Thursday, 13 February 2014

The Enemy Within - Death on the Reik - part 3

Welcome to the Imperial Capital Altdorf. The group didn't stay long.

Here's the link to part 3 of our groups Death on the Reik playthrough.

We left the protagonists in Weissbruck having saved Elvyra the pharmacist from abductors. The group had haggled up a storm and were laden with gold.

The PC's are Walter the halfling raconteur, Esmerelda the reluctant hedge mage, Solomon the halfling smuggler, Joten the dwarf sewerjack and Herdan the odorous gravewarden.

Key Points in part 3

  • 1:50 the group came across wanted posters on the outskirts Altdorf and noticed that Herdan, Esmerelda, Joten and Walter were wanted for the murder of Lord Ewer of Altdorf. There were sketches of the group along with vague details of the supposed crime. Esmerelda suspected a set-up and the party kept a low profile, avoiding towns and camping in the forest.
    Who did we murder?
  • 11:00 Walter used his disguise skill to conceal their identities and the group split up in order to enter Altdorf without drawing unwanted attention. Solomon smuggled in his pharmaceutical contraband successfully despite a cursory search of his wagon by gate guards. The guards extorted 5 gold in 'gun tax' for allowing the group's blunderbuss into the city. Only the halfings were thoroughly searched, an action we put down to racial profiling. Another sign of the oppression halflings suffer. More grist for Walter's antagonist mill.
  • 22:00 Solomon got in touch with the thieves guild in Altdorf. He sold his pharmaceutical stash and his smuggling wagon at a huge mark-up. I hate you haggle rules!
  • 29:00 Walter went shopping and loaded his dwarven friend Joten up with armour. A disguised Esmerelda chanced discovery as she helped at the Great Hospice of Shallya, an act that further cemented her future role as initiate.
  • 31:00 Herdan followed up on leads concerning the hunting of vampires. He purchased a fancy repeater crossbow.
  • 38:30 having bought plenty of new gear the group struggled to find enough coin to book passage on a ship to Kemperbad. They hoped to acquire more gold through 'adventure' and set sail with Captain Connor's crew on the ship Belladona leaving Altdorf behind. 
    Castle Reiksguard
  • 47:00 to pass the time on the boat trip Walter taught Soloman to read and write and Herdan practised with his repeater crossbow, slowly puzzling the contraption out. The group passed Castle Reiksguard but didn't stop.
  • 50:30 the group gossipped with the crew and learnt that the Emperor, Karl Franz, is feared to be dieing. His son, Prince Wolfgang is unlikely to be crowned his successor as he is considered either an imbecile or a mutant. With no clear successor the Empire may well fall into civil war.
    The Emperor's own signal tower.
  • 56:30 the band spotted a partly constructed signal tower. Two dwarves waved their ship down and begged passage on the vessel. Before business could be concluded they were interrupted by a dwarven foreman who labelled the absconding dwarves wetbacks and shamed them into returning to the work site.
  • 60:00 the dwarf foreman, Anjel, moaned at the misfortune the site had experienced with a string of illnesses and missing workers. Walter and Solomon suggested not getting involved but Esmerelda couldn't help but offer her assistance, Shallya bless her! As way of compensation, and to sooth the grumblings of the mercenary halflings, Anjul offered 50 gold if they were able to resolve the mystery plaguing the site.
  • 69:15 Esmeralda examined an ill dwarf and spotted bite marks on his neck. She partly revived the dwarf and a chat confirmed her suspicion. Vampires!
  • 78:30 The group suspected the ruin on which the signal tower was being built as the site of something insidious. Finding no way in they enlisted the aid of the dwarven engineers and their heavy machinery. Together they tried to crack their way in to the signal towers foundation. Unfortunately night fell before they had gained access to the inner ruins.
  • 80:30 Disappointed that they couldn't force a battle during the day the group made camp and waited for a vampire. They were not disappointed. A secret entrance opened within the towers foundation and Graf Orlock assaulted them.
    Graf Orlock. Recipient of Ulric's fury.
  • 90:30 Esmerelda fainted at the sight of Graf Orlock. Joten landed an Ulric's Fury all but felling the vampire early in the battle. The Graf struck out in a flurry of blows bringing the upstart dwarf to his knees. Joten rose and struck off the vampires arm. Graf Orlock turned into mist and fled back into the towers base.
  • 100:30 the group gave chase. The inner tower appeared to be a laboratory/observatory. While searching they were assaulted by zombies which were dispatched and some metal rods retrieved. The rods looked like keys and promised access to a sealed hexagonal vault where the group was convinced the vampire hid. They lacked the proper number of keys to access the vault, missing one which they couldn't find despite a thorough search.
  • 120:00 the group discovered a magic tome, maps, start charts, text books and a notebook. The notebook was written in a spidery hand they couldn't make sense of. It's astrological gibberish hurt their heads. 
  • 130:30 Anjul offered to use Engineering to crack the hexagonal vault. He and his fellow engineers began work immediately.
    Dwarven engineers teach a magic seal a lesson.
  • 136:00 The engineering equipment broke through the hexagonal seal revealing a library and a large trunk beneath. The trunk was hauled into the morning light and flung open causing the combustion of a crippled Graf Orlock. The group was victorious! Within the secret library further handouts were obtained including notes in an arcane script they cannot decipher.

Monday, 10 February 2014

The Enemy Within - Death on the Reik - part 2

The group contemplate upgrading their wagon
Here's the link to part 2 of our groups Death on the Reik playthrough.

We left the protagonists carting a noble passenger to Altdorf on their 'coach' service. A day or so earlier they had survived a river encounter with mutants where Joten the dwarf was nearly drowned by a tentacled monstrosity.

The PC's are Walter the halfling raconteur, Esmerelda the reluctant hedge mage, Solomon the halfling smuggler, Joten the dwarf sewerjack and Herdan the odorous gravewarden.

Key Points in part 2

  • 2:14 Esmerelda deployed her secret mutant detection plan organising a communal bath at the first town they come across while on the road to Altdorf. During the bath she did her best to check her companions and fellow coach passengers for signs of mutation.
  • 3:50 Local gossip was that Crown Prince Von Tessernick of Ostland and his expedition were killed in the Grey Mountains. 
  • 17:00 Upon arriving in Weissbruck Joten and the group contemplated turning their wagon into a war wagon complete with blunderbuss array and small road clearing cannon. Sadly they did not have the funds to make Joten's dream a reality.
  • 22:14 The thieves guild of Bogenhafen had tasked Solomon with delivering a list to Weissbruck's pharmacist Elvyra. Solomon and Walter set off to met her only to find her cottage had been broken into. There were signs of a struggle within. The watch was called.
  • 31:00 Herdan had remained in the tavern. While finishing his breakfast he was accosted by two peddlers. One attempted to sell him pots while the second made odd signs. Herdan realised the signs identified the peddlers as part of a secret society. Herdan contemplated killing them but instead insisted that they had him confused with someone else. 
  • 39:00 Searching the cottage Walter and Solomon discovered a 'secret door' behind a cupboard. They waited for their companions to arrive and heaved the cupboard aside. Beyond was a young girl called Liza who desperately tried to escape. Esmerelda calmed her down and they learnt the girl had heard a scuffle but nothing of real use. A thorough search of the house turned up a note that mentioned a 'red barn'.
  • 79:30 The group learnt the location of the 'red barn' from the locals and Solomon gave it a reconnoitre. Walter and Esmerelda hid in the woods at the back of the barn in case Elyvra's kidnappers fled.
  • 87:30 Herdan and Jotun forced the barn doors open. They confronted a guard whose "I am a simple farmer" story fooled no one. The guard bolted for the ladder to the loft with the group in cautious pursuit.
    The thugs who took Elvyra
  • 92:45 Elvyra's kidnappers threatened to slit the pharmacist's throat unless the group left. Negotiations broke down and just as the lead ruffian motioned to do the deed he was struck on the shoulder by a sling stone courtesy of Solomon. Elvyra twisted free and leapt from the loft towards Herdan's outstretched arms. Herdan misjudged the distance and Elvyra landed awkwardly.
  • 107:30 The sour faced leader fled, jumping from the loft out the back of the barn. Unfortunately for him Walter was waiting for just such a move and a sling stone to the cranium was his reward. The thugs head exploded like a rotten sausage. In the ensuing melee a single thug escaped into the woods.
  • 118:30 Esmerelda tried desperately to save a crippled ruffian whose arm had been severed by the dwarf Joten. Alas, she failed to staunch the bleeding in time.
  • 122:00 Elvyra explained that she was mixed up with a villain in Altdorf who had pressured her into supplying alchemical reagents for foul purposes. The kidnappers had been sent by this evil doer. The pharmacist offered them stock at a hefty discount as a reward. Solomon cleared her out of 'medicinal' black lotus with an eye towards turning a profit in Altdorf.
  • 130:00 A search of the dead thugs uncovered 2 silver pendants in the shape of rats heads. Another secret society!
  • 133:45 While shopping in Weissbruck Solomon exploited the haggling rules, selling the parties row boat for 150% its normal value. By way of justification it was pointed out that the row boat was the scene of the signing of an important treaty between the Elector of Ostland and the Elector of Middenland. It was no mere row boat but part of Imperial history!

Friday, 7 February 2014

Oldhammer Project: Talisman

Talisman miniatures. 10 of 'em!
I first encountered Talisman when I was in after school care around about grade 4. I had already had a go at reading Fighting Fantasy books and my parents had raised me on board games so Talisman was an easy sell.

As I got older I fell out of love with the game, frustrated with how long it took to finish. Recently I became re-enthused after playing a game of the 40k variant 'Relic'. Given my eagerness for all things role-playing I thought I'd bolt the Talisman archetypes onto B/X D&D and create a unique quick play game. That stuff is still kicking around in my head and on a google doc. If it looks neat enough I might have a go at running it or at least putting it up on the blog.

Games Workshop released mini's to replace the card cut out characters that came in the Talisman box. I am currently trying to collect the initial set of 14 with the intent of playing a game when my birthday rolls around.
Minstrel, Wizard and Elf
Monk (almost as broken as the Prophetess), Troll and Ghoul
Sorceress, Thief and Druid