The Enemy Within

The enemy within, revealed.
13th of Nachgeheim

We consult with the Preceptor briefly, hoping there might be a quicker route through the crowd, but he only tells us to force our way through. We start weaving and pushing our way through to the tower that has the tainted bell, and are almost to the door, when The Grand Theogonist (Volkmar the Grim) begins his sermon.

He calls for the people to pray with him and help restore the emperor’s strength; so that he can once again take up Galmaraz and fight the empire’s enemies. He then signals to someone offstage and the bell rings.

Everyone is extremely pained by the sound and fall to the ground. The bell continues to ring regularly and a flagellant in the room cries in pain especially loudly. As he moves toward the pulpit, the prayer boxes chained to him start to smoke large plumes of colored smoke. As he reaches the pulpit, Longshot shoots at him, but the arrow slows down as it flies through the air, and splits into 10 arrows. 9 of the arrows strike the prayer boxes, breaking them, and the last hits the mutated flagellant in the place where you’d think his face is/was. When the smoke clears, we discover the Flagellant now has several arms and has otherwise mutated in major ways.

Shortly after, legions of goblin-sized demons begin to appear. They are swirling blurs of mercurial daemonic energy coalescing and dissipating on a whim, never maintaining a discernable form for more than a heartbeat. Whenever their mortal shell is damaged, they split into two daemons. They gleefully cackle as they bite, maim, and throw daemonfire at whoever they come across.

We fight, dodge, and muscle our way through the chaos that has erupted throughout the temple. The last few yards to the door are extremely treacherous.

As we enter the base of the tower, we find a man in black robes, his hood over his head, and a gold mask. We fight with him briefly, and longshot dispatches him with an arrow through the eye slit of his mask.

The party rushes up the stairs, throws open the door to the bell room, and enter. There we find 8 cultists between us and the bell, another pulling the chain to ring the bell, and one last one that is the leader.

The leader removes his mask to reveal that he is Baerfaust. He takes a minute to reveal and detail his plot. Fueled by the death of his family, in a pointless war ordered by Mariusz Leitdorf (the now-departed elector count of Averheim), he helped ensure the Leitdorf’s demise during the battle of Blackfire Pass. Expecting people to realize the folly of these wars, Baerfaust’s plan was foiled when the nobles preached the Count’s praises as a martyr of the empire, and the peasantry rallied behind the nobles once again. He realized he would have to extend his plans to destroy & defame all of the nobility. He heard rumour of the mask in the southlands, engineered its arrival, and even for it to be imbued with a shell of purity by The Flame of Ulric. Indeed, the bell remains tainted by chaos; the ritual merely allowed for the clapper to be smuggled into The Temple of Sigmar. He ended his monologue gloating about how the party helped bring this to pass and now all of the nobility would finally suffer for their hubris.

A fierce fight breaks out. The party focuses its attacks primarily on the man ringing the bell and dispatches him before he’s able to ring the bell more than a few times. Baerfaust almost immediately casts a spell that makes him ethereal. As the fight rages, more than one blow strikes true but somehow passes through him; mostly. His skin is damaged and torn from him, or sloughs off after having been cut, revealing blue and pink musculature underneath. Before long, Baerfaust is barely recognizable. The rest of his henchmen are quickly dispatched, including his lieutenant Arta Schaffer, whose body was sent tumbling down the sounding hole in the floor for the bell’s resonance. As the fight was nearly resolved, Baerfaust turned the stolen Runefang on Ath’drin, cleaving him at the shoulder and taking off his arm too. Ath fell, dead. Soon after, Edgar and Longshot shot the killing shots into this fledgling demon prince. The abomination that was once Baerfaust had been vanquished. Ensuring his demise, Longshot put an arrow in his head and Edgar used the Runefang to decapitate him.

Then, Edgar used the Runefang to cut the chain that had been used to ring the bell. This caused the bell to come loose from its moorings and it crashed to the ground below with a thunderous, and final, clang.

The bell disabled, the horrors of Tzeentch could no longer remain in the mortal realm, allowing for the warriors in the main hall to turn the tide. Those that had been transformed into chaos spawn were quickly dispatched. The dead were collected, the wounded treated, and everyone was forced to reconcile the gravity of what had just occurred.

A week later, the Emperor recovered, now free of Baerfaust’s poisons. The party, minus Casper, was summoned to the palace to be addressed by the Emperor. (Casper had grown a tail after being corrupted by the bell. The Emperor, graciously, granted amnesty to Casper for this corruption assuming the tail could be surgically removed.)

To Irinia, he informed her that Luminary Mauer had petitioned for her acceptance into the Light Magic College there in Altdorf. To honor his memory, and loyal service, they would be granting her entry to the college to be trained in the use of magic; if under particular scrutiny.

Longshot asked that aid be lended to the dwarven keeps, that they might be better able to retake fallen keeps. As “rock headed” as they may be, the Emperor agreed that he would open talks on the matter with the dwarven people.

Edgar asked that a statue of Ath’drin be erected there in the Temple of Sigmar to honor his memory & sacrifice. The Emperor agreed. Additionally, the Emperor remarked that, seeing as the normal electoral process had failed for the nation of Averland, he was instead appointing Edgar as the new Elector Count of Averland.

The party leaves the palace amidst great fanfare and cheering, finding their usual coach, bear, a new bear, and Von Kaufman to usher them in. Before they enter the coach, Kaufman informs the group that it has been reported that Ketzenblum is on the road to Averheim. Edgar thanks him for the information because, “we do have a bone to pick with her.” Then, Edgar also warns Kaufman that, “if you put you own needs above those of the empire again, it will cost you your head.” Kaufman bowed deeply, and quickly departed to his own coach.

Their coach is paraded out of the city, and they start the long journey home. In an Empire that has one less enemy, from within.

ROLL CREDITS

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Searching, and a little vandalism, but for the greater good.
12th - 13th of Nachgeheim

Casper and longshot leave for the Temple of Sigmar as planned. As they arrive, they find that there is quite the crowd gathering in a fairly wide area around the temple. People hawk wares, drink, brawl, chastise the drinkers and brawlers, and many quietly pray for the emperor.

They find an entrance they want to go in through, but since it is guarded, they need to create a distraction. They throw not one, not even two, but three flaming cocktails between two locations. They’re able to enter the temple once both guards have left their posts.

Meanwhile, Ath, Irinia, and Edgar make their way to the Garden of Morr and drop off Grosz and Clothilde’s bodies. We then find the nearest stable we can find and are able to negotiate for a previous customer to give us their spot; at a steep cost. We then find an entrance to the sewers near the temple and enter.

Casper and Longshot move their way through the temple and up the tower they intend to inspect; at the top, they find three guards in full plate mail. They decide to spring a surprise attack on the three guards.

They manage to kill one and push a second down the stairs, then rush past the third and lock themselves in the bell tower. They inspect the bell and find that it has the magical clapper in it; along with a variety of chaos symbols inscribed on the inside of the bell. Longshot did recognize at least one symbol of Tzeentch.

The alarm was raised during the fight with the original guards, who had fired pistols, and they broke into the bell tower.

Casper and Longshot scaled down the outside of the tower and disappeared into the crowd.

The rest of the party searched the sewers underneath the Temple of Sigmar and under the castle. We find nothing of interest in the sewers.

We leave the sewers and make our way to the Temple of Sigmar. Along the way, we encounter Adele Ketzenblum. While it took some stern pursuading from Edgar, he managed to convinve Ath and (if by proxy somewhat) Irinia to not attack her in the crowded street. (Irinia was physically restrained for the interchange.) Edgar spoke with her for a little while.

While she did not deny her involvement with the cult of Slaanesh, she claims that she is ultimately faithful to a quest for tracking down the black cowl and killing him. We, guardedly, share info. Among the things she shares is two letters. One, originally intended to be delivered to Edgar, being a letter; and also a receipt. The letter is from Mauer, obviously sent shortly before his death, stating that:

“I don’t believe it is magical, I believe the emperor is being drugged. Who has access to see him?”

The receipt is for payment to Adolphus Junk, a bell smith, for an astronomical sum of 15 gold for his services of maintaining the bell. That’s an awful large sum, even for forging a brand new bell, much less performing basic maintenance on one.

Obviously very suspicious of her, Edgar couldn’t think of a good way to put any trust in her. She put forth that they should each agree on a person that they would investigate. Edgar stated that he would investigate the Emperor’s champion (as she stated that he does have some vices and she isn’t familiar with the Emperor’s attendant). We part very cautiously.

Ath, Irinia, and Edgar seek out Casper and Longshot in the crowd. It takes a while, but they do find them. Casper and Longshot inform the group they did find the bell we’re looking for. (If not everything else.)

Edgar immediately made his way to the back entrance they had snuck through, presented his evidence and badge, but was not allowed entry. They are instructed that the only way they’re getting in is through the front. They make their way around to the front just as false dawn is becoming evident and therefore the arrival of the city’s elite into the temple.

Longshot manages to catch the attention of Kaufman and his aid Weiss. Kaufman largely ignores him, but Weiss does come over to see what he wants. Longshot explains, but after conferring with Kaufman, they’ll insist on evidence before they take any action. Edgar was waved over, and he showed Weiss the receipt, but refused to hand it over for inspection by Kaufman. In turn, they ultimately abandoned the party and went inside.

In the meantime, Preceptor Brecht (essentially a captain of The Knights Griffin) came out front and then spoke with Edgar as requested by Edgar around the same time that Longshot first flagged down Kaufman. Edgar laid out everything he knew and all the evidence he had and the Preceptor ultimately agreed to let them enter and inspect the bell together. Additionally, he sent out one of his lieutenants to tell the other temples to not ring their bells before they are first inspected. (As recommended by Edgar.)

The entire party is ushered into the temple.

END OF GAME

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Explosions and Death!
12th of Nachgeheim

We arrive at The Temple of Morr without issue and the acolytes there accept Mauer’s body along with the barrels of powder without objection.

We discuss matters a moment and decide to fake Edgar’s death in order to more easily find Grosz. We roll past the Temple of Drama to find a crowd gathering for the show. Among them is Clothilde. Casper jumps off the carriage and talks with Clothilde briefly, asking to know where she is staying. She informs Casper that, assuming they’ll be able to sort out the fire, she is staying at the Laurel’s rest. Casper returns to the carriage and the party continues on its way to the docks; so we can find a Fish gangmember and track down Grosz as a result.

We arrive at the docks and quickly find some Fish loading a ship. Casper approaches them and successfully convinces them he’s working for Grosz. Additionally, that the party is involved in “the elf thing” also. As chance would have it, Grosz is due to arrive soon and sail out to sea with the elf and such shortly.

We wait a while and Grosz comes up the street along with several burly thugs. Casper and Grosz speak briefly, and Casper walks over to the carriage to show Grosz Edgar’s body. Surprisingly, Grosz stabs Casper in the back right as they’re arriving at the coach.

A melee ensues but Grosz is quickly shot and then stabbed through his ears. The Fish gang is markedly shocked by this and retreat to the ship, taking up weapons and preparing for a larger fight. Before anything can really get going, the local militia come along and instruct everyone to drop their weapons. The Fish disarm themselves; then Edgar and Irinia convince the militia of their honorable intentions and enlist their help in detaining the Fish and searching the ship. In a secret compartment, we find a bound elf.

After performing some minor first aid, Eothlir awakens and tells his story. He was among the expedition that went to the Southlands. He reveals the true fate of Templeman, the original leader of the expedition. While they were on the ship back to Averheim, Templeman put on the jade mask and was transformed into a chaos spawn. They managed to kill it, and Eothlir wanted them to cast the mask into the ocean. However, Meinhart Lubrecht (a grunt that ascended to the rank of First Mate due to so many casualties) insisted that they keep the mask and lie about Templeman’s death; reporting it as an accident. When Eothlir wouldn’t go along with it, they tried to kill him. He managed to jump overboard and then swim to shore. Eothlir has traveled to Altdorf to report this treachery to Von Kaufman.

Shortly after we finish speaking, we hear a large explosion from the direction of the Temple of Drama. We ask the elf to come with us as we go to investigate. We find that it was indeed the Temple of Drama that exploded and only maybe a 1/3rd of the temple still stands. Edgar searches the rubble and is dismayed to find Clothilde died in the blast. Edgar unburies Clothilde and brings her into the coach (along with Grosz’s body from the docks). During this time, the elf struck out on his own. We catch up to him as we too leave to the Old Horse to speak with Von Kaufman.

We arrive and rouse Kaufman from his sleep. Eothlir relates the same story to him. While Kaufman is surprised to hear these things, he is ultimately dismissive of much of it. It boils down to business for him. He lost money on the expedition and he wants to put that behind him. He is making new arrangements here and wants to focus on that. Along these lines, he needs to awake in just a few hours in order to arrive at the Temple of Sigmar for the royal prayer vigil the next day. He thanks us, begrudgingly, for bringing us this information and bids us to leave immediately. Eothlir is, understandably, frustrated by this and resolves to leave the city.

In parting, he put forth the theory that if the mask was used to imbue the clapper with power, and the mask corrupted those that wore it, the clapper would most likely corrupt those who heard it.

We discuss the situation and resolve to try and search as many bell towers as we can to try and find the clapper; as well as inspect the sewers for more powder. Starting with the Temple of Sigmar.

END OF GAME

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Deals, Stagecraft, and the death of a luminary.
12th of Nachgeheim

Before any fighting begins, Grosz takes Casper aside and “makes him an offer he can’t refuse.” Apparently, the block cowl is very cross with all Averland nobles and will pay Casper very handsomely to kill Edgar.

Meanwhile, the clock tower chimes for noon and Ath starts to fight with the dock workers; while Casper and Grosz speak.

Casper tries to negotiate for plenty of time to carry out the contract, but Grosz insists that it needs to be done soon. They agree on 12 hours.

The party reunites and shares info about the encounter. We resolve to seek out the elf that was mentioned in the note we received. We check at the bar where we saw him, but learn nothing other than the fact that the Seven Stars serves elvish wine. We go there, pay the high price of admittance and service, and question the staff. They have not served an elf in recent history.

Ath was not allowed entry and decided to dine at a nearby, friendlier & cheaper, establishment. He asked the proprietor, who is out on the street, if he’s seen an elf. He has not.

While he was waiting, a young child comes up to him and delivers a message that they hope we’ve found our friend, we might be interested to know that Art Shaver is staying here, and that we’re being good snoops but to watch our backs. Ath tries to learn a little more about the person that gave the child the message but only learns that is was a man who had black hair.

Having finished their meal, the party resolves to go to the Temple of Drama seeing as they received the largest shipment of Pilsach Peculiar and Clothilde also requested that we do whatever we could to get the show running again.

We arrive and speak with the show’s manager and head prop master. Apparently, their group takes great pains in creating the most authentic of sets. Where others might paint on canvas or wood and artificially create their sets, this company insists on only natural materials. Whether it’s stone with real moss on it, living trees, or actual cobwebs from a real giant spider; like was brought in for their latest production: The Castle of Cobwebs.

While Edgar and most of the party questioned the manager for pertinent info, Casper and Longshot searched around a bit. We caught up to them in the prop room, where the spider was kept, and begin our search.

We search the bar area, as part of the waiting lounge (for before a production begins), and an adjoining store room. We find 24 barrels of the Pilsach Peculiar. (6 less than were supposedly delivered.) None have the red x on them that we saw at The Dancing Dwarf.

We go up to the actor’s quarters and, after speaking with a woman in her room, we enter Nikolai’s room. In the bottom of his wardrobe, we find his body wrapped in a grey cloak and spider web. However, we notice that the web has been woven together almost like rope and has been torn in some places. In turn, we conclude that there must have been foul play.

Understudy to Nikolai, Carlos, is nowhere to be found while we interrogate the present actors and search the remaining of the playhouse. We find a room full of clutter (documents, costumes, instruments, etc.) and a locked door at the back of it. What’s odd is that a broken padlock lies on the floor next to the door, but a whole padlocked is securely fastened to the door. Casper picks the lock, we open the door, and discover the spider half trapped in a sack in the room. We capture it readily, Longshot calms it, and we return it to the troupe. (Insisting that the spider be released back into its home when they’re done.)

Additionally in the junk room, we find three barrels with the telltale red Xs on the bottoms. We confiscate them and question the director of the troupe further, regarding the coming & goings of people, the barrels, etc. As far as they know, none of the barrels that were delivered have left the building. They let us know that the owner of the playhouse, Jakob Ayrer, lives nearby.

We resolve to retrieve our coach, bring it back, and use that to transport the barrels to proper authorities.

While we wait for the carriage to come back. Edgar gets Nina, one of the permanent staff, to guide him to the owner’s home. He meets with Jakob, under the guise of merely an interested noble and spider wrangler, and eventually reveals that he is a Templar and that his playhouse is involved in the missing powder somehow. We learn that they received 29 rather than 30 barrels; one was misdelivered to The Dancing Dwarf. One has been drank and one is open currently. Including the three that were found in the storage room, all 30 barrels are accounted for.

Edgar thanks Jakob for his time, asks that he do him the favor of arranging for a prime seat for Clothilde. Jakob agrees.

The coach arrives and we start making our way to The Temple of Sigmar. Along the way, we see that The Laurel’s Rest is on fire. We divert to investigate and find that Luminary Mauer’s flat is the one on fire. Irinia rushes in to help, and finds the Luminary slumped over on the floor next to the protective box that held the clapper; open and empty.

We drag his body from the blaze and discover that his throat has been slit and he is dead. Irinia is very upset by this to the point of denial.

Meanwhile, Edgar spots Adele Ketzenblum in the crowd of onlookers, she looks very angry, and Edgar and Longshot start to chase her. However, we immediately lose sight of her.

We bring on the Luminary’s body into the coach and make our way to The Temple of Sigmar but are barred entry seeing as they are keeping things on lockdown in preparation for the coordinated prayer for the injured emperor tomorrow. Edgar tries to convince them to let them in anyway, but we are barred entry.

We leave and resolve to go to The Temple of Morr to deliver Mauer there and also leave the barrels of gunpowder, that we found at the playhouse, at that temple for safekeeping.

END OF GAME

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Dreams of Explosions, A Letter From a Secret Admirer, Bar Hopping, and Calisthenics
12th of Nachgeheim

We awake in the morning and go downstairs to have breakfast, all except Irinia who remains in the room a while to cast prophecy magic. She sees a vision of the streets of Altdorf suddenly exploding.

She joins us, shares her “dream” with us. We’re then interrupted by the innkeep who gives us a letter that was left on the doorstep with Edgars name on it. He opens it to find a letter:

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We drop by the Black Bat Tavern like the letter mentioned Grosz was staying, and talk with the innkeep there. Irinia learns that a man who fits the description of Grosz, who gave his name as Carl Meisl, had stayed there a few days before. He spent most of his time drinking with The Fish Gang. He also met with a man in black cloak and the innkeep hasn’t seen either of them in a few days.

Seeing as the nearby Holy Hammer of Sigmar received an especially large shipment, and is nearby, we decide to pay it a visit. Edgar directs Casper to sneak into their store room and check for barrels with the same red “x” as we saw on the keg we found.

We arrive and aren’t able to see who else might be there as it’s all private rooms, with shut doors. We purchase a room, Casper excuses himself to the outhouse, sets the outhouse on fire, and then draws the staff’s attention to it. This causes the staff in the main room outside, Casper spirits down into their cellar, and inspects the barrels. He’s caught after a few minutes, but is escorted out without any violence. We get our money back for our drinks not having been delivered and then leave.

We decided to retrieve the keg from our room and then go to The Temple of Sigmar to report the issue and ask for help.

While we were outside, Longshot spotted a man walking straight towards them, who also got nervous at making eye contact with Longshot. This man then immediately ducked into the nearest bar. Longshot & Ath went in while the rest of the party flanked the building.

Inside, they find the man sitting down with a flagon of ale. They confront him and he states that he thought Longshot looked like a dwarf archer he knows (not the most common armament for a dwarf), but obviously he was mistaken. They try to pry more information out of him, which is obviously distressing him, but all they really learn is that his name is [Harry [last_name]] and that he’s had a rough time of things lately. He wears fine clothes, but they are thoroughly soiled. He also details that he is fond of gambling, dice games in particular. Then the rest of the party comes in via the back door.

Ath & Edgar continue to interrogate the man a while and Edgar directs them to go upstairs to [Harry]’s room. Edgar asks him to wait a moment, and tries to coordinate with Ath to have him intimidate [Harry]. However, by the time they open the door again, he had fled out the window.

We return to our room to find that the keg of powder is now missing. We try to ask the innkeeper about it, but he and his staff state they do not know when or how it might have left. It’s too big to go out the window, so it must have gotten past them somehow. Edgar asks the innkeeper to keep an ear to the ground and find out if any of his staff might have been coerced, perhaps from gambling debts, into allowing the keg to be stolen.

Now that we have no keg to present, we decide to make our way to the nearest docks and hopefully find the ship that the elf mentioned in that morning’s letter describes.

While we’re there, we notice some Fish gang dock workers unloading cargo. Irinia tried to charm information out of them. One of them started to ask “if [she] was part of the thing?” Then, one of his compatriots elbows him for speaking out of turn. However, Irinia did charm him into meeting again at dusk when work is done for the day.

As we are leaving that group of workers, Casper spots Frederick Grosz walking along the docks. Casper approaches him, engages in some small talk, and they then part ways. Just as soon as he loses sight of Casper, he bolts. The entire party gives chase.

Grosz proves to be a very quick individual who is hard to follow, making rapid turns down narrow alleys, vaulting over obstacles, and even leaping from docks to boats and ultimately across a bay of docks. During the chase, Longshot took off one of his ears with an arrow.

In the end, only Casper and Ath were able to keep up. Grosz finally stops and turns to face them. He taunts them and then instructs nearby Fish to “get them.”

END OF GAME

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I'm Looking for Something ... Peculiar
11th of Nachgeheim

We make our way to the docks like we planned and Irinia chats up the highest ranked dock worker that we can find. She speaks with him for a short time and he doesn’t know if there’s a warehouse we could go to, at least not for the purpose of retrieving more ale. He only directs us to The Cat’s Cradle.

We make our way to The Cat’s Cradle. We find the shutters for an office slightly ajar. We use that to get inside. Casper picks open a chest in the room, finding a small sum of money. We leave the money and close up the chest again.

A patrol almost came upon us, but we were able to duck in the office to avoid them.

Edgar and Longshot look over the ledgers in the room, particularly the ledger detailing the deliveries of Pilsach Peculiar. It details the following deliveries from the last week:

  • The Dancing Dwarf 5 Kegs
  • Temple of Drama 30 Kegs
  • Mattheus II 10 Kegs
  • Holy Hammer of Sigmar 25 Kegs
  • One-Eyed Wolf 5 Kegs
  • Bruno’s Brewhouse 5 Kegs

Edgar also learns that the office belongs to Lievink Ulli, but little else.

Meanwhile, Irinia went inside to try and purchase a keg of Pilsach Peculiar. Apparently, they won’t sell any product while upper management isn’t present. She tries to seduce some of them into “acquiring” a barrel for her, but nothing comes of it. We “rescue” Irinia from her “admirers” and return to The Dancing Dwarf. Edgar and Ath share the watch for the night while everyone rests. Nothing eventful happens overnight.

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Arrival, Payment, and an Odd Brew
11th of Nachgeheim

Only a few hours down the river, we pull into the port of Altdorf. A very large river goes around the city in its entirety, so deep & wide that seafaring ships make berth here too. This makes it a very prominent hub of trade for The Empire and it receives natural protection from the river surrounding it. Both major factors that have made it the capital city.

Shortly after we dock, Kurt Weiss approaches, takes our coach and lone bear to deliver to the Red Arrow stables, and asks that we meet him and Von Kaufman at The Old Horse Tower. Seeing as the Red Arrow has no inn in this city, he recommends The Mermaid, on the road of 100 taverns, for us to purchase lodgings for our stay.

Being rather dubious of Weiss & Kaufman, we opt to purchase lodgings at The Dancing Dwarf, near to The Mermaid, instead. Irinia learns from a local a little more about the tower and its history.

(It, many many years previous, used to be a Bretonnian embassy before relations broke down between them and The Empire. The rider of the horse has been broken off of the statue and only the horse remains of the large statue. Hence how the tower earned its name.)

Several of the party split up to purchase supplies, have their arms repaired, and get new armor (as a stand-in in the case of Ath).

We meet with Von Kaufman and Weiss as scheduled. We report regarding our travels. Kaufman is particularly interested regarding what we may have learned regarding Aschenbeck. We report that, while he was under investigation for dealings with Chaos, we found nothing to indicate he had any involvement in the lost gunpowder. This is most worrisome to Kaufman, as if it wasn’t Aschenbeck, then he has no idea who to suspect instead.

He plans to stay in the capital for at least a few weeks while the war wraps up. We ask him where Luminary Mauer is staying and he informs us that he is staying at The Laurel’s Rest. (One of the most expensive places one can stay in the capital.) He also remarks that, while playing a positive role in The Emperor’s rescue has helped him sign several new contracts, his monetary reserves are running low. He pays us for our services (handsomely) and we leave.

We make our way to The Laurel’s Rest and speak with The Luminary. We relate to him the full story and he takes particular gratification, losing his composure to a degree, in regards to the details about Ketzenblum’s treachery. He is glad to see that the cleansing ritual was successful and, while we tried to point out how it claimed the professor’s life, he is confident that this proof will lead to the ritual being repeated. He has other plans he must attend to, and hence won’t be discussing details with Irinia tonight, but he will gladly accept whatever notes she can provide at a later time. He pays us for our services and we leave.

We then proceed to the castle so that we can speak with Baerfaust. After a short wait at the gate, we are invited into the palace grounds and lead to the Reiksguard barracks. We meet with Baerfaust and tell him much of the same details. He is particularly disturbed, and suspicious, of news regarding Ketzenblum. He asked what we learned regarding the black cowl and we related what she told us: that she was suspicious of Kaufman (seeing as he funded the expedition and altered security arrangements for the menagerie last minute), Mauer (seeing as he told the expedition what to look for and his parents were witches), and Baerfaust himself (seeing as he provided the men for security of the expedition and also it was odd for him to have sent a party to ask for information she’d already given him). He summoned a couple soldiers and wouldn’t say why. We are paid for our services and we leave.

We drop by the market on our way back to the inn so that Ath and Casper can pick up the repaired arms & armor, and then proceed onto our inn. There, Edgar speaks with Graf Clothilde Von Auptramm who has traveled to Altdorf for “The Season” (when many new plays are debuted). Edgar and Longshot go up to a room with her and regale her with the story of their adventures.

Meanwhile, down in the inn a particularly rude act, of a man playing music using his own flatulence, is about to begin. Ath notices an elf who seems particularly somber and decides to buy him a drink. He goes to the bar and orders a glass of wine (to give away) along with a mug of ale for himself. The staff find they’ve run out of the ale they’re serving that night and one of the bartenders is sent to fetch a new keg. When he comes back and they tap the keg, they’re very surprised to discover black powder come out. Ath notices this and promptly instructs them to hold whatever they’re doing while a Templar is summoned. Casper goes to fetch Edgar from the room with Clothilde. Who, at that point, has become tired and decides to retire for the evening.

We have the staff take us to their store room and discover that the remaining kegs contain ale like they should. We then interrogate the men to learn that the ale was delivered to them by the Four Seasons, and the ale they’ve been receiving the last few months is a Pilsach Peculiar ale. The powder keg was marked in the same way. This brand of ale is produced in Averland. Upon close inspection, Edgar notices the powder keg is marked with a hardly noticeable red ‘X’ on its bottom.

Edgar recalls that The Four Seasons is specifically a river shipping company. While they do work in Averland, they primarily ship through other provinces.

We also learn that The Four Seasons has only been serving their inn for the last few months and they’ve only been receiving this brand of ale for maybe 6 weeks. Edgar advises them to tell no one of what they found & discussed. Also, that they would be wise to arrange for their ale to be delivered by another company. While the innkeeps don’t know where their warehouse is, they do know that The Four Seasons has been operating out of a local tavern, The Cat and Fiddle.

Edgar thanks them for their service to The Empire and calls the party together to discuss this new information and what they should do next.

There was some talk of going to the tavern in question, but Edgar dismissed this as foolhardy. As it would either just tip their hand or result in no real action at this time of night. Irinia intends to find some local dock workers and get them to direct her to The Four Seasons warehouse.

END OF GAME

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Aftermath
10th of Nachgeheim

Edgar tries to do some first aid for Ath, but it’s obvious he doesn’t have any real training and he isn’t able to do much.

Longshot & Casper seek out the bear that fled the field when it was zapped by the Skaven leader. They find it hiding in an alleyway, and a spiny growth is visible where the bear was hit by the magical bolt.

Longshot uses a molotov cocktail to kill the bear seeing as it is pretty severely mutated now. While it was definitely painful for the bear, it was relatively quick considering that it was already weakened.

We then retire for the night.

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A Plague of Rats
10th of Nachgeheim

Yan and Also Yan (yes, seriously) successfully purchase lodgings for us, our room is on the third floor. We do some initial settling in (nailing the window shut) and then go downstairs to get dinner.

Irinia goes out to the outhouse, with ath, to cast some magic (successfully for a change). Her prophecy magic conjures an image of a cloaked figure in grey, paying a man on a dock, and the cloaked figure then grew a tail. The man she saw is a balding man, with a thick neck, a too-tight vest, and nothing else on his torso.

The rest of the party sits down for food, when (while Irinia is still outside) the balding man bumps into Casper, spills his drink, and waits expectantly. Casper says “excuse me” and the man starts to pick a fight. Edgar diffuses the situation using his clout as a Templar.

Then, Irinia comes in with Ath. She declares that the balding man is the man she saw with the beastman. (She told Ath about it on their way into the inn.) Ath promptly punches the troublemaker and a bar brawl erupts.

The dockworkers gang up on Ath, for assaulting a fellow dockworker, and get in some good licks. However, Longshot fells two of them with arrows shortly after, also injuring the troublemaker in the process. The innkeeper ends the fight by firing a pistol into the air and forcing out Ath and the troublemaker at gunpoint.

We interrogate the man outside and learn that he was just given their descriptions and instructed to start a fight. That’s all he knows. In panic & fear, he throws the money he received onto the ground. (Longshot promptly scooped it up Ath painfully & forcefully removes the arrow. The troublemaker promptly passes out. The party splits up to try and discover the reason for the fight.

Ath & Longshot go to the stables and find everything is in order.

Edgar stays a short while with the troublemaker, assuring that he is not in mortal peril.

Irinia & Casper go up to the room. As soon as Irinia enters she is grabbed by a skaven and pulled into the room. Casper chased in after and was similarly pulled into the room. There’s a brief standoff where one of the underlings threatens Irinia with a rusty blade while one, a magic user that also charges up a spell, and the magic user threatens to kill Irinia if he doesn’t cooperate. He asks where “it” is. Irinia fake feints. Casper stalls for time asking what “it” is and claiming that it’s downstairs at the bar. They start searching the room and the one watching over Irinia is momentarily distracted noticing the box strapped to her. Casper chooses this moment to take action, lunging at the skaven over Irinia.

Meanwhile, as Ath and Longshot rejoin Edgar out front, roughly 30 Skaven swarm over the walls quickly surrounding the inn and the adventurers in front of it.

A chaotic and fierce battle erupts with our heroes in the thick of it.

Up in the room, while his efforts didn’t free Irinia, Casper managed to get the Skaven to bring up his blade to contend with the rogue. The Skaven’s leader discovered the box and used his foul magic to bring the box to him and open it. In it he discovered the bell clapper he sought, but cleansed of the evil magicks he wanted it for. Enraged, he howled loudly and threw the clapper through the window and part of the wall.

Irinia, naturally, dove straight out the opening for the clapper. Having gotten to know his traveling companion, Edgar was able to catch both Irinia and the clapper.

It was a hard fought fight, seeing as they were outnumbered, the grunts were bolstered by the leader’s magicks, and the leader was a formidable foe in his own right. Three times the leader magically switched places with one of his underlings, allowing it to take the killing blow instead. He was also outfitted with a wicked warpstone blade, warplock pistols, and a backpack that could draw power from the winds of magic to fuel his own needs.

During the fight, Longshot broke the string on his bow firing rapidly, retreated to the stables, and loosed his bears into the fray. The bears felled many of the Skaven and one of them was burned severely by the Skaven leader.

Irinia and Ath both fell in the frantic melee, but the Skaven leader was finally killed; his pack exploding with sickly green smoke.

END OF GAME

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More Traveling and Lighter Pockets
6th - 10th of Nachgeheim

The morning passes largely uneventfully. Casper is informed by the mysterious thief-woman that there is a black opal there in the inn. She will give him 2 gold if he can retrieve it for her.

Later that evening she approached Edgar asking him if he had the opal, when told that he didn’t, she left. Edgar tried to follow, but she seemingly disappeared when she exited the inn.

They leave the next morning and travel to the next coaching inn which doubles as a boat port along the river. We book passage for us, the bears, and the coach. That night, the thief approaches Ath asking if he knows anything about the black opal. He presses her for more information, the thief claiming that it’s a family heirloom, but ultimately Ath states he doesn’t have it.

That night Longshot is pickpocketed of a black pearl and a gold.

We board the ferry and travel 2 days without issue. After the river joins with the larger Talabecland river, we dock in Krankendorf; a small town whose walls have been broken and not yet mended. The ferry owners offer to pay for our lodging in the town’s inn, so that space is freed up for them to unload and load cargo from this port. We agree.

Game ends with us arriving at the inn.

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