Three very different clerics I painted and a Mindflayer my 14-yo son sculpted
Cast of Characters:
Red [Ken] – Protector of ladies of the evening
Billy [Mark W.] – Exciseman
Bartholomew (Bart) [Erik] – Burgher
Victor [Dan] – Militiaman
The Green Door Inn
Red was sitting at the second table at the inn with Billy, Bart, and Victor. The inn was full of folks she did not recognize, but this was no surprise as Visha was rumored to be performing that evening. Realizing the barmaid was unlikely to make it by the second table at regular intervals, the foursome took turns making trips to get ale and wine from the barkeep. During these trips they overheard a few tidbits.
Red learned that the plague Ulrich was investigating was getting progressively worse and the Sisters of Shallya were at a loss as to what to do.
Bart overheard a Sewer Jack trying to convince some friends he had seen some sort of rat-man in the sewers. His friends laughed his story off and blamed his drinking.
Billy heard someone say that tonight was Visha’s last dance, because she was marrying a nobleman next week.
No sooner had Billy shared his rumor that Red saw Hudapon enter the inn with his bodyguard.
“There is someone who might be very interested in this tidbit,” Red stated. “Excuse me gents.” Red made her way towards the young noble.
Hudapon’s sizable bodyguard stepped in Red’s path. “It’s alright Jan,” Hudapon said from behind the bodyguard.. “Red, how are you my dear?”
“I’ve heard something about Visha,” Red replied.
The young rake’s countenance fell slightly. “Do tell.”
“I have heard she is getting married to a noble and this is her farewell dance.”
“Pure nonsense. What noble? I’ve have hired numerous people to follow and keep tabs on Visha and nobody knows anything. Now, you are trying to tell me she is marrying someone in my social circle? Highly unlikely!” Hudapon was struggling to keep his composure.
“It was just a rumor,” Red replied reassuringly.
“Ah, the Dregs, the talk of low minds,” Hudapon stated smugly.
Red took her leave of the young noble and returned to the second table.
Bart ordered more wine and the group chatted amiably for a few moments. A hush suddenly fell over the common room. A cloaked figure appeared in the center of the floor. The figure whipped off the cloak revealing its scaly skin and a third eye in the middle of its forehead and screeched. “Tonight there will be a different dance – a dance of death!” The mutant then jumped at a nearby barmaid and attacked her with a pair of daggers.
Numerous others removed cloaks and attacked patrons. Some were clearly mutants, others had no visible stigmata and were presumably cultists. A wild maelstrom of melee broke out with slashing, biting, and clawing. Red, Billy, Bart, and Victor sprung into action – attacking the mutants and cultists. Hudapon’s hulking bodyguard fell to a combined attack of cultists and Billy could see a pair of cultists dragging the noble out of the tavern.
Billy saw the kidnapping attempt, and unable to reach the action directly, sprinted out the back kitchen door in the hopes of cutting the group off. Red, Victor, and Bart killed the rest of the cultists in the tavern and set off in pursuit. The cultists found themselves confronted on both sides and were forced to let Hudapon go. Hudapon sprinted across the street away from danger.
During the ensuing combat the cultists were killed in succession, but at no time gave any indication of a willingness to surrender. They were attempting to make their way to an open sewer grate, but could not get away.
In the aftermath of the crazed attack the group collected weapons and armor from Hudapon’s dead bodyguard and cloaks from the cultists. They then met with Hudapon in a nearby stables. Hudapon was very shaken by the events. Nearly on the edge of tears he said, “I didn’t think he was serious! Who would come after me, knowing who my uncle is! You have to help me do something about this. If my uncle finds out, I am ruined!”
Red explained to the other three that Hudapon’s uncle was a renowned witch hunter.
“Why were they after you?” Victor inquired.
“I hired an ugly halfling and his friends to follow Visha. I did not hear from them, until I received this,” Hudapon handed a parchment over. As the only one who could read, Billy read the parchment aloud to the group –
You dubbl-dubbl crosses.
She powerful sorceress.
She dead now.
Hudapon confirmed to the group that an urchin had delivered the missive from the ugly halfling. Hudapon then agreed to pay the group 1,000 Gold Crowns if they would take care of the assassins. The group agreed and Hudapon left.
Into the Sewers
The only lead the group had was that the cultists seemed to be working their way to an open sewer grate. Grabbing torches and lanterns they descended into the sewers. A short way down the dank sewers they found a corpse being consumed by a trio of giant rats. The rats were quickly killed, but not before Bart managed to fall in the effluent.
The body was badly chewed up, but they did find a strange brand on the chest of the human. Red gasped when she recognized it – it was a symbol of the dark god, Slaanesh!
The entrance from the sewer was relatively easy to find as it was banging in the slight breeze of the tunnel. The group found themselves in a 30-foot wide chamber that was a cellar of some sort. The place was full of boxes, barrels, and numerous wine racks. A cultist in grand vestments sneered at the group and grabbed a bottle from the rack. The adventurers moved to the attack, but not before the cultist managed to smash the bottle on the ground and a pinkish cloud ruse from the dust that had been scattered from the breaking of the bottle.
The group struck down the cultist, while taking great pains to avoid the strange cloud. They also found an entrance behind the wine rack that led to a crudely dug tunnel. Bart grabbed a pair of bottles from the rack that contained dust and the group moved into the cramped tunnel.
The chamber the group entered had an obscene mural on one wall and lit by flickering candles that gave off a strange, multi-hued glow. There was an altar table in the middle of a pentagram and a man chanting next to the altar with a dagger held over an unmoving, prostrate Visha. As he noticed the group he ceased chanting and plunged his dagger into Visha. As blood sprayed wildly from Visha, the man attacked with the dagger.
The group fought the man and then a dark presence entered the room. Directly above the corpse of Visha appeared the most beguiling and revolting creature anyone had ever seen. The creature had the form of a female with one exposed breast. The creature’s arms terminated in huge crab-like claws. While the demon’s appearance did affect the adventurers, none of them succumbed to the terror of the creature.
The Daemonette attacked, but its snapping claws failed to hit home. Victor managed to wound the demon and mysteriously, the demon disappeared – seemingly dragged back to the place from whence it had been summoned. The man who had summoned the demon was struck down in short order.
A search of the chamber yielded little, save the ornate dagger and a scroll with numerous strange runes. The group gathered themselves and wrapped Visha’s body in a cloak.
Hudapon did not even ask to see Visha’s body when the group reported events back to him. He had a new bodyguard and was more interested to hear if they had found the ugly halfling. When they admitted they had not, he merely said, “I guess you have work to do.”
Red took Visha’s body to the Temple of Moor and paid for a simple burial.
Cast of Characters:
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
Gilda [Julie] – collector of debts
Alexander made his way to one of the district city guard headquarters and met with a captain of the guard. He inquired about joining the city guard. The captain said he had to serve in the city militia for a year before being allowed into the guard.
Alexander signed on to the militia and was given a five silver signing bonus.
Red had a recurring dream about the strange manor house in the Burned Over District. She kept dreaming about entering the house through a coal chute. When she related the story to the rest of the group at the second table at the Green Door Inn Markus asked, “Are you sure this is not a subconscious left over from your previous career?”
“Quite certain,” Red haughtily replied. “We have to go back and find a way into that place.”
It was agreed by the group they would head into the Burned Over District that evening to seek the manor house once more.
The Burned Over District
The group made their way through the Burned Over District that evening. They came to the place where they were certain the manor ruins were a couple of days previous. They found nothing. Scouting around the area they eventually found the familiar ruins, but everyone was certain they were at least a block over from where they had found them before. The entire experience was disorienting and confusing.
Red spotted a lone figure walking towards the ruins. She signalled for everyone to take cover. Red watched carefully as the figure approached and discerned that it was clearly a woman. At each intersection as the figure approached she would hesitate, look around, and then continued moving forward. As the figure approached it was clear to Red she was quite young, perhaps somewhere between ages 14-16. As the girl began to pass the group Red called out to her.
The girl admitted she was lost and was looking for a place called Troy’s. Red knew the place. Troy’s was a flop house that rented beds by the hour and it was at least a mile and a half away back in the Dregs. Red offered to escort the girl to Troy’s and she readily agreed. Red learned while they walked that the girl’s name was Helena and she had been indentured to a Madame Leuphon. Red knew Madame Leuphon by reputation, and that reputation was not good. Red promised the girl she would meet with her Madame and negotiate paying her indenture off in the near future.
As they were conversing Red noticed a large group was heading their way and Red and Helena took cover in some nearby ruins. Red at first thought it might be a city watch patrol, but as they drew closer it was clear these folks were way too rough around the edges to be city watch. They also had three good sized dogs that were sniffing through the ruins. The men were sifting through heaps of rubble and occasionally pulling an item or two and throwing them in bags.
“Those dogs are going to catch our scent,” Red whispered. Red and Helena snuck out the back of the ruins and gave the thuggish group a wide berth.
Gilda saw them coming first. She whispered a warning to the rest of the group, “Take cover – four with a trio of dogs coming this way. Look like bonepickers.”
The group hunkered down in nearby ruins as the bonepickers and their dogs made their way sifting through the ruins as they approached. As they came near Markus called out to them, “Stop right there. Throw down your bags and go away.”
“Says who?” a burly-looking fellow in the lead called out. He was scanning the ruins trying to figure out who had called out to them.
“We’re tax collectors and you got to pay the tax,” Markus answered. “Drop the sacks and you won’t have to pay in flesh.”
“Like hell. We’re just picking. We owe no one,” the big thus called back.
“Last chance. Drop the sacks and back out,” Markus threatened.
“Maybe we will collect taxes from you,” the big thug retorted.
“I did say last chance didn’t I?” Markus whispered to Alexander.
“You did,” Alexander answered.
“Let them have it,” Markus said.
“Yes!” Alexander hissed.
There was a massive BOOM as Alexander unloaded his blunderbuss on the bonepickers. The big man in the front took most of the shrapnel, but some hit one of his companions too. The rest of the group swarmed out of the ruin and attacked. Very quickly two of the bonepickers were down and the rest were in full flight.
Only their poor loyal dogs continued fighting and were quickly put out of their misery. The bonepickers’ bags contained mostly scrap metal, but a few more valuable items were cherry-picked for selling later.
Red had at last returned from her escort and was searching diligently for the coal chute she saw in her dreams. She had to convince the group to continue searching despite most were voicing disbelief that the coal chute even existed. Red eventually found what she was looking for – a two foot by two foot chute leading down below the base of the ruins.
Markus removed his armor and weapons and tied then to his waist. He took a length of rope from Gilda and holding one end slid down the coal chute. It descended a few feet before he found himself in a dark room.
“Want me to toss you a torch?” Garstred asked.
Markus hesitated and tasted the air. “Gods no!” Markus exclaimed. He had realized the room was full of coal dust. Employing the rope, Markus shimmied back up outside of the chute.
Markus emerged from the chute and was covered in coal dust. He clapped a dark cloud of dust from his clothes. He grabbed the torch Garstred was holding and tossed it down the chute. FWOOMP! There was a muffled explosion as the coal dust ignited and a lick of flame came curling up out of the chute. The burst of flame was followed by a column of smoke. Markus waited for a couple of hours for the smoke to clear and then descended down into the chute. “Now you can toss me a torch,” he called up.
The coal bin was fairly large and the group was easily able to fit in the vault. There was a reinforced metal door that the group managed to open and a long corridor stretched away into the darkness. The group began travelling down the corridor and it seemed to stretch for hundreds of feet. Through their labored efforts they could tell they were on a slight rise and were ascending. None of the dimensions made any sense. The corridor terminated at a stout wooden door.
The adventurers forced their way through the door and found themselves in a dusty spare bedroom. They found a few trinkets of value, but no evidence of habitation for many, many years. There was a regular door leading out of the room.
The door led into another bedroom. This bedroom was more ornate, but also appeared unoccupied. As soon as Marcus entered the room a candle on the bedstand flamed to life and a skeleton appeared on the bed.
The candles flames leapt to unnatural heights and Gilda saw two skeletal hands closing around her throat. Only through pure force of will power was she able to disbelief the powerful illusion. Many in the group had to overcome the intense fear of the undead and as the candle flared occasionally another person would find those skeletal hands at their throats.
Garstred tried to hack the candle apart while the rest of the group concentrated on the skeleton on the bed. Hacking with his blade, Garstred could do virtually no damage to the candle. Only when the rest of the group hacked apart the skeleton was he able to cut the candle in twain and blow out the flame. A search of the room yielded a few trinkets, but no egress.
Markus moved over to the bed and standing atop it, rapped on the ceiling. Using his blade, Markus removed some of the aged plaster from the ceiling and called for Alexander to come over. “Blast a hole through there,” Markus directed pointing at the ceiling. Alexander did as he was told and following a resounding BOOM a cascade of plaster and bit of wood tumbled down into the chamber. It was not a wide open hole, but the blast had perforated the ceiling. The group cleared more of the debris away and created an entrance to the second story.
The group emerged in a hallway with several doors. In the first room they found garishly painted walls and three inter-locking pentagrams. Deciding not to mess with this scene they went to the next room. This simple bedroom was the home of a friendly ghost, a former manservant of the wizard who had owned the manor. He told a sad tale of how his master had experimented with the chaotic stuff of magic and it had consumed him. He directed the adventurers to the attic to put his master to rest.
The group entered a long chamber and at the far end of the room was a pentagram half with a door in the middle. They were concerned because it would be virtually impossible to open the door without stepping inside the pentagram. Garstred stepped confidently forward to head towards the door. Suddenly, two hideous mutants jumped down from the ceiling and attacked the group.
Although surprised, the warriors managed to quickly dispose of the horrid beasts. Garstred then stepped into the pentagram and opened the door with no effect.
The room beyond held the other half of the pentagram and an ascending set of stairs. The group began climbing the stairs and after five minutes of climbing they began to wonder if they would ever stop. After ten minutes of climbing the group found itself at a door. Opening the door they found a room with three ornate chairs, three white robes, and three golden bowls.
Suddenly, an apparition appeared. At first the terrorized adventurers could not make out what the ghost was trying to say to to them. Then they realized it was the spirit of the lost mage Ludovicus. He was warning them about some ‘haunting horror’. His body was then squeezed by a massive claw of an unseen beast and his spirit vaporized. As this happened, a pair of double doors at the far end of the chamber opened and the party was whooshed through the door by a gale force wind. The force of the wind even knocked several of them off of their feet. The wind pushed them down a great hall lined by strange paintings.
At the end of the hall was horrifying supernatural beast. It was a bulging mass with flailing tentacles. The bulging mass seemed to have faces pushing to get out. The adventurers even recognized some of the faces of dearly departed friends and relatives. They had little time for grief, however, as the beast attacked.
The beast’s attacks were dangerous enough, but any time its flesh was pierced a spray of fiery acid issued forth scalding the front row fighters. Several went down and were only saved by the grace of the gods (Fate Points). The battle was a near thing, but the party finally prevailed. As it died the supernatural creature ignited into a fireball lighting the chamber on fire. The adventurers began fleeing the scene with the hot flames licking at their heels!
The group emerged from the structure just as it mass collapsed under the fiery destruction. They dusted themselves off and found themselves right back at the cold ruins they started at in the Burned Over District. They now had an amazing tale, which absolutely no one would believe!
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
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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.