Friday, November 22, 2013

[WFRP 2e] Morrslieb's Shadow 23

Maximillian Morningglory, Halfling Agitator

My companions
Udrin Sor-Valdir - High Elf Wizard
Ludovic Hasselhoff - Human Entertainer

Absent Players/NPCs
Gustav Jaeger - Human Priest of Verena
Ehrwig Hofstetter - Imperial Knight of Sigmar
Farnoth - High Elf NPC

From Maximillian's journal:

(Previous update)

The Verenean priestesses are teaching me how to read and write! Let me tell of the amazing turn my life has taken in the past few days. 

The group I had started guiding turned out to be a party of chaos hunters. They had a map and an amulet that overlaid it, showing the locations of pockets of evil. They spoke of these secret plans very openly to me, and I determined to join them in their quest.

The elf, Udrin, seemed to be the spiritual adviser of the group, while the knight seemed to be the voice...which is too bad, because he was quite overbearing. It seemed to me that Ludovic would have made a better speaker for the group, but when you are new, you keep these opinions to yourself. Gustav was the chronicler, and Farnoth was some kind of hanger-on to Udrin. It was difficult to tell their official relationship, as they often spoke their mellifluous elven language. 

We were on the road early after our night in the Tilean tack-house. My companions were early risers, and didn't wish to be a further burden on the charity of the Friendship House. I guided them to the town of Stimmigan

We were welcomed into the temple of Verena, thanks to our human priest. They treated us with every courtesy due a group of heroes (which I'm not sure they were). The priestesses were very eager to take down our stories "for posterity," though I have no idea what the stories had to do with our backsides. They were also excited when I asked them to teach me to read.

Before the schooling, however, I took to the streets to gauge the local attitude against chaos. There were some who listened to my earnest warnings, and even threw me money, which I presume was meant to pay for leaflets to distribute. Others were less welcoming of the message, shouting insults to my parentage and my height.

Ludovic and I decided to get dinner at a place called the Tilted Gate. Inside, we were told they had a splendid halfling bath and cider shipped every day from the Moot. I had to try the bath, and I made Ludovic try the cider. I have to admit they were both great.

Ludovic initiated some games of chance, in which we both won significant amounts of silver. Not being a gambler, I was both surprised and joyous...until we left.

On our way back to the temple we were accosted by two ruffians who had lost money to us at the Gate. Ludovic distracted them, and then attacked before they could pull weapons on us. I ducked into a shadow and leapt out dagger first.

My weak strikes we ineffective and the bawds were vicious, kicking me in the shin. I backed off to use the weapon my kind are known for: the sling. Two stones later and both ruffians fled with cracked bones. I wished to chase the attackers down and expose the markings of chaos I was certain existed below their jerkins. Ludovic, however, seeing my injured state, picked me up and carried me back to the temple. He seemed unconcerned with allowing our enemies to live. I can only rationalize thatunconcerned with allowing our enemies to live. I can only rationalize that he has never fought creatures like the ones of Sylvania for his very life.

In the morning, I explained our altercation to Udrin, who seemed unconcerned. Ludovic must be better protection than was evidenced in the prior night's fight. I checked my shin, looking for any sign of infection left by the mutant who kicked me. Thankfully I do not seem to have contracted his disease.

The elves discussed which direction they wished to go from here. It seemed like the conversation might continue for a while, so I asked the priestesses for that reading/writing lesson.

Note: The passage above has been heavily edited by temple priests at Stimmigan for spelling and grammar. All effort was maintained to keep the details of events as related by the halfling.

Also, when this illustrious party left town, the church of Verena did make inquiries into the identities of the men who attacked the human and the halfling. The men were easily found due to the nature and description of the injuries. The halfling's party has been gone for two weeks now, and neither man shows evidence of chaos mutations.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lothar: Beginnings

I'm not sure why I've never posted this on my gaming blog. I wrote it up in 4 parts in 2008. Here's the entirety.

Part 1

Lothar drove another replacement post into the ground behind Hobgoblin Wall. This section of the wall was named after the creatures that caused the wall to be built. Fifty years prior, the greenskins had attacked the town from out of the surrounding forest. A short rock wall which used to demark the town’s outer edge was the only thing separating the town’s defenders from the vicious goblinoids. After the attack, Hobbly decided to raise a more permanent barrier around town. Yesterday, though, it was a Chaos band led by a large, black armored warrior that had weakened the section.

The post slid deep into the earth and Lothar started replacing the dirt around it. F’lore, a suicidal dwarf recruited for his immense strength, held the post straight while Lothar worked. “Ye should get out and see more of the world, lad. Ye don’t alwae need to hide here behind weak wooden walls. Ye should get out there an’ find yer doom, lad!” With “doom”, F’lore clapped Lothar on the shoulder, sending the laborer sprawling to the ground.

“Getting out into the world may be fun for you and your adoptees, but I’m just a hired hand. Other than the sweat of my brow, the entirety of my skills lies in consuming generous amounts of alcohol without getting drunk.” Lothar picked himself up and brushed himself off. Dust caught in the rivulets of sweat running down his back.

“Not a bad skill to be havin’, either, is for sure, lad. Not a bad skill at all…” the dwarf trailed off as he stared into the forest beyond the breeched wall. F’lore often lost himself in memories when not strenuously engaged. “Sometimes the mug is your best defense in this cruel world.”

(Days pass)

“This be a sword, lad. It is yer key to great exploits in this grim world.” The weapon was rather nondescript, bearing only a few battle scratches to show that it wasn’t just another dusty town relic. “That one don’t be anything special, but it’ll do ye well enough. Come with me and the twins, lad. We’ll find ye a heroic doom.”

Lothar wasn’t at all looking for a heroic doom, or any kind of doom at all, but he was looking to break the tedium of life. The constant menial labors might be useful to some in town, but he yearned for a change. It only took a few weeks of hints from the dwarven Slayer to motivate him to change.

Part 2

Something happens when you put a sword into a man’s hands. A man who’s looking to break the tedium of his life isn’t just going to say, “That could come in handy some day,” and lean it by the front door. A man is going to hold the sword, swing the sword, and eventually swing at something with the sword. Trees and practicing posts become boring, and the man seeks a live opponent. That is when his adventure begins.

“There have got to be goblins out there somewhere. We didn’t build this wall just for the fun of it.” Lothar paced the dining area of the Golden Griffin Tavern.

“Aye, there are lad. An’ beatin’ yer sword against a post for hours is nothing compared to facin’ down the vile wretches. Are ye ready, then? We’re close enough to the mountains, if’n yer finally ready to get out.” F’lore drained his tankard and wiped off his moustache with his forearm. He picked up his axe from beside the table. The weapon practically gleamed in the candlelight. The gleam was over shined, however, by the look in the dwarf’s eye.

Part 3

Lothar walked out of Hobbly with a sword, a leather jacket, and something to prove, at least to himself. He walked down a dirt road beside a dwarf and two elves, but somehow the experience seemed to be all about him. Most people in the Empire wouldn’t think a Troll Slayer, an elven militiaman, and an elven wizard apprentice to be background players. Lothar, however, felt the whole group had gathered just to expand his horizons. And, who’s to say it wasn’t so?

Less than an hour later, the party met up with a band of beastmen rushing out of the forest. F’lore positively cackled with glee, while K’nar readied his sword and K’shan started casting. Lothar wasn’t so sure he wanted the adventure to be about him any more. This seemed to be a good time to hand the reigns over to the others. Steeling up his courage, he unsheathed the sword F’lore had given him. With a quick appeal to Sigmar for courage, Lothar cautiously walked toward the battle.

(One fight later)

F’lore yanked his axe out of the spine of a fallen beastman. “That’s good fun ‘n all, but they’re runnin’ from somethin’…somethin’ I smell in there.” The dwarf started for the newly blazed path out of the forest. K’nar quickly finished cleaning off his sword and rushed to the dwarf’s flank. K’shan sneared one last time at the fallen creatures and stately walked into the forest. Lothar was the only one left panting in the road. He took a deep breath and started running to catch up to the group.

The trail led to the lair of a troll. The creature sat on the ground, crunching away on muscular beastman bits. Lothar froze, momentarily too frightened to move. He heard a deep roar as F’lore charged the monster.

Part 4

The dwarf, still soaked in beastman blood, charged in swinging. The startled creature just stared incoherently until F’lore’s axe hit it in the arm. Then the monster roared, though impossible to tell whether from pain or having its dinner interrupted. The troll stood while F’lore brought the axe around for another swing. It reached down to grab a club from a dead beastman’s hand, or rather along with a dead beastman’s hand. F’lore’s axe bit into the creature’s chest while it raised the club. With another angry roar, the troll began to swing.

K’nar circled the combatants, looking to flank the troll. K’shan readied what little magical abilities she had left after the fight with the beastmen.

Lothar reached deep inside himself to shake off the fear gripping his heart. His adventure, his moment, was happening directly in front of him…but without him. He began to moan in frustration, and the sound of his own voice snapped him from his paralysis. Raising his sword, Lothar charged the troll’s other exposed flank.

K’nar and Lothar swung simultaneously. One attacker had skill behind his swing while the other did not. The elf pierced the creature’s abdomen as it flailed at the dwarf. Lothar missed.

F’lore completely ignored the beating from the troll and concentrated on hitting the monster as hard and as fast as he could. It was a test of endurance to see which creature could take the greatest beating. It’s not exactly the kind of test any intelligent creature would challenge a Slayer to. The dwarf’s axe hit often and hit deep into the tough skin of the troll. K’nar and Lothar kept weakening it from the sides as well, until the creature’s body couldn’t possibly heal its wounds faster than it received them.

One particularly lucky stab by Lothar caught the troll’s attention. The monster turned and swung the club. Lothar was bludgeoned in the ribs and knocked, breathless, to the ground. F’lore didn’t miss the opening.

The dwarf took the opportunity to plant his feet and swing his axe with every once of strength remaining. The blow struck only too well. F’lore’s axe sliced open the troll’s abdominal cavity, sending blood, entrails, and potent acid spraying forward in an arc. The dwarf was well within splash range, though K’nar and Lothar were not. The troll fell to the ground, and all was silent for a split second.

K’shan ran for the dwarf, while K’nar helped Lothar back to his feet. K’shan tore off her cloak and wiped the dwarf down, despite his sputtering and swearing. F’lore spit blood out of his mouth. “I’ve ‘ad worse beatings from an elf!”

“I am not sure if that’s an insult or a compliment.” K’shan kept wiping the dwarf down. Her cloak was falling apart as she wiped. “It is the acid I am worried about, not your thick skull.” F’lore grunted.

“Nice thinkin’, lad, distractin’ it for me. Darned good strategy.” Lothar couldn’t reply, even if he wanted to admit he hadn’t used strategy. He was still fighting to get breath back into his lungs. He also thought a rib or two might be cracked. K’nar stepped forward to be the voice of reason.

“We have met a band of beastmen and a troll. We should return to Hobbly and warn the town. We could reprovision for a longer hunt, too, if the human is up to it.” Lothar’s mind caught on the idea of going back to Hobbly.

“Good…idea,” he panted between shallow breaths.

“Not before we raid this filthy beast’s lair!” F’lore looked up at the cave entrance. “He’s sure to have killed something with valuables. I’ve built up a mighty thirst, and the troll’s paying!” He walked away from K’shan’s ministrations. She was left holding a pocked, shabby cloak.

“Amazing. I have cleaned off pints and pints of blood, but none seems to be his. Also, look at my cloak. It is in tatters from the acid of the troll, yet none has left a mark on him.” Lothar shook his head.

“The dwarf has Ranald’s own luck. I was only hit once, and I was out of the fight.”

“Tis not luck, my human friend. Tis fate,” K’nar corrected. The three followed the dwarf’s path with their eyes. K’nar then looked back to the half eaten bodies at their feet. “I guess we get to plunder out here.” Lothar was amazed they had the presence of mind to think about money when they had almost been killed two times in the last ten minutes. Such is the life of an adventurer, though.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Character Profiles: Maximillian Morningglory (WFRP 2e)

Maximillian is a halfling Agitator. He was previously a Fieldwarden...until tragedy struck his houshold.

The tranquil lives of the Morningglory family were shattered one day as the restless dead from Sylvania crossed the land on some mysterious task for their undead master. Maximillian was out on patrol and wasn't around as his hometown was raided. When he arrived, he found his home destroyed and both his parents dead. His siblings were all missing. (A little GM fodder.)

Maximillian was left with no posessions and nothing to fall back on beside what was on him and his horse, Magnus. He now holds a burning hatred for chaos (he doesn't distinguish between chaos and undead).

Maximillian is a halfing male. He is 70 years old, 3'8" tall, 100 lbs with corn-colored hair and dark brown eyes.

Starter Profile

WS 21% BS 45% S 21% T 17% Ag 45% Int 34% WP 36% Fel 35%

A 1 W 8 SB 2 TB 1 M 4 Mag 0 IP 1 FP 2

Skills: Academic Knowledge - Necromancy, Academic Knowledge - Heraldry, Charm, Common Knowledge - Halfling, Concealment, Follow Trail, Gossip, Outdoor Survival, Perception, Speak Language - Halfling, Speak Language - Reikspiel, Stealth, Silent Move, Trade - Cook

Talents: Night Vision, Resistance to Chaos, Specialist Weapon - Sling, Lightning Reflexes, Savvy, Rapid Reload, Rover

Weapons: Dagger, Club, Sling

Armor: Leather Jacket

Trappings: Shirt, breeches, worn boots, tattered cloak, lantern, lamp oil, spade, good clothes, backpack, blanket, wood tankard, wood cutlery, pony (Magnus)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

[WFRP 2e] Morrslieb's Shadow 22

Mordrin Skorkinson, Giant Slayer.

My companions:
Udrin Sor-Valdir - High Elf Wizard
Gustav Jaeger - Human Priest of Verena
Ludovic Hasselhoff - Human Entertainer
Ehrwig Hofstetter - Imperial Knight (Griffin?/Panther?) of Sigmar

From Mordrin's point of view:

(Previous updates)

Mordrin's Doom

Mordrin lit the smoke bomb and once again heard the deep elgi phrases from the other side of the door. He smashed the doors open with his hammer and surveyed the room on the other side. There was a dark elf near the door, shocked at the dwarf's violent entry. The wyvern on the other side of the room held Mordrin's attention.

Mordrin ignored the elf, having slain many of them in the past and not finding them worth his time and effort. The creature on the other side of the room was much larger than the last wyvern he encountered. And he was alone to fight it this time.

The beast was also surprised at the dwarf's entry and didn't react at all to the slayer's charge. With one last cry of "Khazuk!" Mordrin swung his hammer and connected with the creature's chest. The beast began to slip off it's perch, and Mordrin grabbed on to it with his gauntleted hand.

The momentum and weight of the dwarf through the creature completely off balance, and the two tumbled in a long fall off the side of the ark toward the unrelenting ground below.

A New Friend

Maximillian Morningglory was hiding in the woods under an outcropping. He had agitated the wrong community.

The halfling had only been trying to be helpful. Everyone needed to know about the dangers of chaos and mutants. The fact that Dunkelburg had been intolerant to his speeches indicated it may harbor an evil secret. Maximillian wouldn't have felt comfortable remaining anyway.

He had been a simple Fieldwarden of the moot before an undead attack had left his parents dead and his five siblings missing. Since that time he had roamed the land to teach people that chaos was real and that no one was safe. Some towns didn't appreciate the warning.

It was raining in the woods, and the halfling had a small fire smouldering under the outcropping. His pony, Magnus, was tied up nearby, munching on grass. He was just weighing the benefits of a drier locale vs the risk of getting soaked and catching a cold when he began to hear scraping and voices from the rocks behind him. He stood up and moved to the other side of the fire as a sinkhole appeared and a humanoid creature pulled itself up out of the ground.

Maximillian gathered his courage and challenged the creature. "Back, Mudbeast!" The figure did not halt. Instead, others began to emerge from the hole. The halfling scrambled for his sling. A muddy elf pulled himself up from the hole, and Maximillian began to relax. Everyone knew that elves couldn't be affected by chaos.

The rain washed away the mud from the party who had emerged from the sinkhole. There were two elves and three humans. One human, the first who had emerged, was some sort of Imperial knight and had not taken too kindly to being called a chaos "mudbeast." Another was an affable human in fancy traveling clothes. He politely asked Maximillian where, and when, they were. The third human immediately stood by the fire and began writing. The elves talked amongst themelves and also spoke to the writer about a dwarf they recently left behind.

Maximillian offered to lead them to another nearby town, Stimmigen. He suggested that they not travel to the chaos-loving town of Dunkelburg, though the place seemed to pique the knight's interest. 

The travelers exited the forest camp and headed down the path toward Stimmigen. At times they were encouraged to hurry by barks and howls that came from the forest. For the most part, it wasn't a bad trip. Maximillian was able to ride his pony and keep abreast of the party. 

Around the time they were considering camping for the night, they came upon a post along the road that indicated a house set into the woods. They decided to follow this trail and see if they might find lodging for the night. Upon setting sight of the house, they could see a large Tilean sign roughly translated as "Friendship House." After proving they weren't imperial tax collectors, the party was allowed to spend the night in the tack house.

The owner of the home was encouraged by the party's interest in wine, and Maximillian offered to help in the kitchen. The owner's son was not impressed by the party, but did admit to a fondness for cherry turnovers. The group tasted wine and told stories, while the halfling made pastries good enough to win over the most hardened soul. 

When the party retired to the tackhouse for the night, the scholarly members pored over some books and trinkets they had brought with them. The halfling listened on, amazed at the conversation that developed. This group was on some kind of serious chaos hunt. Maximillian sobered from his cheerful attitude, remembered the tragedy at his home, and decided to aid these travelers in their plight against the ruinous powers.

It turns out he might not have been the only one hearing these tales for the first time, as there was suddenly the sound of someone on the roof over their heads. They had an eavesdropper, and Maximillian thought he knew exactly who it was.

Friday, November 15, 2013

[WFRP 2e] Mordrin-Final Interlude

The Black Ark

Mordrin Skorkinson, Giant Slayer.

My companions:
Udrin Sor-Valdir - High Elf Wizard
Gustav Jaeger - Human Priest of Verena
Ludovic Hasselhoff - Human Entertainer
Ehrwig Hofstetter - Imperial Knight of Sigmar

From Mordrin's point of view:

(Previous updates)

Mordrin stepped through the portal into a laboratory of some kind. There were jars and paperwork all around. He scanned the room for any more explosives and, finding none, set his sights on a set of spiral stairs going down. At Udrin's suggesting, Mordrin heads down the stairs with Ehrwig to search for the origin of a loud thumping noise.

Standing in a corner at the bottom of the stairs are three robed Elves discussing a book.  The three look to the stair. Wide eyes, mouths drop, save one. Mordrin and Farnoth lock eyes. In the next moments, everything happens in a burst:

Farnoth shoves the book into the hands of one of Elf, speaks something arcane and presses the other two directly in their chests and they collapse. Farnoth gathers his robes and rushes to the stairs a broad grin on his face.

Ehrwig raised his sword to threaten the approach of Farnoth, but Mordrin shoved by, saying "the elf is mine. He's in me book of grudges." He raised his hammer and charged the approaching elf.

Farnoth begged for his life and, unsure that was working, begged for a quick end, leaving no blood behind in the druchii quarters. 

Mordrin held his hammer in front of him. "Ya know, elgi, not all grudges have to be paid for in blood. You could beg for your life and maybe settle for a shaved head." He ignored the elves on the floor, leaving room for Ehrwig to get by. "Of course, I don't expect you to choose that option."

The look in Mordrin's eye indicated he may not be holding onto sanity as closely as before.

At that moment, Farnoth was distracted by Udrin's appearance at the top of the stairs. He started rushing toward Udrin, cheering something about being saved.  Out of the window a guttural, screeching call could be heard on the wind. Ehrwig went to the sleeping elves and snapped their necks. Their bladders released in death, leaving puddles of urine on the floor.

Mordrin whacked Farnoth in the back of the legs with the hammer, sending him sprawling back down the stairs. "We aren't finished with our business, elf." Mordrin pulled a knife from his belt and started hacking at the elf's hair.  "We've got to finish this up; I hear my doom calling outside the window."

"Mathlann's Tears! Dwarf! No cuts. No blood!" screamed Farnoth as Mordrin cut his hair off in long sawing strokes with a dagger. Farnoth struggled a bit and fell away as a huge handful parted from his scalp. Farnoth rolled over with his hand on his scalp inspecting for blood in a panic. "NO BLOOD!"

Gasping, and just out of reach Farnoth collected himself and stood, panicky and inspecting his scalp for blood, "This is no place for grudges, Fool! Someone stay this Slayer! Slaanesh's blessings course through the cursed frame of the Claw of Dominion. The flayed bodies of slaves, the torturing armor of Slaanesh's knights, and the blood of scores of prisoners are soaked into the very energies that power its furnaces! We all die if you spill blood here as every Druchii devotee would sense it hitting the floor."

Mordrin sheathed the dagger, gripped the warhammer in his free hand and looked out the window for the origin of the gutteral screeching.

Udrin questioned Farnoth. "Us? Farnoth, how many are here in this accursed place? And how did you open the gate?" Udrin's faith in this elf was somewhat failing, for Farnoth had been missing and and this elf was wrapped in shadow magic.  "And Mordrin, for Grungni's sake, get back from the window."

Mordrin snapped back at Udrin, "it is not for an elgi to swear by Grungni. Watch your tongue if you wish to keep it. You don't need it to write my doom."

Udrin replied in Khazalid "Or an baraz dum, bar wanrak na nu. Ut got. A gromdal grobkul un throng thagi elgi. Ut urk anu. Rink bar kazad.*"

*I promised you doom, but when is not now. We must travel quickly and with purpose. Within this ancient place lurks evils deeds and and army of murderous, traitorous Elves. We must retreat or be overrun any minute now. Lead us through the gate to a place of safety.

Mordrin sneered at his companion. "Why do you get to choose the place and time of my doom, elgi? You speak of evil deeds and an army of elves deserving of death here and now, but seek to lead me away. What are you keeping me from? Do you conspire with the very gods against me?"

Udrin continued in Khazalid to try to calm the slayer. "I am not choosing anything for you Drengi. The umgi (men) need your grim grund (unyeilding hammer). You are the duraz (stone) against which the enemy will break. The humans are doh (new) and deb (gullible). Here in this grimaz (barren place) the urk lie surely. But it is not the last time we will be here. Let us return with purpose for the grobkul (goblin hunt). To die now will allow thousands to die with us."

Mordrin turned back toward the stairs. "Your plans always sound grand and promising, elf, yet I'm still alive." He walked by the dead bodies and pointed to two wet stains on the floor, "You don't think someone's going to smell that?"  He threw the scalp of elf hair in his hand onto the floor and started up the stairs.

At the top of the stairs, Farnoth had recovered himself enough to get an exit plan going. He began making a smoke bomb, of sorts, and directing the humans to gather some books and papers. There was another guttural screech and a large shadow crossed in front of the window. Mordrin couldn't hold himself back from going for another look. 

Outside the window, Mordrin saw the shadow's owner: a massive winged lizard, saddled. Aside the shoulders, an elf of the palest skin in black-purple robes. The lizard, larger than the wyvern of Tor Taiga, spread it large wings and buffeted them to land just out of sight of the window, but below, the ground shuddered as the creature clawed and settled in landing.

Farnoth turned to the group, "Thalubinding, a deadly and masterful magister of the highest ranks of Druchii slaves to Slaanesh, is landing just below us returning from certainly depraved rituals on the shores of Bretonnia! He'll find the bodies and find us. If we can delay him… just til Udrin can open the gate, we may just survive this!"

"I'll delay him...and his tiny drakk." Mordrin saw possible doom in the larger lizard and headed out the door.. 

Farnoth called out, "Slayer! Take the Rauchbombe." handing the glass globe of yellow-brown powder, was cloth stinking of the worse spirits sold in human taverns, and a match.  "If you wish fulfill the oath of your cult, purchase us what time you can! Light this and set it on the stairs to the lower levels before you go to meet your doom. It should produce a stinking cloud of smoke to mask the urine and leave Thalubinder worried of a fire in the lower levels."

Mordrin grabbed the glorified smoke bomb and headed down the stairs mumbling something about "no elf knowing anything about dwarves, no matter how smart they think they are."  Mordrin set the Rauchbombe on the stairs going down from the library below and lit the cloth. Moments later a thick yellow brown sweet smelling smoke began pouring out of the glass globe. 

Behind the double doors to the south a crude, guttural, phrase was yelled. It sounded like an elf with a sore throat.  The voice spoke loudly and with anger, and a thick yellow smoke rose through the stairwell.