Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sigmarzeit 4 - 5

We were trailing our two Skaven guides for hours and hours upon end through the underground passages when Lorr suddenly stopped in front of us and pointed down at some yellow mould on the tunnel floor. He was telling us the mould was deadly when it moved and shot out spores. In front of me, Starlana just dropped. I couldn't catch her. I tried, but between her and her gear, it was just too heavy for me. I guess people shouldn't expect me to catch them when they fall. There's probably a deeper lesson to be learned here, but you don't always see the bigger picture from an underground tunnel.

I dragged Starlana back out of the mould's blast radius and we all waited for her and Ben to wake up. Randy crept forward and was offering some strange snuff he had taken from Lord Doyle's house. Gunthar advised me to not touch the snuff, but it seemed to do Ben a world of good. Lungs that had been injured by the spores suddenly felt fine. The two men continued on as if they had received a second wind. Starlana continued on short of breath, with a burning sensation in her lungs, to hear her speak of it.

The trail was long and hard, and I really had a lot of weight on my shoulders, with the rations and water and everything. Luckily Arty was such a nice guy that he gladly took my pack for me. That's a real man. Take notes. When the Skaven came back and told us to hurry our "pink skins" up, I shrank into Arty for protection. The young guard is solid muscle, and not afraid of the likes of a ratman, either. I'm glad I have some sort of protection, since my bodyguard travels at the front of the line.

Eventually we were allowed to duck into some kind of cave in the side of the tunnel where we could spend the night. I never thought the Skaven were going to let us rest! I could barely have some of the rations to eat before my eyes closed and I was sound asleep. It was like sleeping near one of my excavation sites, just without the nighttime breeze. On the plus side, I didn't have to worry about setting up my tent. I would have been embarrassed. It's pretty tattered. Arty probably wouldn't be impressed.

After who knows how many hours, Randy woke everyone up to tell us something was coming. The Skaven, who offered to guard the outside of the cave, were nowhere to be seen. As huddled around the cave, this huge beetle shoves it's head through the entrance hole! The bug was gigantic! It couldn't even fit its...shoulders...through. The thing just kept wriggling back and forth, pushing dirt out of the way as it dug in. My arrows did nothing to hurt the creature, but the guards slashed at it with their weapons. I think Lorr might have been the one to actually kill it, though. He smashed his staff into the creature's eye...area. None of us even knew Lorr had it in him. He's so wimpy for such a big guy.

Speaking of wimpy, the freaky Skaven show back up after the beetle is dead and they want to cut it up and eat it. They are sick creatures that I will never be comfortable around.

Our dark-vision eye drops were starting to fade, so we had to put some more in our eyes. I hope I have enough to last me the entire trip. The Skaven told us that it was many, many days travel. At this rate, we have enough drops for about 10 days. We'll see. Heh. We'll the dark. Sorry. I know I'm not an Entertainer.

After more tiring walking, the Skaven come cowering back saying that there are a bunch of warrior Skaven ahead of us. They want us to go above ground for a while to evade the others. None of us have a problem with that. Lorr's been missing the trees and Starlana's been missing the stars. I miss the sun.

When we were back out in the open, we could hear the sound of a river to our north. We headed to the river, then continued our easterly trek. Luckily, there was a road following the river, and both were heading east/west.

After not too long, one of the Skaven came running back toward us saying there were many people ahead. We hid in the forest because we didn't know if the people would be friendly or not.

One horseman, a scout, came riding up the road. He was a pretty good scout, too, because he stopped and followed our trail right into the woods. He called out to us. Gunthar was brave enough to meet the call.

The scout's name was Greg, and he worked for a noble by the name of Lord Erik. It seems Lord Erik was looking for some sell-swords to help dispatch someone he found that he believed was responsible for killing all the nobles around Brettonia. Greg led us back to Lord Erik's campsite, where we were fed and hired for 2 gold now, 2 to our families now, and 10 gold upon completion of the quest.

The person Lord Erik was hunting goes by the name of Lukratt. He used to be named Luciano, but he took on a new he got more evil, I suppose. It is rumored the Lukratt used to be a wizard apprentice, and that he might know some spells.

Gunthar confirmed with the Skaven, who are hiding in the woods away from the human camp, that the person they were taking us to kill was this same Lukratt. Now we're going after the same person, only in better company.

Lord Erik states we were just waiting for a couple of barges to come down the river and pick us up. While were packing up and waiting, a woman screams from the east edge of camp. We all run to see what the problem is, and there's a dead, mangled scout riding a wounded horse. While we're distracted there, more screaming came from the opposite end of camp.

As we turned around, we saw a huge...pack...of Skaven attacking our camp. Everyone immediately puts up a fight, but the majority of the people around were just peasants, who thought they were fighting this one Lukratt guy like fifty to one. Instead, they are now fighting horrific ratmen.

We fought for our lives. Unfortunately, our group was quite separated, and we weren't able to pull together no matter how much I tried to encourage everyone. In the end, both Arty and Ben died. I swear, if I wasn't so shocked for the battle, the first battle I've ever been in, I would have cried my eyes out. Rest in peace, Ben.

I'll miss you, Arty.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Beginning for Beginners

The WarHammer world is a vast place, much larger than our own globe, yet if you look at the map, it looks rather familiar.

Where Europe would be on our globe is a place, a continent if you will, known as The Old World. It is analogous to Europe in the Middle Ages, consisting of a number of small, independent states sharing a similar cultural heritage and a common language, Old Worlder.

Within the continent of the Old World, the largest country is known as the Empire. It comprises a vast conglomeration of princedoms, duchies, leagues, and city-states. The Empire was united under one Sigmar Heldenhammer, who attained immortality and is now the patron deity of the Empire. The Church of Sigmar is the guardian of the Empire. It is for this church that you work.

A missing artifact of a sensitive nature has caused the Church of Sigmar in Altdorf to ship you down to Nuln. The day after you arrive, you are to meet up with one Albrecht Oldenhaller at his residence in Nuln’s merchant district. We’ll begin with you reaching the city:

After boring days on the river, your boat reaches Nuln. You are all frozen and soaked through. You are probably thinking unkind thoughts about the priests of Sigmar who would only pay for a cheap deck-class passage on an aging riverboat; it doesn’t seem a particularly impressive way to start a holy quest. During the course of your journey, you have gotten to know a little more about your fellow adventurers, and have become friends of a sort, united by a common desire to take care of this potentially hazardous situation.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sigmarzeit 2 - 3

(Boy, these sewers were long. Seriously...two months to explore. Now that's a little rediculous.)

We had no idea what was going on in the underground temple. Gunther wanted to destroy the place, though, and thought we could use Lorr's help to do it. We decided to head back to the Doyle manor to fetch him.

On the way to the manor, we spotted a short humanoid far off down the tunnel. He was pretty much at the edge of our vision, and he ran off when Gunther called to him. That's never an innocent sign.

We chased the figure throughout much of the sewer system, but couldn't catch up to it before it slipped down a small hole. We had no choice by to go back for Lorr.

After some modifications to the hole in the floor, and some explanations to the butler Bartloff, we were able to get Lorr into the sewer. We proceeded on to the temple.

The men were flexing their muscles and toppling over altar stones when I found some bones partially buried in the floor. The others could tell that they were human bones. To me, a bone is a bone. I couldn't tell you the difference between a human and a dragon bone. Well, I mean...ours are smaller, sure.

Anyway, we were digging out some bones, when Gunther spotted a beggar in the temple doorway. We thought we were the only ones running around down here (except the figure we chased earlier), so we were all suspicious. This beggar called himself Errol, and he told us that some other creatures had kidnapped his dog. They were holding the dog for ransom until Errol brought us to meet with them.

I know. The story get stranger by the second.

Errol told us that two short men with mottled skin had taken his dog, Hank. Now, hearing there was a dog involved caught my attention. I seem to have a natural affinity for animals. I felt sorry for the dog who was tragically stolen from his owner. I bet they were the only things each other had. As a matter of fact, Errol mentioned some times when Hank had found food for him. I know dogs can fend for themselves, so it surprises me when they hang around us humans who can offer them nothing but attention. Funny, how the world is made.

Errol led us back to the surface and to the warehouse district. He walked us into an alleyway and said that was where we were to meet the other men. It was a pretty scary place for a lady to be. I would have been rather frightened without Gunther and Lorr, though honestly Lorr isn't useful for much besides a shield. Seriously, last time we were accosted, what did he do? Shove someone over a sheep? The man's a beast with the heart of a puppy. No, I take that back. Puppies like to pretend to be ferocious.

Anyway, in the alley some trash shifts and out appears this four foot tall being covered in a robe. It started speaking broken Brettonian in a very sibilant accent. He come closer, obviously alone and obviously without a dog.

From the other end of the alley, another short figure arrives with Hank in his arms. Only, there's a problem. Hank's missing a leg. Errol ran up to the dog and grabbed him, yelling at the figure. Some time during all this, the strangest thing happens. His cowl blows backward, and we are looking at the mottled face of a real, live ratman!

I couldn't take anymore. I was scared. The men were between me and the first ratman; there was nothing between me and the second ratman but the wretched beggar and his now three-legged dog. I shot my first arrow from my new bow at the creature.

I barely missed as the beast shied from my shot. The other one started begging and pleading, saying they needed our help and they were willing to help us solve the noble murder mystery. Something in its tone caught Gunthar's attention and he talked us into not attacking any more.

I couldn't follow the entire exchange, but it seems the ratmen, or skaven as they are properly called, were some kind of runts of thier litter, unwanted and untrusted by any of their kindred. These two were bought and sold like some kind of commodity. They were used as spies to their current owners. They seem to be willing to help us find the one responsible for the murder of the nobles if we would somehow help them gain some honor. I'm not sure how we're to do that, but they are promising to help us earn 100 gold. That must have been what got Gunther's attention, too.

We agreed to meet the beasts at the nearest sewer grate, and we went back to the Doyle estate to get food and rest. Lady Doyle was willing to feed us, let us wash (in warm water!) in the barn, and sleep in the hay loft. She also let us have four of her guards to take on our mission. The guards are Arty, Benny, Randy, and Todd. They are all friendly enough, and Arty is actually kind of cute.

Day 3

The next morning, everyone met up at the sewer grate. Gunther explained the entire thing to the guards so they knew exactly what they were getting into. They didn't believe Gunther, not that I would have blamed them until I had seen the skaven for myself. They still agreed to come, and joined us in the sewer.

There we had some problem convincing them of the magic of the eye drops that their employer had left at our disposal. Eventually, Arty dared try them. Once they worked for him, the others followed in line. Then we met up with the skaven, which was trouble again, since they hadn't believed Gunther in the first place. Somehow, they still agreed to come with us. I think Gunther was displaying his pursuasive qualities that all priests are known for.

The skaven led us through the tunnels, out onto the beach/cliff area, through a field outside of town, into the forest, and into another tunnel under a large tree's roots. This tunnel was a little more cramped starting out, but got bigger was we went on.

After a bit of traveling, the skaven scouting ahead alerted his brother of a den of skaven slaves ahead. (Somehow the brothers can talk to each other over long distances. Don't ask. I did, and I didn't quite understand the creature's explanation. I don't think he knows himself.) They seemed to be waiting for some fighter skaven. So we hustled up to the cavern, our guides went in first and started talking to the pathetic creatures, then our guards charged the slaves. The fight was over quickly.

Now we have to head out of the cavern as quickly as possible before the warriors arrive. I also need to see if Arty will carry my backpack. It's awfully heavy...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

SnowCon 2009

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the first gaming convention ever to be held in the area (to the best of my knowledge). It was a great deal of fun.

I arrived at 7 AM and got my hand-dandy little name badge and bracelet with my player number on it.

Then I promptly sat down to wait for friends to show up, watching the classic Dungeon&Dragons cartoon, stewing because there was a sign indicating we weren't to bring in outside food or drink. I totally should have stopped at the convenience store first.

After dawdling a lot, I arrived at my first game, D&D 4e Delve Night. I hadn't played 4e before, and wanted to know how to do it so I'd be comfortable at the 5 hour 4e gaming session I signed up for that night.

At Delve Night, I was issued a Wizards of the Coast DCI card, whether I wanted one or not. See:

It was a good learning experience, and the DM was very patient. As a matter of fact, our 1 hour time slot ran for 2.5 hours because we were in the middle of things and nobody else was waiting to kick us off the table.

12:30 was lunch, making me late to the 1:00 event I wanted to go to, That Would Make a Great Book with author Valerie Griswold-Ford telling us how to change our adventure notes into a novel.

I did, however, catch my next event, a talk with author Kristen Britain, after an aborted game of English Rail. Train games don't seem to be my cup of tea, as opposed to sitting in the cafe talking to an author about the business...

3:00 - 5:00 PM I spent learning how to play Carcassonne (the board game, not the French city). It is pretty fun for a board game.

5:00 - 11:00 PM was the big D&D 4e game. It was a nice little one-off, giving a lot of practice to those of us who hadn't played 4e before. I enjoyed myself and got back into the swing of gaming after a month or two off for the holidays.

Now I'm all excited to play again, and I volunteered to run WarHammer at future conventions. I want to play, I want to practice, and I want the next con to come fast.

Talk about impatient.

(SnowCon info and the website of the group holding the event can be found here.)