Bruckburg – Session Two

Cast of Characters:

Ulrich [Ryan] – Aspiring healer

Garstred [Stevie] – Thug looking for a score

Heinrich [Davy] – Burgher

Red [Ken] – Protector of ladies of the evening

Alexander [Keegan] – former coachman and aspiring guard

Markus [Hank] – Student of life

Siegfried [Justin] – Litigant

Gilda [Julie] – collector of debts

Felix [Marc] – puppeteer extraordinaire

*****

Ulrich

There was a note waiting for Ulrich when he entered the Green Door Inn. It read something to the effect of “You should not be investigating me, but investigating your patron.” It was signed with a “V”. Assuming the writer was the dancer Visha, Ulrich had no intention to stop investigating her, but would look into the rake who hired him, Hudapon. Pocketing the missive, Ulrich left the tavern before most of his compatriots were awake.

Ulrich stopped by his colleague’s shop the barber/surgeon, Rolph, to see how his new friend was doing. Rolph was shaving a customer and seemed in fair health – at least that was what he claimed. “The amazing benefits of a good bleeding,” Rolph had assured him. Rolph asked him if he had been by the Temple of Shallya and Ulrich promised that was his next stop. Ulrich related to Rolph that he had seen a dog killed with three arrows sticking out of it near a sewer grate and wondered if he had an explanation, but Rolph had no insights.

Ulrich next went to the Shallyan Temple near the Burned Over District. The Burned Over District was a section of the city slums that had been consumed by a fire nearly three years ago. Entrance into the District was forbidden by law. As Ulrich approached the temple, one of the guards gave him the traditional blessing of Shallya as a greeting, but the other belched and then vomited an enormous amount. Immediately concerned, Ulrich helped the young man into the temple.

Ulrich made his way into the temple with the sick guard in tow and met the mother superior. He shared his concerns about a possible disease outbreak and offered to help around the temple. The mother superior thanked him, but warned him that the physicians’ guild did not look kindly upon those who associated with the temple. Ulrich thanked her for the warning, but promised to volunteer time a couple times per week to the temple.

Ulrich headed to the dirty, little cabaret to try and gather more information about Visha.

*****

Garstred

Garstred had heard the rumors – His Most High Imperial Justice Ignatius Sundler had acquired an amazing piece of art, a painting called Ranald’s Apotheosis. The painting allegedly depicted an event from legend in which Ranald tricked Shallya into granting him divinity. Garstred knew two things upon hearing this rumor: First, he hated Judge Sundler, and second, this sounded like a big score. The problem with a piece of art though was you needed a buyer. Garstred thought he might just have the perfect solution for that though.

It took some doing, but Garstred was able to get a sit-down with Perry Herzlos of the Herzlos gang. Perry was something of a rarity in the Dregs – a thief with honor. More importantly, Garstred knew he was a higher up in the cult of Ranald. Just as he suspected, Herzlos was willing to pay for the painting – 300 gold crowns. Garstred was a little disappointed in the price, but he knew he was in no place to negotiate. That would come when he actually got the painting.

*****

Red

Checking in with her girls is just something Red did as a routine habit these days. When the girls needed a shoulder to cry on or even something more serious, Red was there for them. One of her girls, Gerty, seemed really shaken by something. She did not want to share what happened to her, but as Red usually did, she got Gerty to tell her everything.

Gerty related that she had heard a very strange story from an unusual customer. The customer was an ancient dwarf named Snorri who said he knew of a haunted house. The huge house was located in the Burned Over District. He said the house was the manor of the great wizard Ludovicus. Snorri found a secret door into the manor, intending to loot the residence.

Snorri got spooked though and fled from the residence. When he emerged, he found himself in an intact Burned Over District that he thought was from some 200 years earlier. A couple of minutes later the scene faded and Snorri found himself back in the present day Burned Over District. Oddly, the manor house seemed to be gone as well. Snorri admitted he wished he could have continued exploring the place, because he thought there must have been valuable artifacts in the house.

Red knew Gerty was originally from the Burned Over District. Red asked if she remembered the manor house and where it was. Gerty replied that she did and drew Red a map.

The idea of exploring the haunted manor house intrigued Red and she took the information back to the group at the Green Door Inn.

*****

Alexander

Alexander was sick of making pennies a day. He also wanted a more stable income. Alexander left the Dregs and headed for the nicer parts of the city. He discovered a help wanted poster at a city guard house. Alexander went into the guard house and learned the job involved clearing sewer blockages and only paid four shillings per day. Despondent, Alexander told the sergeant he was seeking employment as a guard. Alexander was referred to the headquarters in the Palace District.

*****

Siegfried

Siegfried needed money and he knew where to get it. Early in the morning he headed to the Upper Commercial district and the mercantile courts. When Siegfried arrived near the courts he learned that the courts were scheduled to be closed for the last half of the week. No reason was given for the closure, it was only known that Judge Sundler had mandated the closings.

Now, time was the essence, if Siegfried was going to make a payday he had to find a client quickly. Advertising his availability as a litigant he earned a couple of coins giving advice, but no steady case or client. As Siegfried continued to busk his law expertise there was a commotion at the courthouse. Litigants, clients, and others were in an uproar – they were being pushed out of the courtroom as a crier announced that all courts in the city were closed for the week.

Confusion abounded around the courts as people tried to figure out why the courts had been suddenly closed. Some of the courts were even in the midst of trials when the closure order came down. Some in the crowd suggested the uproar was somehow related to the trouble at the docks. Apparently, a riot had flared up amongst the stevedores and dock workers.

*****

Felix and Heinrich

After Garstred told the group at the Green Door Inn about the bounty on Judge Sundler’s painting Felix immediately volunteered to go scout the Judge’s house. Heinrich volunteered to go with Felix.

The pair set off for the upper class neighborhood where the Judge’s townhouse was located. They discovered the townhouse had a pair of guards stationed at the frontdoor. Felix made a wide circumference around the townhouse and noticed numerous windows. Felix also noted a large pin oak tree that grew right next to the townhouse with large branches extending near a window.

The oak proved far too much of a temptation for Felix. “I’m going into the house,” Felix stated. “Watch the guards. If they move into the house make a noise.”

“What kind of noise?” Heinrich asked.

“Something weird. Something out of place,” Felix replied.

Felix disappeared into the darkness and then Heinrich spotted him climbing the oak tree next to the Judge’s manor house. Felix slipped into a second floor window. Felix quickly scouted around the upper story and found a library and a master bedroom. In the library he pocketed a number of pieces of correspondence. In the master bedroom he rooted through a trunk in the room and pocketed a number of pouches. Felix then heard a loud sound outside and shouting of the guards below.

Heinrich thought Felix had been inside for too long. He grew restless. He decided he had to go see what was going on. Heinrich made his way over to the large oak and began scaling the tree. Half way up the oak, Heinrich slipped and fell. He hit the ground with an enormous racket and sprained his ankle. Realizing his error, Heinrich let out a yelp and began limping away from the house.

The guards at the front of the house quickly came to check on the noise. Seeing Heinrich limping away the guards gave chase.

Meanwhile, Felix realized the house had been roused by the sudden loud noise. He scrambled back to the window and scurried back down the tree. Felix watched as two of the house guards ran ahead chasing someone in the dark. Felix had a pretty good idea of who they were chasing. He witnessed Heinrich getting hit by a crossbow bolt and then another guard rushing up and knocking Heinrich unconscious. They began tying the unconscious Heinrich up.

Felix scaled a nearby house and threw a pair of knives at the guards. Having gained the guards’ attention, Felix led the guards on a mad chase through the neighborhood. Losing the guards, Felix circled around to find Heinrich. Just as he was about to help his downed friend the guards approached.

Felix made a gamble. “They went that way!” he yelled. The guards confused for a moment hesitated. “I’ll pay you to get him,” Felix offered the pair a couple of gold each and they dashed off again in pursuit.

He helped the now conscious Heinrich escape from the area and they headed back to the Dregs.

While Heinrich was getting his wounds tended by Ulrich, Felix looked through the bags he had stolen from the Judge’s house. He found a stash of gold, some jewelry, and some strange letters. The letters was a correspondence between the Judge and a person named Doctor K. Doctor K was asking things like – “how is the cure doing”, “is the cure getting bigger”, and “are you taking care of the cure.” None of it made any sense.

*****

The Physicians’ Guild

Ulrich decided to join the city’s physician’s guild. He made his way to the University district and found the physician’s guild. He paid his dues and then inquired about a possible outbreak of a disease that had as one symptom lots of vomiting. The clerk at first could not think of any such reports, but another person in the office had recalled a couple of recent reports matching those symptoms. A Doctor K had reported a similar outbreak of disease amongst a couple of his clients. Ulrich thanked them and left with his new physician’s license in hand.

*****

Territorial Dispute

While Heinrich was convalescing from his injuries the group was enjoying a meal at the second table when Pol approached. Pol had hired the group earlier to protect his boss’s warehouse from an arsonist attack. Pol related that a new group was moving in on some of his boss’s territory. He needed the group to “send a message” to this new gang of invaders.

The group made their way to the Silver Path road market area. They interviewed a local shopkeeper and learned that a new group of thugs and their pet lizard had been terrorizing local business people. They also learned the gang was due back to make their collections that afternoon.

It did not take long for the trio and their pet to arrive and the group was alerted to their presence by the cries of a pedlar being thrown around an alley.

One of the thugs yelled, “You gotta’ pay!”

“Hey! Knock it off!” Red yelled at the thugs.

“You want some of this?” the thug retorted.

“Yeah!” Alexander replied and let loose with his blunderbuss. BOOM! Two of the thugs were in the path of the shrapnel and were wounded. The rest of the group charged to the attack. One of the thugs seriously injured Alexander and the still-wounded Heinrich helped Alexander away from the melee. The thugs quickly learned they were no match for the group. It was too late for the gangsters though – two were killed and two were knocked unconscious.

The still-living thugs were bound and delivered to Pol. The delighted Pol paid the group and  took the two constrained gangsters away.

*****

Visha’s Performance

Ulrich spotted Hudapon, the rake who had hired him to follow Visha home, in the Green Door Inn. He learned that there was a rumor that Visha would perform at the Green Door Inn that evening. Ulrich alerted Garstred and they took up positions outside the tavern. A short time later the simple pipe and drum music began and Visha appeared and gave her hypnotic performance. While she performed, one of Red’s friends whispered in her ear, “Do you know who you friends are working for?” She nodded towards Hudapon. Red admitted that she did not know. “His last name is Hayes.” Red shrugged indicating she did not know the significance of the last name. “He is the nephew of Otto Von Hayes the Witchhunter!” Red raised her eyebrow at this revelation.

Visha finished her dance and quickly exited the inn. She came out through the back door and passed Garstred’s position. Garstred tried to hail her, but she fled into the darkness. Garstred gave chase and although she eluded him, he was fairly certain of the neighborhood where she disappeared.

*****

The Haunted House

Red could not shake the story about the haunted manor house of the wizard in the Burned over District. She had made efforts to find Snorri, because he was one of Gerty’s regular customers, but had been unsuccessful. As Red continued to talk about the manor the group decided they would sneak into the Burned Over District and try to find the manor house. Alexander and Heinrich were still too injured to go, but the remaining seven agreed to go.

Remarkably, even in the dark night the group found the remains of a burned manor house that they believed had to be the manor house of Ludovicus. They began to explore the ruins and found an inner closet area that had most of the walls undamaged by fire. In this inner room they discovered a concealed panel. Beyond the panel was a tunnel leading away. It was not clear how long the tunnel was, but it seemed impossible that this long tunnel was contained in the ruins.

The group headed down the narrow tunnel. The tunnel terminated in another panel and beyond it they found a storage room. There was absolutely no evidence of fire or smoke damage. There was a single door leading out of the store room. The door led to another dusty room. This room was full of sitting furniture – chairs, a couple of sofas, and a small covered table. Along one wall was a painting depicting a beastman slaughtering two women.

As the group approached the painting, blood spurted from the women’s mortal wounds and splashed out of the painting catching Markus and Siegfried in the eyes. Simultaneously, the massive beastmen stepped out of the picture and attacked the group! The combat was very lopsided. Though the beastman was a mighty foe he had no chance against the combined arms of the adventurers. As the beastman died it opened its mouth in a silent howl and faded away in a green mist. When Red looked up she noticed the painting the beastman had emerged from was gone as well.

Another door left out of the room into a large hallway. They quickly realized that they had been in the area before – it was consistent with the ruin they had been exploring just a half hour earlier. Except, there was no sign of fire damage, the roof was intact, and although dusty appeared to be whole. In the hallway ahead there was a strange rune on the hallway floor. Markus recognized that the rune was a magical ward of some sort. Garstred decided to walk directly across the rune.

The hallway was suddenly filled with a misty fog and as the fog cleared the group found them standing in the ruined streets of the Burned Over District again. Befuddled, the group tried to find access back into the manor, but there was no longer a secret compartment in the inner closet. The bewildered group headed back to the Green Door Inn.

Tabaxi Character Figure

For the first time in several years I am playing in an RPG campaign. I almost always am the Game Master, so it has made for a nice change of pace. It is always good to gain some insight into the game from the other side of the screen. Anyway, one of my fellow players is running a Tabaxi – a cat-person. I’m not big on furry-style characters, but he has done a nice job with his character. The problem was we did not have an appropriate miniature. Then I remembered I had some old Alkemy (an OOP French fantasy skirmish game) figures that might work. I painted one up and we will see if he wants to use it.

I am running the Bruckburg campaign this afternoon – I will post a campaign report soon.

Novus Design Blacksmith Shop

I finally finished the blacksmith shop model I have had for a while. The blacksmith model was made by Novus Design and was a decent model to paint. Forgive the quality of the pictures – I could not get the lighting correct.

blacksmith

Parts of the Blacksmith shop:

smithparts

The smith shop will make a nice addition to the Bruckburg campaign scenery.

New Hirst Arts Molds

I just got my shipment of new Hirst Arts Molds in and I cannot wait to start casting!

newhirstarts

Mold 227 Tavern Window and Door, Mold 245 Slate Shingle Roof, Mold 262 Rubble Slab, Mold 263 Rubble Block, and Mold 264 Rubble Floor Tile.

I fill the molds with dental plaster and after they dry I have modelling bits to build all kinds of things. I love Hirst Arts Molds and have built up a fair collection over the years.

hirstmoldscollection

In the mid 1990s I was casting figures and models using RTV Rubber. Then I had the idea to build castle walls and cast them in pieces. I experimented with it off and on for a couple of years, but I could never get the blocks precise enough to work well together. Whereever my pieces came together there was a huge seam. Then in the late 1990s I found Bruce Hirst’s site – Castlemolds. He had the same idea, but his execution was so much superior to mine, and to my delight he was selling RTV molds, not the bricks from the molds. The red molds in the picture above are some of the early molds I purchased. The white powder in some of the molds is talc used to keep the molds from sticking when stored.

Bruce Hirst is a quality model artist and his site Hirst Arts is well worth a look.

These new molds I purchased are perfect for making lots of new molds for my Brucksburg campaign.

Bruckburg – Session One

The second table at the Green Door Inn – that’s where the unusual collection of cast-offs met for mediocre ale and worse food. All of them, for various reasons, found themselves in the slums of Bruckburg – The Dregs. Down on their luck, in transition, striking out on their own, there were a lot of phrases to describe their collective situations.

bruckburg_greendoor

Character sketches for the campaign follow. Information presented here is that which was shared with other PCs in campaign:

Ulrich Gruber [Ryan] – Aspiring physician interested in practicing his healing craft.

Garstred [Stevie] – Looking for work.

Heinrich [Davy] – Burgher down on his luck.

Markus Eisenfaust [Hank] – Student from the University – student of life.

Gilda [Julie] – A collector of taxes and other dues…

Red [Ken] – Former lady-of-the-evening, now devoted to protecting the women of The Dregs.

Alexander [Keegan] – A bodyguard left behind by a noble who moved on from Bruckburg.

*****

A steady and simple drum beat rose above the din of the tavern. The drum was soon accompanied by a simple, uptempo flute melody and a woman emerged from the crowd. The barkeep announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, I present Visha!” The woman began a dance that mesmerized the entire place. A few minutes later the music stopped and Visha stopped dancing. Coins, copper and silver, were tossed on the floor near her.

Visha scrambled around the floor picking up the coins and placing them in a brightly colored scarf. While she worked to gather the money, a puffed up dandy in rich clothes follows her around clumsily. The man was trying to get Visha to talk to him, but she was pointedly ignoring him. Visha swept past the man and headed out of the Green Door Inn. The dandy looked crestfallen at this dismissal.

Garstred approached the dandy and learned that he was willing to pay two gold crowns if he can find out where Visha lived. He was also willing to pay for any help that [Stevie’s PC] may require or want. Garstred agreed to do the job and reported his accord back to the second table.

*****

The customary conversational buzz of the Green Door stopped momentarily as a man entered and stood in the door. He was of middle height with a noticeable pot belly. It was clear he was not from the city and the poor hayseed stood, frozen by the attentions of the entire tavern.

“My name is Jeb. My cart is turned a couple blocks from here and I need a few hands to right it.” The man remained at the doorway with an expectant look. Aside from the knowing chuckle of the customers, there was no response to the man’s pleading.

Finally, Markus walked over to the man and volunteered to help as did Alexander and Heinrich. The grateful farmer introduced himself as Jeb and led the trio out of the tavern. Ulrich and Red followed the group at a respectful distance. As the group turned the corner into a narrow alleyway they found the upturned cart. There were also a couple of men going through the cart and throwing items into their sacks.

bruckburg_alley

“Hey! Get away from my cart!” Jeb cried.

“Shove off!” one of the men gruffly replied. The pair dropped their looting sacks and took out swords.

KABOOM!

Alexander blasted one of the men with his blunderbuss sending the man reeling back with a nasty wound. The rest of the group closed. The would be thieves dropped everything and fled.

The group looked incredulously at Alexander who was wearing an ear-to-ear grin and holding his smoking blunderbuss. Ulrich hurriedly came around the corner spurred into a quicker gate by the explosion. “That’s one way to call the guard,” Ulrich commented as he approached the group. Quickly ascertaining what had happened, Ulrich began mopping of the bloody mark from the alley.

Markus and Heinrich helped Jeb right his cart. The cart was moved out of the alley and onto the street. The grateful Jeb presented the group with an enormous ham from his cart as a thank you. Goodbyes were exchanged and the group headed back to Green Door Inn.

*****

It did not take the innkeeper long to notice the enormous ham on the second table. The group offered to sell the pork to him. He agreed to pay for their room and board for the evening in exchange.

Red overheard a conversation from the next table of a man who was trying to enlist some stevedores as warehouse guards. The dock workers apparently were not interested and Red quickly called the man over.

“Are you interested in a job?” the man asked.

“Maybe,” Red replied.

“Well, my name is Polikis, everyone calls me Pol, and my boss needs some additional guards for his warehouse,” Pol explained.

“Why? What’s in it?” Gilda asked.

“You have no doubt heard about the string of warehouses fires that have occurred over the last couple of weeks. My boss has reason to believe that his warehouse will be a target of arson. He needs a few more guards stationed in the warehouse to insure the building nor the goods go up in flames.”

Much haggling ensued and most of the group agreed to the work for a rate of a crown per night. Pol sat at dinner with the ensemble and promised he would lead them to the warehouse that evening.

While the rest of the group visited with their new employer, Pol, Ulrich approached the dandy that had previously hired Garstred. “I am going to find out where Visha lives,” Ulrich stated.

“My name is Hudapon. Have we met sir?” the dandy replied.

“No, but my acquaintance, Garstred, informed me of your need. I am going to find her and find her home.”

“You will find me a generous man,” Hudapon said. “I’m offering your friend two gold to find her home. I offer the same to you.”

“What if I find her sooner? What if I find her by tomorrow?” Ulrich asked.

“Then I am prepared to pay you five gold for that information.”

Ulrich nodded and walked away.

*****

The duty at the warehouse proved excessively dull, but the group welcomed the pay from Pol in the morning.

Meanwhile, Ulrich began moving around town looking for other taverns where the dancer Visha might perform. He learned that she occasionally made an appearance at a dirty little cabaret a few blocks away from the Green Door Inn. Ulrich went to the cabaret and gossiped with many of the dancing girls and servers. He learned that Visha was pretty much a mystery to them as well. He did learn that one night she left with a new girl from the country and the girl never returned.

Fortunately, later that evening Visha did make an appearance, but Ulrich was thwarted in his attempt to follow her and quickly lost her in the darkness. He was staring to realize finding the dancer’s home was going to be more difficult than he had assumed. He gave up for the night and slept at the Green Door Inn. The following morning he shared what he learned with Garstred. The rest of the group grabbed a quick breakfast and went to sleep in a nearby inn.

*****

Ulrich prowled the Dregs thinking about his next move. He noticed a shop with a pole with red and white stripes. No sooner had he made note of this strange symbol when a man emerged from the shop and vomited an enormous amount. The man wiped his mouth on his sleeve and returned into the shop. Intrigued, Ulrich went into the shop.

The man, who had just finished vomiting was shaving a wary customer with a straight razor. The customer looked none to pleased with the barber.

“Are you alright sir?” Ulrich asked.

“Oh yes, must have been something I ate,” the barber replied. “I will be with you momentarily.”

“You are a barber then?” Ulrich asked.

“And a surgeon, and a dentist, and a healer,” the man replied. “My name is Rolph Andreesen.”

Ulrich was happy the man’s hands were occupied with the task of shaving so that he would not be able to offer his hand in greeting. Ulrich introduced himself and explained that he was hoping to study medicine and wondered if the man might have a position available.

“Oh, I wish! This town needs a good old fashioned plague – then they would be busting down the door and I could really use the help.” Rolph finished shaving the customer, who quickly paid and shuttled out the door.

Rolph plopped down in the vacant chair and pointed to a long tube with a needle sticking out of one end. “You can help me now and fetch that for me.” Ulrich did as he was told and grabbed the tube and needle. Rolph jabbed the needle into his arm.

“What are you doing?” Ulrich asked.

“Just a little bleeding. I have got to get my humours aligned correctly,” Rolph explained.

“I see,” Ulrich quietly replied. “Do you ever come down to the Green Door Inn?”

“A fancy place like that? Rarely my boy, rarely.”

“I would like you to come there as my guest for dinner,” Ulrich stated.

“I need to check with the old lady. She does not care for me to be gallivanting, but I would like that,” Rolph replied.

“Excellent! I hope you can make it. I am there most every evening,” Ulrich replied. Ulrich left the shop and continued his walk about the streets.

*****

It was the group’s third night in the warehouse and they were mostly bored. Virtually nothing had happened. The money was fair, but all were itching for action. The warehouse seemed so secure. It had a stone foundation about four feet high with the rest made of strong timbers and rose to about 20 feet with an open rafters ceiling. There were a half dozen windows in the warehouse, but even those were located eight feet above the ground. The warehouse had several crates and rows of barrels, including some full of water in case of fire. Pol had a couple of guards hired for the outside.

bruckburg_warehouse

Late on the third night Gilda heard a feint scratching noise coming from outside the warehouse. Just as she put together what was happening a black-clad figure came through one of the high windows. Gilda shouted a warning to the rest of the group. As she did so, a second black clad figure jumped through the window. The group turned their attentions to fighting the invaders.

As the group was occupied with the pair of black clad invaders, the main warehouse door burst open. There were two more thugs and behind them a big brute with an unusual weapon. The weapon was a hollow staff with a tube coming out one end going back to an oiled backpack while a sputtering flame jetted from the top of the staff.

A jet of flaming, sticky, oily material came issuing from the hollow rod and caught Alexander on fire. The weapon kept spewing fire, while the group kept trying to hack their way through to the man with the flamethrower.Gilda rushed around putting out fires in the warehouse. Alexander cried out, “Hey! How about putting me out?”

Markus managed to work his way past the last couple of thugs and seriously injured the brute with the flamethrower. Ominously, Markus noticed his attack had not only wounded the brute, but also damaged the hose to the weapon and fluid had started leaking. Markus yelled for everyone to jump back . His warning came too late.

The brute unleashed the flame once more and the entire weapon exploded! The two thugs near him were enveloped in the explosion. The group dived for cover.The three intruders were immolated. Following the conflagration the group scrambled to put out the numerous small fires that sprung up around the warehouse. Markus inspected the badly burned body of the flame-throwing thug and found an unusual tattoo on his inner arm.

When Pol arrived to check in on the group. He was saddened the outside guards had been killed, but very satisfied with the group’s work. Pol paid the group handsomely with a sizable bonus for their efforts.

*****

Ulrich got a tip that Visha would be dancing once again at the Green Door Inn. Garstred took up a position in a back alley. Ulrich watched from within the inn.

bruckburg_visha

Visha danced her hypnotizing routine, gathered her tips and rushed out the back of the tavern. Despite the efforts of Garstred and Ulrich they lost her again in the night.