Monday, 22 September 2014

Episode 17 - The Enemy Within - Beneath Castle Wittgenstein

Beastmen haunt the Wittgendorf woods. One served as a tracker for the castle guards.
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 (39.1MB)

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

We left the heroes out the front of the Wittgendorf physician's house. It was merrily ablaze and the physician dead, technically by his own hand. The group were somewhat the wiser from the encounter and sought to return to their outlaw allies to plan the assault on the source of the regions troubles, Castle Wittgenstein.

Key points from Episode 17

(2:50) The group were troubled by the news of a Norscan taking up residence in Castle Wittgenstein. They tried to work out what their characters would know, without blatant meta-gaming, and leaped to the conclusion that they would soon face a chaos warrior.
Sergeant Kratz will punch you in the face
(5:00) Returning to the outlaw camp the heroes spied a group of castle guards moving through the woods. These guards followed a dog headed beastman who sniffed the ground and howled excitedly. Fortunately the heroes were downwind of their foe. They hid amongst the forest's rotting foliage and prepared an ambush. The attack opened with a blunderbuss blast catching the guards mounted leader. His horse reared in terror throwing its rider. Crossbow bolts struck the confused guards while Jotunn and Herdan rushed into combat.

(20:52) The surprise wore off and soon the guards had Jotunn, Magnus and Herdan surrounded and outnumbered. Things looked grim till the pacifist Shallyan priestess Esmerelda joined the fray. While she struck no blows she did even the odds.

(27:50) The battle wore on. Both sides were well protected in heavy armour. A telling blow from Jotunn's armour ignoring blade Barakul would turn the tide but the dwarf could not hit. Esmerelda took a chance and for the first time ever channelled the winds of magic to shock her foe. For months she had bemoaned magics terrible risk to her sanity, but due to the stalemate she threw caution to the wind.

(32:41) Jotunn finally landed a blow. Barakul phased through armour, slicing through a guard's torso. The two halves remained neatly encapsulated in the armour. The torrent of blood which doused his foe left none in doubt of Barakul's potency. Jotunn had a unique way of killing heavily armoured foes.

(35:48) Combat wound down with the party having the upper hand. There was a sense of inevitability until a desperate guard lashed out and Ulric furied Magnus. The guard's sword embedded itself in the unlucky dwarf who collapsed unconscious with internal bleeding. He fortunately fell in front of the Shallyan priestess who, in the midst of combat, set about frantically bandaging him before he bled out. The Old World is fickle and thus far had reserved all its critical hits for Magnus. The guard's lucky blow was a tragic footnote rather than a turning point as he and his fellows were cut down.

(42:50) Herdan and Jotunn carried their crippled companion back to the outlaw camp. In my house rules healing poultices must be fresh so as not to have them freely available. By the book poultices are a mixture of manure, cow urine and other foul things. Esmerelda, being the healer, played this angle up crying "Quick, poo in my hands!" Her healing skills failed to help the crippled Magnus but perversely fully healed the slightly injured Jotunn. Fortunately for the mangled Magnus, Sigrid the outlaw chief called on the power of Taal and the dwarf's wounds closed slightly.

(49:00) After lengthy discussion and despite Magnus' horrific injuries the group decided to attack the castle before the missing patrol was noticed. The outlaws were told to gather rope for scaling the castle walls and to prepare fire arrows. Thunder rumbled overhead. The group cursed the GM's foreshadowing of a storm. They wanted to burn Castle Wittgenstein to the ground.

(49:38) Magnus proposed a plan to feign retreat and lure the guards into a trap. Jotunn made the point that he never retreats. Later episodes will prove the dwarf's bravado false.

(53:20) Before entering the tunnels beneath Castle Wittgenstein the group organised hunting horn signals with the outlaws. Herdan's parting words were "If we are not back in an hour wait longer."
The entrance to the tunnels beneath Castle Wittgenstein
(56:22) The group were not long in the tunnels before their senses were assailed by screams and grunts echoing about the confined space and seemingly coming from every direction at once. At several stages members of the group glimpsed a disembodied head leering at them from the dark. The halflings at the back of the party were alarmed by a blood curdling shriek perhaps a meter behind them. Walter ran to the front ranks ducking beneath Esmerelda's skirts. Solomon bravely turned to face his foe and glimpsed a horrid visage receding into the gloom. Doubling back the group determined that they were being stalked by a creature that left a trail of slimy sucker marks.
A glimpse of the natural caves beneath the castle
(64:30) The group followed the tunnels in the direction they believed Castle Wittgenstein lay. The dwarves felt comfortable underground and kept the group on track. At one point the band were assailed by barnacle like creatures with razor sharp lash like tongues, lashworms! Such creatures might have posed a threat to a skulking halfling but the group's front rank wore armour too thick for a lashworm to penetrate. Magnus' armour piercing sword was brutally efficient at slicing the odd creatures from the walls.
Former woodsman turned crazed mutant Brutagh
(68:16) In time the group came across an icy underground stream. Employing a pole they determined it was 4ft deep making it a concern for short party members. Herdan got sick of the blood curdling screams hounding them and called their stalker out. "That's it. You and me. Lets fight. Come on!" He was surprised when the creature responded cogently from the darkness. They learned their pursuer had once been Brutugh the woodsman. Brutagh told them how to find both underground entrances to the castle before his moment of lucidity ended and he returned to animalistic grunts and howls. Magnus argued that they put him out of his misery but the group left him and pressed on to the castle.

(72:50) The warriors leaped across the stream while the halflings shimmied across it via a rope. Following Brutagh's directions they discovered a trapdoor which led into Castle Wittgenstein. Despite Magnus' grievous wounds they took a chance and mounted their attack. Hefting the trapdoor aside they emerged into Castle Wittgenstein's chaotic courtyard.


  1. Awesome stuff. I hope you get some more sessions in soon (or, you know, with less time than the last one).

    1. Glad you liked the post.

      We have had another 3 sessions since this one. Each 6 hour game session is broken down into about 3 podcasts/blog posts. There are plenty more of these posts to come as I slowly catch up. I suspect we will call it a day once 'Power Behind the Throne' raps up next month.


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