Old World Chronicles

Stromdorf Act 4
Planning Is For The Weak And Timid

Gang is milling around
Kromaw has a near-dead goblin, arrow in back, spear was smacked away
One goblin is running away in the forest, has a “second shadow” from Jorn
Chows down on dead compatriots while he waits for him to wake up…. but it doesn’t
Smacks it around, threatens it while he pulls the arrow out
“Base… fortress… Gobspite will defeat you with his magic…”
Durion overhears… says it’s uncharacteristic, known to stay in cavs

Gang sleeps in farmhouse for ~5 hours until dawn (Kromaw in barn, snacking on goblin corpses)
Max spends nigh in the “Geegee Hut” with the farmer’s daughter
Ackerman’s wife cooks up a bunch of eggs, a little mutton (a little crispy)
Gang heads to the south, in the direction the one living goblin went last night
Through damp woods for about half an hour
faint shadow (overcast wx) approaches, leaps to join Jorn’s

Goblin goes through woods for a couple hours, crests over a few hills
Goblin makes way slowly, cackling and grumbling, dragging sheep
Arrives at large farmhouse at the bottom of the last hill

large farmhouse, fortified manor with palisade, large guard tower
gate opens, lets goblin and sheep in
large pile of slaughtered (partially) animals, parts drying, cooking
several goblins milling around prepping food
getting ready for ‘bed’ for the day
at least two dozen milling around
goblins deposits sheep into small, scared flock
large creature chained up, red bouncy bipedal thing, huge tooty mouth
goblin gets ready for bed, shadow gets recalled
courtyard fairly empty, most of them in the hay barn (dark/shade)
farmhous fairly intact
set of gates on the far side of house

Group makes way to farmhouse, stops short at last hill before the crest
at top of hill, see a patrol of goblins (two) fairly being dragged by a large, red squig
(“bipedal monster, all mouth, teeth, legs and tail”)
Gang talks for several minutes… and Kromaw gets impatient, bellows, and starts running down the hill
Gang grabs weapons, hastily gets ready for battle
Jorn uses invisibility spell on self
Goblins retain initiative… easily notice huge ogre running down the hill

Round 1
Red squig freaks out, thrashes and chomps, sprints and jumps towards Kromaw, dragging its keeper on the chain
Other one runs to catch up
Durion lobs a xbow bolt at the running squig, misses, lodges it in the gatehouse on the wall
Goblins in gate house fire shortbows at Kromaw as he lumbers downhill
Aleron – shot – missed as well
Goblins in gatehouse fire arrows (shortbows) at Kromaw – couple of hits
Max follows Kromaw, stays behind him (relative to gate)

Round 2
Squig leaps and attacks Kromaw… and busts off a tooth on his forearm guard
Running goblin flails at long range, rattles spear off of Kromaw’s gutplate
Durion closes a bit, steadies, then declares a trick shot –
Hits one goblin in shoulder, he spins, releases arrow…. right into the other one
both are dead – only two left, both squawk in surprise and grab weapons
Kromaw shoves the squig aside, lowers a shoulder, and charges headlong right into the gate (23-5=18 damage)
Two goblins left in gatehouse, both poke bows out the slits, fire down at Kromaw – one crits
Max delivers Magritte Thrust unto squig – deep puncture wound, but it growls, hops away…
…then drops when Jorn blasts it with magic missile
Goblin spearman – continues jabbing at Kromaw – gets a few pricks in while Kromaw whales away on door, breaks spear on gutplate
Dragged goblin rolls several feet, ends up next to Durion, pulls out scimitar and starts swiping… falls over and drops it (dizzy)
Yells of goblins from gatehouse alerting goblins inside fortress

Round 3
Kromaw bashes gate again – 16 damage – splinters go flying, boards let loose, and it caves in…
…but just leads to another gate on far side of gatehouse
Aleron lobs xbow bolt into goblin w/ broke spear
Max strolls past wounted goblin, and shoves rapier through his skull, not slowing
Durion nails one goblin in the gatehouse with a disorienting shot
Goblins contine to rain arrows at Kromaw through murder holes
Jorn enters gatehouse, fires magic dart through murderhole… screaming goblin falls through, and lands on floor writhing around

Gang hears loud guttural screaming from far side of gate – goblins screaming in fear and delight… large footsteps resounding

Round 4
Squirming goblins tries to bite/stab Kromaw’s ankle
Goblin in gatehouse drops barrel of potatoes through murderhole, breaks open on Kromaw’s head – potatoes raining everywhere
Kromaw begins smashing the inner gate, knocks several dents into wooden slats
Aleron – bashes squirming goblin in the head with mace, boot sucked into mud, drops mace into mud
Max – smoke fills the gatehouse and deafening blast – goblin in gatehouse drops crate of turnips next to Aleron, keels over dead

Round 5
Kromaw finishes bashing door down… mostly. Couple
Revealing a really pissed off, large, ugly stone troll
Large herd of Night Goblins behind the troll – a few jabbing at him, goading him forward
Grabs one that pokes particularly hard, tears it in half and tosset it away
One of the goblins sidles through broken gate, attacks Kromaw
Kromaw fends of poking spear, swats it viciously back into the crowd, pulped
Max shoots pistol at troll, only to ricochet off of its stony hide
Durion whips out blunderbus, unloads on the troll/goblins/Kromaw… except the gun goes “click” – exposed to elements
Jorn stabs troll with “shadowblade” spell – goblin’s spear shadow stabs it in the ass

Round 6
Troll advances solidly, swings club and smashes Kromaw thoroughly
Goblins advance on Max – stick with pointy end – stabbed – twice!!!
Kromaw goes double-fisted on the stone troll, crushes its hide in to its chest, slumps to ground unconscious
Durion… asshole!… unloads blunderbuss into the crowd (this time it goes boom) hits all goblins, Aleron and Max
Several goblins whale on Max – parries and dodges several, but begins to accumulate slashes and piercing wounds
Troll begins to stir, starts to rise – steps on a few goblins, stumbles towards Kromaw
Aleron swings club around, knocks a goblin in the skull, plunging it into the mud
Jorn – magic missile on goblin – two goblins go flying
Max – holds goblins at bay with whirling rapier, lodges his dagger in one’s skull, breaks away and climbs the ladder to the gatehouse

Round 7
Last of the few goblins go down under fusillade of crossbows… courtyard is an abattoir

View
Stromdorf Act 3
No Rest For The Wicked

Gang goes to see Kessler – town watch commander
two-story townhouse, reception room when entering
Man named Meyer, greets party – calls commander for his six o’clock appointment
Kessler – no-nonsense manner, floppy noble hat, nice clothng, one hand missing
“thanks, gentlemen, for coming”
Kessler’s office – large – cluttered, books scrolls, boxes, large desk w/ paperwork, candelabra in corner
deep red curtain behind desk; a few chairs in front of chairs
Gentleman sitting in front of chairs – “burgermeister Adler is indisposed – will deliver offer for him.”
“Been having problems as of late – farmsteads south of town, fod for city (livestock) – livestock disappearing for the last ten days
Sitting – country gentleman, middle aged, bald pate, black beard, worried. Herr Gubo Ackerman.
Theives come when the night falls. Kessler says farmers will be ruined within month. Granary also ruined from storm – bad shit.

Reiterates great deeds of party – bringing in heretics, catching poisoner, dealing with Oberslecht farm burnings.
Offers 50 silver coins each for investigating/eliminating rustlers – up front.
Max – info on rustlers? Number? type? number of cattle taken?
Ackerman: several animals at a time each night despite livestock closer to farm, right under their noses. Rain eliminates tracks.
Dogs ran back to farm yelping, useless – refused to go outside after dark at all.
Patrols on shifts from dusk to dawn, but first shift always exhausted when leaving shift an hour after midnight.
Kessler: two suspected sheep rustlers – had them hung a few days ago, but raids continued regardless. Dozens taken, various farms, 1-2/night.
Doesn’t seem like beastmen – not their style (much more destructive, obvious)
Aleron: why is the burgomeister so reclusive these days?
Kessler – he hasn’t stirred from his room since young lass committed suicide.
Max – detects bullshit (witholding some info)
Kessler (flustered, slipping over story): It’s… possible… might have had some inappropriate relationship with late mrs. Brenner (Innkeeper’s wife)
So little payment? (25 silver now, 25 after rustlers brought to justice) – Dwarf has lost armor, have sustained losses and wear saving the town from beastmen… surely 10more silver appropriate? (success) – 25 now, 35 after complete
Ushers group out, brusquely/flustered – goodnight, goodnight, the farmer will deliver you to his farm tomorrow to begin.

Kromaw heads for western gate to retrieve rusted out cannon from damaged battlements
Wet, covered with slippery vines/moss – fails first (slips, falls on ass) – causes consternation amongst guards
Cannon is rusted severely, waterlogged – pretty much unusable – climbs back down
nearby – empty drill field, bleachers nearby, for militia training – hangman’s tree is adjacent, near gate
two men hanging from tree, rotting, birds pecking at flesh

Kromaw goes back to gaol, questions men from Oberslecht again.
Jorn – field of arena – look at hangmans tree; pukes

Jorn, Aleron, Max – go to bug burgomeister – ask around, find & make way to burgomeister’s house
No response to knock on door
Max tries three times to climb – fails twice with extreme grace, then makes it to top (Aleron fails to help, then leaves muddy handprint on Max’s asscheek)
Sees burgomeister sitting at a desk – wearing night gown, eyes red (crying), early 40’s, skinny, hagard… boring
Jumps down, heads to inn – no recovery overnight (Max – has Rattlelung +1 fatigue, plus fever – +1 black die to mental checks)
Jorn – still severely wounded – (blood in eyes?) – goes to doc in morning – much chopping, minus one disease, three wounds, one crit (nerve damage)

Gang goes to Ackerman’s wagon, he’s loading up some produce at local market, dry goods, supplies, tools, rope
Offers ride to most of you (minus ogre)
Aleron – gets “under weather” along with Jorn – suffer add’l fatigue, every time fatigued.
Cart gets stuck, Kromaw easily pulls out of muck
Few, scattered cottages w/ small clearings
Hill in distance, clouds over hill gathering blackly, lightning crackling – Ackerman makes Sigmar’s sign
“The tempest’s knap – a haunted place where nobody ventures – spectres whirling around the top of the hill one evening – lit with a dreadfull blue light
Lowlands start rising into foothills – reach Ackerland farm soon after.
Large farmhouse, wooden watchtower, cattle huddling nearby, sheep grazing
Ackerman starts unloading, wife comes out along with son, solid six-foot lad, grabs goods
Wife welcomes group into warm kitchen – startled at the ogre, of course
Hands out hot mead to everyone, sits the gang by the fire
Gang asks about security plan

One dude in the tower with a crossbow, sentries around the field, torches going all night, first watch returns at ~1am exhausted

Far Field – sheep, several large boulders in one corner (good hiding place)
Kromaw finds husks of some plant – brings to Jorn – identifies as Slack Fungus – can cause soporific effects (fatigue, unconsciousness)
Couple of these in each field, no spores remaining in them (deflated)
Gang pulls Max out of the daughters room at ~10

Kromaw hides in amongst cows, wears horns
Durion – watch tower with crossbow and night vision
Aleron – in rocks near sheep in Far Field
Max – in cow shed, near Kromaw in Long Field
Jorn – in trees near Kromaw and cows in Long Field
Two shepherds – with sheep in Far Field
Farmer and farmhand – in Long Field near west (far) edge

Max – sees nothing
Kromaw (KroMoo) – wet vegetable smacks him in the head – falls face down in the mud, but sees four small humanoids in robes with pointy hats
Aleron gets smacked in the chest with a wet vegetable, gets tired, slumps against rock
Two shepherds go down, along with farmer and farm hand
Jorn sees something flying at him, dodges, smacks against tree as he leaps aside
Durion up in the tower, puff goes off, drops crossbow and slumps over

Max sneaks to tower, picks up loaded crossbow, heads to fenceline, and blasts a goblin off of Kromaw with the pistol
Goblins start panicking like a scattering ant hive
Jorn casts invisibility

Cow-stealing goblins are scared, unable to rustle cow
Sheep-stealing goblins are not scared, able to rustle sheep

Nearby goblins charge Max, fail to injure while dodging

Aleron, Kromaw and Durion all wake up
Kromaw stumbles to feet, takes a clumsy swing with sword and cuts a goblin in half, impales another on steel fist
Max spits one goblin with rapier, buries main gauche in another’s chest, loses grip on it
Goblin stabs Max, blade breaks off in buckle of armor (just a stick left)
Aleron hollers at goblins rustling sheep near fence – buries crossbow bolt next to head of one – they let sheep go
Durion picks up bow of passed-out guard – misses shot at goblins, arrow buried in mud
-—————-

Kromaw – charges goblins – gets to fence of FAr Field
Max – tuck and roll, grab main gauche from dead goblin, jump up, stab standing goblin, and haul ass to fence of Far Field
Aleron – reload crossbow (?)
Arrow hits the fence near Max and Kromaw
Jorn – still invisible – walks to middle of goblin group, summons black lightning bolts, and fries entire group
Minions – dead
-—————-

Aleron – crossbow – hits rustler in back, knocks over, squealing and crawling away
Kromaw jumps fence, chasing towards goblins on far edge of field
Max – run alongside Kromaw
Jorn – summons second shadow on Aleron(?)
Durion – out of range
-—————

Aleron – chases goblins – bashes one of two still standing in the head, drops him, it tries to crawl away
Kromaw – hauls ass to catch up, smacks spear away from downed goblin (arrow in back) who is trying to get up
Jorn – give up chase?
Goblin – rustles sheep (shadow attached) – pulls sheep away, leaves buddies in the muck
-—————

View
Stromdorf Act 2
Names Are Taken, Asses Are Kicked

Gang is at Stewpot Inn, guards just took custody of Celia(?) Cobblepot.
Ogre threatened to squoze her until she broked because he was afraid of poison that she used.
Gang bedded down, pooped out. Hung out in common room.
Bayrn (Jorn) healed of nerve damage.
Max is up part of the night coughing, fever.
Was stormy all night, heavy rain and plenty of lightning, even within walls of town.
Gang wants to go see the doctor in the town that Cobblepot sold poison to. (Kopfchen).

Dude with wispy white beard, purple gown – doctor Kopfchen.
Kromaw confronts – “find your gortsiet, you gave to Cobblepot”
Max asks if any is missing – Greg tries to detect lies, looks legit
Kromaw warns doctor clear of it, “chaos poison” – hobbit go to witch trial, poison food, got be careful
Jorn asks about the storm – doctor says it’s been a little more severe the last few days
Doctor pulls down almanac, shows party average rainfall, overall poor weather, last few days got worse
Kromaw “spots” chaos book – doctor explains it’s an educational tome
Max jumps in and tells doctor that if Kromaw gets to burn the book, maybe he doesn’t have to burn ALL the books. And the doctor.
Warn doctor not to spread more poison, otherwise, it’s his ass.

Go back to the town square – pass fountain, stone structure with gable, hasn’t been used in a long time.
Tiny, mailbox-sized chunk of wood, stuck on a staff, off to the side of the fountain/well. Off-white statue of Shallya.
People give the well a wide berth while walking through square.

Go back to Thunderwater Inn – notice windows nailed shut, chairs nailed to floor.
Gentleman in mid-20s with skullcap, high cowl, azure blue skullcap and cloak (Celestial College, Jorn notes).
Several scrolls, jeweled dagger, staff with clockwork planets.
Teaching the children their letters in the tavern. Prim, proper, well manicured, haughty.
Proprietor is there, graying, balding, decent gut, two sons helping behind bar.
One is ~20, other is ~15 or so.
Chair by fireplace is empty.
Max says hay to bartender, gets a Thunderwater, asks about the hunter – Hans “Biebs” Bieber
Tells of renown, tales of amazing shots, friendly and cool, brings in tons of game, god price.
Always gone a week or two, back for a few days, back in a day or two probably. Usually out at Oberslech.
Farms to south have tried to raise crops, pretty sure there’s a goblin tribe in the hills, livestock get taken, not doing too well.
If you go too far out in the Oberslech, can meet a pretty nasty end by beastmen or other things.

Reinholtz farm – got directions. Biebs not back for a few days.
Ask barkeep about Wizard. Endeared with townsfolk, taught them to read and write.
Aleron – what’s up with the well out there? Gets choked up a bit.
Couple of months ago his wife jumped in the well, drowned.
Barkeep excuses himself, youngest son cries a bit, can we do anything else for you?
Max give condolences, no reason for death – beloved by community, just normal fights with husband.
5 brass for breakfast, 5 more for provision.

Aleron bug wizard – “Ho there wizard, what’s the forecast for tomorrow?”
Taken aback, but playing along – “not likely, been this way the last hundred years or so.”
Aleron tries “Fake Out” – pre-empt an offensive attack somehow.
Trying to locate ancient pieces of stone tablet – ancient elvish script, might be able to get to bottom of weather.
Kromaw – “chaos storm?” – “no no, winds of Azyr, tear in magical fabric, causing storms”
Know how many pieces there are? Where they might be located?
Dunno, connected to the Azyr portal, where the power is leaking through.

Go to gate, roof structure collapsed, cannon there.

Gate we’re going out (east), cannon faced out from the east, roof over it, a few guards present.
Grab waterproof cloak
Start walking out to the east
about an hour out, see some smoke about an hour away
to the east – sullen rainclouds streaked with red light
whiff of smoke from the east, something burning
head toward the fire – burning remnants of farmstead
smoldering barn, farmhouse, grain silo, two outbuilding – near(ish) to the Holtzheim(?) farmstead
Jorn spots the origins of the fire – deliberate – no bodies
Max passed, notes cloven hoofprints in the mud
Aleron finds chaos star daubed in mud on the still-standing brick chimney
no bodies, livestock pens empty, no animals, dead or alive
small unburnt sign that says “aigel ranch”

Ogre sees Holtz farm off to the north – sees over a low rise
Fresh set of human boot tracks heading towards Holtz farm

Rally step – recover stress/strain

get to Holtz farm – two farmers in the barnyard, in a heated argument
one- tall and gangly, long blong hair, clothes torn, smeared with soot, mud, blood
other – short, dark, clothed in ..,
blond – “all your fault, dead becasue of you!”
dark – “i told you, tristan, i didn’t do it!”
blond – bullshit! i know it was you!
dark – what you think, they’d just go away?

blond guy glances over, pulls knife out, stabs the dark guy while he’s looking
other two hillbilly guys leap in, try to pull knife away from blond (Tristan)
rest of family hanging out, “doing chores” (eavesdropping)
distant twanging of lute from the farmhouse

Kromaw steps in – “That’s enough, calm down there – EVERYBODY STOP” (indimidate check) – success, group is startled by voice
stop yelling at each other

Tristan breaks down in tears, looks worked over, filthy, sooty, covered in mud
Explains that beastmen came and burned down farmstead, took family – he and brother out hunting, ran into Oberslecht w/ pitchforks
Brother was killed by beastmen, Tristan escaped, directly back to confront Holtzes
Kromaw – “Why it their fault?”
Breaks down, blubbering

Kromaw intimidates the stab victim, “tell truth, i’m a witch hunter”

Marie Holtz – mother – dark hair w/ streaks of gray, grief and worry
M Holtz – daughter – close set eyes, doughy face, close-set eyes

Tristan started throwing accusations around – no reason
only farmsteads for miles around – never happened before

Talk to mother – Tristan is her nephew, she was an Aigel before she married Otto, families got on well for generations fairly well

Aleron – goes up to farmhouse porch – addresses son (little Otto, teens) – “where’s Reiner?”
Has to talk over the kid’s lute playing, freakishly good, won’t stop playing. Won’t respond.
“Reiner, you in there?!?!?” Reiner – Otto’s brother, smaller/harder than Otto, dark hair and grim eyes.

Kromaw walks up to the guy that looks, says “you under arrest for hereticful behaviors – kidnap merchant Florian, steal wagon and pony”

Jorn stops bleeding for Fritz while Kromaw finishes tying him up.

Max heard commotion, saw the mother get up and run out (Marie), she pleads with Kromaw to let Reiner go
Kromaw intimidates Marie, tells her he’s going to jail in Stromdorf – hammer + comet (extra info)
Aleron sits on his horse and watches, “supervises”

Marie breaks down – starts to spill guts – “don’t hurt him, put him down, someone I want you to meet…, come with me…”
Takes a lantern from hook outside farmhouse, leads past fields to to the edge of Oberslecht
Otto – big solid man, thick neck, bulky, stoic farmer, glares suspiciously, doesn’t like outsiders
Climb onto a small hillock above the boggy ground, small cart on the edge of the clearing
Massive squat brooding tree to north, feathers, bones, stains, fur, bits of metal. Collection of bones at base, all over hill.
Imelda follows closely on Max’s heels…
Aleron left horse back at porch (really likes the banjo).

Marie – “Please don’t get restless, you’ll frighten them off…”
Intuition/Observation – no intention to harm, no ambush

Jorn – really faint tinge of something from tree – special in some way, not sure why

“are you there, I brought friends, they can help us”
Lightning strikes somewhere to the east
Crackling out of undergrowth, figure hunched, animal fur, feathers, stones, leather mantle with animal bones, grubby, black nails
Voice that rasps and crackles – “I hope you can help us, she is correct, time is short”
Blacktooth comes to destroy the works of man, will leave no work of man or gods standing…
Must ake the source of his power and ntake from him the source of the dark gods
Must steal from him the lighning stone…

Kromaw – “who you?”
“I am Foldath – this is my mother (Marie)”
Aleron – you didn’t bring our merchant friend out here an feed him to Foldath, did you?
Foldath – the sacrifices are not for me – they are to placate the hordes of beastmen
Place is REALLY creeping Jorn out, takes 3 stress
Aleron and Max – overwhelming sense of dread (not from Foldath) – sacrifical tree

Aleron looks down… sees signet ring on finger bone – reaches down and grabs it

Kromaw reaches down – grabs Marie, ties up – “you all chaos worshippers…”
“They’s worshipping chaos – go jail! Your mother go to trial!
Foldath – if this were a trap, the beastment would descend upon you without number…
Foldath – become a respected Bray Shaman, gifted with the dark gods’ magical might
Parents offered him as a sacrifice to the beastmen hordes – they saw his mutation, and raised him themselves
Love/hate relationship with human family

There’s a piece of stone, lashed to a beastman herdstone (large monolith) – been glowing the last few nights
attracts lightning, been driving the beastmen to madness, they are about to go mad and burn down everything, run amok
Pretty decent sized herd
Kromaw – “beastman accept challenge?”
Foldath – of course – that’s how they determine leadership of the herd

Party agrees with Foldath’s plan – Kromaw go challenge chief Gor, rest of party steals stone from Herdstone
Lightning blasts repeatedly hit the same location we’re headed towards

after half hour
See beastmen dancing, chanting around the herdstone, getting ready for battle
lightning stone lashed to side of stone, slightly har
Iska standing in front of herdstone, every few minutes, lightning hits stone, sparks fly, glow of azure light, beastmen freak out
beastment point, attract attention of Iska
Kromaw bellows ’ Iska, i challenge you! Beastmen must die! Chaos worshippers must die"
Iska bellows challenge response, raises double-bladed axe above head (just slightly shorter than Kromaw)
Most of party hides – find trees/logs to duck behind

Two rando beastmen charge Kromaw, pissed – Kromaw goes for double strike, pass – mash one into a super pulp
Kromaw bashes one’s head in, tears the hand (w/ sword) off of the other, then shoves blade through chest
another lightning bolt hits the stone – Iska roars, and charges
Both Kromaw and Iska tear into each other – huge, tearing blows, ribbons of blood, skin and fur flying, both roaring

Max sneaks – masterfully… Jorn stomps around like he’s trying to make as much noise as possible – two beastmen start sniffing around
Jorn casts spell, leaps out of bushes as beastman – other two cheer him on, then return
Max is quiet as fuck… but can’t hold in his coughing, belts out a couple coughs – throws self to ground
two beastmen turn, inspect herdstone, medium range
Max stands up, reaches around herdstone, fumbles with knot – takes a while, no instant success
Aleron lobs a shot ( of some kind) at the two beastmen approaching, takes one out, other distracted, quits looking for Max

View
Stromdorf Act 1
Max and Friends Go Swimming

Party limps into the Red Moon Inn, gets poor/short night of sleep (get back ~3 AM)
Party goes to Temple of Shallya in morning – limited success
Max gets a bit sicker, Durino as well.

Gang goes to market square, looks for deals
Max picks up a blue, glowing healing draft – was unlabeled, great deal on it
Kromaw makes an order for an ogre-sized Witch Hunter hat, gets good deal as well (but will now be sponsored by Mad Hatter Inc.).

Gang heads to Temple of Sigmar to turn in loot
Vern is there, will help defend the party to best of his/Aschaffenberg’s ability
Kromaw tosses dust at Sigmarite priest’s feet, dust all over the place (no effect)
Durion(?) surrenders the green weeping blade as well – goes into lead-lined case
Gang waits several minutes to be interviewed, gets bored.
Adelle (Witch Hunter) interrogates party, but limited patience; called to capital

Gang goes to Guild Headquarters, meets with Von Karstadt (leader)
Will fund trip to Stromdorf to search for Florian Wechsler, must find him or ring
Will pay 30sp for trip, and additional 20 apiece if Florian’s coal shipment is found
No foul play expected, no reports or information – just go find

Gang heads to docks, searches for barge/ship down river
Finds passage, 3sp each (6 for Kromaw and Aleron’s horse) – take most of the day
Weather/river are calm, until approaching Stromdorf – stormclouds, rain, occasional thunder
River gets rough, Kromaw attempts to “help” maintain control of ship
Crew member is promptly knocked off – captain calls man overboard, throws preserver
Log hits ship – captain also washed overboard, unable to control ship
Max/Aleron attempt to control the tiller, but additional log hits ship and begins to sink
Max and Kromaw get safely clear, swim to shore and head for town
Rest of the gang gets pulled under, taken downstream

Durion sinks, pulls off gromril armor, pops to surface, sees and saves the captain
Aleron dislocates shoulder while attempting to get to shore
Kromaw tosses a spar at Jorn, able to keep him afloat
Gang gets washed ashore at the bridge by the mill – miller drags them in and helps out
Durion stays behind to make sure captain is ok – rest of gang heads for town

Kromaw/Max make way down path to city, question watchman at gate
Knows nothing of Wechsler’s location
Family crest at gate is Von Jungsfreud (Suponatheim’s relatives)
Watchman recommends “Thunderwater Inn” – Max/Kromaw head there
Road filled with mud – town drenched in constant rain – use boarded walkways on streetside
Plenty of people around – busy, despite rain – lively town
Foul, disgusting, nasty odorous stench – tannery by entrance to town

Rest of gang catches up to Max/Kromaw (minus Durion) at the Thunderwater Inn

View
Ubersreik Act 5
Can You Feel The Stink Smell?

9:30 – Ball is over. Complete chaos. Monsters slain. Ballgoers deserting mansion.

-Everyone chooses Aschaffenberg as a patron.

-Aleron sees a sneaky thing leap into well – couldn’t catch it.
-Mansion is cleansed.

-Guildmaster – Impressed by the group, wants to hire later, cool with Aschy as liege lord (if there must be one)

-Witch Hunter shows up after festivities over – confronts guests
-Keeps hearing about Skaven, calls bullshit, says it’s a children’s tale
-Aleron confronts – implicates Von Holsenauer, promotes Aschy
-Max also promotes Aschy, says it’s good he employes stalwart warriors like himself

-Von Holsenauer shows up and listens in, makes sure he’s not being dimed out – Aleron doesn’t say so overtly

-Pfeffer (watch capt) may loan a few guards to investigate, but won’t go herself

-Aschy and Ludmila take off – Ludmila gives a glance and wink at Max

-Kromaw lowers gnoblar into the well with a rope, bangs him around clumsily in a bucket, sees nothing
-Jorn is super frustrated, will do it himself (more smartfully) – party tension goes up
-Jorn lowers Durion in bucket with crank… maybe not a good idea, strength check not good – goes zipping down freefall
-Kromaw grabs the rope… misses. Durion smashes into the surface (~25 feet down)
-Durion grabs the bucket, Kromaw pulls him back up, but Durion realizes he dropped his dwarf heirloom hammer

-5’ above the water, Durion sees a hole in the side of the well, man-sized
-Steps in, sees man-sized animal tracks, faint traces of glowing green dust on sides and bottom of well

-Aleron climbs down next, follows Durion into well, then Max and Jorn
-Kromaw has to walk to main sewer junction and catch up

-Aleron busts out a map of the sewers that Noseless gave him
-Aleron gets to first junction – starts to walk into sewage
-At knee-deep, Aleron bangs his foot on a spike (pass disease check)
-Figures out how they are placed, tells party how to avoid them easily

-Musty, nasty smell accumulates, noxious fumes, party decides no more open flames
-Jorn uses staff to provide light

-Party continues to trudge through sewer, picking up vile disgusting afflictions
-Durion picks up a nasty disease – body/face covered with boils
-Max picks up Yellow Skull Fever and Rattlelung

-Gang spots Skaven assassin turning left own a corridor
-Aleron hauls ass, tries to catch up, small tunnel, lets Durion by so he can sprint upright (three feet diameter)
-Durion catches up, gets a swing at the Skaven as it tries to turn another corner, catches its eye mid-blow, misses(?)

-Skaven returns the blow, whirl of poisoned “weeping” blades
-Hits viciously (five wounds), but the weapon twists out of rat’s hand, lands in sewage
-Durion disengages and drops back a little
-Aleron closes, takes a few swings but rat dodges his mace easily
-Max pulls his pistol, takes a shot, but a clean miss due to rat bouncing off the walls and dudes in between
-orn uses Shadow Blade, blade slices out of rat’s shadow and stabs him through the side

-Rat tries to disengage, but ends up just underneath sewer grate in deep water/sewage
-Kromaw above drops a huge rock on his head, crushes rat into sewer water, corpse begins to melt/bubble
-Durion swishes around in muck, can’t find sinking corpse
-Jorn searches for Weeping Blade (warpstone, corrupting), takes disease check as he roots around in sewage
-Jorn picks up Stenchfoot – black, hardened flesh, with overpowering stench

-Jorn sees traces of warpstone powder down the main passageway
-Aleron picks up Giddy Haunts, Scarlet Fog – delerium
-Aleron(?) has Pox, Green Pox, Red Pox

-Kromaw opens grate, climbs down into sewer with the gang
-Follow the dust down the main passage until they spot side passage, dug out, several yards long
-Exit into Skaven lair, several ratmen in rusting armor, old rags

-Kromaw blasts out of corridor, hammers one rat into another with both fists, both crushed to floor
-Rat-Ogre roars, beats chest, challenges Kromaw
-Durion hangs back in tunnel entrance – takes a shot with x-bow – hit with critical,
-Max charges at group of three on right (with spears) places sword through one’s heart, drops it – bubbles, green goo
-Max’s follow-up strike slashes arm of second, loses grip on spear
-Aleron jumps into the fray with mace, clobbers weaponless rat while recovering from Max’s second strike
-Jorn moves beside Durion in entrance, casts spell – Shadow Bolt (magic dart) – dark flash explodes on Rat-Ogre’s face
-Rat-Ogre gets angry, takes swing at Kromaw with huge bladed gauntlet
-Hits Kromaw, huge gash in chest

-Kromaw does Capt Kirk super double-fist blow to the chin, sends him flying backward into the wall unconscious
-Rat gets cheap shot on Max, gets a few tears in his costume – pissed enough to take return strike, a few light slashes
-Rat takes cheap shot on Ogre, misses, opens himself up for counterstrike, and Kromaw impales it on fist blade – dead

-Vast, monstrous Rat Super-Ogre tears its way out of far entrance to tunnel
-Accompanied by small rat cloaked in gray robes, horns coming out of hood, wild-eyed, chattering wildly
-Max advances, drops a rat with several slashes of his blade

-Jorn casts Shadow Blade at rat shaman guy – several gashes appear on torso from blades materializing inside cloak
-After recoiling, rat shaman reaches out hand, blasts Jorn with green lightning, does xx wounds
-Rat Super-Ogre batters Kromaw, but manages to barely parry with gauntlet, driven to a knee from massive blows
-Kromaw rises, huge fist to face, knocks Super-Ogre backwards on ass

-Kriksnak throws both hands forward, launches gaseous ball of noxious fumes, gasses whole melee party
-Jorn collapses, overcome by fumes, along with one rat
-Max is still pissed, charges shaman dude, deals 11 damage, flurry of slices
-Aleron bludgeons a rat repeatedly, hammering it to the ground and out of action – only one standing, next to splayed Super-Ogre

-Super-Ogre stands back up, delivers several fierce blows to Kromaw – driven back a few feet, but still up
-Kromaw immediately retaliates – huge slabs of muscle as they both rain blows on each other
-Rat Shaman is feeling threatened – casts Skitterleap, teleports to behind party (other tunnel entrance)
-Clan rat stabs Aleron with spear (cheap shot) – few points of damage, fatige point
-Durion takes a crossbow shot at Shaman, lodges bolt in shoulder – causes him to panic
-Max advances and shoots with pistol – blasts hole in leg
-Rat Shaman screams in frustration – “man-things ruin plan!”

-Kromaw continues to whale on Rat-Ogre, both reeling in pain from many gashes and vicious blows
-With last bit of strength, Rat-SuperOgre uses both arms to pummel Kromaw to the ground, unconscious
-Last rat strikes at Aleron, flails wildly, Aleron parries easily

-Max – signs “M” in Rat-Ogre’s ass, but just pisses him off (tried to be to clever!)
-Rat-Ogre turns, one last strong swipe, sends Max tumbling across the room, but crumples to the floor, unconscious and bleeding
-Durion shatters last rat’s leg with crossbow – collapses, dead

Rally Step

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Ubersreik Act 4
Von Holsenauer's Got The Biggest Balls of Them All
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Ubersreik Act 3
Social Maneuverings for Glorious Benefit of Party

Disclaimer – in the interest of actually having some info ready for each session, I’ll be posting the notes that I take each game immediately after the session ends. I will flesh the notes out as a full post when/as time allows.

-Morning – party heads for Market Square
-Crowd getting whipped up by witch hunter
-Max makes some sarcastic but well meaning comments – manages to calm down crowd
-Crowd begins to disperse
-Witch Hunter is pissed – abandons market square, heads for Von Bunglehopper(?) residence
-Manages to bring angry villagers after, forms a mini mob outside the house
-Max makes epic speech, defuses crowd’s anger, super stressed, falls unconscious
-Pulls a (temporary?) madness – Obsessive Compulsion
-Witch Hunter makes us follow to Temple of Sigmar
-Temple minions bring in “refreshments” – tankards of ale
-Multiple rounds of drinks for everyone – softening up
-Witch Hunter begins questioning as a group
-Most everyone deflects…
-…but Max keeps hitting on her, and says yeah, we killed the hell out of them
-Somewhat distracted by being hit on, Witch Hunter puts party on “probation” – no leaving the city

-Someone in party heard earlier that city watch needs help in the Karl Marx(?) tower
-Meet redhead female in armor, greatsword, and dude with square cut beard, brown hair, greatsword
-Female (watch captain) tells us that they have no time to investigate rumors
-Sent to investigate rumors of people noticing dark figures infiltrating city
-Told to go find No-nose, and search sewers

-Party goes back to Red Moon inn, find no nose hanging out in the corner
-He’s got a new dog – Aleron(?) offered to buy him one earlier
-No-Nose says we need to go into the sewers – don’t wear anything you don;t need
-Max ditches the nice clothes, gets into the tattered ones (patched shrapnel holes)

-Party goes to the river, follows bank to sewer entrance,
-Sewer is partially exposed this time of year (low tide)
-Water is up to mid-thigh – 4 foot wide sewer entrance
-Only 2 wide in sewer, four people per engagement limit
-Party is creeping – Jorn gets Tzeentchian Megaherpies under his robe
-Everone else is ok, but stinky as hell

-Encounter rat-man figure; skaven running across a cross-tunnel
-Durion is in the front, flails at it with no success
-Max charges in, stabs it squarely, wounding but no kill
-Rat is seriously angry
-Kromaw charges in, grabs onto the ratman
-Jorn lobs magic missile into the melee – knocks off skaven’s tail, and he dies
-Skaven’s flesh starts to bubble/sizzle, green mist or haze rising from him
-Someone(?) grabs coin purse before it sinks
-Same someone takes resilience check (avoid additional Megaherpies) – passes
-Gang finds corpse with Town Watch medallion
-Heads back for sewer entrance, no additional diseases gained

-Party goes back to Town Watch headquarters
-Gives medallion to town watch leader(s) – redhead female
-Corpse’s name was Grimwold (dead dude) – kin will be notified

-Party goes back to Red Moon Inn
-Max gets TWO changes of bathwater, gets CLEAN (then bugs the serving wench some more)

-Next day – party needs to hit up Madame Beauxmarteau for costumes
-She will fix up with last minute costumes
-Shop is pretty opulent, but with fake/glass jewelry
-No good deals for Max with price, but makes VERY nice costume – extra white die at the ball
-Max – Man-Bat costume
-Durion – Sweetroll costume
-Jorn – Grey Wizard costume?
-Kromaw – ?
-Aleron – ?

-Gang heads back to Red Moon, calls it a day

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Ubersreik Act 2
Kromaw and Durion Display Their Hunting Prowess

Rousing himself from his bedding in the common room, Durion stretched his limbs out to a chorus of popping and cracking. A few men still snored away from their cots and hammocks, but the dim light through the dirty tavern window was beginning to creep across the floor and meant that dawn was nearly here. The tavern owner was visible through a door behind the bar, and audible as well as he shouted at a servant to take the fish soup off the fire and get to serving.

Gathering his belongings and hauling them to a large booth in the corner, Durion waved for the serving girl over as she entered the common room with a large pot of stew. As she lugged the pot with both arms over to the table he noticed that she looked fairly tired, although in a cheerful mood as she smiled and gave a wink while ladling a full bowl and setting a large heel of bread in front of him. She was fairly attractive, if perhaps a bit tall and weedy for Durion’s taste. The bags under her eyes were assuredly earned by staying up all night in Max’s room – everyone in the common room was able to hear the creaking and scuffling they entertained each other well into the middle of the night. “May as well leave the rest of the pot for the ogre,” Durion said, “he’ll no doubt drink the whole thing in one go.” With a smile, the barmaid set it next to him and returned to the bar to finish cleaning last night’s dirty mugs.

After several minutes of straining soup through his mustache, Durion looked up from his bowl as Max, Aleron and Jorn entered the common room from the stairway, their voices preceeding them as they discussed the plan for their day. Max seemed to be in an excellent mood, as he slapped Aleron on the shoulder and joked incessantly. Jorn followed them with eyes rolled upward – glancing at Durion as they passed, he gave a nod of greeting. “We’re headed for the Temple of Shallya, Durion. Best of luck to you and Kromaw in the hunt,” Jorn said. “We’ll meet you here after we return, near midday.”

Nodding in agreement, Durion watched Jorn, Aleron and Max walk towards the door. Jorn and Aleron talked animatedly, comparing strategies on getting at Aleron’s information at the Temple. Jorn was going on at length about recordkeeping and where they might expect to find an answer while Aleron listened closely. Max appeared to be only loosely following their conversation, and he had a large, asinine grin plastered on his face as he winked at the serving wench as they passed the bar, earning a smile and blush in return. With a creak of the inn’s door, they departed.

Scarfing down the last dregs of fish soup and chasing it a few bites of bread, Durion flinched as Kromaw lumbered from his corner of the common room and carefully sat across him, splashing his own soup across the table while guzzling it directly from the bowl. He chugged prodigiously, proving Durion’s prediction correct by finishing his draft with a huge belch and grunting “Good snack – Kromaw want more.” Dropping a stale heel of bread next to his empty bowl, Durion pushed himself to his feet. “Come on, we need to get to the gates as soon as they open. Wouldn’t do to keep a pompous nobleman waiting on our lowborn presence. I’m suspect they’ll let you eat some of whatever you catch, so the sooner we get going, the better.” Grunting in agreement and throwing back three mugs of ale in quick succession, Kromaw pushed the table away from him and lumbered from the booth after Durion.

Making their way down cobbled streets toward the market square, Durion and Kromaw entered a sea of people thronging the various stalls, some of which were still being set up. Durion waved away a fishmonger holding a huge glistening carp or somesuch above his head, and Kromaw growled at an acne-covered youth who approached too aggressively while trying to hawk a tray of pastries. Heading for the wide street that would lead them to the western city gate, Kromaw steadily gathered a group of children who trailed along after him, daring each other to pluck a bit of his patchwork silk leggings. Eventually tiring of their game – and of avoiding Kromaw’s annoyed swatting gestures – the group of children dispersed as they gained distance from the market, with a small boy skipping ahead of them while waving a scrap of blue silk triumphantly above his head.

After traveling the distance to the gate, Durion and Kromaw passed the entire array of what Ubersreik had to offer. Inns, taverns and worker’s barracks, manors and hovels and shops galore. Even a few brothels mixed among them, though it was a bit early for the proprietors or patrons to be up and about. Coming upon the massive gates, they crossed the drawbridge against the heavy flow of incoming carts and horses as merchants and workers streamed towards the city center. Several hundred paces away from the city, there was a sizeable clearing on the side of the road already populated with servants bustling about. A few brightly covered tents festooned with house sigils stood proudly in the grass field, and several more were being put up by frenzied workers while Durion and Kromaw watched.

A string of horses was tied up and in the midst of being saddled while a group of noblemen looked on. Their boasts and laughter rose above the shuffling and snorting of the horses, and the flash of gold could be seen as a few of them exchanged wagers on the outcome of the hunt. A woman broke free of the group, and Durion recognized her as Von Holsenauer’s bodyguard, Agnes. “Glad you could make it. Although Lord Von Holsenauer has me to protect him most of the time, it’s difficult to stay close on hunts, especially when mounted. I’m sure he’ll be glad to have you two along to add some spice to the occasion, but you can also serve the purpose of looking out for him during the hunt. With the ball coming up, I’m afraid of attempts on his life. We’ve already had a few close calls during the last few weeks. Keep him safe, and there’s a little something in it for you at the end of the day. Von Holsenauer is always on the lookout for people he can trust, and he values my opinion.”

“Aye, we’ll do what we can,” Durion said. Kromaw cheerfully grunted in assent. “Head over to the groomsmen,” Agnes said, “and they’ll set you up with a mount. For Kromaw, well, the big lug may just have to keep up on foot. Looks like he’s got the size to do so for a while.” At that, they walked towards the horses and caught the attention of one distracted groomsman. A youth with Von Holsenauer’s livery on his breast gave them a confused look at first, but brightened up and traveled to the far end of the line and returned with a mount. Durion dubiously eyed the mount they had provided him – a robust pony with a small step stool set next to it. “Damned presumptuous asses,” Durion muttered under his breath, “I can handle a horse as well as the rest of ye, maybe even better…” Gamely, he threw on a halfhearted grin and climbed on the back of the pony. As it came from the stables of a nobleman, it at least appeared to be healthy and fit, so could just possibly keep up with the rest of the hunters for a while.

A chorus of barking rose above the din as a large pack of dogs rushed across the clearing and disappeared into the forest. One of the manservants raised is voice above that of the noblemen and horses. “Gentlemen! If you’ll be so kind as to take to your mounts, Lord Von Holsenour will lead the hunt. The hounds have the scent, and it’s only a matter of time before they corner the game. And now, gentlemen, if you will – to your horses!” A flurry of activity ensued as the various brightly-attired noblemen mounted their steeds. Various squires double checked bridles and saddles, and were shooed away by their prideful lords as they formed behind Von Holsenauer. Von Holsenauer spurred his horse into motion, and with a thunder of hooves the hunt had begun.

Charging into the forest, Durion found it fairly easy to keep with the other hunters at first. His pony was surprisingly nimble, and its small size helped it dodge between gaps in trees where the other hunters were forced to go around. Kromaw, on the other hand, simply bulled through or batted away anything that got in his way as he left a trail of bent and broken tree trunks and branches behind him. Glancing at Kromaw, Durion caught Kromaw lowering a shoulder to snap a small sapling into splinters without missing a step. The baying of the dogs could be heard up ahead and steadily increased in volume as they closed on the pack. It sounded as if they may have scented their prey. Riders spurred their mounts wildly, each wanting to be the first to catch sight of the prey.

Durion whipped the reins fiercly as he kicked his pony in its haunches while attempting to get the damnable beast to respond, but its heaving chest and foaming mouth gave away its increasing fatigue. He began to slowly lose ground on Baron von Holsenauer and his hunters, regardless of how furiously he flailed and cursed. He began to fall to the back of the pack, barely keeping von Holsenauer in sight as he dodged trees.

Briefly looking to the side, Durion caught sight of Kromaw breathing heavily as he ran alongside Durion’s pony. Kromaw’s head whipped towards a dense patch of trees, bellowing between labored breaths “Ooh! Kromaw sees! Sees it! The deer!” He veered to chase, armes raised before him as he crashed through the trees, and the rest of the riders began to follow. However, Kromaw suddenly stumbled as he burst through tot he far side, having failed to see a sharp drop as he began to descend into a gully made by a small creek. Grunting in distress, Kromaw nonetheless maintained his pace and waived his arms wildly as he began to charge down the slope.

Unable to control his course, Kromaw smashed his way through a small group of saplings, his massive legs pumping and arms flailing as he reduced them to a hail of shattered splinters and twigs. All through his descent down into the gully, though, he kept his footing. With a huge grin on his face, he continued to huff and puff as he plodded across the stream bed at the bottom, raising splashes of water several feet into the air. With a shout of glee, Baron Von Holsenauer steered his mount down into the gully just behind Kromaw, immensely entertained by all of his thrashing.

Following the stream around a turn and suddenly bursting into a small clearing, Kromaw skidded clumsily to a lumbering halt as he was confronted by an enormous stag surrounded by the loudly baying pack of dogs. Lowering its massive rack and sweeping it from side to side to drive away snapping hounds, the stag was obviously winded. Its sides were lathered, mouth open and foaming as its lungs huffed like a bellows. Nobles’ horses began to accumulate in the clearing as they caught up, and several began dismounting and drawing blades, bows or pistols. Von Holsenauer advanced ahead of them, claiming his right to the kill as the leader of the hunt.

Drawing his sword with a flourish, von Holsenauer lept off of his horse and began to stride on the exhausted stag. Within striking distance, he raised his sword triumphantly for the killing blow… and stumbled on a root just as he began his swing. His sword deflected off the stag’s antler, he managed to bury it in the mud halfway to the hilt, leaving himself completely at mercy to the now furious stag. Finding one last burst of energy, it reared and lowered its head in an attempt to impale the baron… and with an incredibly loud crunching sound, its head whipped to the side as it was caved in by a huge stone. Shattered bone, bits of gristle, and gouts of blood sprayed Von Holsenauer’s tunic as he shrunk back in disgust and surprise.

Kromaw’s huge bulk quickly followed the stone and knocked the stag off of it’s feet before it could begin to recover. Grasping its rack with one hand and wrapping his hand around its neck, he began twisting steadily. With a loud grunt and bulging biceps, Kromaw jerked furiously andd snapped the stag’s spine. After a few seconds of panting as he leaned against the carcass, Kromaw released his grip around the stag’s neck and climbed to his feet.

“Kromaw broke your deer… sorry,” he grumbled while rubbing the back of his neck in embarassment. Von Holsenauer quickly recovered from his shock and disgust, and a smile broke out on his face. “Well, that was a well placed throw, my large friend. Well struck. An intact head woul have done nicely for a trophy, but I suppose it beats being impaled, all things considered.” He turned and addressed the awestruck hunters. “The honor of the kill goes to the ogre!” A handfull of cheers broke out as the various hunters joined Von Holsenauer in his congratulations. “Now, we’ll leave the beast to the servants to take care of. Gentlemen, if you’ll follow me, the next part of the festivities should be arranged.”

After mounting their horses again, the hunting party returned to the camp at a leisurely pace. Laughter issued from several small groups as they exchanged jests and jibes at each others’ riding skills. “The way the congratulate each other, you’d think they’d carved their way through a legion of greenskins after riding the length of the Empire,” Durion muttered, eyes rolling. Durion’s pony trotted along comfortably enough while Kromaw lumbered alongside and casually picked bits of broken antler and fur out of his armor and silken clothing. Every once in a while, he’d hold a small piece of fuzz near his money satchel, and a small green hand would quickly snatch it and promptly disappear. “What’s that for, is your little goblin thing making a nest in your money bag,” Durion asked. “No,” Kromaw answered. “Gnoblar won’t always poop outside bag. Need stuff to clean, or money gets stuck in poop. Hard to spend poop money. Thinlings have weak noses.”

“Ah… Well, yes. Good thinking,” Durion said, only partially hiding a look of disgust. Upon returning to the camp clearing, the hunters began to dismount and gather various bows, crossbows, and long handguns from retainers. Several cages filled with captive deer had been set on one side of the clearing, and the nearer half was guarded by huntsmen along with their leashed hunting dogs. This would serve to drive the deer across the clearing in clear sight of the hunters, saving them the bother of another long chase and allowing them to show their marksmanship at their leisure. Durion positioned himself near the end of the line with cocked crossbow in hand and Kromaw stood next to him, having found several large rocks and placed them in a pile next to him. Once the hunters were positioned with their loaded and readied weapons of choice, Von Holsenauer accepted a loaded brace of pistols from his liveried armsman and motioned for the shooting to begin.

Von Holsenauer’s chamberlain was stationed beside the nearest of the cages. “And now, sirs, we’ll release several deer such that you may demonstrate your shooting prowess,” he announced. Gesturing to several men standing next to the cages, he quickly moved behind the line of shooters. Latches were released, and men jumped out of the way as several deer bolted across the clearing for the shelter of the trees at the far side.

A volley of gunshots rang out, accompanied by twangs and thrumming of stringed weapons. One deer tumbled, a neat hole in its chest. Von Holsenauer chuckled with satisfaction, holstering one pistol in his belt and drawing the other. Another deer skidded to a halt, two arrows lodged in it, and immediately an argument broke out between two indignant hunters over who’s arrow had killed it. Durion sighted one leaping stag, led it a bit, and shot… only to send the quarrel whistling just underneath its belly as it launched into another arc. Kromaw bellowed at his side, and a viciously hurled head-sized rock narrowly missed an animal’s haunch.

Hunters continued to pelt away while deer raced hurriedly toward shelter. One by one they dropped, and Durion realized he had only time for one more shot remaining as he notched yet another quarrel into its groove. A racing stag was only a few short strides away from the tree line as he finished drawing the string, and he quickly sighted and pulled the firing latch. It looked as if it were going to go high, but surprisingly struck and firmly lodged in the stag’s antler, jarring a guffaw of laughture from Von Holsenauer at the unlikeliness of it. He holstered his second discharged pistol into his belt and turned to Durion and kromaw.

“Well now, that’s quite an excellent shot, my dwarf friend,” Von Holsenauer said. “And, ah, a few interesting throws from the ogre as well, I’m sure. Perhaps better to stick with grappling, though, I think. Either way I’m glad we had you two along today. It’s been an exciting morning, which is a much needed change from preparations for the ball. In fact, why don’t the both of you come along to the ball. I could use your help in getting the opinions of the various guild leaders and nobility behind my bid for the town lordship. I suspect that your unique abilities and presence would be helpful. See that Agnes provides you with invitations, and do what you can to get yourselves a set of costumes. If you’ll excuse me, I must speak with a few people before we end the day.” Von Holsenauer nodded in dismissal, and headed to speak to a small knot of hunters, slapping backs and exchanging compliments on their marksmanship.

Slinging his crossbow and motioning for Kromaw to follow, Durion headed over to Agnes where she shouted directions to several of Von Holsenauers servants. After sending the last one away, she greeted Durion and Kromaw. “Quite an impression you made on my lord, and a good thing it is. I’ve heard that he wants you to come along to the ball. One of the scribes is preparing invitations. I’ll have it delivered to where you’re staying tonight. Prepare yourselves for the ball – costumes will help, but be prepared for anything. I fear that some of the other nobles in Ubersreik have little honor amongst them, and suspect we’ll need to be on our toes tomorrow night.” Thanking Agnes for the opportunity and saying their goodbyes, Durion and Kromaw began their walk back to the city, spirits lifted at their invitations. If things turned out well, they had a chance of securing their place in the city’s social setting.

===========

Max’s POV?

-Early morning, Max heads out with Jorn and Aleron to Temple of Shallya.
-Aleron badgers chief priest about title to family property
-Chief takes him to scribe in the back stacks
-Scribe looks around, finds that taxes on property were paid two years in advance, but has no title
-[Successful charm check] – Scribe will put in good word with council, arrange meeting for hearing
-Screaming from out back of temple – female – sounds hot (successful observation check)
-Witch Hunter, berating head priest, threatening to burn books
-Jorn tries to intercede, fails – she goes into paroxysms
-Max calms her more successfully – she cuts off the screaming, delivers a level threat/ultimatum to priest, then departs
-Head out to marketplace, see Asshattenberg and (ridiculously attractive) wife coming down steps of temple of Sigmar
-Notice Witch Hunter making a beeline for him – attempt to catch up
-Aleron points and gestures, attempts to warn Asshattenberg
-Witch Hunter confronts Aschy, says she’ll get to the bottom of his connection to Chaos
-Aleron interceeds – fails, witch hunter pissed, makes threat – will catch up with him at mansion later

And then we all hung out, and Max totally hit on a chick in the marketplace and dealt her out of a sweet-ass pistol for a super discount because that’s how he rolls.

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Kromaw makes some new friends and learns something new!
Or how to rig a fight without really trying

The journey back to Ubersreik had taken a bit longer than their journey to Gunwald lodge. The thinlings just couldn’t go anywhere fast if they weren’t riding something else. Those short little legs of theirs just couldn’t keep up with the long strong legs of an Ogre. But that wasn’t the only reason for the delay, the strange customs the thinlings had always seemed to overcomplicate matters. Particularly that Maximilien Cristobal fellow. Most thinlings tended to do an awful lot of talking and needless banter, but Max took things to another level entirely. It had taken Kromaw a little hard thinking, but he’d finally come to the conclusion that Max was one of those there “dancers” that he’d heard about and seen on occasion. Though it was most perplexing why he seemed to relish a fight, every other dancer Kromaw had seen, and eaten, were always the most timid individuals. Another odd behavior he seemed to engage in, and that he had observed other humans do, was his seeming obsession with females. At least Kromaw was pretty sure it was with females, it was difficult to tell the difference with thinlings.

By the time dusk began to approach, the group finally made their way back to the Red Moon inn where they’d all met each other and originally been hired. The inn was much the same as when they’d left, filthy, dingy, and drabby. or at least thats how Kromaw heard humans describe it. Thinlings sure had a lot of words for dirty. Kromaw wasn’t even sure why they seemed to treat the word with such disgust. Usually when talking about him in an insulting fashion, always when they thought he wasn’t listening of course. Most peculiar, especially considering how dirty so many of the humans themselves were. As if to illustrate Kromaw’s point, a rat catcher entered the inn. Followed by an immense amount of chatter from the other denizens of the common room regarding the rat catcher. Aleron in particular seemed interested in the rat catcher, and was ranting on about something he’d heard the humans in the booth next to us had said about this rat catcher’s dog getting killed by rats. He even called over the waitress and paid for the man’s beer.

The rat catcher then approached our table, and thanked the Bailiff for the beer. "fanks fer teh booze govnah. Been feelin a little down since ah lost mah dawg, ‘Squeekers’. Eeee was a gud dawg. Ya know, the rats been actin vurry strange lately. Its the moon yah know. Makes em more vicious.

I seen even stranger fings too down there in the sewers. A rat big as a man! And walking on two legs too!"

At this Aleron, Max, and a couple other humans who’d been listening in busted out into the most loud laughter. Kromaw was confused. The rat catcher hadn’t even made a joke.

“The Moon. The skaven crawl around when the Death Moon glows!” Kromaw stated very matter of factly. It wasn’t unusual to see a small army of skaven back in the mountains.

THIS FELLOW KNOWS WHATS UP!” The rat catcher exclaimed to Kromaw’s statement, while everyone around continued laughing. Kromaw still wasn’t sure what was so funny, nobody was telling jokes. But soon things were forgotten and everyone went back to eating and drinking. Kromaw was just polishing off his fifth roasted catfish, which Kromaw had watched get prepared. He just couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was trying to mess with his food… It was good, but something just didn’t feel quite right…

With the last bite of catfish, a man walked up to them. Kromaw recognized him as the driver of that noble the group had met on the way into town, and whose carriage Kromaw had fixed for 10 shillings. Least he was pretty sure it was 10, he’d have to ask EEEEK! later about that. Kromaw wasn’t so good with numbers, thats why every ogre needs a Counting Gnoblar.

“Hello, I was hoping I’d find you fine chaps. My master ”/characters/graf-siegfried-von-saponatheim" class=“wiki-content-link”>Graf Siegfried von Saponatheim would like to purchase your services. He wishes to go out on the town tonight and needs some ‘protection’. He’s willing to offer you 6 silvers each, just for a few hours work!"

Everyone of course leaped at the possibility of some easy money. Kromaw included.

“Excellent, my master will be along in a half hour to meet you!”

Soon enough, the coach of Von Supponatime? Von Upona… Bah, thinlings have such odd names which mean nothing. Not like good proper Ogre names which tell you exactly who you are talking to. That must be why the important humans all have a pretty picture on their shields and wagons to tell you who they are, their names are just too confusing to keep straight. Anyway, the coach arrived bearing the man who was going to pay money for a little guard work.

“Ahh my friends. good to see you again! I’m feeling adventurous, and I hear there is a bit of sport down by the docks!” exclaimed Graf Siegfried, accompanied by another perplexing human gesture where by the human acts as if they’ve gotten a speck of dirt or something in their eye. Max of course mimicked the gesture, and began talking in a most excited fashion with Graf as we walked down to the dock area. Jorn, Durion, and Aleron were a little less noisy as we proceeded.

Soon we arrived at what seemed to be a tavern mostly serving sailors. The sign above door appeared to show a malformed human picking up barrels. More curious thinling novelties. Inside the atmosphere was loud, full of laughing, drinking, and some fighting.

Von whatshisface grinned upon hearing an even louder source of activity which appeared to be coming from the basement. Kromaw also grinned, that was a familiar sound.

Stepping down into the downstairs warehouse, we beheld a massive ring containing 2 humans fighting each other, surrounded by a massive crowd placing bets and watching the spectacle. A fighting pit! Just like back home! Kromaw was a decent pit fighter back in the mountains, he just had to get in on the action!

In the pit, a huge mountain of a man, he came almost to the top of Kromaw’s gutplate, was squaring off against a small wiry man who pranced around him in quick hops. Maybe that guy was a dancer like Max.

The larger man traded jabs with the dancer. He missed a few, and the dancer got in a few decent hits. Then suddenly the man threw a strong upper cut which caught the dancer square in the jaw, and he crumpled like that robber Kromaw had clobbered on the road. The ringmaster held up the winner’s hand in a sign of victory.

Then a hush fell over the crowd as the next challenger entered the ring. A woman, at least Kromaw was fairly sure it was a woman, entered the ring. She was quite muscular and well fit, much like her opponent. Her face seemed to be in a permanent scowl as she glared at her opponent.

Graf Siegfried von Saponatheim immediately placed a large bet on the huge man to win the fight.

The referee rang a bell to begin the match. The large man advanced and threw a mighty punch. The woman casually deflected the blow, and followed up with a right hook that sent the man flying into the side of the ring. And as he struggled to get up she rained down a flurry of blows, blood soon poured from his nose and mouth, which ended only when the referee pulled her off and declared her the winner.

Von whathisface seemed quite outraged at having lost what Kromaw knew must have been a good deal of money. Maximilian similarly expressed his surprise at the outcome of the match. Durion and Jorn joined them at the ringside seat. Aleron leaned casually against the wall observing the entire room.

Kromaw was determined to have his own match. Storming up to the betting counter…

“Kromaw want to fight in the pit!”

The game master looked up at Kromaw with wide eyes. “Wha?? An ogre? How is that even fair for a human to fight an ogre? We got a reputation to upkeep here…”

“Kromaw fight more than 1 person if you want!”

“Errrm, well…. I suppose it would be something a little different. Very well, you’ll fight two of our best fighters.”

The referee went down into the pit and made the announcement.

“Today we’ve got something special for you folks! Two of our top champions will face off against a true beast! An Ogre!”

A gasp from the crowd went up as Kromaw stepped into the ring, he dropped his massive hammer and ironfist by the side as he went in. They fell with a clang in the momentary silence. Silence which was soon broken by the din of bets and wagers pouring in. Most going onto to Kromaw to win the fight.

Kromaws opponents were going to be the women who just won the previous fight, as well as another large muscular man. The woman glared at Kromaw, and also at Graf Siegfried von Saponatheim.

As the fight was getting set up, Von Saponatheim leaned forward and whispered into Kromaw’s ear…

“Take her out. Make her pay!” he said with a good deal of venom on his breath. Which is what Kromaw was planning on doing, he had every intention of winning. Kromaw figured he was very upset with losing the previous bet. Kromaw also noticed the rest of the party were putting bets on him too. Well of course it was only natural, no way could humans beat him in a fist fight. Von Saponatheim also made a bet, a gold piece!

Then the bell for the fight rang.

Kromaw rushed forward. The woman came at him, ducked to his right and threw a solid blow at Kromaw’s thigh. Kromaw chuckled inside, he barely felt that. He clenched his fist and brought it down on the woman. She attempted to side-step the blow, but Ogres are surprisingly quick and she took the full force of the blow. She rolled with it and ended up behind Kromaw, though she was obviously nursing a couple cracked ribs.

Then the man came at him. Rushing forward he put all his effort into a punch at Kromaw’s gut. The clang as his hand met the solid iron of the gutplate was loud enough to hear over the roar of the crowd. The man recoiled shaking his hand in pain.

Kromaw swiftly brought his fist down on the man as he stood there, but he was quicker than he looked as he barely evaded the blow.

The women acted on this momentary distraction, and planted a punch right in the small of Kromaw’s back. Kromaw was surprised! He felt a bit of pain… Something was tweaked back there in his back. Now he was a little annoyed!

Wheeling around, Kromaw backhanded the women right upside the head. She reeled from the blow, for a moment it almost appeared that she was going to fall.

“I saw you come in with Von Saponatheim! You’re working with scum like him?” she blurted out with a mixture of spittle and blood.

Yet more silly human babbling. They talk too much.

“Whatever he’s paying you! I’ll pay you double!”

That got Kromaw’s attention! Getting paid double was way better than not getting paid double. But how much was double exactly? Kromaw didn’t remember… So he reached into his pack and grabbed EEEK!

“Hey, how much gold we getting paid for this job?” Kromaw asked. The cheers of the crowd were now mixed with some booing as the action seemed to have stopped.

EEEEK! began furiously scrabbling over his fingers and toes. “Five-teen plus another elevenseen… Carry the two hundredzes…”\

ONE!!! ONE GOLD!” squeeked the gnoblar, as he looked up into the ogres face with a mixture of terror and confusion.

Kromaw seemed satisfied and stuffed the gnoblar back into his pouch. “Deal?” he inquired?

“Deal, two gold!” said the women.

Kromaw grunted in affirmation, just as the man slammed into Kromaw’s backside with a full body heave. He hadn’t even noticed what just happened, unlike Kromaw’s companions who saw Kromaw take out the Gnoblar.

Aleron whispered to Max “This can’t be good. We might wanna change our bets”, he also noticed the odds had spiraled into 6-1 in Kromaw’s favor.

Kromaw slightly shifted as the man attempted to bowl him over, but even the strongest man has little hope of moving a ton of muscle and fat. He wheeled around, faster than the eye could blink. And caught the man right in the gut with a beauty of a punch!

The man flew straight back into the wall of the ring with a sickening thud and dropped to his hands and knees, caughing up a good bit of blood onto the sandy floor of the pit. The odds jumped to 10-1 in Kromaw’s favor.

The women danced around Kromaw, throwing punches which connected with no force but appeared to be real.

Surprisingly, the man managed to regain his feet. But he was clearly not in much shape to continue. But he ran forward, expending one last effort. He actually partially vaulted Kromaw’s massive gut, to land a punch square between Kromaw’s eyes… The blow was good, Kromaw’s vision actually got blurry and he wobbled slightly. But the man clearly got the worst of the blow, his arm fell limp at his side with multiple fingers jotting out at angles they weren’t supposed to sit at. The man slumped to the ground in a heap.

Kromaw stepped to the side, his vision slightly distorted by the blow to the head. The women then came in, off the railing! And delivered a very convincing jab at Kromaw’s throat. Truthfully it didn’t hurt at all, but it still set Kromaw off balance…

Kromaw toppled over backwards. There was a massive thud as he smacked into the floor, and a sickening crunch… He’d landed on the poor man crumpled in the dust. Dead silence followed…

The referee rang the bell, and declared the match over! The ogre had lost! Pandemonium followed! The few individuals who had bet against the ogre, which included Max, Aleron, and Durion who had all switched their bets at the last minute, collected massive prizes, while those who had bet on the ogre lost heavily.

Von Saponatheim was furious! He’d just lost a gold piece! Jorn however stepped in. The thick tobacco smoke and dust which was already making the room rather hazy became positively soupy as Jorn calmed down the irate nobleman. The haze served to obscure the other member’s collecting their truly obscene winnings… After collecting the 3 gold pieces he won from his bet of 30 silver, Maximilian returned to Saponatheim’s side.

“yes yes, quite curious. It happens sometimes I suppose! Not much to be done for it, quite unfortunate…” he said, carefully concealing his much heavier coin purse from the eyes of the nobleman. “We should probably be leaving though, I expect this place will become quite dangerous momentarily” an assertion Von Saponatheim quickly agreed with.

Kromaw groggily got to his feet, the squashed remains of his opponent smashed into the sandy floor. The women told him to meet him out back.

Picking their way through the crowd, Kromaw made his way to the back alley. Durion managed to join him, saying the rest of the party was going to get Von Saponatheim away from there and they’d meet back at the inn.

The women said that she was actually the chief bodyguard of Baron Manfred von Holzenauer, one of Von Saponatheim’s rivals for becoming the liege lord of Ubersreich.

“I’m exceedingly grateful for that back there, though my ribs aren’t nearly as grateful. You’ve more than earned this gold. I had quite a bit riding on that match on the side, not to mention my reputation. I’d also like to invite you to a hunt that my master Von Holzenauer is hosting in the morning. Be at the east gate at sunrise, I’ll expect to see you there! " she gave a small bow and ducked out of the alley.

Kromaw and Durion made their way back to the Red Moon inn, arriving back around midnight. The inn was beginning to close up, the last rounds of drinks were being served. Max and Aleron had already returned to the inn, they explained that Jorn had left them on some other business after they’d left Von Saponatheim at “The Emperor’s Arms” hotel. Maximilian had actually managed to charm an invitation to the upcoming ball from Von Saponatheim on the way back, he flashed the invitation about proudly to anyone who would listen to him.

Kromaw and Durion joined Aleron at a table for a last drink before bed. Maximilian was up at the bar chatting up the other locals, and constantly fawning over the bar maid. Most perplexing behavior.

“What’s he doin exactly? Max is very strange.” Kromaw asked Aleron, figuring that another human would know what was going on.

“Ahh, well… erm you see Max is ummm… Well when a Mommy and Daddy human love each other very much…”

OHH! Is it human mating season?” said Kromaw said with an expression of realization. “Seems silly. Lots of unnecessary flapping and yapping. You should just skip all that boring stuff…” Kromaw trailed off. Well at least that was one mystery solved! Kromaw felt like it was a productive day, he’d made a bunch of money and learned how humans mated. Kromaw downed the last of his beer and stomped up to the room he’s rented for the night. Tomorrow was the hunt! And maybe another change to earn some more gold.

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Grunewald Lodge - Act 5
Maximilien Bids Grunewald Farewell

“Rally to the courtyard! Rally to me,” Captain Blucher shouted from the front of the manor. I was pleased that he had survived the battle, he seemed a solid man and an excellent warrior, if a bit stodgy. Shouts from the side of the lodge from Olver and the other guards followed, as they made their way around the building. Abandoning the array of cultist’s corpses on the roof, we carefully made our way down the damaged ladder to the ground in the descending darkness, rejoining an exhausted and heavily breathing Kromaw at the bottom.

Covered in tufts of fur and blood (a goodly amount of it his own), Kromaw’s forearm guards were dented and scratched. Like many of our weapons, they had seen a great deal of work this evening. I had been forced to use Albrecht’s trouser leg to clean my own blade before sheathing it… after he stopped twitching, of course. My father’s blade would need a well-earned cleaning and oiling tomorrow to bring it back to its usual beautiful condition. And my shirt… quite a mess. Covered in small tears and spots of blood from that idiot Albrecht’s blunderbus. My chest would add a few additional manly scars to the collection already there, but that would be even more impressive for the ladies, so no issue there.

Arriving at the front, exhausted, we joined a small group of survivors. Over half the staff had either been a cult member or been killed by the beasts in the attack, leaving a double handful of sweaty, injured combatants, and a few groggy, shambling servants. Captain Blucher shouted orders at those that stood around him, as men began to disperse on various errands. “You, get Lord Aschaffenberg… you two, go to the infirmary and get some bandages,” he directed.

A groggy Aschaffenberg stumbled out of the front door with one arm draped over Sonja. “Lads, lads, fine job you’ve done, my apologies for missing out on the festivities.” Patting Sonja on the back, he dismissed her to tend to the wounded. “Judging by the bodies, I see that a few of the beastmen found their way on the grounds. Care to fill me in on where they got off to?” At that, we let him know of our heroics and various exploits, and found him suitably impressed. There were several details which we did not see fit to include; notably, the successful summoning of a large and hideous beast of chaos.

“Well, I’ve heard enough. Difficult to absorb, that is,” Aschaffenberg admitted. “All this over a damnable painting of an eye, eh? Hard to believe all the fuss, or how it connects to the beastmen becoming so focused on getting into the place. But I can see the results all around me. We’ll need to see about getting this mess cleared up tomorrow before the bodies go to rot, perhaps see about hiring some more staff, seeing as you folks took exception to so many of the current lot. For now, get yourself up patched up as best you can, then get yourselves settled in for the night. Tomorrow will be a busy day, what?”

With a great yawn, Aschaffenberg slowly trudged back up the stairs and into the cabin. After waiting a few minutes for attentions from Sonja to throw some bandages on my chest, I removed my bloody shirt and carried it inside. Encountering a pair of disheveled and tired looking servants – Franz and Heiko – I tossed them the shirt and told them to add the shirt’s repairs of their list of damages to repair. Leaving them with slightly confused looks on their faces, I then went to check on Gertie. She was just beginning to stir in her overstuffed chair. “Wha… what happened,” she asked.

“You were about to be sacrificed to summon a demon, my dear,” I answered. ""You must have been drugged, for we found you unconscious on their altar in the cellar. But we rescued you, and the cultists are no more. You’ll find that the lodge is, well… sparsely populated at the moment. But do not fear, for there is no more threat." With a shudder, she seemed to recover some of her energy, standing a little unsteadily.

“Thank you so much, my lord, you and your companions, for saving us from this dreadful curse. I knew that Gregor was perhaps unreasonable, maybe even with a slight cruel streak, but this… this is horrific. I never though he was capable of such evil. We owe you a great debt. I hope Lord Aschaffenberg will see his way to rewarding you all for what you’ve done for us.” Hesitantly, she reached out and touched my bandaged chest, blushing. “My pardon,” she said, blushing, “I… I should probably go and rest. I’m sure there’s enough free bedding for you find somewhere to sleep as well.”

She began to make her way towards her room unsteadily, and being the gentleman that I am, I escorted her to her quarters in the hope that she would be comforted. And indeed, she seemed to be comforted her most thoroughly. She was… most grateful. Most grateful indeed, which she proclaimed loudly and repeatedly throughout the night, very likely to the annoyance of the other people sleeping on the upper floor.

In the morning, I was roused to the sound of a creaking door, as Gertie made her way out of the room. Seeing me yawn and stretch, she gave me a wink before she slipped out of the room and continued about her morning duties. Gathering my belongings, including a mended shirt that one of the servants had lain folded beside the bed, I dressed and headed downstairs to greet the new day’s tasks. Arriving in the dining room, several of my companions greeted me as they sat and discussed our options, with Lord Aschaffenberg at the head of the table handing out directives.

“Well, folks, here is the order of things. I’ve already dispatched Heiko into Ubersreik to hire some new staff for the lodge. No doubt he’ll be there a few days. I myself will prepare here along with Vern to journey there to attend a ball set for three days hence. Vern will see that you’re paid handily for what you’ve done here for us, upon which our contract for your service will be fulfilled. You’ll be happy to know that I’ve directed a small bonus for going above and beyond my expectations, eh? While I’d like to tarry, we have many preparations to begin, and a great many bodies to dispose of. I’ll keep an eye out for you in Ubersreik, an hope to see you there at the ball. Until then, gentlemen, best of luck to you.” Rising from his chair, Aschaffenberg tossed Vern a loudly jingling coin purse and excused himself.

p After receiving a rather large handful of gleaming silver coins from Vern as he made his way around the table, we then began to make our plans. “Well, we could return to Ubersreik to resupply and look about for new employment,” Aleron offered. “Bah,” Durion interjected, “we need to see about getting this axe back to its rightful owners.” Jorn offered a compromise. “We can try and do both in Ubersreik – there are no doubt any number of dwarfs that we can inquire there about the owners, while seeking employment and even attending Aschaffenberg’s ball as well.” I agreed with a nod; Kromaw leaned to one side and shrewdly interject a loud, rumbling fart to top off the conversation, his small gnoblar friend snickering softly from his perch on Kromaw’s shoulder.

Gathering in the courtyard after a small breakfast provided by Gertie, we learned that she was to return to her home town of Geissbach for a few days, located midway between the lodge and Ubersreik. Further, Vern would be accompanying her while on the way to Ubersreik to oversee preparations for Aschaffenberg’s arrival at his manor in town. Happy to escort them there, we made our way out of the main gate, our various satchels laden with supplies and coin purses jingling merrily as set out towards the city. The morning passed uneventfully as we walked, except for Aleron, who was mounted on his steed.

Somewhere around midday, we arrived at a small village not much more than a wide spot in the road, a handful of cottages clustered around a small chapel, and a large green meadow cut into the forest with several sheep and a few cows grazing. Following Gertie to one thatch-roofed cottage, we bid her goodbye. With a peck on my cheek, she said “I hope I’ll be seeing more of you, Maximilien.” I replied, “Well, you’ve already seen a great deal of me, I’m sure… but yes, you’ll no doubt see more.” With a grin, I slapped her lightly on the bottom, at which she squeeked and scurried into the door, blushing. Rejoining my companions, we continued out of the village, several young children and one or two of the townsfolk staring suspiciously at our group of heavily armed men (and especially Kromaw’s huge bulk), as we made our way down the path and around a bend, the village disappearing into the trees.

Taking a turn from our path onto a much wider and heavily traveled road, we now headed through the forest directly towards Ubersreik. As the sun moved across the sky and began to sink towards the treetops, we stopped and took stock as we heard the crack of a tree limb. Alarmingly, shadows began to move on both sides of he path, solidifyin gino the silhouettes of men as several of them began to step out from the trees, weapons in hand. Roughly clothed, with mismatching armor for some, and an array of old and rusted weapons, they were obviously not friendly. While most of them waited near the treeline, one older, grizzled man with graying temples in his dark hair and sporting an eye patch stepped forward.

“Well then, people, led’s make this easier for everyone. Just go ahead and drop your weapons, gear, and purses, then continue on your way, and it’ll all be over,” he said, looking at Aleron. Most likely, he assumed Aleron was in charge, as he was the only mounted person in the group. Taking up the assumption, Aleron guided his horse towards their leader, and spoke harshly. “Unless you’d like our boots up your backsides, I think you’d best just leave off.” Their leader’s good eye squinted in apprehension slightly as he took in the well armed group of men before him, especially Kromaw, who cracked his huge knuckles… only to ruin the effect by emitting a loud, reverberating fart.

What in the hells had the ogre eaten this morning? Perhaps it was the drugging he’d received last night, for he’d been squeezing them off at irregular intervals all day – enough that nobody wanted to walk directly downwind of him at risk to their health. Either way, the stench was vile enough that several of us were set to coughing or retching as the robbers snickered at us.

“Looks like you’re more of a threat to yourselves than anyone else… alright, let’s get ’em!” With that, a few of them nocked arrows or shouldered crossbows, and the remainder warily crept forward. Durion whipped his own crossbow up, and loosed a bolt which dropped their leader to his knees, clutching the feathered shaft in his side as he grunted in pain. Arrows and bolts zipped by us, only one finding purchase… right in Aleron’s shoulder. Shouting, he barely maintained control of his horse as it bucked and snorted, drawing his mace with his good arm and preparing for battle.

Running to assist the outnumbered group on Aleron’s side of the road, I drew my boot knife and found the archer who’d managed to hit Aleron. Teeth clenched in frustration, he was desperately trying to restring his bowstring, as it looked to have snapped on him – a long red gash across his cheek gave evidence to this. I did him the service of adding injury to his insult, by flicking my dagger at him, sinking it several inches into his shoulder. Spinning, he dropped his bow and began to paw at his belt for a knife with his good arm.

The group quickly descended into a melee at the treeline – the entire group of us, minus Kromaw, attempted to send these men packing. Kromaw, in a fury, charged the men on the far side of the road, swinging about him with both bladed fists. Hearing a series of crunching and wet thumping sounds followed by screams, we had little worries that he could take care of himself. On our side, I quickly closed with a pair of robbers with my rapier’s blade bared, dueling dagger in my left hand ready to parry. Before they could react I used my superior reach and speed to deliver a series of slashes to the grizzled man on my left. This forced him to take a step back with his mace held at chest height as he flailed it around wildly to avoid further insult from my blade.

This left me facing a thin, ragged and pimpled youth, who took the opportunity to swing a large axe at me from overhead with both hands. Stepping just to the side and allowing it to dig harmlessly into the dirt at my feet, I was surprised when the shadow cast by my blade came to life of its own, elongating with blinding speed until it punctured the boy’s upper thigh and withdrew. Jorn’s work, and most welcome at that! Clutching at his heavily bleeding leg, he too backed away to stand next to his friend with a look of fear on his face. They knew they were clearly outmatched – and I took advantage of the situation. “I’ll make you the same offer you made me – drop your weapons and coins, and leave, or I’ll take your lives as well,” I threatened. And they did! Snatching at their belt pouches and throwing them on the ground at my feet, they both ran towards the trees, the older man beating the youth who limped as rapidly as his leg would allow.

No longer engaged, I looked for new opponents, but found none. From his horse, Aleron swung his mace into the kneeling bandit leader’s face, dispatching him quite thoroughly. Durion cocked his crossbow, but found no targets on the far side of the road either. Kromaw was finishing off the last standing pair of them by bashing their heads together repeatedly until there was nothing left to grip. “No poison Kromaw’s food,” he bellowed, “no poison food!” Maybe he really was still affected by the drugs… Vern stood and looked at us aghast, clearly amazed at how effective we were at violence and mayhem. Slapping him on the shoulder to snap him out of it, I joined my companions in removing valuables from the remaining bodies and stowing them away.

Resuming our trip perhaps a bit worse for the wear, we nonetheless made good time. As the sun continued to settle in the sky, we came upon a wagon headed in the opposite direction. The driver, a gray haired, thickset merchant with an ornate merchant’s ring, hailed us and gave us the name Florian Wessler. We warned him that we’d driven off a group of bandits, but there were still some remaining in the forest ahead of him. With thanks, he decided to continue his journey, giving little heed to our advice to turn back or choose a safer route. Either confidence or stupidity could be the death of him, but we had done our duty.

Only half a league later as we approached the city of Ubersreik, we came upon a quite well made and richly decorated coach that was broken down on the side of the road. A crest with a purple stag’s head topped by Sigmar’s hammer was placed proudly on the back, and beside it stood a well dressed nobleman leaning against a large tree in the shade. He looked on as two coachmen sweated heavily while they wrestled with a broken wheel. However, it looked as if they were unable to raise the coach’s axle enough to replace the wheel. “You there, would you like to earn a few coins? If so, my men could use some help fixing the coach.” Aleron guided his horse over and dismounted. “Of course, my lord. I suppose our large friend here can lend a shoulder. In the meantime, could we know your name?”

None too impressed with commoners addressing him, he still did us the service of responding. “I am Siegfried Von Suponatheim,” he allowed as he stroked his blond pointed beard. “Know that you’re aiding the future Lord of Ubersreik. If you can get this coach back on the road quickly, I’ll see that you’re well rewarded, and possibly remembered.” Aleron nodded, and waved Kromaw over. Siegfried’s eyes widened as Kromaw stomped to the carriage and shoved the coachmen aside, grabbed the protruding axle with both hands and lifting it off the ground. The coachmen rushed to remove the broken wheel, pounding furiously on it with a mallet. Quickly placing a new wheel onto the hub, they took only a few short minutes before one of them announced “We’re done, my lord,” and motioned for Kromaw to release his burden. Kromaw grunted in agreement. He’d barely broke a sweat during the process, although he had grunted continuously throughout. He celebrated with one final, triumphant, explosive fart as he heaved the carriage back onto its wheel.

The young nobleman’s eyes narrowed in distaste at Kromaw’s display. “Well. Disgusting, but effective. About what I’ve come to expect from commoners. Pay the men, Hans,” Seyfried said dismissively as he climbed into the carriage. From his seat inside, he leaned out of a small window. “Still though… not a bad set of men to have on call, Hans. Find out where they’re staying, we may have more work for them this week, what with the ball coming up.” One of the coachmen, a short portly man with a fringe of graying hair and large nose, stepped over to our group and began doling out silver from a large purse. “Right then, gents,” he said. “You tell me where you’ll be, maybe I stop by the next day or two if my lord has business.”

At that, we pocketed our gains and made for the city again, shortly passed by Von Suponatheim’s carriage as he caught up. His coachman whipped the reins furiously as he attempted to make up for lost time. His was not the only coach we encountered – as we neared the city, the traffic increased steadily. Laborers streamed from the city towards their nearby villages, and farmers returned to their fields with empty carts. Nearing the gatehouse, a large line of coaches, wagons and horsemen was steadily increasing as various travelers attempted to enter before the setting of the sun and closing of the gates. Eventually we came to the front, and paid our shillings as tolls for entrance along with a silver for Aleron’s horse. There was some discussion as the guards argued over whether to charge Kromaw the same as a horse, as he most likely outweighed one, but we managed to convince them that he had no more legs than a human, and should be charged the same.

Coin purses a bit lighter, we made our way across the massive drawbridge as the sun began to set. Long shadows covered the river from the battlements over the gate as we passed beneath them. Several yards of stone stretched overhead before we finally found ourselves under the darkening sky again, inside the walls at last. The main road stretched for hundreds of yards before widening in a market near the city’s center , and men bearing torches made their way down the avenue as they lit the lamps for the evening. Beginning our walk towards the city center, we discussed where we might want to spend the night. “We might go to the Axe and Hammer, there’s good ale to be had there,” Aleron suggested. Fortunately, I managed to quickly dissuade the group, as it happens I’d been thrown out one night after having a bit too much fun. “Nowhere so welcoming as the Red Moon, my friends – I have a good friend there, as I’m sure you remember from last time. Let’s head that direction, shall we?”

A chorus of assent and nods, and we were off. Who knew what the city had in store for us tonight? A trip to the market to replenish some supplies, a tankard or six of ale, and perhaps some company to help keep the bedding warm overnight would not go amiss. Fortune favors the bold, so I quickly brushed the dust off of my finely embroidered traveling clothes, smoothed my moustache, and prepared to charm my way into the good graces of the good men and women – most especially the women – of Ubersreik.

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