WFRP3 - Darkness and Light in the Empire

A lustful encounter...then a violent one

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Having been “invited” to yet another midnight meeting, this time by Kalida, the Necromanceress (invoiving yet another innocent, but now terrified, waif), Wally andlSigmarund take off to try to find a jeweler. Since Kalida insists they bring the Soul gem necklace and exchange it for the life of kidnapped Barrick, the group thinks that having a passing facsimile of the necklace would be useful – especially since Valdric refuses categorically to take the real one with them. Meanwhile, Valdric starts the long limping walk to the Garden of Morr, where he plans to leave the real necklace for safekeeping.

Wally and Sigmarund find an old, nearly deaf jeweler locking his shop up for the night. His inability to correctly make out anything that they say leads them to use a visual aid (a chalkboard) to show him what they want. After some searching through his inventory, he produces a silver necklace with a black gem that could pass. Certainly someone who knows the real soul gem only by description would accept it, though not someone who had actually seen it before. The old man wants 2 GP for it, but Wally bargains him down to 50 SP.
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With only a few hours to go before the midnight meeting, everyone catches an hour of sleep at the Red Bull Inn. With an hour left, it occurs to them that maybe, perhaps, they might want to have a plan. The note handed to Valdric by the waif told him to come to the Westlandplatz at midnight, and without the many friends that accompanied them the last time (meaning, perhaps the gaggle of guards and the flock of stevedores they had brought). Wally take a hiding place in an alley from the platz, while Sigmarund climbs to a rooftop.

Sure enough, at midnight, a Strigany 20 yr old girl and two armed men approach them, one of them leading a donkey. The girl tells them they brought the donkey for Valdric, knowing he has a limp, since “its going to be a bit of a walk”. Valdric, not knowing what else to do, mounts up. They pass through the silent nighttime streets to the west gate. Wally and Sigmarund, expecting an ambush, not a trip out of town, follow, keeping out of sight..

Meanwhile Barrick awoke, his head pounding. Blindfolded, hands tied behind his back, feet tied and sitting on a barrel, he listens to the voices of two women. One soprano voice he recognizes as Clarisse, the other sultry voice is unknown to him. The two voices discuss how he is their hostage, to draw his friends to them with the necklace. But clearly they have no intention of anyone living through the event, as Clarisse wistfully says what a shame it is that he will need to die, as “he is quite a handsome one!”. He also learns that Tharin, the dwarf he has been chasing for seemingly forever, was caught trying to assassinate the Captain of the Garrison, Captain Marcus Baerfaust, and is now in the dungeon at the castle.

Barrick also becomes aware that he is somewhere inside…perhaps a barn, from the smell of horse and manure. He hears male voices as well. Maybe three of them.

Clarisse becomes aware that he is awake, and saunters over “You’re awake, darling. I was just saying to my friend here, what a shame is it that we will need to kill you.” She shocks him to a higher state of alertness when she brazenly sits on his lap facing him and strokes his face. Blindfolded, Barrick smells her hair and skin, and realizes that that cleavage that he couldn’t take is eye off before is likely 4 inches from his nose. “Now there Barrick, wouldn’t you like to have some fun before the night ends?” she asks and give him a deep kiss. Something…well, several things, stir in Barrick.

Char_-_Clarisse.jpgHey boys, you should look down here " a nearby voice calls out “I think Clarisse is going to give us a show, like the old days”

Barrick starts talking, telling Clarisse how they made a mistake thinking that kidnapping him was going to bring the others “They don’t care about me, and I don’t care about them. I’m just a bounty hunter, on a job and looking for coin. I’d just as soon as work for you as for them.” He starts to convince her, enough that she stands and pulls off his blindfold, but not enough to agree to let him go. “Lets get them and the necklace here first, then we can see about what to do with you.”

Back with the others, they pass through the west gate and proceed down a wooded road. Wally and Sigmarund do their best to follow secretly behind them, but are spotted. The Strigany girl seems completely undisturbed and just shouts out “come on, I knew you would be there. Come out and come on – we have an appointment to make.”

A farm with a burned out farmhouse but intact barn comes into sight in the moonlight. Apparently, this is their destination. Sigmarund realizes that the last thing they should do is have this encounter at the place of the sorceress’s choosing, so he grabs the girl and presses his pistol to the back of her head, insisting that she freeze. Wally approaches, his pistol also drawn. She tries to escape and dart away, but fails and is pushed do her knees, the pistol in her mouth. She starts to cry, but tells her companions to go to the Barn and tell Clarisse what is happening. Valdric dismounts from the donkey and hides behind it.

Eventually they comply with Sigmarund’s demand that they bring Barrick out. Clarisse unties his feet and has him walk out of the barn and down the road, her pistol at his neck. Followed by her companions, Big Albert, two crossbowmen, three swordsmen, Kalida the Necromanceress and a dark figure that always follows her. They stop in sight of the party, on the road with stands of bushy trees to either side.

Meanwhile Barrick continues working on Clarisse, saying he will prove that he can be trusted and that if she lets him go, he will get the necklace and bring it to her. Sigmarund starts a countdown from 20, threatening that he will blow the girl’s brains out the back of her head when he reaches zero. Clarisse finally comply s, pushing Barrick towards them (cutting his wrist restraints in the process).

As Barrick moves forward, the swordsmen and crossbowmen slip out of sight behind the scattered copses of trees. Seeing this, Sigmarund renews his treat to kill the girl.
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Not liking how her minions have lost control, at least in her eyes., Kalida draws her hands together and releases a bolt of energy towards Sigmarund. It misses, but gives the girl the distraction she needs to break free and run towards Clarisse. Sigmarund charges forward, stops behind a pile of rocks and fires hot lead towards Kalida, hitting her hard in the shoulder. Meanwhile, Wally runs forward and lets his own shot go towards the Necromanceress, hitting her again in the arm, She falls, but big Albert darts forward and pulls her to safety out of sight of the combatants.

Swordsmen emerge from the trees and charge at Sigmarund while appearing crossbowmen let loose bolts towards him from the other side. In the center, Clarisse fires his pistol at him Caught in a blistering crossfire, Sigmarund proceeds to take down the swordsmen, the ranged fire bouncing off his armor. Wally runs around the trees behind which Kalida hides and finding her, kills her with a shot to the head.

During all this Clarisse, joined by the Strigany girl, slip out of sight into the darkness.

It is over only moments after it began, when the surviving outlaws run, leaving two of their comrades dead on the field. Kalida’s bound ghoul, once unbound, attacked the nearest target, Big Albert. The two of them had nearly killed each other when Wally found them and dispatched them both. Clarisse was nowhere to be seen, though the distant sound of galloping horses suggested that she may have made a clean exit.

Silence settles over the countryside, the four men (and donkey) standing in the moonlight. Valdric looks down at the fake necklace in his hand…..

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Barrick taken...yet another ambush?
This is getting tiresome!

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A new character enters the story. Sven, an apothecary, is a colleague of Ida Huffman, the priestess of Shallya which Barrick went to for a cure for the flaking, itching skin disease that still afflicts him. Here ministrations had been only partially successful and she consulted with her friend to see if he knew of a treatment. He did, prepared it and took it to the Edelweiss at dock in the harbor, looking for Barrick. Barrick wasn’t there, but Wally told him that he, Valdric and Sigmarund had gone seeking out a student nicknamed “the monk” in the south quarter. In the conversation, Sven revealed to the others that he was sent to sell Barrick a cure for the Skin Flake that he suffers from. Since up to then, Barrick had hid his disease from the others, they now know that it was HE that was the one that infected the rest of them!

As Sven lived in the southern quarter of the village himself, he knew who “the monk” would be, and knew exactly where they would have been headed and decided to seek them there. He knew the man they sought was likely Edward Schmidt, a reclusive student who studied ancient desert kingdoms. Wally, getting impatient sitting on the boat, got over his fear of the authorities and followed Sven discretely.

When Sven arrived at Edward’s boarding house, the proprietor was even further amazed to see yet another visitor for his normally very solitary boarder, and took him up to his rooms. They arrived just when an altercation had broken out. Valdric, Sigmarund and Barrick had started to physically intimidate the student as well as Valdric threatening to burn one of his precious manuscripts on the history of the Kingdom of Khemri. The young man had tripped and fallen hard in the scuffle, severely hurting his head. The party left just as Sven arrived, Valdric taking some of the precious books with him.

Sven stopped to treat the bleeding head wound and learned a little more before the student fell unconscious. The student kept babbling about the book that Valdric had stolen and pleads with Sven to retrieve it. In his hysterical ramblings, Sven learns a bit about who the person at Altdorf was that gave him the book. He talked about the “damn code names” that the two individuals in the organization had, and how he wishes that he never got involved with them. He reveals a little about where the Dr. is going. Sven takes all this in and thinks that perhaps he can bargain this information to get the book back for Edward (and earn a few GP in the process). Sven heads back to the harbor.

Back at the Eidelweiss it is late in the day and Elisabet practically throws everyone off the boat, telling them to go get a room at the Inn. “I have to live within feet of you on the water for day’s on end – can’t we at least get some relief from each other when we are at port?” Everyone goes to the Red Bull Inn for dinner. Sven eventually finds them and sells a medicine to Barrick that he promises is concocted specifically for his ailment.

Barrick and Sigmarund go a different route from the others and as they walk, Barrick recognizes the man that he saw Clarisse talking to the previous evening, when they were walking to their appointment at Sigmar’s pond. Since they now suspect her of involvement in the Black Reign plot, they follow him, but lose him. They split up and shortly after Barrick is knocked out by someone from behind and goes unconscious. Sigmarund finally gives up his search but now is unable to find Barrick. He eventually returns to the Inn.

polls_girl_scared_and_wet_5703_276980_poll_xlarge_xlarge.jpegAt the Inn, Valdric is approached by yet another waif – a poor looking 9 year old girl hands him a note. Written in beautiful feminine handwriting, the message says “Valdric, you have something that I want very badly, and I have something of yours. Your comrade Barrick. Bring the neckace to me, or your friend dies. Come to the Westlandplatz at midnight, with the necklace and you will get further instructions.” Valdric goes into a rage and in the process terrifies the little girl, who goes running from the tavern screaming.

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Tricked, Duped...but finally, a hard lead!

stood_up-jpg.jpegIn preparation for what the group sees as an obvious ambush, Sigmarund has commissioned a contingent of garrison guard, Barrick a gaggle of Stevedores, and Wally, alone, reconnoiters “Sigmar’s Pond”. He finds that it is a large pond surrounded by trees and further out, a wall of houses. He observes that it doesn’t look like a place that he would select for an ambush, as avenue’s for escape are constrained by the nearby city walls. Not that he has any military or “ambushing” experience, though he does have experience escaping from a deal gone wrong, especially in his somewhat wild youth.

And yes, it does have frogs… jeremy-gray-took-to-nature-photography-a-few-years-ago-he-creates-emotionally-powerful-images-through-his-emphasis-on-light-and-tone-like-in-this-breath-taking-image-a-colorful-night-which-he-took-along-the.jpg

11 PM (23:00)- An hour from the supposed meeting with Dr. Schneider. Sigmarund presents himself at the gate of the castle, where the assigned 6 guardsmen join him. Valdric, Wally and Barrick start from the Red Bull Inn towards the Pond along the southern road, the Langermannstrasse, frustratingly slow due to Valdric’s limp. Barrick hopes they make it in time, especially since the dock handler’s he hired are suppose to meet them there soon.

Sigmarund’s contingent of soldiers march along the northern road, the Dragoonderstrass. The roads are quieting from the festival, but small groups of towns people still are out and about, having a last ale together or walking home. Sigmarund has a distinct feeling of being watched.

Along the Langermannstrass, the group trudges by a platz where Barrick notices, Clarisse chatting with a couple men, an ale in her hand. Clarisse was the woman who brought Valdric the message about the meeting with Dr. Schneider. She see’s Valdric and waves with a smile on her face, though his eyes are down to the ground, thinking no doubt of how he would rather be spending his night.

Arriving at the outskirts of Sigmar’s pond, Barrick separates and carefully scans the grounds. Seeing a couple of dark figures seemingly concealed in an alley, he moves out to the outer road, the Klingloopestrasse and stealithy moves closer, hopefully to their rear. Arriving there however he sees them disperse, apparently just a couple men having a last smoke of the night.

Sigmarund takes position with the guard at the northern entrance to the park. Valdric and Wally enter the park and start a slow circuit of the pond. Time passes. And Passes.

Eventually someone approaches. But not a tall doctor clad in black, but a little 12 year old girl. Odd that the is out after midnight. She approaches Wally, asking “Are you Valdric?”. Wally says yes. She tells him "Oh goody! I was told to find a Valdric at the pond and give you a message. Dr. Schneider says that he is sorry that he is delayed, but to please wait. " Valdric’s ire starts to rise and asks “Where is the doctor who gave you this message?”

Wally, wanting to maintain the deception as to his identity, introduces Valdric as his assistant, Wally. The girl responds “Oh, I didn’t see a doctor. A nice woman gave me 10 pence to give you the message. 10 pence! Here they are!” She opens her hand which is holding 10 brass coins.

The girl leaves and the group continues to wait. The visit by the girl reminds Valdric of Selena back on the boat. Visions of Dr. Schneider taking advantage of his absence and abducting her and subjecting her to unspeakable horrors fill his mind. He is filled by fear and rage, both at the Dr. and at himself, for being tricked into this fools errand. But they remain. Time passes. And passes.

The town is now quiet, as even the most agressive revelers have now turned in. They are surprised again then to see the same girl approach. “Oh, hi Herr Valdric! The nice woman gave me another message. She gave me 30 pence this time! She said, the Doctor apologizes for having missed his meeting!” Barrick gives her a silver for more information about who gave her the message. The woman fits the description of Clarisse.

It seems the ambush was nothing of the sort. Perhaps just a ruse to delay and frustrate. It certainly succeeded. Wally, still maintaining the ruse that he is Valdric, demands that the girl take him to her home. “I’m amazed your parents would let you be out this late!”. “Oh, I know I shouldn’t. But look, I have one shilling 30 pence! I’ve never had this much coin before! I’m sure my grandparents will be pleased.”

She leads Wally to a row house a few blocks towards village center along Langermanstrasse. Walking into her house from the deserted streets, she calls out “Grandpapa! I’m home! And I have one shiling 30 pence!”. An old, bald, limping blind man comes out of a room in a night shirt. “Sarah dear, it is very late! I was very worried. But you have a shilling and 30 pence?”

Wally speaks up and berates the old man for allowing his granddaughter to be out so late. An old woman appears out the room, and Wally turns her derision to her. Both demand Wally to exit and finally the old woman starts calling out for help. “Help! Get the watch! A stranger has invaded our home! We will all be killed, I’m sure!”

A watchman hears her as he walks the quiet streets and comes running. Other townspeople start to leave their houses, hearing the commotion. One in particular holds a sword, in a way that suggests that he knows how to use it.
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Eventually, the watchman puts Wally under arrest and leads him to the castle. On the way, Wally tells him his name is Valdric, and tries to convince him of the importance of his mission, giving details about a dark Doctor, Necromancy, frogs, night ambushes. By the time they reach the castle gate, the watchman is convinced that he is not sinister, merely crazy…but perhaps a dangerous crazy. He hands him over to the castle garrison and leaves. The garrison starts to take Wally inside to the Sargent of Arms, but Wally’s continued protestations convince them that he is indeed crazy, but likely harmless. They let him go. He rushes to the boat, planning to hide out the rest of the visit here.

The next morning, Valdric and Sigmarund go to the Castle to ask about “the monk”. Barrick excuses himself, telling them he wishes to replenish his supply of bolts. But he really is bound for a visit with a priestess of Shallya….his dry, flaking, itching skin is driving him mad. The urge to scratch is made unbearable, given that he still is keeping his malady hidden from the others. Wally, fearing being seen in town, stays behind, ostensibly to clean the boat. He proceeds to scrub the deck, wearing a heavy coat and with a hat pulled over his face. A very unusual sight, which could attract attention on its own.

At the Castle, Valdric and Sigmarund ask for someone referred to as “the monk”. The castle garrison commander, Captain Marcus Baerfaust comes out to meet them. After a brief discussion where they bring up their quest against Necromancy, he takes them up the three flights of stairs to “the monk’s” chambers.

Char_-_The_Monk.jpgLet in, the plainly dressed priest of Verena, Professor Richter takes them to a corner with some places to sit and starts to tell them of his studies of military history. Interrupting him, they question him about his knowledge of Necromancy and the Dark Reign. He knows little. He seems to be what he appears…a scholar of military history, quite devoted to his studies. But he does have a realization that perhaps they are talking to the wrong “monk”. There is a young man who lives in the south east quarter of the village. A student, also quite studious, who is also called by some “a monk”.

Now understanding that there are “duplicate monks”, the team quickly excuses themselves. Captain Baerfaust invites them to join him for a glass of dwarven ale, to discuss more their search, but they decline, now intent to find the other monk.

Barrick finds himself at a quiet, neat home of a priestess of Shallya. She prays over him for several hours. While he finds his stress melting away under her soothing touch, his urge to scratch remains. it seems her ministrations were not effective.

Meeting back at the boat, Barrick joins the other two to head out to find the student. Wally decides to remain behind.

Crossing the bridge, they find themselves in a brass tavern, the Sleeping Cat. While its clientele are poor, they seem like good townfolk, and the tavern is neat and quiet. The old woman keeping bar is quickly convinced by a silver to help, and directs them to a nearby boarding house where the student lives. Barrick also questions her about his quarry, the dwarf Tharin.

“Yes, a dwarf calling himself Tharin was here, not two days ago. He was asking about another couple of dwarves, the Redbeard brothers. The brothers own an ale house near the docks and deliver around the region, but usually will end their day here. I told him where to find them. Odd, they didn’t show for their nightly meal and ale last night.”

Finding the boarding house, the three enter. The housemaster agrees to take them to the student’s room. “Odd, he never gets visitors …and now visitors two days in a row!”. When Valdric asks who the other was, he recounts a man calling himself a doctor came to visit him just the day before.

Going upstairs, the man knocks on a door and calls out “Herr Schmidt, you have visitors!”.

Char_-_Monk_Scholar.jpg The door is opened by a sallow faced man, who reluctantly lets them in. Entering his study, they are surprised by its contents. Shelves and shelves of artifacts, pots, fragments of statues. Most remarkable are the walls, painted white and covered with lines and lines of hieroglyphics.

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He starts to tell them of his studies of the ancient desert kingdom beyond the Southlands. This room is a reproduction of one of their tombs, he tells them. He painted them himself, copying the symbols from a manuscript sent to him by a scholar in Altdorf. He starts to tell them of a meeting at the University of Altdorf, but then changes the topic. Pressed, he does let slip that Dr. Schneider did visit him yesterday (after at first denying it). Valdric tells him that they are friends of the Dr. “Odd, he didn’t mention any friends would come to visit” the student says.

Armed with the knowledge that they were finally on the right track, they begin to question him. Alternating between being evasive with information about the Dr. and The Dark Reign and being effusive with information about his studies of the ancient kings of Khemri, they slowly get hints of his connections. He also expounds upon something he calls “re-life”. “Some scholars believe that the Khemri knew the secret of re-life”. That they had rituals that could bring a soul from death back to life. But not as a mindless zombie. Truely restore life, allowing the arisen to return to a normal life"

At some point, the student seems to have a revelation “Are you Valdric, by any chance?” he asks? “The good doctor said that you had a necklace, with a dark gem? That it might be the soulgem of Khemri?” Pulling a book off the shelf he turns to a page showing a stylized image of an ancient king, with a familiar necklace around his neck. Valdric recognizes it as the necklace of Lazarous Mourn. When he pulls it from its pouch and shows it to the youth, the can hardly hold back his excitement “Yes, it is it! Oh my gods! The heart of Khemri, here! Can I hold it!” He explains that this is an ancient artifact of the desert kingdom. The Heart of Khemri was worn by the king. The kings of course, were protected from permanent death by the ministrations of their priests, who when a king lay dying, would perform rituals over him to lead him safely to the next life. The writings on his wall in fact are from the ancient book of the dead, and are believed to be some of those blessings an rituals. But if the king should die a sudden and unexpected death, his life force would be retained in the Heart of Khemri, giving the priests time to prepare his body and perform the rituals. Without it, the king could lose his opportunity to pass into the next life.

Moving from questioning to intimidation, he starts to reveal more…and that is where the session ends.

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Chase and Embarrasment
The following session is rated R, for Raucous

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Joachim is dead and the others are on board the ship “Sunburst”, its captain shot and him and the two crew members subdued. It is 2AM. Questioning the captain, he claims that he and his crew were hired by a woman to follow them, as well as take two passengers, a pair of halfling twins (encountered the previous night in the Garden of Morr, where they rest in final slumber).

“Who was the woman”, Barrick asks. “Beautiful, dark haired she is. I don’t know her name……But she is on that ship, over there…”

The captain points out to mid river, where a lone keel boat sits at anchor, lit only by moonlight.
“That’s the Frieda – and it/she has been following US the whole way, just as we were following you.”

As Valdric, Wally, Sigmarund and Barrick look out to mid river, they see figures on board, drawing up the anchor, setting sail. Briefly they consider setting sail themselves – only to remember that Joachim disabled this boats rudder – the whole point of the plan that ended with Joachim floating face down in the water. Even if they ran back to the Eidelweis at the other end of the dock, it would still take to long to get her ready and out from dock. They watch helpless as the boat sails down river, disappearing into the darkness.

Barrick takes the bleeding captain down to the lower deck to interrogate him. Above, the party discusses what to do, when they see one of the town gates enter and 4 figures with torches pass through and head towards them. The commotion, and shots, sounding in the middle of the night has roused the town watch!

Cautioning the captured crew to play along, if they want to live, Wally greeted the watch officers as they approached. They had little to go on as far as a plausible explanation for a gunfight at 2AM, so tried bribery instead. Which didn’t go well. As the watch sargeant added bribery to suspected mayhem in their list of crimes, the bribe went up from Silver to Gold…which had the desired effect. Cautioned to be sure to be gone by morning, the watch turned and left the docks, returning to town.

Wally returns to the Eidelweiss to retrieve is cart and brings it back to the Sunburst to retrieve Joachim’s body. They also proceed to confiscate its small deck cannon. With the help of the two crew members, they take it back. Meanwhile Valdric proceeds with interrogating the captain. Fully expecting to put him to death as a servant of Necromancy, he is eventually convinced that the captain is but an unknowing hireling and decides to allow him to leave. Burning the boat is briefly discussed but again discarded, both because it is not just to the captain and crew, as well as because of the attention it would draw.

Taking Joachim back to the Eidelwiess, dawn approaches. Elisabet arrives with Selena in tow. After a telling look from Barrick, Elisabet sends the little girl on a mission to go buy fish from a dockside vendor so as to be able to hear about what happened to Joachim without the 6 year old girl hearing. She views his body and says a few words of what a fine man he was. When Selena returns, Elisabet gives her the bad news, to which she replies “Did Uncle Barrick Kill Uncle Joachim?” !

Barrick returns to the Sunburst and makes a deal with the captain, Captain Pierce. His silence as to what occured in exchange for medical care. He readily agrees. Taking him back into town he finds a Barber Surgeon clinic. Turning to leave, he is stopped by the surgeon, who asks “Does he have coin to pay for treatment?”. Barrick relunctantly pays him to treat Pierce.

Back at the Eidelweiss, Elisabet preps the boat for the river and casts off. She keeps herself and Selena away from the others, hoping to avoid catching the sickness that has spread to most of the others.

Everyone sleeps and recuperates as Elisabet guides the boat. They feel some better, but the sick ones still are plagued by the intense itching of the disease.

Finally they arrive at Reikguard, where they hope to find the villianous Dr. Hartleib Schneider. But first on the agenda is to take Joachim to the GArden of Morr.

The village is crowded – its Festag! The “Castle Guard” festival they are told. Children run around, playing with toy shields, helmets and swords, which are being sold by street side peddlars. People eat, laugh, talk and dance to the street musicians.

Once again, Barrick – feels like they are being watched. As they proceed, Sigmarund hangs back, watching for tails. Valdric in the lead, is stopped by a poor beggar woman asking for brass. As Valdric fishes in his pouch, he is jostled by a quickly moving man. To late he realizes it was a Pickpocket and that the neclace is gone!

Valdric calls out to Barrick, pointing at the fleeing man. Barrick looks but sees two men matching the description. Making a quick decision, he takes off after the one on the right.

Sigmarund, about a block behind, sees the commotion and sees Barrick take off in a run. Quickly realizing a chase is on and deducing who is being chased, he takes off in pursuit himself.

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Barrick briefly loses sight of his quarry in the crowd, but then catches sight of him again, just in time to see him dart into an alleyway to the right. Quickly following him in, he sees a door close in the alleyway – he must have gone there. Yanking the door open, Barrick dives in, finding himself in a tavern kitchen.

Meanwhile, Sigmarund sees them run into the alleyway. Immediately ahead is the sign of “The Red Bull Inn” – apparently the building that they ran into. Thinking fast, Sigmarund lets Barrick take the back route while he enters the tavern from the front.

It is Festag, and the tavern is packed with people, the sound of laughter and the smells of good food and ale. Barrick is told by the cook that a man ran through the kitchen into the eating hall, and he enters from the kitchen entrance. Both he in the back and Sigmarund in the front see the pickpocket at the same time, running up the stairs. Pushing through the crowd, they reach the bottom of the stairs just as he turns a corner at the top. They rush up, hearing a door slam above them.

Turning the corner at the top of the stairs, they see a hallway, with three doors on each side. Barrick crashes through the first door on the left – finding a naked woman sitting on a naked man lying on the bed, “plying her trade”, so to speak. Sigmarund flings open the first door on the right, finding it empty. Barrick tries the second door on the left, surprising a man and his wife unpacking their traveling cases. The woman screams, and the man reaches for his sword. Shouting out a quick “Pardon me”, Barrick backs into the hall to try the next door.

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Sigmarund’s next door opens to a room with a naked woman and two men…again, she is “working” Sigmarund’s last door on the right opens to a room with a man sleeping off a drunk, snoring loudly. Barrick opens the last door on the left, finding the room empty and the window open. Looking out the window, he sees the thief running down the street, dodging between festival celebrants. Barrick leaps out of the second story window, landing hard, but safely on the street. He briefly loses sight of the man, but then catches sight of him entering another alleyway. He runs after him. Behind him, Sigmarund jumps out of the window, but not quite so gracefully, falling hard. Pain shoots through his knee, but he ignores it and rejoins the chase.

Both men are heavily fatigued and gasping for breath, but keep on running. Barrick follows the thief into the ally – but this time the thief’s luck has run out. It is a dead end, and he turns to face his pursuer. “Give me what you stole” demands Barrick, as he aims his crossbow at the man’s head. The man pulls a pouch from his belt and tosses it down in front of him. “Here it is – don’t hurt me!”

As Barrick’s attention is drawn to the dropped bag, the thief bolts toward him, trying to dodge around and escape. But Barrick’s crossbow is true and the pickpocket stops, a bolt embedded in his eye. As Sigmarund rounds the corner the thief crumples to the ground. Picking up the pouch from the ground, Barrick finds it full of trinkets. But a quick search of the body finds the stolen necklace tucked into his shirt. Wanting to keep it safe from pickpockets, Barrick shoves it down the front of his pants for safekeeping.

Meeting back with the others waiting with Joachim’s body, Barrick quickly recounts the chase, and assures Valdric the necklace is safe…telling him where he has it.

Valdric struggling to control himself, says “Let me get this straight. You are carrying the necklace down the front of your pants. The necklace with the evil enchanted gem. The necklace we took from the animated body of Madriga. The necklace which holds the soul of the evil Necromancer Lazarus Mourn. That necklace….is cradling your…family jewels. That’s the safe place that you thought was the best place to keep it??”

Many, many, many jokes later, Barrick pulls it out and hands it to Valdric. Valdric takes it, carefully grasping it in a cloth. He performs a purification ritual, both on the necklace and on Barrick. Barrick feels a burning sensation, but perhaps it is him mind playing tricks on him. Fortunately, his “boys” are safe from corruption, this time at least.

The party proceeds to the Garden of Moor at the outskirts of the town, to lay Joachim to rest. Elisabet says a seaman’s (SEAman’s!) prayer over his body, and the friends say their last goodbye.

Returning to the village, Elisabet departs to build a gun mount on the Edelweiss.
Sigmarund approaches a confident looking young nobleman and asks for directions to Temple of Sigmar. The man gives him directions to the temple, which is a short walk away.

Ten minutes later they arrive. It is a huge temple, especially considering the relatively small size of the town it serves. Barrick stays outside while Sigmarund enters. Getting directions from a priest, he finds Father Mattias Uber, a distinguished looking Sigmarite Head Priest. Father Uber is cooperative, welcoming Sigmarund as an obviously devout man to the temple and answers his questions. No, he doesn’t know a Dr. Schneider, or a Necromanceress named Kalida. He knows of the Black Reign, but knows of no activity here in Reikguard. But he pledges to help in any way he can to help to destroy any influence that might be found here.

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Meeting back with Barrick, they discuss their next steps. They remember the note they found in Dr. Schneider’s laboratory. Was that only a week ago? It seems like ages – so much has happened between then and now! But they remember that it made reference to a “monk”, advising the Dr. to consult with him when he arrived at Reikguard. They return to the Temple to ask if Father Uber knows who “the Monk” might be.

“Yes, there is a Priest of Verena at the Castle that is commonly referred to as “the monk”. He isn’t of course – it isn’t a monastery after all. But he is a recluse, devoted only to his studies, and has acquired that nickname."

Meanwhile Valdric and Wally go shopping, to buy yet more medicine for their flaking skin disease, as well as to buy pistol shot.
.
Later, as dusk approaches, the party meets at the Red Bull for dinner. As they eat, an attractive brown haired woman wearing a tight leather corset vest and leather pants approaches Valdric..

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She says “I was told to watch for a Priest of Morr with a limp and little girl. Are you Valdric?”

Valdric’s knife comes out as does his ire. But she seems to have a plausible story. She says she was approached by a man in a black suit, who gave his name as Dr. Schneider. He paid her a few silver to watch for Valdric and to give him a message. “He said to tell you, that he thinks that you and he need to talk. He wants to meet you tonight, at midnight. At Sigmar’s Pond.” When asked, she explains that Sigmar’s Pond is in a small walled park on the south side of the village.

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Deciding she didn’t deserve to die for only passing on a message, Valdric advises her to stay away from the Doctor, telling her that he is an evil man. She thanks him for the warning and turns to go. Barrick takes his eyes off her breasts and the team confers on what to do next. Clearly it is a trap, they agree, but one they must try to take advantage of.

Returning to the temple, Sigmarund takes Father Uber up on his offer of help. The father listens to his request, and suggests that he arrange for a squad of castle guards from the garrison to join them this night, to help them in the midnight rendezvous with the Doctor. Meanwhile, Barrick goes to the docks, and recruits a gang of 8 strong longshoremen As night falls, they make final preparations to meet the Doctor at Sigmar’s pond, but with a virtual army from two very different sources…..

GM’s Note: The session went well, especially the chase scene. Savage told me afterwards that he was physically exhausted after the scene, as if he had actually been chasing down the street. I learned a useful lesson. When it started, I considered pulling out a map and running the chase turn by turn on the map. But luckily decided against that and instead ran it fully in narrative. That enabled me to keep it fast paced, without constant reference to aids. It moved quickly from event to event, forcing quick decisions by the players as the results on the dice drove the story. It reminded me of the advantage of original material and free flowing action, not burdened by the need to constantly reference written descriptions, as the use of published material often requires. Play now is very different, and more fast paced, when it was when I was working off “The Gathering Storm”. I hope the players are enjoying it as much as I am!

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Fight at the Dock
Group feeling the most "under the weather" since Stromdorf

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A loud crash sounds as a thrown grave stone crashes into, and through, the front gate of the garden. Through the broken gate they see a fat but obviously strong thug lower his arms and grin. Beside him a tall, even tougher looking thug calls out “We want the priest – the one with a bum leg. Send him out and we won’t hurt the rest of youse.”
Valdric edges into sight, preparing for his usual “trick”, while Wally takes position and throws a stone of his one – hitting the thug squarely in the middle of the forehead. As he drops and group of three others surge forward.
Thhwwt, Thhwtt, and slash! Two well placed arrows take down two of them while Sigmarund steps forward and with a single blow slices off the head of the third. As they fall, the fat thug, who never entered, turns and runs into the darkness. Sigmarund follows and tackles him.

Interrogating him, they learn that the thugs were hired by two halflings and paid a measly 2 SP to come, make a distraction while the halflings snuck in to capture or kill the priest of Morr. Back to town and they turn him over to the town watch and then go to the inn where Elisabet is spending the night, taking care of Selena. The inn keeper is none too happy at being woken in the wee hours of the morning, but lets them in. Only a few hours later, they gather in the tavern for breakfast. Briefly discussing their options, they decide the most important thing is to get on their way.

As they gather back on the boat Barrick has a realization. He has had a strange feeling of missing something since they arrived, and he realizes what it is. There, tied up to the warf about two blocks from the Eidelweiss, is a keel boat he has seen before. He realizes that it has been behind them , almost out of sight, for the last 2 days. But they never noticed until now. Returning to the boat, they decide they don’t have time to confront them now – they must get back onto the Dr.s trail. Casting off, they get in line for the lock. Once inside, Barrick quickly makes a deal with the lock master – for a few silver, he agrees to delay the other boat. They exit the lock and saling down river, see with satisfaction as the boat that has been following them casts off, gets to the lock and then is delayed as the lock gates seemingly break down.

The day passes slowly as they sail down river. Barrick’s skin gets worse and worse. He wraps his face in a scarf and sits away from the others, as chills wrack his body. Ast the hours pass, Wally, then Joachim, then Valdric start scratching their own arms and legs, and Barrick realizes that whatever he has, he must have passed it to the others. He struggles against the urge to scratch himself, loath for them to discover where their illness came from. As the others start talking about their symptoms and realize there is a common sickness aboard ship, Elisabet takes Selena aft, relieves Joachim and settles down as far up wind of the others as she can get.

Arriving at the docks of Grunberg after nightfall, Elisabet, Selena and Barrick immediatly leave the ship bound for the nearest apothecary they can find, assuming any are still open. They luckily find one, and buy six doses of Gsundheit, an expensive but effective medicinal herb. Walking back, Barrick again spies the tailing keel boat, now tying up at warf several blocks up river from the Eidelweiss.

Back on board, Elisabet hands out the herbs and everyone ill takes a dose, while they discuss what to do. First, they come up with the idea of Elisabet swimming to the boat under cover of darkness and disabling the boats rudder. When she declines, Joachim volunteers. “I am the best swimmer here, after all”. Wally then comes up with another idea. He will spit in a keg of ale and soak his arms in it, then go offer it to the crew of the boat. It will help distract them from Joachim, and may actually infect them with the disease that they all seem to be suffering from.

The others stay on the Eidelweiss as Wally walks down the docks, his keg in his arms. Putting on his best drunken man act, he approaches the sailors as they put their boat to bed. But they decline his offer. Meanwhile Joachim swims silently through the warfs. Making it to the boat, that they learned was named “Sunburst” he successfully jams the rudder. As Wally walks away, Joachim swims away – but is spotted. One of the sailors jumps into the water, and the two struggle, each trying to push the other under. Wally runs back and trys to knock both the Sunburst captain and other crew member down, as they both pick up boat hooks. He bowls the sailor overboard into the water, but is stopped by the captain, Pulling out his pistol, he fires, taking the captain down. But then he hears a sickening thud, as the second sailor hits Joachim over the head with the boat hook. Joachim goes still, face down in the water.

Back at the Eidelweiss, the others hear the gunshot. Running towards it they help Wally secure the captain and threaten the two sailors into submission, getting them to help drag Joachim onto deck. Both Wally and Valdric do their best to revive him. To no avail. Joachim, the friendly boatman, turned deadly killer, turned captain, is gone.

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Enhanced Interrogation Techniques
As well as NPC and Place List

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Short Event Summary
Travelling north on the river, forest lining both banks. It is dusk and Elisabet recommends anchoring for the night—-sailing on the river presents a high risk of collision with unseen flotsam.
Anchoring for the night, the group takes watches. Valdric and Wally hear distant pistol shots to the north and later see the glow on the horizon of something burning.
The next morning they set off, and eventually pass a burning, wrecked boat. “Wreckers – River Pirates” Elisabet says. 3 burned bodies lie on the deck, one unburned male body floats in the water. It is not Dr. Schneider. Valdric says prayers over the burned bodies but insists on taking the intact one for burial at the next town.

Stopping at the village of Dresschler. they learn that the body is that of Captain Georgi Cannon, often seen sailing up and down the river. Valdric takes the body to the village Garden, and helps the inexperienced young initiate with the needed rituals.
Kevin Carlson excuses himself to go into town and enjoy an ale…but he prefers to drink alone. He enters the tavern “The Hangling Noble”. Sigmarund and Barrick follow and witness him talking to the Barkeep. After he leaves, they themselves talk to the barkeep. He at first hesitates, but presented with the princely sum of 5 SP, his tongue loosens and he tells them that Carlson gave him a written note, telling him to give it to a man who will introduce himself as “Francis”. “You are Francis, right?” the barkeep says with a wink and a nod.

Sigmarund meets Valdric before re-embarking so as to ask him to read the note, out of sight of Carlson. It says “They go to Rottfurt and will stay the night. On the trail as suspected. No suspicions.” Sounds like he is in league with the Doctor, and a trap is being planned.

As the Eidelweiss sets off down river, Valdric, Sigmarund and Barrick confront the swarthy suspicious Carlson.

GM’s note
What followed was a lengthy, appalling, but for me the GM, an very enjoyable interrogation sequence. Carlson had strong willpower, a good poker face and what the party didn’t know, was a trained spy. Several failed intimidate rolls meant that he wouldn’t talk, but instead edged over to the side of the boat and attempted to jump off. Barrick detected the motion with a hard observation roll just before he leapt and tried to catch him, but failed his coordination roll – but Sigmarund succeeded. Hanging him head first over the edge of the boat, his feet manacled, the interrogation continued with more intimidate rolls, to no avail. Pulled back aboard, he was punched while restrained, breaking his nose. He still kept his silence. Sigmarund attempted intimidation with a drawn pistol. Nothing. Only Valdric’s Morr enhanced hideous demeanor succeeded in breaking him with a failed fear check. Valdric’s dagger to his throat, bleeding from broken nose and throat, he talked. When nothing more was to be gotten from him, Valdric’s and Barrick’s execution of him was stopped only by the scream of 6 year old Selena, who they had forgotten would be witnessing the whole thing. Nevertheless, as Valdric calmed her with a successful hard charm roll, Barrick silently dumped the still living but bound Carlson overboard. The whole sequence was entirely unexpected by me the GM and unscripted, but a great example of how the WFRP dice and skill system really can work to tell a story.

From this they learned that Carlson had been hired by Schneider back in Stromdorf to take passage with the group, watch their activity, and at every port of call, leave a note describing what he had observed at whatever tavern was closest to the dock. He would give it to the barkeep, paying him to keep it until “Francis” asked for it.

Continuing to sail North, the PCs discussed what to do, and finally decided to try to turn the apparent trap around, by leaving a note at the next port of call, leading whoever was in wait to come find them at a place of their choosing. Valdric had actually been in Rottfurt before in his travels, and suggested using the Garden of Morr as the location of the trap. Docking at Rottfurt, Barrick went to the closest tavern, “The Sodden Wench”. There he left the note, but also learned a lesson about flashing a pile of silver in a brass tier bar. Sodden wenches were involved, but the GM is sworn to secrecy about actual events :-) Proceeding to the Garden of Morr out of town, Barrick feels he missed something. He also realizes he is being followed. At the Garden, the group lies in wait. But in the dark, unlit Garden, they learn just how stealthy a halfling assassin can be. Having almost succeeded taking down Valdric, Sigmarund silences the assasin, while Joachim takes out the other halfling as he tries to escape into the darkness. The double length session ends just as the Thugs at the Garden’s entrance succeed in breaking down the Garden’s door….
Jim and Davy – wish you had been there!

Cast List
On the Eidelweiss
Passengers
Kevin Carlson
Sandra Mardh
Daniel Derrick

NPC party members
Selena
Elisabet Schnorr

Known Adverseries
Dr. Hartleib Schneider, researcher into re-animation and Dr. Frankenstein Wanna be
Kalida (last name unknown) – Necromancer, beautiful, great body and dressed to show it.

Villiage of Dresschler
Georgi Cannon – dead captain found on the burning wrecked Keel boat.
Brother Lambert – young, inexperienced, but well meaning initiate of Morr.
Tavern, “The Hanging Noble”
Tall, thin barkeep (name unknown)
Dockworkers, Harbor master

Rottfurt
Tavern “The Sodden Wench”
Short fat Barkeep, name unkown
Two skanky prostitutes, names unkown (one dark unwashed hair, bad teeth, red low cut dress)

Garden of Morr
Brother Kaube
Sister Enberg
Gravewardens Dresden and Albrecht
Halfling Twins: Assassin Falco Greenbottle and Thief/Conman Bungo Greenbottle
Thugs (unamed)

Destination
Village and Castle of Reiksguard

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FINALLY - GOODBY STROMDORF!
Hello Sunshine!

Elisabet assured them that the Eidelweiss will be ready to launch the next morning, So the party gets busy in preparations…meaning shopping. Mostly routine, except for Barrick, who really wants to find a repeating crossbow, recognizing full well its rarety. Of course, no show in Stromdorf has one. But after seemingly traipsing across the town several times, the last show owner says, “Hmm, I have seen one. I think there’s a bloke in dark town that has one, Engel is his name. Maybe he would be willing to sell it”.
Barrick heads off, with Wally in tow to help with negotiations. Finally, finding the man’s flat in the poor part of town, he knocks. A big, gruff man answers. When told “I hear you have a repeating crossbow…would you be willing to sell it?” he gives a curt “Don’t know what you are talking about” and tries to close the door, but Barrick is persistent. Too persistent. After a day of trudging around the wet, smelly town, he isn’t about to give up, until finally Engel throws a punch at him, catching him off guard. A fight ensues, but Wally steps in to break it up. Wally has a silver tongue, and Engel steps back, seemingly willing to stop the fight…but Barrick treats it as an opportunity, stepping in to land a solid blow to his gut. Wally steps back, raises his pistol, threatening both of they don’t stop fighting. Again, Engel hesitates, but Barrick, not beleiving his friend would shoot him, again uses it as an opportunity and throws another punch, finally knocking him down.

He doesn’t get a repeating crossbow.

That night in the tavern, after hearing the proposal from Brother Grabbe, to swear an oath to fight Necromancy, Valdric of course agrees immediately, and Sigmarund nods assent…but for some of the others, it isn’t until the bountys are described that enthusiasm builds. But after the thought of gold pieces swims in front of their minds eyes, the others agree.

The next morning, everyone gathers at the dock to watch the launching. Wally has recruited three passengers, a dark swarthy man in his 30s, Kevin Carlson, a young woman Sandra Mardh and an mature black soldier named Daniel Derrick. Wally collects payment and the group boards the Eidelweiss.

Finally, after 3 weeks in the wet, stinking town of sullen people (but excellent ale), they set off down the Teufel, saying Farewell to Stromdorf!

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Hello Auerswald

In the late afternoon, the town of Auerswald comes into view. Something military is going on – armed boats traverse the river in front of the fort, soldiers are seen drilling on shore, and a naval battle between two patrol boats, one aided by the guns of the fort is witnessed.

They are told they must proceed to the dock to pay the river toll, an astounding 10SP!. Complaining to the harbor master they are told “There is a war on!”. They learn that Auerswald recently declared itself a free and independent city, but the provincial lord Graf Von Junberg has other ideas.

But they are given the option to allow a search of the boat and interrogation of passengers for a reduced toll. Two passengers have no objection to the search or questioning, but Kevin Calrson readily produces the entire 10SP himself to avoid it. Suspicious.

Remembering that they were told that Schneider was seen on dock here, they ask if he has been seen. They learn that yes, they did go into town and no one saw them leave…but there are many people coming and going now.

Valdric strongly wants to go into town to search for the evil doctor, but the rest wish to move on from this place as soon as possible. He relunctanly agrees. They sail off, continuing Northward down river, as the sun hangs low in the sky.

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A Garden put right & a new task in sight

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Field report # 38
Valdric Gruber – Devote of Morr
Location: Stromdorf

The weather: Seems to be improving after the removal of several Elven artefacts.

Populace: Noticeably fewer than when I first arrived in town.

Final opinion of Stromdorf: Unfavourable.

Status of the Garden: Brother Grabbe resumed running the Garden after I revived him and with the help of several of our brothers and sisters from Ubersreik. Over 500 years of Stromdorf’s dead have been returned to their final rest. It pains me to report that four of our own were murdered during a second attack on the Garden. Brother Grabbe was wounded but escaped with his life, and limbs mostly intact. The attack was orchestrated by Burgomeister Adler and a small band of his lackeys. Considering Brother Grabbe’s advanced age and newest injury I strongly recommend sending a trusted Initiate to train at the Stromdorf Garden.

Of immediate concern:
I’ve decided to take time off from my tour of the Empire’s Gardens to pursue members of the Black Reign.

Dr. Hartlieb Schneider – Necromancer: A former student of Lazurus Mourn and a member of the Black Reign. His methods of necromancy are crude and unorthodox. He eluded capture at the former home of Lazurus Mourn, fleeing with a female who is said to be a powerful necromancer and also a member of the Black Reign. Rumours I gathered in town suggest they are headed to Castle Reikguard. He will know the power of Morr’s embrace soon enough.

Most recent additions to the Garden:

Burgomeister Adler: Adler’s original theft of a pendant from Lazurus Mourn’s body was the cause of the necromantic attack on the Garden. Mourn was a known necromancer and was burnt for his crimes but before that happened Adler took the necromancer’s pendant and gave it to his young lover, Madriga. When she died Mourn’s soul seeped out from the pendant and reanimated her body. After I confronted Adler about his crime he tried to hire a bounty hunter Barrick, to kill me. Adler was slain three days ago at the former home of Lazurus Mourn after he attacked the Garden in a bid to recover Mourn’s pendant. The fool believed his necromancer masters could retrieve his lover’s soul from the pendant and place that soul in another vessel.

Keila Cobblepot – Halfling, owner of the Stewpot Tavern: Hung by order of the town council for murder and consorting with beastmen.

Waltrout Glockner – Town drunk and dung collector: A vile man working for the necromancer Lazarus Mourn. He was slain by my hands during Mourn’s attack on the Garden. Some form of spell was carved into his skin. Brother Grabbe and I made detailed copies of the spell before burning the body. Recommendation: Send several trusted priests to retrieve the papers, use extreme caution.

Lazarus Mourn – Necromancer: Burnt by the town one year ago. He is not a recent addition to the Garden, but a notable figure. His soul was transferred to a pendant before the execution. After Madriga’s alleged suicide Mourn claimed her body and attacked the Garden from within.

Madriga – wife of Sebastian Brenner and lover of the Burgomeister: Put to rest after being possessed by the soul of Lazarus Mourn. I suspect her first death was at the hands of her husband, after he found out about the affair. It’s also possible that the corrupting influence of Mourn’s pendant drove her insane.

The Holtz Family – Otto, Marie, Reiner, Fritz, Imelda, Klause, Little Otto, Hans, Ludwif, Erich, Johann: All hung by order of the town council for murder and consorting with beastmen. Against my recommendation their bodies were left to rot after the hanging. They rose up as zombies under the control of Lazarus Mourn and attacked the town. They have all been put to rest.

Olaus Stichelm – Revered hero of the town: Returned to rest after Lazarus Mourn’s attack on the Garden. A single tooth is missing, stolen from the skull by a bloodthirsty, trophy obsessed dwarf. Kurgi, a self proclaimed troll slayer (I never saw him actually slay a troll). Recommendation: If found, remove all human remains from his person and see them put to rest in a Garden. Extreme force will be required.

Niklas Schulman – Alleged Celestial Wizard: Slain in the Thunderwater Inn after breaking out of jail and setting fire to the Inn. Apparently he was trying to utilise the power of Elven Artefacts to…do something. The man’s head wasn’t on straight.

Reinhold Metterling – former resident, Empire Marine: Slain at the home of Lazarus Mourn for working with the treacherous Burgomeister and necromancers.

Balthus Thalberg – member of the watch: Slain at the home of Lazarus Mourn for working with the treacherous Burgomeister and necromancers.

Martin Wehrner – resident, wanted for murdering his wife: Slain at the home of Lazarus Mourn for working with the treacherous Burgomeister and necromancers.

Hildette Krass – Midwife: Murdered by the necromancer Hartlieb Schneider. She was caring for a homeless young girl, Selena. The morning Schneider kidnapped Selena he slit Hildette’s throat.

Other notes:

Watch Captain Arno Kessler: A fool of a man. A whole host of necromantic and chaotic activity took place under his nose. He refuses to see the truth even when slapped in the face with it. He employs worthless men that can’t man their posts and he is incapable of listening to recommendations about matters beyond his understanding.

Eduardo Castillo Rodriguez – Estalian drunk: He can spend countless hours endlessly droning on about fanciful and obviously made up stories about his own adventures. Locals claim he is good with a sword. All I can say is that the man never shuts up and drinks like a dwarf.

Reinhard the Rooster – Minstrel and Poet: The man literally dresses like a chicken and his singing sounds more like squawking. I’m from a small farming village and do not expect to be entertained by court bards, but this man couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.

Selena – 6 year old girl, currently in my care: Selena is hard to explain. Everything about her brings up memories of my past. I know she cannot be who she reminds me of but nevertheless I feel compelled to look out for her wellbeing. Her missing father is presumably dead, one of Schneider’s failed experiments. However her mother still lives and resides in Altdorf. I intend to find this woman and return her daughter to her. Perhaps I will also find answers to my questions.

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The Next 3 Days pass
Who will be the next Burgomeister?

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Having realized that Dr. Schneider has escaped and with no easy way to transport the gravely wounded Barrick, not to mention the danger of travel at night so close to the Beastmen infested Oberslecht, the group decides to rest for the night in the house. At least it has beds.

The next morning, Valdric announces his intention to burn the house. Even if no actual Necromatic artifacts have been found, the only way to ensure that the stain is removed from the earth is fire. He initially decides the bodies of the 4 minions of Necromancy should burn with the house and has his comrades lay them out in the dining room, using the table as a bier.

As he lights the fire however thoughts of justice and future regret tug at him. He remembers helping Reinhold take his mother to the Garden just weeks ago. Surely he wasn’t aligned with evil at that time? Adler, well his body doesn’t deserve to rest in the garden, but how does he know that these others are true servants, or just hired hands? The garden doesn’t ban its rest from common criminals, just those most evil among them. As much as he relishes the idea of smelling Adler’s burning flesh, he realizes that the town may need to see his body to truly believe their story of his infamy. Reluctantly, with flames starting to take hold on the house, he asks Joachim and Wally to quickly help remove the bodies. They place them on the overgrown shrine, with blankets lain over them to protect from animals, so as to be fetched once they return to the town.

As they fashion a makeshift stretcher for Barrick from items taken from the house, luck shines upon them and they hear the whinny of a horse and sound of wheels rolling on earth. Looking out to the road they see a wagon pass. Wally runs after it and asks the driver to stop. It is a rugged wagon, made for cross country travel and the farmer driving it agrees to make room for Barrick and Valdric. The rest walk beside the cart. There is a steady rain and they must help pull t the overloaded cart out of mud at times, but a few hours later, they arrive at the East gates. There the old soldiers recognize and call down to Valdric and Joachim, who have become a common sight going in and out of the gates in the last two weeks. Joachim stops to talk to them a few momments, telling them of recent events, while the rest continue to Rolf Messer’s clinic.

There, they are surprised to find the recently jailed apothecary, Otto Faust, talking with Rolf, the Barber Surgeon. He explains that after all that has happened, Kessler decided hid innocence was more likely than guilt and let him go free. With Schneider and Hildette gone and only one other doctor in town, he agreed to help Rolf with the town’s ill and stricken until a new doctor could be convinced to move to Stromdorf. They were just discussing expanding his shop to a combined barber/surgeon/apothecary shop. They proceed to start to clean and sew up Barrick and Valdric. Otto seems to have skill in such things, and in addition he gives a tea to the two patients which immediately lessens the pain.

They also learn from Otto of the fate of Hugo, the jailer, who apparently let Nicolas loose three days ago. Otto overheard Kestler chewing him out and telling him he was under arrest. But just then, Brother Grabbe showed up. The Captain and the priest went off to talk. A while later they returned, and Kessler announced that at the request of the good brother, he as agreed to not press charges, if Hugo would agree to pledge himself to become a grave warden to assist in the maintenance of the Garden. Hugo readily agreed and left with the priest.

Captain Kessler shows up almost immediately and Joachim briefs him on events. After being told of Adler’s actions, he asks a few questions, ponders in silence for a moment and then speaks. “The first rule of soldiering is unquestioning obedience to command. This duty however has been especially difficult at times with the late Burgomeister as my commander in chief. While I never would have thought him involved in Necromancy, I’m not surprised to find him on the wrong side of rightiousness. The town should thank you for your service. But now the question will lie before us – who will our new Burgomeister be?” He again thanks them, bids them good day and leaves.

Kessler insists on the return of two stolen pistols and the blunderbuss to the armory, but says those that belonged to Adler are not his concern.

Joachim learns from Rolf with surprise that Elisabet, or so he believes, has gone back to work on the boat. “That’s one strong woman, that one. True, the wound missed her heart and lungs, but I’ve seen many men insist on days of bed rest after similar wounds!” Joachim goes to the dock. Elisabet is indeed hard at work, although she noticeably winces at times. He digs in himself and starts to help, offering to do any heavy lifting required to relieve her of the strain. Wally watches with amusement.

Both notice that while there was a steady rain that morning on their trip back, they even see some sun here at the dock. Looking back to town, they still see storm clouds to the south. It even appears that it may even be raining in the south part of town, but here on the north edge, the weather is remarkable clear.

In town and the tavern, there is much talk of events and the future of the town, as well as an apparent improvement in weather, at least in some areas. Some seem almost bitter to see the sun, after a lifetime without it. That afternoon, Kessler, Sebastian Brenner and Tannery owner Marcel Gerber go to meet and discuss the future in the town hall. People are talking about how the town Eldars are now down from 5 (including the Dr. and the Professor) to 2. How will a replacement be found?

Valdric vows to visit the garden to check on the brother and offer assistance, but his driving hate of the Dr. and desire for justice convinces him to pursue him first.

Valdric then proceeds to limp around town for the next two days, sometimes accompanied by Wally, asking at all three gates, and anywhere else that he can think of, if any have seen the Dr. or his voluptuous companion. None have. At Valdric’s request, Barrick moves to the Thunderwater, where he can watch over Selena, who Valdric insists will travel with them. The big eyed girl takes quite a liking to the big bounty hunter, and the tavern’s inhabitants see a new side to him as he engages in play with the girl.

Sigmarund goes off on his own most of the time, being seen visiting the Temple of Sigmar as well as spending time with the old gunnery mates on the East Gate. He checks in on the progress on the boat each day and does have dinner with the rest each night. They learn from him that he is learning how to shoot black powder weapons from the gunners.

On the second day, there is a gathering in the town center. Hanko Mucke, the merchant, has set up a podium and is calling to the people for action. “Can we let two rich men decide alone the fate of Stromdorf? Isn’t it time for the people to have a say? Clearly the judgement of the town eldars was faulty when it chose Adler – do we really want to trust them again?” The crowd murmors in assent. Then a faltering voice speaks up “I nom..nom..inate Capt..Captain Kessler”. A hush comes over the crowd as they all look at the man who spoke…The rat catcher Denair. Then another voice calls out, “Yes, Kesslers a better man than either of them. I second the nomination”. A hubbub ensues and arguments raise, but in time there seems to be consensus. The big northman Fredrik Ulfsson motions Henrick to relinquish his podium and calls out "People of Stromdorf.. Are we agreed? We should petition the Elders to appoint Kessler a town Elder and burgomeister? A seemingly unanimous “Aye” arises from the crowd.

Kessler, hearing his name arrives and when first propositioned on this, he immediately refuses. “I am a soldier, not an administrator”. But after pressure he agrees to consider it. A desk is set up, Reinhard the Rooster prepares a petition, and the people of the town line up to sign it. Brenner and Gerber come out of the town hall and are almost accosted by the town. They finally agree to hold a public meeting the next day. When it occurs the next day inside the town hall, they finally agree to allow the people to nominate four candidates for town eldars, from whom they will then select two, and the four will then meet, in public and vote to determine who will be the new burgomeister. Fredrik Ulfsson, Hanko Mucke, Lanlord David Steffen and Farmer Gubo Ackerland are nominated, and the two eldars relunctanty accept Mucke (who hates Brenner), and Steffen ( a business partner to Brenner), and set a time for the next day for the town meeting. Having stacked the council with allies, the two town Elders have only to win over Kessler, who will have the 5th vote, to ensure their election.

Back to our group, that same day, Joachim informs them that Elisabet is sure that the Eidelwies will be ready to launch the next morning. Valdric is torn – should he stay in town and continue looking for signs of the Dr, or make the assumption that he may have headed to Reiksguard Castle, as was referred to in the letter they had found. That afternoon however providence strikes. Wally, Barrick, Sigmarund and Valdric are together watching the final touches being put on the Eideweis when a merchant barge arrives at the dock. As has become his habit, Valdric goes to talk with the captain and crew to ask if sign of the Dr. might have been seen. "Yes, as a matter of fact, I did see a tall man with long blond hair and a voluptuous dark haired woman. We were passing Auesrwald, where all traffic is now required to pay a hefty toll to pass. As we were at the dock, paying our fee, we heard the tall man arguing with the ferry captain that he seemed to have been traveling with. The ferry captain was refusing to pay the toll and insisting he would turn back. He refused even when the man said he would pay. It appeared that the ferry man really did not want the pair traveling with him any further, and seemed to be using this as an excuse. When the merchant captain left, he saw the pair walking away from the dock through the gates into the city.”

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Grandad, tell me the story!

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“Grandpa Wally, will you tell me a story before I go to sleep? You know which one….The Frog Grenade!”

“Ok, boy. How did I know you would want that one! How many times have I told you it?”

“At least a hundred! So make it a hundred and one!”

“Ok, OK. Where should I start? With pincushion bounty hunter? "

“So there we were, creeping through the fog and forest, the evil Necromancers house ahead. Barrick, the bounty hunter, said he would take up a firing position, behind a rock. Lot of good it did him! The Priest stood there with his lantern, like he didn’t know which way to go. Ahead was the house, its windows dark.

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Me, I moved forward, not afraid, dodging from cover to cover. I was like a cat. A black cat, in the darkest of night.

The Swashbckling sailor crept off to the forest off to the left. He was a bold one, that one. Once killed a troll, goblin king and giant, one after the other, one shot each!

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The bounty hunter stood and shot towards the house. Suddenly arrows and bolts came from all directions. He screamed out, a human pincushion!

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Then the Priest walked forward, like he owned the place – until HE got an arrow in the Arse! He ran around screaming like a stuck pig. With him distracting the enemy, I jumped quietly into the pond where I could see and not be seen.

I could see the one who shot the Priest, hiding in the woods, his beady white eyes stood out like a cats. Seeing a frog next to me I thought fast, picked it up and yelled “Goblin Grenade” and threw it at the guy hiding in the trees. He dropped and hugged the ground, scared out of his skin. The frog landed, and jumped away. I signalled to the Swashbuckler that it was his chance, and he thanked me and ran forward, skewering the guy hiding there with one strong thrust. I swear its true…the frog jumped up just then and sat on the dead guys face, croaking up a storm…

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…more….

And thats the end!"

“Grandpa Wally, did it really happen just like that?” (this was a little ritual they went through every night at story time)

“Well mostly boy, but you know what I always say… "
(and they said in chorus together)

“No story is so good, it can’t be made better !”

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