Death Knows No Honor

Chapter1:Introduction
A different slant...

Introduction

This was a short session to introduce players to my campaign and the Warhammer fantasy role-playing rules (1st Ed.). Characters were created by Izzy (a drunk marine), Nihad (a zealous initiate), Mark (a footpad), and Elon (a servant with an axe to grind).

The story-line was a bit convoluted and took the events of the Oldenhaller Contract (free adventure included with the rule book) and came at it from a different perspective. Essentially, imagine some other group of characters went through the Oldenhaller plot line and failed…most died, perhaps one escaped. Then the current characters are sent in as the cleanup crew.

Also some NPC’s were changed for my campaign. Grolst Van Eyke is completely different. In my version, he is a “person with contacts who hires people to get things done” kind of guy. Maybe he’s a businessman, maybe he’s involved in organized crime…who’s to say?

Mark’s character, named Markus, is someone who has previously gained the attention of GVE (Grolst Van Eyke…I’ll use GVE to make things shorter). He is asked to put together a reliable and tight-lipped crew to recover a so-called magic gem that was apparently lost somewhere in the sewers underneath the area of town called the Asylum. There were some other adventurers who didn’t “use the system” and contracted with a man named Oldenhaller directly to retrieve the gem. They failed. The one who got out alive was spouting all sorts of crazy talk. He was subsequently retired by GVE…or he went for a swim with a concrete jerkin, or whatever.

GVE wants the PCs to get the gem, keeping it in the “special box” (originally provided to the failed crew by Oldenhaller to ward off potential bad effects of the gem). GVE would then contact Oldenhaller, whom he’s previously done business with, and negotiate an appropriate finder’s fee.

So Markus rounds up a few people he knows…an ex-servant, a former marine, and a down-and-out clerical initiate. They follow the path of the original adventurers, walking through the aftermath of some sort of gang battle between the Valentinas (a gang of Tilean immigrants…think Italians) and the Schatzenheimers. The story goes that the Schatzenheimers originally had the gem, but they were raided and wiped out by the Valentinas (for other reasons). The head of the Valentinas, Emilio Valentina, had the gem for only a short time.

A different crime family, led by Dirck Huydermans, worried that they would be next on Valentina’s list. They hired an assassin, named Jan Hoogen, who know of a secret door, via the sewers, into Emilio Valentina’s private rooms. (All these gangs live in the part of Nuln known as the Asylum, and they are all connected via a rats maze of alleys and slum buildings.) Hoogen decapitated Emilio (as proof of the deed) and then saw the shiny gem. He takes both the head and the gem and escapes back out the secret door into the sewers.

People who have the gem don’t seem to live long. On the way back to the Huydermans, the assassin was overcome by a swarm of rats in the sewer. His body (and Emilio’s head) were found by the PCs in an old mine cart that smugglers used in the sewers to transport goods. So Markus and the gang found Emilio’s head (which they were told was worth a reward if returned to the surviving Valentinas). But where’s the gem?

Turns out that a group of cultists was onto the gem as well. They infiltrated the Huydermans, wiping out most of them and took over a part of the Asylum and the connecting sewers. Led by a priest of Nurgle known as Jonas Whitespore, the cultists were up to some big ritual with the gem.

And that’s when the PCs caught up to them. Jonas Whitespore is a man covered with weeping sores and lesions, a swarm of flies, and a rotting stench of pestilence. He is overseeing a ritual being performed by five other cultists, who are arranged in a candle-lit ring, floor covered in arcane symbols, chanting something. Elon’s character (Thom the ex-servant) blathers something about the gem, and Jonas instinctively puts his hand over a belt pouch where the outline of a box can be seen. Jonas mutters some words and moves his hands in a weird spiral motion and the PCs are hit by a gust of wind…which seems ineffectual somehow, and Jonas’ face shows surprise.

The players attack, Izzy’s character (the marine) hits Jonas in the arm with a crossbow bolt. Nihad’s character, the initiate engages with one of the cultists, interrupting the ritual. Markus and Thom, the servant, also leap to the attack. In a matter of seconds, Thom uses his axe to score a lethal blow against Jonas Whitespore, chopping through most of the upper arm and into the rib cage.

The other five cultists are brandishing their ritual knives and jump to the attack.

And that’s where this session (due to time) ended.

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Chapter1:Session 2
Get Nigel Sneed

“Get Nigel Sneed”

NOTE: This is a “prequel” to the intro adventure, and serves to introduce new characters. This takes place a week or two prior to the events of Session 1.

Grolst Van Eyke hires Mark’s character to capture a man named Nigel Sneed and transport him to a safe house just outside the city. Nigel is a Brettonian slime ball with a penchant for gambling and alcohol. He also happens to be good at clipping coins. Nigel owes Heinrich Strussel (aka “Strudel”), a notorious Nuln loan-shark, something on the order of 2000 crowns. Word on the street is that Strudel has put out the hit on Nigel.

GVE wants Nigel alive, as he has some unspecified use for him. Yet, he won’t/can’t pay off the 2000 crown debt. It’s far cheaper to abduct Nigel and “disappear” him, right? That’s where the characters enter the picture.

Players:

  • Izzy – the lightning-quick ex-marine
  • Mark – the footpad with all the right(?) connections
  • Justin – the Bounty Hunter possessing unusual rope skills and a cute ear ring (acute hearing)
  • Chad – the “tutor” who seems unable to keep a regular job, but is good in a pinch
  • Jacob – the former game keeper with (apparently) fists-of-steel

The group heads down to the dockside where the Screaming Parrot, a notoriously vile tavern, is located. The tip is that this is a place Nigel Sneed hangs out. While there, a bunch of thugs enter the building asking for Sneed and roughing up the patrons. When the thugs don’t get what they want they start to break things.

Mark feels compelled to slam a clay mug into the face of “Sarge”, the biggest and meanest looking of the thugs. Unfortunately he misses, but a brawl ensues. Mark looks to be in a tight spot between Sarge and one of his guys, but the game keeper charges in and delivers a brutal uppercut that floors Sarge in a single blow. Unfortunately, he leaves himself a bit open and the nearby thug nearly breaks the gamekeeper’s arm.

The Bounty Hunter tries to use his lasso to entangle another of the thugs. It doesn’t work so well, and they get into a scrum. Izzy is handling the last of the thugs, and looks to be in good shape when the “tutor” runs up to the thug, grabs his arm, and the thug falls to the floor unconscious.

Shortly thereafter, the town watch storms the tavern and restores order. The barkeep vouches that the players were only helping to defend his property. The thugs are hauled out by the watch. The barkeep, in gratitude, gives the players info on when Sneed is likely to arrive and agrees to help capture him. (Because he’s bad for business).

The bounty hunter brews an herbal poison that is designed to put someone into a deep sleep. Izzy talks to some old sailor buddies and arranges the use of a small boat, which will help them transport Nigel to the safe house. (And you thought the “row” skill would never be used!) The plan is set…the barkeep will spike Nigel’s drink, the bounty hunter will wait in room 203, which is the room that Nigel will be guided to when he’s feeling sleepy. The others will do their best to simulate gambling at a nearby table to hopefully get Nigel a bit closer to them. Except for the tutor, who sits at a different table.

The best laid plans…

Nigel enters the Screaming Parrot, slinking along the wall, and constantly looking over his shoulder. He orders an ale and sits at a table, nervous and fidgety. The gamekeeper does his best to pretend to gamble, but fails miserably, spooking Sneed, who walks towards the exit leaving the drink untouched. The tutor sees this and tries to head Nigel off at the pass, pretending to stumble into him drunk. That doesn’t quite work as planned, and Nigel gets out the door.

A short chase ensues. Izzy runs up the stairs to get the bounty hunter out of room 203. Mark runs through the kitchen toward the back door. The game keeper runs to follow out the front door. The tutor is fast, though, and manages to catch up with Sneed in the alley. The tutor manages to tag Sneed in the arm, which causes Sneed to get very tired and dizzy (for some strange reason), and he stumbles into the back door just as Mark slams it open to get into the alley. Sneed is unconscious.

The others arrive a few seconds later. The bounty hunter chains Nigel up, just as a town watchman passes by the entrance of the alley. After a bit of bluffing, the characters persuade the watchman to leave. They get Nigel in the boat and take him to the safe house, where he is chained up in the wine cellar.

Mark reports back to Grolst Van Eyke, and the reward of 80 gold is given. All in a few days work.

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Chapter1:Session 3:
The Warehouse Job

Characters involved

  • Dellin the Bounty Hunter (Justin)
  • Markus the Footpad (Mark)
  • Konrad the Pitfighter (Scott)
  • Ghoma the “Tutor” (Chad)
  • Thom ‘Choppy’ the former Servant (Elon)
  • Ranthin the Gamekeeper (Jacob)

The adventure started with Markus, Izzy (not present), ‘Choppy’, and Nihad (not present) in the sewers, having just finished a grueling battle with the cultists. This is a continuation of where the first adventure left off, where the players had just killed Jonas Whitespore, but we didn’t have time to conclude the battle with the remaining 5 cultists. To explain why Izzy and Nihad’s characters aren’t involved in today’s adventure, it is assumed they got banged up pretty good in the fight with the cultists and needed some recuperation time.

Markus stares at the body of the slain priest of Nurgle, Jonas Whitespore. His body, as it was when he was alive, is covered in a swarm of flies. They crawl over weeping sores that cover Whitespore’s skin. It is clear both from the stench and the appearance that he was in the late stages of some sort of nasty disease or plague. Understandably, Markus is hesitant to touch the body, but he needs the box (and the gem it holds) from the pouch on Jonas’s corpse. So with a few deft moves and a bit of luck, he manages to cut the purse and extract the box without any close contact. He opens the box briefly and verifies that a large purple gem is inside. He leads the other crew members out of the sewers, up into the Asylum area of town, and then back to safety.

Meanwhile, the Bounty Hunter encounters a strange lanky man in Helga Whoopknacker’s apothecary. The man moves with a supreme grace of movement that is noteworthy in an otherwise somewhat plain looking man. The lanky man leaves the store with a wink and a grin at the Bounty Hunter, who has been using his acute hearing to listen-in on his purchases. When the Bounty Hunter finishes his purchases, Helga gives him a sprig of Wolfsbane, saying it was a gift from his friend (the lanky man). Also of note, Helga Whoopknacker’s little helper is a man-mountain named Owen, who is the biggest man the Bounty Hunter has ever seen. He seems a bit dim witted, however.

The rest of the bunch, not including the pitfighter, are buying various things in the market. Markus makes contact with Grolst Van Eyke, hands over the box and gets the reward, which he splits with the original crew of four. He’s instructed to assemble another crew, and realizes that with the Marine (Izzy) out of commission for a while, he might need more muscle. He’s heard of a pitfighter who’s been playing the vilest of back-street low-money venues that’s been winning a lot recently. Markus tracks down Konrad the fighter, and recruits him to the cause with the lure of big money and adventure.

There are two things that Grolst needs of Markus. The first is a warehouse job. The second, to follow a week later, is the delivery of the box/gem to Oldenhaller in exchange for some gold and an antique bronze statuette. But first, is the warehouse job. The warehouse is owned by Grolst’s import/export business. It is currently being “audited” by officials, and is off-limits to all personnel. It is guarded by town watchmen and also by a group of Iron Cloaks, members of a notorious mercenary band. The problem is that Grolst has a small hidden floor safe in the supervisor’s room that he’d rather not have “inspected”. The players are to find a way in to the warehouse, extract the safe in its entirety (it weighs about 150 lbs and is sunk and bolted into a support beam below the floor of the supervisor’s office on the second floor.) Should the warehouse accidentally burn down, that wouldn’t be bad either…The players are to avoid killing any guards or Iron Cloaks as either could cause nasty repercussions.

The Bounty Hunter and the Tutor spend a day working up some herbal concoctions that they hope can be used to put some of the guards to sleep. The rest of the crew go to reconnoiter the building, spotting the guards, etc. Choppy and Konrad put on act pretending to be dock workers suffering lack of pay due to the warehouse being closed. They try to gauge the response of the guards and provoke an appearance by the Iron Cloaks. It is partially successful. Unfortunately, Markus, who was observing from afar, was spotted by an Iron Cloaker, and in his haste to disappear into the crowd, he knocks over an apple cart, drawing even more attention to himself. Oops.

The crew heads back to the Wounded Boar, the current establishment of choice. The Bounty Hunter (who is upstairs making potions with the Tutor) has a sense of impending danger. He and the Tutor grab their gear and head down the stairs. At the same time, the rest of the crew is entering the tavern, completely oblivious to the danger at hand, with the exception of Markus, who notices the barkeep giving a “go away” type hand signal…but too late.

They are surrounded by a group of armed thugs. The leader of which says “Strudel Says Hi” and attacks. With a single blow, he fells Choppy, who collapses to the ground fountaining blood from his nose and mouth as his ribs were smashed through his lungs. Markus notices two thugs on the patio of the Wounded Boar coming up from behind. Fortunately, the tavern has a heavy door with a huge cross-beam bolt. Markus shuts the door and slams home the bolt, effectively removing two thugs from the combat.

The Bounty Hunter, running down the stairs, catches one of the thugs by surprise, and entangles him partially with his lasso. Konrad engages with one of the thugs, and the leader who felled Choppy, moves to flank Konrad. The Gamekeeper jumps on the bar and ends up getting into a scrum with one of the thugs and is not able to use his bow. The Tutor takes a moment to prepare his “pressure point” attack, intending to target a second thug nearer the stairs. Markus turns to face the last of the thugs nearest the entrance.

Fate has other plans for Choppy than an untimely death in a bar. I guess that crushing blow actually just damaged the stale bread that he’d earlier put under his jerkin, and the fountain of blood was the tomato he had just shoved into his mouth prior to drawing his axe. Using the element of surprise, Choppy lands a solid blow on the leader’s leg, causing him to stumble back from Konrad.

The Bounty Hunter, uses the lasso to great effect. He runs around a large support timber in the inn, holding the rope so the partially entangled thug gets off-balance. The Bounty Hunter then gets a prime shot at the thug’s back, his sword exploding through the chest cavity. For his next rope trick, the Bounty Hunter throws his net over the second nearby thug. The Tutor draws his sword and decapitates the thug in the net. The tide has turned.

Konrad uses his axe to cut the hand off the thug he was facing and turns on the leader. The leader holds his own for a while until the Tutor rushes up and delivers the famous “nerve pinch” to his shoulder, causing the leader to fall unconscious. Choppy, quite upset about the stale bread and tomato incident, finishes him off with a downward “log splitting” chop to the head. You can imagine the results. Markus takes care of his opponent, and the last thug, engaged by the Gamekeeper, gives up.

After the combat at the Wounded Boar, the players tackle the Warehouse job. This goes rather more smoothly than what might be expected. They spike some roasted rabbits with the “drowsy” sauce that the Bounty Hunter and Tutor concocted. They are able to bluff the hungry guards into buying and eating the rabbits. A few hours later, the guards are acting drunk and loopy by the entrance of the warehouse.

The group climbs and adjacent building, not spotted by the loopy guards. They lay down some large planks they’d earlier procured to create a bridge to the warehouse roof. They bring over some supplies, a couple crowbars, a heavy saw, some barrels of oil, rope, etc, and then retract the makeshift bridge. A group of them sneak over to a latch in the roof that allows entrance to the supervisors room below.

There are two Iron Cloak guards playing cards in the lit room. The Tutor, Markus, the Bounty Hunter, and Choppy drop down to take them by surprise. The Bounty Hunter entangles one in a net. After a couple swings, Markus knocks the other unconscious using his “Strike to Stun” skill. The netted guard is knocked out by the Tutor’s “nerve pinch”. Choppy barricades the door that leads to the stairs down to the main floor. In a manner of a few minutes, they extract the safe. The Tutor “knows a guy who showed him some things about floor safes” and is able to mysteriously remove half the anchoring bolts. Konrad had also climbed down into the room to help. Konrad and Choppy, the strongest two members, use crowbars to snap the remaining anchor bolts and extract the safe. There is ruckus from the guards in the main floor, and the characters beat a hasty retreat, doing their best to set fire to the room by shattering a lamp against the door, the lamp oil igniting and spilling onto the walls and floor. Once back on the warehouse roof, they take another few seconds to spill some of the oil barrels they’d brought up and light them as well.

They make their escape and collect a handsome reward the next day. Turns out the building wasn’t completely destroyed by the fire. It is less clear whether any of the guards was seriously injured or killed by the fire. Two were knocked unconscious in the supervisor’s room, which was then ignited. However, there are large open windows from the supervisor’s area to the warehouse floor below…so escape was possible for the guards.

The session ended at this point. The next adventure will continue with the second job, which was to make the exchange with Oldenhaller. Stay tuned!

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Chapter1:Session 4
Death of Oldenhaller

Cast: Markus, Choppy, Ranthin, Konrad, Cedric (new character, a hypnotist played by Eric), Gohma, Dellin, Archibald (Nihad’s Initiate returns!)

I’ll keep this post brief….players are welcome to add details they think are important.

Characters went to deliver the box and gem to Oldenhaller. Things went bad. Markus, Cedric, Choppy, and Konrad entered Oldenhaller’s estates. When entering Oldenhaller’s study, they found him sitting paralyzed in his chair and a strange masked man in black holding a dagger to his throat and a strange vile of liquid in his other hand. Banter ensued. The stranger wants the box. In exchange he will give the characters the antidote (the liquid in the vial he holds, unstoppered in his left hand.) If the characters try to attack him, he’ll simply spill the antidote and Oldenhaller will die. The characters also notice that Oldenhaller’s bodyguard is dead — the body crumpled up in a wardrobe closet.

So the characters agree, and hand over the box to the stranger in exchange for the vial of antidote. The stranger disappears behind a display-case which has been moved slightly away from a wall. The hypnotist feeds the vial to Oldenhaller, who is entirely paralyzed and can’t speak. Unfortunately, the liquid is not an antidote but a poison. Oldenhaller dies while Markus runs to get the guards and medical help. Markus and crew get blamed for the deed and are transported to the local jail.

Meanwhile, the other characters, waiting outside the estate near the servants entrance are surprised when they are rushed by an angry mob of Oldenhaller’s private guards. The characters have time to escape, but Dellin takes a wicked crossbow bolt to his leg, causing a serious injury. They flee to the country-side towards the town of Waddleburg, where the tutor, Gohma, knows a guy who is an exceptional healer. The initiate, Archibald, decides to instead hide out at a church he knows in the rough part of town.

Before Markus and the others were arrested, they grabbed a note that was left on Oldenhaller’s desk. Not being literate, but sensing it might be important, Markus pocketed it. In jail, they are visited by a legal Solicitor, sent by Grolst Van Eyke to find out what happened. Markus explains the situation and presents the note. The note is from the assassin, directed towards the players, apologizing for having put them in this bind, telling them they should do the world a favor and follow the bounty on the vivisectionist, and that they are working for the ‘wrong side.’ This note is enough evidence, likely with some bribes and influence by GVE, to spring the characters on bail. They are instructed by the watch to not leave Nuln and that they will be watched.

GVE has a meeting with Markus, informing him that he should get out of Nuln, and that he owes GVE big time (figuratively and literally). Collection on the debt is delayed for now, but not forgotten. There will be a time when GVE expects either the box/gem or the figurine + 250 gold, not counting bail expenses.

Characters evade the town watch and flee town towards Wattleburg, where coincidentally the others are waiting, having brought Dellin there for healing….

So much for brevity…but really, I am leaving stuff out…funny stuff…really GOOD stuff…stuff you’d all like to read about and commit to memory….but nevertheless, here’s the rest of the summary.

At Wattleburg, Archibald finds a soap box to preach upon. Choppy “supervises”. The rest of the characters convene at the lone inn and talk stuff over. Archibald regales the crowd with his missionary fervor — and it actually succeeds in drawing an interested crowd. Even Choppy can’t help but pay attention and ruminate on his own past experiences and how he might better serve the light…but then he gets a bit hungry and distracted from the sermon. He notices a large gruff fellow taking an interest in the sermon.

The gruff fellow is a hunter by the name of “Mix Riggins.” He engages in fervent discussion with Archibald. Apparently Mix believes he’s a servent of the light and is on a righteous mission. Mix reveals he’s a hunter of the supernatural and conversant with battling the dark servants of evil. He was on his way to Nuln to track down a heretical priest of Nurgle, Jonas Whitespore, and is taken aback that Archibald claims they’ve killed him already. When asked what they did with the body, Archibald replies that they left it for the rats. Mix Riggins scolds them for not cremating the corpse and boiling their weapons in purifying water — he says that he believes Whitespore will be seen again, and they should track him down and kill him again, the right way.

He also reveals that he’s in Wattleburg because he’s heard of a man with unnatural abilities of healing and is concerned he might be a witch. He wants to talk to this healer and gauge whether he’s demon fouled or not. This same healer happens to be Gohma’s trainer in the magical arts (but of course, Gohma doesn’t share that beyond he knows the guy.)

Some interesting interactions between the rest of the party and Mix Riggens ensue when he enters the inn following his conversation with Choppy and Archibald. Apparently Riggens thinks Dellin stinks to high heaven, and can’t believe the other party members can’t smell it. Riggens also advises Archibald that he has a trained wardog named Spike that isn’t allowed to come into the town and is waiting in the forested outskirts. Should Archibald encounter Spike, who is noteworth for his exceptional size, the spiked collar, and nasty disposition, he should repeat “Rictor Von Kruger” three times fast to prevent the dog from attacking.

Later, Dellin asks around town and learns that some livestock have gone missing. The party investigates the next day and encounters a man from the far outskirts claiming his 6 year old daughter has gone missing. The party investigates and obscured tracks are found leading away from the man’s home. They follow the tracks into some bluffs. They lead towards a distant cave system that can be seen in the higher lands in the distance. In the bluffs, the characters suspect an ambush. Their instincts are correct and they get the jump on some bad guys laying in wait.

A combat occurs between the party and eight nasty minions, presumably of the Vivisectionist. Four of them look like large men “stitched together” with massive protruding scar tissue covering much of the visible portions of their bodies. These beings are armored in full chain and wield hand weapons. Two of the opponents are average human sized, wearing red uniforms with horned and antlered helmets. Nothing particularly supernatural is apparent about them. The last two foes are what’s best described as chain horrors. Their flesh is covered in hooked chains, embedded in the skin, and they attack with hooked chain flails that are embedded or part of their arms. They are very strong and resilient to damage.

Against all odds, the characters prevail. Markus and Archibald hold off the two chain horrors all by themselves on the right flank bluff, which is an amazing stroke of defensive finesse…or at least divine provenence, depending on which of them you ask. Markus does take a serious gash to the leg and withdraws following an exceptional shield parry that temporarily drives the chain horror back and off-balance. The other foes are handled rather easily by the crew and they come to the rescue of Archibald and Markus and put an end to the chained horrors.

And that’s where the story ended for the evening…

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Chapter1:Session 5
Meet Doktor Toltevsky

Cast: Archibald, Ranthin, Gohma, Konrad, Dellin, Choppy, Cedric

Characters follow tracks back to the Vivisectionist’s lair. He’s built a laboratory and living complex inside a natural cave system in the rocky highlands area. They discover that further in the cave, the floor becomes flag-stone, support timbers reinforce the ceilings, and lanterns provide lighting. They encounter a jail-like area first, with strong iron cells lining both walls, and two corpses (missing various body parts) in two of the cells. There is evidence that this area is usually guarded, but perhaps the guards were the ones killed by the party earlier. A stout iron-bound hardwood door separates the outer jail area from the inner portions of the laboratory. Needless-to-say, the door is locked.

When the players fiddle around with the door, a voice asks if they’ve completed their mission. Choppy blathers something while Gohma replies “Arp.” The voice from the other side of the door says something about this being an “interesting development.” Gohma uses his skills to open the door and a few of the characters enter to face the Vivisectionist.

He is an older man standing behind a desk cluttered with papers, a cryptic tome, etc. Behind him along the wall is a case containing a few other books (Gohma recognizes one with Arcane lettering on the spine), vials and other glassware, sample jars with floating bits of anatomy, and so on. The rest of the room looks like an operatory. There are three iron tables with corpses manacled to them. There are blood grooves in the tables that drain into pans beneath them. Each table has a side-table with sharp knives, pincers, and other pointy tools. Finally, the characters can’t help but notice that in a large alcove next to the entrance is a huge humanoid figure dressed in leather armor, standing at least 12’ tall and looking “stitched together” in a manner similar (but on a completely different scale) as those encountered earlier. The monster isn’t moving, but nor is it chained up. It does not seem to be dead or zombie-esque, but does have a certain troll-like quality in the shape of certain features. (In other words, it’s huge and hideous!)

Cedric, the erst-while hypnotist (who is now pursuing the Charlatan career) engages in banter with the Vivisectionist, who is actually Doktor Paetre Toltevsky. What is learned/becomes apparent:

  1. Toltevsky sent his minions out in an “aggressive defense” because he was expecting an attack from another of Jonas’ abominations.
  2. When it wasn’t his returning minions but the characters he heard on the other side of the door, he thought instead that they must be envoys of Chancellor Rupricht Pohlmann.
  3. He tells them that the Uber Soldaten project is proceeding according to the revised schedule and that if Pohlmann wanted to help, he wouldn’t send clueless envoys to interfere with the project, but would rather send a cadre of trained guards to prevent Jonas or anyone else from distracting him.
  4. His is impressed, albeit a bit disappointed, that the “Mark II’s” didn’t fare well in combat with the characters, apologizes for the misunderstanding, and assures them that the Mark III prototype is ready (with a gesture to the enormous humanoid being hulking in the corner).
  5. Toltevsky claims he is a loyal servant of the Empire, and has served for decades to be able to restore lost limbs to injured soldiers, advance understanding of injury and healing, and help create more powerful soldiers that can protect the Empire’s borders from incursion. He can’t fathom why so many people are upset with him, and why he was asked to leave the University at Altdorff due to the unsavory nature of his investigations. “To really understand how the human physiology works, one MUST study it IN-VIVO!” and “It is a sacrifice that a few make for the greater good” (and similar stuff).
  6. Turns out that many years ago, a child with remarkable regenerative capabilities named Jonas, was discovered by Toltevsky. Jonas was the vivisectionist’s principle experimental subject for nearly 20 years before he escaped. It is understandable that Jonas hates Doktor Toltevsky. It is understandable that Jonas would sell his soul to dark powers — anything he could do to gain the power to avenge himself on Herr Doktor. (Yes, we are talking about the very-same Jonas Whitespore).
  7. When informed that the characters killed Jonas, the Doktor wonders if they’ve been paying attention? Leaving him to the rats will not kill Jonas Whitespore. (Confirming Mix Riggen’s assessment from the previous adventure.)
  8. Word has it that Jonas is recruiting the destitute to his cult at a facility near Nuln, and that he seeks a magical gem to dramatically increase his power. (Thus it is crucial, if Rupricht wants the project to continue on schedule, deal with Jonas! Why hasn’t he done so already?)
  9. Those with Heraldry in the party recognize that “Chancellor Pohlmann” refers to the Emperor’s Hand…the man who works behind the scenes on the details required to run an empire. So “in over one’s head” might be an understatement for the party’s current position.
  10. The conversation gets tense when Cedric demands where the little girl is and the Vivisectionist denies any such knowledge. Cedric doesn’t believe him, and the conversation gets more challenging, so to speak. Cedric claims he has a “message from the Emperor” and reaches for a knife!

So what happens then? Well, combat ensues of course. Cedric, with his lightening reflexes tries to tackle the Doktor and fails. Konrad rushes in to help, but the Doktor manages to “activate” the Mark III Ubersoldat, which emits a terrifying (literally) howl and rushes into combat. Many of the characters fail a “Cool” check and lose it, running from the room. The Mark III slams at Konrad and fumbles, hitting a corner of one of the operating tables instead.

[Note, I’m omitting some of the combat details in what follows, but here’s the critical elements]

Dellin is able to throw his net on the Vivisectionist, and Cedric, having drawn his sword, wounds the Doktor severely. The initiate, apparently unafraid of the giant, runs into the room and sinks his sword into the monster’s mid-section. A blow that would have eviscerated any normal human, but just serves to anger the beast. Konrad readies his flail, figuring that the extra damage will be necessary in this fight. The Mark III smashes Archibald, picking him up by the leg and crushing his ankle. He then uses Archibald’s unconscious body as a club and smashes him against Konrad, causing Konrad to take a serious blow that dazes him for a few rounds.

The Vivisectionist, seeing that he’s likely to die in the next moment at Cedric’s hands (because he’s still trapped in the net), but also that his Mark III is laying waste to his opponents, desperately shouts a deal — a truce. He’ll call off the Mark III and heal the initiate if the characters spare his life and leave his laboratory. At this point, most of the characters are still frightened by the beast, and of those that aren’t, Archibald appears unconscious with a smashed ankle and broken back, and Konrad is highly vulnerable. The PCs agree to the truce seeing now other way out.

Archibald is healed by a potion poured down his throat by Toltevsky after everyone but Dellin leaves the operatory. Once outside the operator door (back in the “holding cell area”), the thick door closes and locks itself — and Gohma intuitively knows that his “trick” to open the door won’t work a second time.

The characters leave, but it takes significant persuasion to get Cedric to give up. Cedric’s highest priority is rescuing the girl, and it shakes his foundation to realize he/they have no power to do so. Failure is hard to swallow. Choppy, on the other hand, is entirely glad to get as much distance between him and the Mark III as possible, and sees no personal benefit in risking his life over a matter that doesn’t really concern the party.

The party members head back to town, some stopping by the farmer’s house to give him the bad news that they couldn’t rescue his girl. On the other hand, they don’t know for sure that anything bad has befallen her. So perhaps there is some hope. Other party members head for the Healer’s abode, both to tend their own wounds and to inform Markus about the events. The party reconvenes and heads back to the town center of Wattleburg.

At the outskirts of town, they notice that the stables at the lone inn are full of horses sporting the livery of the Iron Cloaks and also (partially obscured) of the Nuln City Guard. They decide not to risk going into town, and they find a suitable trail to “get lost in the woods.” There they discover Mix Riggens, who also apparently is avoiding the soldiers.

Banter ensues, the characters talk to Mix around a camp fire about what happened. He provides additional sage advice from his years of Monster Hunting. In fact, he indicates he keeps a field manual in his pack full of his lore. Archibald asks to read it, and Mix refuses, saying something along the lines of “are initiates of the light entrusted to the full set of holy scripture on day 1? Of course not. When you are ready, you may read the book.” Archibald understands and assents.

Choppy sees the light and realizes Mix could teach him a great many things. Choppy’s world view has been radically altered the past few weeks, and now that he knows Monsters exist, he wants to know how to kill them. Mix charges Choppy with learning his letters, and if he does so, Mix will teach him his craft. Dellin also sees that his experience as a Bounty Hunter has been but a prelude to his life’s calling…he too will become a Monster Hunter / Witch Hunter.

And so the day’s story ends. The heroes by the camp fire, world a bit shaken, wondering where to go next, while at the same time burning with new convictions.

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Chapter1:Session 6
Merry Maids of Marionberg -- Dancing in Drag!

Cast: pretty much the whole gang of current players.

The crew has been laying low for a few weeks since the events of the previous session. They end up going to a town called Reikspan, named after the Reikspan Bridge that, well, spans the Reik. Turns out the town is quite uptight, so to speak, and makes it very difficult for vagrants, wanderers, criminals, and the like to set up shop. If you aren’t recognized by the watch, you have to have some form of permit to practice your trade in the city.

A few years ago, an up-coming Inquisitor-Initiate from the Nordlands named Sven Skarsgaard was assigned the task of cleaning up the town of Reikspan. He did such a thorough job of eradicating the criminal element and removing any other unwanted elements, that he was recalled to Altdorf for special training with the Grand Inquisitor of the Empire. And now he is apparently been assigned to Nuln in the wake of the shocking Oldenhaller murder, where he has begun the process of addressing the Criminal Element in the docks district, rumors of his crack-down have been spreading for the past week or two.

The characters meet a down-and-out entertainer named “Manfred Matterly” who needs help staffing his venue because his previous troupe has, apparently, been hauled off to work the mines by the authorities in Nuln. There was, apparently, a regrettable similarity between his entertainment troupe and “vagrant troublemakers”, and with the new Inquisitor making a statement, they were sent to work off their public debt to society in the iron mines (along with many others). One wonders if GVE is taking any heat? No word…

So those with some talents, notably the dancers of the group and the hypnotist, temporarily join the “Master Minstrel Manfred Matterly and his Merry Maids of Marionburg” traveling show, dresses and all! They get inside the town, run some shows and earn some honest money. On the side, they commission the local blacksmith to repair/upgrade their armor, and do some other shopping/selling. When the show’s run is over, the characters have one last meal at the local establishment before leaving town, as they will not be welcome after their permit expires. Manfred says he’s traveling north to ply his trade between Reikspan and Altdorf, and perhaps the players will meet him again some day.

During their final meal, several characters caught a glimpse of a man watching them through the grimy window of the tavern. Choppy chased after him, but lost him in the crowd. He did however catch sight of his face and recognized him as looking like a Bretonnian — and perhaps a rather slimy one at that.

Also while in Riekspan, the characters end up recovering the bronze statuette of Esmeralda that GVE wanted as part of the payment for the gem from Oldenhaller. Archibald the initiate managed to make friends with the local high priest of the light, and was given a certain authority to investigate potential sacrilegious icons acquired on auction at a local art house. (A local art merchant bought some of Oldenhaller’s art at an estate auction held in Nuln). Archibald used that authority to confiscate the statuette. He also bought a special box to store it in with a lock and key.

The characters head back out to the wilderness to rendezvous with Mix Riggens in the hill country north west of Nuln. There they get into a spot of trouble when they are ambushed by a platoon of Iron Cloak archers. Cedric takes a nasty shot through the hip and falls unconscious. The rest of the characters charge one flank of their attackers, and quickly get the upper hand. A gigantic wolf-dog like creature with a spiked collar comes in from the woods and rips apart the archers on the other flank (those that didn’t run away in panic).

Archibald, acting the part of the noble hero, stood as a protector for Cedric during much of the fight. The game keeper called “Rictor Von Kruger” three times fast when the monstrous dog seemed to be trotting in their general direction, after which it wandered off in the woods. A few minutes later Mix Riggens shows up, saying his dog Spike led him in their direction. One of the Iron Cloak archers was captured by the Bounty Hunter, and questioned by the ersatz Hypnotist Cedric. Not much was learned. He was let go.

Cedric has a serious injury, and lacking anyone with significant training in the healing arts, the party can’t continue. They decide to find a local healer and continue to lay low until Cedric heals, which takes about 10 weeks. (Ouch!) In the mean-time, they all work on improving their skills in anticipation of a major conflict that may be in their near future.

One last thing, the characters learned that a special detachment of the Iron Cloaks headed by Augustus Grimm is on their trail. He leads a group called Grimm’s Reapers. They are known for taking the nasty jobs and coming out on top. If the party doesn’t do something soon to change their reputations, they will continue to have increasingly capable bounty hunters and mercenary teams hunting them down for the reward (or vengeance). One idea that came to mind was if they could do something about Jonas Whitespore and get a good name with the inquisition, then perhaps that could be leveraged to remove some of the heat on their collective tail.

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Chapter1:Conclusion
Kill Jonas Again

Session 7: Kill Jonas (Again), Conclusion of Chapter 1 of the Campaign
PC Cast: Archibald, Cedric, Choppy, Ranthin, Konrad, Markus, Izzy
Key NPCs: Lord Bismark (new), The Lanky Man, Jonas Whitespore, and “The Twins” (new)

Izzy has been spending the past three months at the Ruckenbrechen (“back breaker”) mining camp. He was rounded up by the crackdown in Nuln, and branded (literally marked with a tatoo on his neck) as an “undesirable civilian element.” While at Ruckenbrecken, he encountered some less-than-Merry Maids from Marionberg. After getting released from the mining camp, he ran into Markus while he was out pursuing leads on Whitespore.

The group has tracked Jonas Whitespore to a ruined garrison in the Blackwood forest NE of Nuln. The garrison was part of a fort demolished in a war a hundred years ago and never rebuilt. It is 15 miles from the nearest settlement, through dense foliage. The nearest settlement is called Hinterstadt, where the characters stop to buy provisions and prepare for the trek.

Lord Bismark, a champion of the inquisition court, arrives with a warrant for the arrest of Markus, Thom (Choppy), Cedric, and Konrad, based on a number of charges. Bismark, of course, is accompanied by a bunch of inquisition soldiers. Bismark rounds up the crew in the local Inn, and begins the lengthy process of reading every detail of the formal charges. About half-way through the reading, a Lanky Man with a pocked face, wearing expensive clothes steps out from behind a supporting pillar in the Inn. He moves with a uncommon grace. He interrupts Bismark and asserts that the four accused were on an official clandestine assignment, and all charges are to be dropped. He provides Bismark with an official-looking document saying something about “you notice the seal on this note”, and “your questions about my identity are explained therein,” and “you can travel to Nuln and verify this with the court, leaving your men here to keep an eye on the accused in the mean time. You have my word we will be here when you return.”

Bismark, a bit put out, leaves the command of his troops to his Sergeant, and gallops off to verify the veracity of the note. The Lanky Man is none other than the masked man who poisoned Oldenhaller. He apologizes to the characters for the mess they got in, but assures them that those charges are waived and the bounty retracted. He wants the characters to continue their quest to kill Whitespore and is willing to fund the operation, provide official backing, and of course a reward on completion. In the mean time, he is trying to locate Mix Riggins because he needs information about a “Lady deRochelle” of Bretonnia. More conversation ensues. When asked what they should call him, the Lanky Man says they can call him “Frederick” if they so choose. But his identity is a state secret. He works, indirectly, for the interests of the child-Emperor Ezekial. [New campaign info: the Emperor is a 12 year old, and the high council runs most of the affairs, headed by the “Emperor’s Hand”, whom we learned about in an earlier session.] “Frederick” regrets that the group was unable to eliminate Toltevsky, and was interested to learn about the Mark III Ubersoldat.

Some back story revealed by “Frederick”. After getting the gem from the characters in Oldenhaller’s office, “Frederick” returned it to the Emperor’s Arcanist, who was tasked with devising a way to destroy it. A Bretonnian Lady, named Renee deRochelle, arrived at the Emperor’s court and became “friendly” with the arcanist. Two weeks ago, the aranist was found hanging by his feet, flayed of his skin. The gem was gone, presumably the secret location tortured out of the arcanist. The previous night, deRochelle’s entourage had left Altdorff suddenly. Spies indicate that Renee deRochelle may have returned towards Bretonnia, while a group of her garrison commanded by “The Twins” headed towards, of all places, the Blackwood forest. The Twins are two female warriors, named Monica and Margot Stenniker, and are considered quite formidable.

“Frederick” is concerned that the deRochelle sent the gem to Whitespore for some vile purposes. He has reason to believe Mix Riggins may know something about Lady deRochelle. The players find that hard to believe, but they didn’t really dig into the question. The Lanky Man also indicates that Bismark is in for a surprise when he arrives in Nuln. Arrangements have been made that Bismark and his men will accompany the PCs on their quest against Whitespore, as it will “take a small army” to do the job.

With that, “Frederick” leaves to find Dellin the Fierce and Mix Riggins, who are supposedly keeping an eye on Toltevsky. Gohma is also still in the Wattleburg region, studying with the Healer. The characters wait for Bismark to arrive in a few days. Together the crew, plus Bismark and his men, travel to the ruined garrison.

To be brief, and omitting all the cool highlights about what happened in combat, who was glorious, who not-so-much, let’s just say that there was a major battle between the “good guys” and a combination of deRochelle soldiers and Nurgle cultist soldiers. The “bad guys” were commanded by the Twins. (And we made great usage of Sherman’s terrain models, especially the castle walls, etc. Very cool!) The good guys won, of course, but not without casualty. Choppy and Markus used Fate Points and several of Bismark’s men were killed. Of note, when the first Twin was killed, the second Twin transmogrified into a monster…bony spikes erupted through her skin, and she was transformed into a more lethal and very angry being. Archibald got the final blow on her….exploding dice x3 or so…cutting of her head and both arms in a single shot.

Shortly after the combat in the garrison ruins finished and Choppy was demanding that they burn the bodies, Cedric felt a strong surge of magic, so powerful that he could follow it to its source without having to concentrate. The magical trail to Jonas went down to a lower level of the ruined garrison.

With the remaining inquisition guard, and Lord Bismark pretty banged-up, the characters headed down for the final conflict. In the basement they encountered Jonas Whitespore, a bunch of cultist soldiers, and a monstrous tentacled slug thing and it’s two smaller friends. There was a arcane circular symbol on the wall, forming a sort of magical portal, perhaps, that the slug things came through. Or so it appears because their caustic slime trails begin at the wall. Fortunately the tentacled slug monsters (beasts of nurgle) move very slowly…they are sluggish, afterall, so the players were able to take out the human guards and fend off Jonas’s attacks before really having to engage the monsters.

The beasts of Nurgle instill fear, but eventually the characters were able to get their collective act together to be effective. Bismark was able to rush in, and his archer support was very helpful. Choppy spent some time, befuddled by Whitespore’s spell, sitting in the hallway contemplating the grout between the stones. The characters endured magical fireballs, directed gusts of wind, and other arcane attacks, but Ranthin kept Jonas busy by repeatedly shooting him in the throat with an arrow. (After which, Jonas would duck behind a wall for a few rounds while healing himself.) Once all the minions were slain and the beasts of Nurgle put down, Jonas tried to make a run for it. But he was caught before he could make his escape and cut down. [Actually…I forgot who landed the last blow…not that it’s critical…anyone remember?]

The crew decided to burn everything and find the gem in the ashes. Jonas had an arcane book that probably had a great deal of arcane knowledge (and spells), but Archibald insisted it would be burned. So after burning everything, they recovered the gem, and retreated back to Hinterstadt. They were met a few days later by the Lanky Man and the reward was paid. Lady deRochelle is still at large, and the Lanky Man had not yet tracked down Mix Riggins.

Archibald was favored by the light and given the calling of a cleric. Due to his actions, he will be initiated into the order of wandering priests, charged with carrying the message of the light to all the dark corners of the world, rooting out corruption, and bringing enlightenment to the ignorant and oppressed. {DM’s note: I am giving Archibald the first level cure wounds spell for free as a reward for good roleplaying and for his valor in serving the light. Plus the party really needs a healer!}

Choppy, it seems, will not be able to continue his adventures with the party for much longer. He has a calling very far away and may not be back for a long time. We will miss him. {DM’s note: Elon is travelling to California by bike and may be moving there permanently…or he may be back in the spring. However, he is always welcome to post to the boards…} Choppy, having learned to read, often sends personal notes to his friends updating them on his adventures, with an especial emphasis on the cheapest dining establishments one can find on any given route.

Ranthin finally was able to use his Marksmanship effectively, not once spilling his quiver during the final battle. His heroism in continually interrupting Jonas’s attacks really made the last battle easier. His renown as an archer of considerable skill is spread by the archers of Bismark’s rank, and he now regularly gets invitations to compete in archery tournaments, where he places well in the “newcomer” divisions. Yet there are those master marksmen out there that could still show him a thing or two…(I don’t know if Ranthin increased his Ballistic Skill with the experience he gained, but it seems likely that he is not in the 90’s yet…)

Cedric decided that he, too, better start to learn how to read. After being hip-deep in serious combat, he realizes the value of settling differences via negotiations instead of the sword. His fellowship has increased into the 60’s, giving the group a reliable “face” for when the best option is diplomacy, bluffing, or haggling.

Markus learned that the crowbar can be effective on either end! As a result, he now has two attacks per round, and can inflict double the knee-capping goodness! The Lanky Man promised to take care of his debt to Grolst Van Eyke, so with the bounty called off and the debt taken care of, he should be back in business! His near death experience battling cultists at the garrison has perhaps made him a bit edgier — perhaps a bit more intimidating to his foes. You don’t cross a man who has faced down horrors and lived to tell about it.

Izzy’s hard work in the mines made him stronger and more focused. His addiction to rum may even have been lessened somewhat. On the other hand, standing face-to-face with Beasts of Nurgle can definitely drive a man to drink! He bears a tatoo proclaiming him an undesirable civilian — perhaps he will have it covered with another or abraded off. Perhaps he will go on a quest to free others wrongfully put in bondage by the over zealous inquisition in Nuln lead by Sven Skaarsgard? The Merry Maidens of Marionberg are calling…

Konrad helped clear the battle fields and was the first to enter the summoning room and face the cultists and monsters. His bravery helped clear the path for the others, and his combat effectiveness was only enhanced with this experience.

Thus concludes Chapter 1 of Death Knows No Honor.
Hope you had as much fun playing as I did story telling.

-Steve O.

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Chapter2:Session1
Meet Baron Strudel

Chapter 2: Session 1
=== Cast: Dellin (Justin), Archibald (Nihad), Markus (Mark), Izzy (Izzy), Ranthin (Jacob), Ghoma (Chad), Cedric (Eric), and Bronan the Woodsman, a new character played by Nathan. ===
We spent nearly half the session converting characters from 1st to 2nd Edition rules, and Nathan rolled up his new character as well.
=====
The cast of characters all meetup in Nuln. Now that they have some money, they are no longer staying in the worst part of town. Dellin has traveled with news from keeping an eye on the Vivisectionist. Two weeks ago, Dellin saw a large group of Empire soldiers arrive at Toltevsky’s hidden facility in the hills north west of Wattleburg. There were at least 50 total soldiers consisting of men at arms and a handful of mounted knights. Twelve of the soldiers entered the facility and a few days later twelve massive black knights exited. Then the black knights, escorted by the rest traveled north. Ghoma has also traveled from the Wattleburg area, having completed some studies with the Healer, and being politely asked to leave him alone for a while.

Bronan the Woodsman was from a hovel in Ostland, and figured Nuln is a much better place to be. With the departure of Choppy and Konrad, Markus feels that he needs a new axe-man for the team and Bronan fits the bill. Bronan is skilled with a 2-handed great axe, and mighty blows indeed it delivers.

Ghoma, shopping for reagents, finds a mysterious card in the bag containing one of his purchases. It bears a symbol of a sundial and a cloak. A handwritten note has the name of a town square in Nuln and a date and time (for the next day, mid afternoon). The card was not likely put in the bag by the shopkeeper, and it seems intended for Gohma in some way.

Markus is “invited” to a meeting with Heinrich Strussel (aka “Baron Strudel”). Strussel informs Markus of the “new order” in town. Grost Van Eyke was arrested by the inquisition and hasn’t been seen for weeks. Strudel is being named to the ruling council as the overseer of all mercantile interests in the lower quarter, with especial oversight on licensure of all previously untracked import/export businesses. As such, if Markus doesn’t play the game, Strussel has both the power and authority to make life miserable (read “working in the mines” or “waking up dead”). During the meeting, Strussel is accompanied by his henchmen “Lem” and “Knuckles”, and Owen, the man-mountain who used to work for Helga the Apothecary. Strussel makes a deal with Markus: Markus will provide Strussel with two things he wants: Nigel Sneed and the bronze statuette of Esmeralda. In return, Strussel will pay Markus 125 gold for delivering the statue within two days and another 125 gold for delivering Sneed within two weeks. After that’s been accomplished, Strussel will “permit” Markus to operate in Nuln and become part of the new order.

The complication is that Archibald, during the same time as the Markus/Strussel meeting, donates the statuette to Father Klaus at a local temple of the light. Cedric goes to the church and tries to use his charlatan skills to con the priest into giving up the statuette. He nearly accomplishes this feat, but alas, Father Klaus says he will only give it to one of his superiors. Cedric does determine that the statuette is stored in a locked desk drawer in Father Klaus’ office at the church.

Later that night, Markus decides to use his thieving talents to break into the church and “un-donate” the statuette. Things go very well, right up to the point where Markus leaves the office area with statuette in hand. Some sort of magical alarm sounds, and Markus high-tails it out of the church. As Markus and the accomplices (other party members) run away, the alarming noise follows. And apparently so does a group of five thugs. While Markus runs towards the river, several of the party members intercept the thugs and get into a brawl. Bronan, Dellin, Ranthin, and Izzy end up killing four of the five (in spectacularly gore-filled ways…Choppy would have been proud!). The fifth surrenders.

Markus, with Cedric in tow, chucks the statuette into the river and runs back towards the tavern, encountering Archibald on the way. About a minute later, the alarming noise stops. Watchmen have probably been drawn to the riverside by the noise, thus distracted from the quick 60 second street brawl that cost the lives of four thugs (and made a serious mess in the street).

This is where the session ended. 50xp were awarded.

Will the players be able to recover the statuette in time? What will Archibald think / what will they tell him? Who sent the mysterious card to Ghoma and what does it mean? And where’s Nigel Sneed? Can the players use the dim-witted Owen against Strussel in some way, knowing Helga Whoopknacker is quite put out at the loss of her helper and protector? Do they even want to? Maybe Strussel is good for business…

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Chapter2:Session2
Chaos Knights in the Countryside

Cast: Dellin, Archibald, Cedric, Bronan, Izzy, and introducing “Rufus”, an apprentice wizard (a.k.a. “tutor”) played by Ryan.

Markus, Ranthin, and Ghoma were busy recovering the statuette from the river. Thus they were not involved in the events of this session.

Continuing where last session left off, Cedric intercepts Archibald and steers him in the direction of where the combat was that recently took place. Archibald is told the thugs mugged the PCs, and that his help is needed to heal the injured. Archibald takes Dellin and Izzy, the two most injured, back to the Inn, where they are able to discreetly clean up. Cedric and Bronan take the prisoner (who is restrained with a pair of Dellin’s manacles) to the “town watch” — which really means to an alleyway sufficiently far from Archibald that they can interrogate him in peace. Cedric tries to hypnotize the thug, but the thug’s will is too strong. Further questioning is tried, accompanied with blows to the head and neck area and threats. The thug becomes too dazed to be able to intelligently respond to anything, and Bronan hints sharply that he should be killed. Cedric tried to slit the thug’s throat, but his innate goodness doesn’t allow him to kill in cold blood. Instead, Bronan takes the man and dumps him head-first down a nearby well.

The characters rendezvous back at the Inn, where Archibald has used his healing skill successfully on Dellin, and less so on Izzy. Bronan is also tended to. The next day, a strange man shows up named Rufus. He is a man of learning and was discovered by Markus a few days back looking for work. Markus told him to show up on this day, but he (Markus) is nowhere to be found. Archibald steps in an agrees to pay Rufus 10gp if he helps the party find Nigel Sneed. After that, Archibald decides to pay Father Klaus a visit at the church.

Bronan uses his gossip skill while visiting various whore-houses and gambling dens to see if he can learn anything about Sneed. In fact, he does succeed in learning that a man matching Sneed’s description was gambling in the docks district and ran up quite a tab against the mate of a river trading vessel. So Sneed is in Nuln and back to old habits.

On the way to the church, Archibald is approached by Lord Bismark, who is “out of uniform.” Bismark indicates he has urgent need of Archibald’s help, and the help of his team. (He recalls that Archibald is the combat commander of the group…) In short, Toltevsky is off-limits to official Inquisition at this time, as he has extremely powerful friends. But if solid evidence where obtained showing that Toltevsky’s UberSoldaten program is heretical, then that might be a different story. Turns out that prior to using his latest techniques on Empire Soldiers, the Vivisectionist experimented on a group of undesirable civilians that were working the mines. One or more of them is loose on the country-side near the town of Brusenwald (?) and Bismark offers the team lots of gold to help him get one alive (less gold if dead).

So all is agreed upon and the characters find that several farms on the outskirts of Brusenwald are in flames. Archibald’s excellent vision spots a large armored figure doing something unspeakable to a tree (apparently). So they rush to the attack and a melee ensues. Bismark and the party take on three raving mad black knights who are raping and pillaging their way through the countryside. One of the black knights is doing something bad to a farmer tied to a tree when the party attacks.

Bismark shows his stuff in this combat — for nearly half the combat he takes on two of the chaos knights while the rest of the team fights one….well…Bronan fights a tree, hoping to chop it such that he both frees the peasant and causes the tree to fall on a chaos knight…alas, that strategy doesn’t work out well. Once the characters dispatch one of the knights and concentrate on helping Bismark with the other two, the tide turns. All three are killed, unfortunately, so bringing one back alive to Nuln doesn’t happen.

Rufus and the others examine the dead chaos knights. Their armor is covered in runic scripts and symbols. Rufus indicates that he’s learned that these types of symbols are forbidden at the university and should be proof enough of the heretical nature of Toltevsky’s work. The knights are stripped of their armor, and their skin is likewise covered with scar-tissue tattooing of similar runes. The bodies are thrown into the fire. (Except a single hand, severed at the wrist, which Bismark wants to take back as evidence.) The armor is also confiscated by Bismark, but 250gp is given to the party in compensation.

Archibald renders aid to the surviving peasant and also helps heal the other party members. Cedric and Dellin go to Brusenwald proper to inform them that the horror is over and the black knights are no more. Cedric is hailed as the “Hero of Brusenwald” and decides to hang around that area for a while with a cute young woman who thinks he’s remarkable. [This is Erik’s last game until he returns from college over winter break…hence Cedric will be busy for a while.]

Bronan keeps one of the great axes wielded by a chaos knight. He finds a weaponsmith in Nuln to sand off the inscriptions and make the weapon look as normal as possible. Izzy upgrades his armor to full plate.

Characters get 150 experience points. Each character’s share of the total loot+reward amounts to 50gp.

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Chapter2:Session3
Across Beaufort Pass

Cast: Archibald, Dellin, Ranthin, Izzy, Bronan, and Rufus
NPCs: Helga Whoopknacker, Lanky Man, Father Burkholt (new), Lem, Knuckles, and Owen

Archibald has garnered the notice of members of the church that see rare potential in this initiate. He is summoned before Father Burkholt, who is the head of the 3rd most important temple in Nuln. Burkholt charges Archibald with a quest to earn entrance into the exclusive Order of the Traveling Flame Wot Doth Illuminate Shadows Made and Secrets Kept. He is to travel the Beaufort Pass, the southern-most of two passes through the Grey Mnts which separate the Empire from Bretonnia. On the Bretonnian side of the pass, he will reach Beaufort Garrison and find Chaplain Guy Margeaux, who has information vital to the church. Archibald is to bring his sealed missive back post haste, do so as discretely as possible, and take any reasonable measures to succeed, even if the cost includes lives. Of course, a previous messenger never returned and messenger pigeons have been lost. Archibald is asked to hire his own henchmen for protection, is given two messenger pigeons, and money to buy supplies, horses, pack mules.

Fall is nearing and with it the snows that may shut down the mountain passes. Time is of the essence. Also, a caravan merchant named Ike claims to have seen monsters in the pass…but that information is not considered reliable.

Meanwhile, the Lanky Man pays a visit to Dellin. L.M. says that empire troops were sent to Beaufort responding to trumped up allegations of Bretonnian outlaws raiding caravans. The Imperial 3rd Infantry Company, consisting of 200 soldiers, 20 horse, and 30 supply personnel, were sent. They are known as the Grey Mountain Company. They were recently given over to the command by 12 ubersoldaten, courtesy of the Toltevsky process. L.M. believes that this may be a “shake down” mission to see how well the ubersoldaten integrate with the regular forces. L.M. charges Dellin with watching over Archibald’s mission (which he seems to know about) and to spy on the Grey Mountain Company (but not to engage, which would be foolish and illegal…they are Imperial soldiers after all).

Dellin is given a crow named “Handsome”. Handsome has been trained to deliver short messages, no more than twenty words. Dellin has only to tell the crow “Crows fly black as night with all seeing eyes” and then state his short message. Then release Handsome and he will find the Lanky Man and deliver the news. Handsome likes to eat beetles and huckleberries. And he occasionally talks…his favorite word seems to be “Hungry!”

In preparing for the mission, Dellin goes to Helga Whoopknacker the apothecary. She berates Dellin for doing nothing about her poor Owen. Dellin says he’ll rescue Owen from Baron Strudel for her. Helga shares that Owen is fond of music and will often be calm when he hears music or a song. Later that night, the characters track down Lem and Knuckes training Owen on how to shake down a shop owner that doesn’t want to pay the protection money. Banter ensues, and then combat. Lem is killed. Knuckles escapes. Owen flies into a rage, but is put to sleep by Rufus’ “pressure point” technique, learned from the same teacher as Ghoma. A Valkyrie-like female minstrel was hired by Dellin to sing to Owen while they return him to Helga. (There was some comedy involving the minstrel, Bronan, and the Screaming Parrot tavern, but we need not go there.) Helga asks if Dellin made arrangements with Strussel for Owen’s release…when she learns that they killed Lem and kidnapped Owen, she realizes her time in Nuln has come to an end. She and Owen will leave for Altdorf immediately before retribution arrives.

Several hours later, near dawn, the party sets out for the Beaufort Pass. They travel for many uneventful days (a bit shy of two weeks) and find the Beaufort Garrison a smoldering ruin. They also find what can only be described as an “Ogre” sitting in the ruins gnawing on the bones of the dead. The Ogre is most likely a scavenger, the destruction of the fort was caused by a military confrontation. There are dead Bretonnian and Imperial soldiers and other obvious signs.

Rufus stays watch over the supplies (meaning his player had to leave) and the rest of the crew battled the Ogre. By using superb tactics, combined with some nifty rope tricks, they defeat the Ogre with little problem. Izzy got a bit banged up, and Bronan got the “parting shot” that separated the Ogre’s head from his shoulders.

Rufus earns 75 xp, and the rest of the crew 100 xp. No monetary awards were given for this session.

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