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Enemy Within (Actual Play) Lost Lordlings and Rogue Wizards


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#1 No:12

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 05:38 AM

Hi,

Going to attempt to post an online journal recording our sessions of TEW. We can only play every four to six weeks but usualy go for a couple of 10-12 hr sessions over a weekend. Comments welcome, hope you enjoy. ;)

I offer my players the chance to buy the odd exp or starting kit with taking Crits, Insanity and Disease cards, so some of the characters may have unusual starting abilities for a scratch gen char.

 

The Cast:

Frederick Erzhazy von Galantha looked down at Sara, the poor serving girl with the trembling lip standing before him. So his father wished to see him immediately in the study. No doubt something he's upset about. Still, anything is better than dying of boredom in this rural outback manor house, with illeterate uncultured villagers and cows. Its been months since he'd finished his studies in Nuln. Months since any parties, any music or arts. Months since any women to be frank. Yes three years in Nuln had been most excellent fun. Deliberately avoiding any studies that could fit into his fathers plans for the families future. And the memories of his brief relationship with Gerlind Boehm, yes she had some dangerous ideas about how to have fun. Fredericks pulse quickened unbidden at those particular memories.

But to be fair for all his rebellion there was an inevitability of his forced return home after his elder brother Marcus died in the Third Battle for Black Fire Pass two years ago. Morr bless him but Marcus was a bully and a fool, and Frederick did not miss him. His father had placed most of the families future on the rewards of that battle. But with Marius dead and no military minded lord taking the Electoral seat there were no lands for the valour of Fredericks father or brother, the lands of former Solland that were lost eight centuries ago would not be replaced yet. So thats why his sister Theodora was married off to Lord Hindenbergs son Herbart, and by reward the von Galanthas were given stewardship of the village of Volsbach. Now the family future was firmly tied with Frederick.

"Very well Sara, have some tea brought to the study and I will see father at once" Frederick smiled at the timid girl as she curtsied and scurried off.

Twenty minutes later Frederick strolled out of the study. Interesting. An awkward conversation of course, it always was. Father has always despised his choices and struggled to relate to him. Almost as awkward as his attempt to negotiate that bushy moustache with the tea cup, Frederick mused while stroking his own moustache, as thin and sharp as the rapier worn at his belt. So Baron Hindenberg wants us to chase up on one of his agents gone missing in Averhiem. A Vernon Dauchter, with no details on why he was there other than for obtaining luxury consumables. And father wishes me to take on this responsibility as duty to my family. Excellent, back to the big city.

"Good morning Wolmarr, could you saddle my horse please?"

"The roan or the grey my lord?" replied the old coachman.

"The grey Wolmarr, the roan hates the city"

 

Frederick: Human Dilletante (Gently Born)

ST 3, TO 3, AG 4, INT 3, WP 2, FEL 4; 

Action cards; Big City, Nimble Strike, Duellists Strike, Diestro stylee…

Player took two corruption points at start for his extreme sexual experimentation at Uni.

 

Rat hunkered down by the campfire keeping just outside of the circle of cattle drovers and farmhands. He carefully spooned a small morsel to Spike, his vicious ratting weasel. Spike was his friend. His only friend to be honest. Rat was gonna keep it that way right now. Life was always risky growing up as a street orphan in Kemperbad, but things got much riskier a few weeks ago.

Hiding in the sewers counting the rats he and Spike had snaffled, ready to pretend they came from some merchants warehouse, Rat had hearda sound. A scratchy sound, but quite big. Carefully he poked his head around the corner of the tunnel, and came face to face with the biggest damn rat he'd ever seen. Adrenal fear rushed through him, but as he turned to flee the thing grabbed him and lunged a vicious bite just above Rats left ear scraping skin and hair from his scalp. In a panicked overload he wished the horrible thing away. In a flash of pure darkness it went. Well most of its torso did, Rat briefly saw some entrails caked up the far wall but by that point the urge to flee was well and truly in charge.

Turned out they were under some rich merchants pad, he had some wizard in his service who cried out that he'd detected some fell sorcery. Well no way Rats ending up on some pyre. He'd fled Kemperbad the next night. Recently he'd also discovered when things got hurt or dead near him he got some kind of kick, probably not best to dwell on that too much.

Rat got startled from his thoughts as some sheperdess sat down next to him. Greetings were exchanged. After the stew was done the woman introduced herself as Kat, and asked young Rat to watch her back while she watered the bushes. When out of earshot she let slip she knew who he was, what he was, and assured him that she was no threat. In fact she wanted to help, or try to. Panicked adrenaline flooded Rat again. Should he flee? He stalled this strange woman with more questions. She suprised him by answering much of them. Turns out she was to meet her brother but couldnt, other commitments within this network of hedge wizards and witches. But she told Rat he should try to meet her brother instead, he would be able to help. His name is Konrad, he'll be in Averheim soon. Then she told him to be careful, no sh*t thought Rat, she told him to try and latch on to some wealthy fool. The witch finders and their thugs find it harder to bully the rich and high born.

Yeah cos thats the kinda people who proper like me thought Rat as he stomped back to the warmth of the fire. Kat did not return.

Rat: Human Witch/Rat Catcher (Outcast)

ST 2, TO 3, AG 3, INT 4, WP 4, FEL 3.

Action cards; Doombolt, Sadistic Glee,

Player bought Dark Magic talent at char gen and Permanent Crit Impressive scar.

 

Rueben von Kasselheim looked into his mug. It was empty. Again. Damn. Now he will need to get another. Anything to get back to blessed unconciousness again, to wipe away the memories. Damn there it is again. Karl. His twin. He carried the banner for the Averlend Pistolkorps as they tried to ride out to save Marius. Ruebens was unhorsed, and trapped beneath his dying mount. Trapped and forced to watch the carnage. His brother Karl impaled on a greenskin spear, dying while clutching his innardsthrough his mail, screaming. His next closest friend Marcus, felled by a black orc, his skull stoven in with a rusty axe. Marius fell too, but by that point Rueben stopped caring, in fact he hadnt much cared for anything else since.

No that wasnt quite true. His long spell in the shallyan field hospice recuperating included some pleasant time with Lady Clothilde von Alptraum and her cousin Annalise von Alptraum, sweet pretty girls both. But that was temporary, since then he had been discharged, mainly due to an inability to stay sober or out of trouble. His body still hurt too, two years after the battle his leg still carried an infection. Screw it. Wheres the damn bar wench. Where am I? oh yes the Hope and Anchor. Just another fleapit.

"More ale!" he cried to the bar in general. His squire Fezsik rushed to comply.

Rueben: Human Pistollier (Battle Scarred)

ST 4, TO 4, AG 4, INT 2, WP 2, FEL 3.

Action cards; Kick and Bite.

Player took Omens of Doom insanity, Broken Nose crit and Blacklegge disease in exchange for enough cash to buy full plate, pistol and a superior warhorse. Player wished to play a chronicly broken man who survived only by the quality of his horse and armour. He starts play intoxicated as well.

 

Larson Oswald looked at the city of Averheim as it crested the horizon. His family came from near here, dead now. Madness and suicide. Good thing he was blessed with a razor sharp brain instead. When his mother followed his father in choosing Morrs realm and his inheritance was invested in a college in Nuln they could not have foreseen what Larsons future was to hold. Within a year of arrival he was surviving by translating foreign texts for the weak sighted scholars to earn coins for food. A fat man with gold chains suggested this was not the right college for him, he was right too. Oswalds second year was spent in the Gold College of magick in Altdorf. True he was the scorn and belittled son of a mad philosopher who couldnt come to terms with his own thoughts, but thats rich egotistical students for you. Larson wouldnt say the Gold College was a nice or nurturing place to be, but it was certainly a place to learn. Soon those brats could add jealousy to the list as they saw his raw skill outstrip them. Yes he was a rough diamond, but as the Gold College are all too aware, an uncut diamond is far more worthy than polished glass.

This hard work upbringing, had left its scars though. This Empire needed to change, to grow. It was wasting talent and opportunity with stagnant beaurocracy and class divide, give it time though…

The real eye opener had been the invitation though. A year and a half or so ago, a letter had arrived. It had led him to a meeting with three men. Wizards wearing masks to protect their identity, and false names. A trial of skill and temperement. The judges Guilde Choir, Eminence Grey and Wildfire, the prize entrance to the Order of Unity. Fifteen minutes later he took the name Leatherneck and joined his first meal with the other attendees as well as the judges. So there is a way to influence the growth of human magicks, well thats a start for sure. Larson took some of the teaching notes offered by Eminence and Wildfire and began to diversify.

Now he was on a knew mission, on face he had run out of funds and the Gold Order had requested he take a journey to show the skills to provide more funds for tuition. So very Gold. In reality he was to meet a man known as Midnight Candle who would direct him to a member of the Unity who would not stay in Altdorf, one who has knowledge in the Amber and Jade winds, the only winds that the Unity is lacking any depth of knowledge. Larson was tasked to recieve a package of highly illegal documents to return to the secret vaults under Altdorf for further study. They told him should he get caught, it would be better to die quick than be captured and tortured. The thrill of the challenge set his pulse racing, no he would not be caught. He had grown much in the last year.

Larson turned his head north-east to the Stirland shoreline. Yes, somewhere out there was the house he grew up in. Sold for opportunities to learn. He would make his parents proud. 

To Averheim then, to this Sun Society then, where Larsons talent for old languages would likely find favour with the intellectual elite of the city. To adventure..

 

Larson Oswald: Human Wizards App (Academic)

ST 2, TO 3, AG 2, INT 5, WP 4, FEL 3.

Action cards; Fools Gold, Burning Iron, Doppleganger, Flameblast,

Player took corruption for char gen as part of his illegal studies. He chose to train Spellcraft and Education, leaving magical sight unaquired surprisingly.

 

GMs notes; I liked the balance of this party, half of them nobles with good influence the other half illegal wizards with huge potential for tricks n abilities. While they are a bit combat light, in a few sessions time that will probably cease to be a concern.

 



#2 valvorik

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 06:04 AM

Very nice.

I like the boost in starting gear/cash for insanity etc. cards.  It's a very "warhammer" start - the first thing any Old World hero does?  Sober up enough to get moving or get drunk to forget enough to stay sane!

 



#3 No:12

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 06:32 AM

 

GM note; I gave the two noble pcs a handout with a brief description of all the noble npcs of Averland, and Rats player a handout with a brief description of all the locals to the docks.

1st session; Rueben, Frederick and Rat present.

18th Sigmarzeit (Backertag): Frederick, Rueben and Rat all meet in the Upright Pig. None of the tables are free when the young lords enter, but the table that Rat is sitting at playing with his weasel has a few spare seats. Rueben has been drunk for some considerable time now and has just arrived from the “Hope and Anchor” at the western end of the docks after some thugs threatened to do his horse in if protection cash was not forthcoming. For a moment he thinks that Rat looks like some chap from the war who turned tail and fled. An awkward conversation begins after he forceably joins Rats table. Frederick arrives and sees his elder brother’s friend and joins him at the table. Frederick mistakes Rat for a chap he knew from Nuln who was accused of dallying with a woman above his station. A more complicated awkward conversation ensues. Eventually both noblemen are quickly convinced that a youth of Rat’s tender years and questionable personal hygiene could have been neither of the people he was mistaken for. Rueben strides to the bar to get the next round in, a bottle of brandy, and pours for everyone. Rat, a teenage youth whose never actually owned a whole shilling before, begins to realise this group could be a winner for him, and offers to help them get settled in Averheim.

Frederick enquires about Vernon Dauchter, Rat has not seen him but directs him to some of the less than legal traders and also confirms some people have disappeared recently, including a man who helped him when he arrived in Averheim. Rueben still just wants to get everyone drunk but finds an amusing aside in teasing the skint Rat with offers of silver shillings.

Frederick and Rat socialise with Ute, confirming a few of the identities of missing folk, and Mathilda, as Frederick is keen on retrieving a less than legal book he sold to her last year and wishes to clean up after himself. Sadly she informs him it has left her possession but she will look into retrieving it for the right price. Meanwhile in the tavern Flink steals Ruebens purse without a hitch. (This begins a long string of in character roleplay from Ruebens player revolving around frequent drunken lapses of memory, sparking comments such as “where’s my horse!?” and “Have you seen my purse? It’s blue!”).

A bar fight erupts between the docker gangs, Werner Klebb is thrown bodily into the PCs table, spilling brandy and soaking Frederick. Rueben stands and squares off with the big oaf who has just hurled Klebb, the man refuses to apologise and gets a solid right hook. A short headbutt downs the brute, meanwhile some sneaky git is attempting to jump Rueben from behind. Frederick calls a warning and Rueben responds with wrapping a bar stool around the man ribs. Throughout this Rat has managed to squirm into the crowd to avoid confrontation, caution being the better part of valour and all. As the Fish gang skulk out to lick their wounds and Rueben returns to his now diminished brandy, Klebb thanks them for their assistance and explains the plight of the two gangs. He offers a paltry reward should the PCs be able to resolve the disappearance of Rolf Haller. Frederick cynically observes that this is just yet another case of missing persons on the docks. Rueben is for the most part more interested in replacing the drinks, attempts to regain his seat and ends up flat on his back. Frederick gives Rueben’s squire Feszik a long hard stare until the fool boy jumps to aid his lord back to his chair.

The two nobles are wholly unconvinced of the security at the Pig, and move their horses and belongings to the Journeys End. Along the way they meet Olga, a friend of Rats, who asks if anyone has heard anything of Jurgen yet. Rueben responds by asking her if she has seen his horse or his purse. Turns out his horse is right behind him but neither the purse nor Jurgen have come to light. Shortly after this they find a body in an alley, stuffed into a barrel. They do identify him as Klaus Keller, but none of them manage to notice the strange greying around the wounds (well they are all very drunk, and its dark, and it is just some street thug…) so they head onwards after reporting it to the Pig. Frederick orders a full round of baths to be drawn and rooms for the men and their staff. Rat is ordered to take a hot bath and change into some of Feszik’s spare clothes because they are sick of the smell of him, and he wont be allowed into the taproom of the Journeys End until he’s clean. Rat is nervous about this getting into hot water lark, and soap is a completely alien concept to him. Rueben orders Feszik to show Rat how to clean himself properly, prompting an awkward scene of vague instructions and gestures, again under the withering gaze of Frederick.

Once clean and fresh, the group go to mingle in the taproom. Well, Rueben orders a bottle of red, a flagon of ale and a bottle of port for after supper, Frederick sets his sights on something to warm his bed and Rat tags along with Frederick in a sense of tipsy bewilderment as to how quickly his life has changed today. Frederick soon has a pretty merchant’s daughter called Gemima hanging on his every word. A little later a dinner date is arranged for the following night.

Rueben is now unable to stand and barely conscious. Fezsik endures a short but intensely fierce glare from Frederick before remembering his duty and carrying his Lordship up to his rooms. The other two also turn in with slightly more dignity.

GM notes; I had planned to leave the first day almost exclusively for the pcs to bond and establish character connections. My players tend to enjoy being given a setting to poke at without being railroaded so this one was pretty much “have fun”. Rueben played the entire day intoxicated, adding to his disease, crits and stress he runs on 1 fortune and at least 3 misfortune on just about every test, player is loving it though ;)

 

19th Sigmarzeit (Bezhaltag): Breakfast and morning chatter at the Journeys End, they arrange for a tailor to visit at lunchtime. Rueben gets his morning brandy in and asks Rat to find some recreational drugs to help him cope with the nightmarish flashbacks he is having from the Battle of Black Fire Pass (permanent insanity Omens of Doom), Rat agrees seeing a chance to skim a bit off the top from these rich fools, and the group head up to the docks again.

On the way they pass a girl sobbing on the steps of a warehouse. Being generally gallant souls the three men stop to enquire as to her woes. Beatrice explains tearfully that she owes money to a ruthless loanshark. Rueben enquires as to the nature of the man, to which she replies Faust the Fist. She doesn’t know exactly where to find him now but if she doesn’t have the ninety shillings she owes him by tomorrow then she’ll end up another of the docks missing persons. Rueben gives her some money and asks her to buy herself a nice dress and meet him at the Journeys End for dinner tonight, he assures her he will sort out all this unpleasantness.

Onwards to the docks and Rat locates Pietr, a knick-nack vendor whose real trade is dealing wierdroot to those who really need to escape their heads. Rat brokers a deal for a quarter the price he quoted to Rueben but buys twice as much, and returns to the young lordlings. Rueben asks Rat to look after the root, and give him some each morning to banish the nightmares. Rat decides to use effectively a double dose for Rueben’s medicine each time.

I am running wierdroot as a short term stress reducer and intoxication effect, with long term insanity checks. For really strong doses, we will go straight to insanity.

After a quick chat with Ute on any activities occurring last night, confirming Kellers death, suspicions relating this to the arrival of the new crimelord known as the Black Hood, and no watch investigation, the PCs enter the Pig. Both nobles are looking to connect with different aspects of the underworld. Frederick is looking to trace Vernon Dauchter, so Rat directs him to Felix the smuggler who is now having a light lunch with an elderly gent. Frederick politely introduces himself to Felix and asks if he could talk after his present engagement. Felix confirms that the current business is concluded and to take a seat. The elderly gent scurries off. A short polite conversation, complete with bribe, and Felix tells Frederick that he did see Dauchter a couple of weeks ago. He was heading to the north shore for some Angel Dust and bootlegged rum with another smuggler named Engel. Engels body was found in his boat a couple of days later. Frederick wisely confirms the cause of death was stab and slash wounds. Nobody has seen Dauchter since.

Rueben is after Faust, so Rat introduces him to another crook Frederick Grosz who is relaxing with a drink, his bodyguard hovering nearby. Again polite bribes are exchanged and Grosz tells him that Faust operates from the Hope and Anchor tavern upriver. Rueben also confirms that Faust is part of this new aggressive crime gang run by the man in the black cowl. Frederick confesses he is trying to lie low and see how things pan out before choosing which way to settle.

Rueben heads off to the Hope and Anchor to find this nefarious Faust the Fist, the others follow dutyfully. They find him there, accompanied by three men who earlier threatened to do for Rueben’s horse Oakfoot unless he paid protection money. Glares are exchanged, weapons are displayed and a cagey conversation begins…  At which point Rueben starts to spin a yarn on the fly about him being in the process of shipping some heavy firearms illegally into the city, and needing a reliably quiet organisation to help him unload and store them pending a possible military coup. He requests to speak to Faust’s boss, the Black Cowl, to discuss details and suggests it could be worth a lot of money. He tells Faust that he can be contacted at the Upright Pig. He also pays Faust a gold coin and asks him to leave Beatrice alone, her debt now settled.

Returning back to the Pig Rueben drunkenly asks Ute if she would be interested in going out on a dinner date with Rat, accompanying himself and his own date. He again offers her some coins to buy a dress and charmingly states he looks forward to seeing her at the Journeys End at eight. Rat standing nearby is completely confused and a little uncomfortable with the whole thing. Shortly after this they remembered they had missed their appointment with the tailor.

So as the rain thickens to a downpour the PCs head to their quarters. More baths are drawn at the Journeys End, as the gentlemen prepare for the night ahead. Rat feels he needs to reacquaint himself with his roots and slinks off. While the nobles bath and dress he slips into the sewers and finds a little nook with which to set up a lair for himself. Somewhere he can practice his ritualistic mental focus habits. These were simplistic routines, such as playing with the corpses of dead rats, throwing their bodies as darts and the like. Stuff best kept in quiet and dark places.

So the evenings attention turns to the Journeys End. Frederick and Rueben arrive in the taproom with plenty of time for a quick drink, so Rueben has a bottle. Gemima arrives and Frederick heads off to a private table. Shortly after Ute arrives, and nervously approaches Rueben. Rueben welcomes her in gentlemanly fashion and engages in pleasant conversation. In due course it becomes clear that neither Beatrice nor Rat are turning up. Rueben now completely drunk provides Ute with fine food and reasonable if confusing entertainment, she too is questioned as to the location of a missing blue purse, certainly she has never had the opportunity to dine in this fashion before. A polite farewell follows, and Ute leaves for home. Fezsik helps Rueben to his room again.

Frederick enjoys a more seductive evening with Gemima. A meal, followed by walking her home in the rain and a brief bit of fumbling in an alley, with assurances that he will call upon her for another evening of finest fun.

GM notes; Well this one was interesting. I’d already planned to move the arson attack to the next day, with no downpour. Wasn’t entirely sure what they would do with the spare time. As it happened they came up with a good ruse to bring the attention of the Black Cowl without necessarily stating themselves in opposition to him. The ruse also inadvertently plays in line with the Conspiracies acquisition of gunpowder. I had rolled for Beatrice, she gambled her dress monies, then stood Rueben up out of shame. Ute was abducted after her meal with Rueben, no one else saw her alive, no problem for a noble though. Rueben again played the entire day with the intoxicated condition card.

 

20th Sigmarzeit (Konigstag): Another fine morning in the Journeys End breakfast room, the pcs recoup their previous activities and Rueben decides he should probably visit a doctor now, well, after a drink or two. Rat is up early and takes a stroll through the fog up to the docks, there he finds the commotion surrounding a corpse. A couple of the locals point him out to the wizard who appears to be heading a watch investigation into the death of yet another racketeer. Before he can disappear into the throng Rat finds himself face to face with Luminary Mauer confirming the grey tinged wounds are similar to those he saw on Keller the other day, how did he not notice those before?…   Mauer tells Rat that should he or his comrades find anything similar they should contact him at his apartments at the Penterplatz. Rat nods and makes himself scarce, returning to report to the others.

Finally they all manage visit the tailors to have (more) respectable clothes made up for them. Back to the Journeys End for lunch, then off to the Pig again. Frederick asks Rat to introduce him to Pietr, whom he questions intently over his knowledge of poisons and whether he has sold any to anyone locally. Pietr, horrified, confirms he has no such items, nor would he get involved in that business.

It also comes to light that nobody has seen Ute today. This eventually prompts the players to question the efficiency of the watch, so they take a stroll up the river to the local Watch Office. Sure enough they have a frustrating time trying to report Ute missing to a completely uninterested Sergeant, who doesn’t even bother to grab the log book until Rueben threatens to kick off nobility style.

Thoroughly unimpressed they return to the Journeys End for lunch, where Curd Weiss finds them and asks if they would be available for work tomorrow. They confirm a meeting at the Red Arrow offices. After lunch Rueben and Frederick decide they may need some more cash to cover the growing tab at the Journeys End, and come to the conclusion it may be a better investment to buy a small property, so write some pleading letters to mummy and daddy, Fredericks lessons in prose and literature finally becoming useful. These are left with the Journeys End coach services at once, smug at their own cleverness they head back to the docks to see if they have provoked any response from this new order of crime. Before they leave Frederick pens a short note to be sent to Gemima, apologising that he will not be available today but will be in touch tomorrow.

Returning to the docks Rueben and Frederick go straight to the Pig to enquire about any messages. Rat goes to the Knackered Horse, and has a down to earth chat with the dung farmer, Gottfried Hanson. After discussing the recent digestive systems of some of the locals Hanson drops in that a woman in a big hat and lots of holy icons of Sigmar is staying here, so best keep your nose clean. For Rat this is jaw dropping brown trousers time, and he vacates the premises immediately. In the Pig Frederick has a quick chat about whether anyone has any messages for them, Rosalie nods towards a band of mean looking men sitting at a table playing dice. She tells them the man’s name is Meinhardt, and said you’d be wanting a word with him. Of course by now the Black Cowl has cleared out most of the rivals in this area of the docks, and Rosalie is a paid informer too, so it stands to reason he would see it as an appropriate time to introduce a face agent. Rueben approaches Meinhardt and sits for a quiet chat. To his disappointment the man named Meinhardt informs him that his offer is interesting and he should continue to confirm the details of what he needs with Faust. Rueben demands that the deal be done with the head man not his underlings, Meinhardt shrugs, Rueben leaves the table and returns to Frederick. The exact nature of the relationship is now unsure, with neither party making any further comment.

As Rat strolls edgily back to the Pig he notices a burst of flame from one of the barges moored at the docks. A cry sounds out from behind him as a panicked merchant starts to run along the waterfront, two men run across the jetty and on to the docks. Rat nervously runs down the street and sees the men scarper into the Pig. Inside the taproom Rueben and Frederick see two scarfed men dash through the room and out the back door, Rosalie barely bats an eyelid. Rat pauses outside to assess the situation, before cautiously entering. The men have passed through and are now nowhere to be seen. Rat casually approaches Rueben and Frederick and tells them what he saw outside. Rueben jumps to his feet and rushes to the bar asking Rosalie where those men went, she replies to the back street, apparently its safer to ask no questions round here. They do take a quick look out the back, but with Rats hesitancy they realise that there is no point in giving chase now. The screams from the docks rekindle Rueben’s old heroic spirit lost to drink for the last two years, and he leads a charge back to the barge. Locals are beginning to form a bucket chain, Rueben charges straight through them and the wall of fire separating the merchant from his family stuck in a locked cabin. Frederick grabs a bucket from a local en route and throws it through the flames over Rueben as he barges the cabin door down. Rat begins to organise more locals into a more effective chain. Inside the cabin Rueben grabs the young boy and attempts to persuade Adolphus’s wife to carry their daughter after him. Seeing the fear in her eyes he grabs her arm and hauls all of them back out. Frederick has another bucket of water ready for the wife and kids, and they end up sprawled coughing but alive on the deck. Alas no water for Rueben this time and his cloak has gone up in smoke along with the seat of his trousers (chaos star on athletics check). Nonetheless as Adolphus has a tearful reunion with his family, Rueben staggers off the deck with cheeks red, followed by Frederick who saunters behind, casually collecting his glass of wine from the handrail of the barge on the way. And Rats happy too, all this excitement has made him completely forget about zealous women with big black hats. The barge is saved but the cabin will need to be refitted, and nobody notices Meinhardt nod thoughtfully from the street and lead his cronies off into the dark.

Back at the Pig a stiff round of drinks are had. Frederick glares at Fezsik until the fool boy realises his masters bottom is showing in public and he runs off to get a spare cloak until they return to the Journeys End later that evening.

End of 1st session GM notes; This was about ten or eleven hours of play and predictably the players were having so much fun getting into character that the investigative side of things was secondary to playing self-indulgent nobles plus a hanger on who couldn’t believe his luck. Can’t really blame them for that, this part of the story doesn’t really give too much away yet anyway.

Mechanically it’s noticeable that without the wizards apprentice this group are woeful at observation checks. It is not a problem yet but once they get to the day at the menagerie it would be useful to have Larson Oswald present!



#4 No:12

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 05:58 AM

 

 

2nd Session; Frederick, Rueben and Rat present.

21st Sigmarzeit (Angestag).

Yet another pleasant morning at the Journeys End inn greets our….   Heroes?

Breakfast is taken, with a drink or two for Rueben, settled with a pipe of wierdroot. With their morning appointment at the Red Arrow offices apparently forgotten, for such is the luxury of the wealthy, Rueben and Frederick make plans to visit the merchants guild to make arrangements for buying a small property. Rat spends some time with Fezsik learning how to be a good squire, well an average squire at least, in preparation for a good cover story should anyone start asking uncomfortable questions. Frederick finds out from the busy bar staff that the inn is likely to become very full over the next few days as nobles and their entourages arrive from the lands around in order to attend von Kaufmans exhibition of arts and treasures from the Southlands. He charms the waitress and confirms the impending arrival of Kastor Leitdorf, his cousin Ferdinand, and Theo von Tuchtenhagen. Once back at their table the three agree that it would indeed be a good thing if they too were invited.

In the guild offices Rueben and Frederick spend a little while perusing some plans of local two bed buildings with a small garden and ground floor servants quarters. Nothing fancy. They decide on a quaint little number just off the penterplatz for a ten year mortgage at a gold per month, plus a two gold deposit. The guild clerks assure them they will have the contracts ready for signatures by five this evening. Finally the pair remember their appointment, shrug, after all that is being fashionably late is it not?

Rat and Fezsik join them in the Penterplatz and they all head off to the Red Arrow to meet Herr Weiss, by now they are all in the position of needing some cash. The impending tab at the Journeys End is looming ominously and it simply would not do to be unable to pay!

Curd Weiss is pacing the office floor when they arrive. He greets them and checks his pocketwatch, obviously concerned at the tardiness, before explaining the business at hand. A Red Arrow merchant coach has gone missing, it is not the first of its kind and they have gone missing far more frequently since the arrival of this mysterious crime boss. Weiss offers the pc’s five shillings a piece up front, and thirty shillings more total should they locate the missing coach and the cause of its delay. They are issued with a writ of service for the Welcome Rest coaching inn should the journey take them that far. Rueben suggests that good service could be rewarded with invitation to the exhibition, Curd smiles and says he will speak to Graf von Kaufman. With a quick stop to purchase an old nag to serve as a squires mount for Rat the group are ready to hunt for the missing coach.

GM note; I have slightly altered this encounter. The Heliography (thanks Valvorick!) used by Gertie in the second ambush in book one will be used by Gerta in this encounter, this is because my group have been so unreliable at observation checks I wanted to give them an extra bite at the cherry. If they fail the first I can still use it again on the scenario as written in the book. Being a non combat heavy group I also wanted to give them a decent chance at taking a prisoner too, for good questioning options. I have also decided to leave the gunpowder at the hideout, it simply hasn’t been passed on yet due to injuries and drunkenness among the gang, again just to make sure the group are aware that this was one of the goods on the wagon. They can still then ask about the mutants intentions regarding the stash.

It is a bright clear day though wet underfoot as the group ride out. Rat has never been on a mount so Fezsik is ordered to teach him and guide his nag by the reigns. Rat clutches the pommel of the saddle nervously for the first half an hour before finally getting comfortable with the concept of riding. An hour or so later Rat spots a glint of sunlight reflecting off something shiny atop a nearby hill. He points this out to the rest of the group. Rueben, starved of riding for over a week, immediately charges off into the undergrowth at high speed demonstrating surprising skill on horseback in ducking and weaving through the branches. Frederick follows at a more sensible pace. Rat dismounts immediately and Fezsik ties both nags to a tree just out of sight of the road. Rat comments that the shiny thing might be treasure, Fezsik looks less than optimistic.

Charging through the trees Rueben accidentally gets his lance caught in some low branches but remains solidly in the saddle, cursing he discards the lance and continues on with pistol in hand. He also startles a large boar who panics and seeing Frederick approaching decides to defend his territory in the only manner he knows how. Charge! Frederick, unaccustomed to mounted combat but very familiar with sport hunting, spies the lance hanging in the tree and spurs his mount Cicrius forwards. Deftly he sweeps the lance from the branches and spears the boar. As the enraged beast passes it gouges a deep gash in Fredericks right leg. Frederick grunts in pain, but draws his rapier and puts the beast out of its own anguish with a quick downwards thrust. Rat arrives cautiously on the scene, looking out for any large wild creatures.

Ahead on the hilltop the trees thin and Rueben spies a young woman fleeing to the woods. Bellowing for her to halt he gives chase, the girl continues on with barely a backwards glance. Try as she might she cannot outrun a warhorse of the supreme breeding of Oakfoot and Rueben rides her down and holds her at gunpoint. Only now can he see that she is covered in warty lumps, no wonder she kept running. In short order they regroup and the girl is tied up and questioned. Frederick is in a very bad mood and glares at her as if looking for someone to blame for the nasty wound he has taken.

After a little forceful persuasion Gerta confirms her name and that she was signalling to a group of mutants who will now be preparing to ambush the group. Rueben takes charge with a sense of military justice and Gerta is forced to lead the group to the lair of the gang at lance point. There is no subtlety here, for that is not Ruebens style. While Rueben is happy to approach via the road wearing his full armour accompanied by Frederick, Rat and Fezsik stay in the treeline. Sure enough the ambush is sprung and two twangs precede crossbow bolts hammering into Ruebens armour. Rueben bellows for them to drop their weapons now as a mule faced man lurches drunkenly from the treeline wielding an agricultural mallet in two hands. Behind him another mutant hobbles slightly weakly from the shrubs with a wood axe and shield. As more bolts flicker overhead Rueben loses patience and drives his lance through Gerta and into the floor, pinning her in place screaming. Frederick unloads his pistol into the mule headed scum. Meanwhile Rat has left the nags with Fezsik and is creeping through the bushes flanking the road. He finds a hiding place that, unbeknown to him, is not four feet from one of the crossbowmen hiding from the nobles. In retribution for the gunshot, the mallet wielding mule heaves recklessly at Frederick catching him square in the chest, unhorsing him and leaving him unconscious on his back. Rueben curses the mutant, draws his pistol and executes him. Rat sees the crossbowman on the far side of the road emerge from the woods, and begins to tap into the pain that Frederick is feeling, his anger fuelling Rats primal witchery. The mutant with the axe engages Rueben, but is ridden down by the powerful hooves of Oakfoot. Fezsik yells a high pitched warcry but is beset by a pair of bolts that bring him to a gurgling heap in the road. Rat throws a rat skull at the other visible mutant who has just shot Fezsik, a foul man with pendulous wattles where his mouth should be, his hatred turning the skull to aethyr and driving it into the man. It attempts to flee but is again ridden down by the warhorse, its drunken rider distracted by the pain of a bolt piercing his backplate. As the battle dies down it appears the last bowman has slunk away. Frederick is woken and assisted to his feet, grumbling in far more pain than he has ever known. Feszik is not so lucky and his cloak is used as a makeshift shroud. Rueben is now both drunk and enraged, hauls the injured Gerta to her feet. “Lead on!”

As they approach the clearing that Gerta has indicated the gang is using, Frederick hangs back with his horse and the nags too badly injured to consider risking being shot again, and Rat begins to stealthily flank to the left. Rueben rides straight down the path, again with Gerta ahead of him. They find an old campfire, a wagon with two butchered horses, some tatty tents, pieces of stock scattered around, but no sign of the last mutant. Rueben bellows again for surrender, giving the survivor a count of five. Gerta sobs in pain and fear. At the count of four a bolt hits Rueben hard. He responds by killing the girl. Rat uses the bolts impact to locate the last mutant, a skinny man with blue feathers sprouting from odd places. Rat throws another skull at this thing before Rueben follows up and tramples him.

With the area secure they burn the bodies dead or alive (no interrogation!!!) and rig the wagon so that the nags can drag it back to Averheim. Along the way the three of them agree that maybe not all the stock made it back intact, so a barrel of gunpowder, a couple of bolts of silk, and a crate of wine are put aside and taken carefully to the Journeys End before the coach is returned to the Red Arrow coach yard. A quick trip to a high class physician is now in order before supper and bed. Frederick is so upset at his wounds he simply must have something to cheer him up tonight, so he suggests a quick trip to a new tavern, and they come across the Sword of Siggismund. After a quick tour of the taproom, Frederick spies a lively looking Halfling lass. Some wine and small talk later and they are heading back to Fredericks room at the Journeys End, this outrages Ruebens conservative sense of what is and isn’t proper and he storms off alone for further drinks, commenting on things such as “hairy foot, it just isn’t right!”

22nd Sigmarzeit (Festag).

Well it’s a good time to have a day off for Frederick. Languid breakfast followed by a trip to the physicians again, this time Rueben joins him for some treatment on his infected leg. After that they drop into the merchants guild to sign the contracts and pay the deposit. Collecting the keys they go for a quick stroll around the new pad, it’s more than a little dusty and needs a good clean. Obviously the next step is staff it, after all one cannot be expected to clean it oneself! Frederick visits the Valets and Farriers Guild and hires a well recommended butler. He is given a gold crown and told to clean the house and purchase the basic furniture. A quick trip to the Journeys End to collect the horses, and the stuff that fell off the back of a coach, and take the lot back to the new house.

With all this expense it is surely time to collect payment, so the next trip is to the Red Arrow offices to meet with Curd Weiss. Weiss assures them he has examined the coach already and thanks them for prompt return of the merchandise. He does ask what happened to the rest of it, Frederick smoothly delivers some half truths about damage from the heavy rains (very good Guile check). Weiss pays them a total of forty five shillings, and asks them if they could be here at nine tomorrow, as the Graf himself has a very special job for them. He adds that it would be best if they were not late.

Back to the Journeys End for lunch and pay the tab, which by now virtually cleans them out.

An afternoon stroll to the Pig to check up on proceedings, the pc’s half expected to receive a message from the Black Cowl so you can imagine their surprise when Rosalie hands them a note from none other than Captain Marcus Baerfaust, requesting their attendance for dinner at the Sword of Siggismund. This is of particular note to Rueben, as this now represents a chance to redeem himself in the eyes of Averlands military leader. The group continue to maintain their stand off with Meinhardt and his cronies, though with the pub packed on a Festag afternoon, nobody is going to try anything too outrageous.

At the Sword of Siggismund the players arrive a little early for a change, and are shown to a table in a private snug. Baerfaust arrives a little later, enough time for Rueben to sample one of the house casks. He greets the young men gruffly but not rudely. Making note of their work in looking into the odd murders on the docks and the valiant work on the road. The two young lords answer his questions honestly, well the secret stash sitting in their cellar certainly doesn’t come up, but poor Rat feels hopelessly out of place playing with his food and nervously responding to direct questions. As pudding and port arrives the conversation drifts uneasily to the subject of those who were lost in the war. Some short time later Rueben discovers that Baerfaust too had lost a brother dear to him some twenty years ago. This leads to a certain sense of mutual understanding between the two, and before long Rueben is sobbing on Baerfausts shoulder, the captain remains resolute throughout but just maybe a tear wells in one of his own eyes at the now distant memory of his own lost brother. Frederick sips his port and looks on with concealed amusement as Baerfaust pats the young aspiring knight on the shoulder. Words of comfort and hope are given, the door to knighthood is not yet closed but Rueben must show a sustained sense of responsibility (for a noble) and purpose before Baerfaust will admit him to active duty again. Rat continues to look more and more uncomfortable as the soldier’s show of emotion increases.

The charm checks throughout this act were relentlessly successful, with both Baerfaust and the pcs nailing every roll.

And with that the group stagger home to the new house and get a good nights sleep

23 Sigmarzeit (Angestag).

Waking in unusual surroundings breakfast is a slightly less indulgent affair with just one member of staff to run the show. Sadly Rueben’s leg is still no better yet, though Frederick is feeling a little more like himself. Rat takes a look at Rueben’s damaged armour but he is still learning to clean the stuff let alone repair it, and with another job looming a trip to the smithy must wait. So off to the Red Arrow offices again to earn an invitation.

Weiss greets the group outside the coach yard, he has an attendant with him carrying some bundles of cloth. These are presented to the pcs as tabards with the von Kaufman insignia on them. An explanation that these are representative of the Grafs employment and support of the group, and as the responsibilities that go with it, does little to ease Ruebens displeasure at having to wear another houses coat of arms. Fortunately Frederick is more politicaly astute and calms the young pistolier. As the mood settles a coach rolls out and out of the window leans Clothilde von Alptraum. She greets the young lords by name and smiles warmly. Instantly all three men are galvanised into a positive conviction on the mission ahead. As they set out Rueben takes point riding Oakfoot, with Rat and Frederick joining the lady and her bodyguard Khun in the coach.

A pleasant journey out of the city and through the countryside follows, even Rueben seems to be genuinely happy. Inside the coach Frederick talks to Clothilde. It has been a few years since he proposed marriage to Clothilde, admittedly in part just to piss his father off, his father being a staunch Leitdorf supporter. However, she is the kind of woman that one could build a life with, and a more mature Frederick has not given up hope on winning her over. It is with mutual affection that they catch up, Clothilde is pleased that Frederick is now putting his energy into doing some good. In due course Clothilde turns to Rat, who up till now has been a little overwhelmed, and asks to hear of his story. How did he come to be involved with von Kasselheim and von Galantha. Rat slowly lets his guard down and in time he finds himself happily chatting away with Clothilde. The lady shows both compassion and genuine interest in Rats humble beginnings. She deftly reaches into a small cupboard under the seat and produces some Brettonian sparkling white wine. Khun declines but the other occupants enjoy a spring morning with fine drinks.

It is something of a shame when, after passing a run-down farm shed, four armed men jump out on them. Alarmingly they seem to be working as a team. Two men with shields and spears are covering another two with handguns. They demand the immediate delivery of the von Alptraum diamond.

GM note; I am running this scene with the ex-soldiers having trained the others. Use of guarded position and combat focus initiated at the start of the encounter.

Clothilde looks at the scene with worried apprehension, Frederick excuses himself and steps out of the coach unloading his pistol into the nearest bandit with a spear. The man cries out in pain, and in a moment of thunderous cracking of gunpowder the bandits and Rueben have all fired shots. Rueben is hit and finds it far more painful than the crossbows were but blasts his opponent backwards into the muddy road. Giselbert Khun hands a crossbow to Rat and readies his own pistol. One of the spearmen engages Rueben and stabs at him weakly.

Frederick draws his rapier in the flourish of an unspoken challenge to the other spearman, in a moment the two are fighting for their lives, both of them desperately searching for that telling blow. As Oakfoot lashes out at the spearman attacking his master Rat weighs in, leaning out of the coach window with a telling shot on the standing gunman, hitting him painfully in the thigh. The arm of the crossbow jams against the edge of the window however and catapults itself out of the coach (Chaos star!) Rat stares, as much amazed that he hit as that the weapon is now out of reach.

The grounded gunman reloads while sitting in the muddy dyke, and looses another shot at Rueben. This one is much more telling, taking him under the lip of the helmet and glancing off the base of the skull (nerve damage serious injury!). The other gunman sees Rat has dropped his crossbow, sneers, and lets fire at the elderly Giselbert who is drawing a bead on his comrades. Giselbert takes a very nasty wound also, and his return fire falters.

Rueben draws his second pistol and kills the spearman dead. Panting for breath he looks around to see Rat reappearing at the window with another crossbow and Frederick dispatching his opponent, though his shirt is once again stained with blood. Well, he’ll be glad we pinched some of that silk now he mused. As his eyes focussed on the man lying in the ditch, he saw the barrel come up again.

“Not again” he thought forlornly before pain exploded in his shield hand as then bullet ricocheted inside his gauntlet (another serious injury!). Not yet aware that Frederick is unopposed the other gunman shoots Giselbert again, downing the old veteran. As Frederick closes in he is pleasantly surprised to see the man buck in pain and fall to the floor, and Rat’s smiling face from the coach window. He didn’t drop the crossbow this time either. Frederick dispatched the squealing man with the same thrust used on the boar. He was vaguely aware it had come from Senor di Stefano’s classes, the Magritta thrust he called it.

Rueben, clutching on to Oakfoot with all his fading strength urges him forward. The trusty steed does not fail his master and grinds the last bandit into the floor as he tries to flee. Clothilde rushes from the coach to tend to the fallen Giselbert, she is plainly upset and urges that they all travel immediately to a lodge her family own nearby. Nobody disagrees with this thought and they hurry on. Before they leave Frederick collects the handguns, quietly observing that they appear to have been standard issue Averland military stock, with the emblem crudely sanded off. He also retrieves the key from around on of the bandits neck.

GM note; Rueben finished this combat on three criticals, two of them with permanent injuries and he was only one more critical wound from activating both thresholds, he also still has a disease and 6 fatigue. The players face was a picture, so many bad cards ;).

They arrive at the lodge to be received by the skeleton staff that live there awaiting a member of the von Alptraum household. The injured are rushed upstairs to be attended to by the elderly maid. A simple meal is produced from the kitchens, yet none of the privileged even think of complaining.

The next morning, for the first time in many many months, Rueben wakes and takes the accustomed deep breaths to clear the shock of reliving that fateful day in the pass but does not reach for the bottle. The pain in his neck and arm are a blistering jolt back to reality. There is still a journey home to be made and people are relying on him to keep it together. What was it that Captain Baerfaust had said? Wincing, Rueben eases himself down the stairs to meet with the rest. He finds Rat busying himself with helping the serving girl produce breakfast, Clothilde and Frederick are sitting chatting with a pot of mint tea.

GM note; Ruebens player had just bought the talent Stubborn as a Dwarf at the end of the last session, this morning was the first time he had managed to turn the 2 stress he gets each time he sleeps for the Omens of Doom he is suffering from into 1 stress and 1 fatigue, then use assess the situation as he wakes up and prepares to leave his room to remove those too. Effectively the player used the mechanics as a tool to decide when the character was ready to approach sobriety. I like.

The journey home is a quiet one, the tracks to the bandits lair are spotted and the hideout is cleaned out of anything valuable, including a stolen pearl necklace. The broken pistol, complete with Averland sun emblem, is logged and taken to sell for parts. Giselbert slowly begins to regain his strength, though he does not offer a word of complaint.

Back at the city its straight to the doctors for the lordlings, the good doctor Draupnir is relishing the repeat business. If these two keep getting shot and stabbed he’ll soon be taking that vacation to the south coast of Estallia. Rat is given any loot to fence off, so its trips to smiths and back to see Mathilda Durbein to get rid of the pearl necklace. She is also most interested to catch up with Rats high flying new lifestyle. When the lords get back to the Red Arrow offices, Curd tells them that von Kaufman wants to take them out to dinner at the Journeys End tonight, and discuss the forthcoming exhibition. Mission accomplished the pair return to lounging it in the said inn. It appears that other noble houses are arriving for the exhibition too. Both Leitdorfs, and Theo von Tuchtenhagen are in the Journeys End with their various entourages. Frederick sighs as he sees the almost forgotten Gemima standing near the bar, and his old flame from Nuln Gerlind Boehm sitting at Ferdinand Leitdorfs table. No contest here but a bath is definitely needed. Rueben heads straight to Ferdinand and joins his table. Before long they are reminiscing on the good times of Marius Leitdorfs reign. But due to a bizarre misunderstanding, as Rueben is telling Ferdinand of his recent endeavours along the docks, the Leitdorf lord assumes that Rueben is in fact this mysterious new crime lord called the Black Cowl! Rueben again runs with the ball, and playing with his earlier ruse the pair of them begin a very quiet and ambiguous discussion on the merits of smuggling arms into the city, raising a small force from the criminal cast, and holding a coup combining this with an external military force.

GM note; As part of his characters backround, Frederick  von Galantha has had a relationship with the lady in waiting Gerlind Boehm during their time together in Nuln. I am playing Gerlind as a lady of hedonistic tastes and a sometime devotee of the cult of pleasure. She represents the dominant figure in Frederick’s desire for sexual experimentation, and as yet is part of his life that he is both fascinated and fearful of.

Eventually he is interrupted by a refreshed Frederick, who greets the group eloquently. Polite exchanges are given. In short order Frederick has a private dance and conversation with his old flame Gerlind Boehm. Quiet suggestions take place out of earshot of others before Frederick returns her to Ferdinands table. At this stage the highborn are intruded apon by Gemima (the merchants daughter and one time fling), who chucks her wine over Frederick and proclaims him “a cad and a liar!”. Lord Leitdorf immediately rises and asks Frederick if he wishes to have this middle class upstart flogged for her rudeness, von Galantha waves him down protesting that it simply is not worth the nusciance. Gerlind regards this scene with a certain amount of amusement.

Ferdinand Leitdorf asks the two noble born pcs if they will be attending the exhibition themselves. They respond that they are just arranging the invitations with Graf von Kaufman. As the bluebloods are parading and politicking, Rat tries to ingratiate himself with some of the other staff present in the inn. First he talks to an elderly gentleman with the look of a soldier about him who he saw arriving with Kastor Leitdorf. The man brushes Rat off as brass class servant of little importance, so he tries his luck cautiously with the man in decorated robes sitting with Theo von Tuchtenhagen. Rats cheerful optimism is again rebuffed, this time by some more condescending put downs. Rat is informed he is lowering the tone of the conversation, but does in the process reveal that Theo’s aide Dagobert Gabor is a Gold Wizard. Rat remains optimistic after being given a quick out from being stuck in a conversation with a wizard!

At about nine in the evening the players are shown through to a private snug for their meal by a well dressed waiter. He advises them that the Graf will be along in due course and hands them menu’s. Rat excuses himself as he feels out of place dining in this fashion and is nervous on the arrival of the Graf, and he quietly informs the other two he plans to take a watch position over the docks.

A fine meal is taken and von Kaufman arrives during the pudding course, he joins them for a portion of stewed apple and custard followed by a decent port. Pleasantries over he then asks them to assist him in the presentation of his forthcoming exhibition. He is pleased with their application over the last few days, and with the variety of diplomatic skills they appear to hold, even Clothilde herself had nothing but glowing praise for all of them, even the young lad called Rat. He is also interested to hear of their discoveries regarding the renegade guards and stolen firearms. They have a short discussion over the concerning nature of this coupled with the blackpowder coaches going missing. He asks them to report to the Red Arrow offices tomorrow at ten sharp.

Rat meanwhile settles into one of the sewage outlets spanning the docks not far from the Pig, and watches for any sign of misadventure.

GM note; I had kind of been expecting this from the moment I read the plot. I have decided to play it according to how well the players run their watches, and at what stage the skaven plan is running on. Whatever happens should a single player watch alone in the middle of the night, alone, with no one else to help them, alone, just like some horror film where the teenagers all panic and split up, well…   that sounds like an invitation, and I pulled no punches on Rats player.

After watching some of the pubs clientele staggering home, then a short while later some suspicious looking boatmen ferrying goods across the Aver things begin to quiet down on the docks. Rat gets himself comfortable, stroking Spike the weasel to ease his nerves.

Opposed Observation vs Stealth checks in both directions for Rat against Skrabb. Rat fails on all counts, Skrabb uses an Agility based melee attack to good effect.

The first thing Rat knows to let him know he is in deep trouble is the glint of a blade flashing towards his face. Unable to move the blade catches him in the side of the head clattering it into the wall of the outlet. Rat reacts on instinct channelling the pain into power, drawing upon his own fear. Before he can stop he realises that something has gone badly wrong. In somewhat deeper terror he watches as his body turns to stone and he topples forwards into the mud and sewage.

Rat takes eleven wounds and tried to cast Sadistic Glee, but generated multiple chaos stars in doing so, his miscast card was petrification leaving immobile but impervious to most damage.

Frederick and Rueben are returning to meet up with Rat after concluding their discussions with von Kaufman, when they see Spike the weasel scurrying towards them squeaking animatedly. They run after the excited animal who leads them to Rats body which is now moving again and desperately extracting its head from the mudflats. With a squelching sound Rats bloodied scalp reappears. He recounts the tale of being attacked by a mysterious figure in a black cowl, before he er…  got knocked out and landed in the mud. The two nobles assist him back on to the docks and together they head back to the apartment behind the Penterplatz.

After Rat was petrified, Skrabb stabbed him again but realised he had now turned to stone and suspecting wizadry of an unknown source he did what all good self-respecting skaven do. He legged it to better his own chances of survival and avoid robbing his race of his indisputable talents.

End of second session (about 20 hours play so far). We cover recovery tests for the nights rest to finish the session. Rueben amazingly manages to heal both his nerve damage critical and blacklegged disease. Next session we will kick off with the Menagerie, and hopefully develop the players false ruses with a non existent coup…



#5 valvorik

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 05:56 AM

That's cool.  I love it when those miscast cards deliver some great plot stuff.



#6 No:12

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 08:08 AM

 

 

3rd Session; Frederick, Rat and Larson present. Rueben arrived a few hours late.

I am using nearly all of the excellent work written by Valvorick developing the menagerie scene. I have also added a few bits of my own concerning ambitious manuevering by various nobles.

Larson’s introduction to the story is centred on the task given to him by the secret order of Unity, a group of radical wizards in Altdorf who believe that casting from a single wind is an evolutionary restraint, that the Empire’s true destiny lies with humanity learning to cast from all the winds to better defeat its enemies. Mauer is a member of this order who goes by the pseudonym of Midnight Candle, within the Unity he operates as a roaming agent with interest, and sympathies, toward the Empires many hedge wizards. The mission given to Larson is to retrieve a document from the only known amber wizard of the society, a man named Venerable Owl who also works with a small group of witches hiding in the wild, and return it to Altdorf for the society to study. Midnight Candle is the point of contact to find Owl. Larson arrives in Averheim and is quickly invited into the Sun Society with his magical education, from there von Kaufman identifies him and hires him to help staff the party.

25 Sigmarzeit (Marktag).

Rueben doesn’t join the party for breakfast, enjoying an impromptu lie-in, leaving Frederick and Rat to be served food in the pantry by Fredericks butler Valrus. After breakfast the pair head across the busy Penterplatz to meet with von Kaufmans people at the Red Arrow. Idly window shopping on the way they bump into an engaging chap questioning the current class and governing system that Averheim is being subjected to. Rat declines the pamphlet he offers (thanks Valvorick), not knowing his letters and all, Frederick buys one and casually reads the contents to Rat as they stroll, thanking the political agitator before they go. He introduces himself as Rambrecht and bids them a fine day. Frederick finds the pamphlet amusing, and also the knowledge that there is someone broadcasting opinions such as these to the public.

At the Red Arrow they are met by Curd Weiss again, who briefly explains their duties and responsibilities for the day ahead. First up is assisting Weiss in transporting the artifacts from the safe house at the coach depot, to the marquee at the Averburg. At the depot they meet with three of the Averland Greatswords also charged with the safe transportation of the goods. Greetings are exchanged as the final preparations are made, a mildly jovial sense of optimism pervades the group as the heavily laden wagon sets out. Frustratingly as they cross the side of the Penterplatz market two street urchins run off with a bag of apples from a street stall, the cries of outrage spook the horses who lurch forward to flee the commotion. Frederick gallantly dives on the now loose reigns dangling to the side of the wagon and manfully hangs on as his weight brings the horses sideways to a nearby wall and a halt. The goods teeter atop the wagon bed with Rat waiting to catch them, then settle. A look of relief passes across Weiss’s face.

Frederick hauls himself to his feet and, cursing loudly, brushes the manure he has just been dragged through from his legs. A fine way to make an entrance to a swanky party. He is jolted from his disgust by a hearty clap on the back from Lt Schaffer, and genuine “Nice work”.

From there they are taken to the menagerie grounds within the Averburgs gardens. Here they see the Graf in a heated debate with Captain Baerfaust. It appears that he is unhappy with a private security firm being hired in place of his garrison soldiers, fortunately he does not appear to take insult to von Kaufmans statement that he wants “helpful well-mannered and educated security, not a bunch of thugs in metal stomping around ruining the ambience…”. Baerfaust leaves and von Kaufman greets the players warmly and walks with them to the marquee to ensure they are given appropriate livery, and introduced to the other staff. “Bertie and Freya are the waiting staff, and that’s Albrun over there by the beasts. Oh yes, this is Larson. He is a member of the Sun Society and will be giving our guests the full benefit of his education in the Gold College of Altdorf.” Von Kaufman adds “It is imperative that everyone is safe and has a lovely time, but it is also important that we stimulate the guests interests in purchasing the artifacts. I do hope we understand one another.” He then asks them to get familiar with the grounds over the next few hours before the first guests arrive.

Predictably the first things they want to look at are the beasts in the menagerie. It is a good backdrop to introduce the new PC Larson to Frederick and Rat. As Rat quizzes Larson, a little fearfully, the apprentice is far more interested in the animals. Frederick walks with them grumbling about holding a high profile event right next to dangerous animals. But he’s been in a bad mood since he got dragged through the manure. Rat and Larson maintain a cheerful optimism at the day ahead, though both of them are made somewhat uncomfortable at the apparent unhappiness of some of the creatures. A thorough search of the marquee, with the exception of the covered cabinets at von Kaufmans express orders, reveals a croquet set, some two dozen glasses and a crate of fine Bretton wine, and a small wash bucket and towels. Rat stashes a crossbow with the crate and glasses just in case. A quick run round the hedge maze further compounds Fredericks cynicism over the choice of venue.

At this point I introduced the 9 space “oh what a lovely afternoon” tracker, explaining its relevance on guests happiness and likelihood of furthering the Grafs influence, either politically or financially through buying artifacts. I advised them it also represents the feeling of the party.

At about three in the afternoon guests start to arrive. Clothilde arrives with her injured bodyguard Giselbert, Amelie Steiner and Fausta Herzog saunter down from von Kaufmans suite in the Averburg, already a little drunk. The Leitdorf contingent arrives, but Kastor does not, instead his manservant delivers to von Kaufman a note of apology for his absence (I decided that powers such as Kastor Leitdorf and Matthias von Grunwald would both aspire to be present at the party, however in our game I am running them as having intelligence networks slightly more advanced than the other houses. They have both discovered the news of impending war a few days early and are busy with their own preparations for that!). Eventually all of the guests have arrived or made their excuses, both the serving staff are rushed off their feet. Larson begins to make small talk with Luminary Mauer as they peruse the menagerie, the awestruck Rat scampers along with them, his fear of wizards starting to be over ridden by his curiosity. Frederick makes polite greetings of welcome to the houses of Leitdorf and von Tuchtenhagen, before settling into a more involved discussion with Clothilde and Dalmotti over the artists sketches of the flora and fauna of the Southlands. Rueben has now woken up and, after being directed by Weiss at the Red Arrow, is desperately trying to organise himself to get to the Averburg.

As well as the excellent additions to this part of the story written by Valvorick I have also introduced a few extra npcs and social encounters. Beatrice Hurdleberger, a very wealthy widow, has been invited for her obvious wealth, a man named Thomas Fruntz who is acting as a local buying agent for a wealthy house in Marienburg was arranged an invite some weeks ago, and Unterlector Glotz of the temple of Sigmar will all be attending as a purely social presense.

The falconry show kicks off in earnest, with von Kaufman narrating the show as Albrun Falk handles the birds. While the oohs and aaahs circulate, so do the pcs. Frederick joins the show with Clothilde and Waldo, but at the sight of the Halflings discomfort he merely supresses his mirth (OWaLA -1).

Rueben arrives at last, leaving his horse at the gates of the palace, and rather red faced apologises to von Kaufman for his delay. After being issued with a liveried tabard he is briefly shown round the marquee and introduced to the serving staff. Von Kaufman excuses himself to see to the guests while Rueben puts on his tabard. Freya arrives to refill her tray with glasses of wine, Rueben empties one of the glasses to settle his nerves, then has another one for his thirst, then takes another because it is actually rather good stuff. By this point half the tray is empty and she will have to get more glasses so Rueben thoughtfully finishes off the last few (failed res check and Rueben is now intoxicated). Thoroughly settled down now, Rueben strolls off to check out the grounds for himself.

While Mauer and Larson are discussing the beasts the Luminary asks the apprentice how his studies are going, Larson replies he is often seeking new challenges and sometimes finds himself burning the midnight candle to learn all the things he needs. Mauer nods thoughtfully and says such things are often necessary, he invites Larson round to his apartment the following evening, that they might talk further on such studies. Larson gratefully accepts, and he and Rat withdraw back to the the other guests.

Ferdinand can be seen swaggering pompously around the menagerie, with Hadelind at one side, and the fawning Theo von Tuchtenhagen at the other.

Frederick notices that Ferdinands wife Claudia is sitting in the tent away from the party, and that she is accompanied by Gerlind Boehm. Excusing himself he leaves the entertaining falconry show and goes to charm the young ladies. Claudia is complaining. Of her headache, of the politics, of the noise of the birds, of Clothilde, basically anything she can think of. After she runs out of steam she requests Gerlind escort her to her rooms in the palace. Gerlind winks at Frederick and asks him to help her make sure poor Claudia gets to her rooms. Frederick, who’s lust has been rising ever since he saw Gerlind arrive, agrees immediately. They escort the lady to her rooms in the Leitdorf assigned quarters of the Averburg, then Gerlind mischieviously suggests they find a room for their own entertainment. Frederick goes to a place that few dare tread, and in another plane a dark god laughs with gleeful anticipation.

Larson returns to the crowd and notices Dagobert Gabor leering at Amelie Steiner, who looks around for an escape. Larson immediately recognises him as one of the toadies attatched to those senior students of the Gold College who scorned and bullied him as the child of a line of delusional crazies destined for another tragic suicide. He introduces himself with an evil grin. Barbed pleasantries are exchanged, Gabors insinuation that Larson is nothing but a lucky freak dressed in second hand rags  is met by a counter that he has learnt much and is here as a result of his talent not his robes. The two glare at each other with thinly veiled contempt, before Gabor sees a glimpse of the madness he once taunted at scuttles off to find his patron. (I ran this as an opposed Intimidate test using Will Power rather than strength).

Rat notices Wanda sitting alone in the entrance to the marquee and politely asks if she is all right, she replies that she is. Rat brings her a drink and begins to tell her he finds all this a bit overwhelming, it’s only been a couple of weeks since he was working the streets after all. Wanda brightens considerably at this, and confesses she feel exactly the same way. For the rest of the falconry show the two of them drop all pretences at airs and graces, reverting to hushed street talk and getting on famously. Wanda also confesses she detests Theo but cannot refuse his demands as her family is poor and he is a nobleman.

Rueben approaches Ferdinand Leitdorf, who excuses himself from the others for a private chat. The pair stroll around the periphery of the general crowd quietly discussing the various aspects of the party. It is remarked by Ferdinand that von Kaufman is obviously a staunch ally and supporter of Clothilde von Alptraum, and the success of this celebration of von Kaufmans expedition could be seen as an influential play towards the popularity of these two houses. It is remarked that should this event become a disaster then it would likewise undermine the political favour of the von Alptraums, which would be beneficial to the Leitdorfs. Rueben agrees that this is most assuredly the case, it would be a shame for example if one of these dangerous creatures were to escape in the middle of the party, but how would this benefit Rueben himself. Ferdinand smiles and promises that one favour will surely be rewarded by another. At this they separate to avoid suspicion, and Rueben mulls over his situation while patrolling the area.

Ferdinand Leitdorf is seen addressing Waldemarius. The latter stiffly responds and walks away. Larson quickly intercepts the Halfling asking if all is ok, Waldo tells him that the insensitive Ferdinand had the temerity to suggest that he should petition the Mootland elders to support the Leitdorf cause, offering favourable terms on food and wine trades and exclusive restaurant tax breaks. Waldo indignantly sates that the elders still remember the Nearstream massacre, and will not be bought so easily. Larson puts a comforting arm around the Halfling and walks him back to where Clothilde and Amelie are watching the hawks, apologising for the noblemans insensitively (saving the OWaLA tracker).

A tray of dried preserved fruit is taken round by Freya (mango and papaya shipped back from the Southlands). Rat and Wanda tuck in eagerly, Rueben turns his nose up at this crazy nonsense.

As Waldo returns to the crowd with a fresh plate of cheesy nibbles he is interrupted by Hogweed the jester, who tells him a joke that may be taken in poor taste. Waldo is outraged by the nature of the joke and protests to Theo von Tuchtenhagen that he bring his jester to order. Theo looks him dead in the eye and screeches with high pitched laughter. Waldo cries out at the outrageous rudeness of this and Rueben moves swiftly in to keep order. He puts an arm around Hogweed and starts to propel him out of the area, as Hogweed protests Rueben discreetly punches him in the stomach and attempts to carry him away. As Hogweed slumps winded, he falls through Ruebens grip and lands squealing on the floor. Theo’s mood immediately switches from laughter to rage at this perceived insult. He in turn cries out to Frederick von Kaufman that this is unacceptable, that he should hire a thug who would lay hands on the guests. Von Kaufman tries to calm the situation but it is getting out of control. Ferdinand Leitdorf arrives and lays a hand on the shoulders of both Rueben and Theo, claiming that this is all a misunderstanding born from the obvious excitement of such an entertaining party. With both participants playing for his favour order is restored and tempers are calmed. It does however make von Kaufman look as though he is no longer in control of his own party, and he leaves flustered with an angry glance at Rueben (-1 to the OWaLA tracker).

The falconry show reaches a conclusion and Rat cheerfully begins to organise a game of doubles croquet to keep the guests entertained and distract from the unsavoury events (successful charm check +1 to OWaLA). Frederick von Kaufman avoids the game as he is composing himself for the unveiling of the exhibits. Larson takes this opportunity to chat to Beatrice Hurdleberger, whom he knows from the Sun Society. After idle chit chat on the marvels of falconry he begins to gently hype the exotic nature of the exhibits, reinforcing the “once in a lifetime” nature of this opportunity. (successful charm check produces a +1 to the OWaLA tracker to occur at the end of the party).

Frederick returns slightly before Gerlind Boehm as the croquet game concludes, with the surprise winners being the now more than tipsy Amelie and Fausta. Frederick looks incredibly pleased with himself. His pleasure is short lived as he is soon accosted by a concerned looking Rueben who relates the conversation regarding Ferdinands plan to have the party ruined. Rueben states he has a plan, to release the giant spider from the cage, then jump in as the guests realise the danger, slay the beast then all will consider it yet another piece of courtly gossip and the party was absolutely the place to be! Frederick rubs his eyes as he comes crashing back to earth, he explains to Rueben that there is simply no way that releasing a giant spider into the party can possibly be a good idea. This slowly evolves into a minor argument as Rueben, still drunk, gets more and more obsessed by the notion that he can slay the spider and entertain the guests. Rat joins them to find out what is going on, and pleads with Rueben not to do anything…  risky. As von Kaufman calls for all to attend the marquee and prepare for the unveiling the conversation finishes with Frederick telling Rueben in no uncertain terms not to let the spider out, but with the distinct feeling his words have fallen on deaf, or dumb, ears.

The guests mill about the marquee, enjoying further refreshments, Larson moves to the front of the crowd ready to offer any insight into the exhibits. At this point the pcs notice a woman approaching dressed as a Templar of Sigmar. She has a brief conversation with Baerfaust on the way in, Frederick loiters nearby and catches that she is here on official business. She also greets Unterlector Glotz respectfully before moving purposefully through the crowd. At first the reaction of the guests is one of either drunken ignorance or deliberately appearing not to have noticed the witch hunter Adele Kutzenblum. Mauer is collared by her and subjected to sneering accusations against his character, suggesting he may be here to get hold of otherwise forbidden items. Mauer hotly refuses this. The conversation is short and doesn’t really go anywhere else. Then Adele corners the Graf while he is preparing his notes on presenting, she questions him on the whereabouts of Johann Templeman, suggesting that it is very suspicious that he has disappeared. Another awkward row, bitchy gossip begins in the crowd, if not started then at least fuelled by Theo and Hadelind Beate. By now the pcs are far too disorganised to quell the comments (-1 OWaLA).

The exhibits are unveiled to many ooooohs and aaaahs, and soon thoughts of witch hunters have gone to be replaced with gossip and questions over the artifacts.

I have used the list of artifacts within Valvoricks revised menagerie act as well as a few of my own. I have listed all the items here.

Leering-faced effigy of smoky jade - The style and what exactly it portrays are unknown, the face is vaguely goblinish  This has a large value as a unique item.

Primitive necklaces and Bracelets with large roughly worked gems – Simple uncut gemstones looted from the Southlanders, by the greed and sense of entitlement of the expedition.

Ivory Carvings of savage figures and gods - The work of human savages inhabiting the Southlands, these have some value as collector items.

A small collection of exotic plants.

Wooden head with mad staring eyes and sharp teeth - This is a religious fetish of some sort, possibly a savage depiction of a Khorne manifestation worshipped by some savages in Southlands.

Large gold plaque - The square-patterned sigils carved into this large near-square of gold are exotic and not of any known script.  Between apparently being solid gold and having these unique markings, this is an extremely valuable item.

 Large Green Egg – A giant lizard like egg, likely dead.

Collection of gold coins – These coins have crude markings and imprints. Obviously the currency of a primitive race.

As the last exhibit is unveiled, the Jade Effigy, and the oohs have subsided, Luminary Mauers voice rings out “Evil. It is evil and should be destroyed”. The now quite annoyed von Kaufman declares that there is no way he is handing over this valuable piece to be destroyed, he argues that this is something that should be studied as a very rare and unusual item. As the Luminary still vehemently disagrees von Kaufman calls for the other wizards present to make their own call. Gabor steps forward, and with a mildly supercilious expression declares he sees nothing dangerous about the piece, just a lack of taste. Theo laughs from the crowd. Von Kaufman asks for Larsons opinion, Larson says he believes the piece needs to be studied further before any decisions are made concerning its future. Mauer states that this is foolishness and storms out of the party (no change to the tracker).

A short interlude to the party occurs as von Kaufman allows the guests a closer inspection and discussion. Clothilde appears interested in the plants, for donation to the church of Shallya, and Beatrice Hurdleberger is questioning the Graf over the ivory carvings, and their importance for study purposes. Von Tuchtenhagen, Glotz and Gabor only have eyes for the gold plaque.

It is at this point that Rueben slips away from the group and finds himself at the cage of the giant spider. It has a door with two padlocks on, after checking for watching eyes he deftly forced the padlocks and draws the bolts back before returning to the party. All done he walks out to the edge of the menagerie to find his warhorse Oakfoot, leading him to just out of sight of the party to wait for the screaming.

As the wine has been flowing Amelie Steiner drunkenly suggests a game of hide and seek, donning a blindfold and wax earplugs she challenges the others to find her within the hedge maze. Some of the younger souls accept, while the others place bets. As they head off after Amelie it begins to cloud over and the remaining guests take cover in the marquee. Frederick nervously paces around, Larson hangs around near the artifacts and Rat loiters by the entrance of the marquee.

At this point I decided to run the event as written, concluding that eventually the spider would escape but rather than assault the party it would likely seek to find somewhere secluded among the many trees and hedges within the Averburg gardens. I can then use it in the future for some mini cameo in Averheim.

A shrill scream is heard from the hedge maze, immediately Frederick heads off into the now gusty wind with Rat close on his heels. On the far side of the grounds Rueben spurs Oakfoot forwards. Larson stays put in the marquee, the Graf orders him to accompany the other staff, Larson replies he is safeguarding those guests remaining within the marquee. Worried faces glance around and mutters of concern and dismay fill the party.

Frederick and Rat arrive at the south entrance to the maze to find Wanda collapsed on the ground and nearby the body of Albrun Falk with deep and obviously terminal gash wounds to his torso. Frederick, still suspicious of Ruebens earlier conversation, tries to determine if there is any sign of a large spider nearby, there is not. Rat tends to Wanda and finds her fearful but unharmed, cradling her in his arms he helps her to wake and stand. She nervously clutches to him, is there an unlikely romance in the air?

Rueben charges in to the scene but finds no foe to slay, and instead stands in his stirrups to get a better view of the surroundings, he does notice a large beast moving in the maze. Just as he is about to give pursuit a loud bang sounds from the marquee. All of them race back to the tent.

Back inside the first thing Larson knows about it is a concussive explosion followed by some really unpleasant smoke. The guests scream and panic, climbing over each other in their attempts to flee, falling over benches and smashing glasses. Only Larson and Giselbert stay and try to secure the artifacts. Larson hears the other scream in pain and tries to locate him, the thick smoke choking and blinding him makes this tough and he is soon stumbling around helplessly. Outside the others see the thick smoke billowing from the entrance of the marquee, also disgorging staggering men and women coughing and weeping as they collapse on to the grass gasping for air. Rat assists the stricken in getting clear of the entrance, Rueben dismounts and wades into the smoke, Frederick peers into the marquee trying to assess the situation, in the confusion he falls over one of the tent ropes. Inside Rueben is having little trouble with the smoke but hasn’t a clue where he is going, resorting to shouting. Larson finds Giselberts body dying and hears his final words, describing a hooded figure with terrible yellow fangs, before he dies. Then Larson too succumbs to the smoke. Eventually the smoke thins and Frederick can see Rueben swinging his sword at the air in vain, him and Rat carefully enter to join the hapless noble. There they identify that, just as they thought, there has been a theft. The jade effigy and the gold plaque have both been stolen. As Frederick checks round the back he finds a neat slice in the canvas. Rat helps Larson to his feet, Rueben glares at the rest of the artifacts before deciding not to try to slip one in his pocket. In any case it is the egg he really wants and it simply won’t fit in any of his pockets. Another scream this time from the maze galvanises them back to action. (End of Rally Step!)

I set up a five turn tracker as a guide for how long the players had to save Amelie, partly to enforce the sense of urgency to the situation. Three successful Obs/Athl checks would be sufficient to arrive at the scene where Amelie’s life was in danger.

As Frederick and Larson attempt to navigate the maze with little effect, Rueben charges Oakfoot straight through the greenery and directly towards the sound of the scream. Rat slips into the slipstream. Seeing Rats cunning the other two quickly follow suit. In short order they have forged a path to the enraged Demigryph to find it looming over Amelie Steiners wounded body. Rat muttered a quick prayer that made everyone feel better about the task ahead. Rueben charges forwards and opens fire with his pistol, hurting the creature. Rat and Larson stood nervously at the edge of the open area within the maze, Rat hurling a rats skull at the demigryph, the skull charged with magical energy (magic dart) strikes but to little effect. Larson draws from the celestial winds he had prepared his portents from earlier in the day sensing that the time he foresaw is nigh. As Frederick dashes forwards lunging into the animal it seems he is going to aim too high, a nudge of fate from the gold wizard sends the blade back on course spearing the beasts underbelly (A very well stocked First Portent of Amul). It roars in pain and anger lashing out at the bulky figure of Rueben, severely hurting him. Grabbing tight to his reigns Rueben rears his steed who kicks the demigryph again and again, felling it. As the adrenaline fades Rueben and Frederick attend to the beautiful Amelie, Larson arrives waving them away. Quickly tearing a strip from Fredericks shirt he begins to bind her wounds and succeeds in saving her life. As the noblemen carry her out to claim the honour of her rescue, Rat and Larson notice a small nasty looking throwing star in the hindquarters of the beast. A pang of sympathy for the now departed animal stirs within.

At the marquee the party is well and truly done. Steward Tochfel arrives with half a dozen soldiers to take statements, von Kaufman is exhausted, embarrassed and somewhat irritated by the turn of events. He informs the steward that the ill fortunes were beyond his control, and asks the players to search the grounds to find the culprits of this foul deed. Amelie is swiftly taken to the Averburg physicians, the bodies of Albrun and Giselbert are taken by priests of Morr. Clothilde leaves accompanied by Waldo but escorted out with yet more embarrassed apologies and consolations from von Kaufman. Von Tuchtenhagen declares it the most entertaining party he has been to this year, and he leaves with his entourage. Wanda looks forlornly at Rat, Larson bids Gabor farewell then giggles in a slightly insane manner, Gabor leaves with a look of mild panic. Ferdinand Leitdorf leaves with a smug smile.

In due course the players find Freyas corpse with two puffy puncture marks on the back of her shoulder. They find the cages to the giant spider and the demigryph have been opened, though strangely the spiders has been forced while the demigryphs has been picked. A gooey caustic smelling paste was found on the branches around a small gap in the hedge behind the marquee along with some odd tracks, it smells oddly familiar.

The Graf takes most of this in, rubbing his eyes, when Beatrice hurdleberger enquires if now is a good time to put a deposit on one of the artifacts. This brightens his day considerably, he asks the pcs to meet him for lunch tomorrow at the Journeys Rest and pays them an agreed thirty silver.

As the party stroll out it begins to rain again, there is little conversation, but there is the odd accusing stare at Rueben for his imbecilic drunkenness, if it wasn’t for his horse…

Later that night Larson sits up in his room at the Maids Apron tavern reading, and sets himself to attune to the portents for the day to come. The way ahead is confusing. It is even more confusing when he opens his eyes to see it is raining frogs inside his room. Slowly he brushes a frog from his arcane research notes and shoves them back in his satchel. Most odd. He closes hi seyes and tries to see the way ahead again, ah much better. A rumbling in his stomach distracts him, he lifts his shirt to find he has grown a large mouth just above his bellybutton. It licks its lips and grins at him. “Ribbit” says one of the frogs on his desk. Larson figures that’s pretty much it for the day, and opens the window before climbing into bed, carefully removing a frog from his pillow. He sleeps to a chorus of the soft thud of frogs landing in various positions in the room and the accompanying chorus of froggy “Ribbits”…

We end session 3, with Larsons player attempting First Portent of Amul out of order and pulling a hatfull of chaos stars, getting raining frogs and temporary mutation, great fun. Overall this session was dominated by character interaction and in character motivations. Ruebens player was deliberately playing an ignorant and stupid noble youth to devastating consequences and Fredericks player went to town on the self-indulgence that forms the main flaw of his character, with the two rogue wizards pretty much left to repair the damage to the party on their own. The really fun bit was that each player seemed to thrive on the challenges thrown in to the story by the other players. We also now hav



#7 No:12

No:12

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Posted 10 June 2013 - 02:27 AM

4th Session: Frederick and Rat present, Larson present for first half of session before the journey back to real life calls. We also have an old occasional player return to introduce a new character Charlie.

The streets are not a good place for a young woman to be out and about on her own, thought Charlie as she jogged lightly along the waterfront with the setting sun heating her already sweat slicked back. Well that’s what young Ute used to say, and being as she disappeared a few days ago you gotta assume she was right, poor girl. Kind of miss that terrible music while unloading the barges now. Griffon bridge came into view, and with it her Wharf Rat territory. She slows to catch her breath, not many men could catch her on foot, and this new crime boss was unlikely to send horsemen after a lowly dockworker, even one with a lithe pair of legs and hips like hers. She strokes the hilt of the throwing knife tucked inside her shirt. Still, it does have to be said that there must be a better way to earn a living round here. No way she’s gonna bed hop like that Anna woman, and serving drinks in bars just leads to fights due to the lack of bed hopping. She does like the local snotball teams, but it’s all just a bit too tame compared to the Altdorf street life of her youth.

Charlotte “Charlie”; Human female Dockhand/Servant

ST 4, TO 3, AG 4, INT 3, WP 3, FEL 3

Actions; Powerful Throw,

Charlies player took the critical Ringing Skull at character generation, a knock from the last game of snotball while tackling a sixteen stone chains gang docker on a rival team.

 

Frederick gets up early and grabs Rat for a quick breakfast before leaving, deliberately leaving that oaf Rueben to sleep off last nights alcohol. A few hours before the meeting with von Kaufman should be put to good use. There is that industrially smelling goo from last night to look into, but first a bit of stirring up the cooking pot from  the politics of last night.

In short order Frederick has located the agitator Rambrecht and offered some free information on the activities on the party held in the Averburg last night. Rambrecht cannot believe his luck. A nobleman freely giving hot information on the movements of the high and mighty. Quickly he grabs his stylus and notebook, and begins to scribble. Frederick releases information concerning the exotic nature of the Grafs treasures from the south, and also some very delicious gossip over the apparent treachery of Ferdinand Leitdorf to hire the dim-witted Rueben von Kasslehiem to release a giant spider into the party. Sure enough the spider is now missing and at large in the city! Is this Leitdorf truly a responsible candidate for the Electoral seat?!

Meanwhile at the Maids Apron Larson gets up, and is very relieved to find the mouth on his stomach has now disappeared, though his room is still housing many many frogs. The whole experience has been quite disturbing, if this happens to as talented a magician as himself then it could happen to anyone, his enemies or his friends or even the average man in the street. A mild paranoia takes hold.

I gave a hard 3D Disc check after receiving the mutation, the roll was failed with chaos stars to boot and Larson received enough stress to gain a temporary insanity Dark Suspicions. It promptly became a permanent insanity in the morning.

After dressing Larson packs his things being careful not to step on the amphibious lodgers, and goes downstairs. He politely informs the proprietor that he left his window open last night and awoke to find his room full of frogs. He asks if this is normal for that room (passed guile check). The landlord apologises and refunds him his room fees assuring him that it isn’t normal. Larson strolls out and decides that if he is going to start hobnobbing with the kind of folks from last night then he may as well look a little less like a skint student. A little gold magic and he has a handful of shiny gold crowns to spend at the tailors. After securing clothes he purchases a tasteful pocket watch to launder the remainder.

Frederick spends the remainder of the morning writing a letter to Clothilde von Alptraum at the Averburg, wishing her well, offering further condolences and asking for the pleasure of taking her out to see the Little Detective at the Sulky Sun. Inspired by this Rat goes to the gate guards to take the message and sends a verbal request to see Wanda Grunwald.

Just after noon the three meet up at the Journeys Rest for a lunch meeting with von Kaufman. The Graf is prompt and begins by greeting them and apologising for his short temper last night. Rat assures him it was quite understandable and to think nothing of it. He relaxes and asks them for their thoughts on last night. Frederick informs him that he thinks that some kind of assassin stole the items after releasing the demigryph, but that the spider appeared to have been released by a different saboteur, though he does not voice his particular suspects. Larson states he thinks that the mythical skaven are responsible, based on the vicious looking throwing star and Giselberts dying words. Von Kaufman laughs this off as folk tales, more likely it was some mutant scum trying to bring death to the ruling classes.

The conversation then turns to the retrieval of the missing items. Von Kaufman offers them a gold each for retrieving the stolen property and to avenge the murder of Albrun Falk, an old hunting friend of the Grafs. He asks them to contact him at the Red Arrow offices as soon as they have anything to report.

As they leave the inn they come back to discussing Rats close shave on the docks a few days ago, and the potential of a more secure stake out. So with a mission in the dark ahead against a foe known to be both cunning and deadly they do what any sane person would. They go shopping. Frederick, more than annoyed with general pain and ruining his lovely shirts, gets some mail armour. Rat manages to secure a single healing draught at an extortionate price, and is told that they are becoming difficult to supply due to an increase in demand (the powers that be that already know of the war have begun buying stock that will likely become high profit or seen as grand gestures of charity…). He also purchases some leather armour. Larson wanders around generally giving an opinion on the quality of any metal based goods.

During one of the moments apart from Frederick, Rat quizzes Larson on his education in magic in Altdorf, expressing his envy and also the belief that given the chance he may have been able to learn magic. Larson listens intently, when Rat asks him if he thinks there is any chance he may have such talent Larson uses his fledgling witchsight to look over the youth. He does not see anything and gently tells him such (failed magical sight check). They then approach the docks during the afternoon to have a quick scout during daylight and maybe hire a couple of heavies for added muscle.

There is now a slightly unfamiliar feel to the Handel Weg area, what with some of the more extrovert locals having been missing for some days and others feeling the effects of this intimidating new crime boss the Black Cowl. The first person that they meet is a young dockhand from the Wharf Rats called Charlie. Rat knows her to gossip with, she’s never hired him in a professional capacity but has been an occasional drinking partner in the Pig. She is returning from a run along the waterfront, which reminds Rat that she has a reputation for a deceptive level of athletisism, as some would be admirers have found out to their cost. Rat greets her casually and introduces her to Frederick and Larson, idle banter is exchanged before Frederick clocks her throwing knives and asks if she fancies earning some extra cash for a quick one night job. He explains that they are trying to catch a thief who is dangerous but in possession of some valuable property with a decent reward. Frederick generously offers her an even split in the payout (by now he has dropped class priviledges in favour of getting anyone likely to avoid him getting hurt anymore). Charlie cagily says she is not really kitted out for dangerous work, as Frederick rolls his eyes in anticipation of up-front cash requests Larson pipes up that he may well be able to help. He puts a shilling in his hand and asks all the others to put a shilling in too, then he closes his hand and tells them to put their hand on his and say “Happy gold” together. Then he opens his hand and all of the shillings have turned to gold coins, Larson returns one to each of the stunned participants and warns them the trick only lasts a few hours. Rat pockets his immediately concentrating on the strange feeling he felt flow through Larson during the enchantment. Charlie looks in wonder at the largest amount of money she has ever owned and decides that these new friends of Rats are well worth spending a bit of time with. No wonder the boys dress sense has improved. Frederick quietly pockets his coin and notes that this scrawny youth with the spectacles may well be worth his weight in gold, literally.

At this point Larson notices that of the many aromas on the docks one of the more dominant ones bears a striking resemblance to the pungent substance found in the menagerie. A quick reconnaissance identifies it as quicklime from the lime kiln and the tanneries.

They then take Charlie to the smiths to pick up a couple of throwing axes and a bit of body armour before returning to the docks. An inspection of the sewer outlets along the waterfront singles out three sluice gates that contain lime within the waste. Cautiously they proceed down the central gate and into the sewers. It is particularly unpleasant for Frederick who has never been anywhere near a sewer before, however it is Rat who slips in the filth and crashes loudly into the slop (utterly botched stealth check), the others wince at the noise and continue. As they join the main sewer line they notice an area where the wall has been knocked through into some room beyond. Before they have a chance to react a green light glows from the depths and a large silhouette lurches towards towards them at frightening speed. Larson reacts first throwing a ball of flame at the creature, causing it to shriek in pain but continue to charge forwards regardless. It bounds into the light from Rats lantern and the boy mutters his good luck prayer, which again causes everyone else to feel slightly more optimistic too. It is a grossly overgrown rat man, with huge teeth and talons and a scorpions tail growing from its back. The skaven meets with Frederick and powers through his attempts at classical rapier defence, causing a nasty gash to his arm. Frederick responds with a well-placed blow to the creatures thigh, behind him Rat begins to fuel himself from the creatures pain drinking in the agony. Charlie takes a daring shot with one of her axes and hits too, the beast stumbles but remains standing. From the darkness a small star hisses through the air and strikes Larson, causing a minor but painful wound. The green glow from beyond flares then pops, and a fast moving shape scuttles into the sewer passage. Rat takes a deep breath and lets loose all his bitterness and pain into a dark ball of dark magic. It strikes the massive skaven and finally its legs give way and it slumps to a heap on the floor. Charlie hurls a knife at the smaller and faster assailant now clearly in view, it sidesteps the blade chittering in some unknown tongue, Frederick advances meaningfully and tries a deft but deadly strike. He is shocked to find the skaven beats him to the punch, gouging a deep cut with its poisoned blade. Fredericks own strike falls wayward and he sways as the poison hits his bloodstream. A touch of panic hits him as the realisation dawns that this opponent is clearly more than a match for him. The vermin assassin then slices him with the very same attack he wished to inflict, adding insult to yet another injury, Frederick is now barely able to stand let alone fight. Rat throws a dhar fuelled rat skull at the creature, but to little effect. Larson channels a little flow into the rat mans vile weapon heating it instantly, it squeaks in anger and pain dropping the weapon into the sewage releasing a cloud of steam. Unarmed its courage fails and it attempts to flee into the darkness, another rat skull impacts on its back but still it runs. Just as it is about to disappear out of sight an axe turns end over end and buries itself into the skavens back, felling it at last. Charlie offers a grim smile. Warilly Rat looks into the room on the other side of the knocked through wall, it appears to be an old cellar, long since buried under the streets above. Within are a number of stinking rag strewn nests, but nothing obvious of value. Larson steps quickly to the Crying Sword, wielded by the skaven assassin, and wraps it in some sacking. Once Frederick is able to stand they go to inspect the bodies and make sure they are dead. As they watch the bodies fizz from within, quickly decomposing into a mound of mulch that slowly seeps into the sewage. No wonder no one believes in these bastards.

The assassins body fell just under a grate in the ceiling that appears to lead onto the street, it looks as though he may have been intending to leave by this exit. This is noted before Charlie supports the utterly knackered Frederick and the group make their way back topside, and straight to the good Dr Draupnirs surgery for some well needed attention before bed.

At this point Larsons player had to make the journey back to reality, so we are back to three plucky heroes for the next morning.

They rise at a reasonable hour, Charlie electing to stay over at the rich nobs house as the breakfast is probably better there, and she has little to fear from the scrawny Rat in the servants dorm. Frederick is still a little moody that the objects have not been recovered yet, but they proceed outside to investigate the skavens activities further. The streets are alive with a considerable increase in human traffic. As the party cut through the edge of the Penterplatz on their way to the docks they see Cpt Baerfaust drilling a whole detatchment of soldiers, with many more preparing wagons and arms along the wings. Children hang around to stare at the goings on while adults hurry past. A half naked man preaches to a small but fearful and adoring crowd of the virtues of penance and the coming of a judgement. Rat stops to ask a couple of the kids what is going on, the bigger of the two replies “Aven’t you ‘eard, the Empires at war!”

This idle gossip is quickly confirmed by more solid contacts, and annoyingly the crew find that shopping trips and doctors visits are now rising in price. Frederick finds himself being waved at by Baerfaust who asks them to spare him a few moments. He tells them he is going to be leaving the city for Altdorf to lead the Averland war effort. He does have a task that he wishes accomplished in his absence. The witch finder Adele Ketzenblum has been doing some digging around the source and identity of this new crime lord who goes by the name of the Black Cowl. Find her and find out what she knows, with much of the military force away the city is somewhat exposed to the machinations of an aggressive criminal empire. Report back to me in Altdorf as soon as you can.

Frederick purchases some new shirts and breeches, one can never be too sure with the current circumstances. Upon returning home with the fresh threads they find two messages waiting for them. The first is a letter to Frederick from Clothilde accepting his invitation to the Sulky Sun. The second is a letter for Rat from Wanda. Frederick reads it out as Rat has no skill with letters. It is a sad letter thanking Rat for his kindness but explaining that Theo is returning to Grenzstadt this morning taking all his entourage with him, and that he already hates Rat and distrusts herself for the brief happiness they shared at the palace, such is the way of small hearted men. Rat sighs forlornly, even Frederick holds back on the cynical wit.

Heading back to the docks they look for some heavies to back up the loss of Larson, who has suffered from a bout of severe digestive difficulties after the skaven confrontation. They visit the Pig and ask Rosalie at the bar who might be able to help, she directs them to Meinhardt and his cronies. The party remember him as the local enforcer from the criminal empire of the Black Cowl. Carefully Frederick begins negotiations, they quickly agree a price for two thugs for an evenings work (Meinhardt sees this as an opportunity to plant some spies within their activities). Knud and Bruno leave the Pig with the party.

The crew go to the White Horse inn to chase up the witch hunter on her findings on the Black Cowl. After a cagey stand off where nobody appears to know what the pcs are talking about, some money changes hands and suddenly everyone sings from the same sheet (well executed guile check). Seems they have just missed her, she was picked up yesterday on a Castle Rock coach, a quick bit of questioning confirms that this route runs along the Old Dwarf Road through to Middenheim, though as to Adele’s destination they cannot say.

So the crew relocate the grate that the assassin died under from the surface, it is between two of the tanneries. Still slightly obsessed with the Lime Kiln, they stake it out before creeping in round the back, leaving the heavies on watch by the front door. The back door provides no difficulty for these rogues and in a couple of minutes they have entered, scouted the kitchen and lounge downstairs, and are upstairs listening at the door corresponding to the window they saw light coming from during the stake out. They can hear some weak moaning from inside, a brief discussion follows as to the nature of the moans, pleasure or pain. Frederick quietly opens the door and has a look. Inside the room Bartol Nuesch can be seen heaving his bulk atop the local street girl Annika. Frederick stops and stands there in a moment of voyeurism, till Rat and Charlie drag him from the room. With the door closed a hushed conversation continues. Rat asks Frederick what he thinks they should do, Frederick replies he’s thinking of joining in. Rat asks what he and Charlie are supposed to do, Frederick suggests they watch. Charlie puts her foot down that that is not happening, maybe they should get the heavies in to minimise any struggle then question him. They creep downstairs to the front door, but unfortunately Frederick bumps a table with a soup bowl on the edge, the soup bowl falls to the floor and shatters. All thoughts of planning now gone the pcs dash back upstairs, meeting the couple on the landing. Bartol and Annika are corralled back into the bedroom at gunpoint and questioned. After a decent grilling they are happy that these two are ignorant of any dark activities in the sewers, they do find out that two of the local tanners are out of business due to repairs on the buildings. Onwards they go to inspect the tanneries by similar process, picking up the heavies on route. Climbing over the back wall Charlie vaults it effortlessly, Frederick climbs carefully, no need to ruin another shirt, but Rat ends up slipping in a pile of manure. Oh well just like old times. Alarmingly Rat also notices a leg sticking out of one of the pits in the back yard, immediately they drop into cover and approach the back door. Frederick is still in a bad way from the efforts of last night so Rat takes the door. Inside they find a ratman in an ensemble of robes, pipes, and a weird face mask working with the tanneries tools and a makeshift crucible from a fireplace. He is attended to by a different ratman with a spear and shield who protects his master, two other dishevelled looking ratmen stand in the corner. Frederick takes charge and orders the heavies to pin down the skinny rats, and Rat to engage the warrior, while he shoots the masked ratman. Charlie hurls a knife into the clanrat who growls and chitters. The masked rat hurls a glass orb that explodes similarly to what happened in the marquee, the skirmish quickly becomes more manic. Charlie is even tempered as she picks off rats with knives and axes. The heavies soon bottle it as the skavenslaves fight back with surprising savagery, and Rat does for the slaves with his own witch fuelled rat skulls. Frederick steps in and slays the injured ratman with the mask after Charlie has pincushioned the clanrat.

I decided to add a few more skaven as the “utility” part of the force. A poisoned wind globadier to make the grenades for Skrab, and his staff.

The pcs are free to search the area without the prying eyes of Knud and Bruno (though they are already on their way to report back to Meinhardt). There they find a small piece of rock, that is the remains of the effigy, and a makeshift crucible over the fire with some sickly looking black slag encrusted to it. They also find the gold tablet, crudely chopped up, and what appears to be a bell clapper comprised of a similar material to the effigy. Taking the bell clapper, the pieces of the tablet, and the last chunk of the effigy, the party head back to report in to von Kaufman.

Von Kaufman is very pleased to have the pieces of the tablet, a little miffed as to the damage, but all things considered a better result than missing. The loss of the effigy is probably for the best von Kaufman concedes, and suggests that the bell clapper be taken to Mauer as this is no longer within his area of knowledge. He does pay the pcs as promised and asks them to come see him at the red Arrow office tomorrow morning.

The pcs return to the pad behind the Penterplatz and Rat runs a bath for Frederick before he leaves to meet Clothilde. The date is a pleasant one. Clothilde is still very upset over the death of Giselbert but glad of the distraction, and they go for dinner after the play. Frederick keeps his darker lustful side in check, though whether this is political or just plain injuries and wariness is unclear. They do connect on a personal level, both having been through a rough time recently.

The next morning they are woken by Luminary Mauer banging on the door, apparently he had spoken to von Kaufman about the pcs recovery of the stolen goods and wants to see this bell clapper. Bleary eyed Charlie shows him the bell clapper while Rat and Frederick eat breakfast. Mauer seems very agitated and demands that they not touch the object again stating he will return immediately. Silence descends in his absence as breakfast is finished. Mauer returns with a lead box inscribed with small runes. He advises them that the clapper should be left within the box at all times. He has had a plan with an old friend of his for some time and this is the ideal time to test it out. Explaining that his old friend Robertus Oppenheimer in Middenheim has the equipment to test this, he requests that the pcs take the object safely to him. Mauer has to travel to the war front otherwise he would do this himself. Then as quickly as he arrives, he is gone, leaving the large lead box.

At this point I have all the pcs take corruption checks, all fail and take varying levels of corruption. The box is now regarded with the utmost suspicion.

Once dressed the party head over to the Penterplatz to meet with von Kaufman prior to securing their journey north. They find a group of nobles facing off against some soldiers, all claiming rights to a coach to the war front. Just as it looks as though it will be getting out of hand, von Kaufman arrives with some ogre bodyguards and quells any objections with sly words and an imperial warrant. He informs the pcs that he would like to get to the bottom of these raids on gunpowder supplies from Nuln, what with the war going on and all. He does have a suspect in mind. A man by the name of von Aschenbenck in Middenheim, who does have contacts in Nuln, and a strong dislike for von Kaufman, so much so that von Kaufman would not put it past him to interfere with his blackpowder shipments to embarrass him in public. He tells the pcs he will have a Red Arrow coach made ready for them and will pay them well to look into this, to make the point he pays them a gold crown up front. They are then introduced to the driver Werther, who says he will be ready in a few hours.

The party leave around lunchtime.

End of 4th session. We end part 1 of TEW, about 38 hours play time, though as you will have noticed they tend to go off at tangents. Real life issues disrupted attendance on the last session but again I am still happy with the balance of the party. Due to the disruptions in attendance the party will be leaving in two separate Red Arrow coaches, though the earlier one will have an accident to allow the others to catch up and proceed in one group with one coach.






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