WFRP3 - Darkness and Light in the Empire

A Garden in need

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Field report # 37
Valdric Gruber – Initiate of Morr

Location: Stromdorf

Weather: To say it rains a lot here would be a gross understatement. I haven’t seen the sun since my arrival two days ago. The townsfolk assure me this is normal. Lightning frequently strikes within town and the surrounding countryside, again the townsfolk assure me this is normal. I have my doubts.

Populace: They are what one would expect from the armpit of the empire. Even a simple task like assisting me with finding a new owner for a small cat seems to be beyond their capabilities. The captain of the guard is full of himself and doesn’t take kindly to being reminded of his duties.

One “Father Magnus” a self-righteous “priest” of sigmar endlessly spouts nonsense about sigmar like most other sigmarites. It was like listening to “Faw F-Faw Faw-Faw-Faw, Faw”.

A man claiming to be a wizard of the celestial college appears to have an unhealthy interest in disturbing the local Garden. I made it clear to him that I would not allow him or any of his hirelings to disturb the Garden.

Oh yes, and an entire family was hung today for making deals with beastmen.

Local Cuisine: Limited selection. None of the items of my perfectly planned out meal were available. I was served some type of giant eel. The taste was… unique.

Initial opinion of Stromdorf: Unfavourable.

Proceeding to the Garden: I was asked by a local soldier to see to his recently deceased Mother. The woman had been dead a full day, perhaps two. The local priest of Morr had not come to tend to the body, and no one seemed to be in any hurry to see the proper thing done. This should have been my first warning sign. I spent the night preparing the body for transport to the Garden.

The following morning a trial was held and the previously mentioned family were found guilty of making human sacrifices to beastmen. They were immediately taken to a nearby field and hung.

After the hanging I led a small funeral procession (for the soldier’s Mother) to the Garden of Morr. Accompanying us was an odd group. One dwarf, another man claiming to be some sort of wizard, a guard, and a boatman that needed to identify the possible body of his missing captain.

As we walked towards the Garden I began feeling uneasy. In my gut I knew something was wrong. The uneasy feeling was coming from the Garden itself, and as we got closer the feeling of wrongness grew stronger… No one else appeared to notice anything, but they aren’t trained in such matters.

While waiting at the river crossing for Brother Grabbe I spotted a figure in a nearby bush. It was the local dung collector. Yesterday I discovered him to be a childhood friend of the decease’s son, so I told him to join us.

Brother Grabbe did not respond to the bell so the boatman swam the river and retrieved the boat. He received several bites from giant eels for his trouble.

At the Garden of Morr: Brother Grabbe was nowhere to be found. The preparation chamber contained three properly cared for bodies. One of the bodies was the missing captain. Surprisingly the dwarf was respectful of the place.

Entering the Garden of Morr: Normally I wouldn’t have allowed so many uninitiated people into the Garden but I couldn’t help feeling that something was horribly wrong. Upon seeing the state of the Garden my fears were confirmed. The black rose bushes were dying all over the Garden and I discovered an old tomb had been smashed, the body within was dragged away.

Following the trail: This led me to a mausoleum at the back of the Garden and as I reached over a dozen undead clawed their way out of their graves. The scene was horrific. A Garden fallen so low and defiled in the worst possible way. My heart aches at the thought and I am filled with an intense rage. The dwarf and boatman engaged with four of the zombies while I consecrated a semi circle around the mausoleum. Once complete the power of Morr held the undead at bay while we entered the mausoleum. The dung collector rushed ahead of us, saying something about finding Brother Grabbe. As we followed him through another door we all heard the sound of countless bones animating and joining together. The dwarf barred the door behind us and we proceeded downstairs.

Brother Grabbe’s chamber: The chamber was mostly normal save for a carved and decorated skull on Grabbe’s table. Playing with remains like that is not something a priest of Morr should be doing. These are the actions of a necromancer or their lesser cousins the Amethyst Order. I picked up the skull to inspect in greater detail what had been done to it, and the thing bit me! Without thinking about what I was doing I threw the skull against the wall and it shattered.

The source of the taint: While I was being bit the dung collector rushed over to a door along the north wall and opened it, revealing another disturbing scene. A large skeleton in full plate stood in the doorway, and beyond him was a half rotten female who was standing over the unmoving form of a man dressed in black robes. The woman declared herself to be “Lazarus Mourn” a male necromancer that the townsfolk claimed to have burnt over a year ago.

The battle: It was swift and vicious. I’m ashamed to say this being my first encounter with a necromancer since my village was attacked I didn’t perform as well as I should have. I struggled a great deal to invoke the power of Morr against the vile creatures and it was the dwarf that brought down the skeleton while the boatman turned the zombie woman into a pin cushion for arrows. The dwarf was grievously wounded, and he might not make it.

Current status of the Stromdorf Garden of Morr: Overrun with undead. After I confiscate all necromantic paraphernalia I will begin immediate cleansing of this Garden. This Garden no longer has a priest so I will remain in the area until one of my Brothers or Sisters hears the call in their dreams to come here. I have no doubt even as I write this that Morr is communicating with at least one of them.

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A Trial and A Hanging

Father Magnus, I never thought I’d see the day when corruption would hit the city from within. Yes, the Holtzes were always strange. I am a little ashamed to admit that as kids we used to sneak up in their farm and throw rocks at them and run. Everybody disliked them. But still, to sacrifice a traveler, maybe more than one to Beastmen? And the Eigels were always well liked as was this halfling cook, at least that is what I heard. All this on the same day as the death of my mother, Sigmar bless her soul. What did you think of the Trial? I think the Captain handled himself well. It seemed very fair to me, especially since we already knew they were guilty. Do you know this Apothecary that the halfling said was behind it all? Otto, I think his name was. I don’t know. He certainly seemed surprised when he was put under arrest. Maybe the Halfling was making it all up, to save her own skin, little good it did her. But they wouldn’t have arrested him if he wasn’t guilty, right?. Anyway, I was glad to see the others hang, given what they were guilty of.
Yes, the priest of Morr was a little rude, but has helped me with mother. I think it is just his way. I think perhaps he doesn’t follow Sigmar. Of course he is a Priest of Morr, but don’t all Priests in the Empire follow Sigmar, even if they also worship another god?

We will take mother to the Garden later this afternoon. As it turns out there are several others staying at the Thunderwater that also have business there, so we will go together. Do you see that Dwarf over there standing next to the man in the cloak? He is a wizard, a Grey, I think. They are going to look for a stone of some kind. I don’t really understand why but I know Valdric the Morrite is not happy about it for some reason. And that strong looking one beside them needs to identify a body. Apparently he is a boatman on the barge that crashed into the West Bridge a couple days ago. I think they say its his captains body.
Thank you again Father, it was a wonderful Service. My mother would be very pleased. After our trip to the Garden, can I come back and help you in the temple? It would be good to hear some of your stories again.

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New Faces
Excitement in Town

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Hans, what a day! Its been awhile since we had so many travelers at the Thunderwater all at the same time, and stories of beastmen attacks, and maybe even a real Troll – and now a trial and hanging! We haven’t had so much excitement since they burned Lazaros Mourn at the stake a year ago.

Its good to see Reinhold again. He’s living his dream, isn’t he! Soldier of the Empire. Too bad about his mother though. She was a good woman. We spent many a fine day playing at her house, me, Reinhold, Frederick Kaltenback, Hugo, Balthus, Waltrout. She cooked the best roast pig you have ever had. You were probably too young to really remember. Seeing him reminds me of what Waltrout was like then – and how he has changed. He was such a light lad, not a care in the world. And look at him now – scrounging dung, crawling through the mud – an embarrassment

What do you think of the hooded priest? Cagey one, that. Have you even seen his face? But I guess that’s normal for those Morrites. Though Brother Grabbe has always been friendly, not that we see him very often.

Did you hear what the boatman was saying? What was his name? Joachim? He’s lucky to be alive. Goblins in the north forest! Haven’t heard of them there for awhile. Seems like a good fellow. Too bad about his captain. Those 4 others I guess were on the same boat. And THEY sure have brought excitement to the town! Did you see that dwarf when they brought him in? He is another one who should be thankful that he is alive. Never seen someone so covered in blood…except someone dead! (ha ha)).

Anyway, we should turn in. Got to be fresh for tomorrow. With the trial and likely a hanging tomorrow, I’m sure the inn will be busy. It will be all hands on deck!

Klaus Brenner, son of Sebastian Brenner, proprietor of the Thunderwater Inn and Brewery.

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The Final Muttered Grumblings of Kurgi??
as scribed by Diedrich Scheffler

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I write this journal not only as Kurgi’s scribe but in this case as the author. I have taken the liberty to continue Kurgi’s journal in the knowledge that he wishes his exploits to be documented. What use a glorious death if no-one ever gets to hear about it eh? Whether this is an account of said ‘inglorious death’ I do not know. I hope not. As indeed I also hope that the honesty and accuracy of the account is to Kurgi’s liking when, or rather if, he ever wakes.

The events that lead up to that battle in the clearing have been told elsewhere but as we waited there was no indication, no premonition of what was to come. It was a battle much like any other and i’ve watched Kurgi walk away from equally stern challenges with merely a scratch but on this occasion the gods laughed at rather than smiled on our dear Troll Slayer friend.

I’m no military tactician but I don’t know how else we could have handled the battle. The usually reckless Dwarf was on this occasion somewhat measured in his approach. Where ordinarily he might have run screaming into the fray with little communication with the rest of the group, here he was restrained and waited patiently for Brigitte to loose a volley of arrows. Perhaps it was this unusual restraint that was his undoing. Only the gods can say.

But even so as he cleaved his first couple of assailants in twain with a single blow there was little indication that the battle was about to go bad for the dwarf. As he shrugged of the attentions of weaker foes and made a beeline for the clear leader, one Madtooth, he bellowed out. “The big bastard is mine!”. Eduardo however was in no mood for battle pleasantries and had already singled out this mad tooth as his quarry. With a wink towards the Dwarf he advanced upon the beast man. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I would have sworn I was dreaming as the previously permanently soused Eduardo suddenly turned from sozzled lush into a perfectly balanced blur of beautiful blade skills. Grace, poise, finesse and deadly accuracy were perfectly honed skills not just owned but mastered by this Estalian with the flashing blade.

But though the blows hit their mark the heavily armored beast man repelled the majority of thrusts and so it was that Kurgi charged into the fray. Already engaged and somewhat wounded this should have been an easy kill for the normally deadly Kurgi, but whether he was distracted by the flashing blade or over confident as he waded in who can say. But Kurgi’s first and usually terminal blow barely grazed the Madtooth as it spun and unleashed it’s own thrust. It caught Kurgi a heavy blow across the thigh and blood immediately began to seep from the wound. Hobbled now Kurgi again struck and though this blow struck truer than the first the off balance shot lacked the usual power. Again Eduardo flashed his blade and the mad tooth whirled about in fury but instead of striking out at his Estalian assailant the mad tooth pressed home it’s advantage on the shorter and less mobile target. And so it was that beast man fist and sword hilt bit sickeningly into Kurgi’s face and a spray of blood erupted from Kurgi’s left eye and showered it’s bellowing attacker.

And so it happened. Kurgi…the seemingly invincible warrior first stumbled and then fell to his knees. First the stagger. Then a blinking of the one remaining eye. An astonished look of incomprehension across his face as he sunk to his knees, his mind struggling to comprehend the full impact of his injuries. Though he remained silent the look on his face clearly asked the question? How is this so?Vanquished in melee combat? Me? His eye closed and it seemed for an instant that this great warrior had accepted that his (ironically not so glorious) death had come at last. As I watched the mad toothed beast raise his brutal sword to deal the final death blow, I could do nought but cry out Kurgi!!! But if he heard my cry his body betrayed no sense that he had. There was not a flicker, not a murmur from the muscled maniac. And even as the blade begin it’s downward arc he remained still as stone.

But just then he acted, and rock became muscle, power and lightning reflex, as he lurched upwards, dwarf and axe a perfect arc of motion that evaded the enemies downward blow and caught the mad tooth somewhere around the groin and proceeded up and outwards as axe carved through armor, flesh, bone and sinew. There was a sickening cry from the beast man as it watched it’s own disembowelling and a satisfied roar from Kurgi as he admired his handiwork.

“I told ye, this one was MINE!!!” he bellowed. And then sank to his knees. “Madtooth is it? Deidrich, do an old dwarf a favor. Save… me …this … bastard’s… tooth” And with that he let out a final groan and toppled sideways to the floor, a wry smile etched on his face even as he lay motionless in the dirt.

What happened next was more of a blur in my mind than Eduardo’s flashing blade. But with the leader down the rest of the beast men turned upon each other and the rest were easily dispatched, or left to fight amongst themselves while we made off with one of the lightning shards. Luckily for me that this was the case since with the rocklike Kurgi down and presumed dead I had little stomach for the remaining fight.

And so it was that we limped back to town with Kurgi sprawled out in the cart and his breathing growing increasingly as shallow as the grave in which many of us expected we would soon have to bury our dear comrade. This seemed for a while as though it might be the final chapter. With medical care and with Sigmar’s will it is to be hoped that this is not the case. But only the gods can know for sure. Kurgi still lies motionless and has the very best medical attention we have been able to find in this god forsaken town but whether this will be enough to save this grizzled veteran only the gods can decide. But I refuse to believe this is to be Kurgi’s final fight. To even consider the possibility causes me too much distress..and so here endeth this account.

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Beastmen!
Deep in the Oberslecht

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Time Stamp -Contact with Beastman, Session Oct 4th, 2014

Birgitta paused in her story telling to signal to the serving girl. “Lauris? Your name is Lauris, right? Can you please get another round for my friends?”

“So, the confrontation between Fritz and the neighbor Tristan was over. The dark haired woman was clearly the matron of the family, and its queen. All she had to say was “Get back to work!” and the group of men quietly slunk away. That’s clearly a woman used to giving orders, and having them obeyed. I could definitely relate to her.

When they were gone she turned to us and said, with a suprising intensity, “I need your help….There is someone I want you to meet!”. Then she just turned, called “Otto, get a lantern and come!” and started walking away, clearly expecting us to follow.

Dietrich spoke up and told her to wait, that we needed to know more, like where we are going and who we were going to meet, but it was if he wasn’t even there. She just glanced back, said “You want to know about the feud, about the beastmen, why the Eigel homestead was burned to the ground. I’m going to take you where you will learn what you want to know. Now come!”

“We are going into the Obsersecht. Watch your step – keep to the firm ground. If you take a wrong step, you’ll lose your boots trying to get unstuck”

I’ll telll you, that place is foul. It was foggy and night had fallen, and we could barely see 10 feet in front of us. Marie clearly knew where she was going, It was good we had the lantern. The trees were twisted, like chaos spawn themselves – you could almost feel them reach out to you. We went over a small hill and hit a patch where the fog was thinner. There was a cart at the top of the hill, and we could see in front of us a huge but squat tree. It was pretty evil looking, with odd things hanging from the branches – fetishes charms, animal pelts. Clearly a place for some kind of hedge magic. There were bones everywhere too – a cow skull, a horse skeleton, and some remains that were more than just bones. But before I had a chance to look further, Marie said “Please stay calm…you’ll frighten him off” She called out into the dark, saying that we were friends. There was a crash of lightening and there he was. He was tall, but you couldn’t tell, as he was hunched over, leaning on a cane. He was like the tree – festooned with feathers, necklaces of teeth and bones. He told us that time was running out and that the beastman leader, who he called Izka the Madtooth, was going to raid the town and kill everyone they found. He told us that he had a source of power that if we could take away, would strip him of the favor of the Dark Gods. He called it a “Lighting Stone”

We decided to take the cart. Without a horse, Kurgi lifted up the rails and pulled it himself. I tell you, if that dwarf ever tires of killing and insulting humans, he has a future as a pack animal. But taking that cart complicated things. Foaldeath..did I tell you his name was Foaldeath? Well he lead the way and knew a foot path, but now we had to find a route that was wide enough and firm enough for the cart. We had to stop and go back a couple times and the cart even got stuck a couple times. One was pretty dicey…we got stuck, then heard a grunting in the distance in the fog. We all stayed quiet, till the drunk Estalian let out a cough. Have you ever fought beastmen? Not fun. First of all, they stink. LIke a cow, in the rain, smeared with dung. We heard them moving toward us. Fortunately the wind was blowing towards us, so they couldn’t smell us – but we sure smelled them. But we were able to keep quiet, even Eduardo, and they passed us in the fog.

The next time we weren’t so lucky, and had to kill 3 of them. I was expecting the noise to bring a whole herd upon us, but we made it the rest of the way without being attacked. When we got to where the lightning seemed to target…did I tell you about the lightning? It was raining hard and every few minutes a bolt of lightening would crash somewhere ahead of us. It always seemed to be the same place. Eventually we got to where it was hitting. Thats why we didn’t bring a herd to us – they were all focused on the lightning, I think. There was a big clearing, and this stone, like a monument, in the center. A huge beastman was kneeling in front of it, braying to the sky. It was pretty clear he was the pack leader – the other beasts were gathered around, snorting, bellowing. And then…they saw us….

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Session Time Stamp, Sat Sept 20th

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Hearing from the Gunnery Veterans on the East gate that a wagon with a white pony had left on a Wednesday morning two weeks ago ( but Reiner Holtz, as local farmer, driving) WITHOUT Florian, we felt that the trail was getting warmer. We learned that the Holtz family lived on a farm to the south, on the west edge of the Obserlecht, a foul swamp to the southeast of the town.

Going back to the Tavern, we decided that perhaps an extra sword might be useful and convinced the drunk Estalian Eduardo to join us. For a promise of a cask of Ale, he will do anything. He is good for comic relief, if nothing else. But given his stories, perhaps given some time to sober up, he might be useful.

Geared up, we headed out the gate and on a path to the south. As we walked, we noticed a red glow in the distance. Coming over a hill, we saw below us a disturbing site. A farmstead burned to the ground, fires still burning but little but a foundation remaining. A sign laying on the ground identified it as the Eigel Farm – not the Holtzes. There were no bodies, but clear sign of beastmen hoofs.

The chimney stack was still standing and among the soot and ash on those grey stones was an eight pointed star, dabbed in blood and dung. There were no corpses, animal or human. Knowing the habits of beastmen, they unfortunately were likely being feasted on as we stood there.

Over another was another farm with no sign of being attacked. Odd that two farms would stand so close, one attacked and its family taken away, the other untouched. As we got closer, we saw an altercation between two men. One was tall and gangly, with too long limp blond hair and a pug nose. His clothes were torn and smeared with soot, mud and blood. The other was shorter and darker, with close set eyes and a weak chin. The tall dirty blonde was yelling at the shorter one, yelling that it was all their fault that his family was dead. The other one was protesting, saying “I told you not to stop Tristan. I warned you, but you never listen!”
Surrounding them was a family. A remarkably ugly looking family. A shared ugliness that was often a sign of inbreeding. They watched silently as the argument got more and more heated. Knives were drawn, at which point we stepped in. Dietrich has such a talent for dealing with people! Just a few words and he was able to separate them. Tristan collapsed on the ground, sobbing, crying out his despair at his lost kin.

We started to question them, but the obvious matron of the family, a woman with dark hair with streaks of grey and a face lined with grief and worry, sternly told the others to go about their work, and they obeyed. She pulled us aside. It wasn’t hard to get her to reveal that the reason their family was spared was that they had a deal of sorts with the beastmen. They gave them sacrifices of animals and food, and they left them alone. At our look of horror over collaboratng with the beasts of chaos she protested “What is so wrong with what we did! If it weren’t for us, they would have gone for the town long ago. We’re the saviors of the town! You should thank us!”

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Session Time Stamp - Sat September 13

The highlight of the session was a humorous encounter with the gunnery veterans on the East Gate (Wissenland Gate). The old men practiced with the only working cannon, Screaming Gertie, exchanging insults and concocting images of attacking beastmen and goblins to fire at. For all the joking however, they were obviously skilled – just bored with the lack of any excitement and any real targets. After their drill was done, conversation revealed an important clue. Yes, they saw the cart with the white pony leave in a morning about two weeks ago.

Later, visiting the tannery in the north quarter of town, little new was learned. Yes, Florian had brought his usual load of coal and bought oiled leathers. But little else useful was learned.

Back to Wissenland Gate. Oh, you again? The cart with the white pony that morning? No, it wasn’t Florian driving. Who was it? Sven, you remember that morning? Yes, it was that farmer feller from the ugly family. One of the Holtzes. That Reiner fellow. Ugly family that. If you ask me, they are all each others mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, if you know what I mean.

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Session Time Stamp - Sat Aug 30th

Visit the North gate. No, haven’t seen the guy with the white pony for awhile, at least not at the gate. But about 2 weeks ago did see a couple of dwarves ride out. No, they were alone, no cart, Florian or white pony with them. Not many dwarves around here, so must have been Florian’s guards. But why would they leave without him?

Visit the Barracks, but the guard won’t let them in.

Check Cobblepots house again. No one there, and a sign says “Closed”.

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The Chronicles of Kurgi Balginson

The Grumbled Mutterings of a Dwarven Trollslayer as scribed by Diedrich Scheffler

So we enters the Slippery Eel alehouse. Our guide Eduardo (seems a bit of a vagrant but enjoys a beer so that’s fine by me) has led us here, on our insistence, and despite his obvious misgivings. He warned that it’s a bit rough. He he. He’s never set foot into the Angry Axeman’s Alehouse (where instead of searching you for weapons before entering they have a house selection of melee weapons for you to use for your entertainment while there) or spent a night in the Hafted Hammer where you’ll need to arm wrestle the doorman to gain entry (and that’s just the women).

So we enter the bar and get the silent treatment. The look on peoples faces as we enter is colder than an ice brewed ale. And one guy stands as Thorin and I enter and cannot hide the look of disdain on his face. As he spots Thorin and I enter, his disdainful look turns to revulsion as though some Dwarf has just shit in his beer with Thorin and I being the chief culprits. I smile as I consider that though not guilty of such a crime it could easily be arranged.

Reginald (hereunto referred to as shitbag) starts to throw insults. Oh I do love me some beer banter. Bring it on.

Dietrich attempts to flash his ‘winning smile’ across the bar. But fails. He’s ok for a long-arse but sometimes he needs to learn that a brilliant white toothy smile is not the only currency. So I flash my ‘winning snarl’ as I step up to defend the beanpole.

We’re in an angry alehouse and the only currency that counts here is beer and brawn. So I tell shitface to shut up and drink his lemonade while the ‘real men’ drink beer’. His face tells me he’s lost the verbals so his face suddenly changes to ‘I’m going to hit this dwarf’ The look on his face telegraphs the punch he plans, long before he summons up the courage to throw it. I duck under the slow right hook. As his fist sails over my head the uppercut I unleash is almost automatic. The resultant crack of his nose, though predictable, is no less satisfying. He makes a final groan before keeling over backwards with blood oozing out of a clearly broken nose.

“Why is it always the gobby ones that beg to be hit first? But fall over like dominoes when the fighting starts. All mouth and no britches.”

Well with the fighting over seemingly before it begun I guess that makes it beer o’clock.

Innkeeper!!!!!

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Session Time Stamp - Thur Aug 21st

The Slippery Eel – a tavern on the West side of town, only locals go there. But its right across from the Stewpot, maybe they saw something? But, they really, really, do not like strangers. Social combat as Dietrich and a local exchange insults. But sigmar’s comet smiles and the local backs off humiliated,…and the crowd cheers!

Across the way, the Stewpot is dark. No sign of the halfling cook Keila Cobblepot. Walk around back..no lights in the windows. Time to play cat burgler. Inside search and upstairs, find a chest of things, odd things for a halfling cook. Mens clothing, a bag of possessions. A letter…addressed to Florian. And a signet ring!!!

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