Thursday, August 31, 2017

WFRP 2nd Ed - Terror in Talabheim (Like Rats in a Trap)

Hi All,

Real life chores have drastically reduced my hobby output. This is the notes from a couple of sessions ago that I just didn't have the time to finish until now. Sorry, still no pictures.

Last time we evaded death in the Tallows, met Deadeye and found Genaro. We find the group in the cellar of a decrepit house, it is one of the Dwarf's hideouts/ forward operating base. After telling the group that “something big” is about to happen, Deadeye begins to strip down his fancy metal crossbow.

Sally tells Deadeye the group needs to report for duty with the town guard at 6AM. Vincent asks “What's going to happen? Nihilus said you had a task for us.” Deadeye says no, he had a debt to Nihilus. He then goes on to explain our predicament, “a city inside a crater, one entrance, plague inside. It's a besiegers dream come true. Skaven poison everyone and then attack!” Deadeye then explains that it is his mission to try and stop this.

We plan to return to our duties with the town guard and take Genaro with us. Deadeye gives us the name of a guard at the gate to the Merchant district, Schreiber, who will “pay his debts” and let us through. Deadeye also admonishes us to not lose Genaro again and, if we can, get out of the city and head for the center of the Crater. He says that he knows the Skaven poisoned the wife and daughter of Captain X and tried to blackmail him. Deadeye is certain the vermin will try to capture the Countess next.

Deadeye says that the Empire does not know what it is up against. Skaven tunnels go from the Empire to Araby. The invasion will come through the Ratholds, these are old Dwarven tunnels. Deadeye is part of a team of Dwarven rangers, but his team is scattered fighting the foe. He says we can stay the night, eat and drink, but must be gone by dawn. He will deactivate the traps for us.

Leopold suggests the group take Genaro to Daubler, the apothecary. He reasons that it is farther away from the Ratholds and Daubler is working on the cure for the Grey Ague and may be able to heal him. Deadeye knows Daubler, “he is a good man,” and warns “if you see a black clad Skaven, run!” At this point the conversation turns to Deadeye being a very unusual Dwarf. He says, “if I was a normal Dwarf I'd be a Slayer.” The group notices that there are very few Dwarven things about him, Most of his equipment appears to be man made.

Deadeye's parting advice is this, “Stay and help as long as you can. It will be bloody, desperate and brutal. The Ratmen use a mix of technology and strange arcane powers. They don't care about losses. You will lose the city, you cannot stand up to there numbers, technological advantage or arcane power.” He goes on to say, “you can stay and fight or escape, you need to reach another part of the crater outside the city. The Imperial Army will eventually come, but Talabheim is practically invincible from the inside. The Ratmen's plans may be bigger than just attacking the city, they seem to want the Emperor to know they are attacking.”

The group is troubled by the apparent lack of options facing them and not sure what to do. Deadeye relates that everyone is now on their own, he has lost contact with his superiors. “You guys are in one hell of a mess,” he says. “You can't get back out through the Ratholds, we're all trapped in the Crater. Life is a long list of disappointment.”

He instructs Lukas to open a peculiar looking crate. Vincent backs away. Inside are 6 fist sized silver spheres with something strange poking out from the top. They are covered in Dwarf Runes. He tells us to each take one of these “grenades” from Zhufbar. “When you see a big group of Skaven or a Rat Ogre, pull the pin and count to 3 then throw. There will be a big explosion.” In the crate next to Leopold are enough doctor's bags for each person. Sally looks wistfully at a round of cheese. Deadeye tells him that it tastes better aged under your hat.

With that Deadeye goes to sleep in a corner of the room, it is nearing midnight. The group briefly discuss the plan of action for tomorrow. Get to Daubler's, continue duties with the “Pups” and possibly try and gain access to the countess. We then look to the stock of gear in the room to see if we can replace some lost or missing items. Lukas takes some leather leg armor, and Leopold takes a shortned tunnel fighting crossbow and some bolts. Sally just practices with his sword breaker. They go to sleep and dream of flesh eating rats.

The group wakes up anxiously, with plenty of time to get to where they are going. No one has gotten enough sleep. Sally gives Genaro some more of Daubler's medicine and Vincent asks if he can take a sword. After eating Deadeye gives us each a hearty slap on the back and sends us on our way. “Try to find me if you live.”

We leave the safe house for the gate. It is still dark. There are many sick people in the streets, but we easily make it to the gate closest to the Ratholds. The guards on duty won't let us through and believe we are sick. We demand to see Schreiber, who quickly comes to the gate. He is young, stocky and has tired eyes. Sally mentions “a mutual friend wants to remind you of your debt.” Schreiber tells the other guards we're not sick, and to let us through. Sally pays the 10p from the warchest and we're in the Merchant District.

The streets are mostly empty, the few people who are out look suspiciously at one another. Many doors are marked with either a red X or the rose of Shallya. Even the Bulldogs patrolling the streets look despairing. While the rest of the group heads for Daubler's, Vincent rushes to God's Row to try and see the Seer at the Temple of Morr.

There is a light in the window at Daubler's shop, but no one in line to get in. We knock on the door and Daubler quickly answers and lets us inside. “ I haven't slept much since you gave me Widenhoft's notes” he says tiredly. “I still need a few days to find a cure.” Sally asks Daubler to take care of Genaro. He agrees. “Normally I would have to report you.” Genaro is put in a guest room. It is very clean. “I will take good care of him, but most of my effort will go to finding a cure.” Sally tries to leave 2 gold, but Daubler refuses. Sally insists, so Daubler acquiesces but gives us each two healing draughts.

Meanwhile, Vincent arrives at the Temple of Morr. Outside many are praying for Morr to not take their soul. There are no priests outside so Vincent enters the Temple. Many black robed priests are praying inside. He asks for Von Solleck again, and again gets the same reply. “He comes and goes as he pleases.” Vincent asks if there is a person with some authority he can speak to about his dire vision. The priest says Vincent should tell him, so Vincent relays his dream. “It looks like Morr has a special purpose for you. Interesting. We will pray and discuss.” The priest then tries to end the conversation with “We are busy with the dead from the plague.”

Vincent tells the priest that he knows the cause of the plague and that the Skaven are attacking the city. The priest stops him and says “Morr has a purpose. On our behalf, please continue to do Morr's work. May the god of death and dreams watch over you.” As he leaves Vincent asks, “can you spread the word to those most able to protect the city?” The priest nods and Vincent is overcome by a very sinister feeling as he leaves.

15 minutes before their shift is to start, Vincent arrives for duty. Corporal Kopinski shows up on time nd informs the group they are still on Morr's rounds. Lukas is now puling the cart. We have one more day of Morr's rounds and then begin our turn at sewer duty. We leave all our long weapons behind and carry only daggers into the dark and nasty tunnels. Our job is to check and see if any new, unexplained, excavations have been added to the system. Leopold draws point on the first day and is given a small wooden shield as well. It is dark, damp, claustrophobic and malodorous work that goes on for a total of 4 days. The group has been given a map of sorts, but it is not up to date. At the end of each day the group returns to the Three Apples Inn. Wanda is happy to see us and says that we can stay one week for free because we didn't run when we could have. Sally pays 20 shillings from the war chest for our food for the week. The portions are a little smaller, but the food is still the best we've had.

The group daily checks in with Daubler. He still looks very tired. Genaro is no better or worse and Daubler is “getting there” on the antidote. Vincent also has the opportunity to check in with the priets of Morr and finds out something disturbing. In the last few days they have not received the number of bodies they were expecting. They should have received many more given the scale of the disaster. “We should be receiving twice the number bodies.” They ask Vincent to find out what is going on. “Everyone who dies must get a proper burial.”

The group makes some inquiries about the missing bodies and there is an acknowledgment that there is a problem, but they don't know the source. There is also talk of a food shortage. Maybe the missing bodies are being eaten. The portions at the Three Apples have gotten noticeably smaller.

On the 3rd day of sewer duty, below the Merchant district, Sally is in front and hears running. It is a dark and bloody cloaked Ratman. The group kills it mercilessly. It appeared to be fleeing something, and though armed, did not put up a fight. Kopinski orders us to search the body. Vincent probes the corpse. It is similar to the ones we fought with Eladio. It is covered in filth and boils, appearing too diseased to even walk. It also appears to have been shot in the back. There are burns around the wound.

During our time in the sewers we have encountered and killed 5 ratmen. They were all rabid and appeared to be fleeing something. Kopinski always refers to them as Rat Beastmen and tells us to shut up with talk of Skaven/ Thagaraki. On our final day we find a low cavern at the end of a tunnel. There is a strong odor of gunpowder, blood and musk.

The cavern is filled with Skaven corpses. “By Taal, this is horrible!” gasps Corporal Kopinski. The bodies are cold and appear to have been shot down as they ran. Steel bolts are embedded in the bodies and the cavern walls. A visibly shaken Kopinski orders the group to search the bodies. Most are similar to the ones we have already encountered, but there is one that stands out. This one has strange runes on his clothing and appears to have been stabbed in the eye after death and had something dug out from the socket. There is nothing else of interest revealed in the search. The group tries to make sense of the scene. Vincent wonders if they are warring factions of Skaven. Sally wonders who else could possibly be down here with firearms, almost every body has been shot multiple times.

Kopinski, still looking pale, says we are done for the day and orders us back to the surface. As we are being dismissed, Sally invites Kopinski for a drink. He declines and says he must go and check on his wife. “Don't tell anyone about what you saw here today. That's an order!” The authorities have made another call for all Dwarves and Halflings in the city to help with the sewer patrols, but have had to make due with mostly humans. The sewer patrollers are called Terriers. Every group that has gone down has seen Skaven. They have appeared crazed or panicked in every case. The injury rate for Terriers is about 50%. Morr's rounds has become an easier duty, there are fewer corpses to deliver.

Back at the Three Apples, everyone seems worn down and there is a lot of drinking going on. There are rumors of Flagellants, and the plague, ravaging the countryside. Everywhere there is food rationing. The Knights of the Stag have put down an uprising and the Army of Talabheim has been stationed around the manor. A Dwarf Captain of the Terriers has been rumored to have gone insane, killing his men and then himself. The Priests of Morr say that bodies have been stolen. Rats no longer fear people.

This week of “volunteering” has made the group question their decision to enter Talabheim. The locals say the rich are anxious about riots and have been fortifying their manors. In chatting with the other patrons Leopold learns that a number of young litigants and judges have looked at the laws and found that volunteers must each be paid 1 shilling per day. Lukas learns that fires set by Flagellants have destroyed two neighborhoods in Talagaad. Sally learns all the wealthy have to protect their own wealth. They have paid 10,000 gold to hire troops. He also learns that the army around the Great Manor is there to protect the Countess from assassination.

The one bright spot to our day is a message from Daubler. We rush to his shop to meet him. He greets us with cups of moonshine. “I've done it! It's not just a disease, but a poison!” He hands the group a syrup that smells of mint and tells everyone to drink it. Everyone does, but Lukas waits to see if we die first before drinking his. Daubler relates that he has given the antidote to the Shallyan's to mass produce. Genaro is healed, but the grey patches on his chest and neck are permanent. The group joyfully heads back to the Three Apples.

Back at the Inn we eat and drink for 1 penny each. As we dine the group comes to the consensus that Kopinski may be up to something. His behavior has been strange. We go up to our rooms, Sally and Genaro in one; Lukas, Vincent and Leopold in the other. In the middle of the night Lukas and Leopold awake to the sound of rustling coming from the street. Looking out the window they are shocked to see the street and rooftops flooded with hundreds of Skaven. Leo shouts alarm and quickly grabs his crossbow. Lukas grabs his hatchet and dagger. Sally wakes up and grabs his sword and sword breaker. Vincent grabs his sword and shield. There is no time to put on armor. A ratman suddenly crashes through the window, Lukas and Vincent push him out. Vincent the grabs his pack and runs for the door, Leopold follows. Lukas, surprised that his room mates do not stand and fight, grabs his boots and backs out of the room.

The group escapes the Three Apples as it is overrun by a swarm of Skaven. As foretold by Deadeye, they appear to have come from the Ratholds. We are quickly swept along with the crowd in the street. Thousands of panicked people surge towards the Law district. The Skaven are faster and mixed with the cries of fear are the sounds of people being cut down and ripped apart. We aren't fast enough, and Genaro is even slower with his bad foot. Some of the Skaven get ahead of the crowd and start attacking the flanks. We see Wanda and her staff trying to defend themselves by throwing rotten food. A few archers try to shoot the Skaven, but there are too many. Bulldogs try to say they are just rats. It is obvious they are not.

Sally is hit by a Ratman, Lukas is narrowly missed. Vincent blocks a blow with his shield and Leopold ducks under a blow that kills a woman next to him. Genaro bludgeons a ratman to death as he stumbles forward. The Skaven now come down from the roofs. The crowds have made the street impassable. Vincent stumbles and falls to the ground. He is trampled and separated from the group as they are pressed forward by the crowd.

Vincent tries to stand up as a wall of Skaven are approaching. Genaro is slowing us down. We can see barricades down the street and hear the sound of gunfire coming from that direction. Things look dire indeed.

Session XP: Sally 105, Lukas 100, Vincent 105, Leopold 125

Well, there you have it. Things don't look good for the group. At least for Leopold he doesn't have to worry about encumbrance any more. All his gear was left at the Inn. He's in his night shirt and has a crossbow. :p

Thanks for looking.

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