Once Upon A Time In The Empire

Lords of Ubersreik
Where our heroes gain reknown

From Kvothe’s quill pen.

Having just been invited to Holzenhauer’s big ball, I began discussing Lord Aschaffenberg’s political campaign in greater detail with the lord and his manservant, Vern Hendrick. I was surprised to discover that both of them weren’t quite as incompetent as I had feared, and already had many plans and strategies in place. Still, they seemed impressed with the connections I and my comrades brought with us, especially when I mentioned Bigby Blayse’s name. I know not what fate is in store for me should I ever return to the College in Altdorf, but scoring some major political connections for the Bright Order with an Elector Count should go a long way towards clearing my name and/or scoring advancement within the order. Still, Vern Hendrick maintains that wizards aren’t viewed too kindly in Ubersreik – something to do with their history, or some such – and stressed that if a Bright Order wizard – me – were to end a major chaos threat – The Chemist – that would go a long way towards increasing the goodwill towards wizards in Ubersreik. It might even allow for the possibility of opening up a Bright Order chapter house in Ubersreik, or allowing the Order to become the personal adviser of Lord Aschaffenberg.

But enough of the intrigue! While the rest of retired to our lodging at Rugger’s Boarding House, the Dwarf snuck off to break into the Temple of Verena. A brilliant plan with little to no foreseeable consequences – typical of the Dwarf – I’d have cautioned the little ankle-biter against it had I known about it. Still, I can’t argue that his methods were effective, because, low and behold, he came back with the personal diary of the head priest of Verena (boring), an itemized list of books (very boring) and a sheaf of chaos-tainted pages (very terrifying). Apparently the Verenans had only just discovered it in their basement, hidden inside a book. Very suspicious. Carrying the papers ourselves is very risky, but for better or worse, they are now our problem to deal with. I’m tempted to use them to frame Sapponatheim and take him out of the political running, but I’m equally tempted to simply ship them off to the temple of Sigmar by proxy and have them destroyed. We’ll see what the rest of our little gang say.

While this was going down, the rest of us had gone to sleep – except for the Priest, who made a lot of noise downstairs before staggering up the stairs, flopping into bed and crying himself to sleep. Not sure what that was about. The rest of the evening was fairly uneventful, aside from a trio of Skaven assassins whom we dispatched without taking even a single wound ourselves (Wurst got poisoned, cos he’s the worst, but I think he’s ok now. Also I accidentally kicked the Priest in the face, but it’s unfair to blame the Skaven for that one). The Lawman went off to summon the Watch (a novel experience, it’s the first time we’ve called the Watch rather than have the Watch called on us). We produced three Skaven bodies as proof of our dedication in the fight to chaos to a pair of dull watchmen who promptly summoned Andrea Pfeiffer herself to the crime scene in short order. Simultaneously I sent the Dwarf to bring in Vern Hendricks as a witness, because I was tired of people not believing in our struggles against the filthy little rat-creatures.

The Priest did a bit of sleuthing on his own (is it just me or does he seem a bit worse for wear tonight? He seems more melancholy than usual. Also much, much drunker) and figured out what exactly was going down with the ‘captives’ in the Shallyan hospice. Apparently they were all victims (or corroborators?) of Chaotic activity, and Vern Hendrick and Captain Pfeiffer – who are in cahoots, apparently – decided to hide them all in the hospice so as to not arouse suspicion and panic amongst the general populace. Also it’d look bad for Lord Aschaffenberg if we’d let a cultist like the Chemist slip away from Grunwald Lodge. Too bad the Priest got Sapponatheim onto the whole conspiracy. Only time will tell if that causes problems. Perhaps the Priest and the Dwarf can feed that slippery bastard some bad information and send him on a wild goose chase? Maybe we’ll have to frame him after all…

Bright and early the next day we went to some dumb costume shop to get our dumb costumes for Holzenhauer’s dumb ball. I had originally intended to settle on a Bright Order costume (naturally) before I realized it would be much funnier to dress up as a Shallyan. Too bad that means I’ll probably have to leave my staff behind, but oh well, it’s worth the comedy factor. Might confuse any potential assassins as well.

Speaking of my staff, the Dwarf hooked me up with the metalworkers and he and I – and the Lawman – proceeded down there to meet Bigby Blaze when, lo behold, we bumped into our old friend and ally…that, uh, that elderly Sigmarite priest guy. We were all set to say hello and ask him about the weather when five imp-demons materialized in Morrslieb’s glare and started attacking the priest. Is nowhere safe anymore? The answer to that is: only if you’re not in the company of awe-inspiring heroes like us. We made quick work of the demons and saved the priest – in broad daylight, in the middle of the street, amongst a crowd of people, and then set about our business. I made sure to tell everyone that we were working for Lord Aschaffenberg while we were at it.

The Dwarf spent all day tinkering away at something – he even used warpstone to augment some lenses, which I cannot approve of, but by the same token, the Dwarf’s penchant for using warpstone-enhanced shot in his pistols has always resulted in hilarious results. I myself set about the laborious process of augmenting my own staff with Bigby Blaze. I can’t wait til it’s completely finished – it will be a weapon to be feared.

As we left the metalworkers guild at the end of the day we were surprised to see Lord Aschaffenberg’s carriage pulling up! He invited us inside and, lo and behold, offered us a patronage on the spot. Apparently our heroics with the implets had impressed him considerably. Looks like everything’s turning up Kvothe!
Edge of night alley

A Game Of Whispers
Our heroes look for the word on the street.


Where our heoes are suspended in disbelief


Keep Your Powder Dry
Where our heroes fight in a circle of death

Dry powder

The Rising Tide
Where our heroes jump ship

From Kvothe’s quill pen:

I thought we’d bought it when Commander Rupert Julbach caught us in that Skaven-infested mansion that was burning to the ground around us. Sure, the fire was technically my doing, but what kind of moron walks into a house with a scores of dead rat-men and assumes the surviving humans are the bad guys?

Still, a bit of fast talking got him to escort us to Witch Hunter Lucas Hazelman. From what I’d heard of the guy – having never actually been introduced to him, on account of having been hiding in a backroom with the Dwarf at the time – he seemed pretty trustworthy. At least, as trustworthy as a Witchhunter can be, in theory. I figured the odds of there being two corrupt Witchhunters in one city was as likely as, well…one corrupt Witchhunter in a city. But it’s not like we had much choice. It was Hazelman, or gaol.

I thought we’d bought it a second time when the Commander took the Dwarf aside for a bit of one-on-one. To my – and everyone else’s – surprise, Rupert didn’t have us all executed on the spot on account of the Dwarf’s manners. It must have been our lucky day.

I was thanking my lucky stars right up until the point were we got jumped by another group of Skaven at the supposed meeting place with Hazelman. My companions readied themselves for a fight – and I readied myself for us getting blamed for luring the City Watch into a Skaven trap – when Hazelman showed up and slaughtered most of the vermin in one fell swoop. After having seen Amir completely roast Hazelman’s corrupt partner, I had sort of mentally relegated the Witchhunters – along with most everything else – into the category of ‘Something A Bright Order Wizard Can Easily Deal With’. I’m beginning to see why they are the objects of such intense fear and respect throughout the Empire. I wonder – are they all like Hazelman?

Having just been saved from another Skaven assault, my luck once again flipped and Hazelman had me arrested. How many times has it been, now? Still, I let the Priest do the talking, and the Witchhunter soon saw sense. A good move on his part – the last Witchhunter who tried to arrest me is now lying well-done in a gutter somewhere.

We were about to start making plans with the Commander and the Witchhunter vis-à-vis the massive Chaos ritual going down tonight when I noticed the Dwarf was greedily picking something off the ground. Julbach noticed too, and immediately yelled for everyone to hit the ground, which is a military term for ‘don’t be where you currently are’. A skaven wielding a torch leapt up from the docks and set fire to the massive trail of warp-stone infused gunpowder we were all standing on.

I briefly contemplated trying to snuff out the flames but I had not reckoned on the warp-stone; it burnt like the very blazes and within mere seconds most of the street was on fire and the warehouse we’d been held in by the Chemist detonated with an almighty bang.

Having survived the explosion mostly intact, we were joined by the Captain of the Greedy Bitch, and we made our plans quickly and efficiently, with minimum squabbling. Using my magical sights on the river revealed that there was a whole lot of Amethyst Wind flying about – Death magic – as well as a lot of Celestial stuff as well. I deduced that the ritual was powered by death, and that a multitude of ships on the harbor – the Captain of the Greedy Bitch mentioned that they were all ships that had gone missing over the last few weeks – held prisoners who would be executed en masse at midnight, which would release a whole lot of death energy in the giant magical circle they had constructed, which they would use for some unholy ritual of unimaginable power. In another interesting side-note, it turns out that the Sigmar Priest, Father Whathisname is an old friend and ally of the Witchhunter Lucas Hazelman. The plot thickens! Someone who is shown such levels of respect by a Witchhunter is someone to look out for indeed. After a quick discussion, we decided to split up – Franz, myself, and the rest of my comrades would attempt to board a nearby ship and use it to break the Skaven-blockade that had been set up around the central vessel on which the ritual was going to happen. The Witchhunter, Julbach and the Captain of the Greedy Bitch would all do their best to liberate and evacuate as many ships on the river whilst simultaneously doing their best to distract the Skaven patrolling the waters and protecting the ritual-ship.

Without further ado, we started leaping from ship to ship – some of us with more success than others (I don’t mean to brag, but I seem to have discovered a way of blasting myself through the air using magical fire; I am keen to see if I can replicate my feat!). Without hesitation, we began our assault on one of the prisoner ships, and found our enemies were these Kislev mercenaries we’d heard so much about. After a brisk battle, in which the Elf fell into the drink a bunch of times, the Dwarf almost lost his hand (and a prized pistol) due to some interesting use of warp-stone as gunpowder (note to self: keep an eye on the Dwarf), and I blasted a few nicely satisfying chunks off the ship.

We boarded, got rid of the last Kislev dog, liberated the prisoners, and were jumped by an eye-patched cultist who had apparently been directing the merceneries for his Chaotic masters and had previously been seen kidnapping the people of Franz’s village. We interrogated him, discovered little we didn’t know, and then squabbled about whether or not to kill him while the prisoners were evacuated. Too late, we realized that our squabbling had distracted us from the real threat – a Skaven ship was heading straight for us. While Franz, the Guard, the Priest and the Elf secured us a get-away rowboat, the Dwarf and I hatched a plan to burn the entire (now empty) boat down to the water while the incoming Skaven boarded it. To our surprise we found the hold to be full of gunpowder and warpstone. We quickly took this information in our stride and incorporated it in our plan. A few minutes and a gunpowder trail later, we lowered ourselves into the rowboat and desperately put as much distance between ourselves, the recently liberated prison boat, and the rapidly approaching Skaven mauraders as possible before the ship detonated in a huge fireball I doubt even the Wizard-Lords of the Bright Order could have managed.

The Skaven died, that much is certain – but their deaths only served to power up the approaching ritual. Even worse, as our one-eyed captive informed us after we’d lit the fuse, was that all the ships were full of gunpowder as well, and were supposed to detonate all together. Sure enough, across the harbor, the dim-witted Skaven took our explosion as the signal to blow, and blew another prisoner-laden ship to Kingdom Come. We’ve kicked off the detonation chain early, and a lot of people have died as a result. We’re all a bit rattled, the Priest especially. There will be time for mourning and guilt later; all this means is that we have to stop the ritual at all cost, lest this sacrifice be in vain!"

On The Waterfront
Where our heroes find themselves between a rat and a hard place.

From Ariana’s stylus:

“Tonight, trapped in a burning waterfront mansion, we fought more skaven scum. I was worried at first about the sheer number of them, but it turned out they were all mucus and no grunt. None the less, we came out barely unscathed. Although it appears some of the men are still injured from a previous battle.

The wizard miscast a spell again. It worries me that he keeps doing that. This time I think he scared that poor priest half to death.

I’m so sick of cleaning up other peoples messes. I’m not even sure how I got stuck with this bunch of misfits. They seem nice enough but I’m not sure if I can really trust them yet… especially that arrogant little dwarf.

The guards conveniently showed up just after we finished dealing with the scaven and wanted to arrest us all. It sounded like half of this mess was caused by the dwarf in the first place. I would’ve been quite happy if they had just taken him and left the rest of us alone. They’re now accompanying us to a witch hunter so we can stop this chaos ritual before time runs out.

I have a bad feeling about all of this."

Burning waterfront mansion

Where There Is Smoke
Where our heroes' pasts come back to bite them.

Awaiting Franz Bieber’s recounting in full:

  • Ariana finds herself awoken by a small child.
  • Franz, Karl and Initiate Hammlin are arguing.
  • Father Barthelm is leading refugees in prayer.
  • The Boat is trying to navigate crowded waters & smoke. Sailors with barge poles slowly push away vessels in their path, while a lookout searches for specific ships.
  • The city is an inferno. All around is fire and dying people!
  • Ariana and Franz jump from boat to boat to get to the shore.
  • They follow the party’s trail of destructio to the playhouse.
  • At the theatre Franz spots Arminius in the company of a witchhunter. Unsure weather he has been arrested, and terrified of the Templars of Sigmar, Franz leads the way in trailing Arminius, first to the holding cells near the warf, then on to Crazy Hassans.
  • Once they meet up and disentange themselves from Hassans suggestive selling, they head to Uncommon Goods, Amir Hassana’s burnt down shop front.
  • They fight and apparently defeat Amir Hassana after witnessing his murder of Witchhunter Andric Lutzen.
  • Before they go far however, they get waylaid by a patrol of soldiers. A runner leaves to bring back their C.O. to question their captives.
  • Fortuitously, The Professor, Murk’s employer and Garen Eich’s grandfather, chooes that moment to turn up. He sends Murk and his compatriates on what sounds like a pointless errand, but the party happily follow the noble’s orders before the soldiers have a chance to fetch Rupert Julbach.
  • At the Eich mansion they stumble across skaven looking for Garen Eich, and kidnapping his servants. Dun. Dun. Dun.
Get Your Towels Ready
Where our heroes are on a boat.

Greedy bitch
The party of adventurers wake up on a boat on the river Teufal, in the burning city of Auerswald, in the year 2517. It seems the crew of the Greedy Bitch, led by Cedric “Cut-Throat” Kessler, Franz Bieber from Kliendorf and Acolyte Hammlin from Hornlach, with the unwarranted but still appreciated help of Murk Dwemer, rescued the party from the fate that befell them after their introductory adventure.

This session follows on chronologically from those introductory sessions, occurring on Geheimnistag, the same day as Kvothe’s and Murk’s adventures on the streets of Aurswald. For a different perspective on these events, see Franz’s Story (Part 1)

Unfortunately, during the rescue, Ariana was partially submerged in the Schlaff trough, and so, still drenched in the drug, was impossible to rouse.

The party awoke to find themselves in the sleeping quarters of a boat. Outside they could hear shouts and screams echoing in the encroaching twilight. Ariana still slumbered, her hair covered in green muck. Murk was manacled to a post. Also in the cabin with them was a critically injured Father Barthelm.

While Murk freed himself the others got to work quickly on first aiding the injured Sigmarite priest. It looked as if someone had applied some rudimentary bandages, but they were clealy no healer, and the priest would likely have died from his wounds had not the party immidiately intervened upon their waking up.

Murk attempted to see outside, between a gap in the wooden hull, but he could only catch a glimpse of fire and running people. Unfortunately Murk didn’t know his own strength and in trying to widen the slit, sprang a leak below water level.

As water slowly trickled aboard, the group opened the unlocked door to their cabin. They came face to face with almost 20 scared people and nearly that number in loaded crossbows pointed at them. A little fast talking got the crew and passengers of The Greedy Bitch to lower their weapons.

A number of familar faces were revealed to be behind the Crossbows. Along with about ten red shirts crew members, guardsmen Franz and Karl from Kliendorf were caught by Graille’s eye, while Arminius spotted old acquantances; acolyte of Sigmar Hammlin, and guardsmen Jacob and Irene from Hornlach.

Cedric, the first mate, directed one of his crew to patch up the leak, while sending a glare the party’s way. Other crewmembers wandered on, while Franz gave the party the gist of what’d been happening. The crew and passengers of the Greedy Bitch, the party’s would-be-rescuers, are fractious and dissonant. Cedric wants his money, Franz is an acting guard captain so the others wont obey him, Acolyte Hammlin is a raging dufus, and everyone is somewhat paralyzed as to what to do next. Furthermore it seemed everyone knew little, specific things, but a lack of communication and a rushed rescue attempt meant noone knew the entire situation.

The Characters went up on deck, where they found the city of Aurswald was on fire. The Slums, the docks, and the wealthy and the warehouse districts were all aflame. The river was clogged with fleeing refugees, all clinging to dinghys, life boats, bits of driftwood or filling the deck of every larger vessel to capacity, and the Greedy Bitch was no exception, it’s own surface area crammed with people. The river, from the Rocky Bridge to the Karl-Franz bridge, was choc-a-bloc with the townspeople of Auerswald, almost all of whom can’t swim.

Murk took the opportunity to investigate the river barge. He broke into the ‘captains’ quaters and nicked a few coins and weapon or two from quite a suspiciously large stash. Meanwhile, the party called a meeting. Cedric demanded his payment, and mentioned as part of his greivances the dissapearances of various river boats on the Teufel in the last year. He didn’t want to be next on the list, and he rattled off a series of names of a number of vanished vessels, and was about to say he thought he might have seen one or two out on the water that very night but was cut off by the impatient party members, who were too busy solving a mystery to listen to clues.

Other characters aboard shared what they knew. It seemed the local Garrison commander, Rupert Julbach, was convinced the attacks on Auerswald have been purpertrated by agents from Ubersreik, a rival city, and as such has instigated marshall law and a strict curfew (not that anyone would be deliberately out of doors on Geheimisnacht anyway) and has had his soldiers patrolling the streets since sundown. The evidence of chaos worshippers in both Kliendorf and Hornlach seemed to suggest the recent kidnappings were all part of a larger cultist scheme, perhaps some dark ritual to be enacted on the night of mystery. Irene and Jacob had had a run in with some foreign mercenaries transporting more unconcious prisoners through the streets, which suggested their towns had not been the only ones hit, while Franz claimed to have seen inhuman shapes on the rooftops of Auerswald. All in all, it was looking like the party had a long night ahead of them.

The party solved Cedric’s payment issue (mostly by guilting him into continuing to help) and managed to wrench from the group every scrap of information they’d gathered in town since they’d arrived. No one had any idea what was actually going on however. Before they could make another move though, the party heard scrabbling in the walls, like some large rat was in the hold somewhere. The party, surprisingly, did not immidiately try to stab the creature through the wooden walls, instead rushed up on deck to investigate. There they found, beneath a trapdoor, a young boy, who Graille recognised as Karmichael.

Karmichael it seemed had stowed away aboard the Greedy Bitch in Kliendorf, and had been wondering the streets of Auerswald the past day, searching for adventure and ways to help. Fortuitously, he had on him another important clue, a flyer for Garen Eich’s play The Rewards of Power. The flyer promoted the fact an “actual chaotic ritual” was dramtized onstage. It sounded all too familar. Further investigation looked like the way to go.

The party decided to set off into the streets of Auerswald. Cedric and The Greedy Bitch would try to investigate the river, and perhaps mount a second rescue attempt, as Murk knew many of the prisoners were put aboard a long cutter called the Rum Runner, and an old prison barge named The Maidstone, along with a butt-load of fireworks and black powder. Unfortunatley the smoke blocked almost all vision on the water, so they would have to actively search the river. They agreed to meet up at a different warf later, as the crowded river was tortuous to navigate through.

Getting off the ship turned out to be easier said then done, as there are still dozens of people swarming the docks, trying to get aboard any ship they could, the streets behind them awash with fire. The refugees seem especially desperate, as if afraid of something more than the inferno, but the party doesn’t question it, perhaps assigning their frantic, crazed behaviour to typical supersticons about the night of mystery and nothing more. The party managed to disembark without flooding the Greedy Bitch with more townspeople. Murk pondered stealing the Greedy Bitch’s corgi, but wisely left it temporarily behind.

The streets of Auerswald were deserted. The party avoided the burning buildings and succesfully dodged the armed soldiers that were patrolling the streets, enforcing curfew and looking for spys from Ubersreik. Although briefly pursued, the party managed to loose them in the smoke by effectively turning one patrol on the other.

Murk took them via the old abbatoir and warehouse where they were imprisoned earlier. The party explored the holding cells, and discovered evidence of The Chemists experiments with making potent Schlaff. One of the party members wondered into the storeroom where barrels of the stuff were being kept (the same room Graille ended his adventure in) to very heady results. Murk carefully took a few jars of de druuggs.

The party set off along the shore towards the playhouse. A failure to observe their surroundings meant the party had no idea they were being followed. Nor did they notice the great big chain stretched across the road. Almost everyone one of them literally tripped over it. Their shadowy pursuers took that moment to reveal themselves. With sinister chuckles, four masked men stepped out of the smoke and immidiately attacked Murk. When the rest of the party leapt to Murk’s defence, they changed tact, attempting to reason with the group, saying that they only wanted the dwarf. The party were having none of it, despite the attackers being no standard ruffians. The battle raged across the Rocky Bridge, untill three of the group were dispatched. Murk was not looking too hot either, and the last man attempted to push his unconscious body into the Teufal. While he might have been prepared for the stockyness of the dwarven race, he didn’t reckon on the inordinate amount of weight the dwarf was crarrying, and the lithe attacker discovered he could not shift his bulk.

Cornered, the man gave away a few clues in his desperation, most notably that his life was forfeit if he returned defeated. Who could have such sway over men? The party offered the endentured killer a number of ways out, but the man ceased being forthcoming and hurled himself over the side and into the drink. Its doubtful he could swim.

With an unconscious Dwarf that weighed a ton, the party dragged his body through the streets, to find somewhere that might provide assistance. How lucky they were to find Crazy Hassan’s, a shop whose owner recognised Murk. Clearly they had traded in the past, and Murk must have been generous or something because Hassan was eager to proffer a very special healing potion of his own creation. Murk duly drank it to unexpected results.

While the party tended over their fallen comrade, Arminius went on to investigate the Auerswald playhouse. There he found a scene of destruction and carnage. The place was swarming with soldiers, including what looked to be a very high ranking officer, likely Commander Julbach himself. The rear of the theatre was a burnt husk, despite the building being far away from the fire in the slums. Out the front the cobble stones on the street where shattered, numerous shop fronts had had their windows blown in, while the front of the building was scorched as if from some sort of explosion. Adding to the scene where vast pools of blood and large chunks of horse flesh that had splattered the surrounding area. Certainly some sort of adventure had occurred here, and the sheer amount of ruination pointed towards a particularily rowdy dwarf.

Arminius availed himself of a lightly guarded side entrance, talking his way past the soldiers on duty by claiming he was loking for a lost wedding ring. Arminius is clearly a very charming guy. Inside he stealthily crept through the empty auditorium, searching for a copy of the Garen Eich’s blasphemous play. So intnent on being silent was Amrinius, that he practically bumped into Witch Hunter Lucas Hazleman.

Lucas was very interested to know why Arminius was sneaking around, and asked Lucas a number of prying questions. Arminius attempted to fib, but being a witchunter, Lucas saw through his deceit. Arminius finally conceited and said “Look. I’ve been involved in Cultist activity.” The change that came of Hazleman was drastic, as he took a step back, horror upon his face, and his rapier was nearly completely unsheathed before Arminius explained that perhaps it was a poor choice of words. Arminius then told Hazleman ‘everything’, his adventures in Hornlach, his capture, his recent awakening in Auerswald and his discoveries so far, leaving out Murk and Kvothe from his story, since there was reason to believe they may be wanted criminals.

Hazleman asked to be taken to Arminius’s compatriates to corroborate his story. Arminius, unable to ignore his instinct to be decietful, instead lead Hazleman to the meat packing warehouse where the group had been held. Neither man realised they were being followed by Franz and Ariana at this point, nor did they spot the beady red eyes watching them from the darkness of the warehouse.

Hazleman recognised the evidence of extended imprisonment within the building, but suspecting Arminius of stalling, demanded he be taken immidiately to Arminius’s co-conspirators, so Arminius duly led on. At Crazy Hassans, Murk was still out like a light in the back room, but the others corroborated Arminius’s tale. Hazleman, fending off Crazy Hassan’s attempt at selling his conconctions, announced he would go confer with his partner, Andric Lutzen, and meet the party where they said they would rendevous with The Greedy Bitch.

And so, with the city still burning, and clearly some vast chaotic ritual being undertaken, the session ended.

Broken Dreams
Where our heroes get lost in memories. And the memories aren't their own.
I Smell A Rat
Where our heroes return to Auerswald

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