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limelight

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  1. I realize that in the movies its a glancing blow then they go boom. That is what the minion rules are for. In a game such as this characters are the "stars" of the story so I'm not sure myself or my players want a vehicle combat system that is a) two hits you're dead and b) whoever goes first wins. I am a longtime GM of WFRPv3 and EotE. I enjoy both systems and how gritty they can be. I am just looking for a little more survivability in space combat. I am not talking about a video game vs 1000 ships, even a simple fight in a fighter against 2 or 3 ships that hit well enough to trigger Linked 2 or 3 and its lights out. I am thinking of assigning a basic Brawn score for each class of ships...that might do it and I don't think that would be too unbalancing. thanks for the thoughts
  2. I have been searching through some of the forums looking for some info on this topic but I haven't seen it discussed too much. Why are starships...fighters in particular so fragile??? Not only are they very easy to hit (unless I am missing something) one or two hits and the character is possibly dead or completely out of the fight. I have tried to come up with a house rule to at least give the ship itself a toughness score, maybe based on class of ship, but haven't found the solution. A character gets a Toughness score based on Brawn then adds Armor, ships just get a Soak. In the case of an A-Wing its a 2 Soak and 6 Hull. I love the game and narrative aspect of the dice, etc. People will argue that "its a narrative game" so don't worry so much about the points. But the weakest part of the Star Wars games is the narrative space combat system. So much of Star Wars is the ships and they are almost unplayable IMHO. Has anyone tried anything yet? Am I missing something in the rules?
  3. Yes the player did come up with that line. My group are some really wonderful role players. Not sure if I rewarded that specific phrase. We just played the opening of the menagerie tonight. A great confrontation with Baerfaust about his connections to the investigation. Great time
  4. Enjoy this wonderful recap of the now famous Coach Chase! Journey with us now … into the grim the world of perilous adventures! El Cuervo (Estalian performer), Johannes Hengst (Averland fop), Thyrus Norrener (Middenheim mercenary), Tomas Radische (Wissenland gambler), Alexius Wilhellm (Reikland initiate of Sigmar) Chapter Four: Smugglers and Highwaymen Angestag, the 17th day of Sigmarzeit, 2522 IC … The day before the start of summer, in the month of Sigmar Heldenhammer, named after a man amongst men elevated to deity and patron of the Empire. Another day of warmth and sun, another morning without lingering fog and mist, a good day for commerce and hopefully justice. Journey with Johannes Hengst, Fop of Averheim! His search for a business venture has brought him to T. Thaddeus Mott, playwright. Can the flamboyant thespian help to restore Johannes to the good graces of the upper social tiers of Averheim? Johannes struggles to balance his future with the current predicament that he has undertaken … the missing bride Estelle Werner. With dead bodies displaying strange markings, missing persons, mutants in the forest and the mysterious Black Cowl pulling the strings of the underworld, has Johannes put his business dealings and life in danger? Only time will tell … Tempt fate with luck-smith Tomas Radische! Tracking down highwaymen in the middle of the forests of the Empire was not necessarily what he had in mind when the group decided to ferret out the agents of the Black Cowl. With the stakes ever raising and his life on the line, does Tomas have the nerve to keep anteing up? With the Black Cowl coming to power, asserting control over the thieves, fences, and gamblers he knows well, Tomas finds himself in the center of it all. But is this the position he truly wants to be? Swing away with Thyrus Norrener, Mercenary! With his old friend missing and others now disappearing, Thyrus is now at the ready fighting injustice wherever it may rear its ugly head. The battle with grotesque mutants offered Thyrus a long satiated need to swing his sell-sword but will the fight prove fruitful enough for his ultimate goal? Or will the battle only further cloud him in mystery? Pontificate with Alexius Willhelm, Initiate of Sigmar! With the discovery of the twisted chaos ridden mutants within the forests not far from Averheim the teachings of the young initiate become clearer still. Yet the disappearances must be solved, of course the Black Cowl apprehended but the taint of chaos that is now surrounding this investigation must be rooted out and cleansed with the mighty hand of Sigmar. First he must feed Stephan. Scoff at danger with El Cuervo, striking foreigner! Critically wounded after the rescue at the burning barge, El Cuervo wonders if he will be alive to find the beautiful Estelle as he promised her family. Having survived the fight in the woods with the mutant band will this lead to the clue that he had hoped would help reunite him with the lovely Estelle? Can he bring justice to those who might do her harm or will his carefree and daredevil ways bring about his final performance and his life’s curtain call? With the mutant band defeated the group returns to Averheim to try and piece together this mystery in hopes of finding the missing. Five brash young fools, unlikely heroes thrust into the grim world of perilous adventure! Graf Friedrich von Kaufman, patron of the Sun Society and natural sciences, funded an expedition to the Southlands[1], led by one Johann Templemann, has returned with wondrous finds. A party, the social event of the season, will unveil the secrets brought back as well as a menagerie of exotic animals. As a member of the Sun Society it is likely that Sigmar Initiate Alexius Willhelm will be invited. Johannes Hengst has found an invitation through his new acquaintance and potential benefactor T. Thaddeus Mott, playwright of Averheim. The party is still in the Stirland forest north of Averheim, at a mutant camp off the high road. Site of a fierce battle, also the remains of man (set on spite over a camp fire) and few remains of a horse, just the bones and some rendered flesh. And a rack laced with flesh being dried for jerky. A prisoner is waiting to be interrogated, a man of average appearance and proportions yet mutated with a large, scarlet wattle. Talk of torture begins the questioning. First, where are the missing people such as Estelle? Second, how long have the mutants been in these woods? Third, why are they eating the flesh of man? Fourth, have they been to Averheim? Next, why are they attacking merchants and travellers along the road? With this question the group finally hears some credible answers. They were working with a band of smugglers, ones that evidently did not mind they were tainted with chaos. He gives his name as Gritz; he doesn’t know much of the smuggler arrangement as Hein was the leader, the twisted-horn large green muscled man. Questions fly quick and sudden, the mutant is confused as he tries to address each question towards each asker but he stumbles over his knowledge. Tomas uses his charm and skill with words to persuade Gritz to speak of what he knows or suffer a painful death the hands of the initiate and mercenary. They leave a leather strap around a tree branch to signal the smugglers, it was done by Hanz (the donkey-ear mutant) or Wermer (the blue-feathered beakman). He and Gerdia (the pustule witch) did not deal with smugglers at all. “Is that everything you know!?” bellows Alexius, not believing much in the words of a chaos tainted ‘man’. Fearful for his life, wattler insists that is all he knows. The initiate believes he is holding back. El Cuervo draws his rapier with a flourish, “… it has only tasted blood thrice today, and it needs to be feed at least four times.” The socialite and gamester watch with a careful eye, being observant men of their society. There is something but neither can put a finger on it, something more which Gritz knows. Thyrus draws his sword, albeit slightly damaged from our recent battle, and holds it to pendulous fleshy caruncle dangling from the prisoner’s face, “Tell us the rest, you are holding back.” The mutant begins to whimper and his voice warbles, he confesses to have told all. The steely gaze of the mercenary is distrusting, experience has taught him there is always more. Blood drips from a small cut. He begs for his life, he will tell if is life is spared. Hein had a contact in Averheim, from a group called the Red Crown. He does not know much more than that, only their leader speaks in a very low, sibilant voice. The sound if it is chilling, he wears a black hood. He came into the forest to meet with Hein once. He took the black powder and chemicals. The Red Crown has a social agenda: to end discrimination of mutants through the Empire. Everyone scoffs at the notion. He claims to be man, cursed yes, but a man and he only wants to live a normal life. Ulric asks if anyone from Averheim or elsewhere has come to the camp save the Black Cowl and smugglers, anyone dressed like the fop, in fancy clothes? Never. Alexius asks Tomas his opinion on sparing the life of this mutant. The vagabond draws a parallel between the cursed mutants and the unwanted poor. He was raised on the streets and knows that some see the deprived as burden on society to be done away with. He grew up underprivileged yet became a contributing member of society so it may be possible mutants could do the same. He is not sure but doesn’t believe them to be killed outright for being what they are. Yet Gritz stole, killed and ate the flesh of a man so he deserves what punishment awaits him. The Raven has noticed Johannes has remained silent to this point. He has yet to contribute to the interrogation or offer his opinion. “Tradition and lore says mutants are evil by nature and need to be destroyed. Mutants are said to be unintelligent, untamable, unable to communicate, and feral. But Gritz, and the others, have shown themselves to talk, understand thought and emotion, and behave much like humans,” says the fop finally. Norrener puts his sword through wattler’s throat and kills him for his crimes, whether they moral crimes or crimes against nature. Again Hengst had suffered the worse from the battle, Radische administers some first aid and the coxcomb drinks one of his healing draught. The hired sword replaces his hand weapon with Hanz’s blade until he can get his original weapon repaired. The discussion moves to motivation and who is ‘truly’ behind all the recent troubles. The sell-sword believes a person or persons of higher social station are behind the smugglers and possibly the Black Cowl. Only someone in that position could operate unchecked and with such ease. The patrician is dumbfounded and appalled by such a notion. It stands against all reason to him. Crime is a symptom of chaos and the aristocracy brings order and law. The postulant sides with Johannes and the foreigner concurs with Thyrus. Norrener uses the words of the young well-to-do to argue his point; Averheim is without an elector so there is social discord and chaos as various factions vie for power. What better time to ally themselves with the underworld then now to help secure that position and power for a prominent family or ambitious individual. The petite-maître disputes the logic from his naïve point of view. Hengst and Radishe head back to the road to check on the borrowed horse and cart. Norrener pushes El Cuervo to help him collect the bodies for pyre, the Estalian is a little queasy in handling the mutant bodies, something about his mother’s warning against touching foul creatures. While they work to clean up the camp, the Raven cautions the mercenary from arguing against el salvador, the saviour. The sutthos[2] believes wisdom is imparted by the words of Tomas yet the northerner thinks he just talks too much for the sake of talking. As Thyrus moves the woman several pus-fill pustules break leaking thick, reeking excretions; he immediately feels nauseous. The dead bodies are laid around the camp, propped up in some grotesquely distorted fashion to give an initial appearance of ‘occupation’. It doesn’t take much to identify a unique tree to use in signaling the smugglers, the cardsharp and popinjay examine it more closely. Johannes actually scurries up and spots a branch showing wear and discolouration, an obvious spot for a thick leather (half-a-hand in width) strap to be wrapped several times. When the youth descends he jumps down awkwardly and twists the same ankle he injured earlier causing him to find a walking stick. He spends the rest of the day limping about. Tomas finds time to goad the orphan boy Johannes seems immune or just ignorant of shill’s taunts. Once the signal tree is identified, Johannes moves the horse and cart several yards north along the road. He finds a small clearing to tether the equine and cover the cart with loose brush. Later the leather signal tie is found and swathed around the branch. A watch is set by the scrawny social butterfly to see if and when the contrabandists come seeking the warning sign. A plan or strategy is devised on how to deal with smugglers is hashed out. Tomas will be in the camp with lifeless erect corpses, other will hide on the outskirts waiting to ambush the incoming foes. The night passes without incident. Sigmarfest, the first day of summer on Festag, a high holy day for Empire arrives in earnest. Another warm morning, some dew is upon the blankets of the sleeping brash adventurers. The wiry equestrian tends to the horse at first light then after breakfast sets a new watch observing the road and signal tree. The mutants are pulled together and bundled with thatching and wood then doused with oil for a pyre. Johannes is alerted by a rider on the high road. The horseman stops below the tree and searches for the signal, he immediate turns his mount around and gallops back towards Averheim without delay. The fop quickly scurries from his hiding post and uses the parties’ horse to ride back to camp through the woods. He failed to whistle, the prearranged warning sign. He arrives just as the pyre is lit. The others greet him with drawn weapons. The city socialite estimates the smugglers will return by late afternoon. Thyrus cooks some fruit pastries and spends time cleaning and sharpening his weapons, Alexius spends much of the day fulfilling his Sigmar duties during this holy day, Tomas and Johannes play cards and dice gambling a good portion of the day while El Cuervo watches. Neither comes out a head as they both break even despite Tomas’ reputation and Johannes’ rabbit foot. Alexius breaks from his vigil a couple of times to say a prayer in favour of the young fribble. During the day, the temperature drops as clouds roll in. By late afternoon a mist begins to layer the forest just below the canopy of leaves and light rain begins around dusk. Burnt remnants of the mutants smolder. Radische is within the camp and everyone else has moved out hidden from view. Hengst is near the road watching for the smugglers or Red Crown members. The group approaches and two figures stand out. Stumbling into camp through the darkness and heavy mist, Johannes unable to whistle from running and dry mouth he is there to warn the others. “He’s here! It’s here! There is dozen of them all on horses, all armed and armoured.” Alexius is able to calm him down by laying of hands, yet the fop continues his rant. “He is here, he has a hideous mask. The Black Cowl. He’s on a huge black steed. He has a dozen riders with him. They have black powder weapons and huge swords. They have this huge mammoth with them too.” The panicked boy is pulled into the brush out of sight. Into the firelight a large horse emerges, its rider dismounts handing the reins to another rider. Soon there are several riders visible. Tomas sits next the campfire awaiting those coming near, seemingly unruffled and composed. The figure standing before him is nearly six and half feet tall, larger then even Thyrus. Draped in a dark cloak, heavy dark armour evident, and a superbly crafted long sword at his side. He pulls back his hood revealing short cropped white-blond hair and sporting a large gash along his face. The sullen face bears a permanent grimace. It is Bischoff, the fabled enforcer of the Black Cowl. “Who the [expletive] are you!” Unrattled Tomas counters he is here to negotiate. Bischoff steps forward, his armour and leather rasp with an unnatural eeriness. The desperado continues his interaction, declaring he is a man of business willing to help Bischoff’s master make more money. The enforcer looks his challenger up and down, sizing him up so to speak. He seems somewhat astounded that Tomas knows his name yet Bischoff does not know anything about this miscreant before him. Our scamp introduces himself as Tomas Radische. In that instant the enforcer remembers, he grabs the gambler by his collar and draws him near. He speaks with hot, liquored breath, “You are part of that bunch that is causing a nuisance for us. I know who you are. I know what you are and your little gang of foolish vermin.” Again, Radishe remains composed. He complains the ‘little gang’ is ineffectual. He is a man of commerce yet he made no real money with them, barely enough to tip a ***** worn out by his manly strides. They are of no use to him now. The scamp continues, “I found your road bandits here. I dispensed with them. So I am now willing to talk business.” The heavy mist covers the sweat upon his brow as he speaks back to this intimidating figure. Bischoff snarls at the blatant impudence displayed then chuckles in amusement. There is more verbal intercourse betwixt Bischoff and Radische. If Tomas ‘deals’ in Averheim it follows he will now answer to the Black Cowl. Then out of the mist a powerful black steed approaches, upon it fully cloaked a hideous mutated face is seen under a cowl, it is but a mask though no less frightening. “Who is this?”, “Why did you call me out here?”, “Where is my merchandise?” A gilded sword of impressive craftsmanship (mayhaps Elven steel?) is drawn to warn the ne’er-do-well. “If you are lying.” A crown for the head of each of Tomas’ former companions. He mentions the Initiate of Sigmar and the southerner. The Black Cowl will know, he has eyes everywhere in the city. They turn and leave. The vagabond knows he is screwed and expresses his frustration. Alexius notices the armour and clothing the Cowl was wearing, certainly a man from the gold-tier. This reinforces Thyrus’ belief that one of families is behind this. The novice throws out the suspicion of Mott, a man of means and able to pull of acting needed for the duplicity of the character. A confluence of impulsive ideas and immature plots are discussed with no solid stratagem. We do not know our adversary well enough to play regicide[3] with any forte or proficiency. Proof that our band of brash young fools is inadequately practiced in the art of martial enterprise. It is late into the night and mist has turned into steady rain before they return to Averheim with the Red Arrow horse and wagon. Radische continues into town, the rest stay in the north-side village in a flea-ridden hostel save Hengst who sleeps with the wagon under the tarp in a fur-lined sleeping blanket. Early morning of Wellentag (19th day of 4th month) the opportunist ‘searches’ the White Horse tavern and docks for the troublesome gang of interlopers (exempli gratia-the initiate, the Estalian, the fop and Ulric mercenary). It is drizzling yet the sun is trying to peak through the clouds. The Aver is swollen and running fast. Rumours continue on all the missing persons (e.g. Ute Herz, Jurgen Klinkski, Beatrice Knox, et cetera). A pot-bellied watchman name Gunther, last seen with Herr Luminary finds Tomas believing he knows Thyrus the mercenary, tells the high roller that the captain wants to see the Ulric then hands him a missive. A half-hour later the gamester walks into the north village hostel. He hands Norrener the summons and explains he too received a note from the Black Cow[4] that he is just to watch and report on the actions of the adventurous crew instead of turning them over for a gold piece per head. Despite his history with Baerfaust the Middenheim merc no longer trusts the captain of the city guard and ad hoc overseer. They realise that Johannes is absent, most likely still sleeping in the wagon outside. Firstly they return the wagon to the Red Arrow offices. Curd Weiss is present amongst the early morning bustle of clerks. Tomas lies about not finding any merchandise, Alexius offers to return the initial fee but instead Weiss gives up another 5/- each. He offers another job, Gräfin Clothilde von Alptraum has bravely offered to aid in seeking out the highway men. She has a gutshof [5]named Hirsch Herren along the southern path leading to Heideck, off the Old Dwarf Road. It is not far from town, the trip there and back will take only part of the afternoon. Thyrus recalls meeting her or at least speaking to the noblewoman briefly as she donated her time and money to a Shallyan temple hospice he spent time recovering after being injury during the 3rd Battle of Fire Pass. The plan is to have her trip made public, she would travel with the standard coachman and the bodyguard yet clandestinely have the five adventurers hiding within the coach itself dressed in the livery of Red Arrow. Does the newly formed crew take the offer of twenty shillings each to secret themselves into her service? El Cuervo becomes distraught at yet another distraction from our task of finding Estelle and the others, “Estelle is lost, they’re dead. They are all dead! It is no use any more. Do whatever.” The temperamental Sea-weed[6] storms off, as from a short crowd[7], just as Tomas accepts the tender – what could go wrong? Per Herr Weiss, we will be given a set of liveries (a heavy cloth tabard, decorated with devices: on the right breast an embroidered red arrow and on the left breast is silver badge displaying the von Kaufman coat of arms). The next four hours belong to the group; Hengst just wants to trek home and get a couple hours of rest before protection duty. Yet they all go (save the Raven) to see Baerfaust and realise one of our troupe is missing, they decide to go searching (save Johannes). The puerile macaroni traipses home first stopping at a local bathhouse then to his townhouse to get one hour nap. Thyrus starts at the White Horse, Tomas at the Upright Pig, and Alexius from the Plenzerplatz; the foreigner has a distinctive manner and jet black hair which should make it easier to find him. None of the three remember he wanted to see Luminary Mauer, had Johannes been part of the search he would have recalled El Cuervo asking for the meeting. Heading up to the garrison barracks, the observant fop notices a lad a year or two younger than himself with a small blade going for his purse strings, this is same teenager he noticed at the Upright Pig just after the search for Estelle began. Johannes grasps the boy’s left wrist, up righting it in an awkward and slightly painful position. “You would rob me. I am going to Greatswords Garrison right now and you will join me.” The whimpering adolescent pleads for release and mercy, he is but an orphan, his father a fallen soldier, forced to fend for himself. All of this hits home for the bastard dandy yet he does not yield his station of wronged citizen. The captured youngster is a victim of the Black Cowl and exaction. The thief’s name: Fritz Flink, a young lad age sixteen or so with long curly black hair, the wispy beginnings of a beard, and a deceptively guiltless expression. This could have easily been Johannes. Radische grabs a quick bit to eat, breaks even after nearly raking in a big haul while playing cards, then asks after the Estalian along this side of the docks. A residence with an unusually ornate façade and strange glyphs is the destination of El Cuervo. He tugs the pull-cord a couple of times hearing a faint, high-pitch ting as a small bell tintinnabulates, his eyes go wide and he sucks in a breath, holding it for a moment. The bell only chimes twice, he sighs relieve and relaxes just as the door opens. He is at the home of Herr Luminary Konrad Mauer. The Crow is conflicted, he is supposed to be looking for Estelle Reinholt née Werner and now he is hired to protect Gräfin von Alptraum yet he seeks the Luminary’s aid in dealing with his exile from his homeland. A beautiful woman name Esmeralda was killed, she was a lover of El Cuervo’s but another man, Dimitri Marchese an emissary from Remas[8] in Tilea[9] was jealous of the relationship and murdered the woman leaving the blame to fall up the raconteur. Per Mauer, “The only thing worse than chaos is politics.” Within about 10 minutes of each other, the party (plus Fritz) arrives at Marcus Baerfaust’s office, the captain has evidently spoken with Curd Weiss so he knows the band borrowed a wagon. The soldier of fortune reports giving only sparse information: we travelled the north Old Dwarf Road (towards Wurtbad) looking for highway men but did not find anyone thus the Red Arrow wagon was returned, we did discover a single broken barrel cracked open and spilling black sludge (gun powder? Hard to say), the man in the black hood is more than rumour—though we haven’t seen him—as several have reported threats to their lives yet no one is willing to say much more than that, and an infamous veteran of the Third Battle has been seen in the city acting as the enforcer for the Black Hood— Bischoff, large and daunting. The overseer’s stern countenance scans the others behind the mercenary, he wants to know who everyone is. Johannes introduces himself and the lad at his side, seemingly having just noticed the nineteen year old fop with a sixteen year old urchin Alexius questions the origins of the unknown boy. He first thinks the stray may have been ‘picked up’ at the public baths so asks. The initiate squints trying to understand the relationship betwixt the two young men before him. The socialite states he encountered Fritz on the way here after the bath house and after visiting his townhouse. Thyrus and Marcus continue their discourse. Norrener not understanding why more aren’t interested in the new crime lord plaguing the city thus supporting additional militia to safeguard families and merchants, against Baerfaust explaining the upper echelons don’t care about the people of the docks or crime as long as they are not directly affected, exceptions being the Werners with their missing daughter and von Kaufman’s business being held up. The suspicious Middenheim mercenary suspects someone of prominence or even a well-to-do family may be in league or supporting the man in black. The captain needs proof. The wiry patrician finds the merc’s accusation implausible but rather it could be an outsider, say from Altdorf, which is behind the recent crime wave as Reiklanders are known to be cunning and ambitious. The sell-sword continues his theory, with no clear leader of the city someone is taking advantage at the lack of municipal authority to gain a foothold on the business dealings and criminal mischief within Averheim. Before the assembly is broken, Hengst asks if anyone else along the docks has been reported missing. No new news. As they leave the offices of the town guard, Alexius persists in his discovery of Fritz. This gets the rest of the men curious as well. The initiate wants to know why the brat is with the fop, lodged in his brain is the idea the lad must be a hat-boy solicited at or near the bath houses or a spy yet he does not verbalise the claim. Tomas takes advantage of the ***** situation to tease his mark (Johannes) and taunt the cut-purse, whom he seems to know of. Perhaps the catechumen believes the coxcomb is a member of the cult of Slaanesh[10] or Cannoneer[11]. The obsession displayed by the tyro mounts, mayhap he is fearful of his own exposure and relationship with Stephan so he lashes out at the fashion-monger. Johannes throws out this notion to Alexius. Hengst suggests he or Radische might be able to use the adolescent Flink as a source of information about the dealings of the Black Cowl, much to the doubt of the others. Tomas pays the inept, poor pickpocket 10/- to be his ‘eyes and ears.’ At the prescribed time the brash young fools arrive at the Red Arrow Coach Line. En route, The Crow admits to visiting Luminary Mauer on a non-related matter and learned from the knowledgeable man the poisoned wounds of the dockside men found dead showed definite signs of chaos and taint. Awaiting the party is a first-rate extended Brougham, with one door (plus a new fangled folding step) and a curtained window on either side, drawn by two my two primped and well-groomed superior horses. It is high-gloss black-lacquered closed-coach with new, Dwarven ¾ elliptic springs, gilded flairs, and modern splashers. A crusty, creaky, weather-beaten man buffs the brass door handle and polishes the gild; Werther, a quite, soft-spoken coachman known to Johannes, with 30-plus years of experience driving and doctoring horses works to make sure the Gräfin’s kutsche is ready. The old driver is neatly dressed in a green felt double-breasted box coat trimmed in black with matching feathered top hat, thick white linen trousers, mid-calf ox-hide boots and dark lamb-skin gloves. Up on the hammercloth-covered, padded driver’s bench is an upright blunderbuss in good repair and long-handled whip. The dandy is first to the tabards to select the cleanest or most presentable garment. He is surprised to hear no spotted coach dogs trained to run under the back axles of the coach and to protect the carriage on outings would be going along, there is a small contingent at the mews. Out walks an attractive woman, wearing a posh blue-black dress of ornate design and layers; black lace gloves and matching veil, stylish tricorn country hat, and well-made fashionable boots to complete the ensemble. Clothilde is a vision of radiant beauty in her late twenties. She has an attractive and friendly face, a curvaceous hour-glass figure (rendered even more so by her well–tailored corsets and bustle) and long curled hair piled high and normally held in place by a wrought–iron tiara decorated with owl feathers and the Imperial cross. El Cuervo is first to step forward, charming women seems to come second nature to the exotic foreigner. Alexius moves behind the performer and with his steely gaze, bald head and eerie unibrow looks unnerving at the Gräfin. She holds out her gloved hand feigning a blush, she comments on the virility and endearing accents of Estalian men. The Raven gentle holds and kisses it, then leads her to her resplendent Brougham. She coyly asks his name. He introduces himself stating his chosen profession to be that of a performer; with a teasing voice calls to Weiss mockingly, “I thought you said they were warriors, men of action not acting.” The play actor gives surety he has been well trained in the art of Diestro[12]. Just behind the cultured lady is her bodyguard Giselbert Kuhn, who has served the von Alptraum family for almost 40 years. Whilst he is in his sixties, he still gives off an impression of considerable power and confidence. Giselbert has a close-cut white beard and hair. He is dressed in the von Alptraum livery armed with a sword and flintlock pistol. The two older men take the front bench and the younger ‘guards’ sit inside the coach with the Gräfin: Clothilde center with her back to the front, Tomas to her left, Johannes to her right, El Cuervo directly across from her, Alexius to his right opposite the gambler, and finally Thyrus to his left across from the fop. Curd Weiss gives final words instruction to the men and again gives thanks for Lady von Alptraum for her pluck and daring. It quickly becomes apparent that these men have not bathed in quite some time as the odor within the carriage is very musky, sweaty and pungent. The woman finds herself drawn towards the only perfumed male within, the jack dandy Johannes. She recognises him and asks if they have ever met. Embarrassed, Hengst states he has attended some of the same functions and parties graced with her presence but they have never met socially. Still she asks how she might know him, sheepishly he admits his uncle is Jürgen Treuer of the Kohlenstaub Raße Stallungen (Coal Dust Horse Stables), a long standing suitor and one of a few men[13] who have asked for hand in matrimony. Till now she has been very skillful in evading such entanglements. She takes out a fan, unfurls it and begins waving it, “What a very small country we live in, yes?” Under his breath, Tomas ask his fellow card player, “Really, your uncle? Who is your father again?” The gallant either ignores or doesn’t hear the comment still a little shy around such an elegant member of society. Alexius, across from the gambler, does hear the question and proffers one of his own, he wants know again how Hengst knows the fourteen year old boy (Fritz is actually 16). The sound of the wheels on the cobblestones plus the rattle of the armour and weapons worn drowns out the later inquiries. Thyrus speaks up, happy to admit he has met the lady, in a Shallyan hospice during the war. She came and visited many of the wounded, he was amongst them. She advocates her distain for war and bloodshed, most agree but initiate Willhelm speaks up about the importance of the war against the chaos and corruption. The mercenary tries to delineate the war of politic, greed and control versus the philosophical battle against the greater evil of the world. There is small talk and she learns everyone’s name, she describes her estate, it’s obvious she is excited about the potential peril of this trip, and she gives each man an opportunity to speak their opinion on some manner of business or issue of interest. Some 45 minutes into the ride and carriage comes to stop, the grate above the seating compartment opens and Werther announces, “It appears a small tree has been downed by the storm, it shan’t be a moment before its moved and we are on our way again.” Thyrus is quick to warn the coachman it could be a ruse. They are expecting a threat from highwaymen. The elderly driver seems slightly confused at the concept of a trap, trees often block the roads and trail. The two old men get down and grumble about the task at hand. Norrener and Hengst both take a peek out beyond the curtained window, they do not see anything untoward. Willhelm glances out the opposite window. A nice hedge lines the road on the western side and an open field to east but nothing more is seen. El Cuervo reassures the Lady this is a common occurrence (hoping to alleviate any nervousness she might be experiencing), Johannes asks the Gräfin if she’ll be attending the Menagerie Soiree coming up soon (hoping to lessen his own anxiety). With that she becomes quite lively as she is looking forward to it. Alexius becomes a little more attentive, he inquires about any found artifacts. Her ladyship has only heard about ‘creatures’ found in the Southlands. When she asks if the young male socialite will be attending he declares his invitation is via T. Thaddeus Mott the writer, of whom she is not a fan, “Have you read his drivel? He might be the worst playwright I have ever read … I enjoy going to the theatre, we attend in Altdorf and we go here in Averheim.” The popinjay comes to the dramatist’s defence, in that he does command a very notable stage presence. Norrener becomes impatient at the delay, the two old men trying to move this small tree. The Ulric steps from the coach to hurry along the process, in glancing around he notices how open and exposed the passengers are should adversaries come calling. Both the Gräfin and fop warn of exposing the plan yet the mercenary proceeds. The coachmen and bodyguard seem insulted that they can’t handle a simple obstruction. The hired sword notices the tree has been cut; the downed tree is not an act of nature. The Estalian continues his discussion with Lady von Alptraum, “When I was little, I got to see a play by Calderón de la Barca, he tell the story of a beautiful princess who was looking for most beautiful diamond in all the land …” [, oops] It becomes all too obvious of the exotic performer’s intent to beguile the fair lady. She is offended and slightly embarrassed at the thought of hired thug making a play for her. She is unsure how to address such impropriety. The gallant quickly changes subjects to equestrian sport, yet she still becomes flush. The soldier of fortune comes back to the carriage asking for second pair of eyes, he chooses El Cuervo and not a moment too soon considering the pressure building inside the riding compartment. Tomas is quick to judge, stating the northerner has all but uncovered the deception. The well-dressed teenager reasons if there are onlookers it may appear he is only speaking to her ladyship. Frustrated at the lack of action Thyrus gets back into the carriage. The Brougham continues on, a couple of miles down the road Johannes, next to a window, hears the faintest of sounds, to him a signal horn in the distance. No one else notices it. He bangs the roof of the coach and calls to Werther to hurry along at a quicker pace. It is not long before all the passengers take notice of hoof beats of many horse riders catching up to the hard-covered wagon. The carriage is halted and six highwaymen surround Lady von Alptraum. Masked men in boiled-leather tricorns and oilskin dusters with drawn black powder handguns converge and call out all of the travellers; two stand tall in the saddle at the door, two in back and the remaining pair cover the aging coachman and bodyguard. “Hold! We know the von Alptraum diamond is travelling within, drop it out the window and we will allow you to continue on without incident. We know there are more of you contained therein and should anyone attempt to exit the vehicle you will be shot. We appreciate our cooperation.” This comes from the well-mannered rogue leading the bandits as he fully pulls back the hammer of his half-cocked pistol. The acrobat acting the daredevil, almost in apology of his social transgression, says “I owe you this much milady.” El Cuervo draws his rapier and tumbles out the door in a surprise move. “Ándale arriba, rápidamente a la acción!” A sharp, loud crack and an odd boom is heard, a brilliant flash is seen outside as the kutsche door flies open and orator leaps out. His shoulder is hit but an over-filled pan explodes with too much powder and the shooter is briefly blinded, he drops his firearm while covering his eyes. A second report is heard, a lead ball tears through the air missing it target. The Raven is able to snag the reins of the spokesperson’s horse in mid-air with his left hand but is unable to pull with his shoulder being hit. The head honcho Hektor instructs his men to cover the wagon and retrieve the gem, he draws his sword and shakes his head trying to clear his vision. He affirms he will dispense with fool who leapt out. He fails to connect as he instinctively pulls his horse aside to swing. The Estalian fails a riposte due to his injured shoulder. In a fluid move, Alexius slides his grasping hand along the long handle of his great hammer on the carriage floor and he too leaps out. The head of the hammer goes up and shaft slides free from the initiate’s fingers until it reaches optimum height. And with an impressive move, the well-armoured Sigmarite firmly grabs the wood handle with both hands and swings down haymaker-style upon the second rider positioned at the coach door. Causing great trauma and a garish scar the rider all but collapses in the saddle. Thyrus and Tomas follow suit. The second horseman’s steed rears as caitiff jumps out, Radische looses hold of his own sword by striking the hoof. The Middenheim irregular bounds for the leader cutting deep with the tainted blade recovered at the mutant camp. The steel catches at the seam of Hektor’s leather armour producing a profound wound. Like the raconteur Johannes has some parting words for her ladyship, “Forgive me, do not mistake bold action for valour or courage.” The macaroni moves to the rear of the wagon with saber in hand, he strikes for a larcenous lackey. Instead he slices the saddle strap scratching the mount as the rider slides off with the heavy saddle. His fellow flunky reaches for him unsuccessfully losing an opportunity to shoot the fop. Distracted by all the commotion springing out of the carriage, Werther takes this moment to shoot the rogue with the blunderbuss. The blast sprays out towards Hektor catching the engaged band of heroes as well. The brace of equines are startled and gallop forward catching the men atop the carriage off balance, each falling. The road bandits in front manoeuvre their chargers aside as the runaway coach with Gräfin Clothilde von Alptraum still inside bolts past them. Well-verse in riding, Hengst hops on the back of the saddle-less grey mare. He immediately begins charging down the road in pursuit of the renegade kutsche. Hektor breaks free from the cluster of combatants and give chase to the Brougham. One of the riders in front of the horse-drawn vehicle moves in behind the leader. The second man initially in front aims a pistol already cocked and fires at Willhelm with a clean shot. The damaged rider at the side of the coach swings his sword at Thyrus connecting. The mercenary counterstrikes with his mutant steel killing the rider; he is too quickly fatigued as the tainted sword affects the wielder too. The postulant moves to aid the tumbler bleeding from wounds with the mettle of Sigmar. The gamester retrieves his hand weapon to use against the rear highwayman but fails to adjust for the spirited horse, the rider strikes with but a scratch to Radische. The unhorsed brigand brings his sword to bear against the wolf-skinned fighter drawing blood. The gang leader catches up to the rear of the coach. The Altdorf tyro breaks away to help cardsharp, he smacks one of the holdup men upside the head executing the criminal. The northern gladiator deals another blade strike upon a new target. The skilled equestrian catches up the lead highwayman just behind the coach and the boss, a wild swing of his saber cuts the thigh causing the mounted thief to flinch and wave off the chase. The two cronies help each other to their feet. The rider engaged with Tomas disengages and flees into the eastern field. The robber fighting Thyrus deals a solid strike causing the merc to stagger back knocking his head against the rear mudguard. Alexius tries to jump up on a lone horse but the hammer throws him off balance. El Cuervo gallops behind Johannes. The man in charge of the attempted heist springs off his stallion onto the back quarter of the runaway carriage, with no foot-runner to place his feet he struggles to secure his grip at the rear of the hard-covered wagon. Lady von Alptraum screams seeing the hooligan so close. Hengst pushes his grey mare to charge ahead galloping astride the pair of uncontrolled hitched horses showing true mounted competence. He then vaults onto yoke to rein in the unruly beasts. The rapscallion is able to get upon the steed that the initiate failed to saddle. The Sigmar healer lays hands upon the fallen Ulric warrior bringing him conscious. The chasing highwayman pushed aside by the fop slows to engage the Estalian. El Cuervo overreaches with his rapier, again the thief flinches but this time he falls off his horse catching the two rear hooves. Frantically trying to dominate frightened equines Johannes spies ahead a sharp turn in the road with a sharp decline on the far side of the bend. It’s now or never to prevent the kutsche from flying off the embankment before it. He glances back to see Hektor climbing to the top of the coach and preparing to swing down into the seating compartment. The wiry gallant reins in the terrified horses as if possessed by Taal himself. The Raven exhausts himself riding hard as he nears the slowing Brougham. Tomas is gaining ground approaching the sea-weed. The fighters in the protection detail left behind search the immediate area for weapons and signs of who these road bandits were. The criminal overseer leaps through the open door securing his foothold on the edge of the wagon floor confident in his dominance of the fair lady, none of her protectors are near enough to stop his advance. Staring him down is the barrel of a small pepper-box derringer as he realises his fate. A small explosion and he flies back hitting the ground with an unyielding thud. The carriage finally slows and stops, the thespian and high roller at last catch up. Tomas checks on the dead body of Hektor, El Cuervo glances back to see if Alexius and Thyrus are safe and out of combat. The mercenary and initiate reveal one of the fallen outlaws is wearing a distinctive design under his leather slicker: a black and yellow insignia of the Averland militia. The expended pistol lying near his side is stamped with the characteristic gloomy sun that clearly identifies it – Averheim garrison. Alexius collects the gun. Two other black powder pistols are retrieved and well as several hand weapons. Other evidence is collected; Norrener seems unsurprised by their discovery. Johannes checks on the Gräfin. He makes a sharp-witted comment as to her safety at the hands of five stalwart men and her woman’s pistol. Uncharacteristically bawdy in his words and innuendo the beau entices her feminine sensibilities, she is for the first time in a long time truly enamoured by a young dashing socialite. In a heavy, uncontrolled breath Clothilde says, “I’m a bit overwhelmed. I’ve never had to use this before,” as she secrets her derringer away. [1] The Southlands lie south of the Land of the Dead and are dominated by dense swamplands and rain forest. The southlands are inhabited by lizardmen, savage orcs and forest goblins, and small tribes of what adventurers call the "Dark Men", who are content to live at peace with nature and seem to have the protection of the Lizardmen. The Southlands are believed to be the original homeland of the Dwarfs. [2] Slang, those from Tilea or Estalia. [3] Regicide is a tabletop board game played across the Empire. It uses an irregular-shaped board and iconic pieces, and is played on a "hooded" board where only certain pieces are visible, making the game more complex. [4] A diminutive or slight assigned to the dangerous and mysterious Black Cowl, ruthless crimelord in Averheim as given by Tomas Radische, group smart aleck. [5] Manor, grange. [6] Slang, Estalian or Tilean. [7] Entertainer’s slang, term for an audience short on cash or appreciation. [8] The Rebellious Republic of Remas, Tilea: Remas is a great and old city located on the coast. The huge circular harbour, the narrow entrance is spanned by a mighty bridge resting on great stone piers and bears the weight of many fine houses and palaces (rising up in three, four and five storeys with overhanging balconies) of the Merchant Princes. The city and relatively stable republic, one of the least corrupt and longest lived, is very populous and is famous for its strong mercenary army, most of which fight as pikemen. [9] It should be noted, every time El Cuervo mentions Tilea he unconsciously hocks phlegm and spits. [10] Chaos God of lust, excess, pain, pleasure, perfection and hedonism. Last of the major Chaos Gods to be born—coming into existence with the collapse of the Eldar civilisation. [11] Slang, homosexual man, also pistolier or cannon-stroker. [12] Diestro Fighting: a style of fencing and sword fighting perfected by the legendary Estalian swordsman Master Figueroa. Skill practioners have developed astonishing speed and precision; they employ every trick imaginable and some that often take enemies by surprise. [13] Known suitors: Graf Friedrich von Kaufman, Theodosious von Tuchtenhagen, Jürgen Treuer, plus other men of station and wealth.
  5. Journey with us now … into the grim the world of perilous adventures! Alexius Wilhellm (Reikland initiate of Sigmar), El Cuervo (Estalian performer), Johannes Hengst (Averland fop), Thyrus Norrener (Middenheim mercenary), Tomas Radische (Wissenland gambler) Chapter Three: Mutant Menace Konistag, the 16th day of Sigmarzeit, 2522 IC … Another morning of thick fog and chilled air greets this Konistag (Kings Day); tensions are running high along wegs of the docks with yet another murder, a gruesome corpse found and displayed to send a clear message of warning. Journey with Johannes Hengst, Fop of Averheim! In search of an investor for a business venture, sure to restore Johannes to the good graces of the upper social tiers of Averheim, Johannes struggles to balance his future with the current predicament that he has undertaken … the missing bride Estelle Werner. With bodies turning up daily and the mysterious Black Cowl pulling the strings of the underworld, has Johannes put his business dealings and life in danger? Only time will tell … Tempt fate with gambler Tomas Radische! When his meeting with Johannes interrupted due to the turmoil in the docks Tomas now finds himself assisting this unusual band of investigators. Does he truly care about these missing persons? What’s in it for him to find these people? Now that this Black Cowl is coming to power, asserting control over the thieves, fences, and gamblers he knows well, Tomas finds himself in the center of it all. But is the spotlight where he truly wants to be? Swing away with Thyrus Norrener, Mercenary! With his old friend missing and others now disappearing, Thyrus is now at the ready fighting injustice wherever it may rear its ugly head. With the directive of his former commander Marcus Baerfaust to seek out information regarding these disappearances, Thyrus has latched on to the band of men who seem to seek the same answers. Will the five of them be enough? Or will these unseen forces prove to be their undoing? Praise Sigmar with Alexius Willhelm, Initiate! The rabble of the dockside is teeming with heretics, the unclean, and non-devout. It is no wonder that they are easily swayed by the machinations of this man in the black hood. With tensions on the rise and bodies with strange wounds being discovered, Alexius understands that only the fierce hand of Sigmar can right the wrongs of this downtrodden place, and it is through his hands this must happen. Scoff at danger with El Cuervo, handsome foreigner! Critically wounded after the rescue at the burning barge, El Cuervo wonders if he will be alive to find the lovely Estelle as he promised her family. The flames offered clarity to the dashing performer, however, the docks of Averheim are not the stages and circuses of Estalia. These are dangerous places filled with dodgy people. Can he find Estelle and perhaps bring justice to those who might do her harm or will his carefree and daredevil ways bring about his final performance and his life’s curtain call? With El Cuervo critically wounded, the pressure mounts as the group decides to up the ante to ferret out the Black Cowl by posing as a coaching team and trying to discover more about this mysterious and dangerous man. Will it work? Or will they only succeed in shaking the hornet’s nest? Five brash young fools, unlikely heroes thrust into the grim world of perilous adventure! Frederick Grosz, racketeer fearing for his own life after several of his peers have been discovered dead by mysterious wounds, warns the party of their own danger in publicly pursuing their line of inquiries and mentions the enforcer of the Black Cowl, a man called Bischoff, a fearsome bastard of the Battle of Black Fire Pass. The mercenary, who also fought the 3rd Battle of Black Fire Pass[1] some two years previous, has heard rumours of this man Bischoff. El Cuervo asks Johannes, if hombre (de ***** aka the Black Cowl) has an ear to the docks how will the party’s ruse with a coach surprise him? The fop and the initiate agree that speed is the key, the quicker we can implement the plan the better the chance of success. Hengst, still a teenager, is anxious to add complexity to the plan by having ‘goods’ within the wagon to sell the deception; collect spoiled merchandise and containers from Stark’s burned out barge to put in the wagon. The young gallant also suggests dressing the coach up (to disguise it’s not a Red Arrow wagon) would be appropriate, yet the Sigmar tyro in his mid-twenties feels the opposite would be best, sell the fact it is a Red Arrow wagon drawing more attention to our cart. The injured performer, wanting to contribute to the subterfuge, puts forward the distribution of rumour by our gambler that our wagon may have gun powder. Initiate Willhelm then brings up an important and relevant point: what if we are successful and an attempt is made to rob us? Hengst points out the capture of as many criminals is prudent, but instead of turning them over directly to the Averheim Greatswords the two (Alexius and Tomas) who questioned previous interrogation techniques take lead in questioning the prisoners. The religious plebe is quick to admit he knows little of interrogation though is does know something about pain, the popinjay takes exception to his words for he was first and most critical of Norrener and Hengst for not extracting enough information from the captured arsonist before relinquishing him to the authorities. It is clear that both educated young men have different perspectives. Our foreign interlocutor interjects to disrupt the friction betwixt the upper stratum squabblers. It is agreed that Alexius and Johannes will approach Graf von Kaufman about securing a wagon, Tomas will stir the rumour mill leaving Thyrus and El Cuervo to continue searching for Estelle. The Raven is doubtful of that action for he believes she is a prisoner of el hombre, he is more interested in killing the men under el hombre to get closer to the new criminal ringleader. The Estalian speaks of three ‘great motivators’, know to his countrymen: death, love and money. “We get paid the money to cause death for love, ‘tis beautiful, no?” El Cuervo will speak to Stark in hopes of getting some props for our cunning ruse. As Johannes and Alexius depart, the thesp asks petit-maître if he runs into Herr Luminary to relay El Cuervo wishes to speak to him once we find the missing bride as he will understand the reference. Our vagabond spreads the word that he’s been hired to move some gun powder this day. He draws much curiosity from his contacts, many inquiring who the client is, Radische drops Johannes’s name. Rosalie, proprietor of the Upright Pig, takes particular notice. It takes a good part of the day with most wishing him well and to be safe amid all precarious goings-on of late. As the scalawag works the dockside stalls and peddlers he hears several folk comment on the disappearance of Ute or to the fact that no one has heard or seen her in the last day or so. The irregular and magpie seek Adolphus Stark, local merchant, a tall, thin man in his late thirties, with a large, long nose and a shock of black hair. He is intelligent and witty, though he can be stuffy and officious when dealing with business. Adolphus and his family were staying on a large, expensive barge, which was moored near the Upright Pig before being lit a fire. His wife, Frieda, is a attractive, fair-haired woman in her late twenties; they run a small exclusive business selling fine Cathaian silks to up-market tailors. He has twins, Bertha and Gertrude, which are eleven. They look identical apart from their hair - Bertha is dark and Gertrude is fair. They find the burgher at his half-sunk hull of a barge. The day has warmed since morning and the sun peaks out through some heavy clouds. It is almost looking like summer. Stark greets to two men, asking after El Cuervo’s shoulder which is obvious bandaged and on the mend. The hambone intimates the merchant is very fortunate in that his lovely wife and beautiful girls were spared, for it is difficult to lose someone so close. He then continues to express his own desire to find a woman dear to him, Estelle Werner hoping Stark can lend a hand in the effort. The Black Cowl is uttered and the merchant shutters, advising the foreigner should not speak that name aloud for fear of endangering himself and those around him. The Estalian’s accent is too thick (and dialogue too long-winded) for this distracted mercantiler, Thyrus interjects and divulges the plan of a faux trade wagon to drawn in highwaymen or the Cowl’s agents. They work to influence the local tradesman into helping them despite his fearful anxiety. Stark dreads the thought of the man in the black hood or his dispatchers learning this silk merchant is giving support to anyone opposing his underworld ambitions. The soldier of fortune is able to twist the milksop’s words towards bold action versus passive submission then the pantomimist uses style and grace with the rapier to illustrate his brash young band is capable of standing up to the recent criminal incursion. The battle veteran is unable to reinforce his position of muscle due to his retinue of confederates yet the dashing raconteur successfully exemplifies boldness of defiance upon which the denizens of the docks could use resist the pressures of extortion. The fearful father breaks down whimpering and in a brusque tirade defends his cowardice for the sake his twin daughters. El Cuervo’s eloquent oration of courage and bravado is too much for the weakened Adolphus and he acquiesces to their request for crates, supplies, and (useless) trade goods. In order to publicly safeguard his reputation and protect his family Stark mocks outrage and refusal with his demands for the two strangers to leave him alone. The Journey's End Coaching Inn is a large two-storey building with wide mullioned windows, on the south corner of the square across from the Averburg.[2] The Red Arrow Office can be found next door where a modestly priced ticket on coaches ranging the Empire can be purchased. Inside the offices Willhelm and Hengst find several workers milling about and working, a bespectacled man with greying temples sets at a raised slanted desk, his hand and fingernails embedded with ink from years of bookkeeping. Hoping to meet with Graf von Kaufman the clerk directs the pair to manager of the coach line. Curd Weiss, aide-de-camp to von Kaufman, is a tall and officious man in his early forties. He has dark hair which he keeps neat and short. Curd dresses at all times in the livery of the von Kaufman family, a yellow tabard decorated with their coat of arms[3]. He has a slim and handsome face, though his cold and unfriendly nature is written in his haughty expression. He is a natural bureaucrat, with a fine head for numbers and management, but he is humourless and unfeeling. The aspirant introduces himself and his fribble colleague, Weiss is already aware of both young men[4] and their stations. The bald Sigmar templar describes recent trouble met upon the high roads of Averland leading to Averheim but before much is said the overbearing manager directs the brace of silver-tiered youngsters to a private office. His normal demeanor cracks slightly as he mentions the serendipitous meet this day. The newly gained reputation from the docks preceded the scholarly duo. A common purpose is found, our search for missing denizens and prominent merchants concern for profit and property. A missing shipment, overdue by 2 days with a few crates of wine, some chemical compounds for industrial use and Stark’s Cathay silks, needs attention so Curd hires the two and party, 5 bob per day. He recommends the group head north by foot on the Wurtbad road towards a way station, a coaching inn name the Welcome Rest (12 miles out) as part of the price a writ of stay for all party members to spend the night at the coaching inn gratis. The counter proposal is to borrow an old or used Red Arrow wagon loaded with crates, he agrees. It will be ready first thing Angestag. En route back to the docks, Stephan greets the pair on the south end of the Penzerplatz. It is midday and he seeks alms for a meal, instead of following his own dictates to ignore the lad Alexius engages the whelp. The boy drops to polish the armoured boots of the devotional tenderfoot; Johannes drops a couple of clanks. It is put forward that El Cuervo should see a proper physician (10 shillings) for treatment of his shoulder and wounds versus long term care at a hospice healer of Shallya (2 crowns). The gallant finds Dr Feldscher who treats the entertainer’s grisly wound yet the previous barber-surgeon treatment prevents him from doing much more than giving it a suitable cleansing and fresh dressings; he only charges 5 silver. Johannes ventures to the Journey’s End, there he finds someone of social note: T Thaddeus Mott, popular gaudy playwright; introducing himself the beau hopes to seek advice on securing patronage, a common practice amongst artistes such as Mott. More of fashion-monger than Hengst, the dramatist is delighted to meet an innocent interested in his works and reputation; just back from a recent engagement at Altdorf’s famed Vagr Breughel Memorial Playhouse, in Detlef Sierck’s Drachenfels. Johannes spends time trying to schmooze and gain favour while drinking some brandy and proposing his idea for “Fearful Farthings”[5]. Less interested in a business venture, the young Hengst is, instead, invited as Mott’s companion to Graf von Kaufman’s Menagerie Soiree (social event of the season). In the wee hours of the morning the young fob heads home after too many brandies flattered by all the attention given by the social vanguard. Tomas spends the evening gambling some more using his new found reputation to go home with a heavier purse. Alexius returns to the temple. El Cuervo retires early to rest his shoulder injury yet has a very fitful and restless slumber. Thyrus spends a quiet evening at the White Horse tavern. The next morning as the sun rises, it did not rain the previous evening or early morning yet there is still dew upon cobblestones and rooftops. The greyness is all but gone and it can be said summer has arrived albeit a day early. El Cuervo and Thyrus are the first to arrive at the Red Arrow offices. Curd is there and comments he has heard of the Estalian’s daring rescue of Stark’s family. Tomas is next quickly followed by Johannes, who makes it in time to introduce the gambler to coach line boss. Alexius is last and several minutes behind the rest. Weiss is less impressed after seeing the brash young fools assembled. Money and letter are given as well a short one-horse four-wheeled carryall cart with broad tarp. The youthful macaroni drives the cart with the scamp while the babbler, novitiate, and scrapper hide under cover. Initially the Old Dwarf Road north is very busy with farmers taking their crops and cattle to market and other minor tradesmen heading to town. The Stirland high road is banked with orchards, grazing fields and farmlands. A couple hours out of the city a man in mangy clothes and broad-brimmed hat pushing a two-wheeled stall cart with various trinkets, fetishes, kerchiefs, beads and feathers, and odd-and-ends draped approaches the horse-drawn carryall. He appears to be a Strigany of sorts. The dandy is intrigued and buys a rabbit’s foot for good luck, then some pasta (for two) with crushed pepper and dried tomatoes. The Crow, from under the tarp, warns the drivers to be weary of the Tilean, for they are untrustworthy; the Crow makes a sharp, high-pitched squeaky sound (by sucking on the front teeth) and startles the horse to advance. Pressing on, Tomas goats Johannes, asking several pointed questions about his family and lineage. The fob cautiously admits to being an orphan, he once believed the woman who raised him was his mother and her stories of his father was of a minor military officer killed battling Halflings during the Moot skirmishes. It turns out all of that was lie, for Johannes’ real father was the late Kohl Treuer by his wife Janna. With all the conversation the young driver nearly missed the signs of a wagon going off the road. He stops abruptly announcing his find. Ulric is the first to get out of the wagon quickly following the tracks into the wooded area. Sigmar consoles Renald who feels a fish out of water. Myrmidia strains to get out having suffered much discomfort to his shoulder during the ride. Verena tries to steer the wagon down the path of the previous wagon’s tracks and surprisingly does a fine job but it becomes obvious it won’t be able to go much further. Getting off the wagon the ninny turns his ankle and has to find a stick to aid his step. A top the makeshift rod Hengst affixes his rabbit’s foot. The adventurer and proselyte scan the woods; they are very attentive of possible attack or ambush. Along the tracking path a broken keg and other debris is spotted. The magpie notices the sludge believing it to be ruined black powder. Johannes fills a kerchief with the wet mix and stuffs an empty glass vile hoping to soak out the moisture. Smoke is spotted ahead, the mercenary signals for quiet; he then suggests someone sneaks forward. The man in the breastplate declines, not his forte. The gamester volunteers to stealthily advance. The initiate notices the fop is quite anxious, clutching his symbol of Renald. He moves to calm the youth with the gift of Sigmar yet is rebuffed, the jack dandy believes his heightened state will keep him alert and alive. The whole group notices the awkward encounter and tension mounts. As the party waits to hear from Tomas’ reconnaissance two large elk bound past creating a lot of noise; followed quickly by some odd sounding bird call. The group tenses up even more ready to encounter enemies. Alexius and Thyrus point out a figure in the trees, very agile moving from branch to branch; too large to be a rodent or bird, actually it looks to be a female. The guerilla draws a throwing axe in preparation. The magpie and popinjay move away to reposition themselves and get a better vantage point. The figure moves closer to the two battle-ready fighters when they get a good look at her; she is covered with hundreds of tiny, wart-like protrusions and her eyes are weeping pus. The raven-haired orator steps out slack-jawed as he too clearly sees the hideous creature. Before the brash young fighters of justice sits upon a high branch, a creature corrupted and tainted by chaos, maligned by evil nature, and at its very core dedicated to the eradication of human-kind – not a beastman of legends and tales rather a real mutant, a true agent of maleficent gods. Moving with determination and focus, a mighty toss of his combat throwing axe hurls toward the abomination without hesitation. The Ulric gladiator begins our extermination of what will turn out to be several horrific mutants. A solid hit center mass buries deep into her chest, only slowed by the abnormal thickness of her sternum. A loud whimper utters forth as she removes the axe and drops it in the undergrowth. Back at the mutant’s makeshift encampment where our desperado lay watching in secret, Tomas sees emerging out of the main tent a tall, imposing brute with a large twist horn pushed through his rugged sickly-green skin. The muscle-ladened fiend draws up oversized spiked cudgel. The socialite moves towards the smoke thinking Radische may need help. Tomas, dark clothed with a large hat, remains unseen but draws his blade waiting for the mutants to move closer to his companions gaining him a flanking advantage. The templar reels his massive maul striking the tree hoping to dislodge the mutant acrobat. She loses her footing but manages to hang on. The initiate’s hands numb with a ringing sensation and he drops his hammer. The mutant on high moves to another tree unable to remove the axe from her chest and yells a warning to brother abominations, “Intruders! Intruders are here! Hein. Wermer.” Battle vet Norrener draws his second axe, he appears almost enraged with fury, and loses it at his first target strikes her shoulder blade as she lengthens the distance by fleeing. Alexius grabs up his long-handled hammer and moves to calm down Ulric but fails. El Cuervo finds the first axe and snags it. Johannes is able to secret himself in the brush as he notices two more mutants: a man of normal proportions and appearance save for a large pendulous wattle hanging from his face then a creature covered in blue features sporting a broad gnarled beak, some anomalous birdman. Pustule girl jumps to the ground and warns her comrades of the three assailants coming (Thyrus, El Cuervo, and Alexius). The dexterous Estalian rearms the militant Middenlander; Thyrus moves closer to the mutant camp and El Cuervo follows. As the mutants pass his place of hiding, the scrawny well-to-do panics, he pulls off his good luck charm and lops his walking stick hoping to draw attention away from his position instead it makes him known to wattler and birdman. They rush him with their hand weapons, rooster face swings high and lodges his blade into a tree then beak-man connects with the young city lad yet loses his footing as Hengst kicks his legs while trying to dodge the attack. Saber in hand the fop swipes at the fowl man down [pun intended], clipping his shoulder and neck. Backing away from the rushing pair Johannes is engaged by the large horn-head greenie with spike club taking a crushing blow as the point only tears his clothing. Obsessed with destroying the mutant sentry woman the mercenary throws his regained axe hitting for a third time. Just behind the Ulric scrapper, the rapier wielding Estalian finishes the job in killing her. Alexius roars out, “For the glory of Ghal Maraz and by the shield of Sigmar, I batter thee!” He comes to dandy’s aid. Seeing the inward bound assistance the fallen Johannes holds tight his rabbit’s foot in his left hand. The great weapon punches hard the muscled green skin of the large leader, massive internal damage assured. Radische arrives for his strategic infiltration to the battle, with a nimble strike of his blade he too assaults the blue-feathered monstrosity inflicting serious damage. The furry, donkey-eared mutant goes for our acrobat and misses horribly allowing the foreign rapier to riposte. Both turkey-neck and azure plume try for Tomas and fail to connect being surprised by his appearance. Guarding his position Johannes shuffles about. Horn-head moves towards Initiate Willhelm but his injuries betray him and he misses; Sigmar’s vessel counters smacking the green mutant again. Their leader exposes his sharpened teeth in a growl of rage yet his eyes let slip his fear. Thyrus attacks the mutant ass staggering him yet the merc leaves himself slight exposed to a counter attack. The high roller takes the chance given by his god Renald and plucks the life from the avian monster. Wattler flees into the underbrush. The donkey-eared assailant weakly stabs at the sell-sword but only scratches him. Both templar and horn-head swing at one another, neither connects in the blur of battle. The socialite strikes with Sigmar’s blessing but misses by blades width, the plebe curses the sign of Renald for failure. Our tumbler leaps after rooster face tackling up and preventing his escape. The rapscallion slices at the weapon hand of donkey-faced furry mutant, dicing of a couple of fingers; blood splatters all over the jack-dandy. It looks down at its hand then to Tomas before it falls over dead. El Cuervo and man with a pendulous wattle struggle before the mutant finally yields. Ulric and Sigmar unite again in purpose and vanquish the twisted-horn green monstrosity but in the fray the merc’s heirloom sword is damaged. By the looks of everyone after the mutant clash, Hengst has suffered to worst of it with several deep cuts and lacerations. Willhelm offers to heal to the best of his ability if the charm wielding Renaldite will accept his aid. The fop doesn’t understand the initiate’s comments for Johannes worships Verena so he would logically welcome medical assistance. The patrician closes his eyes and faintly feels the taint of corruption upon his body; he does not admit this to anyone. Others are aided by bandaging and laying of hands. Found in and around the camp: three chaos-tainted swords, coins totalling 125 brass (25 bp a piece), broken shards of a cart and crates, bones and flesh of a horse, upon a fire spit the remains of the driver, a trellis with drying strips of meat, an open crate of famed Rohrhausen Riesling wine with only a few bottles intact, bolts of Cathay silks stowed within their original crates, yet the chemicals are missing. We shall interrogate our prisoner once we have gathered ourselves. [1] Averheim's elector Marius Leitdorf, was famous in the Empire for two reasons; first, for being one of the best swordsmen in the Empire, and second, for being completely mad. This prompted some unsubtle 'guidance' from Karl Franz to curb the worst of Leitdorf's excesses. Leitdorf was eventually slain by an Orc Warlord at the Third Battle of Black Fire Pass in 2520, though it was his holding action (accompanied by his Greatsword bodyguards) that gave time for the Reiksguard to rally and rout the invaders. According the position of Averland Elector is now in dispute, since the last Elector Count never returned from the Storm of Chaos. [2] The coaching inn is one of the most sumptuous and well-appointed taverns in the Empire. It features a comfortable bar that serves a wide array of expertly cooked dishes prepared by experienced halfling chefs, strong ale imported directly from dwarf breweries, and fine wines sourced from renowned vintners in Averheim and Wurtbad. The inn provides the hub of the Red Arrow coaching network, and the owners of the coaching house pay handsomely to see that the Journey’s End is always staffed with trained professionals and equipped with a surplus of everything it needs to run smoothly. Few inns or boarding houses in the Empire provide such lavish accommodation to their guests. [3] A black Imperial cross on a yellow field; the cross is encircled by a stylised red corona, as if it eclipses the sun. [4] Johannes Hengst has his gelding Rathebur stabled at Red Arrow mews. Alexius Willhelm is a member of the Sun Society not unlike Weiss’ employer, though Willhelm is a junior member with much less social status. The Sun Society (Sun of fallen Solland) is an association of academics. It meets regularly (every two weeks) at the Journey’s End Coaching Inn in Averheim. It’s the most prestigious and erudite academic society in Averheim. It’s also the only such society. Membership: Graf Friedrich von Kaufman a minor aristocrat with a small estate in Averland and an impressive townhouse within Averheim, co-owner of the Red Arrow Coach line. Unterlector Viktor Glottz of the Temple of Verena. Luminary Konrad Mauer. Lady Mildred Dimplebach, noble woman and dilettante. Herr Samuel Gleason, glass merchant. Herr Anton Kluge, scribe and novelist. Lord Matthias Krieger, nobleman and businessman. Frau Gretchen Lang, librarian of the Temple of Verena. Master T Thaddeus Mott, playwright and thespian. Her Adolphus Reinholt, wine merchant. Initiate Alexius Willhelm. [5] Begin publishing small pamphlets or loose bound "readers" for a farthing (1/4 brass penny) each. The stories are aimed at young readers (mostly boys, in this medieval society); lurid tales surrounding myths, legends, and fairy tales but in a more sensational narrative. Moral messages will be incorporated and lessons given in the stories about being good Sigmarians, upstanding Imperials, respecting good farming/ranching values, and virtues of masculinity. The Readers are intended to help all the youth in Averheim (and even Averland) to learn to read at an earlier age, promote better common education, advocate for apprenticeship, and to work for a better and more prosperous Averland. The Readers should also teach the need for our nobility and gods--and respectively, their sovereign rights and ecumenical mercy. Altdorf leads the Empire in higher learning with its university and such, Averheim should take the initiative to begin that learning at an earlier age and subsume Altdorf's reputation for publications and periodicals.
  6. Journey with us now … into the grim the world of perilous adventures! Johannes Hengst (Averland fop), Alexius Wilhelm (Reikland initiate of Sigmar), El Cuervo (Estalian performer) , Tomas Radische (Wissenland gambler), Thyrus Norrener (Middenheim mercenary) Chapter Two: Death Along the Docks Besahltag, the 15th day of Sigmarzeit, 2522 IC… The rain has returned in the form of a chilly drizzle, the streets are abundant with fog, it is difficult to see the dark grey skies above. Only a day or two away from the start of summer, the miserable weather feels more like first of spring. It is early morning and already a busy day, the people go on about their business without a care of the villainous events along the docks near the Griffon Bridge that leads into Stirland just north of the Aver River. Journey with us now … journey with Johannes Hengst, the gently born. This fop of Averheim is seen living the good life, mingling with the aristocracy. Making friends and turning a sly ear to private conversations of the wealthy and the powerful of the Empire. Yet, not is all as it seems with Johannes, a mysterious past and unknown benefactor had been filling the coffers of young Johannes until now. With his money cut off and his station at risk, how will he fund his future? Can he find another to fill the purse and fund his complacency or will he have to seek adventure to make his own fortune? Keep the faith with Alexius Wilhelm, Initiate of Sigmar! No one really knows the young man of the cloth, and does he really know himself? Exiled from his family, either by choice or punishment, Alexis has set out to support his one true home, the Cult of Sigmar. Following the holy order of the Heldenhammer was not something that he found as a young man as many in the Cult claim, rather the cult found him. It was given him direction, clarity, and a burning desire to spread his word to those like him. Will his faith keep him in the light? Or will the darker part of him consume him in corruptive fire? Tempt fate with Tomas Radische, lucksmith and gambler. Living with the moniker of criminal is not what Tomas had in mind for a promising life, but those were the cards he was dealt. So he, as always, plays the hand he was given. Tomas always had Ranald’s favour, finding what he needed when he needed it, avoiding death and imprisonment through sheer audacity and a well placed contact. That is what got him out of his recent troubles. Tomas learned to fend for himself because the Old World is a harsh and unforgiving place. And fortune won’t last forever. Fight chaos with Thyrus Norrener, mercenary. A simple life turned upside down in the harsh winds of winter. With his parents slain and his village pillaged and plundered by the foul beastmen, this son of Middenland turned a steely eye and hardened heart to Ulric, Lord of Winter and Wolves. Though not a priest, Thyrus learned the hard way that in order to survive it takes more than faith but coin. From that day he chased every opportunity to right the wrongs done to him and his family. Will a sword and throwing axes be enough to fill his broken heart? Scoff at danger with the Estalian performer El Cuervo. Cast out of his homeland, El Cuervo seeks redemption to bring back his love Esmeralda but will daring do be enough to reunite the lovers? Now in the cold, bitter Empire he roams the land risking life and limb as the amazing performer El Cuervo. Living each moment as it were his last, living life with reckless abandonment, hoping against hope that the gods will take notice and return him again to his homeland. But El Cuervo, the crow is also the harbinger of doom and the gods they have another plan in store. Five brash young fools thrust into the grim world of perilous adventure! These men have been brought together through fate and a common goal in discovering what has been happening along the dock of Averheim, the disappearance or death of several people. For El Cuervo and Johannes, it is seeking out the missing bride Estelle Werner, for Thyrus it is finding his old military buddy Ulster Traven through his old commander Captain Marcus Baerfaust[1], and for Tomas it is an acquaintance found murdered. How is all this connected to the man in the black hood (the Black Cowl)? Thyrus and El Cuervo have taken rooms at the White Horse Tavern, Tomas stayed the night at the Upright Pig tavern. Johannes approaches the White Horse spotting Ute Herz[2] the street musician setting up for the day with her hurdy-gurdy. He speaks to the information peddler buying tittle-tattle; there has been a rash of highway robberies along the Averland roads, merchants have come under attack by organised bandits sometimes being brutalised as well. It is not long before the instrument falls out of tune and wails like a tortured animal, soon Tomas approaches. Ute has heard the disappearances are directly related to the new top dog, the man in black. It appears he is making a play for control of Averheim criminal network. The innkeeper hears mention of the man in black or the man in the black hood, he appears visible unsettled. A couple of men at a nearby table quickly remove themselves leaving a half-eaten breakfast. Rumours say the dead man Keller did not submit to the new criminal overlord, soon he was found dead. Thyrus is becoming impatient with the lack of direct action, too much time ‘gathering’ information, El Cuervo listens and shares similar feeling as he is anxious to find Estelle Werner. More talk of the dangerous man in the black hood increases the tension within the tavern. Bernhardt Kurtz, innkeeper asks the mercenary to keep his talk quieter so as not to disturb what few customers remain. Tomas enjoys taunting Johannes but the young naïve lad doesn’t appear to be move, more likely by not truly understanding his intent. A pseudonym is used for the man in the black hood, Jesus. Later Johannes suggests hombre de ***** or merely hombre. Thyrus seems concerned about the Reinholt family and their possible retribution over the duel with Kaspar. Johannes does not believe they will retaliate. The northern mercenary believes there must be underground tunnels, back doors and hidden passages that criminals use to operate. Tomas may have some inroads into the workings of the local criminal underworld, he himself is not a criminal (for he was acquitted). Across the river is Stirland where the true criminal element is likely to be. It seems in addition to Tomas, El Cuervo also knows Frederick Grosz; a man with better insight to Averheim’s gangland. Johannes tries to break away to meet with some potential investors and Mathilda Durbein. Before the rest search out more information they wish to include Alexius who happens to show up just outside the White Tavern; Stephan, the initiate’s new hanger-on follows begging for food. The tall, intimidating bald man bellows to educate the lad that survival instincts are an important to the ways of the faith; self-sufficiency is the first rank of understanding Sigmar. But the youngster’s sad eyes and quivering lips break the initiate and Alexius throws down two brass, the crowd around the yelling initiate raise a ruckus at the man’s verbal treatment of the boy. Hengst finds the stall along the river track or weg operated by Fraulein Durbein, several days earlier Johannes was forced to part with an heirloom, a gold locket that belonged his true mother. Now he hopes to buy it back. Unfortunately the trinket was sold to Magister Dagobert Gabor, a wizard the gold order (Chamon). Johannes pushes aside his emotions, the sinking feeling that he may have forever lost his only link to Janna Treuer and his immediate dislike of this greedy, vile wielder of the yellow winds. Switching subjects he asks subtly if she knows of the mysterious new crimelord. She is reticent to proffer any information for fear of Johannes’ safety. As Johannes turns from mistress Durbein’s stall, as Alexius pays off Stephan and as the others exit the White Horse a large roar and rumble is heard from the river along a nearby dock. A barge explodes with a large ball of flame billowing up and two ruffians run up the gangway of the same mooring pier as the fiery barge. A tall imposing looking man with a prominent nose in good clothes trails the group exiting the tavern, he screams “Oh no, my wife and children!” The two fleeing thugs reach the weg and turn from the White Horse, they move towards Johannes and away from everyone else. People along the lane screech in horror yet shrieks can be heard coming from barge as three victims plead for help. Tomas is first to shift to action, he darts towards the pier. Johannes brandishes his rapier to engage the two saboteurs. “Halt you stirpikes, you curs. Stand and deliver yourselves.” The bustle along the street is too heavy for the wiry socialite to manouevre through successfully even as he wields a fancy foil. El Cuervo is in lockstep behind Tomas in hopes to rescue those trapped by fire. Alexius calls to the mercenary, “Ulric let’s move.” The initiate moves through the crowd and around barriers to intercept those thugs in flight who have turn perpendicular to the fop. Thyrus sets to chase bounding over the market obstacles but runs into several vendors standing in close quarters. Sigmar’s man is able to snag one of the ruffians as the other slips into the Upright Pig. The dexterous raven-haired Estalian uses an available rope off a loading gantry to swing over the advancing gambler towards the wide-beam Marien Kannal-style keelboat with enclosed rear wheel-house. El Cuervo is first to the stern access hatch but it is locked and the metal pull-ring is searing hot. He can hear pounding from below indicating the man’s family just inside the wheel-house. The pull-ring breaks off becoming useless as Tomas is able to find a makeshift pry-bar. Johannes thrusts into the criminal haven looking for second saboteur who has vanished within the building. The first heavy pulls free from man of faith following the fop and closes the front door but the mighty hammer of Sigmar smashes door into multiple pieces thanks to it wielder. The thug fleeing our mister Wilhelm yields to his intimidating feat and capitulates. The other ruffian who has vanished is on the verge of escaping. The fop searches the faces of the inhabitants hoping against the odds to finds a sign to the whereabouts of the runaway criminal; all faces save one show impassive or disdainful expressions. The young Stephan looks to the back door. Hengst motions with is blade for Norrener to continue forward as he ascends the stairs hoping for an open window to view the path of the arsonist. Alas the scrawny well-to-do finds the task too strenuous to complete, his body succumbs to fatigue and he nearly collapses at the apex of the stairs. The sell-sword moves through the interior barrier finding himself in a back room but his target is nowhere in sight. Wilhelm, the Church’s man, is overcome with the will of his god and must take a moment to calm his thunder; he has his man so he must now present himself as all symbols of Sigmar should under these conditions. Tomas is unable to find enough leverage to open the hatch. El Cuervo finds higher ground upon flat decking and topples several large barrels. They crash through the cover planking opening up an egress for a rescue but the daring performer strains his shoulder and traps him within some flames. The gambler takes advantage of Ranald’s benevolence, he motions for the trapped females to come closer to him so he might pull them out before the heat and blaze consume them. Blocked by flames the Estalian reverses his direction and uses his bullwhip to swing over the adjacent boat. High temperature overcomes El Cuervo and he instead plunges into the Aver between the docked vessels. As the merchant runs to help his family, Radishe has ensured they can escape the fiery trap they almost fell victim to. Now the gambler turns his attention his ally that fell into the river but has not yet reemerged. Ranald has turned his gaze away from the Estalian, Tomas dives in unable to find El Cuervo in the murky waters of the Aver. Thyrus bulls his way through the kitchen exiting into the back alley, the fleeing thug is nearing a side alley but slips in the muck thrown out the back windows. He glances back to see he is losing ground to his mercenary pursuer. The Ulric fighter flings a crate lid at the running criminal in hopes of knocking him down. But the alleyway is too narrow to make the distance needed. The ruffian disappears into the side alley. A minor verbal skirmish betwixt Rosalie and Alexius breaks out as they yell at one another. Johannes remains up the stairs exhausted but with the blessing bestowed by Alexius he is slight relieved. The boat owner looks to the river for a good long while before Tomas breaks the surface with El Cuervo in hand. The rescuer takes a large gasp of air as he makes his way to the pier. A tall imposing man in his early forties with a shock of dark hair stands over the two men leaving the water; he is sweating and soot-covered after tending to his family. He introduces himself as Adolphus Stark, a local merchant and burgher importing goods from Altdorf. The gambler recognises him and recalls Stark was paying protection to Klaus Keller, the dead man found the day before. Adolphus tells Tomas that he was approached by new racketeers but he didn’t think they would act so soon, the merchant hoped his payment to the Keller would have covered his latest shipment (Cathay silk) from harm, apparently not. Rosalie is still bitching about her front door as the initiate and fop move to leave with their prisoner. The young socialite opens his purse and flings 5 schillings to the proprietor despite her protests that the door cost 10 shillings. The sell-sword joins the two leaving the Upright Pig. Sigmar’s man makes his way to the barge to check on the condition of the rest of our brash young fool ensemble. His offers some assistance to the injured with his soothing hands blessed by his godly liege. El Cuervo will need more medicinal aid, perhaps he should seek out a Shallyan healer, chemist or barber-surgeon; Tomas finds a local dockside to help his injured colleague. The mercenary begins to question the captured arsonist upon the stoop of the tavern. He claims to work for the man in the black hood, he doesn’t know how to reach his superior rather he is contacted the mysterious leader. He refuses to say any more as Thyrus threatens to take him to the barracks of the Averheim Greatswords and Johannes exposes pitch upon his hands implicating his guilt in the fire. On his person, the fop finds a small purse with several coins and a distinctive long blade knife or stiletto that is removed. Tomas and El Cuervo visit Adolph Gertz, barber-surgeon, an old hunch-back with a boisterous personality and small frame just over 5 feet. In a delirium El Cuervo speaks of his gratitude and indebtedness to the gambler for saving his live, he compares the local Tomas to a saint from Estalia. “Tomas was a great hero in my country. As a boy he was visited by Isolde in his dreams. To truly appreciate how special that was, you must know a bit about Isolde. Isolde was Sigmar’s youngest sister, who was betrothed to the High King of Estalia, Carlos the Eighth. She trained the Estalian army and later became a great war champion who repelled the Arabic invasion. She also slew the King when his mind was taken by Slaneesh but she was eventually killed by an enchanted blade. That led to a long-standing mistrust of magic in my country that survives to this day. “Back to the story – Isolde came to Tomas in his dreams and warned him of the holy war Araby was planning. He travelled for many winters to come Estalia, where he sought out King Fernando XXIII of Cordoba. Tomas convinced the King of the threat posed by all of the enemies of Estalia and the key to defeating them, as told to him through his visions of Isolde. “Guided by Isolde, Tomas and the King ventured into the mountains, where they discovered the secret tomb of Verak the Mad, who mixed runic magic with the magic of other races to create unparalleled enchanted weapons. “Using the artifacts recovered, Tomas led the Estalian army to many victories against our enemies, driving the Arabs from our lands once and for all. For the glory of Isolde, Thomas ensured the splendor of Estalia would last forever. To that end, Tomas created houses of worship of Isolde, including monasteries for the Brethren of the Infanta and the Sisters of Virtue. But most notably, Tomas founded the Sacred Office of the Inquisition and outlawed any study of magic outside of the War College. “With his inquisitors by his side, Tomas spent the rest of his life rooting evil from the lands. When Tomas died in 2091, Magritta was rebuilt and the wealth of our nation was restored under the direction of the Inquisition.” The conditions for the inspection and healing of The Raven are less than ideal, the hut appears more like an abattoir than a surgery. The tonic and poultice given to the injured Estalian are effective but the wounds are not dressed cleanly. He charges the foreigner a shilling for his attentions. As they return to the White Horse El Cuervo promises to prove or show Tomas is a man of honour or at least to be respected, the Estalian will stand by the gambler to defend his decency should others attempt to besmirch his reputation. At Baerfaust’s office Thyrus and Johannes deliver the detained culprit. In confidence the mercenary informs the captain of this thug’s connection to the barge fire and “the man in the black hood.” The fop hands over the stiletto and exposes the man’s pitched palms. The odd wounds of the two other bodies found recently near the Griffon Bridge were discussed. The recent activity of the highwaymen is brought up as well. With that Marcus Baurfaust passes on that several key shipments have be waylaid, specifically gunpowder from Nuln. The afternoon invites more heavy rain as the fog clears from the morning coolness. Johannes changes clothes to visit the Reinholts, meeting Corrine and Matilda Werner in the front parlour. Frau Reinholt is holding Frau Werner’s hand in support as the latter weeps in despair regarding her daughter’s disappearance. Standing stern and looking out the window is Adolphus, he turns to the entering socialite he asks for news. Johannes gives what little news he has, he successfully petitions Herr Reinholt for funds to engage others in the search; he asks 10/-, for Thyrus and Tomas but only 5/- for Alexius, a servant of Sigmar. Johannes retires from the parlour and prepares to exit, upon reaching the threshold a crack of thunder breaks the silence. In that moment the young sandy-haired patrician sees a brief shadow from continuing lightning and turns to look atop the staircase leading behind him. There he spies Kaspar, staring down disdainfully. The young, recently married Reinholt is venomous in his verbal bites at Johannes, who thought he was the Kaspar’s friend but now questions the relationship. That evening Tomas heads back to the Upright Pig, Beatrice calls him from a side alley before he enters. She fears for her safety after borrowing 90 silvers for gambling. She pleads for his assistance. In her begging she reminds him she has two young daughters, he offers 10/-. Better still he offers to gamble with his coin to increase the amount he can give her. He finds a high-end table, he is able to secure his reputation as a premier player and actually fleeces most at the table winning 15/-. Johannes returns to the White Horse to find Thyrus and Alexius, giving them coin from the Reinholts. Tomas is not available to pay him. The postulant is engaged by the socialite for two reasons: to find out what happened at the barge fire plus the wellbeing of the Estalian, then for an introduction to the members of the Sun Society. The search for Estelle is evaluated, proposals for further inquiry is discussed in various details. Alexius seems discouraged by the fact the ruffian was turned over to the town guard, rather than conducting our own interrogation. With a sarcastic tongue for the naïve patrician and law-bidding soldier of fortune, the cynical Sigmar novice retires for the evening. With Alexius gone, Tomas at the Upright, and El Cuervo resting from his injuries Johannes bids Thyrus gute nacht. Another morning of thick fog and chilled air greets this Konistag, Alexius wakes to prayers and chores before venturing out meeting Stephan again. A brass is given to youth. The group meets up at the White Horse tavern for breakfast, Johannes already made himself tea with toast and Tomas had coffee; during coffee Tomas confesses to give Beatrice some coin last night after his remarkable win. The porch is void of the street musician, Ute is not tuning her hurdy-gurdy as Johannes would expect. He mentions this to Bernhardt as he enters, they surmise she is out possibly sick; it did rain much yesterday and much of it was a cool rain. Johannes asks for porridge and bread to take up to the injured Raven, he serves the bed-ridden Estalian. He praises Tomas even still, he describes the events and hopes to be out of bed in a short time. Johannes tells El Cuervo they turned over the arsonist to Capt. Baerfaust. Downstairs, it is here Johannes meets Stephan, Alexius tells the patrician not to acknowledge the greenhorn. A minor discussion about food and eventually the young boy that Hengst remembers helped him yesterday is given a bowl of porridge, some cheese and bread. The initiate considers skipping the Sun Society gathering in lieu of continuing the search for the missing bride. Tomas arrives soon after, he too questions why the captured saboteur was in interrogated by us rather than being turned over to the town militia; he and Alexius seem to be of similar minds. The thug admitted to working for ‘hombre’. The gambler this reveals his information about Stark and his relationship with Keller and hombre. It is Alexius who suggest finds a coach or wagon and pose as merchant to see if the highwaymen will stop us. Johannes suggests attending the Sun Society to meet Graf Friedrich Von Kaufman to secure a viable wagon (coach) from the Red Arrow Coach line. The intellectual initiate is dubious of the motives of solicitous fop when meeting members of the academic assembly. Hengst gives Wilhelm his word that he would not petition his business venture within the confines of the society. Before the meeting, the brash young fools go to the garrison[3] to find out who the culprit was working for only to discover he was summarily killed after refusing to admit any incriminating information. Returning the docks, a crowd is gathered. Whispers of ‘another’ seep through the mass of the local denizens. Someone mentions a wizard is present. Near a warehouse, a short, slightly built man of 39 stands in full view of most, his dazzling white robes compensate somewhat for his lack of physical stature and he never goes abroad without a white miter that adds several inches to his apparent height. Although he is not an old man, Luminary Mauer’s[4] neatly trimmed goatee is as white as new snow. Due to his long usage of magic, the Light (Hysh-White Winds) Wizard’s eyes seemed washed out and somewhat insubstantial. Herr Luminary is examining a body unnaturally fitted in a small square depression recessed in the ground. Johannes immediately starts retching at the sight of the terrifying contortion of a dead man. A group of garrison guards is holding the throng of onlookers back, a pot-bellied sergeant Gunther among them comes over to assist the Luminary. Alexius is surprised such a prominent man was called to assess the local murder, he is there as a favour to Capt. Baerfaust. The dead man is identified as another racketeer Herman Hallheimer, Tomas recognises him. The initiate notices wounds similar to the previous murders, scratches and punctures; the flesh around the puncture wounds was soft and spongy and had turned grey, they were the consistency of warm cheese. Very strange but consistent with the other victims. Johannes asks if the grey skin is a sign of poison or chaotic taint. Word that unsavoury corpses were turning up had reached Averburg, the palace on the north edge of Penzerplatz. Tomas jokes the wounds may have been caused by Skaven, a couple of people around gasp in disbelief and Alexius laughs it off as pure superstition. El Cuervo squints his eyes at the remote possibility. Alexius speaks to the unique condition of the body within the small confines if it is the result of chaos magicks. Many more of the surround crowd reacts to the comment, some praying and other asking for protection. As all look to the gathering to gauge their response most notice Frederick Grosz standing near, pale, beads of sweat above his brow, breathing erratically as he backs away. El Cuervo and Thyrus follow this distressed man, Alexius and Tomas curiously follow the Estalian. The Raven confronts Grosz; fearfully the man refuses to talk after stating he will be next. The postulant utters a few words of benediction to alleviate the nervous tension of this racketeer. People opposing the Black Cowl are being eliminated is Grosz’s worry. The gambler tries to talk the racketeer into calming down and giving information to help discover who the cowl is or who is behind the disappearances and/or deaths. El Cuervo thinks the two gangs may be interested in opposing the Black Cowl or might assist in the investigation. Frederick is weary of such an alliance. He looks about and in a whispered voice he finally divulges, “There is a man. A man who came to Averheim a few weeks ago. This was about the same time as the Black Cowl started to consolidate his domain. The man’s name is Bischoff the Soldier, supposedly a veteran of Black Fire Pass [Grand Count Marius Leitdorf was killed whilst campaigning in Black Fire Pass in 2520]. Some say he is the iron fist of the Black Cowl. An enforcer, believed to inflict unique techniques of pain.” He goes on but based off Bischoff reputation, Grosz doesn’t think he was responsible for the poisoned deaths of the men recently found, they died too quickly. He has actually seen Bischoff. He warns Bischoff and the Black Cowl know of our group and that we should be weary. [1] Captain Baerfaust is a grizzled veteran of the Averheim garrison and commander of the Guard, barracked in the city. He is a lugubrious man with a haunted look who seems to be forever grumbling and muttering. He is powerful and stocky. His grey hair is cropped short and his long moustache is kept brushed down, accentuating his already morose expression. It would surprise many to learn that he is 38 – he looks at least a decade older, despite being physically in excellent condition. His black and yellow uniform is impressive and flashy, adorned with many honours and badges, though when he isn’t wearing it he prefers simple clothes and neutral colours. [2] A mousey waif of a girl in her late teens. Ute is friendly and open with a sharp memory and quick wits. She spends most of her day in front of the White Horse tavern. Her time is spent tuning her hurdy-gurdy and then playing beautiful pastoral music for about five minutes before her instrument loses its tune. She then creates a sound like a yowling fox jumping on broken bagpipes for half an hour before getting fed up and re-tuning it. Her prominent position means she sees a lot of what goes on around the docks and most local folk know that she does a nice sideline in selling information. [3] Averheim is patrolled by soldiers of the city garrison, who enforce public order and provide for the common defence. With no Elector to appoint new magistrates, two years of attrition has left the city’s judicial system short-handed and (since there’s no Elector to remove sitting magistrates, either) rather corrupt. As a consequence, the city patrols increasingly dispense summary justice, levying fines or administering corporal punishment more or less as the whim suits them. Only the most egregious offenses now result in incarceration and trial. During the day, patrols consist of pairs of Averheim soldiers, wearing yellow uniforms with black accents. The soldiers are armed with halberds and armoured with breastplates. At night, patrols are doubled to four-man groups, led by an officer with a sword and a war horn made from a cow’s horn, with which he can sound the alarm or call for assistance. [4] Luminary Konrad Mauer is of sufficient rank and skill that he may essentially go where he wishes and do as he pleases. It is rare that a light wizard would be so far from Altdorf for an extended period of time, unless he were actively hunting a Chaos enemy or artefact, but Mauer has been residing in Averheim for several years now, where he mostly keeps to himself, pursues some magical research, meets regularly with other scholars at the Journey’s Rest Coaching Inn on the Plenzerplatz, and lends his expertise to the nobility of Averheim when required.
  7. Journey with us now … into the grim the world of perilous adventures! Johannes Hengst (Averland fop), Alexius Wilhelm (Reikland initiate of Sigmar), El Cuervo (Estalian performer) , Tomas Radische (Wissenland gambler), Thyrus Norrener (Middenheim mercenary) Chapter Two: Death Along the Docks Besahltag, the 15th day of Sigmarzeit, 2522 IC… The rain has returned in the form of a chilly drizzle, the streets are abundant with fog, it is difficult to see the dark grey skies above. Only a day or two away from the start of summer, the miserable weather feels more like first of spring. It is early morning and already a busy day, the people go on about their business without a care of the villainous events along the docks near the Griffon Bridge that leads into Stirland just north of the Aver River. Journey with us now … journey with Johannes Hengst, the gently born. This fop of Averheim is seen living the good life, mingling with the aristocracy. Making friends and turning a sly ear to private conversations of the wealthy and the powerful of the Empire. Yet, not is all as it seems with Johannes, a mysterious past and unknown benefactor had been filling the coffers of young Johannes until now. With his money cut off and his station at risk, how will he fund his future? Can he find another to fill the purse and fund his complacency or will he have to seek adventure to make his own fortune? Keep the faith with Alexius Wilhelm, Initiate of Sigmar! No one really knows the young man of the cloth, and does he really know himself? Exiled from his family, either by choice or punishment, Alexis has set out to support his one true home, the Cult of Sigmar. Following the holy order of the Heldenhammer was not something that he found as a young man as many in the Cult claim, rather the cult found him. It was given him direction, clarity, and a burning desire to spread his word to those like him. Will his faith keep him in the light? Or will the darker part of him consume him in corruptive fire? Tempt fate with Tomas Radische, lucksmith and gambler. Living with the moniker of criminal is not what Tomas had in mind for a promising life, but those were the cards he was dealt. So he, as always, plays the hand he was given. Tomas always had Ranald’s favour, finding what he needed when he needed it, avoiding death and imprisonment through sheer audacity and a well placed contact. That is what got him out of his recent troubles. Tomas learned to fend for himself because the Old World is a harsh and unforgiving place. And fortune won’t last forever. Fight chaos with Thyrus Norrener, mercenary. A simple life turned upside down in the harsh winds of winter. With his parents slain and his village pillaged and plundered by the foul beastmen, this son of Middenland turned a steely eye and hardened heart to Ulric, Lord of Winter and Wolves. Though not a priest, Thyrus learned the hard way that in order to survive it takes more than faith but coin. From that day he chased every opportunity to right the wrongs done to him and his family. Will a sword and throwing axes be enough to fill his broken heart? Scoff at danger with the Estalian performer El Cuervo. Cast out of his homeland, El Cuervo seeks redemption to bring back his love Esmeralda but will daring do be enough to reunite the lovers? Now in the cold, bitter Empire he roams the land risking life and limb as the amazing performer El Cuervo. Living each moment as it were his last, living life with reckless abandonment, hoping against hope that the gods will take notice and return him again to his homeland. But El Cuervo, the crow is also the harbinger of doom and the gods they have another plan in store. Five brash young fools thrust into the grim world of perilous adventure! These men have been brought together through fate and a common goal in discovering what has been happening along the dock of Averheim, the disappearance or death of several people. For El Cuervo and Johannes, it is seeking out the missing bride Estelle Werner, for Thyrus it is finding his old military buddy Ulster Traven through his old commander Captain Marcus Baerfaust[1], and for Tomas it is an acquaintance found murdered. How is all this connected to the man in the black hood (the Black Cowl)? Thyrus and El Cuervo have taken rooms at the White Horse Tavern, Tomas stayed the night at the Upright Pig tavern. Johannes approaches the White Horse spotting Ute Herz[2] the street musician setting up for the day with her hurdy-gurdy. He speaks to the information peddler buying tittle-tattle; there has been a rash of highway robberies along the Averland roads, merchants have come under attack by organised bandits sometimes being brutalised as well. It is not long before the instrument falls out of tune and wails like a tortured animal, soon Tomas approaches. Ute has heard the disappearances are directly related to the new top dog, the man in black. It appears he is making a play for control of Averheim criminal network. The innkeeper hears mention of the man in black or the man in the black hood, he appears visible unsettled. A couple of men at a nearby table quickly remove themselves leaving a half-eaten breakfast. Rumours say the dead man Keller did not submit to the new criminal overlord, soon he was found dead. Thyrus is becoming impatient with the lack of direct action, too much time ‘gathering’ information, El Cuervo listens and shares similar feeling as he is anxious to find Estelle Werner. More talk of the dangerous man in the black hood increases the tension within the tavern. Bernhardt Kurtz, innkeeper asks the mercenary to keep his talk quieter so as not to disturb what few customers remain. Tomas enjoys taunting Johannes but the young naïve lad doesn’t appear to be move, more likely by not truly understanding his intent. A pseudonym is used for the man in the black hood, Jesus. Later Johannes suggests hombre de ***** or merely hombre. Thyrus seems concerned about the Reinholt family and their possible retribution over the duel with Kaspar. Johannes does not believe they will retaliate. The northern mercenary believes there must be underground tunnels, back doors and hidden passages that criminals use to operate. Tomas may have some inroads into the workings of the local criminal underworld, he himself is not a criminal (for he was acquitted). Across the river is Stirland where the true criminal element is likely to be. It seems in addition to Tomas, El Cuervo also knows Frederick Grosz; a man with better insight to Averheim’s gangland. Johannes tries to break away to meet with some potential investors and Mathilda Durbein. Before the rest search out more information they wish to include Alexius who happens to show up just outside the White Tavern; Stephan, the initiate’s new hanger-on follows begging for food. The tall, intimidating bald man bellows to educate the lad that survival instincts are an important to the ways of the faith; self-sufficiency is the first rank of understanding Sigmar. But the youngster’s sad eyes and quivering lips break the initiate and Alexius throws down two brass, the crowd around the yelling initiate raise a ruckus at the man’s verbal treatment of the boy. Hengst finds the stall along the river track or weg operated by Fraulein Durbein, several days earlier Johannes was forced to part with an heirloom, a gold locket that belonged his true mother. Now he hopes to buy it back. Unfortunately the trinket was sold to Magister Dagobert Gabor, a wizard the gold order (Chamon). Johannes pushes aside his emotions, the sinking feeling that he may have forever lost his only link to Janna Treuer and his immediate dislike of this greedy, vile wielder of the yellow winds. Switching subjects he asks subtly if she knows of the mysterious new crimelord. She is reticent to proffer any information for fear of Johannes’ safety. As Johannes turns from mistress Durbein’s stall, as Alexius pays off Stephan and as the others exit the White Horse a large roar and rumble is heard from the river along a nearby dock. A barge explodes with a large ball of flame billowing up and two ruffians run up the gangway of the same mooring pier as the fiery barge. A tall imposing looking man with a prominent nose in good clothes trails the group exiting the tavern, he screams “Oh no, my wife and children!” The two fleeing thugs reach the weg and turn from the White Horse, they move towards Johannes and away from everyone else. People along the lane screech in horror yet shrieks can be heard coming from barge as three victims plead for help. Tomas is first to shift to action, he darts towards the pier. Johannes brandishes his rapier to engage the two saboteurs. “Halt you stirpikes, you curs. Stand and deliver yourselves.” The bustle along the street is too heavy for the wiry socialite to manouevre through successfully even as he wields a fancy foil. El Cuervo is in lockstep behind Tomas in hopes to rescue those trapped by fire. Alexius calls to the mercenary, “Ulric let’s move.” The initiate moves through the crowd and around barriers to intercept those thugs in flight who have turn perpendicular to the fop. Thyrus sets to chase bounding over the market obstacles but runs into several vendors standing in close quarters. Sigmar’s man is able to snag one of the ruffians as the other slips into the Upright Pig. The dexterous raven-haired Estalian uses an available rope off a loading gantry to swing over the advancing gambler towards the wide-beam Marien Kannal-style keelboat with enclosed rear wheel-house. El Cuervo is first to the stern access hatch but it is locked and the metal pull-ring is searing hot. He can hear pounding from below indicating the man’s family just inside the wheel-house. The pull-ring breaks off becoming useless as Tomas is able to find a makeshift pry-bar. Johannes thrusts into the criminal haven looking for second saboteur who has vanished within the building. The first heavy pulls free from man of faith following the fop and closes the front door but the mighty hammer of Sigmar smashes door into multiple pieces thanks to it wielder. The thug fleeing our mister Wilhelm yields to his intimidating feat and capitulates. The other ruffian who has vanished is on the verge of escaping. The fop searches the faces of the inhabitants hoping against the odds to finds a sign to the whereabouts of the runaway criminal; all faces save one show impassive or disdainful expressions. The young Stephan looks to the back door. Hengst motions with is blade for Norrener to continue forward as he ascends the stairs hoping for an open window to view the path of the arsonist. Alas the scrawny well-to-do finds the task too strenuous to complete, his body succumbs to fatigue and he nearly collapses at the apex of the stairs. The sell-sword moves through the interior barrier finding himself in a back room but his target is nowhere in sight. Wilhelm, the Church’s man, is overcome with the will of his god and must take a moment to calm his thunder; he has his man so he must now present himself as all symbols of Sigmar should under these conditions. Tomas is unable to find enough leverage to open the hatch. El Cuervo finds higher ground upon flat decking and topples several large barrels. They crash through the cover planking opening up an egress for a rescue but the daring performer strains his shoulder and traps him within some flames. The gambler takes advantage of Ranald’s benevolence, he motions for the trapped females to come closer to him so he might pull them out before the heat and blaze consume them. Blocked by flames the Estalian reverses his direction and uses his bullwhip to swing over the adjacent boat. High temperature overcomes El Cuervo and he instead plunges into the Aver between the docked vessels. As the merchant runs to help his family, Radishe has ensured they can escape the fiery trap they almost fell victim to. Now the gambler turns his attention his ally that fell into the river but has not yet reemerged. Ranald has turned his gaze away from the Estalian, Tomas dives in unable to find El Cuervo in the murky waters of the Aver. Thyrus bulls his way through the kitchen exiting into the back alley, the fleeing thug is nearing a side alley but slips in the muck thrown out the back windows. He glances back to see he is losing ground to his mercenary pursuer. The Ulric fighter flings a crate lid at the running criminal in hopes of knocking him down. But the alleyway is too narrow to make the distance needed. The ruffian disappears into the side alley. A minor verbal skirmish betwixt Rosalie and Alexius breaks out as they yell at one another. Johannes remains up the stairs exhausted but with the blessing bestowed by Alexius he is slight relieved. The boat owner looks to the river for a good long while before Tomas breaks the surface with El Cuervo in hand. The rescuer takes a large gasp of air as he makes his way to the pier. A tall imposing man in his early forties with a shock of dark hair stands over the two men leaving the water; he is sweating and soot-covered after tending to his family. He introduces himself as Adolphus Stark, a local merchant and burgher importing goods from Altdorf. The gambler recognises him and recalls Stark was paying protection to Klaus Keller, the dead man found the day before. Adolphus tells Tomas that he was approached by new racketeers but he didn’t think they would act so soon, the merchant hoped his payment to the Keller would have covered his latest shipment (Cathay silk) from harm, apparently not. Rosalie is still bitching about her front door as the initiate and fop move to leave with their prisoner. The young socialite opens his purse and flings 5 schillings to the proprietor despite her protests that the door cost 10 shillings. The sell-sword joins the two leaving the Upright Pig. Sigmar’s man makes his way to the barge to check on the condition of the rest of our brash young fool ensemble. His offers some assistance to the injured with his soothing hands blessed by his godly liege. El Cuervo will need more medicinal aid, perhaps he should seek out a Shallyan healer, chemist or barber-surgeon; Tomas finds a local dockside to help his injured colleague. The mercenary begins to question the captured arsonist upon the stoop of the tavern. He claims to work for the man in the black hood, he doesn’t know how to reach his superior rather he is contacted the mysterious leader. He refuses to say any more as Thyrus threatens to take him to the barracks of the Averheim Greatswords and Johannes exposes pitch upon his hands implicating his guilt in the fire. On his person, the fop finds a small purse with several coins and a distinctive long blade knife or stiletto that is removed. Tomas and El Cuervo visit Adolph Gertz, barber-surgeon, an old hunch-back with a boisterous personality and small frame just over 5 feet. In a delirium El Cuervo speaks of his gratitude and indebtedness to the gambler for saving his live, he compares the local Tomas to a saint from Estalia. “Tomas was a great hero in my country. As a boy he was visited by Isolde in his dreams. To truly appreciate how special that was, you must know a bit about Isolde. Isolde was Sigmar’s youngest sister, who was betrothed to the High King of Estalia, Carlos the Eighth. She trained the Estalian army and later became a great war champion who repelled the Arabic invasion. She also slew the King when his mind was taken by Slaneesh but she was eventually killed by an enchanted blade. That led to a long-standing mistrust of magic in my country that survives to this day. “Back to the story – Isolde came to Tomas in his dreams and warned him of the holy war Araby was planning. He travelled for many winters to come Estalia, where he sought out King Fernando XXIII of Cordoba. Tomas convinced the King of the threat posed by all of the enemies of Estalia and the key to defeating them, as told to him through his visions of Isolde. “Guided by Isolde, Tomas and the King ventured into the mountains, where they discovered the secret tomb of Verak the Mad, who mixed runic magic with the magic of other races to create unparalleled enchanted weapons. “Using the artifacts recovered, Tomas led the Estalian army to many victories against our enemies, driving the Arabs from our lands once and for all. For the glory of Isolde, Thomas ensured the splendor of Estalia would last forever. To that end, Tomas created houses of worship of Isolde, including monasteries for the Brethren of the Infanta and the Sisters of Virtue. But most notably, Tomas founded the Sacred Office of the Inquisition and outlawed any study of magic outside of the War College. “With his inquisitors by his side, Tomas spent the rest of his life rooting evil from the lands. When Tomas died in 2091, Magritta was rebuilt and the wealth of our nation was restored under the direction of the Inquisition.” The conditions for the inspection and healing of The Raven are less than ideal, the hut appears more like an abattoir than a surgery. The tonic and poultice given to the injured Estalian are effective but the wounds are not dressed cleanly. He charges the foreigner a shilling for his attentions. As they return to the White Horse El Cuervo promises to prove or show Tomas is a man of honour or at least to be respected, the Estalian will stand by the gambler to defend his decency should others attempt to besmirch his reputation. At Baerfaust’s office Thyrus and Johannes deliver the detained culprit. In confidence the mercenary informs the captain of this thug’s connection to the barge fire and “the man in the black hood.” The fop hands over the stiletto and exposes the man’s pitched palms. The odd wounds of the two other bodies found recently near the Griffon Bridge were discussed. The recent activity of the highwaymen is brought up as well. With that Marcus Baurfaust passes on that several key shipments have be waylaid, specifically gunpowder from Nuln. The afternoon invites more heavy rain as the fog clears from the morning coolness. Johannes changes clothes to visit the Reinholts, meeting Corrine and Matilda Werner in the front parlour. Frau Reinholt is holding Frau Werner’s hand in support as the latter weeps in despair regarding her daughter’s disappearance. Standing stern and looking out the window is Adolphus, he turns to the entering socialite he asks for news. Johannes gives what little news he has, he successfully petitions Herr Reinholt for funds to engage others in the search; he asks 10/-, for Thyrus and Tomas but only 5/- for Alexius, a servant of Sigmar. Johannes retires from the parlour and prepares to exit, upon reaching the threshold a crack of thunder breaks the silence. In that moment the young sandy-haired patrician sees a brief shadow from continuing lightning and turns to look atop the staircase leading behind him. There he spies Kaspar, staring down disdainfully. The young, recently married Reinholt is venomous in his verbal bites at Johannes, who thought he was the Kaspar’s friend but now questions the relationship. That evening Tomas heads back to the Upright Pig, Beatrice calls him from a side alley before he enters. She fears for her safety after borrowing 90 silvers for gambling. She pleads for his assistance. In her begging she reminds him she has two young daughters, he offers 10/-. Better still he offers to gamble with his coin to increase the amount he can give her. He finds a high-end table, he is able to secure his reputation as a premier player and actually fleeces most at the table winning 15/-. Johannes returns to the White Horse to find Thyrus and Alexius, giving them coin from the Reinholts. Tomas is not available to pay him. The postulant is engaged by the socialite for two reasons: to find out what happened at the barge fire plus the wellbeing of the Estalian, then for an introduction to the members of the Sun Society. The search for Estelle is evaluated, proposals for further inquiry is discussed in various details. Alexius seems discouraged by the fact the ruffian was turned over to the town guard, rather than conducting our own interrogation. With a sarcastic tongue for the naïve patrician and law-bidding soldier of fortune, the cynical Sigmar novice retires for the evening. With Alexius gone, Tomas at the Upright, and El Cuervo resting from his injuries Johannes bids Thyrus gute nacht. Another morning of thick fog and chilled air greets this Konistag, Alexius wakes to prayers and chores before venturing out meeting Stephan again. A brass is given to youth. The group meets up at the White Horse tavern for breakfast, Johannes already made himself tea with toast and Tomas had coffee; during coffee Tomas confesses to give Beatrice some coin last night after his remarkable win. The porch is void of the street musician, Ute is not tuning her hurdy-gurdy as Johannes would expect. He mentions this to Bernhardt as he enters, they surmise she is out possibly sick; it did rain much yesterday and much of it was a cool rain. Johannes asks for porridge and bread to take up to the injured Raven, he serves the bed-ridden Estalian. He praises Tomas even still, he describes the events and hopes to be out of bed in a short time. Johannes tells El Cuervo they turned over the arsonist to Capt. Baerfaust. Downstairs, it is here Johannes meets Stephan, Alexius tells the patrician not to acknowledge the greenhorn. A minor discussion about food and eventually the young boy that Hengst remembers helped him yesterday is given a bowl of porridge, some cheese and bread. The initiate considers skipping the Sun Society gathering in lieu of continuing the search for the missing bride. Tomas arrives soon after, he too questions why the captured saboteur was in interrogated by us rather than being turned over to the town militia; he and Alexius seem to be of similar minds. The thug admitted to working for ‘hombre’. The gambler this reveals his information about Stark and his relationship with Keller and hombre. It is Alexius who suggest finds a coach or wagon and pose as merchant to see if the highwaymen will stop us. Johannes suggests attending the Sun Society to meet Graf Friedrich Von Kaufman to secure a viable wagon (coach) from the Red Arrow Coach line. The intellectual initiate is dubious of the motives of solicitous fop when meeting members of the academic assembly. Hengst gives Wilhelm his word that he would not petition his business venture within the confines of the society. Before the meeting, the brash young fools go to the garrison[3] to find out who the culprit was working for only to discover he was summarily killed after refusing to admit any incriminating information. Returning the docks, a crowd is gathered. Whispers of ‘another’ seep through the mass of the local denizens. Someone mentions a wizard is present. Near a warehouse, a short, slightly built man of 39 stands in full view of most, his dazzling white robes compensate somewhat for his lack of physical stature and he never goes abroad without a white miter that adds several inches to his apparent height. Although he is not an old man, Luminary Mauer’s[4] neatly trimmed goatee is as white as new snow. Due to his long usage of magic, the Light (Hysh-White Winds) Wizard’s eyes seemed washed out and somewhat insubstantial. Herr Luminary is examining a body unnaturally fitted in a small square depression recessed in the ground. Johannes immediately starts retching at the sight of the terrifying contortion of a dead man. A group of garrison guards is holding the throng of onlookers back, a pot-bellied sergeant Gunther among them comes over to assist the Luminary. Alexius is surprised such a prominent man was called to assess the local murder, he is there as a favour to Capt. Baerfaust. The dead man is identified as another racketeer Herman Hallheimer, Tomas recognises him. The initiate notices wounds similar to the previous murders, scratches and punctures; the flesh around the puncture wounds was soft and spongy and had turned grey, they were the consistency of warm cheese. Very strange but consistent with the other victims. Johannes asks if the grey skin is a sign of poison or chaotic taint. Word that unsavoury corpses were turning up had reached Averburg, the palace on the north edge of Penzerplatz. Tomas jokes the wounds may have been caused by Skaven, a couple of people around gasp in disbelief and Alexius laughs it off as pure superstition. El Cuervo squints his eyes at the remote possibility. Alexius speaks to the unique condition of the body within the small confines if it is the result of chaos magicks. Many more of the surround crowd reacts to the comment, some praying and other asking for protection. As all look to the gathering to gauge their response most notice Frederick Grosz standing near, pale, beads of sweat above his brow, breathing erratically as he backs away. El Cuervo and Thyrus follow this distressed man, Alexius and Tomas curiously follow the Estalian. The Raven confronts Grosz; fearfully the man refuses to talk after stating he will be next. The postulant utters a few words of benediction to alleviate the nervous tension of this racketeer. People opposing the Black Cowl are being eliminated is Grosz’s worry. The gambler tries to talk the racketeer into calming down and giving information to help discover who the cowl is or who is behind the disappearances and/or deaths. El Cuervo thinks the two gangs may be interested in opposing the Black Cowl or might assist in the investigation. Frederick is weary of such an alliance. He looks about and in a whispered voice he finally divulges, “There is a man. A man who came to Averheim a few weeks ago. This was about the same time as the Black Cowl started to consolidate his domain. The man’s name is Bischoff the Soldier, supposedly a veteran of Black Fire Pass [Grand Count Marius Leitdorf was killed whilst campaigning in Black Fire Pass in 2520]. Some say he is the iron fist of the Black Cowl. An enforcer, believed to inflict unique techniques of pain.” He goes on but based off Bischoff reputation, Grosz doesn’t think he was responsible for the poisoned deaths of the men recently found, they died too quickly. He has actually seen Bischoff. He warns Bischoff and the Black Cowl know of our group and that we should be weary. [1] Captain Baerfaust is a grizzled veteran of the Averheim garrison and commander of the Guard, barracked in the city. He is a lugubrious man with a haunted look who seems to be forever grumbling and muttering. He is powerful and stocky. His grey hair is cropped short and his long moustache is kept brushed down, accentuating his already morose expression. It would surprise many to learn that he is 38 – he looks at least a decade older, despite being physically in excellent condition. His black and yellow uniform is impressive and flashy, adorned with many honours and badges, though when he isn’t wearing it he prefers simple clothes and neutral colours. [2] A mousey waif of a girl in her late teens. Ute is friendly and open with a sharp memory and quick wits. She spends most of her day in front of the White Horse tavern. Her time is spent tuning her hurdy-gurdy and then playing beautiful pastoral music for about five minutes before her instrument loses its tune. She then creates a sound like a yowling fox jumping on broken bagpipes for half an hour before getting fed up and re-tuning it. Her prominent position means she sees a lot of what goes on around the docks and most local folk know that she does a nice sideline in selling information. [3] Averheim is patrolled by soldiers of the city garrison, who enforce public order and provide for the common defence. With no Elector to appoint new magistrates, two years of attrition has left the city’s judicial system short-handed and (since there’s no Elector to remove sitting magistrates, either) rather corrupt. As a consequence, the city patrols increasingly dispense summary justice, levying fines or administering corporal punishment more or less as the whim suits them. Only the most egregious offenses now result in incarceration and trial. During the day, patrols consist of pairs of Averheim soldiers, wearing yellow uniforms with black accents. The soldiers are armed with halberds and armoured with breastplates. At night, patrols are doubled to four-man groups, led by an officer with a sword and a war horn made from a cow’s horn, with which he can sound the alarm or call for assistance. [4] Luminary Konrad Mauer is of sufficient rank and skill that he may essentially go where he wishes and do as he pleases. It is rare that a light wizard would be so far from Altdorf for an extended period of time, unless he were actively hunting a Chaos enemy or artefact, but Mauer has been residing in Averheim for several years now, where he mostly keeps to himself, pursues some magical research, meets regularly with other scholars at the Journey’s Rest Coaching Inn on the Plenzerplatz, and lends his expertise to the nobility of Averheim when required.
  8. Thought I would post these in on the site as well as our game website for your enjoyment. Journey with us now … into the grim the world of perilous adventures! The scene is set the day after the wedding betwixt Kaspar Reinholt and Estelle Warren, clearly an arraigned marriage as both bride and groom had other romantic interest that very day. It was the night just before the dark of the moon, the rain fell hard and fast on this thirteenth day of Sigmarzeit in the year 2522 IC. Estelle fled the wedding reception in to cold, wet dangers of Averheim as she fled towards the Griffon Bridge along the Aver River. Several people went searching to no avail, her parents engaged Johannes Hengst, a local fop and good friend to the groom, and a dashing foreigner El Cuervo, having some close relationship with their daughter the bride offering each ten silver shillings. The next day once the rains had cleared the enquiry into several disappearances began in earnest as a mercenary recently arrived in Averheim seeks out an old colleague. Thyrus Norrener had only just seen an old friend Ulster Traven then have him vanish so the Ulric warrior of Middenheim sought out Captain Marcus Baerfaust, now the defacto guardian of Averheim. Thyrus asks his old companion to look into the missing Ulster yet the captain is much too busy keeping the city from collapsing into anarchy given the current political chaos. But Baerfaust agrees to give the former solider some latitude into conducting his own investigation if he agrees to be the eyes and ears of captain. An Initiate of Sigmar, one Alexius Wilhelm is sent by the Sun Society to the docks to seek out Rambrecht Delfholt and learn of his pamphlet decrying the nobility of Averheim, if he is circulating such propaganda to bring it to a stop. A few days earlier Johannes had received word from an acquaintance and fellow gambler Tomas Radische to meet him at the Upright Pig Tavern[1], a tavern along the Handel Weg off Brückburg Strasse near the Griffon Bridge. Reputed to be a center of less-than-legal dealing and dare one say criminal enterprises. Johannes suggested to El Cuervo to start their search there knowing Estelle was likely seen in her white wedding gown along the docks late last night. En route El Cuervo befriends a casual social contact, Olga Klinkski who has been passing out leaflets regarding her missing husband, a well-liked fisherman. Unable to read Reikland El Cuervo holds on to the slip of paper for Johannes to read later, the Estalian does what he can to consol the woman and give her hope that her missing husband will return. Wilhelm finds the wide-eyed, frazzled Delfholt ranting about the inequality of the social order and downtrodden populace perpetuated by the aristocrats, etc. The initiate tries to calm and quiet the diatribe of the societal zealot. The manic advocate for the brass-tier points to Johannes (believed to be gold-tier) calling him as the cause for societies’ woes. The fop buys a pamphlet while the Sigmarian attempts to get a free copy so he can better understand the plight of Rambrecht’s calling. It is here the Sigmar Initiate meets El Cuervo and Johannes, all of these men stand out in this area of town; the servant of Sigmar tall with a shaved head and striking light blue eyes donning chain armour and a metal breastplate bearing the symbol of his faith and walking with an oversized hammer, the handle itself nearly six feet long. El Cuervo (aka der Rabe or Raven) a shade taller than the initiate with brown eyes and jet black hair (likely being the reason for the nom de guerre) and stylised thin-moustache and beard wearing black leather clothes of foreign-make with a silken sash, possibly white once and at his hip a simple rapier. The dandy Hengst with his light brown hair and blue eyes attempting a beard and moustache dressed in fine clothes better suited to the silver- or gold-tiered regions of Averheim, a brocade doublet over a small-gauge mail shirt and silver owl necklace, he too with a rapier and matching dagger. As they turn down Handel Weg and pass some stockyards, Johannes recognises another fellow. This man standing just over six feet tall fashioned in worn-leather armour from a far-off military detachment adored with small pelts of wolf fur, upon the shoulders and along the vambraces. The mercenary carrying a broadsword and long bow had once worked for the Kohlenstaub Raße Stallungen (Coal Dust Horse Stables) breeders of the famous Rathebur horses (Silver Dapple, black horse with silver-white mane). Johannes and Thyrus re-introduce themselves after a long time then Johannes introduces Initiate Alexius and El Cuervo (of Estalia). Just as they approach the porch to the tavern, where Tomas with dark features stood in dark leather clothes and wide-brimmed hat (looking more like a witch-hunter than gambler), two men come rolling out. One stumbles off the porch and lands on El Cuervo sending both men to the muddy lane. Werner Kleb, leader of the Wharf Rats street gang, stands looking down on his opponent Gerd Knakk, leader of the Fish street gang. Their argument stems from another missing person, Rolf Haller. Ruffians from both gangs seem to have amassed outside the tavern from nowhere and small skirmish breaks out. In the fracas the Alexius, Thyrus and EL Cuervo all get hurt while gambler and fop move just inside the tavern. It only lasts a few moments before fists turn back to words and Kleb blames Knakk for Rolf going missing. The initiate uses his divine gifts to heal the Estalian, himself then finally his ‘rival’, the Ulric mercenary. Others injured turn to the power of Sigmar for healing but Alexius has to turn them away. Inside Johannes buys a round of the local swill for himself and Tomas, his contact that had scheduled this meeting today, Backertag. The fop tries to engage the proprietor but Rosalie Freuhner is immune and slight put off by the young lad. She seems to have more in common with Tomas as he enquires about Rolf. Johannes doesn’t hear the quiet conversation per se but notices another person seems interested it, a shady man sitting a nearby table (later identified as Frederick Grosz, criminal); whatever the result of the tête-à-tête Radische slides a shilling to Freuhner. Still outside Initiate Alexius gives a short homily and gains a devoted follower, a 10-year old boy named Stephan. The seemingly homeless lad is hungry and barely clothed missing his left shoe. Moving inside the Estalian grants the initiate ten pence to help feed the child before them. With that Stephan gets some soup, old bread and goat’s milk. Then Alexius gives his hanger-on two pence to go home. El Cuervo, obviously a performer of some type attempts to encourage the few patrons within the Upright Pig to proffer information about any or all of the known Electors of Solland[2]: Estelle, Jurgen, or Rolf. Though of flowery words he is not a gifted orator, at least not to this crowd, but he does gain the grumbling attention of a regular local clank farmer[3] Kurt. The drunkard mumbles something about seeing a white dressed girl but doesn’t know anything about the missing people. She met up with some “friends” and was seen “hugging” one of them in a dark cowled cloak down by the river wall. The foreigner buys Kurt a drink or two hoping to learn more. Tomas moves from the bar to the table occupied by Grosz. They too speak in whispered tones, mocking some of the inhabitants of the tavern; namely Johannes, El Cuervo and Alexius. Grosz has heard of someone in a black hood, someone new in town and since people have gone missing. Johannes spies an attractive young maiden gambling at another table and joins her group of card players. He buys a round or two of drinks for everyone there and tries to chat up Beatrice Knox, a woman not in Ranald’s favour this morning. Johannes strikes out again; he is actually booted from the game after he inadvertently raised the stakes with Beatrice’s coin instead of his own. Soon Tomas joins the table and learns the young lass is in debt and not likely to come out ahead this day. El Cuervo suggests engaging Thyrus to help look for Estelle whereupon Johannes says he will speak with the Warrens on the merc’s behalf. The observant fop notices a lad a year or two younger than himself watching even staring at him, the teenager appears to be sweating though it is not a particularly warm morning. Johannes has seen looks like this before from hat boys[4]. The boy leaves after being noticed by Johannes. Miss Knox agrees to meet up with Mister Radische later in the day. Alexius Wilhelm, Johannes Hengst, Thyrus Norrener and El Cuervo all leave this tavern for the one on Geruch Weg, the White Horse (sometimes referred to as the Knackered Horse). Following a few strides behind his compatriots Johannes looks for and spots the boy from the Upright Tavern then moves to engage in him conversation but the lad dashes away making his motions quite obvious. Thyrus approaches a couple of men in the watch and asking if they know anything about missing people more notable Estelle Warren, a young bride who ran off last night in the heavy rain. They know nothing. Outside the White Horse Tavern El Cuervo moves towards a plain maiden minstrel playing a hurdy-gurdy; Ute Herz, a mousy waif of a girl, seems to see or notice much of everything along this lane. Tomas knowing how to speak and get assistance from the locals along the Aver docks pays Ute for any information she can find on the missing Estelle. El Guapo, as Tomas diminutively refers to the Estalian raven, still tries to ply information from the unadorned lass. This time Thyrus buys a round of drinks for the party then notices something salient outside across the way. El Cuervo seemed to have noticed and fear for the worse thus ran outside. The others followed. A pale figure was discovered behinds some large burlap sacks of grain. It is Johannes who bends down to turn over the body; thankfully it was not anyone the men were looking for. Rather someone in the crowd recognised him as Klaus Keller, underworld figure. Johannes pointed out the two Saratosa Needle[5] puncture marks on the back then the obvious lacerations on the front. The skin around the puncture holes seems to have gone to mush, fleshy consistency of grey cheese; Johannes seeks to have gotten something on his hand. Upon seeing the body Tomas makes his way back to the Upright Pig, Johannes declares he’ll scare up Old Wilhelm[6]. After the Watch declare the will see to it the priests of Morr will received Keller, the Brash Young Fools head back to first tavern. Radische informs Grosz of Keller’s demise. The others arrive and decide to eat and drink as it has been a long morning. Later that day still at the Upright Pig, Kaspar Reinhold (groom to the missing bride) and his best man Brion LeFluer enter drunk and looking for trouble. There was a time Johannes could have easily been with this pair of men instead of his new cadre of misfit adventurers. It isn’t long before Brion and El Cuervo exchange insults and temperaments leading to duel outside. Tomas is able to pickpocket Kaspar in the excitement of the rapier challenge. Johannes falls into old habits betting on Brion, Alexius and Thyrus take the bet (7 bp for the initiate, 1 ss for the mercenary). Brion gets a well placed strike but then takes a minor wound, he begins to fall back. Johannes tries to prod him back into action without much success. Alexius moves to aid El Cuervo when it is discovered the Bretonnian did not disengage but rather outflanked the southern without his awareness. Sigmar’s follower is able to warn the Estalian in time to avert a craven blow, Johannes calls to the Templar of Shallya[7]. El Cuervo disarms the aristocratic foreigner as Johannes persuades Brion to leave or suffer the humiliation of his pusillanimous actions. Another street brawl ensues ending quickly with Alexius again healing others attracting the common folk to also seek his curative powers. [1] The Upright Pig is built to fairly typical Empire standards, though it has an unusually large and soundproof cellar often used to host meetings between crime lords and racketeers. Until recently, this inn was used as a meeting place for members of Averheim’s criminal underworld. Regulars of the Upright Pig are only too aware of how nasty life can be for squealers – so they are tight-lipped and cautious when talking to strangers. The Upright Pig serves food and drink aimed at the brass and silver economic tiers. Whilst the inn has a number of bedrooms, they are rarely available for guests to hire. [2] Colloquial term: A missing person, originally a watch term. [3] Colloquial term: A beggar, clank is the popular term for pence or pennies. [4] Colloquial term: Young male prostitute or sexual companion; comes from the battlefield tradition of electors and captains having young equerry standing by to hold their elaborate hats when fighting was joined. [5] From “Stuck with a Saratosa Needle”; to be stabbed with a knife or stiletto, from Saratosa, city of pirates and cut-throats. [6] Colloquial: Lower class term for a watchman, origins unknown. [7] Colloquial term: A coward
  9. Second session available on the Blog! Enjoy! http://sigmarschosen.weebly.com/campaign-blog
  10. Oh, I also wanted to thank Valvorick for all of the fantastic background material that we allowed me to use. The Agitator pamphlet was a big hit
  11. http://sigmarschosen.weebly.com/ Put this on the gamemasters thread where I will update the campaign sessions as they happen. Enjoy!
  12. http://sigmarschosen.weebly.com/ Hello all! Well, after a year or so I have put my group back together and we have started "The Enemy Within". Spoiler Alert! check out the new blog with session notes and such.... enjoy!
  13. My group returns to the Grim World of Perilous Adventure to start the Enemy Within Campaign after a hiatus, and boy are we glad to be back! After having read the campaign and been in touch with Valvorik's exceptional home-made material for the campaign I got started with what I think is perhaps the two most essential questions to a successful campaign; "Why do these characters care enough to get involved in the plot?" and "Why are these characters together"? If the answers are strong enough to create interesting backgrounds, rich sub plots, and passionate response to the campaign hook then you are looking at a successful start to a long and fulfilling campaign. As per usual, the campaign provides the most basic of "hooks" in the form of the background cards. these are a great starting tool but for my taste they don't go far enough to provide a solid reason for getting involved. My current roster of characters are: A Human Fop from Averland (Gently-Born) A Human Performer from Estalia (Battle Scarred) A Human Bounty Hunter from the Reikland (Outcast) A Human Gambler from Wissenland (Criminal) To add strength to introduction I am starting the campaign at the wedding of one Kaspar Reinholt and Estelle Werner. The characters will be tied to the one of the NPC's in some way. More importantly, the Outcast will have been a former beau of Estelle and is attending the wedding as a favor. At the wedding party Estelle (and all) will witness Kaspar's inappropriate behavior with another woman. Estelle will run off into the night (and a heavy rainstorm) resulting in her capture by the Skaven agents. After the abduction the group will find themselves in a social altercation at the Reinholt Estate where they will be asked by a begging Mother to find her missing daughter. Also, Kaspar will accuse the outcast character of foul play in her disappearance. I used some of the background material and some of my own to strengthen the reasoning behind entering the campaign. Battle Scarred You served in the 3rd Battle of Black fire pass with Kaspar Reinholt. You were injured. What injury did you sustain and how long did it take you to recover? You are best friends with Kaspar and are to attend his wedding on 17th of Sigmarzeit, Marktag to Estelle Werner You are not longer a member of the army of Averland. Why not? During the battle you fought alongside Marcus Baerfaust. Some say he was a hero, keeping the Averheim Greatswords in the fight. Others say he could have saved the Mad Count, Marius Leitdorf if he wanted to. What do you say? After your injury you spent time in a Shallyan temple hospice, where you met Gravin Clothilde von Alptraum, a noblewoman of Averheim who was donating her time and money to the hospice. What is your opinion of her? You spent some time in service as a guard to the gently- born characters father. Why did you leave? Criminal Estelle Werner's father Quentin and you go back many years after he aided you financially. Why did you need the money? You were arrested a few years ago by a soldier named Marcus Baerfaust. What was your crime? did you do it? You were acquitted of the crime based in part on the testimony of Frederick Grosz. Did he lie for you? Two docker gangs are at each other's throats. The Wharf Rats blame the Fish for the disappearance of Rolf Haller, a Wharf Rat. How do you feel about the possibility of a gang war? Do you favor a particular gang? The criminals in speak of a new boss in town, known only as the "man in the black hood". Rumor has it that people who oppose this boss are ending up dead? So you believe this rumor? Outcast You were cast out of your home. What did you do? In your travels since your exile, you've come across a criminal, racketeer, and sometimes smuggler named Frederick Grosz. Did he help or hinder you? One night you nearly drowned in in a storm while on the River Aver. A fisherman named Jurgen Klinski recued you. Now his wife Olga has asked for your help finding her husband who is missing. Are you going to help her? Luminary Konrad Mauer, a light Wizard, is in Averheim. He has been referred to you as someone who may be able to help reverse your exile. Why? How? You are the former suitor to Estelle Werner who is now to marry Kaspar Reinholt. You are to attend the wedding on 17th of Sigmarzeit, Marktag as a favor to Estelle. Do you still love her? Why didn't it work out? You both met and fell n love while she was attending school in Nuln. Gently- Born Your father had a business arrangement with Baron Friedrich von Kaufman. What was it? He has stake in a number of businesses including: Red Arrow Coaching Lines, Warehouses, and stockyards. Someone in your family proposed marriage to Gravin Clothilde con Alptraum (she declined), who? Was it you? It seems either the Leitdorf family or the von Alptraum family will hold the Elector's seat in Averland to replace the recently deceased Marius Leitdorf. Which family do you favour? You don't stand to inherit any titles or land. Why not? Are you not nobility? or is someone else in your family ahead of you? A spot of financial trouble recently saw you sell something to a woman on the docks named Mathilda Durbein. What was it? Does she still have it? You would like to buy it back. You are a cousin of Kaspar Reinholt and are to attend his wedding to Estelle Werner on the the 17th of Sigmarzeit, Marktag Using the Reinholt Wedding as a hook an introduction to the Enemy Within: The Reinholt Family (Gold) Corrine Reinholt (Mother) Adolfus Reinholt (Father), member of the merchants guild, wine dealer Harkon & Stephan Reinholt (siblings) 14 and 10 Kaspar Reinholt 26, eldest son, groom Brion LeFleur (Best man, Brettonian, long time friend…family owns vinyard in Bordeloux…Reinholts sell their wine in the Empire) The Werner Family (Silver) Estelle Werner (Daughter- Bride)- 18 Gertrude Werner (Mother - overprotective) Quentin Werner (Father - River Boat captain "Estelle") Only Daughter Quentin is ecstatic to marry his daughter into the merchant class Kaspar Reinholt Carefree soul Tends toward curiosity A dilettante Prone to drug use and alcohol Served in the Averheim military as a young man as an assistant to a high ranking captain, Baerfaust Life of the party Came home to get married A regular at the Upright Pig Acquired items from the fence Has become known throughout the dock district as a fun loving guy who is rich but wants to slum with the lower class Went missing over two weeks ago. His clothing and personal items are still in the residence of the Reinholts Abducted by Skaven Estelle Werner Sweet, shy Well admired, extremely beautiful PROLOGUE. One of Our Brides is Missing Night of Disappearances A Wedding party at the Upright Pig A rowdy night A huge rain storm Kaspar flirts with a bar maid named Hildegard Brinn, an old flame Estelle slips out distraught Last seen heading together toward the river front Pick pocket saw her…. running towards the bridge Once the PC's investigate…Kaspar is distraught and brought back to the Reinholts residence by his friend Brion as the characters search? Searching for Estelle Estelle is abducted by the Skaven, sadly, and will not be found until the end of part one. Searching is very difficult with the heavy downpour. Let them look. One clue can be found near the docks…her kerchief. A Social Altercation When the heroes arrive at the Reinholt residence, they are greeted by the Reinholt footman Marcus and Adolphus. Corrine is in the parlor with the Werner's who are weeping, looking out the window. She has been like this ever since Estelle went missing. Two younger boys are upset and trying to be polite. Tea is brought in as Corrine attempts to get the characters to help. Just as they agree, Kaspar storms into the room and demands to know why the criminal is here and demands to know why he abducted Estelle. He is convinced that he had something to do with her disappearance. The characters must convince Kaspar to allow them to help the family find Estelle and that the criminal is innocent of his accusations. Roll Initiative Start a 10 space tracker with event spaces on 4, 6, 8, 10 Place a Kaspar tracker on space 1 and a PC tracker on space 1 Quentin knows of Kaspars involvement with dock gangs and thinks that might have something to do with this Gertrude begs for help…only daughter, etc… Rumors of other disappearances and murders on the docks lately from…?. 1st Event (PC Token) Gertrude feels faint and begs the PC's to help find her daughter 2nd Event (Kaspar token) Quentin accuses Kaspar of gang activity 3rd Event (Kaspar token)Brion takes out a pistol and tried to intimidate criminal Marcus steps in to conversation (which side depends on the PC's actions: too aggressive and he's against them…. if they are trying to calm the situation then he will aide them) 4th Event If the Kaspar token reaches 10th space first, he orders his footman to fetch the watch to arrest the criminal. Die to all social actions with Kaspar and his allies if they helped the criminal. Orders Werners out of his house. If the PC token reaches the final space first then Kaspar begrudgingly resigns to let them help including the criminal NPC'S involved in Social Brawl Kaspar, Adolphus, Brion and possibly Marucs PC's, Quentin, Gertrude (although the couple takes a back seat to the PC's, possibly Marcus Mechanics Success advances token on either side. Comet advances an additional time Parlor location adds 1 misfortune to PC'S actions and a fortune to Reinholts Use Shame? If Kaspar's shame ever reaches threshold, skip to last event space for PC's A delay will result in a loss of next action
  14. many thanks! That helps a lot. I will say this for Netrunner…there is certainly a lot of depth to game play limelight
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