The session opens with the party standing across “Scholar’s Walk” from the mansion of Dr. Taxen , in the wealthy upper west side of Altdorf. Its about 4 PM. According to the now dead spy, she was to meet with Dr. Schneider here at 10PM tonight.
Bobbin tells the party that she thinks she can disguise herself and get into the house and scout it out. She suggests the rest of the party go to a nearby quiet tavern she knows and wait. She will meet them there in a couple hours.
Valdric, Gutz and Liesel find there way to this tavern. Valdric sits down for a meal and to enjoy some solitude. The tavern is quiet – the dinner rush hasn’t started A few students argue over a point of law in one corner and a couple professors talk quietly at a center table.
Liesel, feeling she must make up for having thrown a dagger into Valdric’s foot (see previous session log), offers to take Gutz off to find some “warm food”, giving Valdric a respite from his unwilling companion. She and the ogre find a deserted alleyway with a stray dog and a single cross bow bolt brings him down. Gutz happily starts tearing flesh from the barely dead dog. However Liesel hears a voice from around the corner “Rex! Rex! Come boy!”. Maybe the dog wasn’t a stray after all! She tells Gutz to quickly finish eating the dog and to follow her down another alley way. Just in time…peaking around the corner she sees a woman walking where they just were, apparently looking for her dog.
Meanwhile Bobbin disguises herself as an ash boy and walks up the steps to the front door of Dr. Taxen’s house. Knocking on the door, she asks the doorman who answers if he has any work for her (him)? Empty chamber pots, clean the privy. He at first dismisses her (failed charm roll) but she persists. He finally takes pitty on the boy (comet) and suggests that she can clean the fireplace in the dinning room. He takes her there and she gets a good view of several inside corridors as well as the kitchen and dining room. She also sees the bodyguard down the hallway leading from the entrance. She meets the cook, Gertrude, who takes her outside and shows her where to scatter the fireplace ashes in the garden. Left alone for a short time she is able to look into several windows. The task done, she pleads for more work and is given the task of cleaning the House Master’s office. Going there she gets a brief look at the corridor and rooms in the servant’s quarters and sees two ot the maids. Begging for more work, she is given the task of cleaning the lecture hall (Dr. Taxen likes to give his favorite students lectures in the privacy of his home). Here she sees another portion of the house – the East wing with a lecture hall and a currently empty ballroom. When this task is done, the doorman refuses to give her more work and says it is time to leave. He pays her 10 pennies and she leaves. She did get to see most of the west wing and the servants corner, and half of the east wing. But never got to the rooms in the back of the East wing – the rooms that appeared to be guarded by the body guard.
Returning to the tavern, she finds that Valdric has been joined by a strange man in a grey cloak. She has never met Cedric (from two sessions ago). Cedric had completed his errand and returned to the Temple to connect up again with Valdric and company. From the directions they gave, and asking residents at the boarding house, he heads in the direction they were last seen going to, and after several hours happens upon Valdric in the tavern. Liesel returns with Gutz, who offers the still warm dog leg to Valdric. Everyone feels a little sick.
Introductions between Bobbin and Cedric over Bobbin describes what she say. Extensive discussion and planning leads to a simple plan. Gutz will make a frontal assault in the front, while Bobbin and Cedric slip into a rear door. Valdric and Liesel will be with Valdric. (They realize a less alarming distraction in the front would be better – but Gutz is not known for his subtlty.)
They wait for nightfall hiding across the street behind a building, while keeping an eye on it. They hope to see the arrival of Dr. Schneider, but no one comes to the house. On the contrary, the coachman and the two maids they had seen leave for a night on the town, followed by the cook and Housemaster. Apparently Dr. Taxen wanted this meeting to be without the house staff present. It is now dark, and the group moves across the street and takes up station near the carriage house, out of sight of the house.
10 O’clock passes without any arrival. Perhaps Dr. Schneider is already there? At any rate, waiting longer will gain nothing and Valdric leads Gutz and Liesel around the carriage house to the front door. Bobbin and Cedric go around back. And find that there really is no rear door. Bobbin decides instead to try the Kitchen window, but finds it occupied. A maid holding a candle appears to be raiding the larder for a night snack. Bobbin peers in but unfortunatley the maid sees something in the window and comes to investigate further. Thinking fast, Cedric uses a cantrip to snuff out her candle. The maid leaves. The two continue around the house looking for an open window, but find none.
Meanwhile Gutz pounds on the door. When the doorman enters, Gutz grabs him, lifts him above his head and throws him out of the anteroom. He lands hard and lays still, his neck broken. Liesel deftly squeezes past Gutz to enter the anteroom beyond, but Gutz barrels in pushing her out of the way. Gutz finds his way barred by the guard that Bobbin had seen earlier. He grapples him as he struggles to hit him back. But Gutz’s strength is overwhelming and he breaks the back of the guard, and he falls dead. Roaring, Gutz pushes down the hallway to the unseen rooms in the back, as he sees the door at the end briefly open. He gets a quick glimpse of a man in plate mail, but the door closes again. Plunging forward he forces the door open. Standing there the armored man takes a swing at Gutz but his blow does little damage. Gutz pays no attention to the two men behind the guard, and pulls out his axe, Gringly. Liesel again slips past him into the room – where she sees two well dressed men. One fits Valdric’s description of Dr. Schneider. She shoots her crossbow at him, but to her side the other man (who they later determine is Dr. Taxen) stabs her with a medieval hypodermic and injects her with a narcotic. The world turns pink and she feels, REAL GOOD (with the overwhelmed and perplexed condition giving an extra difficulty die on physical and mental actions). Dr. Schneider tosses a glass globe at Gutz and it breaks, dousing him and the armored guard with acid. He then opens and dashes through a door to the next room..
Gutz meanwhile takes one swing of Gringly…an beheads the armored guard.
Valdric enters the room, stepping around the headless form.
Liesel follows Dr. Schneider into the next room – the laboratory, while Gutz charges Dr. Taxen. Grappling him in his arms he squeezes…hard…and the Doctor pops like a balloon. Gutz drops his lifeless form.
Dr. Schneider tosses a smoke bomb at his feet and disappears into the smoke. Liesel plunges into the smoke and finds a portion wall that had swung open – a secret door. She moves through into the next room – the ball room, and gain sees the Dr. She chases him across the large ballroom but then stops 10 feet away, her crossbow aimed at his heart “Stop and tell me what you did to my brother….or die”. Dr. Schneider stops and turns towards her “What brother?”
Gutz runs through the smoke and sees “the bad man” at the other side of the ballroom, stopped with Liesel drawing a bead on him. Gutz runs forward and grabs the doctor, planning on seeing if he will pop like a cherry the the other one. Amazingly, the doctor wiggles out of his grip and jumps through a nearby door into the Lecture hall. Liesel follows – only to find the Housekeeper Marianne between him and the doctor – a huge cast iron frying pan in her hand. She plunges into the woman, bowling over him and the Dr. standing behind her – and they all three fall into a pile on the floor. (menage a tois?) Gutz moves in behind her. Marianne pounds at him with the frying pan – to little effect. One sweep of his arm knocks her to the floor.. Gutz then picks up the doctor and squeezes…but stops when he hears Valdric behind him shouting “Stop..don’t kill him!” Liesel however isn’t as obediant, and seeing before her the man she believes killed her brother, shoots and kills him. Valdric rushes forward and trys first aid, but to now avail. Dr. Schneider chokes up blood…and breaths his last.
As the scene calms, they question Marianne and learn that she helped her master (and lover) Dr. Taxen in his experiments in “infusing” medicinal herbs into the bloodstream of patients to enhance their healng effects and using “captured lightning” to see its effects on the body.. The patients in this case however were hapless victims captured in the slums. As soon as it is clear that Liesel’s brother was one of these victims, she steps forward and slices the woman’s throat.
_Thus ends the hunt for Dr. Schneider. In real session time, this campaign began in July of 2014 using published material from The Gathering Storm. Dr. Schneider is a character in that material – an elitist medical Doctor and town elder. But in March of 2015 the party learned that he was involved in hideous experiments on living bodies (events and motivations not in the published material).
He even had planned such experiments on an innocent 6 year old girl, “Selena” (who Valdric rescued and cared for until he finally found her mother in Altdorf). Valdric himself discovered his secret laboratory with books connecting him to Necromancy..but it seemed his focus was not on magical re-animation but using science. Player Cory later compared him to Dr. Frankenstein – an apt comparison. Valdric also discovered connections with some kind of organization – The Dark Reign. Subsequent sessions revealed this organization to be tied to Necromancy and in fact, that the Dr. had eventually teamed up with a beautiful Necromatic wizardess named Kaiinda.
But the Dr. escaped, though more villainy, including more experiments on living victims was later revealed. Valdric and his companions chased him for close to 20 sessions, through 4 towns and finally to Altdorf. Every time they came close – they found he was two steps ahead of them. They felt always watched, as he seemed to have minions everywhere. Now, finally, he is dead. But dead with him is whatever information he had that might have lead the group to the other members, and maybe leadership of, The Dark Reign.
For me the GM, this hunt has been a lot of fun, with incredible moments of humor and drama, and I would like to thank the players for making that happen.
The campaign will continue – as the Dark Reign still lives!_