PLEASE BE AWARE OF SPOILERS!
Game system: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd ed.
Blunda Stargazer | Great Forest wood elf | Thief | Djuro
Trimm Rumpfenschmack | Zhufbar dwarf | Tomb Robber | Djuro
Grim Rumpfenschmack | Zhufbar dwarf | Troll Slayer | Martin
Dail Do Stargazer | Great Forest wood elf | Envoy | Martin
Maguar | Everloud dwarf | Watchman | Mats
Herr Arno Süssel | Human coachman | NPC
This was the première game of WFRP for our group. One of the players and I did play some WFRP 1e many years ago, but we’re pretty much WFRP n00bs 😉
Of course, the players chose to play dwarves and elves – twin dwarves and twin elves! This was the only choice we used – the rest was all random tables. In the afternoon, the 3rd player joined the game and chose to create another dwarf…
On the road to Delbertz
We started the game on an early autumn day, with the PCs sitting in a dingy coach on the way to the little Middenland town of Delberz along the River Delb. The elves and the dwarves eyeing each other out and conversing in their respective languages. Blunda and Dail Do Stargazer are twins and are traveling to Delbertz on business, Dail Do being an envoy of an elf merchant house. The two dwarves, also twins, are on their way because they have heard of a possible job opportunity in Delbertz. A great storm has been building up all day, the gray clouds getting denser and darker and in the afternoon, it finally releases its power in full force with strong winds and a torrential downpour. Within half an hour, the forest road is turned into a mud mire and progress is severely halted, the coachman working hard to spur the horses on and to keep the coach on the road. Suddenly, Trimm’s 6th sense starts makes itself known and scanning the forest and listening, everyone hears loud baying sounds in the distance. Knowing that the forest is dangerous, the coach driver tries to increase the speed leading to a very bumpy ride which ends with the right front wheel getting stuck in the mud, cracking and sending the coachman off his seat and into the ground. The stuck coach leans 40 degrees as the PCs exit to help the driver who is found to have broken his arm. The wheel is also busted, but luckily, there’s a spare wheel kept on the coach roof. Standing on the
Standing on the darkening forest road, in the mud and drizzle, it becomes evident that the howling sounds draw closer, accompanied by sounds of snapping twigs. The elves climb onto the roof of the coach, their bows ready, covering both sides of the road. The dwarves work on changing the wheel, instructed by the coachman.
Savage attack in the rain
Suddenly, sounds are heard pretty close on the right side of the coach (where the dwarves are) and they draw their weapons, trying hard to see into the dense forest. As they anticipate an attack from the right, the forest on the left side erupt, two bizarre and tattered figures running onto the road, baying and snorting. One looks like a man but with long canine legs and head and the other has a bull’s head and is covered in thick fur, brandishing a rusty sword. The elves loose their arrows, both striking home as the figures round the wagon to attack the dwarves. At the same time, three mutated men charge from the forest on the other side of the wagon, also attacking the dwarves on the ground. The battle is furious, both sides trading blows and tearing gashing wounds on the enemy. After a few rounds, the bull-man and two of the mutants have fallen, but the remaining dog-man keeps attacking until an arrow send him to the mud. The last mutant tries to make a run for it but is skewered on two arrows and dies, nailed to a tree.
The frantic battle is over withing 40 seconds. Panting and wounded, the PCs make haste with the coach repairs and can finally continue their journey, now scanning the forest closely for more dangers. The downpour hasn’t abated but rather increased, now with the occasional flash and clash of thunder. Rounding a bend, a flash indicates a building just up the road, light in some windows.
Mystery at The Hooded Man Inn
As the coach draws nearer, they can see that it’s a coaching inn that sits near the edge of a small river that they must traverse. Adjacent to the river they see a small rope ferry and a ferry house. Encircling the inn compound is a 12-foot high wooden fence.
Knocking on the barred gate gives no response. Grim tries to climb over the fence (“I’m very fast on short distances”) but fails to Dail’s merriment. Instead, the elf climbs the fence in the first try and open the gates from inside, letting the coach into the inn courtyard.
Meanwhile, Trimm and Blunda notice that the door to the ferry house is open, swinging and slamming in the fierce wind. Inside, the light is on. Entering the ferry house, they see that it is in disarray, tables, and chairs upturned and a trail of blood (as if someone has been dragged) going towards the door. The rope ferry is moored on the inn side of the river.
While Trimm and Blunda investigate the ferry house, the others check out the courtyard. The compound consist of three two-story buildings: the main inn, the stables, and a coach house. Loud neighs and slamming sounds can be heard over the bad weather. It’s coming from the stables. Trimm and Dail go to investigate. As Trimm opens the double doors, they are nearly run over by three panic-stricken horses, running into the yard, followed by three more. Inside, all is silent. A lone lit lantern sits on the wall next to some horse reins. All the boxes are empty. Scuttling noises can be heard from above. In the back of one of the boxes, there’s a ladder going up through a hole in the plank ceiling. The dwarf hears something dripping above. Reluctant to stick his bearded head up there, he finds a semi-rotten pumpkin that he sticks on a pole. The pumpkin is then raised through the hole. Nothing happens. Trimm climbs the ladder to find himself on the hayloft. The source of the dripping is evident. Hanging upside down from the rafters is a young man – probably the stable-boy by the looks of his clothes. His head has a large bleeding gash, exposing bone and brains and something has been gnawing on his left arm. Checking closer, the bite marks look very human!
A wet ladder leads up to a roof hatch. It has bloody prints on it. The dwarf shouts down that the elves should run outside, as he thinks that the murderer is on the stables roof. The elves run out, bows ready, but sees nothing. Probably, the murderer has slipped into the woods on the back side of the inn…
While the elves cover the roofs, Trimm then climbs the external staircase of the coach house. The door is unlocked, revealing a simple single room. Typical poor people style and probably the stable boy’s lodgings.
Next, the dwarves examine the coach house doors. They are locked but Trimm manages to pick the lock, revealing a room housing a coach belonging to Cartak Lines of Altdorf. All is in order, both the room and inside the coach.
Cozy night at the Hooded Man Inn
After having investigated the outbuildings, the PCs walks over to the main inn. The door is locked and the windows on the bottom floor are covered by thick curtains. To the instant relief of the dwarves, merriment and loud voices can be heard from inside. That means food and ale are soon forthcoming! Trimm the dwarven thief picks the lock successfully but the door seems to be barred from the inside as well. As the people inside become aware of the sounds at the door, all goes silent, chairs scraping against the floor. After a minute or so, the bolts are withdrawn and the door opens, revealing a bald and most rotund man who introduces himself as Otto the Landlord. He seems most upset and worried that the PCs have managed to enter his barred inn compound. After some initial pleasantries, the soaked adventurers are admitted to the common room of the inn. Sitting by the warm fire, puffing a long clay pipe is a tall, thin man in a Road wardens uniform. Behind the bar, a ball-eyed figure (think Marty Feldman) is mopping the floor, a bucket of water at his side. A scruffy dwarf in watchman’s garb sits at a small table in the corner, eating stew and drinking ale [GM note: This is where Mats’ PC, Maguar, entered the game].
Otto the landlord mutters that the inn is indeed full and tries to send the PCs away, but the Roadwarden comes to their aid, inviting them to sit down – the dwarves at one table and the snob elves at another. The upset landlord wipes his hands on his apron, disappearing into the kitchen to fetch ale. Trimm notices that the Roadwarden is eyeballing them closely and in his most diplomatic dwarven manners he asks:
“-What? What are ye luukin’ at boy?”
Covering any hard feelings, the Roadwarden comes over and introduces himself as Hans Jinkerst and explains that the inn was raided by bandits earlier today and that they snatched away the ferryman. That’s why Otto was so flabbergasted when they arrived and why he, Roadwarden of the Empire, now must ask what the PCs were doing out there in an evening like this? Maybe they are in league with the bandits? After some awkward explaining and recapitulation of the forest attack and how the coach driver was injured, Hans seems satisfied with their story, saying in a thick Middenheim accent:
“-I’m glad that’s settled then. Welcome to rest here in the warmth. I’ll tell Otto to bring some hot stew and cold ale. You must be hungry.”
And he leaves for the kitchen, closing the door behind him.
Meanwhile “Marty” has finished his floor swabbing and returns to the kitchen with the cleaning utensils. On a hunch, Blunda the elf thief quickly moves across the room and puts her pointy ear to the kitchen door. Behind, she hears Hans say to Otto:
“-Don’t worry Otto. They are only lost travelers. Slip some kurts in the stew and then we’ll deal with them later. Tzeentch will be pleased to devour their souls as well.”
Blunda hustles back to the table and tells Dail what she heard. Soon, Otto brings some frothing ale and hot stew along with dark brown rye bread. The dwarves want to dig in, while the elves excuse themselves with being vegetarians. After some debacle including a dropped bowl of stew, the dwarves accusing the elves of thinking that everything is a conspiracy, and Trimm sneaking into the kitchen to steal a ring of prima Würtzelwurst and more bread, Otto declares that the inn is closing and says that he will show them to their lodgings. Upon asking if the inn wasn’t fully occupied Otto says that he has “rearranged” the sleeping arrangements so that a room has been available. He leads them up a rickety and wet staircase. The room is cramped, holds two dingy beds and has no windows. Traces of the former occupants are evident – no one has cleaned the room or bed linen in a very long time. The dwarves take dibs on the beds, leaving the floor and some flea-ridden blankets for the elves and the coachman. The stranger dwarf from below gets the neighboring room. Otto bids them goodnight and closes the door, locking it from the outside! After a few minutes, the coachman snores loudly and Trimm fights to keep awake but vomits violently and collapses on the bed… Maybe someone put something in the stew anyway…?
The mystery thickens
As soon as the portly landlord’s footsteps have disappeared down the stairs, the PCs still awake checks the door. Yep, it’s locked alright. As they debate what to do now, a strange chant emerge. It sounds distant but still close. As the chant increases in volume, a scream of terror can be heard over the drone. The scream stops as abruptly as it emerged.
Grim and the elves start slapping their passed out comrades, managing to get them alert enough to get up. Trimm manages to pick the lock despite having to resort to un-thievly tools. They then proceed to pick the lock on the strange dwarfs door and wake him as well. His name turns out to be Maguar, a watchman from nearby Delbertz, traveling back after a visit to his homeland. In the corridor, the chant is louder and seems to come from downstairs. The PCs sneak down cautiously, listening intently. The common room below is dark and deserted, but the sound is louder. Trimm decides that it might be a good idea to open the door to the courtyard to provide a point of “save ass”. As he lifts the heavy inside door bar, he misjudges the balance and drops the stout plank which crashes into the floor with a loud thud. The coachman slips out to prepare the coach for a hasty retreat…
The PCs stand still, weapons drawn, listening for any reaction on the dropped bar. All is silent when there’s a violent crash behind the bar and a mutant with the upper body of a man and the lower body of a spider jumps out of nowhere and starts running on the wall to get behind the PCs. The elves loose their ready bows, Dail hitting the creature clean on the top of the head. The arrow goes clean through the head, coming out through the throat, killing the creature instantly. The mutant’s legs are still twitching as the PCs find the now open hatch behind the bar. There’s a ladder down into darkness so before going down, they light candles and a lantern. The stone cellar is made of stone. Barrels of ale and wall racks with bottles of wine and spirits line the walls. In the center of the room, there’s a faint trace of blood leading to a particularly large flagstone, abruptly stopping at its edge. Closer inspection reveals that there’s no lime mortar around this particular stone. The chant is even louder here, having a faint echo…
The stone is lifted with an iron crowbar, which is easier than the size of the stone suggests. Below, a sickly green light fills what seems to be two hexagonal chambers joined by a short passage. A stone stairwell leads down to the first chamber, where a heap of bloody corpses can be seen on one side and a group of bound people on the other. Just beyond the passage, Otto the landlord, Marty the Swabber, Hans the Roadwarden and a yet unknown man can be seen, standing and chanting before a strange 2-foot high statuette from which the green light seems to emanate. On the floor before them there’s a strange undulating pattern resembling eight arrows, pointing outwards, but it’s very hard to focus as the pattern is changing constantly. The room is filled with a strange hum that makes everyone feel uneasy. The statuette grows and shrinks in a cycling pattern and it seems as if something is trying to claw its way out of an ectoplasmic thin membrane that has formed around the statue. Hans is holding a black tome from which he recites some kind of ritual.
The elves post themselves at the hatch to the chamber as the dwarves charge into the room, axes, and warhammer ready. Two arrows find their targets before the dwarves crash into the group of chanting bastards, cutting and hammering away. The three cultists turn to fight the PCs, while Hans continues the chant. Meanwhile, the clawing has gotten stronger and there’s definitely something trying to get through the strange membrane! The fight is vicious, and as the new cultist turns around, he scares everyone with his bare skull visage.
The cultists fight well but have no chance against the battle-crazy dwarves and the elven archers and soon Otto and the skull-man lies bleeding on the floor, while both Marty and Hans have taken multiple hits and are fighting desperately for their existence. Trimm takes a serious injury to the left arm, forcing him to drop his off-hand axe. In a flash of green light, the membrane ruptures and a 10-foot hideous green entity materializes out of thin air, drooling and whispering in a strangely pleasant voice. Hans looks blissfully at the thing:
“-Master! You have heard your humble servant’s call!”
The thing answers by grabbing Hans’ head in a giant green claw, lifting him into the air and crushing it like a ripe melon…
Trimm is frozen in fear at the sight of the creature, losing control of…well, certain bodily functions…but manages to snap out of it when Grim yells “-Retreat!” in his face. Blinda shoots an arrow at the thing, but it just bounces off its thick skin as it’s fighting the screaming cultists.
[GM Note: At this point, the PCs decided that the creature couldn’t be hurt with their mundane weapons and planned to retreat up to the cellar and close the hatch, maybe setting the place on fire].
As the dwarves retreat up the stair, Dail shoots an arrow, hitting the thing in the other arm, punching right through in a spray of green ichor! If it bleeds, it can be killed! The dwarves stay at the stair, while the elves concentrate their arrows on the thing. After having slain the last cultists, the creature charges the dwarves with a mighty roar but are hit by a longbow through the mouth, sending it limp to the ground. Before their eyes, the thing turns into a green slimy goo…
The statuette is now a normal statuette made of some green-tinted stone. Before heading up, the PCs take the statuette and the evil tome. They also scoop up some of the green goo in a few flasks and dip their weapons in it. You never know what good it might do, right? Right…?
Afterward, sitting in the common room of the inn, sipping hot broth (or in the dwarves’ case, humongous amounts of free ale), it turns out that the bound prisoners are the real innkeeper, his wife, two servants and a coachman. The dead bodies are the other coachman, their three passengers, and the halfling cook. The landlord tells their story: yesterday afternoon, the now dead strangers arrived. Hans, the cunning bastard managed to slip something into the food, drugging them all, only to awake in the strange sub-cellar that they never knew was even there. The dead people were sacrificed during the ritual. The landlord, Herr Karlchen, says that the PCs are always welcome to eat or stay at the inn, as they owe them their lives.
The next morning, four Roadwardens arrive at the inn. At first, they are very suspicious of the PCs, but after having seen the bodies of the mutants and heard the tale of the landlord, the PCs are acquitted of all suspicion. However, the Roadwardens demand that they travel together to Delberz to settle the matter with the proper authorities.
We leave the characters there, on a misty morning, somewhere in the Drakwald Forest, on the road to Delberz. Safe at last. Or…?