Once Upon A Time In The Empire

In a Town Lit Green By Moonlight

The unnatural moon casts its light on the doomed town of Auerswald
Everything is sick and green and dark. Chaos cannot be controlled.
But the Witchhunters will try, says Hazleman, this town must be saved
You will face more darkness here, but darkness must be braved.

Garen Eich, his quarry, is still unaccounted for since the recent strife
The moon’s effects may be tangible, and the red pox is rife
The Shallyan hospice, well you’ll see why they haven’t been able to give much aid
And to top it off the garrison is on strike, they won’t die unless paid

The town is overcrowded and in ruins and in the midst of a crime spree
People are either homeless, starving or diseased, but mostly all three
They flock to shanty towns that have sprung up in the burnt and flooded sprawl
And the rat creatures are here somewhere, waiting, watching and behind it all

The party conferred with each other, how best to start the first day
The captain of the guard was very helpful enough to show you the way.
Hazleman left you, to go demand money from the Merchants guild
Coin is the fastest way to see the town purged and healed and starting to rebuild.

Kvothe visited the Brimstone club, and the bartender told Murk to get hopping
Arminius and Graille considered haircuts from the Barber-Surgeon while the elf went shopping.
Finally they set off to examine the sisters of mercy, to see what did transpire
The diagnosis was bad though, and the only prescription was fire

While Murk went to the club for strong liquor and a lass (not for a rave)
Arminius checked on the Temple of Morr and found it quiet as the grave
His stroll back to the others was interrupted by a heavily pregnant mugger
Starving and shiving, he wasn’t sure whether to hug her or slugg’ er

So while a harsh lesson was taught about pre-natal mood swings
Murk returned with all the spirits in the bar and a side of hot wings
Some masked men shot at him and he dropped a building on them in return
Give the dwarf his rum, another lesson swiftly learned.

So the Shallyan Hospice is cinders now, just another husk in the ashen part of town
Burning the sisters alive is a deed the party may find hard to live down
But Graille is proof the red pox is not vanquished, the party grows nervous with each sneeze
However that didn’t stop Murk from executing a guard for having the very same disease

The mad dwarf was found in the temple of Verena, blind and madder still
Someone had tied him up, stabbed him, and left him to catch a chill
The party took him to the refinery, gave him to the care of his kind.
They garrison is clearly not safe, and “Honeydew” needs somewhere to unwind

Kvothe and Graille visited the creaking ramshackle Temple of Mannan.
They found a salt of the sea parishioner, who wasn’t the priest’s biggest fan
He clammed up fast and bolted when he saw the hats they wore.
Powering through Kvothe’s fireballs, the seared fish made it out the door

Steward Schlimm was wonderfully generous when they visited the silver chalice
While Lord Falkenhayn begged a favour, Lady Julbach stared with malice
They’ve got a big ol mansion to fill now, the Graff’s steward seems on the level
Plus a good chunk of silver promised to them, getting money is always the devil

The party throw their weight and hats around, using the Witchhunter mantle erroneously
They demand room and board, so Aldric the scribe is woken quite unceremoniously
Bought a drink as an apology, apparently the scribes are doing a roaring trade.
Everyone wants reminders written and read; people’s memories are want to fade.

No, nothing of interest really, just letters and memos, oh well, since you kept asking.
Here’s a creepy little note I was asked to write, quite sad, about a boys passing
The name echoes in your mind as you take the stairs to bed
The fate of Lars the farm boy and the “Angel” outside his window fills you with dread.

“Der Grobman”, the boogeyman, does the phrase mean anything to you?

That was day one. Ready for day two?

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The Siege

The so far unnamed party caught a ride from Hornlach
With their carriage in ruins they needed a fall back
Fortunately a river barge arrived to complete their commute
The greedy bitch with first mate Kessler and his crew of ill repute
They made good speed after he cried “all aboard”
And they arrived in Auerswald in the dead of night, nothing untoward.

Edwin the Dockkeeper begrudged the imposition
That you snuck through the quarantine raised his suspicion
An ominous omen was encountered in the predawn light
You crossed the path of a dead man, giving you quite a fright
Morrslieb is there too, bathing everything in green
The ritual had many consequences that were unforeseen

Refugees in the ruins, the town burnt black by fire
The dwarf climbed a clock tower, his fall was quite dire
The bridge is out, the weathers too hot
A few too many homeless covered in red spots
Shops barred up, Crazy Hassan wasn’t even there to sell a potion
And ahead in the market square there was quite a commotion

There Rupert Julbach caught a short drop and a quick stop
Proving in this town Lucas Hazleman is the dog on top
He read the letter, but had more urgent matters to attend to
Missing carriages, unconscious dwarfs, the crowd making a hullabaloo
can all take a back seat, the army outside the gate needed addressing
The sound of catapults being constructed is always most distressing
Lucas decided to swear you into his inquisition, right then and there,
Blessing you with purpose, your armaments are your prayer
He gave you bandoliers, and some very swish hats
You must dress in style when on the hunt for rats
With the letter delivered with great and public aplomb
You’re now merciless killers in black, ready for a pogrom

But in the forest Magdelena Hundenfeur stared Lucas Hazleman down
Not his rank, not his orders, nor their history would let her spare this town
One week she gave you, to see this blight destroyed
Or else the barrels of pitch she brought down will be deployed
The situation is bleak, in Warhammer its always grim dark and grungy
That’s when you feel the ground shake, someone must have said “Jumanji”

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Out Of The Woods

Two roads diverge in the Emperor’s wood
And signs can be so easily misunderstood

When the road split, the Shallyan was at the reigns
Perched precariously on what little carriage remains

North lay Grünberg city, Graille’s home
Rest and care beneath a Cathedral’s dome

A swift ship perhaps to bear them upriver
Along with the letter they’re tasked to deliver

South the path was overgrown, less used
Hard going for a coach so thoroughly abused

The party’s just as wrecked, in no better shape
The fight with the Elves was quite a scrape

Apparently they were here for the dwarf
But there’s no guarantee he’ll be safe in Kleindorf

Last anyone was there, the place was in need of aid
Villagers abducted, and sickness had breached its palisade

Franz Beiber might be there, perhaps a hot meal
Though Grünberg will be more likely to help you heal

North is Sanctuary, but south their destination
Which route to take needs some contemplation

Sometimes to go forward you must go back
It’s faster to Auerswald by barge than it is by dirt track

The Shallyan has a hippocratic oath to uphold
and most of his friends are thoroughly out cold

So what will they say when they awaken
only to find he chose the road less taken.

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Friends of Yours?
Our heroes meet Arianna's associate.

An Elf, a Dwarf, Two Wizards, a Priest and Lawman walk into a bar.
Some Dickhead named Ambrose hurls abuse before they get very far
A fight breaks out and someone miscasts a spell.
The band mutates into monsters, but hey, they’re playing very well.
But these hard motherfuckers aren’t putting up with this lout.
Ariana flips a table and they rock on out.

Niklas “Adjunt to the The Grand Archivist” Schulman apologises for his pretension
But, please, you gotta find his master’s missing invention.
The Arcane Orrery is potent and dangerous. It grants the power to predict.
And the Librarian’s gone absolutely mental ever since it was nicked.
It’s already in the wrong hands. But you were the last ones to see it.
And if anyone finds out it is all his fault, he’ll be fucked lickety split.

Niklas is quite stressed from the way it sounds.
Plus this thingy he wants is probably worth a shit ton o’ Crowns.
They’re heading back that way anway, so they answer in the affirmative
The poor sap looked so desperate the party saw no alternative
Besides it gives you an excuse; that thing that last had it is probably worth paying a visit.
Oh, that’s not the same creature that abducted you and orchestrated a mass ritual slaying, is it?

They set off from Altdorf with a purpose, they’ve got a Dwarf to escort
He’s got humours of the brain, and a whole lot of gear to transport.
Knows his way around a doorknob though, so that might come in handy.
When they left Auerswald last it did not look bright and dandy.
Definitely a fixer upper, the docks where decimated and the slums where toast
A lot of people died on Geheimisnacht, leaving a lot of ghosts.
The Skaven’s giant Ritual brought a city to its knees
Oh yeah and the hospice had some ‘ish’ with a vomit zombie disease?

Anyway, the town’s gonna need some work when you get back.
Best to hurry, the dwarf is a VIP, so don’t let yourselves get sidetracked.
For some reason you’ve been entrusted with a cladestine mission,
Either Lucas Hazleman vouched for you, or the General has shit intuition.
Keep the dwarf safe, and deliver the Witch Hunter General’s letter.
Forced to travel by carriage, a river barge would have been better

The Party got out of Altdorf safely, the designated “Danger Zone”
Still they stood watch, shot at scarecrows and prepared for enemies unknown.
But beyond the walls of the cities, past the farms, hamlets and abbeys with rosy cheeked ministers
Is the forest. Huge. Ancient. Foreboding. Dark. And Sinister.
All these lands may belong to the Emperor, upon whom his citizens depend
But if you ever go past the forest’s edge you’ll find the Empire ends.
The sun may be shining but in the dark shade it is cold.
And it’s a very long winding road to get to Auerswald.

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Doomed In Altdorf
There will be a reckoning.

HIGH ABOVE THE CAPITAL, IN ONE OF THE 16 TOWERS OF THE CELESTIAL COLLEGE, OUR HEROES HAVE JUST WITNESSED THE END OF THE WORLD.

Graille, Kvothe, Murk, Arminius and Arianna are in Altdorf, the seat of Power for the entire Empire.
They’ve just learnt the future holds a shit creek and a canoe of barbed wire.

But before they can deal with the future, they’ve gotta tidy up the past.
Wizard Niklas Schulman dangles a well paid assignment, no questions asked.

But the capital is dangerous. Lives cost only a silver crown, and not a thing is free.
This is not a city to linger in for long. That said; shopping spree?

Meantime, Graille is led into the Sanitorium of Mercy, a place no one ever leaves.
While the others meet with the Witchhunter General under the Emperial Palace eaves.

Soon they must go back to where it all began on that fateful Geheimisnact.
In itself a simple journey, which might still prove nigh impossible to enact.

What awaits the heroes, in the ruined town of Auerswald?
The Skaven’s plans aren’t done there, they were only forestalled.

What did their ritual power? What did it Summon?
Whats this tune going round that everyone keeps hummin’?

The buildings are burnt husks, and there are boats in the streets.
Professor Eich asked Murk to find his son Garen, that task is incomplete.

And somewhere in the tumbledown city is the inscrutable Steffan Hell.
Whatever his angle, wherever there’s chaos he seems to excel.

Oh, and there’s something else, something no-ones noticed, and it is nothing good.
Outside Auerswald, far from any paths. There’s a tree that wasn’t there before. In the dark dark wood.

Their destiny’s are intertwined. They’ve been shown their doom.
Never the less, stiff upper lip, let the adventures resume!

For they’re motherfucking badass. They won’t take death lying down.
The boys (ahem, and lady) are back.
THEY’RE BACK. IN. TOWN.

“The Grand Archivist” goes a little nuts and begins proselytising their deaths. Of course being curious about the manner of their demise, the Heroes gaze into the Archivists Chrystal Ball and witness their own doom. With the archivist going mental in the background, they get ushered out by Niklas Schulman.

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Down the Rabbit Hole

Oh look, more people are dead in Ubersreik
The Party has some explaining to do.
Did they find the leads they seek?
or are they up shit creek without a clue?

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Delivered to Darkness.

Graille, Arminius, Murk, Kvothe and Ariana
These names hang from Aschaffenberg’s Mansion on a blue and gold banner.

Many men died that night, the city suffered a great loss
These five went into the sewers, and kicked the shit out of Chaos.

With the “beastman” threat vanquished, and Morrslieb on the wane.
They’ll never need to pay for a bowl of gruel in this town again.

But there’s no time to savor the victory, no time for merriment or mirth,
The dead litter the streets, and some streets sank into the earth

Since rescue efforts began, the body count has tripled
Half the town council is dead, and the military is crippled

The Priests of Morr are about, performing funeral rights and adding to the dread
The Shallyans are run of their feet just trying to keep the injured fed

Mutated Citizens are sprouting up all over town
Commander Pfeffer can never hunt them all down.

Flaggellants proselytize the attack as a sign the end times are near.
Witchhunters are on the prowl, which isn’t helping the fear

_
Suspected Skaven collaborators are being rounded up and shot.
The screams from the Chapter house tell us they all confess once caught_

Our heroes no doubt have questions of their own
Now that there’s a power vaccum, will Rickard take the throne?

Have they really spent three years chasing that Greyseer Rat?
Also Holy Shit, Kvothe has no arm, what are they gonna do about that?

There are mysteries that still need answering, the puzzle is not complete.
Perhaps another trip down memory lane will give them the answers they seek

Although maybe that’s a problem that, for now, should be put on the shelf.
More pressing is the question: Where the hell is the Elf?

Also, what happened to Graille? Did he rescue the girl proving his true grit?
Or did she die and is he now in a pit of suicidal despondency because the world’s so shit.

The Heroes of Grunewald Lodge, the heroes of Ubersreik.
They seem to possess a hardiness that is in someways unique

Their strength will be tested again, soon they’ll head back into the fray
Something gives them the impression a storm is on it’s way.

But they’re grasping for tomorrow, because today was recently seized
Their wounds are on the mend, and not ALL of them are diseased

They’re ready, they’re willing, gonna take the Old World by force.
Once they’ve done a little shopping of course.

But take heed, dear readers,
the heroes have come accustomed to winning.
Little do they know,
this was only the beginning.

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Wake Up Murk
Our heroes discover why you should let sleeping Dwarves lie.

Murk’s having a late siesta, catching 40 winks
Alright technically he’s concussed, and had too much to drink.

A lot’s happened in his absence, while he’s been clowning around
Tension sure is high, even now that the party’s winding down.

So a recap, if you will: the ball started at seven.
Music, Gossip, feasting and dancing, high society heaven.

The Party hobnobbed with the best, and brought many guests around.
Allthough their cause was clearly slandered by knaves in the background.

The moon was hot, the guests were rowdy, there was a poisoning on the dance floor.
Everything got a bit fraught when they had to fight a boar.

Figures having been seen sneaking around the mansion with rat-like tread.
Handguns stolen, chimneys blocked, and the beer barrels have been bled.

Everyone’s convinced Aschaffenberg is more than a stuffed shirt.
The party swore him fealty finally, which probably didn’t hurt.

Yes indeed, the heroes of Grunewald lodge have been hard at work
But someone’s put it all at risk. Someone nudged murk.

SO, soon the party will discover EXACTLY what is meant by
The ancient Elven saying:
Let sleeping Dwarfs lie.

Murk Dwemer, amatuer thief, natural-born-engineer and experienced drunk awoke with a roar. He discovered the following:

-He’s got a massive hangover and is in NO MOOD.
-Someone had moved him from the bar. WTF? Where is the ale? Why is he in the Gallery?
-That someone was probably Sigmund Wurst, upon whose collapsed and struggling body Murk was lying.
-Also, ow! Murk’s face is covered in second degree burns and his mask smells strongly of coffee. Who did this!?
-And thats not the only injury. Murk’s got plenty of cuts and bruises, some rather obvious. Fortunatley the lump on his forhead is hidden behind the opaque lens of his goggles.
-His time spent abseiling outside in the hot light of Morrslieb has had an effect upon him. Murk’s hardy dwarven resilience was not enough to prevent him from receiving some mild curruption.
-Why is the Banqueting Hall on fire?
-And his wallet seems lighter! Where’s that 20 silver gone?
-Is that Borgun Foambeard swinging from the Chandalier, gnawing at the gold filigree?
-Why is everyone screaming? Why is there dead bodies everywhere? I fall asleep for one minute and…
-Why does Baron Manfred von Holzenaur have swords for hands!? By Grimnir his jaw is unhinged and filled with needle like fangs!
-Thats the unconscious body of Lorith Silverleaf at his feet. snort Stupid Elf.
-The towns Burgomeister, Erst Maler, has grown gills and spines and is currently spitting barbs at the guests.
-The Priest of Sigmar, Gunther Emming, and the Priest of Morr, Shadrach Burke, are currently squaring off against Madame Beumarteu, who’s mouth has grown extra wide and is filled with shark teeth. She splutteres demonic curses, and completely abandoned her brettonian accent.
-Baron Margrave Von Mackeson, ruler of Helmgart, who was dressed as a beastman, is now actually a beastman, and is coming up behind the two priests.
-There is a crush of guests at the front door, which is barred, resulting in the watch unable to get in.
-The severed head of Johann Brass, lies nearby, his iron mask soldered to his skull. Damn. He was a useful human.
-Kvothe and Ariana are fighting off two mutated guests in the doorway to the banqueting hall.
-Graille has been grabbed by Mariane Hertzliche, who was transformed into a harpy and borne him aloft. He’s at least 20 feet off the ground.
-Captain Erwin Blucher, Captain Andrea Pfeffer are on the stairs, back to back, fighting more mutants.
-Physician Otto Krupp is being attacked by his partner Bernardt Bayer, who’s throat has engorged into a froglike gullet. The melted body of his servant girlfriend and her husband lie nearby.
-The Duc du Grenouille is sitting, just staring at his feet as they transform into hooves.
-Most of the remaining guests, including Lord Heissman Von Bruner, Ludmilla von Bruner, Fritz Langenhorn, Alfred Karstat of the Merchants Guild, Vern Henrick and Rogni Deepdelve from Karak Azgaraz, are in the State Hall, where arminius is defedning them from several more mutants.

And as Murk’s bleary eyes registered the carnage and pandomonium around him, a feathered mutant approached; what remained of the Noble from Stimmengen; Wolfgang von Falkenheym. The fiend grabbed Murk’s sword arm and bit down on it with his sharp beak, breaking the arm in two! Murk, fire burning in his eyes, shattered a bottle of Bugman’s over the fethered fiends skull, and then from within the folds of his cloke, his REAL arm emerged, a loaded pistol grasped in his hand. The sparks from his gun, fired point blank into the fiends chest, ignited Wolfgang’s soaked feathers and turned him to a pillar of fire. His screams sounded as the smell of cooked flesh filled the ballroom.

And from then on the battle turned in favour of the PCs, although it was not without it’s tragedies. Madame Beumarteu blinded the good Sigmarite Priest Gunther Emming with two knitting needles in the eyes. Shadrake Burke’s arm was broken. Jean-Luc de Cadent, Duc de Grenouille escaped, smashing through the window at the rear of the State Hall. Graille crashed his once friend now Harpy, Mariane Hertliche, into the Chandelier, and then talked her into committing suicide. Murk went trigger happy and blew Margrave Von Mackessons beastman head clean off. Erwin Blucher was nearly killed by Von Holzenaur before Kvothe roasted him. Arriana killed the doctor, exploding his engorged gullet, but was then attacked by Madame Beumarteu, who screamed “you did this to me!” as she was stuck full of elven arrows. Borgun Foambeard rode Graille the 20 feet to the ballroom floor, but fortunetalty his fall was broken by Marriane’s corpse. Arminius lead the survivors well, and defended Ashaffenberg from the other mutants, along with Sigmund Wurst, who protected lady von Bruner from a long-tailed guest with a hidden dagger.

When the battle ceased, there were few left alive. Fewer still after the witchhunters arrived and executed anyone suspected of being tainted. Many innocents died. Steffan Hell’s name was written in the guestbook by someone. (A skaven assasin? Or was he in the crowd the whole time, hiding behind a masquerade mask?) Doctor Otto Krupp tended to wounds, but wasnt able to save the life of Gunther Emming, priest of Sigmar. Graille discovered he had completely and mysteriously forgotten how to tend a broken arm; fortunately Kvothe taught him again, but Shadrache Burke passed out in pain.

The war meeting:

After a vicious battle, an impromptu summit was called in the burned out husk of Von Holzenaur’s mansion. Present were Lord Heissman Von Bruner, Lord Rickard Aschaffenberg, his vassals; Vern Hendrick and Sigmund Wurst (Lady Ludmilla Von Bruner, at her wits end, had retired for the evening), Captain Erwin Blucher, commander of the Garrison, Captain Andrea Pfeffer, commander of the watch, Witch hunter Gelfradt Hadl, aka “Scarface”, and his 2 subordinates. Bigby Blaise, legendary hero, turned up aswell, his apprentice in tow. They had tried to raise Christophe Engle, but he was still sleeping off the booze. Bruno Gunther, the elderly priest of Sigmar was also present, on request of Lord Rickard.

Lord Rickard also summoned his newly appointed Liegemen (and woman), the motherfucking heroes of Grunwald Lodge and Holzenaur’s Ball; Kvothe, Murk, Ariana, Arminius and Graille.

Lord Rickard had promised justice, and so justice had to be done. A plan had to be formed.

Bigby Blaise pointed out there was an incoming storm, the clouds of which would hide the intense glare of Morrslieb. Whatever dark mind that was behind the attacks had not reckoned on Taal lending a hand to us. We will be able to move about on the streets freely in about an hour.

The witchhunters reported that they were still searching for The Duc de Grenouille and the Von Saponatheims, but neither had been found, and the Skaven Menace was the more immediate threat. The sewers would need to be cleansed.

Andrea Pfeffer reported that as soon as the guests had begun to mutate, there had been incursions all across the city by more rat things. Skaven cloaked in black rags had emerged from sewer gratings near the garrison, watch houses and guild halls. Clearly they had been sent to assassinate those second in command after their leaders had been dispatched at Holzenaur’s ball. But thanks to Kvothe’s warning, they had watchmen stationed at sewer entrances on high alert, ready to raise the alarm. Very few of those watchmen had survived. However, they did their job; had the assassinations succeeded, the chaos of the ball would no doubt have spread in the leaderless city, were it not for the fact that everyone at the ball was packing heat, and Lord Rickard had invited some total badasses.

The critically injured Erwin Blucher had put his forces towards instituting Marshall law across the city. This was agreed was for the best. Further attacks from the sewers could happen at any moment, and the citizens of Ubersreik needed to be kept safe and placated. Already news of the ball fiasco had spread and the city was at risk of mass hysteria. The entire garrison would be mobilised across the city to keep order.

However, the forces available to venture into the sewers were not so numerous. Most of the watch were farmers sons and ex-grocers, good in a scrap but no good in extended combat against creatures of chaos. However, Andrea Pfeffer did have two crack squads of 20 men each, and Blucher would send his first platoon of 50 halbierders into the sewers aswell.

However they had no map of the sewers. That was until Graille pulled out his, the one his rat-catcher friend (that he had organised a pardon for) had drawn for them. It’s rough, but it was enough to go by, and Graille got a pat on the back for producing it.

There was some talk of going and fetching the other sewerman as a guide (Noseless Brandt, from the Shallyan Hospice), but it was abandoned.

Rather than divide their forces too widely, it was decided the watch would enter the sewers from near the temple of Sigmar, where Skaven activity had been reported, and the garrison platoon would follow Bigby Blaise and the Lord Rickards cohort into the nearby well. The witchunters would split, two with Andrea Pfeffer, and one with Bigby, while Lord Rickard and Erwin Blucher kept order on the surface. Messengers were sent out from the city to gather help from allies.

With Ashaffenberg as their official patron, and with an important and dangerous mission to undertake, they were given aid and boons from the city. From the Dwarfs, thanks to Murk’s allegence and scheming, they were granted dwarf forged armour (discovered this set fits humans only, sorry Murk). From the temple of sigmar they were granted a sacred artifact, a prayer strip blessed by the grand theologist himself, and correctly secured by the Sigmarite Bruno (thanks to a healthy donation from the guilds on Aschaffenberg’s behalf). From Ashaffenberg himself, an impressive kite shield (sorry, not a tower shield yet) with Ashaffenberg’s blue and gold emblem. Ariana recieved a note from Lorith Silverleaf by way of one of her handmaidens: “Thankyou for your assistance at the ball lady Ariana. Come speak with me after you have killed every last Skaven. Keep the swords.”
Graille, from Shallyan Mariane Attenblum, got fuck all. Because thats how Shallya rolls.

So they set off, down into the darkeness. Ariana led the way, using her elf eyes to navigate the gloom. However.

It all started to go terribly wrong.

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