A Matter of Discretion

Act 5: Showdown for the Throne of Tears

Warhammer Act 5- Showdown for the Throne of Tears

Dramatis Personae:

Louis the Agent- Gator Todd
Lorenzo the Bright Wizard – Kudas
Erowin the Scout—Micah
Garcia Ramirez / Elvis Nixon – Andy

Our final session opens with the characters returning to Jyossmar’s shop and encountering Aelfred, fresh from the destroyed Krovas. He describes the attack of the Skayven, up from the sewers of Krovas, and the plague that had decimated the troops as well as the surprise attack of the Beast-men. Somehow, he entered Erengrad though the Kyazaks are surrounding the town and found his way to Jyossmar’s. (Jyossmar curiously absent). His lean gaunt figure is still wearing tattered bloody armor and a bandage covered the unwithered half of his face.
He tells the party that he has learned what transpires here, and they fill him in on the goings-on (Verukssen, The King, Champion of Slaanesh, etc.) He agrees with Jyossmar that the champions of Chaos will make their stand here in an effort to win passage to the North. He presents the party with a canister of metal, covered by runes, that he was able to salvage from the Temple of Shalaya—he urges them to use this canister, opening up onto the champions of Chaos. After a short discussion, Lorenzo takes possession of the canister.
Note: Lorenzo has passed his Corruption threshold and is starting to mutate, his face tightening and twisting into the beginnings of a bird-beak. Very painful. Too much exposure to Warpstone and travelers of the Chaos Wastes.
They decide to return to take up the guarding of the Midnight Sun again. They find the formerly posted guards deserted their posts. The Captain of the Midnight Sun is panicking that his client (the now-dead Champion of Slaanesh) is not appearing as agreed, and he is out the sum and putting his ship at risk.
Louis approaches the Captain and convinces him that they represent Natasha and should be let on board in her absence to help prepare for her arrival. Garcia takes his leave to get one of his contacts in the city—the same people who helped locate Verukssen in Session 3. He returns with the poet Geoffrey Bluetsheim, a charismatic lame-footed poet, once the toast of Altdorf, who is seeking to return to the Empire aboard this ship, or at least get the Hell out of Erengrad. For a retinue, he has commandeered the services of the Holy Wardens, so he sends for them to come and be on the ship.
Throughout these events, the sky darkens, strange red lightnings start to spark in the sky above Erengrad. Drums and martial chanting is heard around the city as the Kyazaks are preparing to finally invade Erengrad and put its residents to the sword. All able-bodied men have already been commandeered to fight on the walls.
Now the party can hear fighting from the direction of the main gate, as well as see fighting and fire on the Eastern Wall. As they watch, they see a huge figure fighting savagely on the walls—it can only be the barbarian lord they saw in the last adventure, Mighty Gahan, laying about with his sabers. Kyazaks flow down from the Eastern wall and burn the city, making their way to the docks, while the Captain suggests that they immediately leave Erengrad. Lorenzo argues with him.
Gahan marches with his men down to a temple of Mannan the Sea God and moves in with some captured priests. As he sacrifices the priests, a black rain pelts the town, thunder roars over the city.
Seeing that this ritual is not good, the party leaves the ship and charges to the temple in an effort to halt the ritual, but it’s too late.
A massive howling issues from the direction of the bay.. then a tall ship appears, sailing from the mouth of the bay toward the docks, a bleeding ship crewed by the dead, its mainsail bearing a Chaos Star.
The Midnight Sun is firing its guns first at Gahan and his crew, causing them to take cover in the temple, then at the Blood Ship
Seeing the Gahan and his warriors in the temple and reasonably sure that Gahan was the Champion of Khorne, Lorenzo rushed in and opened the canister upon the Kyazak general. A sickly purple vapor issues and envelops Gahan’s head, then he starts to twist, expand, slough flesh and develop rashes, pustules… turning into an oozing fleshy mass on two legs, a definite servant of Nurgle, the Plague Daemon.
This sight is so terrifying that most of Gahan’s henchmen flee and the toll is great upon the party. Sneaking into the temple, Garcia passes out upon seeing the Daemon Champion and taking one attack. There is a short battle where the party grapples with the hideous daemon-thing—but when the summoned Blood Ship docks, the Nurgle-thing turns and makes its way to the ship, shrugging off the attacks and shambling toward the ship. The Scout and Louis chase the creature and when it boards the ship, Louis jumps onto the Bloodship in hot pursuit, drawing his sword and cutting it down!
The Bloodship turns and docks again, the crew howling for Lorenzo to join the ship, to take the place of the Champion who summoned them, to strike out for the Inevitable City! But Lorenzo refuses, mutant though he is, deciding to face a life of hardship, persecution and near-certain death instead—if they can even manage to escape burning Erengrad.
Meanwhile, the Midnight Sun has made its escape and sailed clear of the harbor—Geoffrey Bluetsheim is on his way North to the inevitable City—he is the last Champion of Chaos, the agent of Tzeentch! Garcia Ramirez, was really an assassin, Elvis Nixon, who had infiltrated SACK in order to advance the agenda of a secret society that was gearing up to get its own Champion on the Throne of Tears. The party destroyed four Champions of Chaos and set up Bluetsheim to take the throne. Will he survive the journey with no guide and only three Holy Wardens? Will our party, the erstwhile members of SAC make it out of the burning Erengrad, beset on all side by hooting savage Kyazaks? Will Garcia/Elvis be revealed? We’ll likely never know….

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Act 4: The King is Dead, Long Live the Kings

Warhammer Act 4 Recap: The King is Dead, Long Live the Kings!

Attending:

Lorenzo the Bright Mage: Matt
Louis the Agent: Gator Todd
Erowin the Elf Scout: Micah
Coayl the Waywatcher: Todd N

The session opens in the aftermath of the battle by the docks outside the seedy tavern called the Northern Eagle. Garcia Ramirez and Lorenzo drag Coayl and Louis back to Jyossmar’s bookshop and they sleep off their major wounds. After Louis fails to heal much, Lorenzo cauterizes Louis’s wounds. Garcia Ramirez disappears to find his contacts in the Southern Upper Quarter, where he had originally tracked down Valdemar Verukssen.

A messenger arrives with a message from Aelfred. Krovas is destroyed—the Skayven have attacked in a massive ambush from beneath the city. Before mounting a last defense of Shalaya’s temple, Aelfred sent the messenger off to Erengrad to find Jyossmar with the news.

Jyossmar introduces Erowin the Scout, sent by the Wood Elves to join the Society Against Corruption in their Erengrad struggle. Jyossmar explains that having failed to eliminate the King, the party will now have to expect the other champions of the Ruinous powers to make their play for Erengrad. However, the Society does know that there are three ships that are equipped to travel to the Chaos Wastes, and only one guide they know of that can take them there.

Additionally, it seems the Kyazaks are coming in greater and greater numbers to Erengrad, camping outside the walls.

They decide to remove two of the ships from play so that they can more easily guard the remaining ship (and cut down on the chances of success.) Erowin and Louis visit the harbor master and ask him to drydock two of the ships: The Spear Maiden and the Ruinous Folly. He allows himself to be bribed to that purpose.

Meanwhile down on the docks, Coayl and Lorenzo spot a white and lavender carriage, attended by guards, and a servant gets out to make a deal with the Captain of the Spear-Maiden. The passenger is a stunning white-haired woman in a purple gown and a veil. They close the deal and return to the carriage and return to the Upper Quarter. Subsequent investigation reveals that the woman has hired out almost the entire hotel and tavern known as the Hooded Hawk, and that she has a mysterious tall crate by the stables, under constant guard.

Also they see a Kyazak warlord, the Mighty Gahan, striding purposefully around the docks with 20 severed heads (of other Kyazaks) tied to his belt. He seems to be analyzing the harbor and the docks and discussing the docks with the crones and guards who accompany him.

Later that night, Louis and Coayl apply oil and tinder to the drydocked ships and succeed in burning them. Simultaneously, Lorenzo and Erowin visit the Northern Eagle, the bar where the party had originally met Valdemar Verukssen, and bribe the bartender for news of his whereabouts.

Learning he is at a boarding house called Rachel’s, they find the house, and, when they fail to persuade or bribe the serving-girl at the door, Erowin sneaks into the boarding-house and helps Lorenzo climb up to meet him. They explore the rooms and finally find Verukssen passed out in a drunken stupor mumbling in his sleep about the features of the Chaos Wastes and the Inevitable City.

They bring Verukssen back to Jyossmar’s and interrogate him. They suggest he should be their informer, and he tells them all he knows about the woman they saw on the docks, Natasha Markov, a decadent socialite from Kislev City. When he starts raving that they should go now with him, take the Midnight Sun and install one of their own on the Throne of Tears, they decide to eliminate him so that they will put one more roadblock in the path of the Champions of Chaos.

The next day, they take up a stakeout by the Midnight Sun. They see the gallows, upon which the Star Children have been strung up, having been blamed en masse for the strange massacre in the temple of Shalaya.

A city guardsmen comes and tells them that Captain Gyorgy Rasmus would like to have a word with them. They decline on the (fabricated) grounds that they are mercenaries tasked with guarding the Midnight Sun, and the guard tells them he will return. An hour later, he does return with 20 well-armed guards and asks again; the party agrees to present themselves to Rasmus if 5 guards are left to ensure no one goes in or out of the Midnight Sun. It is agreed.

They meet with Rasmus, who tells them that all able-bodied men will be pressed into service tomorrow morning in order to guard against the growing Kyazak numbers. They share some information and share some minimal information about the Chaos Champions, which Rasmus seems not to wholly believe. They agree to meet Rasmus the next morning for assignments.

They consider going to the temple of Shalaya to finish healing Louis, but think better of it since they may need to visit later anyway. They pass the inn called the Hooded Hawk and see a massive line waiting for entrance, featuring musicians, cooks, poets, et cetera. Curious about the crate and the doings in the hotel, they decide to have Louis distract the guards while Erowin investigates the crate. Finding it to be full of beast-man smell, he lights the crate on fire (and the stables promptly goes up too). The burning crate yields an irate minotaur, and the guards flee.

Natasha appeared to see the chaos outside the inn, and was instantly attacked by Lorenzo and Louis. She made her way back into the inn to be protected by her guards while Louis and Erowin tried to shoot her through the inn’s window. The minotaur delivered a deadly blow to Lorenzo, almost leveling him with one shot. When the minotaur was finally immobilized by Coayl and then killed by concentrated missile fire, the King appeared suddenly ambushed Lorenzo with a magical attack. After exchanging several furious spells and blows, the remaining party members managed to destroy the King, whose body split into a pile of vines and grasses before being burned. In the inn, Natasha was slain by Louis, and her body also burned.

Making a hasty retreat from the mayhem, they return to Jyossmar’s shop, where they find Aelfred waiting for them. “Krovas has burned,” he tells them. “Erengrad is the site of the final battle against the forces of Chaos that would venture North. It’s up to us…”

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Act 3: The Day the Birds Stopped Singing

Warhammer Act 3 Recap: When the Birds Stopped Singing

Present:

Lorenzo- Matt
Garcia Ramirez – Andy
Louis— Todd W AKA “Alligator Todd”
Coayle AKA Coil – Todd N AKA “Newby”

Our adventurers, beat up and barely walking, returned from the Spice Island adventure to the Northern Upper Quarter and Jyossmar’s curio shop. They returned at night, just after sundown.

Upon their return, Jyossmar introduced them to Coayl the Wood Elf waywatcher, who had been sent by his people to aid the Society Against Corruption. Coayl’s people had seen strange movements amongst the beast-men of the forest; they were fighting for supremacy with new urgency, as if their forces would be marshaled soon.

They crashed for the night, Louis and Garcia above in the man room with Lorenzo and Coayle below in the cellar.

During the night, they heard the city guards retaking the areas that had been the center of the rebellion after the food riots; a somewhat direct result of the rebels’ decapitation at the hands of the party in Act 2. There wasn’t much violence as the rebels melted away and the city was again in the hands of the guardsmen.

They noticed in the morning that there were no birds singing or calling at all, a strange portent. They saw gulls still flying, chickens and other things in the market, but no calling, crowing or singing.

Jyossmar researched the question of “Verux” amongst his esoteric ancient tomes, but found no references to it.

In researching Verux, Jyossmar had completed his studies of the Dark Elf scrolls Aelfred had sent on from Krovas, as well as the drawings from the Star Children stone and the other portents witnessed in the North lately, and he was beginning to suspect the event that the Society dreaded most was about to occur—the coronation of a new king of Chaos, the moment that a servant of the Ruinous Powers ascends to the throne, which happens only every 500 years.

The King had escaped and they had very few clues as to his whereabouts.

1. He had been told to “Seek Verux”
2. He had returned to Erengrad on a small boat with a bunch of children.

They were able to track down the boat but it yielded few clues (Though it did have some of the hoods and masks that the sailors and club members wore— a rooster and snake mask to be precise).

The boat was not registered with any customs house, but the party was offered the chance to recover it for a variety of “fees” paid to the docks officials. The party did not need a small skiff and declined to recover it.

After some investigation throughout the city, Garcia Ramirez stumbled across some citizens that were able to identify a man named Valdemar Verukssen, a highly disreputable Norseman known to sometimes scout and guide people into the Chaos Wastes. His frequent hangout was a place known as the Northern Eagle in the Lower Southern docks quarter.

During this time, Lorenzo hired a fortune-teller to augur with the guts of a chicken. She cut open the bird and declared that what he sought was definitely still in the city. When she demanded a silver and he declined to pay it, she cursed him to find “Corruption in addition to what else he had sought!”

They investigated the Northern Eagle, located Verukssen and engaged him in a conversation, offering to hire him. He was already talking to two big Norsemen, who looked like mercenary types. Verukssen told them he had already been hired but they could possibly accompany him on his current assignment if his other client agreed. Louis persuaded him with a Fellowship check to let Louis meet his other client and try to persuade him to allow Louis to accompany him. At this point, Coayl asked Verukssen what ships they would take and Verukssen shared the names he had recommended: The Spear-Maiden, The Midnight Sun and Wilma’s Folly.

(Around this point in the conversation, one of the Holy Wardens in the bar arose to leave the bar and Lorenzo tailed him for a few blocks before watching him disappear around a corner.)

They made arrangements to meet him at the Northern Eagle the following day, in order to meet his client.

The party then determined the plan of having Louis and Garcia go to meet Verukssen and his client, while Coayl snuck in through the back window to provide some surprise reinforcements and block the only exit beside the front door. Meanwhile, Lorenzo would be stationed at some distance from the bar.

However, when Coayl went to sneak in and lay his trap, he noticed that there was a new tree (!) of considerable size planted only a few paces from the front door. This was a bad sign as the King they were seeking was the spawn of a pagan tree-god. When he returned to tell his companions, they hired three laborers to try to chop down the tree. But when they started this action, they found it was dripping strange acidic sap and quickly deserted their jobs.

Garcia and Louis went to their appointment nonetheless and saw the client, a tall skinny youth dressed in finery. They discussed and the youth agreed to share his journey with them. Then he charmed Louis magically and fled the bar. His tree spirit was animated and attacked on his behalf while Valdemar V fled out the backroom’s window ( Coayl had already exited the window to attack the King).

In the ensuing battle, the tree decimated the adventurers as the King fled, burnt and tattered. After knocking out Louis and Coayl, the wounded tree-god was finally overcome by Garcia and Lorenzo, combined with a mob gathering to attack the Chaos monster.

They stumbled back to Jyossmar’s bearing their wounded with the King at large and Chaos already ascending in the North.

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Act 2: Anarchy In Erengrad

Recap Act 2: Anarchy In Erengrad

Attending:

Todd W: Louis the Agent
M Kudas: Lorenzo the Bright Mage
Andy: Garcia Ramirez, the Investigator
Bryce: Thrak the Pit Fighter

Summary: Now agents of the Greater Imperial Society Against Corruption (GI-SAC), the heroes are dispatched to Erengrad to track the mysterious King, the god-child apparently birthed from a dead witch. After a case of mistaken identity, the heroes tracked the King to an exclusive merchants’ club on Spice Island and thwarted an occult ritual by rich decadent minions of Chaos. The King escaped. The words of the power from Beyond to the King were…”SEEK VERUXX”

Detailed recap:
There was a brief setup in Krovas to get our bearings, do a quick recap: The party had discovered in the last adventure that the King, a strange half-breed prophesied to be born of a witch and a demon had indeed been born in the village of Stregovich and had escaped. Knowing that this prophesied figure would seek to raise an army in the Chaos Wastes and claim his ruinous power, they deduced he would make his way to Erengrad, the nearest port—as he would need both a ship and people to manipulate.

So they commenced the journey to Erengrad. Aelfred advised them to make contact with his old friend Jyossmar, who was also the contact Lorenzo had been given in our last session as a man with a library and access to a certain scroll the Bright Mage was seeking.

The journey to Erengrad was uneventful. Upon arriving, they learned that the town was divided into armed camps because of food riots that had occurred about a month earlier. The Northern Low City was in the hands of the revolutionaries, while the rest of the city was controlled by the city guardsmen. They were informed by Jyossmar of a firebrand named Ivan who had roused the populace to fury with his great speaking; his arrival seemed to coincide with that of the King – so they began to suspect that Ivan was the King in disguise.

The party discovered the square on which Ivan was staying and concocted an elaborate scheme to waste food and start a fire to cause a disturbance… (Note: the exact purpose of this scheme was never clear to me. – the Management) They did succeed in creating a a lot of noise and drawing the attention of Ivan, who strode across the square with his bodyguard. The party quickly struck him down, so quickly in fact that his bodyguards withdrew with no combat and made their quick getaway. However, a small creature did eject from Ivan’s body and scurry away before being incinerated like a rat by Lorenzo; clearly the boy was a mutant.

Investigating the inn in which he had stayed, they discovered the boy had been quite well fed and also pampered with various serving girls. One of these filled them in on the fact that both she and Ivan had once been slaves in a secret club of merchants who practiced their strange arts on a small island outside the bay.

Meanwhile, Jyossmar thought he might be able to locate the scroll that Lorenzo sought, but it would take him one to two days.

A boat was hired from the Southern Low City (at Jyossmar’s advice) and the party attained the island in question, finding a hidden structure carved into a ridge, with a cove hosting a few small skiffs. (The other side of the island was subjected to the relentless, flesh-abusing Chaos Winds from the Northern Wastes). The sailors were hooded and the guards outside the one entrance were black-masked. The party charged and destroyed the guards, the entered the structure, finding the first level to be a dungeon, with a sea-ward portal that allowed the torturers to expose the young prisoners to the Chaos winds, just as Ivan had been.

The adventurers bounded up the stairs to the next level and found simpering merchant princes dallying with their mutated child-slaves, the height of decadence. They put the merchants and the slaves to the sword. Louis was briefly reunited with Anastasia Dubrovnik (from SACK adventure #2). There was one more level at the top of the complex left to be explored.

Crashing through the last door, they discovered an occultist performing a ruinous ritual to commune with the Mad Ones. Four children had been sacrificed while more waited in a pen nearby one—just as they entered, he pushed another into a hellish gash in the fabric of space & time. The party dealt quickly with the occultist but a Chaos form emerged from the space-rip and battled them while the children escaped their pen. The Mad Ones spoke to one of their agents amongst the mad rush out of the room: “SEEK VERRUX!!” After they battled the Chaos Demon, they limped down the stairs to find that one of the children had commandeered a skiff and sailed back to Erengrad proper, leaving the party with only that cryptic hint.

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Act 1: The King is Near
A Matter of Discretion

Scene 1:

The heroes of the established Society Against Corruption in Krovas (SACK), being Louis the Agent, Lorenzo the Bright Mage and Drowsin the SwordMaster, are assembled at the summons of Aelfred “the Half-dead” Lord Father of Sigmar in the Krovas environs. These established heroes are joined by Garcia Ramirez the investigator, another contact that has been referred to Aelfred.

This harsh churchman explained that he was hiring the characters to investigate and if possible retrieve Ionnes Krieger, the famed witchhunter, who had disappeared into the forests several days travel outside of Krovas while investigating a letter from the village priest stationed there, also a member of SAC. Aelfred produced the letter and asked the characters to take up the mission on behalf of SACK, the parent organization to the smaller, less senior group in Krovas. He agreed to equip them but reminded them of the healthy monies they had already received through their SACK assignments. The question of compensation was shelved.

The characters discussed hiring henchmen but decided against it on the grounds that Ionnes had ridden in with 10 men and it had not helped him.

Aelfred funded their purchase of horses and they set out for the village of Stregovich. After several days of rainy, muddy riding they spotted a mysterious man in a tree, dressed like a wealthy peasant. He taunted them a few times and when Lorenzo opted to shoot a bolt of flame at him, the entire tree was consumed, leaving no trace of the Man in the Tree’s body.

Next they found a clearing, marked with pagan stones set irregularly into the earth. Six women had been hung here, no more than two weeks ago: Two crones, two matronly types, a young woman and a girl. They cut down the bodies, inspecting them, finding signs of torture and that the young woman had been recently pregnant and given birth. The older women were afflicted with a strange firmness, almost as if their flesh was extra –hard. Sensing they were close to the village now, they pressed on, after incinerating the bodies.

Only now did they have an odd feeling about the letter and glancing at it again, Drowsin the Elf recognized the acrostic hidden in the letter’s left column: THE KING IS NEAR. This cryptic declaration meant little to them.

Arriving in Stregovich, they found a quiet little town that was decorated with black tree sigils, even the ancient temple of Sigmar was carved with these sigils and had just had the holy Hammer emblems hung over them. The townspeople were a surly lot, but they were ultimately made welcome at the local inn, The Wandering Star. After some haggling and an uneventful meal, they explored the village, finding a squirrelly priest and a dying man with the same hard-flesh condition in his temple. They also glimpsed a strange-skinned child playing with the normal-looking village children. Despite all this, there was no sign of the witch-hunter or his troops.

Finally, after they retired for the evening, Garcia Ramirez slipped out to investigate the village on his own and heard a voice moaning from an outhouse. Hearing the voice croaking from the outhouse’s sewer, he summoned his companions and with them, he pulled out the head of Ioannes Krieger. As Krieger tried to explain his plight, three huge tree-creatures attacked the party, leading to a desperate battle. Finally, the party made an escape after slaying two of the tree-kin and found their horses bridled and saddled in the road outside the inn. Mounting up, Lorenzo turned his fire magics upon the village buildings, leaving a great deal of it burning in his wake. They rode in great fear through the tree draped night, and managed to escape with no further conflict back to Krovas.

Returning with Ioannes’s head to Aelfred’s office, the party questioned Ioannes with Aelfred. A disturbing detail emerged: the young woman hung as a witch was pregnant when hung—and had not been when found by Lorenzo et al. Only then did they realize that the King mentioned in the acrostic of Konrad’s letter referenced this strange spawn—the child of a witch and a pagan forest spirit, a god older than Sigmar by an unknowable factor. A demon made flesh walks the earth as foretold by the Dark Elf scrolls and the prophecies of the Star Children. Aelfred and Ioannes agreed that his destination would be Erengrad—he will seek the seat of power. Then Aelfred destroyed Ioannes forever by smashing his head with a large hammer.

Apparently, the new agents of the true Society Against Corruption are headed for Erengrad…

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