Chapter 4, Session 1: “On the Road Again”
Cast: Dellin, Cedric, Bronan, and Johann Schmidt
Summing it up in one sentence, said by Hans Baumer the Woodsman, “Two Bandersnatches and a Jabberwocky done stole the Emperor!”
Along the river route between Altdorff and Marionberg lies the trading town of Carroberg. Baron Tottlemeier owns a manor house a few miles outside of town, and the boy emperor Ezekial is known to occasionally retreat there and do some hunting. On this hunt day, Baron Tottlemeier was not in attendance, having been ordered to command his regiment and join the forces building up around Marionberg. However, Ezekial was accompanied by the Elector Count of the Middenlands, Count Boris Toddbringer, graf of Middenheim, and one of the ruling council not aligned with the Chancellor. (Players note: Boris Toddbringer is a well-known figure in the stock Warhammer world…and it was pointed out that ‘Todd’ may be a variant of an old German word for death.)
During the wee hours of the hunt, a few hours before dawn, the Emperor’s outriders came upon a band of beastmen. Surprised to find Beastmen so far in the west, half the guard chased after the beastmen in order to find their encampment and ensure the safety of the Emperor. Alas, the beastmen were but a diversion intended to lower the number of guards around the royals. It was then that the enormous Jabberwock, guided by two Bandersnatches, stepped out from the shadows of giant old trees and snatched up Ezekial from his ornate saddle.
The royal body guard, Toddbringer, and a few knights fought back as best they could, but to no avail. Those men not frozen in terror were ineffectual against the Jabberwock and Bandersnatches, and could do nothing to prevent the kidnapping. So was the story told in the town square an hour later after the alert had reached the Captain of the Watch in Carroburg. Captain Gerhardt roused all able-bodied men (including the PC’s snoozing away in the inn), and assigned them to search parties, paired up with the remains of the garrison soldiers. (Remember, many of Carroburg’s armed forces were sent north to Marionberg.) When the “Heroes of Nuln” where recognized by some that had listened too deeply to Cedric’s stories, they were immediately promoted to head the prime search party that would start with the Jabberwocky’s tracks at the sight of the abduction.
Johann Schmidt and Hans Baumer, a low-ranking imperial guardsman and a woodsman who was helping arrange the hunt, witnessed the abduction and were able to provide some details to Dellin and crew. Dellin recalls some lore and an old nonsense rhyme about Jabberwockys and Bandersnatches. Josef Krunk adds that “Nana always said never to leave a baby outdoors or the Bandersnatches would grab it!” Hans also added something about Ezekial’s pet raven that acted quite strangely prior to the attack and may have squaked a warning — if you can believe that ravens talk!
The characters with Johann, Hans, Krunk, and a small platoon (5 men) race to the site of the abduction, follow the tracks that lead towards a clearing, and hear the final sounds of a battle before arriving at tree line. They see carnage, as the last of the imperial knights and Boris Toddbringer lay dead or dying amidst a like number of beastmen. Toddbringer looks as if he’s fallen from a great height, and his horse and shattered lance lay on the battlefield many yards away. On the opposite side of the clearing are four of the remaining beastmen and the two Bandersnatches — female “wood demons” with skin of blood-red wood and bone white thorns who seem to constantly shift in appearance, becoming stouter or more willowy, with shifting branches, spikes, and thorns all over their bodies. They take delight in trophies, one carries a human torso impaled on a branch that grows from its back, the other is finishing affixing the severed head of a knight to spikes on her shoulder.
The monsters charge. The characters and NPCs, in general, scream in fear and flee (except Josef Krunk, of course). Eventually most of them regroup and fight the beasts using flaming oil (which backfired on Dellin and killed his horse), big axes, and whatever courage they could muster. The platoon sergeant is rent asunder, but otherwise they manage to damage one of the Bandersnatches enough that both, apparently, decide to flee back into the woods. Prior to fleeing, one of the Bandersnatches picked up a seriously wounded guard and took him with her, screaming all the way. All four beastmen were killed. Dellin, with his monster lore, deduces that the Bandersnatches must be more powerful in the forest than in a clearing, and they conclude that to give chase would be suicide.
Just as they take a quiet moment to decide what to do next, Dellin hears the distinctive cry of a big raven in the distance. Using his acute hearing, he recognizes the cry as sounding like Lady’s Man!
Thus ended the adventure. 150xp per character.