The Enemy Within

Session 15
The Devil's Bowl


It’s a beautiful summer’s day on the Reik as the crew of the Jolly Nobber sail peacefully past Kemperbad heading east. Still chatting about the Emperor’s decree they head up to the lock that breaks the storming waters of the Stir.

After paying the fee and heading through the lock system they proceed through the gorge and enter the turbulent waters of the Stir.

This isn’t going to be the easy summer boating they’ve been used to as the Stir ploughs through the rocks with dangerous undercurrents and swirling eddies. Spray is everywhere and it’s difficult to navigate, but Rowlock’s has it all under control with the help of Durak and Werner.
Wandy heads to his cabin to pour over his tomes, although they are not currently making much sense, and Gnoblar goes to his lab to process some of his latest fungus.
Dumpling potters about tending to this and that and Reni is in her cabin.

Later that day, Durak stands on deck peering at the cliff tops.
“I have an uneasy feeling,” he states, “any of you guys feel like were being watched?”

Everyone has a look round, but nothing is apparent. The mood darkens, and so does the gorge as the mighty cliffs block out most of the sun and give the river an eerie twilight.

Another day passes and Rowlocks still manages to guide the barge through the torrent, and opts to take it steady.

Further along they spot a break in the gorge and a small landing jetty with a path that leads up to the gorge top and across a wooden bridge. This must be the place where an ogre is terrorising the travellers and merchants of the road, this is Werner’s bounty.

They have a chat and Gnoblar consults the various maps he has and suggests that we will probably be coming back this way from the Barren Hills, and we could hit the bounty on the way back and keep up the pursuit of Etelka. They agree this is probably a good shout and they don’t stop and continue east.

The River is a beast and Rowlocks looses control but he manages to bring her round before anything serious happens.

The Nobber passes by ancient megaliths the next day, Wandy tries to read the runes as they pass through but even he doesn’t understand the markings.

The next morning, the Stir shows no mercy and rips the barge to the rivers rocky edge as Rowlocks battles to hold her steady.
This time, it’s too much for his expert boating skills and he looses control. The boat is smashed sideways by the current and the hull hits some rocks. It’s all hands on deck and panic ensues. The rigging is down and threatens to snap the mast, the barge is adrift and Rowlocks shouts commands to Werner and Durak. If the rigging is not dealt with, in a matter of moments the mast will snap and the Jolly Nobber and crew will really be in the shit.

Werner is right up the mast and trying to pull the rigging but it’s too fiddly for his powerful hands. Durak is there too and heaves with all of his might, Rowlocks braces as it looks like the mast will break at any second, but with all of his skill, at the last second Durak manages to free the rigging and save the mast, phew! The lads then set about sorting the boat back out and have a quick rum to settle the nerves.

Further along the river, they spot a dead horse in the river amongst the rocks. Rowlock’s carefully brings the barge round and Werner jumps down to inspect. Amongst other ruined items they find a sealed parchment with the emblem of a red crown. They have seen this before but can’t quite remember where.

Gnoblar inspects the document and reveals a map. After further study, he matches up notes from his other maps and concludes that the marked areas are the Devil’s Bowl and after further work, realises that Dagmar’s observatory, which is marked on the map, is indeed the signal tower that they stopped at a while ago when they helped the dwarves. It seems the map is also identical to another map in  their possession but without some of the markings.
Everyone commends Gnoblar on his expert deduction skills, and they consider the coming events as they continue up the Stir.

The next day, the roar of the twin falls can be heard and the air fills with watery spray.
As they approach the mighty falls, a sheltered landing area can be seen to the left and there are two women mending a canoe. They pull over for a chat.

The ladies are friendly and pleasant, but they are concerned when Gnoblar tells them they are heading for the Barren Hills. They advise them to head to the village of Unterbaum nearby and speak to Corrobeth the druid as he would be able to help with such matters. They ask if the women have seen any other travellers pass by, but they have not.

As friendly as the villagers are, the crew opt to head up the elaborate series of locks that will take the boat up to the top of the falls, where the now know there is a pub.

They have a well deserved restful night in the Inn of the Roaring Falls, roast dinners and ales all round, and after a bit of small talk with the landlady, they keep themselves to themselves and enjoy some downtime.
The party plans to sleep on the barge and head to the village in the morning.

The next morning, Rowlocks, Wandy, Gnoblar and Reni plan to make the journey  to the village on foot, while Werner and Durak take to making repairs on the boat.

It’s a trek through the forest on foot to the village and after a few hours on the trail they arrive.
Unterbaum is a pleasant, simple, rural community set in a forest clearing. It’s a warm and welcoming place and the villagers make the visitors feel at home.
They meet Vorster the village elder and Corrobeth the village druid and head into Vorsters cabin for tea and welcomings.

They don’t get many visitors round this way and they are happy to meet the guys and offer them food, accommodation and whatever they require. The village is in need of iron for horseshoes and plough repairs but the party has none.

The conversation soon turns to the Barren Hills and both Vorster and Corrobeth don’t look as smiley and are now concerned and worried, and try to persuade the gang from heading that way.
Corrobeth tells the tale of the Devil’s Bowl and how the crater in the Barren Hills was created many years ago when Morrslieb, the chaos moon spat down a meteorite of pure evil, the land was blighted for decades to come and creatures poured from the bowl. The druids of old created s stone circle to hold back the tide and the whole area has been protected by druidic magic.

Despite this, the area remains a dark foreboding place where no one wishes to travel too. The party return information, talking of Etleka and her journey and how they have seen Morrslieb in all his glory during the events of Bogenhafen.
Corrobeth has heard of a fair haired woman, a dark haired man and party heading towards the Devil’s Bowl just yesterday and our heroes insist that they must go.

Corrobeth agrees to accompany the party to the crater as it would be nigh impossible to find otherwise and he doesn’t want anything to happen to the party.
They will canoe north the following morning and the guys head back to the falls and the barge.

They get their bits together for an expedition and Rowlocks, Werner, Wandy, Gnoblar and Durak get ready. Reni wants to head to the village for some peddling, while Dumpling and Elvis stay on the barge outside the safety of the Inn.

The party meet Corrobeth, jump in their canoes and head off north up toward the Barren Hills. It’s a four day journey and the landscape steadily grows creepier and less welcoming. They set watches at night and opt to not light any fires.

The air is deeply still, the land is devoid of wildlife and the trees are gnarled and warped into strange shapes. Even the grass seems to be alive. Everyone feels distinctly uneasy.

On the fourth day, they leave their canoes and trek on foot to the crater. No one likes the environment, Durak has a funny feeling and they can sense the evil surrounding the area.
Towards dusk they arrive at the Devils Bowl.

The crater is filled with sinister glowing water and the druids stone circle can clearly be seen around the perimeter of the lake. Corrobeth suggests they camp in ley of the stones where they will be safest.

It’s a tough nights sleep but everyone’s shattered from the journey. Rowlock’s takes watch and everyone gets their heads down. A couple of hours later, Rowlocks hands over to Werner and crawls into his bedding.

Werner shifts his gaze as the wind starts to pick up and he thinks he can make out a glowing figure approaching the camp. He starts to wake the others as the wind and dust whips into a frenzy and they cover their eyes.

Seconds later, it abates and in front of them is a mysterious ethereal figure, floating in front of them, torn and tattered, she has gaping wounds all over her ghostly form and deep sadness in her eyes.

She pleads, begs for the group to help her, to follow her and lay her to rest once and for all, long has she walked these hills. Corrobeth has never seen this before, and without further ado, they grab their weapons and follow the apparition west.

About a mile away she leads them to a cave entrance, concealed from the elements by humanoid tree stumps.

There, in the main chamber of the cave, is a shallow grave, poking with bones. The ghostly figure tells of her and her expeditions betrayal at the hand of Dagmar and pleas for a proper burial. Gnoblar quickly identifies Dagmar as the name on the map they found on the dead horse and connections are made. She also tells them that her companions are through the next chamber, which is blocked by a rock fall, and ‘that which they seek’.

She implores the party to find and destroy the meteorite, as it is a source of great evil.

They gather up the remains and bury the woman properly outside and Corrobeth says a few words.

Afterwards, they head back into the cavern to set about heading to the next chamber. While they do, they can hear squeaks and squeals from the entrance. They turn on their heels to be confronted with three heavily armoured man sized rat humanoids.

“The stone, the stone!!” The big one shouts, “where is the stone, give it to us!!”

Caught off guard, this is a surprising turn of events. Corrobeth looks at the party and they in turn look at each other.

“Erm, we don’t have the stone.”
“Give us the stone!”
“We do not have it!”
“Put weapons down!”

Things get tense, no ones sure what to do and the stand off continues.

“You know! Tell us of the stone!”
“A women took it, we don’t have it”
“Weapons down!”
“We can help you get it, it’s through here!” Werner points to the other tunnel through the cavern.
“The stone!”

The exchange carrys on for a few more minutes when suddenly, three more skaven appear from the small passage behind the party.

The chief skaven cackles and grits his teeth, rraaaaaaghhhh! With the party now surrounded, they charge with their weapons.

The lead skaven runs straight at Rowlocks. He swings his sword hard and it cuts deep into Rowlock’s arm, slicing through his mail sleeve and he let’s out a scream. His second sword swing just whistles past Rowlocks, but his third attack he is not expecting. The skaven’s tail lashes out from behind with its mace like end. Rowlocks tries to dodge and fails, he swings his sword to parry but misjudges the swing of the tail and the heavy end smashes into his skull.

Rowlock’s lights go out, he hits the floor with blood trickling from his ear.

“Here!” Shouts Gnoblar as he pulls out the letter to Etelka, “we know who has the stone!”

“Whoah, whoah, whoah,” yells Wandy as the gang attempt to parlay. The skaven are having none of it as they rush the party.

“Steel yourself friends!” Shouts Corrobeth, “be gone foul beasts” as he side steps and unleashes a powerful wind blast that knocks two of the skaven foot soldiers off guard.

Werner ignores the three that appeared from the back and charges straight at the skaven boss smashing into his side with his axe.
Durak stands fast as a rear guard to the three incoming skaven and protects Gnoblars rear.

Werner and the head skaven go toe to toe and the brute rains blows on Werner, but his sword clangs against his armor.

Gnoblar, seeing Rowlocks critically injured, drops to his knees alongside him and attempts to staunch his wounds.

Wandy follows Corrobeths lead, takes a few paces to his right and hits the three skaven at the back of the cave with a wind blast, knocking them off balance.
Corrobeth maintains his blast but the nearest skaven is getting close.

Werner counters the skavens attack, and skillfully brings his axe up cleaving into his arm, the big rat let’s out a squeal of pain.

One of the skaven heading to Corrobeth remains off balance but, the closest one breaks free and slashes into him with his weapon. Corrobeth stops casting and draws his sword. This releases the other one, who rushes him.

Another breaks free from Wandy’s blast and slams into Durak. The blade goes through his leather chest piece and wounds him.

The head skaven is wounded and continues to release a flurry of blows to break Werner’s defense, but Werner holds his ground.

Gnoblar takes in the current situation and satisfied that Rowlocks won’t bleed out he reaches for his crossbow and begins to load.

Wandy notices the Skaven at the back are breaking through his blast as two of them square up to Durak and stops his wind blast, re-adjusts his position and let’s them have another.

Werner breaks through the big skavens defense and smashes his axe across his chest, he’s now heavily wounded and Werner pushes forward.

Durak catches one of the nearby skaven with a blow and but is hit on the counter and he’s in bad shape.

Corrobeth faces two, he hits one with a solid blow, but he’s overpowered. He’s takes a slash to the arm, the other skaven attacks from the other side.

The big skaven misses Werner, as Werner gains the upper hand, he’s hit repeatedly but he shrugs off the weakness of the blows.

Gnoblar fires his crossbow and the bolt pings off into the cavern wall.

Wandy once again readjusts his wind blast and attempts to hold as many of the rats at bay as possible, catching a couple at the back of the cave.

Werner is raging, he brings forth his axe with all of his strength and slams it into the torso of the rat boss. The beast let’s out an almighty squeak and his lifeless body drops to the floor.

At the same time, Corrobeth is hit with a blow to the head and he goes down injured and unconscious.

Durak can’t find a way past the skavens shield, and as he extends his reach, the skaven swings his sword round, slices into his leg and drops him to the floor in pain.

Gnoblar quickly tries to reload his crossbow.

Now Durak is down, both him and Wandy are exposed, but the skaven at the back are continually knocked off balance by Wandy.

The two that have downed Corrobeth, turn to enter the fray and Werner goes straight for them. Their swords bang against Werner’s new magical shield and he brings his axe, which is already drenched in skaven blood, smashing into the side of one of the skaven, his follow up blow fells the creature, Werner is on a roll!

From what was once a desperate situation, the scales are tipping into the party’s favour. With their leader down, and their numbers dwindling due to Werner’s battle prowess and Wandy’s crowd control, the skaven begin to panic.

Gnoblar fires another crossbow bolt into the wall.

Werner drops the other skaven near him, the others begin to retreat, fighting their way backwards through Wandy’s wind blast. Wandy sees Werner turn and head to the remaining skaven and drops his blast so he can get through.

Werner is unstoppable as the skaven that turns to face him, is hacked to pieces with more mighty blows.
The remaining two skaven see their morale falter and are heading for the exit, Werner cuts one down in the back but the other manages to sprint out of the cave and into the darkness.

That was intense, everyone takes stock of the scenario. The cavern is now littered with body parts, skaven carcasses and blood. Rowlocks, Corrobeth and Durak are critically injured and Doc Gnoblar needs to get to work.

Unhappy that they are still in a vulnerable position they bring their wounded friends to the back of the cave near the rock wall. Gnoblar gets his tools out and Wandy and Werner stand nervously in the middle, guarding the exits and peering into the darkness.

Home Page
Session 14
Session 16

Session 16
That which they seek


It’s a grim scene.

Werner and Wandy stand in the middle of the cave, which is dimly lit by the odd beams of moonlight seeping through cracks in the roof from Morrslieb. Bodies, entrails, blood and guts cover most of the floor and the carcasses and body parts from the battle with the skaven litter the room.
Gnoblar is looking over the wounded. Corrobeth and Durak will probably be ok with some care and attention, but Rowlocks needs surgery and this is far from an ideal place to carry it out.

The conscious members of the party try to thrash out the best possible course of action.
Stay here? But one of the skaven escaped, who knows what might happen. Carry the wounded back to camp? Too far, too risky. Operate here in the blood soaked cave? Definitely last resort.

Eventually, they decide to try and remove the rock fall that’s blocking the entrance to the next part of the cave – maybe it will be a better environment?
Gnoblar needs torchlight to operate and the further in the cave they go the less the torchlight will be seen from outside.

Strange crashes and bangs can be heard out near the crater, and scratches and scrapes are coming from behind the rocks. They deduce that it must be the ghost’s companions that were murdered by Dagmar, but with the cave being sealed for what looks like hundreds of years, they’re anticipating problems when they meet them.

Gnoblar gets Corrobeth on his feet and explains what happened while Werner and Wandy shift the rocks. Corrobeth tries to heal Durak but he can’t do it. Doc Gnoblar steps in and uses his skills to tend to Durak’s wounds.

A little while later, everyone is on their feet moving rocks and boulders while Gnoblar watches over Rowlocks, he’s stable, but in a bad way.

A couple of hours and they’re making a break through. They can shift a massive rock that will give them enough space to get a man through, but caution is required, and they opt to make a small hole first to see what’s inside.

Behind the hole is darkness and a cool ancient wind blows over the group.

As Werner steps up to peek into the hole, deciding wether or not to push a torch through, a skeletal hand launches through the gap at him, behind the hole can be heard the wheezing pleas of ‘killllllll meeee’.

Right. With most of the party up on their feet they decide to heave the large stone to create a hole big enough for the skeleton to get through, and let Werner smash the skeleton to bits.

The rock is grabbed, they pull it to the side and Werner steps up, but the skeleton is straight through the hole and lunges with his sword directly at Werner’s torso.
It’s a good hit and it pierces through his chain mail, wounding him and causing him to wince.

Werner’s axe comes raining down and nearly breaks the skeletons femur. No one else can really get through and Werner stands his ground.
The undead’s sword rattles against Werner’s magical shield and Werner strikes back with two mighty blows and the skeleton is smashed to dust, eerily giving thanks as he crumbles.

Werner steps into the darkness and is immediately set upon by three more.
Werner has found his stride, and doing what he does best. He soon makes short work of the long dead members of Dagmars expedition.

The others edge in and as more torchlight fills the cavern they can see remains and debris of the long, forgotten companions.

Werner searches through and finds yet another map, more or less the same as the other two they have, with Dagmar’s observatory clearly labelled. There’s also a stash of gold, a silver flask containing a mystery red liquid, and a hexagonal key.

They quickly realise it’s the final key to the locked room at the bottom of the signal tower.

Gnoblar surveys the scene, they have little choice, he’s going to have to conduct surgery on Rowlocks here. This cave isn’t ideal either, but at least it’s not covered in dead skaven.

The clear some space, set Rowlocks down and Gnoblar gets his tools from his backpack and begins to prepare. Torches are placed around and the others stand guard at the back, apart from Wandy who stands by to watch.

Things are tense. It’s going to be a long two hours. Gnoblar sets to work.

As the operation draws to a close, beads of sweat drip down Gnoblar’s face. He’s never done a medical procedure of this gravity before and it’s not going as well as he had hoped.
Rowlock’s begins to shift and convulse, his eyes roll…“were losing him!!”

“Nooooo!!” Shouts Wandy, the others come to see, and watch the last of Rowlock’s life force drain from his body.
In the chaos, someone shouts to give him the liquid the just found in the silver flask. What if it harms him? He’s going to die anyway!

Split second decisions are made, the flask is uncorked and the mysterious liquid is poured down Rowlock’s throat.
They all stand back and look at his lifeless body.

Those next few seconds feel like an eternity, but wait, what’s that?

Rowlock’s cheeks begin to flush with colour, his eyes flicker, his limbs move, everyone holds their breath and looks at each other.
His head wound begins to rapidly heal over, he lifts his head.

“By the gods!! A healing potion!!!!” No one can quite believe what they just witnessed. Within minutes Rowlocks is on his feet and asking what the fuck happened.

Backs are patted, hugs are recieved and sighs of relief are deep. Wow.

They collectively and simultaneously decide that they have had enough of the Barren Hills and they can’t wait to get out of here now they have the final key.

Where is Etelka? They’ve followed her all the way here. Where is the meteorite? There’s no sign of either and the Devil’s Bowl feels far from safe. Let’s go.

Back to camp, couple of hours rest and then back to civilisation.

The journey back to the canoes and on to Unterbaum is a solemn one. Everyone’s pretty quiet, no fires are lit and watches are set at night. The overbearing feeling that they are being watched is making for some uneasy travelling.

Three days later the bedraggled, wounded party walk through the clearing to the welcoming sight of Unterbaum.

The villagers greet them and they are quickly escorted to Vorster’s cabin where he has been awaiting their return.
They have tea and Vorster and the other villagers are transfixed as Corrobeth retells the events of the past week.

These are dark times and Corrobeth and Vorster thank everyone for their efforts in the fight against chaos – brave heroes indeed. If the meteorite is out there, it must be dealt with, a lump of pure evil and power.

Despite the hospitality and kindness of the people of Unterbaum, the crew are keen to push on back to the barge.
They take a small hamper of supplies, freshen up and then set off to the inn of the Roaring Falls.

The noise of the falls is a happy sound, as the inn and then the Jolly Nobber comes into view.
It’s good to be home and Elvis, Reni and Dumpling were starting to get worried.

Time is of the essence and a plan is made. Now they have all keys, they must head to Dagmar’s observatory. But first stop, Kemperbad, to get some armor and bits and bobs.

At first light they begin to make the journey back down the Stir. The late summer sun disappears from view as they re-enter the gorge and the river is as raucous as ever.

Rowlocks is struggling, despite the efforts of Werner and Durak and the journey is slowed and he has to fight the currents as they head down stream.

The next day is no better as the river continues to throw the barge around. After lunch they enter some rapids. It’s a good effort, but Rowlocks can’t hold her and a protruding rock cracks into the hull causing some minor damage.

A day later and they are nearly at the crossing where Werner is after his ogre bounty. Before they approach a silent undercurrent swings the barge violently in a circle. Rowlocks loses the rudder and is banged to the side, if it wasn’t for his lightning quick reactions he would be in the river for sure.

The gorge narrows and the bridge crossing is above them as they sail under and head for the landing area near to the curving ascending path.

The ogre has been terrorising merchants and travellers of the road as they head to Kemperbad, and Werner wants to collect the bounty for sorting it out.

Werner and Durak head up the path to scope the area. Rowlocks hangs back while everyone else stays on the boat.

As Werner peeks over the cliff edge towards the bridge, he sees a wrecked cart and a massive humanoid, armoured with an enormous club, sitting eating something, he doesn’t spot them.

They make a plan. They will head up and go towards the crossing with their robes on and hoods up to give the impression of humble travellers. Rowlocks will sneak round behind him with his bow to get a clear shot.

They approach, the ogre spots them, laughs and charges straight at them. Werner drops his hood and draws his axe and shield, but Durak doesn’t move. The sheer size and power of the creature has him rooted to the spot in fear. Luckily, Werner and Rowlocks are not scared of ogres!

The ogre ploughs into Werner smashing his torso with his club and it hurts, Werner reels. But he is quick on his feet, dodging a second blow. Werner hits back at the towering monster cutting into him with his axe.
Rowlocks makes his move and heads through the undergrowth to behind the ogre. Durak stands paralyzed while the others stand nervously on the deck of the Nobber listening intently to the sounds of battle from above.

Werner and the ogre go toe to toe exchanging blows and snarls. Werner is light on his feet and is using all his agility to dodge the massive swings from the ogre’s studded club.
Werner’s axe pings of the ogre’s helmet as Rowlocks starts to bury arrows into creatures back.

Werner takes another crushing blow to the side but continues to hold his ground.

Durak overcomes his fear and springs into action charging at the ogre. No sooner is he into combat when, after scoring a hit on the ogre’s side, he is hit with a single return blow that is so powerful it takes him clean off his feet, nearly killing him.

The ogre is aware of Rowlocks but chooses to deal with the immediate threat of Werner. They are wearing him down, he’s hurt and beginning to fatigue.
He begins to shout, “Brunt! Brunt!”

This makes everyone nervous but the melee continues. It’s a great battle between Werner and the ogre and it could go either way, but Rowlocks puts another arrow into him and he begins to stagger.
At that moment, the bushes to the north start to move, thumping footsteps can be heard and another ogre bursts onto the scene. Shit.

They’ve got problems now, they have to put him down. Werner cuts into the first ogres leg and he looks like he’s going to drop. Rowlocks fires straight and true from the undergrowth. It’s a headshot, the arrow buries itself into the ogres thick skull and he slumps to the floor with a bang.

Werner turns on his heels and runs to meet the second ogre. Durak heads in too but a bit more tentatively as he is hurt.

Luckily, this one is not as heavily armoured as the first and Werner’s mighty blows strike hard. A few arrows from Rowlock’s elven bow and he’s already looking hurt.
Werner continues to dodge like a cat and the big, slow ogre is finding him hard to hit. Werner’s dwarven shield soaks up some hits as his trusty axe, already covered in ogre blood, continues to hack away at the ogres flesh.

Durak and Werner are hurt, but so is the ogre. Rowlocks takes aim, deep breaths, holds steady and let’s one fly. It whistles through the air and strikes the ogre in the neck, killing him instantly. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief.

Werner walks over to the other unconscious ogre and stands tall, then brings his axe down chopping off his head.

The ogres heads are severed and bagged, ready to collect the bounty.

They search the area, hoping to find the stash of all the loot the robbers have taken from travellers but they find nothing.

Their friends cheer as they see them alive and well as the head back down the sloping path to the barge. Werner takes a well earned rest as he is exhausted from the battle.

They cast off, and continue the tricky journey towards Kemperbad, all the time they feel the sensation that they are being watched, maybe the recent events are making them paranoid?

A day and a half later, they see the familiar sight of the clifftop town of Kemperbad and everyone is happy to be back to civilisation. All but Reni. She doesn’t seem overjoyed to see the place and immediately locks herself in her cabin, stating that she will remain there until they leave.
It’s heading towards teatime and the gang head up to the lifts to go to town.

Once inside, Werner collects his bounty. He tries to get double pay for two ogres heads, but the watch official isn’t having it and he walks off with his 100 gold pieces.

They need to shop and get supplies but it’s late and places are closing. As they are round the marketplace, they decide to head to their local Kemperbad inn, the Hat and Drum.

After the week they’ve had it’s great to be back, sat in a nice warm pub, with roast dinners and ales on the way!

As they relax, laugh and tell tales, a small boy approaches the table. He hands Werner a rolled up parchment sealed with a symbol. Werner, puzzled by this, opens the note and a lock of his own hair, which was taken from him a while back drops out.

The note is a final warning, demanding payment of 20,000 gold pieces, if it is not paid, death will swiftly follow. It has the symbol of a purple hand with a strange symbol inside of a twisted like worm.

They ask the boy where the note came from, he points across the crowded inn to a group stood near the door, he then vanishes into the crowd.

As Werner begins to stand, the hooded figure who stands inbetween four thugs moves his hands in a swirl and begins strange gestures. Werner’s hands pulsate and flicker with purple, but he draws on his willpower and mentally fights off the overwhelming feeling.

With that, the hooded man and the thugs, turn and disappear through the pub doorway into the night.

Home Page
Session 15
Session 17

Session 17
All along the Signal Tower


Everyone looks at each other, then looks at Werner.
It’s late evening in the Drum and Hat, just off Kemperbad’s main square, and the events of the last few minutes have everyone looking concerned.

What are we going to do about this situation? Should we try to track these guys down? Shall we get out of here and try to lose them?
A mass discussion breaks out as the party process the events and talk their way through the possibilities.

As they are about to finish their drinks and head back to the boat, they see the patrons of the inn slowly move to the side as three men make their way through the pub crowd.

Wearing a feathered, wide-brimmed hat, exquisite outfit and bejeweled rings on his pudgy fingers, a man, who seems to be well known, sits down at the table flanked by two gorilla-esque men.

“Good evening gentlemen,” he says, and swirls his fingers round for a round of drinks.
“My name is Luigi Belladonna, and I would like to know- where is she?”

Straight away everyone assumes this must have something to do with Reni…

Playing dumb doesn’t work out as it’s clear he knows she is their companion.

“We’ve had a look on the boat, so we know she’s not on there, nice dog..”
Werner is instantly annoyed that they have been aboard the Jolly Nobber, but after a testy exchange he decides nows not the time or place.

A woman comes past and thanks Mr Belladonna for his assistance and donations to the soup kitchen and he humbly sends her on her way.

The gang opt to tell the truth – if she’s not on the boat, they honestly don’t know where she is.

Things are tense yet polite and Luigi finishes his drinks and says he will see them soon with a wink.

As he’s obviously a well connected man, they see if they can get any leads on the letter they have just been given, hoping that he may recognise the symbol with the hand. They hand him the letter.

“I’m afraid I can’t help you with this symbol, but you guys certainly know how to get yourself in trouble don’t you?”
And with a smile he gets up and leaves them to it.

Drinks are finished and everyone is keen to get back to the boat.
To their surprise, although there has clearly been people on the boat, nothing seems to be missing. Unlike Reni, who is missing.
Dumpling tells them that she was here, the men came and she was gone.
It’s late, and due to recent events, a watch is set up through the night.

The next day, Durak heads to the dwarven armorsmiths and gets measured up for some chainmail. Gnoblar does some shopping at the herb based market stalls and they spend the evening in the pubs chatting gossip and rumours with the locals.

A day later and there’s still no sign of Reni, so Durak collects his armor, some supplies are collected and the Nobber is ready to make the trip back downstream to the signal tower.

It’s the height of summer now and it’s a beautiful few days sailing down the Reik. Whilst on deck, Rowlocks and Durak have the uneasy yet familiar feeling that they are being watched. They scan to forests edges on the banks of the river but nothing. Wandy studies his grimoires in his cabin while Gnoblar spends time in the lab fiddling with dusts and powders.
It’s late afternoon on the fifth day of travel when the silhouette of the signal tower comes into view.

The Jolly Nobber pulls up to the wharf beside the tower. It seems like an age since they first docked here to help those flustered dwarves months ago.

Dumpling stays on the boar with Elvis and everyone else grabs their stuff and jumps onto the riverbank. As they disembark they see two horses hitched up beside the tower. The swirling ramp which leads up to the entrance door is round the other side, and as they walk round they hear a woman’s voice call out….

“Ahhh at last! My shadows have arrived!! It’s great to finally meet you, do come round, I believe you have something for me, and I have something for you…..”

On the upper layer of the signal tower, on top of the stone observatory is a woman, draped in noble attire.


After months of tracking and chasing, numerous adventures and encounters, the party finally get to meet their quarry.

The stand for a moment taking in the current scene. Etelka has moved round the other side out of view. This is unexpected.

The party move round in single file towards the other side of the tower with Werner at the front, and as they do, they are both confused and amazed at the scene that greets them.
On the grass at the bottom of the signal tower are four dead dwarves face down in the mud. Their friend, Aynjulls Isembard, the renown engineer, is staring straight at them and he had a blade at his neck. The blade is held by, none other than, the book guy from the coach and horses, who Wandy tried to talk to on the day that our party met. This is a strange turn of events.

The man with the knife sneers an evil grin and looks up at Etelka as she looks down on the adventurers.

“And now…it’s time to hand over the keys, I suggest you do this at once or the world will be one dwarf short..”

Aynjulls looks at the the guys, terror on his face and a tear in his eye.

Rowlocks discreetly slides an arrow out of his pack under his cloak. Everyone looks at each other. Tension builds.

“We don’t have what you seek,” yells Werner.
“Now, now, don’t take me for a fool,” retorts Etelka.

The seconds that pass seem like hours. Everyone stares at each other. She’s going to kill him anyway, at least if we rush the book guy he may stand a chance?

Rowlocks shoots – the arrow whistles up into the air.

“Oh dear,” shouts Etelka, “I was hoping you were going to play nice…”

She grins an evil grin, leans over the edge of the stone tower and hurls an enormous fireball straight down at the party.

Werner, Gnoblar and Rowlocks are engulfed in flames and the smell of burning flesh and hair bursts round the bottom of the tower.

Wandy steps round to get line of sight on the book guy and blasts him with a wind blast knocking him and Aynjulls off balance. Gnoblar rummages in his satchel.

The man holding the knife steps forward through the wind and slices Aynjulls throat from the back. Blood pours down his beard and sprays out, he turns pale and drops to the ground.

And that’s it, it’s on. Werner storms forward in a blur drawing his axe and Durak, enraged by the deaths of his kinsman, pulls out his weapon and they both charge Aynjulls’ killer. Axe blows rain down on the guy and cut through his clothing like a knife through butter. All four blows from Werner and Durak land strong and in moments he’s dead on the floor.

Gnoblar, when he was at Etelka’s house in the Black Peaks, harvested a load of the strange mould that drained Wandy’s magical powers. In his lab on the barge he has worked on processing this into a liquid and now he is furiously dipped Rowlocks’ arrowheads into vials in the hope that they will dull Etelkas’ magical prowess.
But it’s not going well, it’s a really difficult shot, shooting upwards to the tower to hit a barely visible Etelka and the arrows are pinging off into the air.
“Fuck this,” shouts Rowlocks, grabs the vial and launches it up at the female Wizard. It also misses.

Rowlocks drops his bow, unsheathes his sword and storms up the ramp towards Etelka.

Seeing his advance, Etelka summons a sword directly in Rowlocks path on the precarious ramp and it slices into his arm as he let’s out a shriek.

Battle ensues, and the animated sword is proving difficult to hit. Rowlocks is battling the sword as Durak comes up the ramp with him, but theres not much room and Durak can’t get involved. At this point, Etelka disappears from view.

Wandy and Gnoblar take cover at the bottom of the signal tower.
Rowlocks is already wounded from the fireball and during the battle with the sword he’s been wounded further and things arn’t looking good.

The sword arches through the air in a mighty swing. It looks like it will connect and slice Rowlocks arm straight off at the elbow. In a crazy twist of fate, as it comes in, Rowlocks stumbles on some rocks, falls backwards past Durak and hits the deck.

Werner has an idea. He runs round the bottom of the towers ramp and uses his superior climbing skills to come up behind the sword.

The animated sword now has Durak on one side and Werner on the other and the tables have turned. After many clangs, parries, thrusts and smashes, Durak manages to clatter the floating weapon and it dematerialises.

As always, Werner is into the tower first with the gang following. He searches around but Etelka is no where to be seen.

What’s the plan? They’ve come all the way here to open the bottom floor, but that’s exactly what Etelka wants them to do, but they can’t find her anywhere? Can’t come all the way here and not open it surely?

Let’s do this. The mere presence of the keys in Rowlocks’ backpack cause the secret trapdoor on the floor (previously used by the ghoul) to slowly open.

Opting to leave the trapdoor open, they all carefully climb down into the lower level and make their way to the central chamber. All the while, looking behind with caution, expecting a surprise attack from Etelka at any moment.

Once on the ground floor, Werner and Rowlocks spin the bars of the central chamber and open the chamber with the mysterious symbols and the keyholes.

After a final look behind them, the last key is inserted and, click, the floor in centre swings down revealing a trapdoor and a ladder.

Once again, Werner is first down with torch in hand into the darkness.
He finds himself in a central chamber, off to the sides are six small rooms, all containing hundreds of dusty books. This is a study and a library.

Everyone climbs down and begins to look around. In the middle is a table with three books open at specific pages. Wandy takes a look drawing on his arcane knowledge.

The first is ‘Astronomical records – being a guide to the Mysterious Phenomena of the Night Sky’. It’s an account detailing the fall of the meteor and its predicted landing place.

The second is ’ Omens and Prophecies of the Seer Unserfrau’. It tells of great darkness and shadow, the coming of the great mutator and the fall of the Empire of Man.

The final book is ‘The Diary of the Wizard Dagmar von Wittgenstein’. The final entry in the diary details Dagmars planned expedition to the Barren Hills and, more interestingly, the fact that when he finds the meteor he plans to take it in a special container to a specifically created lined room in Castle Wittgenstein!!!

This is it, the information both they and Etelka have been after, the location of the lump of warp stone.

“I knew it,” says Werner, “I knew we’d have to go to that creepy ass castle we’ve been avoiding.”
Everyone takes a moment to take in the revelations.

Wandy is keen to pour over the books found in the library. With the help of Gnoblar, the pair of academics begin to search through the library. There are many ancient tomes here and it would take months to go through them all, but after a couple of hours they find a grimoire with some spells and manuscripts and scrolls.

They exit the observatory, locking the library behind them and head towards the barge contemplating what lies ahead.

Before they step back on the barge they notice that the two hitched horses are gone.

Home Page
Session 16
Session 18

Session 18


Once back on the barge, the party take stock, unbuckle their armor and relax. Dumpling knocks up some stew and everyone has a rum while they discuss recent events. A watch is set and everyone gets some rest.

The next day, it’s a beautiful summer’s morning and everyone decides it’s about time they had a day off.
They stay moored near the signal tower everyone spends the day fishing, relaxing and chatting. All except Wandy, who wants to spend some time studying one of the Grimoires found in the library.

Just before bedtime, with the sun going down, Wandy bursts onto deck with his hands in the air,
“I’ve got it!” He shouts, and looks joyous as he explains to his friends that he has worked out how to channel balls of flame to burst from his hands!
Drinks are poured as discussions and plans go on into the night.
Everyone is slightly nervous, as the week that was given for Werner to hand over 20,000 gold passes by…

The plan is to head to Castle Wittgenstein and find the meteor.

The boat is readied, and they set sail south, back towards Kemperbad.

It’s high summer and it’s a lovely few days sailing. On the third day, in the afternoon a River Patrol boat comes by and the sergeant insists on a boarding and search. No one is worried as there is no contraband on board, and they explain that they are off to Kemperbad for pleasure purposes. They are heavily armored and the patrol wants to know why, but once Werner gets talking about his latest bounty he’s taken and his good work for the people of Kemperbad, a rapport is struck and they are bid farewell and good luck.

Apart from the odd trade barge and some fishing boats as they near Kemperbad it’s easy going.

Fearful of reprisals for the overdue threats to Werner’s life, they opt to bypass Kemperbad as swiftly as possible and head straight to the castle.

A few days later, the ominous presence of Castle Wittgenstein can be seen looming in the distance on the cliffs casting a shadow over the Reik. They slowly approach the rocky edges of the river and head to the small disused wharf on the bank beneath the village.

Wittgendorf is sorry place, ruined, overgrown and broken. Dilapidated shacks and broken buildings make up most of the village.

Dumpling and Elvis stay on the boat as usual and everyone grabs their gear and jumps off.

Within a few minutes of disembarking, they are surrounded by filthy, scrawny beggars grasping at their clothes begging for food and money. They push them away and offer various lies about going to fetch some money and not being able to give them anything, but the beggars continue to harass them nevertheless.

With their new entourage, they climb the path up the hill of the embankment to the main part of the village.

Upon reaching the top, they see a beautiful looking woman in blue, sat on a white horse, surrounded by guards. One of the beggars is bleeding out with a missing limb while the guards manhandle one of the villagers. He calls out to the party but they don’t intervene and watch how the events unfold.

Gnoblar realises that this woman has an uncanny family resemblance to the portraits seen in Dagmar’s study.

The guards bind the man, place him on the back of a horse and begin to make their way towards the castle as the woman throws the party a cold hard stare.
Our heroes follow the woman and the guards up the path walking behind, where  Gnoblar shouts,
“You a relative of Dagmar are you?”
The woman turns her head and throws another cold, hard, stare but they continue up the path.

At this point the guys decide to stop following and head back to the centre of the village. They’ve seen a large ruined temple to the north of the village and it looks like a place of interest.

After watching a dog kill a beggar then run off with his arm, then the other beggars pick him up and carry him off, they head across the little bridge towards the temple.

The temple is the largest building in Wittgendorf, at the north of the village just over a little stream.

Werner, Rowlocks, Gnoblar, Wandy and Durak step through the foyer and into the main temple area. It’s the first time since they’ve arrived that they have had any sort of positive feeling. It’s clear upon entering the abandoned temple that it was once a temple of Sigmar, the founder of the empire who is revered as a god.

In the main room is a large alter which stands on a raised dais and behind it is a skillfully carved statue of Sigmar himself, arm raised in as though in blessing, and to either side are two strangely lit lanterns in stands.

Everyone begins to search the area and Rowlocks discovers a large key upon the alter next to a large leathebound book. Wandy comes over to look at the book and reveals that it is a retelling of the legend of Sigmar.
Whilst examining the book, Wandy notices an ancient parchment underneath. He picks it up and reads it aloud.
It describes part of the legend of Sigmar which foretells his return to save the Empire in its hour of direst need.

When Wandy finishes reading it, the lanterns flare brightly and the statue seems to glitter with intelligence and life. Wandy hears a voice, “That hour is fast approaching, will you be ready?”
“I will be ready,” replied Wandy.
Everyone looks at Wandy wondering who he’s talking to and what he is on about..
The voice replies to him, “I shall give you a sign,  go now and find the source of the chaos that has blighted my lands.”
The lanterns flare once more and the statue returns to it’s normal looking self.
Wandy is awash with flow of some sort of spiritual power and he feels strong and fearless.

Everyone else looks puzzles as Wandy begins to explain what’s just happened.

The party is just about to search through one of the two side doors when Werner takes one last look at the statue, and in a moment of inspiration he pulls at the statues raised arm. Amazingly, it pulls down, thuds and creaks can be heard and the alter begins to lower into the darkness below leaving a hole.

Everyone gathers round and peers into the darkness. They decide that Werner should light a torch and drop down and see what’s there. He’s a good climber and in no time he is beneath the temple.

It’s dark, damp and dismal and Werner is in the crypts beneath the temple. The place is smashed and ruined and remnants of former priests resting places are scattered about with gnawed human bones all over the floor. The niches where the bodies once laid are empty apart from one which remains untouched, although he does see a poorly dug tunnel at the back of one of the niches.

The untouched niche bears a plaque with some writing, but Werner can’t read so he heads back to the hole and shouts up to say what he can see.

Gnoblar jumps down and goes to investigate.

" Here lyes the body of Siegfried von Kesselring, Loyal servante of Sigmar. An honoured Templar and man of courage"
The others come down into the crypt and come to take a look. When Wandy approaches he sees the words on the plaque appear to glow.

After three, they slide off the lid of the ancient coffin.
Inside is the skeleton of a knight dressed in rusted plate. It is clear that it has been here for a long time, however, on his breast is a shining long sword sheathed in a gem encrusted scabbard which seems remarkably intact.

Wandy picks up the sword and attempts to remove the blade from its sheath, but, despite his best efforts he is unable to pull out the blade.

Gnoblar takes the sword from Wandy, closes his eyes and pulls the sword. The sword comes easily out of the scabbard and he holds it aloft. It is in perfect condition, keen edged and shiny.
Along its blade runes glow. Durak, who is in awe of the blades craftsmanship reads the dwarven runes – Barrakul – hope of the mountains. As Gnoblar moves the sword the blade seems to shift in and out of reality, with only the glowing runes visible as it flickers.
Wow. Everyone looks at it mesmerised for a few moments before Gnoblar places it back in its scabbard and the decide to move on.

At the back of the crypt a sloped tunnel raises and the decide to head that way.
It leads to an old mausoleum which is in ruins, the sarcophagi have all been opened and the corpses removed. The outward door of the mausoleum leads to the graveyard at the back of the temple. A strange fog hangs around the graveyard and the vast majority of the graves have been dug up and the corpses are gone.

With this, they decide to head back into the crypt and investigate the roughly dug tunnel Werner found. Durak points out that is is a poorly made tunnel.

They crouch down and follow the tunnel for some time before coming out, back in the village at the back of one of the shacks.

Keen to explore the other areas of the temple they haven’t yet investigated, the party head back to the temple and explore the doors to either side of the alter room inside.

The rest of the temple is mainly ruined rooms of the old priests, kitchens, store rooms and cupboards.

The only room that remains untouched is locked. Wandy uses his arcane powers to unlock it magically, and straight after they realise that the large key they found earlier fits the lock perfectly!

Once inside they discover the temple library and priests study.
There are shelves and shelves of scrolls and books that seem to be in no particular order at all. Keen to learn as much as possible, Wandy and Gnoblar, the academics of the group, set about reading through as much as possible and piecing together the information. This takes several hours.

Wandy and Gnoblar learn of the demise of the area around the castle. Once a rich area with an abundance of crops and fine wines, but following the exploits of Dagmar, the area becomes twisted, barren and mutated, plagued with storms, warped flora and fauna and eventual ruin.

After relaying the sorry tale to the others, Wandy takes the time to study the vaulted ceiling with its arcane script. It tells the history of the temple, built on the site of one of Sigmar’s legendary battles. It also details the last stand of Von Kesselring, the former owner of Gnoblar’s new sword, and how he valiantly held the temple against a horde of beastmen and chaos warriors until reinforcements arrived, fatally wounded in the process.

It’s getting late after all this research and everyone would like to get back to the safety of the Jolly Nobber for the night and consider the events of the day.

As they head back through the shit hole of a village, Durak notices someone watching them.

They see a man, who appears not to be a beggar or a poverty stricken villager, and they head over for a chat. It’s Jean Rousseaux, the village physician, and he apologises for not coming to see them earlier, and after some further pleasantries he offers them to come visit him tomorrow at his house when he’s not so busy. The party agrees and heads off back to the boat.
It’s good to be home but everyone’s a bit on edge. They takes turns on watch and Wandy places a magic alarm on the boats boarding area.

It’s an uneventful night, and after a nice breakfast from Dumpling everyone gets there stuff together and heads back out to the village for a further look around.

Once again surrounded by beggars, they head to have a look at the doctors house, although they arn’t scheduled to meet him till later, curiosity gets the better of them and they head over for a look at his house.

The house isn’t as run down as all the other shacks and they stand around and watch for a short while. They see beggars entering the back yard, and then, after a few minutes, leave carrying blue bottles. Now they think about it, they’ve seen quite a few blue bottles laying around the village in the dirt.

Just as they begin to discuss this, Wandy springs into action grabbing everyone’s attention – the boat!! The alarm is going off and they’ve specifically told Dumpling not to go near it!

Quick!! To the wharf!!

Rushing down the slope towards the wharf the gang can see a commotion at the barge. Dumpling is distressed, standing on the wharf holding Elvis while heavily armoured guards and men at arms swarm the boat. There’s twenty or so, most are mounted brandishing crossbows.

“Hey, what’s going on?” Shouts Werner, as everyone rushes to the riverside.
Immediately, crossbows are pointed at our heroes, and one of the guards, who is dressed head to toe in black plate mail responds.

“You scum have not paid the toll to use the wharf at the castle, so your boat is impounded until further notice, so I suggest you fuck off or your filthy carcasses will be feeding the crows!”

Werner is enraged, Gnoblar tries to parlay, explaining that they were unaware of the toll and they would be willing to pay, but it’s no good, the sergeant isn’t having it. Dumpling is in a state apologising, but it’s no good.

At the risk of starting a fight they cannot win, Rowlocks calms the situation, quietly saying to let them take it, they know where the barge is going and we are planning on heading to the castle at some point, we should try and get it back later.

The situation is worrying, all their belongings and supplies are on board, not to mention the small fortune hidden in the secret compartment.

The party are helpless as they watch the Jolly Nobber sail up the Reik into the distance as the guards laugh, climb back on their horses are head up the track.

Home Page
Session 17
Session 19

Session 19
A date for dinner


Everyone watches as the Jolly Nobber sails away up the Reik, confiscated by the bastard castle guards. Dumpling is beside herself and Elvis acts submissive as he looks out at the mangy dogs and beggars eyeing him up from the shacks around the wharf side.

What now?
Everyone looks solemnly at each other and they take a slow walk back up the hill to Wittgendorf village.
The party need some kind of plan and, with the meeting with the village doctor is a few hours away, they decide to go and investigate the mill in the village and then check into the pub.

After a short walk to the mill, while shooing away beggars, Werner strides up and knocks at the door. Nothing happens, so he knocks again. A short while later a man’s voice shouts for them to go away. They try to engage the occupant, saying they want to have a chat about the village goings on, but Gnoblar’s charm and Werner’s brutishness fall on deaf ears, but they don’t give up.
The bloke inside really doesn’t want to talk or let them in and, eventually, a window opens a floor up and a women shouts out, “what is your problem? Just go away! Leave us alone!”

At this point Rowlocks suggests that they should let it go and head to the pub, and they do just that.

Wandy feels a bit itchy.

The Shooting Star Inn is in poor condition, and although they’ve been in some shitholes before, this looks like the worst. They push open the door and head inside.
Herbert, the landlord, looks depressed as he polishes some tankards, and nearly manages a smile as they enter. Apart from a few locals sat at a table the place is empty. Herbert is welcoming and informs them that they are the first visitors he’s had for three years. Drinks are ordered and the gang look for the least broken, dirty table to sit at.

Herbert is chatty enough and they talk about the state of Wittgendorf, the misfortunes of the people of the area, the storms and blight of the land. They are offered the opportunity for some food, and although they lost their supplies, no one really fancies it. Wandy and the others are keen to glean any information they can about the castle but whenever it’s mentioned, the landlord remembers a job he needs to do.

After a couple of drinks they decide to head over and see Jean Rousseau, the village physician, even though they are a few hours early for their appointment.

Despite the state of Wittgendorf it’s not a bad summer’s afternoon, but the ominous silhouette of Castle Wittgenstien looms in, dominating the horizon and darkening the mood. Theres got to be some way into the castle and the doctor seems like the most normal person in the area, so hopes are high for the meeting.

Wandy feels even Itchier now and he asks Doc Gnoblar to take a look. It doesn’t take Gnoblar long to discern that he’s caught lice, probably from a beggar. Everyone takes a few steps back from Wandy.

Werner knocks at the door, and after a little while an elderly lady pulls open the door and stares quizzically over the tops of her spectacles. She’s clearly deaf, and after the fact that they have an appointment with the doctor has been shouted over to her, she shuts the door and disappears for a moment.

She comes back, shows the party into the surgery room and informs them that Mr Rousseau will be along shortly to meet them. Dumpling, Durak and Elvis take a seat on the couch at the back of the room and Wandy, Rowlocks, Gnoblar and Werner sit in the wooden chairs opposite the desk.

The place is quiet and as they wait, Werner suggests that they have a quick rummage round the room before he gets here, be able to hear him coming!
He is quickly over ruled, this might be the only decent lead to getting into the castle, and none of the others want to get into any trouble at this point, so begrudgingly, Werner leaves it and they all wait for the doctor.

After five minutes or so in comes Jean Rousseau, the village physician. He smiles at his guests and takes his place at the desk.

Discussions are pleasant, Rousseau asks about the visitors back stories and intentions and they in turn ask about local conditions and topical events. Jean Rousseau seems to be doing his best to help the local afflicted and when asked about the blue bottled liquid, he explains that it’s a concoction of his divising and it seems to give much needed pain relief.

Things are going well and Rousseau invites them through the door behind him to a more comfortable study room, and brandy and cigars are brought while they continue to talk. They discuss the downward spiral of the village of Wittgendorf, the storms and general bleakness of the area.

Feeling trust building, the party start to assure the doctor that they are here to help and they have vested interest turning round the fortunes of the village. Discussions of the castle and its inhabitants lead to Rousseau offering to host a dinner party the following evening, where the gang can meet with his friend – Lady Magritte from the castle.
He assures them that Lady Magritte is wonderful lady, who does her best to help the people of Wittgendorf under difficult conditions and that she will be able to answer all of their questions, and also sort out the obvious mix up with the impounding of the barge.

Happy with this arrangement, everyone’s finishes their brandy and bids farewell to Dr Rousseau, telling him that they will see him for dinner tomorrow.

As they walk back towards the inn, everyone has a chat about the meeting and how this might be a way in to the castle itself.

Whilst approaching the main village crossroads across from the inn they are approaching by a distressed woman, she is crying and wailing and she is carrying a baby wrapped in linen.
“Please help me!” She begs. She implores the party to try and help her baby, she has become sick and taken a strange tinge, Rousseau has also been no help. Her husband was also taken to the castle yesterday and everyone  realises that this was the man who was captured by Magritte when they first arrived.

Everyone looks at Gnoblar, Gnoblar says, “ok, let’s take a look.”

She hands him the baby and he holds it carefully as he unwraps its cloths.

As soon as Gnoblar sees the baby, his stomach lurches and he almost drops it as horrifying sight greets him. The baby is green and furry and has sprouted 8 legs, its slowly mutating into a spider and will probably be dead by morning.

Despite his physician training, Gnoblar feels feint and sick and hands back the baby. He explains that there is nothing that can be done and as harrowing as the woman’s screams are, they leave her crying on the floor and head to the inn.

The Shooting Star inn is as deserted as it was earlier. “Ahh, back so soon,” declares Herbert and grabs some tankards.

They decide that they have had enough for one day, and as it’s getting late now that they would have a drink and stay at the Inn. They negotiate a price and check in to a large mouldy broken room. Although no one has eaten much recently, they decline the innkeepers offer of food and settle down for the night and plan tomorrow.

It’s another fine summer’s morning, but there’s an unnatural gloom to Wittgendorf that can be seen from the Inns freshly unshuttered bedroom window.

Downstairs for a liquid breakfast, once again declining the offer of Herbert the innkeepers fayre, everyone chats about the day ahead.

They’ve no boat, no supplies and only what they were carrying when the Nobber was impounded. They decide that the dinner party later with Jean Rousseau and Lady Magritte is key to their entry to the castle, the recovery of the meteorite and to get back the barge.

With no leads or ideas as to what to do, and all obvious places in Wittgendorf explored they opt to keep a low profile and stay in the pub till later on before the dinner party.
Fearing that Dumpling and Elvis may be a liability, and in case of any trouble, they negotiate a fee to keep the room on for a couple of nights so that they can stay out of the way until they have more of a plan.

Although Dumpling doesn’t want to stay on her own in this place, she would rather that, than head out with the adventurers, so she reluctantly agrees to watch Elvis at the pub and Gnoblar assures her that they will be back to get her as soon as they have sorted all this out.

Afternoon turns to early evening and Werner, Rowlocks, Wandy, Gnoblar and Durak head on up to the doctors house for their dinner date.

They’re arrive at the docs and a knock at the door brings Rousseau’s elderly housekeeper shuffling along. She shows them in, but this time they are shown straight through to the study.

Upon entry, they are greeted by Jean Rousseau, who stands to welcome them in.
“Ah welcome gentlemen, let me introduce you to Lady Magritte.” Sat in one of the comfortable armchairs is the young and beautiful noble lady who they saw on the horse the day they arrived. The cold stare previously seen, has turned to a warm smile as she stands to greet the guests.

Everyone formally introduces themselves and takes to a chair for brandy and cigars. Small talk ensues and the party are polite yet inquisitive as they discuss the local area.
The conversation soon turns to the impounding of their barge. After hearing the details of the events of the previous Lady Magritte is very apologetic and explains that this must be some kind of misunderstanding and that she will rectify the situation as soon as possible.

“Sergent Kratz can sometimes be a little..over zealous”

The doors to the study open and Frau, the housekeeper, shows everyone through to the dining room.

Everyone sits down at the large table and the smell of the delicious food makes everyone’s mouth water. The party haven’t had a proper meal for days now and are looking forward it.

Frau brings through various small starter plates before the roast pork and all the trimmings, breads, sauces and vegetables.

Spirits are high and the mood pleasant as conversation with Lady Magritte and Rousseau continues.
Gnoblar asks about the Von Wittgenstein family and explains that that’s what he was shouting the other day, as she looked like a picture he’d seen. They begin to explain further, telling the doctor and Magritte about the curse on the land, the warp stone meteorite, and the fact that they can help. Lady Magritte insists she knows nothing of warp stones and meteors but she will help the party as much as she can.

The noble lady is keen to hear all about their travels and they tell her of Dagmar’s library and observatory, the journals and notes they have used to lead them to here.
They show Lady Magritte the notes, maps and journal entries hey have discovered in Dagmar’s observatory and she pours over them.
She appears to be amazed and full of wonder at the parties discoveries, and they arrange to bring them up to the castle the next day so Lady Magritte can make copies of her great, great grandfathers notes and that they can get their boat back.

Rowlocks asks about the person who they had strung up to the back of a horse when they first arrived.  Magritte clarifies that this was a criminal, a man who stole food when food is a important commodity. He was taken to the castle to be locked up for a few weeks, then he would be released and hopefully he would have learnt his lesson.

With nice food, good conversation, Bretonnian brandy, cigars and pleasant surroundings, it’s easy to forget the bleakness of the last few days.
After dessert and drinks, Lady Magritte excuses herself while she goes to powder her nose and Jean Rousseau talks through the difficulties of working with the people of Wittgendorf.

A short while later, Werner and Wandy start to feel slightly drowsy. Rowlocks and Durak start to feel a sensation of muscle loss and Gnoblar feels uneasy.

Jean Rousseau smiles, pushes his chair back and stands up,
“I am sorry gentlemen,” he says as he takes a few steps back and raises his arms.

At this moment the door to the hallway opens, and swiftly through comes four of the castles guards, complete with full black plate armor.

The food.

Rowlocks and Durak are paralyzed in their seats. Werner and Wandy are overcome with drowsiness but still functioning. Gnoblar, with his extensive medical and pharmaceutical background is unaffected by the poison, although he notices what’s going on around him and fakes drowsiness.

The guards immediately split down either side of the table and grab Wandy and Werner.
Werner hasn’t had a fight for a while and he’s about ready for one.

Gnoblar is first to act. He steps up, draws Barrakul and heads to one of the guards grabbing Wandy, who is trying to deal with the guards grapple.
Werner powers his way through the guards grasp, shakes them off and draws his axe and slices it into one of the guards legs.

Wandy slips out of the guards hold and takes a few steps back grabbing his staff. The armored soldiers draw their swords and the battle is on. One smashes his blade towards Werner but Werner dodges the blow.

Even though Werner is drowsy, he launches his axe in a side swipe and it clangs through the armor and blood runs down the black plate.

Durak and Rowlocks can only watch the carnage as their bodies refuse to respond.

Gnoblar tries once again to slash the guard with his magical blade but it swings wildly past. The soldier returns a blow but it narrowly swipes past Gnobar’s arm.

The guard who has lost grip of Wandy, draws his sword, lunges forward and the tip pierces Wandy’s arm and he wince at the pain, it’s a good strike and he is hurt.

Wandy thinks on his feet and his poison enduced sleepiness doesn’t stop him reacting. It’s a long shot, but if he can hit the guard he can sleep him. As his foe withdraws the sword from the wound Wandy grabs his arm, closes his eyes for a split second and the guard falls to the floor fast asleep.

Werner is fighting down the other side of the table and he has two soldiers on him. He roars with rage and swings directly at the one on the right and his trusty axe slashes through the plate. Not finished there, he spins backwards and straight round to the other, hitting him with a backhand. Both cry out in pain.

Jean Rousseau stands worriedly at the far end of the table surveying the scene.

Gnoblar, with one of the guards down on his side, turns and moves over to Rowlocks to see if he can rouse him. He gives him a few slaps but it’s no good.

Wandy fends off the warrior on his side as the melee continues on Werner’s side of the table.

Jean Rousseau, with the subduing of the party not going so well, draws his rapier and heads to Gnoblar. Gnoblar sees him coming and grabs Barrakul and the doctors face off against each other.

Werner is beginning to overpower the enemies on his side as one drops to the ground dead from Werner’s mighty blow.

Wandy powerblasts wind at the guard on his side and pins him to the wall.

Gnoblar and Jean go head to head, but the doctor’s rapier is finding it hard to parry Gnoblar’s sword as it shifts in and out of reality. They exchange blows and Rousseau’s quick rapier nicks Gnoblar’s hip.

Werner slices through the remaining guard on his side, killing him and leaving an expanding pool of blood on the carpet.

The guard on the other side, turns from Wandy and starts to run at Gnoblar’s exposed back.

Werner sees him going, sees Gnoblar battling Rousseau, and goes for the intercept.
In a flash, he goes from chair to table and then, like the hero he is, launches himself through the air, two hands on his axe handle, high above his head and brings the pain down with massive force onto the unsuspecting soldier.

Werner, now covered in blood, sets his sights on Jean Rousseau who is fighting Gnoblar. Gnoblar is wounded and Werner intends to bring an end to the battle of the doctors.

Jean Rousseau is no match for Werner. The unarmoured doctor can only attempt to deflect the brute force of the incoming bounty hunter. It’s no good as Werner’s axe powers through his meagre defense and buries itself into his side. The doctor slumps to the floor nearly in pieces.

Werner is not finished yet, he runs over to the sleeping guard and mercilessly executes him.

Everyone looks round at the dining room. The place is now smashed up, chairs overturned, bodies and blood lay around.

With the room and doors secure, the able members of the group take stock, inspect their wounds and look round.

Shortly after, Durak and Rowlocks are able to move and Gnoblar has a look at peoples wounds.

A plan is required and discussions ensue. Lady Magritte has escaped and although she doesn’t know the outcome of events, she knows where they are and it won’t take long for her to figure out the rest.
Although patched up, Wandy is seriously hurt and Werner and Gnoblar have injuries.
They decide they can’t go back to the inn, and they will probably be seen leaving the house. With nowhere else to go they choose to hold up at the doctors house, secure the perimeter and hold out through the night and hopefully Wandy can recover some magic after a rest and Gnoblar can have a look at his wounds in the morning. Right, to search and secure the house.

Outside of the dining room, in the corridor, is the housekeeper, feinted and laying on the floor. They leave her there for a moment and explore the rest of the house.

They turn over the study and find a letter from Magritte to Rousseau. It’s clear that Magritte has been supplying Rousseau with something which he in turn has been giving to the villagers.

Inside a cabinet Wandy finds a pottery jar containing what looks like unusual leeches, of many colours and wierd little faces. He immediately shuts the lid and puts them back.

In the study they find further correspondence between Magritte and Rousseau. They conclude that they are in cahoots, using experimental procedures on the villagers with whatever Magritte is supplying him with, and that the doctor is in love with Magritte and he easily complies with her wishes.

The bottom floor is clear and they decide to look down into the cellar via a nearly hidden doorway.

The scent of decay wafts from the depths of the cellar. As always, Werner lights up and torch and is first down into the darkness.
A buzzing mass can be seen at the end of the room. As they draw closer they can see that it is thousands of big black flys. The flys swarm around a body. It’s been mutilated and abused. It once had four arms that have been sawn off and buckets of blood and mess lay around under the bench. It’s a grotesque scene.

On a table nearby, various tubes, funnels and bits and bobs lay around and Rowlocks takes a look. One of the vials has a strange black swirling dust inside. Concerned about opening it, and unsure of what it contains they pocket it to inspect later. In one corner of the cellar is a poorly crafted door. Upon opening it, they see a roughly hewn passage and Durak says it looks like similar shoddy craftsmanship to the ones they found the other day in the village. They close it and exit the cellar back up the stairs.

Upstairs are three bedrooms. One for Rousseau, one for the housekeeper and another. They carry the housekeeper upstairs and as she comes round they tell her to remain quiet and Wandy magically locks the door with her inside.

With the house secure, the shutters are drawn, the lights are dimmed and Gnoblar sets up in the surgery to try and sort out peoples wounds. He has a look, but in his wounded state he is finding it difficult. He cant manage to tend to his own wounds, but he does administer some pills to the others.

While Gnoblar sets up surgery, Werner and Rowlocks go to have a look at the back yard.
In the yard is a small shack. they hear whistling and as they approach and peep inside, they can see a grotty still, lots of blue bottles and a man happily working away. This must be where Rousseau has been producing the Rotgut for the villagers.
They decide to not cause a fuss and leave him to it, heading back inside and locking the doors.

As they sit round the surgery and discuss what their next moves can be, they hear a knocking and shouting at the back door. It’s the man from the shed.

Werner creeps up the hall, stands behind where the door will open and unflicks the lock.

In walks a strange looking man with funny stubby fingers. As he walks past Werner, Werner shuts the door and he turns to face him.

After a few seconds the man is a gibbering non sensicle mess. It doesn’t take Werner long to realise the man is an imbecile who can barely talk. Werner knocks him out easily and he is then locked inside the other bedroom. They now have two hostages.

What to do. It’s evening time. Gnoblar has an option to tend to his wounds. He can take one of his herbal remedies, which will sort him out, but it will put him to sleep for 24 hours. As drastic as it is, this seems like the only option. At some point the guards will come, and being already wounded will be a massive disadvantage. They just hope they can hunker down until that happens. He takes his pill.
Wandy tries to get some rest and the others take watch throughout the night.

Early in the morning, the villagers start banging on the back gate door, obviously keen to get today’s fix of Rotgut. No one does anything and eventually they leave, but they will be sure to return.

Werner, Rowlocks and Durak are stationed at the upstairs windows and are continually watching in all directions expecting trouble at any moment. Magritte must surely have worked out now that the party have spoiled the plan and that her guards and maybe the doctor are dead.

Sure enough, a detachment of guards can be seen in the distance heading down from the castle.

Outside on the street there are already soldiers patrolling around harassing the villagers and beggars, although these ones don’t seem to be coming to the docs house.

They are in the street outside of the house and everyone watches through the slits in the shutters.
“Where are they?” they shout, “are they in the woods?” As they grab an old man and rough him up. A small crowd gathers and beg the guard to let the guy go.

“If none of you are gonna talk maybe the fate of this old git will encourage you to be more helpful.” They beat the man and the villagers are too fearful to act.
Werner is upset by this scene and is itching to get out there, but he is talked down as this may blow their cover and they’re not in a good position for a fight.

They can only watch as the old man is strung up to a tree and his wrists are slit.

The soldiers from the castle are now in the village, spreading out and throwing the villagers around and busting into their already broken houses.

It’s only a matter of time now. They are heading to the doctor’s house and doing a clean sweep of the village as they come.

Shit. A new plan is needed quick. Wandy and Werner are wounded and Gnoblar is unconscious. After a swift discussion they plan their escape through the tunnel in the cellar. They quickly grab their things, Werner picks up Gnoblar and they head down into the cellar, squeeze into the roughly dug mud tunnel with a torch and shut the door behind them.

Home Page
Session 18
Session 20

Session 20
Into the darkness


The tunnel is cramped, damp and dark. Rowlocks strikes up a torch and the bare earth of the roughly excavated passage is visible.
With the search of the village enclosing on the physician’s house there is only one option. Durak, with his keen low light vision, offers to scout ahead while the party follow on behind. He’s perfect for the job with his mining experience and his short stature.

Rowlocks leads the party, while Wandy follows closely behind, with Werner carrying the unconscious Gnoblar at the back.

It’s not easy going, but after about 20 minutes, Durak returns saying there’s an opening up ahead to the surface.

Daylight can be seen up ahead. Werner pops his head through some bushes and discovers that the tunnel has brought them north and they are in the graveyard of the Temple of Sigmar.

Right, the plan is, hide out in the Temple until and if the guards come this way. If they do, the gang will head out into the graveyard and if necessary head into the ‘not very inviting at all’ nearby woodland.

Werner slowly opens the back door and heads into the corridor into the room where Wandy and Gnoblar studied the village records a few days earlier. Everyone follows closely behind.

Upon opening the door, Werner is greeted by a group of eight or so village beggars, although these ones look particularly scrawny, dirty and mutated and are carrying bits of bone.

They look at him and he looks at them in a few moments of confusion. One of the beggars shouts out, “You cant have anymore food!”
Werner assures them he doesn’t want their food and after a brief exchange they begin to shuffle off into the front area of the temple as both parties suspiciously eye each other.

Maybe we should kill them incase they blow our cover? But wanting to keep a low profile and not cause a disturbance they let them go and take up residence in the room, which also has the only front facing window. Werner, who is still carrying Gnoblar, lays him down and Rowlocks climbs up to take position in the front window.

The scrawny beggars can be seen leaving through the front door and dispersing, but thankfully they don’t head to alert the guards and sneak off down the river.

Werner heads to stand outside the back door to watch the tunnel entrance, Durak waits just inside, Rowlocks watches the town through the window and Wandy stands near the still unconscious Gnoblar.

The guards can be seen sweeping the town and they’re inside the doctors house. It’s only a matter of time now before they find the bodies – and probably the tunnel.

A short while later, outside the back of the temple, Werner hears a loud whisper.

“Hey, you idiots, come here, quickly, and shhh!”
The voice is coming from a secluded patch of shrubs and bushes in the graveyard.

Surprised as this, Werner is unsure of what to do. “Who is it? What do you want?” He replies in an equally loud whisper.

“Just hurry, get the others and hurry!”
He tries to shout Durak, but Durak is inside and doesn’t hear him.

Deciding he’s got nothing to lose he heads over. He’s surprised to see the woman from the mill who rudely sent them away a few days ago.
“You and your friends are really fucking things up, the guards are smashing up the village and beating the locals, hurry, get the others and follow me..”
With this, and a new sense of urgency, he heads inside and informs everyone of what’s happening. Sensing a lifeline, it doesn’t take long for everyone to grab their stuff, pick up Gnoblar and head out the back door. Before they know it they are heading into the woods at pace, trying to keep up with the woman. Although they don’t particularly trust her, this seems like the best option at the moment.

The forest is bleak and putrid fungus and strange insects can be seen. It feels dark and suffocating, the roots of the trees seem to grasp at their legs whilst never being seen to move.

After about twenty minutes or so they noise from the village disappears into the distance and the party shout, “Wait a minute! What’s going on here?”
She stops and they catch up. Her name is Hilda and she is working with a gang of outlaws that are hiding in the forest. She doesn’t know what the adventurers are doing, but it’s clear that they are not on the side of the Wittgensteins. She does tell them that she thinks they’re fools and they have brought the might of the castle down unnecessarily on the village, having killed Jean Rousseau and caused a major fuss, but she will take them to the outlaw camp so they can speak to the boss.

Spirits are elevated now and the party feel like this feels like a long overdue piece of good fortune.

Hilda moves fast through the undergrowth and is always looking behind her. After a while they reach an area that looks like normal forest, untouched by the blight that surrounds Wittgendorf, Hilda explains that the outlaw camp is protected by the goddess Rhya, although the protection won’t last forever. She tells them to stay close and step where she steps, the routes in are heavily trapped. They follow close behind and soon break into a small clearing with shelters and huts and people.

As soon as they step in bows are pointing at them from all angles. The outlaws see Hilda and relax slightly, but still point their bows.

She leads the group into the centre of the clearing and they are met by the outlaw chief.

The outlaw chief is a tall, strong and beautiful looking woman. She speaks to Hilda for a few moments and then turns to the visitors, “My name is Sigrid, welcome to our camp. Enemies of the Wittgensteins are friends of ours. Come, let us talk.” She turns and heads into a wooden hut in the centre of the clearing and the guys follow and sit down.

It’s herbal teas all round and a much needed sensation of sanctuary for the party. A long discussion takes place with Hilda and Sigrid. Sigrid explains that about 18 months ago her husband was taken to the castle. During the incident Sigrid killed a guard and escaped to the forest. Since then, people who have escaped the village have made their way to the camp and they now number about thirty. They have been hitting the guards by guerilla warfare in small ambushes but haven’t really made much of an impact. In turn our heroes explain the course of events that have led them to Wittgendorf, and that they seek to destroy the great evil that is kept there. This would in turn, free the village and end the misfortunes of the local community. Discussions continue late into the evening and eventually Gnoblar comes round.

Sigrid warns of entering the castle, it’s a place of madness and death, but the party insist they must go. She wants to help, this might be the outlaws best chance to turn the tide, although an frontal assault on a castle, particularly one like Wittgenstein, is not an option. They convince her that there must be a way. She tells them of a possible way in through a cave system she knows of, although she has been too afraid to travel far inside, but she will lead them there so that they can recon the situation.

Everyone rests up for the night, and in the morning, Rowlocks, Durak and Werner will head into the caves for a look.

The next morning, it’s another nice summer’s day and everyone has enjoyed their rest in the relative safety of the camp. Gnoblar and Wandy make themselves at home while the others pack their backpacks and get ready to head out to the caves with Sigrid.

Sigrid moves swiftly and carefully through the forest and although Rowlocks finds moving through the undergrowth reasonably easy, Werner and Durak are not so successful. After a while they are clear of the natural forest, protected by goddess Rhya, and back in the gloom of the Wittgendorf trees.

As they get closer, Sigrid gives directions and leaves them to it and heads back to camp, as she is reluctant to enter the cave network.  Shortly after they find the dark, narrow, hidden entrance to the caves, which has been concealed by bushes.

The cave is dark and damp, and slopes downward into the earth. Durak’s low light vision puts him on point and Rowlocks and Werner follow close behind by the light of Werner’s torch.

After about 5 yards or so a deep grunting, bellowing sound can be heard ahead. They shuffle forward and the grunting is joined by a high pitched squeal. This sets everyones teeth on edge and the atmosphere is tense. They stick close together with their weapons drawn.

The situation is unnerving and they quickly realise why Sigrid didn’t want to come. The tunnels twist and turn, the T-junctions and off passageways all look the same. 

They stumble into a open area and the remains of a human skeleton can be seen. While they investigate the area, a blood curdling scream reverberates around the caves and Werner and Rowlocks look at each other. It’s too much, they’re both overwhelmed with desire to get the hell out of here and begin to panic. Durak, who is very experienced at being underground, grabs them and calms them down. Although Werner and Rowlocks have lost their cool they manage to override the urge to flee after Durak’s pep talk and they push further on.

As they come to a tunnel crossroads, Durak steps forward and two razor toothed lash worms whip out of holes in the wall. Durak is quick to react but one manages to take a chunk out of his arm.

They opt to head in a forward but right kind of way and before long they find themselves in a cavern filled with many types of glowing fungus and mushrooms. They carefully step through without touching anything.

A few further twists and turns and Durak stops and points ahead. There’s another cavern ahead and they can see four strange luminous outlines ahead.

Weapon grips are adjusted and within seconds the adventurers are rushed by huge rats.
The battle is short as Werner and Rowlocks cut through the rodents of unusual size, but during the melee Durak sustains a bite to the face and it looks nasty. It stings a bit, but he shakes it off and they push on.

They continue through the dark, hoping to find a way up to the castle, but before they know it they are back at the first T-junction they came to.
After a few hours in the caves and with the opportunity to leave right in front of them, they decide to head back to the camp, get the others and get Gnoblar to take a look at Durak’s bite mark.

They exit the caves, much to Werner and Rowlocks’ relief, and slowly and carefully head back through the forest to the outlaw camp.

By the time they reach camp, the bite mark on Durak’s cheek is swollen, inflamed and painful. Gnoblar takes a look, and although it’s definitely infected, he doesn’t know specifically what the problem is. He dresses it the best he can and Durak has a lay down.

Another restful night around the campfire of the outlaws is a welcome respite. Although there is a slight edge, knowing that the party have been highly sought after by the castle’s guards. Sigrid is concerned that this heightened state and the death of the village doctor and the recent events at Wittgendorf may drive the search further into the forest and nearer to the camp.
The caves are discussed and the Werner and Rowlocks are keen to head back in with the others, feeling braver now they’re not in the caves. As disturbing as the trip was, finding a successful path through to the castle is much preferred to the other options available.

In the morning, the guys pack their rucksacks and head back through the forest to the network of caves, once again initially escorted by Sigrid.

Werner, Durak, Gnoblar, Wandy and Rowlocks step through the entrance, light their torches and head into the darkness.

The caves are confusing and disturbing. Straight away blood curdling screams can be heard, reverberating from all directions, strange sucker marks are visible on the walls and the sounds on rocks cracking together and splashes and drops of water seem to come from all round.
Werner, Durak and Rowlocks have a good idea of the area they travelled around yesterday, particularly Durak. They avoid the lash worms, dangerous footings and steadily bring everyone through the caves until they reach some forks they haven’t been down before.

They have the uneasy feeling they are being watched and at some points Gnoblar swears he can see a face up in the darkness of the caverns but when he looks again it’s not there.

Strength in numbers gives Rowlocks and Werner a better outlook than last time but everyone can’t wait to get out of here.

Before long they come to an underground stream. The stream is easily jumped, but as everyone is making their way across, Werner notices that the downstream opening is little bit larger than the part where the stream enters the cave.

They stop to discuss it, could this be a way through the cave that may be overlooked? Possibly, but no one fancies taking off their armor, jumping into a stream in a cave network and swimming an undetermined length underwater in the pitch black in the hope that it opens to a breathing space. Werner thinks about it, it strikes him as an opportunity, but even he doesn’t want to risk it. They push on.

They’ve been here for hours now, a few times they have ended up back at the cave entrance. They have been attacked by bats, Gnoblar has taken some mushroom samples, but they have not found a way into the castle. They sit by torchlight and map out the directions they’ve taken. They discuss the stream once again but it’s too risky. The screams and noises continue and the party are discussing maybe calling it. After a second look at the stream they head north and determine that they have not yet been right at the next T-junction.

Durak heads off into the darkness, shortly after he calls back, “Come, this way!”

At last!

At the back of the tunnel is a roughly hewn staircase that ascends. This is exactly what they are looking for and with a sigh of relief they head up. It climbs for about 200 feet. The top leads to a featureless square room. Rowlocks feels round the ceiling and sure enough, ‘click’ and a trapdoor swings down.
Werner peeps his head quietly up,and low and behold, they are in a ruined outhouse of the outer keep of Castle Wittgenstein.

Everyone quietly creeps up and stations themselves behind the broken walls and takes in the scene.

They sit in silence and remain for a while and take in as much information from the stake out as possible. A variety of buildings line the inner walls of the castle. A large inner keep, stables, workhouse and other ruined buildings. Mutated beggars shuffle round the courtyard, they look much worse than the Wittgendorf beggars. They are filthy and close to death, mumbling insanities. One beggar with three eyes and no nose wanders past their position clutching a half eaten green potatoe.
Guards can be seen on the walls and walking through the buildings from the main gate and on patrols. Its difficult to ascertain how many there are without entering the buildings, but what is clear is that they seem pretty relaxed.

After what feels like long enough, they steadily creep back down the staircase and replace the trapdoor. The findings are great news and they need to get back and tell Sigrid and the others.

They carefully note the directions that have been taken and find their way back to the entrance.

It’s getting late and the light is fading, it’s time to get back. The group moves through the blighted forest swiftly and quietly.
Rowlocks is on point and he turns and signals for everyone to get down in the undergrowth and points northwards. From their position in the trees they can see a detachment of guards moving through the forest on a small track, they are heading their way.

They see Sergent Kratz on horseback and six other heavily armoured men-at-arms. Kratz the bastard, he impounded the boat. A short whispered conversation ensues, and although they want revenge on Kratz they decide that now isn’t the time and they should remain hidden and let them pass.

As they draw nearer, what they haven’t noticed is the beastman ahead of the soldiers, sniffing his way through the forest guiding the others.
As he pulls level, he looks up, smells the air, stares straight at where the adventurers are and let’s out a bestial roar. Snarling and pointing he cries back to Kratz and the others.

They immediately stare straight at the bushes where everyone is hidden. The cover is blown.

Home Page
Session 19
Session 21

Session 21
A storm on the horizon


The beastman lets out another blood curdling bestial roar and the hairs on everyones necks stand on end.

Immediately, adrenaline pumps through the concealed party’s veins. The plan to stay hidden and let them past is gone, and Kratz and the detachment of guards stare straight into the patch of undergrowth where the guys are buried.

Rowlocks, ranger of the woods, is in his natural environment and silently, with his elven bow in hand, peels off to the left through the trees hoping for a vantage point.

Gnoblar stands firmly behind Werner and weighs up his options, waiting to see what the guards do.

Sergeant Kratz pulls out his flail and draws his horse up next to the beastman, peering into the trees.

Wandy sees his opportunity while the remaining guards are all stood together on the little forest track, closes his eyes for a second, focuses. An almighty fireball comes bursting out of the darkness of the tree cover and winds it’s way through the trunks and smashes into the group.

They are caught completely off guard and were not expecting it, but they are lucky this time and, although dramatic, the fireball causes little damage.

Cover is now completely blown and four of the six guards brush off the magical attack  and head towards the source of the fireball, whilst the other two hang back with their crossbows searching for a target in the trees.

Werner takes a step forward and braces for the incoming attack, hoping to take the heat ahead of Wandy and Gnoblar.

At that moment, the beastman heads into the group with his spear held high. Durak steps forward alongside Werner and smashes the beastman on the intercept.

Rowlocks nocks an arrow into his elven bow and let’s loose, but it whistles through the trees and past the crossbow man he’s aiming at.

Before the four men-at-arms reach Werner and Durak, Wandy takes another chance at hitting them with a fireball. Once again, it comes raging though the trees and smashes into the group but causes almost no damage, and they head straight into Werner.

Werner and Durak and fighting side by side against the four guards and the beastman, with Kratz incoming on his horse. Two of the guards hang back with crossbows loaded.

It’s at this point, now they’re in close quarters, that they notice the stench. An overwhelming, putrid stench eminates from the soldiers from within their black plate mail. It’s stomach turning and distracting, almost making the melee fighters sick and affecting their game but they continue to battle.

The archers at the rear spot Rowlocks in the trees firing from the flank. One of the crossbow bolts skims past Rowlocks and slams into a tree trunk, the other does not. The other is a perfect shot, it flies true and with all possible force and blasts into Rowlock’s arm finding a gap in the chain mail links. Rowlocks staggers backwards and reels in pain.

Kratz now drives his horse into the melee and cracks his flail down on Durak’s helmet, almost knocking him off balance and hurting him. Werner swings again at the two guards in front of him, but his bulk and size amongst the trees are making it difficult, and he misses with both blows.

Before the Beastman is able to thrust forward with his horns and spear, Durak swings his hand axe in a clean backward and forward series of blows. The axehead slices open the belly of the beast, and the beast drops to the floor on top of his emptying guts.

Kratz rears his horse round to face Werner and delivers a series of swings with his flail. Werner is able to dodge one but is caught on the back foot as the metal flail heads crash into his shoulder.

Wandy and Gnoblar are just behind the frontline and take their chances to fire on the crossbowmen at the back. Gnoblar has been loading his crossbow and fires at the archer who shot Rowlocks, but it flies off into the trees. Wandy unleashes another fireball and this time it hits its target causing some serious pain.

The guards to Werner’s right, continue to pound away, looking for a gap in his defense, but most of these attacks clang away on his magic shield or glance across his chain armor.

With the beastman down, and although he’s wounded, Durak faces Kratz, who in turn, is attacking Werner. Being a dwarf is not helping Durak and it’s difficult to hit Kratz who is heavily armored and riding a horse. With this is mind, the plucky dwarf decides to slash into the horse in an attempt to bring it down.

With blood pouring from his bolt wound, Rowlocks drops his bow, draws his sword and charges at the closest crossbowman. He swings in vain and the sword edge does not connect.

Werner rains blows at Kratzs whilst holding the guards to the right on his shield arm. Kratz manages to parry an incoming blow and he’s now on the defensive.

Wandy sends out another fireball from the back to the lone crossbow man, hitting him again and knocking him back, he’s singed and wounded.

Durak tries to lay another hit onto Kratz’s horse, he misses the horse and wounds Kratz in the leg.

Rowlocks thrusts his long sword at the crossbow man he’s fighting. The blade goes straight through his defense and runs him through, piercing into his chest. Rowlocks withdraws his blood soaked sword as his foe drops to the ground.

Gnoblar sees the remaining, smoking crossbowman, draws his vorpal blade and charges straight at him. Barrakul, ‘Hope of the Mountains’ does not let him down. With all his might the blade shimmers in and out of reality, flickering through his opponents helmet and coming back into reality inside his skull. He slices the head clean off, and it drops to the floor in pieces.

Wandy, with Rowlocks and Gnoblar dealing with the crossbowman to his right, turns his attention the four guards who are trying to overpower Werner’s flank. He manoeuvres to the side and hits them with a wind blast, knocking them off balance and giving Werner an opening.

Werner takes his chance and his axe whirrs into Kratz’s plate and he let’s out a deep growl. Kratz attempts to return the blow but Werner dodges to the side.

Durak is struggling with the overpowering smell but also sees his chance, and with Kratz busy with Werner he buries his weapon deep into his horses hind legs and it drops to the floor, blood gushing, he jumps aside and Kratz rolls onto the ground and Durak slashes him on the way past.

Rowlocks, invigorated by his kill, charges into the fray, he swings twice at a guard but the arm wound is taking its toll and he misses.

Kratz is up and goes toe-to-toe with Werner, the massive powerhouses square off and Kratz smashes an almighty blow with his flail right at Werner’s chest. If it connects it will surely open him up, but Werner is too quick and brings his magical shield round to deflect the blow. What Werner isn’t expecting is an even mightier backswing following the parry. He’s not quick enough for this one, time seems to slow as the heavy metal ends of the flail head straight for his face. At that moment, by the freak chance of fate, Werner catches his foot on a rogue tree root and stumbles back and onto the floor, an accident that has surely saved his life, as the deadly ends of the flail nick the edge of his chin.

Kratz stands for a moment in disbelief. Durak is in a battle rage, covered in blood and screams right into Kratz’s side delivering a series of powerful blows that the sergeant can’t deal with. His axe finds it’s way through a gap in the black plate and lodges itself into Kratzs hip. He screams, drops his weapons, staggers for a moment and falls to the floor dead. Durak isn’t finished yet and his next swing cuts into one of the remaining guards killing him too.

Wandy wind blasts the final two guards into place as they try to power themselves out of the blast. Werner gets to his feet tries to finish them but misses, his swing affected by the wind.

Rowlocks and Gnoblar head over to the last couple of foes, but its Durak who has the final say. With two almighty smashes of his blood stained axe he drops them to the floor. It’s over.

Each of them stands for a moment and takes stock. Everyone is battered, bruised and bloody, but still standing. Werner, Rowlocks and Durak are heavily injured. Adrenaline wears off and they look round the massacre. What a battle.

After Gnoblar checks everyones wounds and they look over the carnage around them, they are keen to get back to camp as quickly as possible. They pile the bodies and weapons under trees and make note of where they are. They grab what weapons they can carry and Rowlocks guides them as quickly as they can go back to the outlaw camp.

The heroes stagger into camp and are quickly met by their outlaw friends who grab their packs and weapons and help them to comfort. They’re wounded and dazed, but safe. Their pains are tended to as best as possible and the exhausted party get some rest as Sigrid says they can talk tomorrow.

The sun is up and the camp is busy by the time everyone gets up. They head to Sigrid’s hut and everyone gathers round for a serious debrief. The party tell all: the trip through the caves; the reconnaissance inside the castle; the battle with Kratz and his detachment and making it back. There is much to discuss and they spend most of the day talking to Sigrid, Hilda and the other outlaws about what they have learnt.

Sigrid sends out some outlaws to retrieve what they can from the fallen soldiers, they return some time later with their helmets. It’s obviously been quite disturbing removing them as the soldiers had literally melded with their armor.

It will take a few days at least for everyone to get their strength back, and a multitude of different plans are made about how to infiltrate and invade the castle.

Maps are drawn, plans are made, scrapped and remade, options explored and many things are discussed. Could we open the gates to let the outlaws in from the inside with the new secret route? Could we dress as guards with the helmets and move around unseen? Beggars perhaps? Could we get to the walls and lower ropes? Should it be stealth or all guns blazing?

A few days pass while the party heals up. A fully formed plan is on the horizon. The plan is for the outlaws to hide in the trees outside of the main castle gates, while everyone else enters through the secret staircase into the outer bailey. Once inside, stealth will be used to secure the outer gatehouse, once secured and set, the outlaws will flood into the outer castle and overpower the castle soldiers.

Sigrid always has her outlaws safety at the forefront of her mind, and she is happy with the plan. Working together with the party is her best bet on having an impact and hurting the Wittgensteins, the time is now.

The next day, as sunset approaches, everyone will load up, get themselves ready and into position at nightfall, using the cover of darkness to aid in their attack and give them the element of surprise. From their reconnaissance mission, it looks like the guards are not expecting an attack at all.

As the sun fades, dark clouds can be seen on the horizon. The mood in camp is sombre. Everyone is checking their bow strings, sharpening their blades and tightening their armor buckles.

The once clear blue sky has now turned ominous, and the cheerful chirping of birds has been replaced by the distant rumbling of thunder. Slowly but surely, the wind begins to pick up, causing the leaves on the trees to rustle with increasing intensity. The fighters in camp can feel the cool air prickling their skin, as the temperature steadily drops. The storm is approaching. It’s time to head out.

Backs are patted and the two groups wish each other luck, promising to see each other, shortly, on the other side.

Rowlocks takes point and leads Werner, Wandy, Gnoblar and Durak through the woodland towards the cave system.

Once inside they take their known route to the staircase. It’s still a foreboding place, blood curdling screams and strange noises echo from every direction still. They press on, with strength in numbers, at a rapid pace.

Now at the top, inside the castle walls, they take up hidden positions amongst the ruins.

The initial plan is for Rowlocks and Werner pull up their cloaks around them and masquerade as beggars and scope out the gatehouse. The pull over their hoods, pull the cloaks around them and step out into the darkness of the castle courtyard.

Guards can be seen via torchlight on the towers and the castle walls, but they take little notice of the shambling figures down near the ruins. It’s dark and the guards are used to beggars shuffling around.

Rowlocks and Werner do a lap of the area, taking note of what they can see through the windows of the buildings, estimating what they may contain: coach houses, stables, etc. Everyone else lays hidden around the ruins at the top of the staircase and waits for what might happen next.

So far, so good. Lightning flashes in the distance followed by thunder.

They approach the gatehouse and inconspicuously walk around. They see that the outer gate is barred, a portculis is raised and the inner gate are open. They need to make sure that the portcullis cannot be dropped after the gates are open. This would trap the outlaws inside, preventing any retreat.

Things are tense and Rowlocks and Werner push open the left hand side door of the gatehouse and head inside. They find empty unused rooms and stores, then they follow a ladder up to the top floor. Once on the top floor their path is blocked by a locked door. They decide to head back down and enter back through the bottom floor door on the other side.

As always, Werner enters first. Once inside
he sees a large room with an open staircase to the left. Sitting behind a desk is a guard. He glances up,
“You know you’re not allowed in here, now fuck off!”
Werner stands still, cloaked, with his hood low and his cloak tight. Rowlocks stands behind him in the shadows of the doorway.

“I’ve told you filthy bastards to get out of here, theres no food for you in here now get gone before I break your jaw!”

The guard stands, now irate, “For fucks sake. Right, looks like I’m going to have to teach you a lesson you’ll not forget”

With this he storms over to the ‘beggar’ and pulls back his fist.
In one swift movement, Werner pulls his axe from under his cloak and swings upwards towards the guards chest. He’s not expecting it and theres nothing he can do and a second later he drops to the floor dead.

As Werner and Rowlocks stand for a moment looking at each other, wondering what to do, they hear the sounds of more people eminating from up the staircase.

Rowlocks creeps up a couple of steps and listens. It appears to be a group of guards, four maybe, arguing about some kind of bet, they’re playing dice or cards or something.

Rowlocks looks at Werner, Werner looks at the dead body on the floor and looks back at Rowlocks. 

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Session 20