Attended: Alex, Brendon, Francois, Nali, Scot, Stef & (briefly) Tam
Venue: Alex & Francois’s
Covers events on Hexenstag, 2512.
As told by Grombil:
Hexenstag is not the best time to be out anywhere, but as it happened this was the first chance that Grombil had gotten since escorting the delivery to the engineers in the city, Grombil was a young dwarf from Barak Varr and had just escorted a small dwarf engineering team to help some local noble with making a better cannon. The hour was not late as he walked the streets, yet people were already locking themselves up away in their homes. The dwarf went around the city asking if there was work to be had; a kind man pointed him in the direction of the city centre where a great oak [GM: Elm, actually, but dwarves are excused from telling trees apart] was. This was where people came to look for workers or post ads on a bulletin board. However on the Witching Day it was empty. Seeing the board the dwarf asked a passer-by to help him read the ads. After going through a few ads he found three notices that peaked his interest. Grabbing them off the board he decided to make his way to an inn for the night. However on the witching night it was not easy to find an inn that had any room, Soon Grombil came to the Reaver’s Return.
Now coming in to the dock was the Sloop Maria. The crew was making her ready as Captain Mormacar steered her in. As they made dock Sergeant Magnus Richardt, Alric Konrad, Captain Mormacar and their newest addition to the crew Adelyn Zumwald all disembarked. As they set foot on the dock a young man came up, he looked as if this was the last place he wanted to be. He demanded a docking fee and a tax for each body coming to land. The group decided how best to divide the cost and paid the man who was gone so fast the hounds of chaos were after him! Magus had heard that there was a man in Nuln that was dealing in chaos artefacts and decided first thing first, they would find lodging then look to this man they were here to find. The group soon found that the streets grew more and more quiet as the hour grew late. They found a street urchin [GM: Grolsch van Eyck] that claimed he could get them to an inn for the night that had room. Magnus knew something was afoot and said he would pay the lad only upon arriving at the inn, the youth agreed and they set off. Soon after the lad lead them into a small street where they were accosted by a group of street thugs, the young lad had lead them into a trap! At this time Imhol, Caraidh Bruinn, and his pet bear cub Squirrels had disembarked in secret and had taken to fishing off one of the jetties. The rest of the group made quick work of the ruffians. They set back to looking for inns with rooms to spare, they could only find one, the Reaver’s Return. This was a rotten place, it was obvious why there was rooms open even before you entered the door, well mainly as the door was stuck! After gently trying to open the door Magnus splintered the door with his shoulder, not that hard as calling it a door was to insult doors! As soon as they barged in the inn keep could smell the gold that lined their pockets! He demanded they pay for the door and charged them huge rates for the room. Taking the offer as this was their last hope. They found there was but one other patron in this “establishment”. He introduced himself as Grombil and offered Magnus the 3 papers he took off the board earlier this day. The first one was from an Oldenhaller. They decided that it was one nights work and as this was night it was a good time to go do this job. After going to the dock to get Imhol and his pet the group set off to the Oldenhaller estate. They saw the city was not as run down as they first thought; just they were in the poor quarter. Soon they arrived at the Oldenhaller estate. Knocking on the door a groggy butler came to the door. They asked to speak to Oldenhaller and were allowed into the home, Imhol decided it best to stay outside. As they waited Magnus noticed Adelyn looking at a vase with just a little too much interest for his liking, he tried to impress on her the need not to steal from a client, and it was now that Grombil noticed that Alric was stuffing something into his jacket. He informed Magnus, before he could do anything the butler, now in proper dress, came back and asked them to follow. They were led to Oldenhaller’s study. Here Oldenhaller told them of the job he had for them. He wanted a Gem that a group of thieves had. It was a gem from one of the rings that adorn the pestilent fingers of Nurgle. There was a curse that also followed the object; he thought this was just fairytale. He had sent a group of thieves to go get it, the Schatzenheimer Gang, but they had proven to be incompetent. He gave them a box to house the fist size gem once they had retrieved it. With this the group set off into the poor quarter where this den was, being led by the butler. There was a peace treaty so there was no open gang warfare so getting there was easy enough. The bulter stopped at a stairway that led down claiming this is the place. Descending the stairs the group soon found a plain door in their way. There were thief marks on the door that said “observe the laws of asylum, knock and wait” as they did, but nobody answered the door. Upon trying to open the door a trap opened below Alaric’s feet, he was quick enough not to fall, they all went over the trap and reset it and locked the door. Now they were in the thief’s den. It seemed oddly quiet; soon they came upon a ring of dead bodies. Grombil tested how dead they were with his axe, very dead it seemed. As they pressed on it became apparent that this place had just been attacked. As Imhol entered a room a barely conscious thief let loose a crossbow bolt and landed deep into Imhol’s leg. The man soon lost consciousness after this, Adelyn wanted to try help him to question him but the rest had no interest in helping this man. They pressed on deeper into the den. Coming to a set of doors that were closed and from they could tell had some people behind it, as they were setting up to ambush the thieves the doors burst open and they began attacking the group, sadly for this motley group of thieves they found the group too much, Grombil and Mormacar even managed to keep one of them alive.
The core of the party arrives in Nuln late in the evening of Hexenstag 2512, to find the city unusually dark and misty. Aboard the Maria are Adelyn Zumwald (a “trader”), Alric Konrad (a blatant thief), Imhol (an elven ranger), Magnus Richardt (sergeant in the Reikland road wardens), Mormacar (elven captain of the ship), and Wrayan Castlemilk (a halfling of little significance), as well as the ship’s crew of three Estalians.
Once ashore, they were led into a mugging by some locals, but quickly did away with them. Finding all the inns full, they settled for a terrible, ramshackle place, where they met Grombil, a dwarf adventurer looking for work, with a handful of employment notices he couldn’t read, and so he was naturally absorbed into the party. Having paid for a night at the Reaver’s Return, they all immediately rush out to take on the first job from Grombil’s collection, working for a local councillor. Disturbing him in the middle of the night (one of the most feared nights on the calendar), they are nonetheless allowed in and told that Oldenhaller needs them to complete a job originally entrusted to a small, local criminal gang, the Schatzenheimers, because the previously reliable, dominant gang, the Gottliebs, had disbanded after their patriach, Ernst had gone missing some time ago. The job was to retrieve a large gem, said to be from a ring belonging to Nurgle, that had been illicitly imported through the Schatzenheimers’ connections, but never delivered. The party were taken to the entrance to the underground complex known as the Asylum, where many of the city’s gangsters lived. Once down there, it was clear that a lot of violence had just taken place, with fresh corpses littering the dark tunnels.
(Note: I’ve prepared commentary for every session and chapter we’ve played, as a sort of “making of” record of the campaign. However, since these are full of spoilers, I will only be publicly publishing them all once the campaign concludes. As a sample, though, here is the commentary on this session, since it doesn’t really affect much else that’s still to come.)
Originally published as Section 8: The Oldenhaller Contract, by Richard Halliwell and Graeme Davis, in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, 1st Edition, 1986
The Oldenhaller Contract, the surprisingly deep starting adventure at the back of the original WFRP1 rulebook, published from 1986 to 2002ish, and only formally replaced when the WFRP2 book came out in 2005. How many players must have cut their Warhammer teeth on this one?
First event of the campaign: The players refuse to get off their fucking boat because they don’t want to pay the docking and customs fees. Excellent start. Luckily, I had already filled the Maria with a commissioned cargo of lumber, partly to show that cargo carrying was an option for them now, partly because lumber is dirt cheap and it wouldn’t horribly unbalance things if they sold it off illegally (or just dumped it), and partly because it prevented more than one or two of them from deciding to sleep aboard, thus side-stepping the fun and adventure of Nuln by night.
Of course, then they decided to skip sleeping in the Reaver’s Return, what must have been a shared formative experience for hundreds of WFRP players over the years, and a great way of making the subsequent interaction with the Valentinas seem more significant (assuming they caught Bertoldo, the burglar who’s supposed to rob the inn that night). Sigh.
Once they went down into the Asylum, they engaged in exactly zero investigation, with barely any interest in the differences between the fighting gangs. It was a large group, me and 7 players, so we also had some discipline and focus problems, plus the usual first session buggery of having to re-learn the system and all the social dynamics. Plus, with several 2.5- and 3-career characters brought over from the Dying of the Light campaign, the puny local thugs didn’t stand a chance, as the PCs sliced through them in no time at all. This, at least, was expected, but I’d rather hoped they’d take more interest in the debris afterwards.
I also opted to make their arrival date Hexenstag, 2512, a little bit of a tight squeeze following on from the end date of the previous campaign, partly because it means none of the calendar will have to be wasted, partly because it puts the start of the year and the start of the campaign neatly together, and partly because the ominous quiet of Hexensnacht provided a good way to explain the full inns that the adventure demands. Since they never slept in an inn, this was instead turned into a way to allow them to move a fucking bear cub through the streets of Nuln without much trouble.
I had originally set this in the year 2523, because I’d set the previous Dying of the Light campaign in 2522, just because that’s what the 2nd ed. book suggested. I only realised later what a massive difference the 10 years between WFRP1 and WFRP2 meant for the setting, and decided I’d better realign everything so far (all written for WFRP1 anyway) with the 1st ed.‘s timeline. The players didn’t notice.
This was the only session in which Nali participated, bringing over his Dying of the Light character, Magnus Richardt for one last appearance, before failing to join us any further. A plan was made, at Nali’s request, to reintoduce him at the start of Death on the Reik, but he buggered me around on that too.
Grolsch van Eyck. Appears to be a combination of Grolsch beer and either Jan van Eyck the 15th century Flemish painter or Peter van Eyck the mid-20th century actor. My money’s on the painter.
Adelyn Zumwald’s hometown of Zundap. Appears to be named after the German motorcycle company, Zündapp
Juan Ramón Jiménez, Gabriel García Márquez and Jacinto Benavente. The three Estalians crewing the Maria. The party never took any interest in them at all, but I had names for them right from the start. They’re all named after Nobel Literature prize-winners: Jiménez, Márquez and Benavente.