Hope you had a safe 4th of July and Canada Day. We had our usual of eating too much and staying inside.
I still have a backlog of battle reports to share with you and the zine is slowly but surely coming along.
In the meantime here is the text from my notes from our last WFRP session with some great art by J.Brisken.
Talagaad has been cut off because of the plague, the situation is dire. At night roving bands of Sigmarite flagellants and giant rats roam the streets. 400 Hochlanders, desperate to flee the fear and misery, have been killed storming the Taalbaston gate.
Sally and Vincent had met with Rudolph Nierhaus, who told them to find the Estalian Eladio Sortano down by the docks, he would be able to take them into the city by secret ways. Returning fro the massacre, Sally and Vincent meet with Lukas, Leopold and Genaro at the bottom of the Wizard's Way. All except for Leo have been greatly affected by the carnage. Genaro has now been sick for three days. It's a good thing the group has the trusty mule Lorenzo to help carry gear and supplies.
Early the next morning the group sets out for the docks, in search of the mysterious Estalian. The streets are mostly abandoned. The few people out and about cover their mouths and noses and avoid coming close. Vincent takes the lead with spear and shield while Leopold brings up the rear with his sling at the ready. The others all have their various ranged weapons in hand. The smell of death and burning flesh hang like a pall in the air. In the shadows can be heard the scurrying of rats.
The Eel Inn is closed so the group heads for the Ten Tailed Cat. The Ten Tailed Cat knows “Dead Eyes.” (Now I wrote this, but I have no idea what it means and I forgot to ask in the heat of writing notes.) Genaro is visibly paler each hour, we must get him some shelter and rest. Leopold, Lukas and Sally enter the Inn while Vincent, Genaro and Lorenzo the mule wait outside. Everyone inside is quiet and moody. The bartender eyes the group, looking for any outward signs of infection. The three walk up to the bar and Lukas orders three beers, tipping two extra pennies. As they sip their beer they scan the room. There does not appear to be any threats. They are on edge.
Lukas then strikes up a conversation asking if the barkeep knows Eladio. “Yeah, he sells fish on the other side of the river at the docks” he says. “He is dusky skinned, well dressed, and smells of perfume.” He goes on to say that he has heard it is much worse on the other side of the river. Patrols are killing anyone who looks sick and he suggests we should leave town. The three finish their beers and head back outside.
After a brief discussion with Vincent to fill him in the group decides to head for the bridge across the river Talbec. The North side is worse off than the South side. People fish to survive and we can see abandoned boats along the docks. Just the day before the group had seen people jump into the river and try to climb aboard a passing river boat. On the docks Lukas and Leopold spot a man fitting the description of the man we are looking for. He is selling fish at a stall in an otherwise deserted area. Sally casually walks over. The man looks very healthy. He has dark eyes, black hair and a small mustache. He wears a stained apron over a fine tunic. Sally sniffs the air and can smell his perfume over the stench of the fish. They then drop into a witty conversation where Sally deftly drops the password. (I some how totally missed Bryan saying it, it was so smooth.) Eladio tells them to meet him at the Crooked Shoe at 10 bells. The group decides to head to the Inn and wait for Eladio there.
As they walk back to the South side of the river, Lukas remarks upon how smugglers are rumored to go through tunnels under the Taalbaston wall. The group makes it to the Crooked Shoe without incident, but it is a grim and dark place. Lukas, Vincent and Leopold go inside and Vincent haggles the price of a room down from 1 shilling to 10 pennies each. However there are no stables for Lorenzo and they won't accept anyone who looks even the slightest bit sick. We know that the sun will set at 7 bells. Lukas thinks we should split up, but the rest remember the dififcult fight with the rats so they nix that idea. The group decides that the dead Apothecary Widenhoft's house will be a good place to rest up and recover their strength. As they chat on the streets to the house they remember that Neihaus told them to look for the Apothecary Doppler once inside the city.
Widenhoft's house is still empty when they arrive. As they step inside their nostrils are immediately assaulted by the stench of corpse. After a bit of a struggle we force Lorenzo into the front room, he balks at the smell but Vincent is able to calm the beast. While Vincent and Lukas stand guard Loepold and Sally try to get some rest in the small single bed upstairs. Vincent searches the house again, but doesn't really find anything new. Being a devout follower of Morr, Vincent decides to bury Widenhoft. He wraps him in a blanket and drags him to the garden for burial. In an effort to prepare the body Vincent attempts to remove the dagger. In doing so he accidentally nicks his hand. It is excrutiatingly painful and he can immediately see the veins look black from the point of the cut. He quickly drinks a healing draught. It helps with the pain and appears to counteract the poison. He finishes taking the body outside and performs the rites of Morr.
Sally and Leopold end up giving Genaro the bed and are able to make themselves comfortable enough on the floor to get some sleep. Seven bells comes around and the sleepers reluctantly get up. They search the house for food but don't find any so they eat some of the rations that Lorenzo has been carrying. With their bellies full they head out for the Crooked Shoe Inn. As we walk the streets we can hear exhortations to Sigmar. Vincent, in the lead again, turns a corner and stumbles upon a small square. In it are five men in rags carrying morgensterns and flails who are giving a sermon of some kind.
One of the flagellants cries “Look brothers, a heathen! He has the sickness! You will be cleansed!” Vincent tries to ingratiate himself to them with a cry of “For Sigmar!” but they charge him shrieking “In Sigmar's name!” Hearing the commotion Sally and Lukas rush forward and see the fanatics rushing Vincent and a smoldering pyre with a scorched body on it. Leopold, bringing up the rear, tries to move Lorenzo and Genaro to the side of the street for some cover. He cannot see what is going on around the corner.
Vincent steadies himself to receive the fanatics charge. Only three can get at him at once. The first misses and Vincent deftly parries the other two with his spear and shield. Sally shoots one fanatic in the arm with his crossbow while another fanatic parries Lukas's hatchet blow. Leopold scrambles for a place to tie Lorenzo, the mule is getting spooked by the commotion. Leo is barely able to keep the animal calm.
Vincent then swiftly counter attacks, hitting one in the chest and another in the temple causing a large gash. He cries, “Unbeliever, die!” Vincent still has three fanatics attacking him while Sally and Lukas have one each. Sally is missed while Lukas is hit with a flaming censer. He catches on fire. The fanatics attack Vincent. He parries the first and the second accidentally smashes his friend, setting him on fire. The burning fanatic ignores his condition. Vincent dodges his blow.
Sally falls back towards Leopold and Genaro, drawing his opponent away from the group. Lukas successfully puts out the flames on his arm. Seeing his friend being chased, Leopold drops Lorenzo's reins and rushes to aid him. Vincent does another vicious attack. He misses one but can tell he has given the other a grievous wound when the man spits up blood. The flagellant who is on fire is engulfed in flame. He runs frantically across the square screaming.
Seeing Leopold as he rounds the corner, the fanatic chasing Sally charges Leo. Lukas is missed by his opponent. Sally decides to draw his sword instead of reloading his crossbow. He tries to strike the flagellant but is blocked. Lukas takes a parrying stance and manages to hit his opponent in the leg, opening a large gash in his leg. Being charged, Leopold drops his sling and pulls out his club and dagger to defend himself.
The fanatics facing Vincent continue to rain fiery blows down upon him. The first misses, but the second manages to strike him in the arm and set him on fire. The one attacking Leopold misses and Lukas narrowly misses being struck in the leg. Sally comes up behind the fanatic attacking Leopold and deftly slices major veins in his arm and leg, killing him.
Lukas is in the dance of death with his opponent, neither makes any headway. Leopold, now free of an opponent, runs around the corner shouting “Your theology is flawed!” Vincent fails to put out the flames on his arm and is engulfed. He falls to the ground and his beard and eyebrows are burnt off. Lukas barely avoids a crushing blow to his leg as the two who were attacking Vincent start advancing on him.
Sally also runs back around the corner towards the square and sees Lukas about to be set upon by three fanatics, Vincent on fire on the ground and a fanatic on fire running off into the distance. Lukas backs towards his arriving comrades, there is nothing he can do for Vincent. In his fury, Leopold misses and is hit with a crushing blow. He escapes being lit on fire, but is sent sprawling ass over tea kettle into the wall. He lies there unconscious. Sally, like a pinwheel of death, cuts another flagellant but narrowly avoids dropping his sword. Lukas strikes another blow, but the fervent warriors appear to feel no pain. The fanatics fail to hit, but push Sally and Lukas further back around the corner. The fire on Vincent still rages.
The flagellants are now in Genaro's sights. The weakened warrior shouts “I will show you bastards!” as he lets loose a crossbow bolt. Somehow he hits the one fighting Sally in the armpit, dropping him instantly. Sally, seeing his opportunity, charges one of the fanatics fighting Lukas but misses him. Lukas delivers another mighty blow. He cannot believe his opponent is still standing.
The fanatic facing Sally miscalculates his strike and crushes his own skull, Lukas barely parries a strike to the groin. While the fanatic is occupied, Sally darts in and stabs him between the ribs, he slumps with a gurgle. Lukas wastes no time and runs to Vincent, putting out the flames. Vincent is still alive, but his mail coat and leather jacket are completely ruined. His spear, leather leggings, clothing and cloak are all reduced in quality.
Genaro is in shock that he was able to kill somebody, Leopold manages to get up but is amazed that his leg was not broken, he limps back to Genaro. In the confusion Lorenzo the mule has run off. The rations, Lukas's great axe and long bow are gone. The group picks themselves up and finishes the trip to the Crooked Shoe. They hunker down in an alley nearby near a dead body.
Using Vincent's now ruined Araby clothing, Lukas tries to bandage himself and Vincent. He fails and drinks his healing draught. After a short while of sitting in the ally, Sally suddenly feels the barrel of gan in the back of his head. Standing there is Eladio. Gone are the colorful clothes. He is dressed all in black with leather armor, a rapier, and several powder pouches. He brusquely asks why we want to enter the city. Sally tells him we are looking for an antidote to the plague.
Eladio says that Captain Neirhaus has killed himself, Rats who walk like men are on the loose and we must leave now. He hands each of us a black bag. He moves swiftly but lets us keep up, Leopold and Sally help Genaro. Outside town they scramble up the slope towards the Taalbaston. At the base of a large oak he instructs us to pull out our storm lanterns and light them. He then appears to walk into the oak. As we approach we can see a hidden spiral staircase going down. Eladio leads and Lukas takes the rear. The staircase looks well crafted and well used. We descend into tunnels, some natural and some man made, many branch off into horrifying darkness. After traveling for about an hour Eladio pauses in a natural cavern and instructs everyone to drink some water. Sally tells Eladio how we witnessed Rat men poring a silver powder into the river. He says that he fought the Skaven in his youth. They are not beastmen but something far worse. He says there are cities of these vermin under every city in the Empire. He relays that they were blackmailing Neirhaus and that's why he killed himself. The Skaven are not forgiving. Talabheim has fallen prey to it's own defenses.
Sally and Leopold hear a scrabbling sound. Three cloaked rats with rusty weapons enter the cavern. They attack.
So nearly killed in one battle and about to get into another at the end. We'll see what awaits our heroes next time.