Saturday, January 28, 2006

Journey Journal

Journal- Altdorf

We made it to Altdorf, but there was some rough going there for a while. No more misadventures at wayside inns, but we did have one day where we absolutely plagued by Beastmen. I hate Beastmen.

I guess naively, we rode along the road with little care, when two Beastmen jumped out and ambushed us. We dispatched them with a bit of trouble, and decided to proceed more cautiously. I rode out ahead and tried to scout any more ambushes. The prospect of getting attacked by more of the foul beasts had me shaken up, and I failed to check thoroughly the likely areas. Three more Beastmen got the jump on us, and I was wounded by an arrow. We won, but it was hard fought. Shortly before, we ran into some Roadwardens escorting some pilgrims to Altdorf, and they helped us turn the fight.

I rode out again, this time spotting a roadblock up ahead. I alerted the rest and they stopped the caravan before we got into trouble. I then scouted on foot through the forest, to see what or who was manning the block. More Beastmen. Foul things! I reported back and suggested we ambush the ambushers. They thought my plan was pretty good, but it was really just a variation on the standard Glade Guard ambush number 3. They hid beside the road while I walked forward to use the superior range of my bow to lure them out from behind the barrier.

I strode forward until I was just about 70 yards or so away from them. I could hear them murmuring in their foul language as I stopped and judged the distance. I then took out three or four arrows and stuck them point first into the dirt for easy access. I heard the beasts begin to snicker. I licked my finger and held it up in order to judge the windage. The snickers turned into chuckles. I drew out my bow, carefully knocked an arrow, and drew back the string. The whole bunch of them just crouched down a bit behind their barrier and began out and out laughing. After aiming at the one I wanted, I slowly raised the front of the bow in order to give the arrow the proper arc to get it over the barrier and into the creature’s hide. I took a deep breath, the sound of their guffaws carrying across the distance, and released the arrow. There was a satisfying thump followed by a shriek of pain and an immediate ceasement of laughter.

Shouting angrily in their dark tongue, three Beastmen clambered over the makeshift barrier, waving various weapons menacingly. The one I had hit still had an arrow sticking out of him, so I sent another one to join it. Still, he did not fall but rushed onwards with his brethren. I pulled yet another shaft from the ground beside me, and again pierced the beast with it…he still did not falter! They drew closer and I grew nervous, sending my next shot wide. By that time I needed to turn and run in order to lead them into our ambush, something I was more than happy to do in the face of their savage onrush!

When they passed into the kill zone, it took little time to dispatch them. Ulfred waded in with his halberd, however, when ranged attacks would have been more in line with my plan. He is so brave it is going to get him killed. He was heavily wounded from the last battle, and only his armor saved one of his legs from being demolished by a Beastman’s blow. Luckily one of the Roadwardens and Furdok intervened and cut down the creature before it could press it’s advantage.

Furdok has actually gotten the hang of using his hammer, I think. The problem was that he was always trying to reach too high and hit his target’s upper body or head. As short as he is, the leverage behind his blows was weak and rarely did much damage. Recently he began aiming for the legs and knees of his foes, which has produced a vastly better result, often crushing their legs and causing them to fall helpless to the ground where they can be easily dispatched. Hopefully he continues with this tactic.

Anyway, after this band of Beastmen was eliminated, I again rode forward to check for ambushes. Again I failed. This time I spotted an area which seemed an incredibly obvious ambush spot, but try as I could I could see no lurkers in the brush. Still, we decided on caution and arranged it so the pilgrims would be left back safely guarded by the two roadwardens while we took a cart through the area to draw out any attackers. I went through the woods in order to perhaps surprise any bushwackers from behind. I found a nice deadfall to hide behind, but in the darkness the Beastmen must have blended in perfectly with their surroundings. I saw nothing, and even after arrows began to fall around the cart, could not spot the attackers. Furdok overturned the cart trying to turn it around, and the beasts charged out of the woods to murder my fellows.

It was at this time that one of the pilgrims strode forward to the battle zone and revealed himself as a Pyromancer by casting a spell which lit up the area and revealed the eight wretched beasts intent on murdering us. With his flames wreaking havoc on our attackers, it was actually relatively easy to turn the tables on the creatures and kill them to the last one.

We reached an inn shortly after that, and had no more Beastman troubles for the remainder of our journey. However, I do wonder about this “Wolfgang” the wizard we met. Why was he incognito? Why did he not help us in our previous struggles? Why was he traveling with a group of peasants and refugees? Volkrad spoke to him a bit, but the rest of us kept our distance. Imperials as a rule are not fond of wizards, and dwarves are extremely mistrustful of magic in nearly all it’s forms. Magic is part of our lives in Athel Loren, but pyromancy…no, I do not like such destructive magic. Fire is dangerous, and used unwisely or without proper caution can cause immense damage to the forest and it’s denizens. I am grateful he helped us but…Aqshy is a wind I believe should not be trafficked with.

Friday, January 20, 2006

More Journal of Aeryn

It’s been several weeks since the last time I wrote in this journal. I have been far too busy with other things to really take the time to keep up with it; although I have done plenty of reading and writing to keep my practice up, it has mostly been official documents I have had to fill out and books on carpentry I borrowed from Volkrad’s library.

The city allowed me to purchase the warehouse with the cult hideout underneath for a mere gold coin. They did this out of gratitude and the condition that I would fix it up. There are a lot of damaged buildings in this city, and the effort to rebuild is slow at best. The first thing I did was clean out the underground area of anything that remotely smelled of Chaos. Then I consulted my carpentry books and took stock of the repair situation.

Cosmetically, it needed a lot of patchwork done. This I thought I could do on my own. However, after looking at the supports, it became clear that they were weak and could lead to a partial collapse if they were not shored up. Sad to say, this task may have been beyond me. It would be risky for me to attempt this untrained, because if I failed the results could be disastrous. I needed help. Ulfred was busy with his new job, as was Konrad and Volkrad. Besides which, it is always said that Dwarves are the best builders around. Certainly we don’t usually build anything, it’s just a matter of convincing the trees to take the right shape…which sure wasn’t going to work here.

I only know one Dwarf, and he doesn’t seem to care much for me. I bit the arrowhead anyway and went and found him lounging around the Dwarf quarter. I took a deep breath, and I asked Furdok if he would help me repair and construct the building, fully expecting him to tell me to go away and leave him alone. Surprisingly he agreed, and though he scowled and huffed, he seemed eager enough to get started.

I’m not sure exactly why he agreed. It could be because I offered him the underground area to do with as he saw fit, and indeed his eyes lit up a little when I mentioned it. However, I think it had more to do with his nature. The prospect of delving into a project which would use his hands and skills and challenge him directly, I believe, was his main motivating factor. It actually gave me some interesting insight into Dwarves as I watched him work. He arrived early every day, and worked hard and late into the evening, hardly even stopping to complain or eat dinner. He didn’t even mind that I took a few trips with Konrad when he went on patrol. Actually, I did a lot of the work at night while he was asleep, but I think he actually had rather I left all of the tough jobs to him. He didn’t think I would do it “properly”, and he was probably right. I kind of have a new found fondness for him. Yes, he is surly and boastful, violent, and rude; and yes he refuses to call me by my name (he just calls me “the Elf”, and so I call him “the Dwarf”), but I honestly don’t think he does so out of malice. It’s just the way they are, and if you can see through the gruff exterior there are traits to be admired in them.

Anyway, recently Volkrad came to see us. It seems that the nonsense that Liebnitz had babbled about the demon being released may not have been entirely nonsense after all. In any case, Volkrad seems to have stumbled across evidence that there are two other artifacts containing the essence of the Beast, and that one of them is in Altdorf right this instant, surely up to no good. Apparently if the demon is freed from the other two artifacts, many bad things will happen. He wanted to know if we would accompany him to Altdorf.

Truth be told, I was a little excited about getting everyone back together again. I mean, last time was awful, but the rush of such adventuresome undertakings seems to be a bit addictive. We all agreed to go with him to stop whatever nefarious plot was afoot, and set off the next day to Altdorf.

We stopped for the night at a roadside Inn called the Three Feathers. This proved to be a mistake. A local Gravin and her staff were there for the evening as well, plus a whole host of shady characters coming and going. Personally, I tried to ignore all the various doings of Men. I have found that the more you get involved in their affairs, the worse things get. Apparently though, another Dwarven trait is curiosity. Furdok spent the better part of the evening putting his not inconsiderable nose into other people’s business.

There was a brawl involving a drunken Noble searching the Inn for his wife’s lover (I believe, anyway) which began with Furdok hitting him in the head with his hammer (Dwarves really like to hit stuff, too) and ended with Konrad using his pistol to settle down the combatants.

Eventually, this got us noticed by some Lawyer working for the Gravin, who (as it was explained to me, though I must have missed the part where he said it) offered us 250 Karls to kill some Chaos Cultists who were blackmailing him. We weren’t sure whether to believe him or not, and did not want to just murder people without evidence of wrongdoing, not being assassins. Unfortunately this indecisiveness ended up getting the poor lawyer killed, as he was apparently telling the truth and was killed by the cultists. I was upset by this, and followed their trail to the river’s edge. I needed to get across to continue my pursuit, and so I returned to the Inn to talk to the boatmen we had met earlier.

While I was gone, apparently the rest of them had discovered a wanted man being smuggled in a coffin and apprehended him. That was the good part. The bad part was that the Gravin’s champion had been murdered with Ulfred’s dagger and Ulfred was accused of the deed. Somehow we all ended up under lock and key for this, even though I wasn’t even in the building when this occurred! The justice of Men is poor indeed.

We soon discovered that our arrest was a clever ruse by the Gravin to lure the murderer out by pretending to make Ulfred her champion in place of the murdered Boris. Somehow the champion was essential to her legal defense against the man who she believed was behind this plot. I never did quite understand that part…her Lawyer was dead but she was unconcerned about that, but somehow an uneducated, dumb, drunken warrior was key to her winning the legal dispute? I could maybe understand putting Ulfred in his place, he’s fairly smart and has participated in one trial that we won, but still. Men are incomprehensible in some ways.

Kinda dumb too. The assassin tried the exact same tactic with Ulfred, sneaking into his room intending to place someone else’s dagger in his back. Didn’t he imagine that would be just a little too coincidental? We all crowded into Ulfred’s room, waiting to see if the murderer would appear.

The Gravin allowed us each one weapon while we waited in ambush. As the quarters were close, I was forced to choose my sword though I mislike using it. I’ve only ever used it against some skeletons and the barman who tried to knock my head in with a cudgel. Ulfred of course chose his halberd, which he is quite skilled with. Volkrad probably needs no weapons, but he is not bad with a quarterstaff. Interestingly, Konrad forewent his axe for his pistol. He seems to have a great affinity for weapons which make loud booms. Finally, Furdok chose his hammer, because he really likes to thump people with it.

For that reason, I alerted him when the assassin quietly edged his way into the room, figuring that he’d like to thump him on the noggin and then we could capture him. Unfortunately, Dwarves are great at thumping people but not as good at actually hurting them…the man staggered a bit but quickly entered a fighting stance. I figured that I would try to wound him in the leg so he’d be easy prey for someone else to knock him out or otherwise restrain him, so I slashed at his thigh with my sword.

I guess I don’t know my own strength though. I killed him with one stroke. Volkrad said I hit his artery. I didn’t mean to, but for some reason I seem to be a better swordsman than I ever imagined. We were always taught that fighting hand to hand is what Kithband Warriors do when the only option left is to go down fighting. I don’t like it and I don’t want to do it again, but I suppose I may have to. I think I am going to have Ulfred teach me a little of what he knows about anatomy so that I won’t be accidentally killing people any more.

Well, the Gravin seemed satisfied with our efforts anyway, and released us. The rest of the folks got a little rest before we headed out after dawn. Sadly, I never got to pursue the Lawyer’s killers.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Faulkenstein Wrap Up

Lets talk advancement!
Here is your chance to improve your character. Take a few minutes and think about what your character did during the game. What skills did your character use most and what skills did you use where your difficulty was often higher then your skill level.
Poor skills are hard to improve. You would have to do something spectacular in order to overcome your disadvantage.
Ave is easiest to advance and then the difficulty increases the higher your skill is.
For the next session of this game I would also like each of you to do some advancment planning. Describe what your character would like to improve upon and we can set some goal for your character.

I think the card system worked fairly well so I will be keeping it for next time.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Warhammer next

Matt, do I have something weird for you.. *chuckle* No, it isn't Realms of Sorcery