sometimes without their memory, whispering and corrupting them.  Perhaps eventually the PC's too.

The enemy within…

#14 arapinha



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Posted 05 March 2013 - 01:54 AM

Loved ragnar63's idea of two Black Cowls, but I'm still toying with the idea of making Gravin von Alptraum the Black Cowl. Been re-reading the whole campaign to see what would have to be modified.

Book One wouldn't need any major modification, as far as I see. The coach trip on day six would be organized by her in order to point out the guard members between the robbers and sow distrust between Bauerfaust and von Kaufman (and to point the finger to Bauerfaust, he's the captain of the guard after all). At the garden party, she would try to steer the players' suspicions to the other three NPCs (casually telling them that Mauer's family was corrupt, that Bauerfaust thinks that the Empire's military is a noble's tool, and gossip about von Kaufman's expedition).

In Book Two, she'll have a small and very easy task for the players: to send a small donation to the temple of Shallya in Middenheim, which happens to be a key ingredient in von Oppeheim's ritual, and maybe (not sure yet) a letter to Helstrum with evidence against the PC's…

My main concern is Book Three (still have to re-read it) and the motivation. Why would Gravin Clothilde von Alptraum betray the Empire??? Don't know the answers to these yet.

Meanwhile, my players are taking the road to find the mutant band and (hopefully) the missing gunpowder. They're a dwarf outcast (Ironbreaker), a apprentice wizard of Shyish (academic), a initiate of Verenna (gentle-born), and they will probably be joined by a new PC, a battle-scarred pistolier. Will post new thoughts soon. Hope this Gravin Black Cowl works… :)



#15 Grandmartoni



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Posted 08 March 2013 - 06:15 AM

In book 3, she (clothilde) would betray the empire because the changer of the ways demands it!!! At this point she has seen the power the dark side brings and either fears betraying an order or is wholely dedicated to the ruinous cause. Personally i think clothilde is a better choice than Mauer. Ive thought about having 2is BCs but think that it would make the mystery too complex.

#16 valvorik



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Posted 09 March 2013 - 04:00 AM

Not sure I will go with making Chlotilde the BC but some thought.

I "like" Chlotilde and don't want her to be a villain….. so she makes good one!  Hee hee.

Given Kaufman's interest in her, she could very easily have planted the idea for Southlands expedition and gotten him to think it was hers.

Her reason for turning against the Empire, it could be as simple as desire for vengeance against the court in Altdorf and the Countess of Nuln.  Read the novel Beasts in Velvet in which she is mentioned in one pretty-much-throw-away line but it does set her up as cautious in love - if she really ever found out the truth about the man who spurned her and caused her while just out of being an awkward preteen and becoming the sought after beauty she is to suffer heart break - why she could very easily form the desire to destroy one of the most powerful women in the Empire and thus need power or the Empire's weakening to do it.  I won't explain so as not to spoil the book.  There are other sources that talk of a scandalous play about the truth of these events, perhaps she saw it…. (given her love of theatre).

#17 lightninlad



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Posted 09 March 2013 - 09:30 PM

     You know, I love this notion of two black cowls also, but the one about the demon somehow "leaping" from person to person and orchestrating it all…that's the best!

        If your players haven't already completed the Winds of Magic adventure, just make the demon Bobo(the little pet bird) and have him turn into that big demonic creature looking for a re-match.  Man, that would be priceless.


Here's to Bobo! The Enemy Within(The BirdCage).  lol.

#18 valvorik



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Posted 10 March 2013 - 01:06 PM

If going with possessing daemon, or just using that anytime, I highly recommend checking out the Tome of Corruption (2nd edition) "Ritual of Exoricsm" (page 127).

This earlier edition ritual is ready-made to convert to a progress tracker with multiple stages and rolls, with differences in the steps to keep it interesting, that can easily make an entire "Act" (and give you a very Linda Blair "exorcist" type of scene to boot).


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