Monday, 28 November 2011

Escape from Suderberg - WFRP Episode One

Our plucky band of PCs have begun their adventure. Here's how they got on in the first episode...
Episode One

Ulrike, Albert and Mordrin were arguing in the cell they were sharing in Suderberg watch house. With all of their possessions confiscated at the time of their arrest for smuggling Kislevian furs, they were feeling quite vulnerable and annoyed - particularly Mordrin, who had been wrongly taken into custody. 

While Ulrike and Albert tried to convince the watchman Gustav to let them out (Albert even offered to cook them all breakfast), Mordrin struck up a conversation with the dishevelled old man in the adjoining cell. This scruffy character introduced himself as Otto and explained that he had once been a farmer in Kislev. Otto told of his homeland having been ravaged by something he kept referring to as the winds of chaos - he'd seen his people meet some kind of awful fate and was clearly driven half mad by the experience.  

As the conversations continued, Gustav noticed that the town bell hadn't rung to announce the morning market and that his colleagues in the watch hadn't arrived for the next shift. The other PCs also noticed the growing sense of unease; something made all the worse by Otto's resigned laughter. Gustav looked out through the iron grill on the watch house door and saw shambling figures through the early morning mist - he recognised some of them as townspeople, but they were somehow physically distorted and twisted... and they were heading for the watch house.

Gustav made the decision to release the other PCs, reasoning that the extra manpower was his most pressing requirement in the face of what he judged to be an impending 'situation'. As he was releasing them from the cell, an ethereal fog seeped through the high bar windows of the watch house - it was diffused somewhat by the sturdy solid stone foundations of the building, yet it still managed to touch each of them - Albert sensed a cup of milk on the table in front of his curdle, while Gustav passed out as the fog lanced up his nostrils. Only Otto, though, felt the full effect of the chaos magic, rapidly undergoing a succession of horrific mutations until his eyes grew six inch fangs that spat acid and began to corrode the bars [all PCs gained an insanity point]. 

As the PCs gathered all their belongings and the few weapons that the watch kept in its simple armoury, Ulrike revealed that she had a boat moored at nearby Blacksmith's Quay. The group decided to take the horses from the watch stables and make their way to the boat as swiftly as possible. A quick dash down the stone steps and a few strides across a courtyard later they found the horses being devoured by a group of horribly disfigured mutants.

Mordrin took off at a run down the road only to find he could not judge the erratic lurching movements of the monstrous creatures that were emerging from every building and side street. Ulrike and Gustav cut away in the opposite direction, into the woods and downhill towards the quay. Albert ducked into the shadows and had to dodge the attacks of four mutants before following Ulrike and Gustav. Mordrin doubled back and down through the woods. All the PCs emerged unscathed on a dirt track running along side the river - about 50 yards from where Ulrike's boat was moored. 

Their way, however, was blocked by three extremely ugly (and certainly malevolent) mutated townspeople. As they moved a safe distance from the tree line, Mordrin loosed a succession of quarrels from his crossbow - but they all missed their targets. The mutants lurched towards the PCs, who decided to take the initiative and charge (all except Albert, who snuck away to ready to boat). Through three rounds of combat their three advisories were neatly dispatched - Gustav even managed to slice one clean in half - although Ulrike suffered a handful of wounds. They soon made it to the boat and out onto the waters of the river, through the clearing mist...

The GM's perspective 

Overall a very pleasing introductory session. The PCs had some time to explore their characters and negotiate the beginnings of their adventuring relationships with each other, while also gaining a real sense of impending mortal danger. There was a mixture of narrative and combat time, and we were able to get to grips with the 2nd edition system for melees. Hopefully this has established the 'end of days' atmosphere that I'm aiming for, which will help us all construct this adventure as being quite different to our other ongoing campaign (the classic Enemy Within in 1st edition, where I'm a PC). 

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