Two years ago, the Elector of Averland, Marius Leitdorf, was slain in the Third Battle of Black Fire Pass. Although he died a hero, Leitdorf had been known in his lifetime as the Mad Count and was as renowned for his melancholy, mania, and black rages as for his brilliance, wit, and skill with a sword. Furthermore, he left no clear successor, and so this is an uncertain time for Averland.
Tensions have risen throughout Averland as no genuine claims have risen to fill the Electoral position. Nobles sit about in their manors and bicker over whose line is the purest, merchants continue to ply their wares while paying ever-increasing “protection” money to the growing number of thieves and strongarms, but the common folk have seen little change, continuing with their lives with little to no change. Some have even begun to talk about Averland being better off without a new Elector, at least until they are the victims of some sort of crime.
Through the confusion of a leaderless society, only one person has stepped forward and attempted to instil some measure of order: Captain Marcus Baerfaust. Once the commander of the Averheim Greatswords, he has been thrust into the position of de facto commander of the Averheim garrison forces, and his soldiers are now the only order within the city.
Into the midst of this power vacuum steps a small group of heroes. Their adventures will take them far to the north and into the heart of the Empire. They will be both catspaw and foil. They will be embroiled in politics and war. And they alone will save the Empire from its greatest enemy: the Enemy Within.
Session Date:June 2nd, 2013
Players in Attendance:
Matt, Doug, Jeff, Glen, Rob, and Chris
Investigating the disappearance of a local man, Jurgen Klinkski, the party followed a rumor that led them to the docks of Averheim, and towards the Upright Pig tavern. Upon approaching the tavern, the party found themselves entwined in a large brawl between two opposing local gangs. The party withdrew from the scene defensively, and none were hurt.
Once the brawl had died out, the group was approached by Werner Klebb, the leader of the Wharf Rats gang. Werner apologized for putting the group in danger and offered to buy them a drink within the Pig. The party was more than happy to accept.
From Werner, the party was able to learn more of the current affairs of the docks of Averheim. The Wharf Rats and the Fish are the two main gangs that control the affairs within the south side of the docks. They have fought over territory as long as Werner can remember. The brawl outside of the Pig started because of the disappearance of one of the Wharf Rats, a man named Rolf, and Werner believes the Fish had something to do with it.
After Werner left the party to discuss matters, Vorian noticed that the group was being watched by a noble-looking man and his two bodyguards. The man approached the group and said that he represented certain parties that wished to remain anonymous, and that the party’s services were required. He instructed them to be at the White Horse tavern tomorrow evening. The three then quickly left the Pig.
The party walked upstream along the banks of the river in order to discuss their plans in private. As the skies grew dark, there was a bright flash of light from the docks and the sound of cries. The party hurried back and saw that one of the merchant barges was on fire. The Gambler and the Barber noticed two men running away from the fire and gave chase. The rest of the party helped the locals put out the fires on the barge. The owner of the barge, Adolphus, was very grateful for the help and brought the party into the White Horse tavern for a drink.
The Gambler and Barber, after giving a long chase, finally cornered the suspected arsonists, only to find they were no mere criminals. They drew wicked-looking knives and told the pair of companions to go away. “We work for the Man in the Black Hood”, they claimed, “Just walk away unless you want trouble you can’t handle.” Realizing that they probably couldn’t take on the arsonists without more help, the pair retreated back to the White Horse and rejoined their companions.
Adolphus informed the party that criminal activity in the area has been increasing at an alarming rate. Even though he paid protection money to an individual named Klaus Keller, he was still being accosted by a new group of ruffians. He believes that his barge was set afire because he couldn’t to pay the new protection money. The only reason he couldn’t pay was because a valuable shipment of Cathayan silks of his was long overdue.
After leaving the White Horse, the keen-eyed wood elf spotted a body floating in the river. Working together, they were able to pull it from the waters with no difficulty. The barber examined the corpse and found strange wounds upon the body. The man’s back had small puncture-like wounds, although not damaging enough to be fatal to a grown man. His front, however, was covered in long, ugly slashes, probably from some sort of bladed weapon, and the skin around these wounds was not normal. The skin had turned grey and soft, the consistency of warm cheese, rather than cold meat.
The guards were sent for and some of the locals that had come to see the commotion quickly identified the man as Klaus Keller – the same man that Adolphus was supposed to have paid for protection.
The gambler noticed a young woman looking upon the body of Klaus, and recognized her as a local. She had tears in her eyes quickly ran off when she noticed she was being watched. The gambler followed her and questioned her about what was bothering her. She claimed to be in trouble with some new money-lenders in the area. She owed them 95 silver and did not have the money to repay them, and she did not want to wind up a corpse, like poor Klaus. The gambler took the woman to see Vorian. She was a little apprehensive, never having seen an elf up close before, let alone one so heavily armed and armored. The two questioned the woman further, but she had nothing more to offer, other than the new money-lenders were supposedly agents of the mysterious “Man in the Black Hood.” The two promised to not let her come to harm. She was unconvinced and left as scared as when she came in.
Due to the late hour and terrible, rainy weather, the party bedded down for the night. Most slept in the common room at the Pig. The wood elf paid for a 3rd-floor attic room, while the barber spent a silver for the “Presidential Suite.” During the night, the wood elf awoke to the sounds of his room’s window shutters banging in the wind. He also noticed that his window was open and a shadowy figure was moving away from the inn along the rooftops. Quickly taking inventory of his possessions, the hunter noticed his prize longbow was missing!
He gave a great cry of alarm and sprang out of the window in chase. Unfortunately, the wood elf was not what anyone would call the “athletic type”, and he completely missed his jump and barely managed to catch himself on the edge of the roof, avoiding the 3-story fall to the yards below. He pulled himself up and sprang after the thief.
The barber, one floor below, sprang up at the sudden cry and immediately saw the thief running away, as well as the hunter’s plight. The barber also threw open his windows, and with a might cry of “FIRE!”, he lept across the narrow divide between buildings and pulled himself up to the roof, and chased after the thief and his wood elf companion.
The rest of the party, upon hearing the cries, especially the one of “FIRE!” sprang from their flea-infested piles of straw and ran upstairs. They banged upon the door of the barber’s room, but could not enter due to it being locked. The gambler rushed up to the third floor while Morzrog the ogre went outside and around the building to look for fire.
The gambler, upon entering the hunter’s room, saw the window open and the three rooftop figures running into the distance. He ran and jumped, and landed nimbly upon the rooftop. He also began to chase the other figures.
Morzrog, upon coming around the building, noticed the rooftop figures and quickly moved to intercept them, although from the ground.
The fleet hunter quickly caught up to the thief, but because of his lack of physicality, preferred to throw his dagger rather than engage in melee combat. Rearing back his arm, he let loose a thrown dagger which promptly sailed over the thief’s shoulder and disappeared into the rainy night.
The thief, not able to see as well in the dark and fleeing for his life, misjudged a jump and was left hanging by one hand from the roof of another building…within easy reach of the 10-foot tall Morzrog. The ogre casually reached up, grabbed the thief by the leg, and dashed him to the ground, where the thief lay, unconscious.
The ogre hauled the thief back to the Pig, and the rest of the party regrouped there. The gambler quickly stripped the thief naked (Why? Ask him…), and then tied him up. The thief was outfitted in dark clothing, leather armor, and had in a pouch several silver and 1 golden coin, as well as the hunter’s longbow.
The barber examined the thief, found that he was alive and relatively well, and woke him up. The thief looked around in fear, realized his situation, and began to blab about everything he knew. He claimed to have been an independent thief, given license to operate in the docks area by the grace of the Man in the Black Hood. The party believed the thief and let him go, even giving him back his silver, and he gratefully fled, naked, into the night.
The next morning, the party decided to split up, in order to look for more clues. One group went to Olga’s shack, and the other went upriver outside of town to look for possible areas to gather firewood (searching for clues as to Jurgen’s disappearance). They were to meet back up at the White Horse around noon.
Everyone gains 1 Experience Point and 1 Advancement. For more information on how to spend your advancement, see the Experience and Advancement wiki.