The Witch's Song
INTRODUCTION TO SESSION ONE, 2012 CAMPAIGN
The wooden palisade that surrounds the town of Auerbatt casts long shadows in the deepening afternoon. A haze of smoke further darkens the air over the community as evening cooking fires are lit or stoked, weighting the air with the pleasant smell of woodsmoke. Many farmers and labourers make their way from the surrounding fields cut and ploughed into the dense forest around the town, their toil for the day at an end. They are liberally covered in the thick, rich red and black soil of the fields.
To the western side of the town, a chaotic collection of jetties of varying lengths and quality jut into the water, returned boats and barges tied up to their timbers. Fishing nets are neatly spread out and hung over any available leaning or flat surface, making the area appear covered by a dense field of black web.
The rays of the lowering sun beam off the river Bach, laying a gentle orange cast to the scene, with the flat river acting almost like a mirror. To the east, the green and brown wall of the ancient forest is so dense that it appears like a hedge, and with the sunset, seems to ooze shadow from between its ancient trunks.
Ahead, the farmers walk through the open gate of Auerbatt, dragging their carts behind them or pushing their wheelbarrows. Two militia men are visible – one lighting torches over the top of the gate, while the other stands at the gate, sharing words and nodding at the farmers filing past. The guard looks just like the farmers, except that he carries a shield, bears a vest of cloth armour, and wears a battered broad-brim helm….
OVERVIEW OF THE WFRP MINI-CAMPAIGN OF 2010
Episode #1 The Missing Coach
Act One: A Chance Meeting
Act Two: Help on the Horizon
Act Three: The Storm Breaks
The episode begins with the party travelling in the rain along a deserted and half-abandoned road through The Great Forest. They are on their way to make their fortune in the great city of Talebheim, but soon discover that the road is prey to a beastman warband that is raiding the area.
Hoping to reach a fortified inn before nightfall, the party finds the carriage and entourage of the influential and politically connected Klaus von Rothstein, whose party is under attack by a beastmen force. The party fights the beastmen in the rain, driving them off after a desperate fight around the carriage, but the remainder of the merchant’s men and horses are slain in the skirmish while Von Rothstein hides in in armoured carriage.
Von Rothstein’s arrogance infuriates the party, and after a yelling match they leave him behind in the rain, where his screams are soon soaked up by the trees and storm as the beastmen return to torture him. The party becomes a Gang of Thugs.
Episode #2 Rough Night at the Three Feathers
Act One: Look what the Cat Dragged In
Act Two: A Matter of Import
Act Three: You Don’t Mess with the Gravin
Travelling through a storm of cyclonic ferocity, the gang arrives at the Three Feathers Inn. The storm assaults in the Inn, and the adjoin river begins to flood and the grounds awash with water and mud.
Although grateful to be inside, the gang soon finds that the Inn has been taken over by the elderly Gravin Maria Ulrike von Luebwitz and her entourage. It soon becomes apparent that the Gravin is waiting for von Rothstein, but the party denies seeing his entourage on the road. The party quickly tires of the Gravin and her entourage, and hatred soon blooms between the noble, her servants, and the gang. The gang begins to plan to ambush her carriage and entourage when they leave the Inn and take her stuff.
Episode #3 The Braying Horn
Act One: The Horn
Act Two: Every Man For Themselves?
Act Three: The Fury of the Wargor
The storm breaks in the morning, but the Inn is damaged and the river and roads impassable until the flooding recedes. The gang and the Gravin look trapped together for the day, but their brimming hatred temporarily recedes as the Inn falls under attack by the beastmen warband.
Wave after wave of beastmen threw themselves at the walls of the inn, but are held back by the equal ferocity and blood thirst of the gang, who jump down from the walls to engage the beastmen and chase them back into the forest at some points.
However, the beastmen eventually break through one wall and get into the Inn. They are all eventually slaughtered by the gang, but not before Hugo is killed in the kitchen by a meat cleaver to the head. To the applause of the party, the Gravin is stabbed through the eye with a spear while climbing through the window and falls two stories to her death. Simultaneously, Alric and Gorm run out onto the road to take on the Wargor leading the monsters, hacking it to death.
Although the death count is high by those sheltering within the Inn, the beastmen warband is eventually broken following much blood and destruction. It retreats into the depths of the Great Forest.
Episode #4 Stop the Gravin
Act One: Return of the Gravin
Act Two: The Gravin Must Die
Act Three: On the River Talbec
The gang buries Hugo by the riverside in a muddy grave as the remnants of the Gravin’s entourage prepares to leave. To the gang’s dismay, the Gravin remains alive by the slimmest of margins, powered by pure hatred.
The gang vow to kill the Gravin and her hated senior entourage in an ambush down the road. With the Gravin’s carriage slowed by the muddy road, the ambush is successful, the Gravin and some of her servants killed by a storm of arrows, bolts, magic and vitriol. After high-fiving one another, the jubilant gang leaves the remainder of the entourage to their fate as they make their escape.
Arriving at the town of Kutzleben, the gang arranges passage downriver to Talabheim via a barge. Hearing rumours that the fish in the waters around the city have become fouled and mutated, the gang comes up with a scam to sell a barge load of fish to the citizens of Talabheim from the waters around Kutzleben.
A dodgy fellow by the name of Klaus joins the group and feels right at home amongst the morally challenged.
Episode #5 The Great Talabheim Fish Scam
Act One: On the Docks
Act Two: The Gate of Talabheim
Act Three: The Night Markets
Loading the barge with mountains of fish, the gang makes their way downriver, racing against time as the fish begins to rot in the hot sun. They manage to convince Tam to cast glamour’s over the rotting fish so they appear fresh and healthy.
Arriving at the docks beneath Talabheim, the party soon makes enemies of the local Dockers guild when Gorm threatens their leader to “…cut off your one fucking remaining hand and feed it to the fucking mutant fish in the fucking river below.” But the gang is left well enough alone.
Obtaining a cart, donkey, and large amounts of alcohol, the gang gets pissed as they make their way up the side of the massive crater surrounding the city. On the way, they get caught in traffic on multiple occasions, delaying their travel while increasing their drunkenness. They manage to harass members of the jenny guild, passer-by’s, and pie boys as they slowly get sunburnt and surly drunk.
Eventually, Tam (the one remaining sober member of the party) deals with the extensive bureaucracy and petty paperwork needed to get into the city and sell wares. After paying many fees and taxes, the gang accesses the massive city and goes straight to the market as night falls.
Fortunately, Talabheim’s markets are open late into the evening and the bountiful piles of fresh fish cause quite the interest, as does Grom’s sudden inspired salesmanship. Unfortunately, under so much scrutiny from such a vast crowd, Tam’s glamour fails and a fountain of rotting fish sprays over the crowd, who scream in disgust and panic. The gang flees the markets as the watch are called.
Some members of the gang suggest that they are cursed by the shade of the Gravin, while others abuse Tam for not studying hard enough at uni.
Trying to make up for the money they lost, the gang resorts to a short half-hearted campaign of mugging the drunk and unwary, petty gambling, and strict budgeting. The gang is not happy and getting desperate.
Episode #6 Idle Hands and the Devil’s Work
Act One: The Deutz Elm
Act Two: Meeting Fleisher
The gang searches for work in Talabheim, making their way to the Deutz Elm. The massive oak is shrouded in notices calling for workers – fortunately, Tam can read and is able help narrow down the list of potential jobs. The gang decides to talk to Herr Fleisher, a sausage merchant, who is seeking adventurers to “handle a delicate matter.”
The gang travels through the law courts part of the city, verbally harassing several solicitors and academics, trying to pickpocket others, and looking for mugging opportunities. Eventually, the city watch is summoned but before they arrive the gang flees into a noble district and Herr Fleisher’s house.
Finding the house, the gang harasses the butler and hits the mini-bar in the study while waiting for Fleisher. [Session ended early, Act two-three not finished.]