Saturday, 28 June 2014

Episode 15 - The Enemy Within - Evacuating Wittgendorf

Castle Wittgenstein looms over the decrepit town of Wittgendorf.
This is an actual play recording of Death on the Reik, a chapter in Games Workshop's classic campaign The Enemy Within.

Download Episode from Goggle Drive (32.5 MB)

Heroes present were Esmeralda the Shallayan initiate, Herdan the vampire hunter, Joten the dwarf veteran, Walter the halfling agitator, Solomon the halfling smuggler and Magnus the dwarven prospector.

We left the heroes in the crypts of an abandoned Sigmarite temple on the outskirts of the cursed town of Wittgendorf. They had discovered, through their interactions with Red Crown cultists, that Wittgendorf was the likely site of a sizable chunk of warpstone. The group intended to seize the stone to prevent it being used for foul and corrupting purposes.

Key points from Episode 15

(0:50) Ominous hand dug tunnels were discovered in the crypts beneath the abandoned Sigmarite temple. Magnus put his mining skills to work and collapsed them. 

(3:10) Further exploration uncovered the towns records in the temple's library. Walter, being the only literate party member, read through Wittgendorf's history. He learnt that the town had once been prosperous but two years ago a ferocious gale had enveloped the lands, the eye of the storm being the local castle. This was followed by a week of black rain. Since then the region had suffered from crop failures and increased mutations. The records also spoke of an expedition to the Barren Hills by the then Baron's son and known astronomer Dagmar Wittgenstein. The expedition had occurred three years ago and ended with Dagmar returning alone hauling a lead lined box. Finally the records provided a full lineage of the local nobles the Wittgenstein's.

Ghoulish villagers, when there's no food in Wittgendorf what do you eat?
(8:08) The band rested in the altar room feeling reassured by its holy presence. As they settled in they heard voices from the temple's foyer. Solomon crept as close as he dared to eavesdrop on a pair of dishevelled villagers who muttered in low tones about their hunger and complained about the collapsed tunnel into the crypt. As they spoke it became clear that they had turned to cannibalism to survive Wittgendorf's famine.

(11:18) The heroes confronted the villagers about their cannibalism. The unfortunates protested their innocence all the while refusing to enter the altar room to discuss things. Even the promise of food could not get them to cross the boundary into the temple proper. Their apparent fear of Sigmar sealed their fate in the adventurers eyes and the party attacked. In the ensuing slaughter a wretch was allowed to flee into the night, the dwarves could hardly catch him.

Two headed sheep are much sought-after by the beggars of Wittgendorf.
(21:49) The following morning the group considered heading straight to the castle but instead chose to observe the village first. It wasn't long before they saw a cluster of crippled beggars chasing a two headed sheep in their general direction. As the group of unfortunates came closer it was clear that they were afflicted with an assortment of minor mutations. The group usually killed mutants on sight but they held off. Killing every mutant in Wittgendorf promised to be long and bloody work. They gave the beggars a wide berth.

(24:42) Wittgendorf's local inn was called the Shooting Star. Despite the early hour is was crowded with locals. A word with the innkeeper let them know that many in the village wanted to leave but couldn't. The innkeeper explained that the commotion they had seen yesterday outside the inn was Lady Magritte Wittgenstein seizing the local Miller who she accused of being an outlaw collaborator. The inn keep also explained that these outlaws harassed the Wittgenstein soldiers from the dubious safety of the woods. The group formulated a plan to evacuate the entire town, all except the somewhat mutated beggars. Perhaps this act would provoke the Wittgenstein's into leaving the relative safety of their castle.

After seeing the locals is it any wonder the group didn't trust Wittgendorf's physician?
(32:27) The town physician Jean Rousseaux entered the inn, introduced himself and welcomed the group to town. He invited them to dinner that night and sang the praises of Magritte Von Wittgenstein. The group were non committal and the physician left.

(37:41) Walter used his public speaking skills to tell those gathered in the inn that the heroes boat would arrive at dusk and that anyone who wanted to leave was welcome to board it. The villagers should tell their friends but avoid telling the physician at all costs.

(40:51) As the group set off to get their boat Esmeralda the Shallyan initiate was approached by a distressed woman. It was the Miller's wife. Her baby was ill. She told Esmeralda that the town physician was useless and his aid had worsened her child's condition. Esmeralda agreed to help and examined the child in the safety of the abandoned temple. There she saw that the child was covered in fur and had taken many arachnid features. This was Esmeralda's second encounter with a mutant baby! The child was very ill and not long for this world. Esmeralda broke the news to the mother as best she could. Herdan put the child out of its misery.

(49:34) While the halflings fetched the boat the warriors watched the town. Joten spotted Jean 
Rousseaux waddle his way to the Wittgentsteins castle. Soon after the physicians arrival three heavily armoured guards headed from the castle and made their way to the inn where they menaced the locals. The group raced to the rescue and after a long melee put the guards down.
"We will return for you beggars of Wittgendorf." <fingers crossed>
(62:39) That evening the locals gathered at the inn. As dusk approached the heroes boat arrived at the dock where Herdan ushered the villagers, and not the towns slightly mutated beggars, onto to the vessel. A days sailing later and the townsfolk were resettled in the slums of Grissenwald.

(65:23) Now that she was a safe the grief stricken mother, whose baby was a mutant and whose husband was taken by Wittgenstein guards, confessed to aiding the outlaws. She offered to take the group to the outlaws as long as they tried their best to free her husband.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Episode 14 - The Enemy Within - Visions in Wittgendorf

The heroes would soon visit the unpleasant town of Wittgendorf.
This is an actual play recording of Death on the Reik, a chapter in Games Workshop's classic campaign The Enemy Within.

Download Episode from Google Drive (28MB)  

Heroes present were Esmerelda the Shallayan initiate, Herdan the vampire hunter, Joten the dwarf veteran, Walter the halfling agitator, Solomon the halfling smuggler and Magnus the dwarven prospector.

We left the heroes standing victorious over the corpse of Etelka, a witch they had hunted for some time before stumbling across her path at Kemperbad's Cat and Fiddle inn. Before her death Etelka had revealed some of her plans to Herdan. She had intended to travel to Castle Wittgenstein where she believed the Wittgenstein family held a meteorite of corrupting chaos magic.

Key Points from Episode 14

(0:52) The party discussed how best to deal with Etelka's apprentice Urnst. The scrawny mage had surrendered rather than suffer his mistresses fate. The group bound and gagged the wretch and turned him over to the watch to interrogate. The watch, who had been on hand at Etelka's arrest, helped the group loot Etelka's still warm body and in the process kept half her wealth for themselves. Much coin was liberated and Etelka's dangerous artifacts turned over to the Sigmarite priests for burning.

(4:20) At the watch house Urnst was interrogated under the supervision of a cheerful Joten and a squeamish Solomon. Meanwhile Walter mixed with the gawking crowd and spread word that the Champion of Kemperbad had slain a witch. The mob were suitably impressed by the actions of their local hero. Before becoming a broken blubbering mess Urnst revealed that Etelka belonged to the Red Crown Cult, that he intended to betray Etelka and that they had intended to visit Castle Wittgenstein in pursuit of a sizable chunk of warpstone; a meteorite that had devastated the Barren Hills many years ago. In the end Urnst's cover story moved from undercover sanctioned wizard to independent hedge wizard on a mission of vengeance against Etelka. While Joten and Solomon believed the cultist, his motivation didn't matter as he was destined to burn in the fires of Sigmar regardless.

(10:25) Haggling ensued and Etelka's jewelry and perfume collection was sold off. Once again the party were rich. Magnus donated a generous 10 crowns to the Temple of Shallya to finance the rebuilding of their temple at Grissenwald. Esmerelda one-upped the dwarf by donating 100 crowns to the same cause. The warriors kitted themselves out in plate mail and Solomon pondered upgrading their boat with a deck sweeping blunderbuss.

(12:03) The group discussed the note that had been left pinned to their door the night prior. This note was intended for Herdan's body double Kastor Leiberung. Herdan became understandably worried that Purple Hand cultists were watching him and insisted they leave town. 

(17:45) Solomon invested his wealth in cargo. In order to trade he purchased a 'legitimate' traders licence from his criminal contacts under the name Axle Schnitzel. He would have to use this false name when conducting business. The halfling smuggler went on to buy discount lumber that he planned to sell in the ship building town of Grissenwald. [The trading rules proved a complex time sink which I thankfully edited out of the podcast.] In the end 10 trade units of wood was purchased at the bargain price of 160 gold crowns.

(22:28) The group talked about leaving Kemperbad in a hurry but instead spent time shopping, haggling and taking on lumber. As this dragged on Herdan was constantly looking over their shoulder in case the Purple Hand struck. Walter re-assured the group that they had plenty of time before the cultists came calling as the warning note had given them at least a week to deliver a large sum of gold to Middenheim. Finally they set sail. Favourable winds meant it wasn't long before they arrived at the miserable town of Wittgendorf.

(24:30) Their ships crew were promised a bonus to assuage their fears of approaching the infamous Wittgendorf. They chose not to use the towns docks, instead they anchored out of sight. The group made their way through the forest towards the town and on the way noticed a foul corruption had gripped the land. Trees were twisted and overgrown with fungi while bloated beetles and grubs swarmed across the forest floor.
Lady Magritte Von Wittgenstein loves harassing peasants.
(30:34) The group hid on the outskirts of Wittgendorf and kept watch. Some distance off Solomon spotted an noblewoman atop a horse, surrounded by heavily armoured guards. She seemed to be conversing with a mob of ragged peasants. Given the distance they could hear only indistinct shouting before witnessing a villager struck down and hauled off in the direction of the castle.
(35:17) The group decided to explore the abandoned temple to Sigmar on the village edge. They did so stealthily with Solomon sneaking in and then throwing a rope through a back window so his companions could clamber in. The temple was rundown its floor scattered with bones, rats, rubble, ashes and detritus. Miraculously the altar room remained undefiled.

(41:38) Walter read the classic script illuminating the domed ceiling of the altar room. It told the tale of the founding of the temple, for it was here that there had been a key battle between the armies of Sigmar and the forces of Chaos. On this site a Templar of Sigmar, Siegfried Von Kesselring, had slain a Chaos Warlord, an act that shattered a chaotic horde. Alas in victory the Templar had been fatally wounded and upon passing, Siegfried was buried, along with his blade Barakul, in the crypts of this very temple.
Walter read the passage and received a vision from Sigmar.
(43:20) Walter read aloud a passage concerning the dwarves relationship with Sigmar and as he did so the statue of Sigmar that stood watch over the altar spoke to him. Only the halfling could hear Sigmar's words. The god asked if Walter would be ready to stand against chaos when the time came. The young agitator answered in the affirmative and was bade to find the source of chaos that afflicted Sigmar's lands. The halfling had received a vision from Sigmar!
Sigfried Von Kesselring. Templar of Sigmar.
(51:30) The heroes ventured into the temples crypts. The crypts themselves had been smashed open and, judging by the bones on the ground, their contents devoured. A glow visible only to Walter led the halfling to a niche marking the final resting place of Von Kesselring. Former grave warden Herdan said a prayer to Morr as the tomb was cracked open and Von Kesselring exhumed. Joten reverently took the long sword Barakul from the Templar's bony hands. The dwarf swore to put it to good use against Sigmar's foes.