Sunday, 29 December 2013

The Enemy Within - Shadows over Bogenhafen - part 3

We continued our monthly marathon game sessions in December finishing Shadows over Bogenhafen. This is a challenging adventure to run. I recently added my thoughts on how best to run this adventure on the WFRP Google+ community. Here's what I said:

If your players know about the warhammer world probably the first thing they do once they work out chaos is involved is head to the Temple of Sigmar. You'll need to write something up for the priest Priest of Sigmar. 

Also write down a list of all the names and a brief description of each character for your reference. Do the same for the major locations. Include a page reference back to the book so you can find more info in a hurry. All this should fit on a page, be very brief.

Be prepared to substitute plot points to different Characters. I had Steinhager replace Magirius' role in the adventure as I couldn't see Magirius slotting in. I also had the purple brain fever hit the Priest of Sigmar as the group were using him to romp towards victory.

Be prepared for the players to hate Dr Malthusius despite him being written as somewhat sympathetic in the module.

And cut them some slack, not every lead needs to be a dead end.

If you have time search the strike to stun forum or rpgnet for threads about Bogenhafen or the Enemy Within.

There are 5 parts total to the whole of Shadows over Bogenhafen. I have posted links to part 1 and 2 in prior posts. Here is the latest part 3 of the recordings. Part 4 and 5 to come.

Key points from part 3:

  • PC Walter's regulary performance at the tavern, The Vexed Pig, was interrupted by a group of thugs, whom he'd later learn were stevedores. They delivered a warning to get out of town.
    'You had better leave town.' - Stevedores.
  • Anton, the warehouse guard the group had earlier interrogated about the crate falling on the 3 legged goblin, was re questioned late in the night. They learn that Gideon Tuegen supplied him with quality brandy in return for running with the goblin death by crate story. They also learned from Anton that the head of House Teugen died some years ago under mysterious circumstances.
  • Searching for information on the Tuegens the group made the acquaintance of a Ruggbroeder family merchant who had spent time attending the same university as Johannes Tuegan. <It was a pretty amazing gossip check so I ran with it>. They learnt Johannes studied philosophy and that Gideon is meant to be a distant relative. Gideon seems to give everyone bad vibes. This merchant also told them that he had heard there was a private party planned for the Tuegan's the following night.
  • Day three, the final day of the Bogenhafen Schaffenfest dawns. Word on the street is that two bodies were fished out of the river. Anton the warehouse guard and a itinerant dwarf whose heart had been cut out. The dwarf had been found washed up against a sewer grate.
  • The Vexed Pig's cook, a woman on friendly terms with Solomon thanks to his help in the kitchen, slips word to the group that the stevedores are waiting for them in the common room. The group ponder escaping out a window and across the roofs but instead head downstairs to try their luck.
  • Eight stevedores seemed too much to handle. After some round about banter and blathering from Walter the group convinced the thugs that their food had been poisoned earlier by Solomon, who had indeed spent some time in the kitchen. The stevedores raced to the temple of Shallya stopping only to gag and vomit, ah the placebo effect. The hero's arranged through various contacts that the thugs be sent on a wild goose hunt through Bogenhafen so that they would not interfere with their plans.
  • The day earlier the group had managed to arrange a meeting with Franz Steinhager at his offices. Franz went on to explain that the whole demon in the basement affair was some great misunderstanding and that the Ordo Septenarius was in turn misunderstood. It was a secret consortium of merchants who use an element of harmless ritual to keep new recruits in line. They were on the whole a benefit to the town and did many charitable things.
  • During the conversation with Franz they managed to trick him into confirming the Tuegan's membership in the Ordo as well as the fact that there was a party at the Tuegan's that night, to which 7 others were invited.
  • Franz's hatred towards his brother Heinrich was also played upon with the group explaining how Heinrich had all but asked them to murder Franz. The Steinhager brothers had been set on a collision course.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Oldhammer - Hrothyogg Ogre Captain

Credit where it is due, the paint scheme is a direct copy of the fine work by Stone Cold Lead. His work is always exceptional and I can browse his blog for ages soaking up the inspiration.

This is Hrothyogg, he is an Ogre Captain. In the warhammer armies book you could hire ogres as mecenaries. They come in squards of 5 + the Captain and cost a truck load of points. Back when I was a kid I would use the plastic ogres from hero quest in my Orc and Goblin army. Those plastic ogres are long gone and looked crap to be honest. 

I have Skraag the slaughter still to paint and in a pinch could strip and repaint 2 of my maruader ogres. I can't say I like the puff and slash marauder ogres but there are enough fans out there that they go for crazy prices. If I am honest I will probably scrounge up 2 more Jes Ogres from ebay to complete the unit, but not this year. I have spent too much already.
I can improve the basing but otherwise I am stoked with this model.
Not much going on at the back.
3 Ogres, on the way to a unit of 6.

Oldhammer - December - Skaven and pigments

I needed some Skaven. I don't use mini's in the running of 'The Enemy Within' campaign, I find they slow the action down, but I still like to collect relevant models. You never know, I might use them one day. All four made their way from the US courtesy of Blue in VT.

The colour scheme is 'inspired' by Nico's excellent skaven which in turn were inspired by Andy Chambers Skaven army posted in a now ancient issue of White Dwarf.

Finished Skaven. I am getting the knack of pigments and Secret Weapon washes,

On this occasion I decided to give pigments a go. I had seem a youtube video explaining how to muddy up tank tracks using pigments. I experimented on some Flames of War panzers. The results were messy and a bit rubbish. I was hesitant to crack out the pigments again. However Aggro84 gives a detailed account on how to use them that gave me the courage to have another go.

Secret Weapon 'Fallout' wash on poison wind globes.
Pigment rust on metal parts. Citadel's new Oxide on the bronze.
Pigment mud along the base of the robes.
Rusted halberd.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Oldhammer - December additions

Some models scare me. They look so neat, and there reputation for greatness is so well known that I end up scared to paint them in case I stuff them up. Jes Goodwin Ogres are in that league. The models below are close to how they finished up. Just a red wash on the leggings and a brown wash on the boots remained when I took the photos. I might go back and add a couple of mushrooms to the bases. I stuck to my safe palette but did branch out with the stripey pants.

I have heard it said that the old ogres lack a unified look. I disagree. I think as long as you keep a consistent colour scheme the group will hang together nicely. Two ogres down and two to go.
Jes Goodwin Ogres. The one on the right had his foot remodelled.
These next batch of models I finished around the end of November. I was hoping to photo them in the kitchen where there is more natural light but only recently got around to it. I experimented with green as this is not usually a colour I have confidence with. I used the secret weapon inks on the greens and above on the ogres flesh. They are tricky to use, I like to use them on the base coat before I highlight up. Don't use them as a wash though, just apply to the recesses directly.

My favourite model of the group is the poacher with the goose stuffed in his bag. I had read an earlier blogger looking to collect the set of miniatures that appeared in the colour plates in the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Rulebook. That sounds like a great idea but I am in no rush. I have plenty of stuff to paint over the Christmas break.
Dwarf merchant, Gimli, Poacher and Bill the Pony.
Note goose in bag.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

The Enemy Within - Shadows over Boganhafen - part 2

Our hero's - Solomon, Walter, Esmerelda, Joten and Herdan.
I recorded the session I ran in November on my phone and edited it using Audacity. To keep the file size small some quality was lost and yet in the end I think things turned out fine.

Here is a link to part 2 of the recording. Part 1 can be found in this post. A summary of the key points in the second recording are below:

  • The three legged goblin, bleeding from being stabbed earlier in the day by Joten the dwarf, was tracked through the sewers. A large explosion sent several of the group tumbling into the effluent. Their torches had lit a dangerous pocket of methane gas.
  • The goblin fled to a door set with a barred window. Esmerelda's witch sight made out several spectral goats with slit throats, then she saw blood running down the walls and finally a ghostly dwarf whose heart had been cut from his body. The dwarf looked familiar as the group had earlier seen him in the stocks but had ignored his cries. Given the manifestations it was clear to Esmerelda that something terrible had happened just beyond the door.
  • Through the grill in the door the band saw a circle of copper marked with arcane symbols and the words Ordo Septenarius. About the circle were 5 black candles. Walter the halfling smuggler, got the impression that he could find the building directly above them thanks to his superior spacial intelligence. They would later learn the building above was the Steinhager merchant families offices. Needing to find the goblin to claim their reward, the group had Joten hack the door down .
  • The minor demon in the temple looked a bit like this.
  • Upon entering the room a demon materialised. It's appearance spooked Esmerelda who fled back through the sewers. Unfortunately she slipped during her frantic escape, ending up in the brown. Joten was also spooked but stuck around to fight it out. < I am using the Dark Heresy fear rules which provide more interesting results than Warhammer's own.> Herdan and Joten flanked and destroyed the demon. It had the ignominy of being slain by a halfling's sling stone.
  • With the demon defeated the group found a handkerchief with the initials F.S, a locked iron box and pile of goblin bones. They retrieved the goblins three socketed pelvis and smashed the lock off the box. Within was a bloody Kris knife and a skull riveted with a iron band across the temple. They also find a one way secret door.
  • Whisking the evidence away, the group sought out Albrecht the High Priest of Sigmar. They told him the full story and leave the evidence with the priest for safe keeping. Albrecht agrees to accompany the group to the building with the secret basement. They agree to set out in the morning.
  • The morning of day two of the Schaffenfest saw the group approach Dr Malthusius to claim their reward. They are evasive with the Dr, not telling him what really happened. The Dr is not happy with just the three socketed pelvis as he wanted the goblin alive. The group insist they be paid and extort half payment on the condition that the group, in particular Walter, do nothing to spoil the remaining Zoocopia shows.
  • The Dr tells them he received a report that the goblin had been crushed by a falling crate in a Warehouse. Surely the watch, who told him this, had been mistaken.
  • Financially frustrated, the group visit Magistrate Richter hoping that he will at least pay them. He wont, on orders from the Town hall. He apologises on behalf of not only Bogenhafen but also on behalf of the unjust Warhammer World. The group, unsure if they can trust the Magistrate, eventually tell him all that unfolded. Richter promised to look into their claims.
  • High Priest Albrecht, flanked by Watchmen, accompany the group to the Steinhager offices. They are led to 'the room'. It's been cleaned up yet the corruption from the rituals committed is plain to those sensitive to magic. Albrecht orders Franz Steinhager be brought to the temple to face questioning. He asks that the group meet with him once he is finished with Franz and he will ensure that the group is rewarded. Once a reward is mentioned Walter is sure Albrecht will die, he's learnt that in the Old World people promise to pay you but rarely get the chance.
  • While leaving the Steinhager offices they were approached by a servant of Heinrich Steinhager who tells them his master wants to meet with them to discuss his brother Franz's unusual behaviour. Feeling suspicious and suspecting a conspiracy, the group insist on a meeting Heinrich in a public place, the exclusive Golden Trout.
  • Heinrich tells the group how he disproves of the way his bother does business. He muses that business would be better if his brother was 'gone'. He has his own suspicions regarding the 'charitable' Ordo Septenarius. The group have misgivings around Heinrich's motives.
  • With brunch done and some time before visiting Father Albrecht, the hero's head to the warehouse where the goblin was meant to have been crate crushed. They met the nightwatchman who 'found' the goblins body that had subsequently been tossed in the river. His story was light on detail and he claimed to have clubbed the goblin to death, which contradicted the crate fall story. They did learn from the warehouse foreman that Gideon Tuegen, of the Tuegen merchant family, was around that morning.
  • Their midday trip to the Temple of Sigmar was spoilt by the fact that High Priest Albrecht had taken ill immediately after a meeting with the Watch Captain and Franz Steinhager. At the conclusion of their meeting it was noted that the Watch Captain was uncharacteristically happy. The Watch Captain was commonly known as the grumpiest man in Bogenhafen.
  • A visit to Albrecht's home saw the group discover evidence of poison. Solomon visited his thief contacts at the Crossed Pikes tavern and convinced them that a poisoned High Priest would be very bad for business what with Imperial Officials sniffing around the place. It was in their interests to provide a cure. The guild agreed. Esmerelda brewed up the necessary components saving Albrecht from a magical poison known as 'Purple Brain Fever.'
  • Temple guards were posted at the High Priests home. The Watch, and in particular the Watch Captain, are suspected. 
  • The party ponder their next move as day three of the Schaffenfest approaches.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Episode 1 - The Enemy Within - Shadows over Bogenhafen

We met early November to continue The Enemy Within campaign. I blogged about part 1 Mistaken Identity - here. Shane joined the fun and was brought up to speed with Warhammer's Oldworld and his halfling smugglers place in it.

I recorded the session and it's a fun listen. You can hear what works and what falls flat. The recording was long enough that I broke it in two.

Download Episode from Google Drive (44.5MB)

Heroes present were Esmerelda the hedge witch, Joten the dwarf sewerjack, Walter the halfling raconteur, Herdan the grave warden and Solomon the halfling smuggler.

Key points from the first recording:

(01:06) Having survived an attack by the bounty hunter Adolphus in Wiessbruck, the protagonists sailed on to Bogenhafen with Joseph the boatman. They made good time and arrived the evening before Bogenhafen's famous Schaffenfest began. Walter sweet talked his friend Joseph into paying them an additional days wages. Esmerelda stressed that they had earned the additional pay as they did defend Joseph's boat from an attack by 'Crazed guys'.

(08:42) A crate of cheese, received as part payment for the 'Emperor's own crossbow' from last session, was sold to Joseph for a substantial profit thanks to the unforgiving haggle rules. It was surely 'Cheese destined for the table of the Emperor.' In fact 'The Emperor's Own ...' has become something of a catch cry for these heroes and an excuse to mark up prices substantially.

(09:51) Solomon, working for the halfling underworld, had also arrived in Bogenhafen to deliver some best quality Stygian spices just in time for the Schaffenfest. He delivered them to a halfling chef working at the Golden Trout, a high class restaurant catering to exclusive clientele. On the way there Solomon fell in with his old friend Walter and his companions.

(21:20) The group stayed at the 'Vexed Pig', a low quality dockside inn. Joten's paranoia served him well as he wedged shut the grimy window of his rented room which foiled a midnight burglary attempt.

(26:20) The group determined that the note addressed to Kastor Leiburung, Herdan the dimwitted grave wardens body double, was a fake. They worked this out when told the law firm Lock, Stock and Barl, who penned the note, did not exist.

(29:43) Walter negotiated a discount rate for the groups stay at the Vexed Pig by offering to perform a routine each night of the Schaffenfest. Solomon ingratiated himself with the kitchen staff improving the quality of their breakfasts. Halflings sure can do its cook.

(44:00) Key locations at the Schaffenfest, held just outside of town, were the jousts, fortune teller, various shops, a mobile court, stocks, a wrestling ring, livestock markets and Dr Malthusius' Zoocopia. There were rumours of an underground pit fighting ring but the band couldn't gossip up any additional details.

(49:57) Lady Talana, the inconsistently accented fortune teller, was consulted to the point of exhaustion. Various prophetic clues that seemed plausible were gained. The fortune teller would later be reported to the High Priest of Sigmar in the town. Solomon, who inadvertently dropped her in it, warned her to flee before she was seized by righteous Sigmarites.
The three legged goblin nearly died before doing anything!
(60:14) The Zoocopia was visited. An exhibit, the three legged goblin, made a dash for freedom but was 'stopped' by a brutal spear thrust from Joten. Esmerelda did her best to patch up the goblin while Dr Malthusius fretted over the viability of his stricken prize. Walter took a dislike to the Dr and yet somehow the group managed to swindle/blackmail free tickets to the show later that evening.

(70:45) Joten challenged the wrestling champion 'Crusher' in the hopes of winning a respectable amount of coin. The dice were cruel and he was trounced. Much of the parties gold is lost wagering on the outcome.

(78:28) Walter stirred up the crowd at Dr Malthusius' Zoocopia, heckling the Dr as he displayed a motley assortment of the amazing and grotesque. The three legged goblin succeeded in making a break for freedom while its handler was distracted by heckling from Walter. In the resulting chaos Walter used public speaking to incite the crowd to demand refunds.

(84:25) Oddly the crestfallen Dr asked the group to assist in retrieving the goblin who has fled into the sewers. The local magistrate offered to equip and pay them for dealing with the goblin.

(91:48) Part 1 ended just as the group prepared to enter the sewers. It seemed like a good place to take stock and grab pizzas and beers.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Oldhammer - latest additions

Some models, like Chaos Dwarves, are expensive. They look neat though so I sprung for the model below. It was a little boring to paint sadly. All armour and no face. I painted a gem on the end of the axe to add some interest and mixed up the armour with some bronze. The orc skin recipe is my own take on Spooktalkers that he outlines here.

I dont usually go in for blood on mini's but figured I would add some to the chaos dwarf's axe. Sadly I discovered my Taimya Clear Red, famous for it's bloodiness, was an enamel and not an acrylic. Instead I used a Secret Weapon dried blood wash. It turned out OK I suppose, I would have rather the Taimya result though.

Finally I was inspired by Aggro84's mushrooms he adds to bases and made a few out of green stuff. I am happy with the result and think it adds interest.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Oldhammer - Dark Elves

I painted this lot earlier in the year. I think the motivation was putting together some foes to go toe to toe with a D&D group. They might have made for a fun foe in a chaos warbands game as well. I'm not sure if they will hit a gaming table now but they were fun to paint. Included in the mix is a modern hassle free miniature as well as a Melnibone guy pointing; it's honestly a terrible sculpt. Not all the old sculpts rule.

Old dark elves had the best sculpts by far. Also hex bases!

Hassle Free sculpt in the middle. A joy to paint.

The witch elf sword is easily broken. Melnibone on left.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Oldhammer miniatures for November 2013

I am a miniature addict. I have been since grade 6.

The Australian $ does OK against the pound which feeds my addiction. Fortunately postage from the UK hasn't gone mental like packets from the US. This means every couple of weeks I hit and rustle up some old lead. I am not looking for rarity or bargains as such, instead I look for models that I will enjoy painting.

As I get older I find less and less appeal in wargamming. I find collecting and painting aspects of the hobby more attractive. Painting keeps me sane, its my Zen, my escape. And its the models from the 80s that hold the greatest appeal. The 80s saw Jes Goodwin, the Perry twins and others put out lush models that paint up a treat. Here's the last weeks output:

Jes Goodwin sculpts - Eternal Champion series.
Perry Brothers - Mounted Gimli - Lord of the Rings 80s series.
Orcs - probably Kev Adam's sculpt along with a modern Reaper barbarian with side boob.
Eternal Champion, Lone Wolf town guard and Citadel female fighter.
I don't know who scultped the Lone Wolf range of models but I remember wanting them as a kid, I think they were advertised in the Lone Wolf solo game books. Neat models and I would love to collect more of them but they go for a lot on ebay.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The Tale of Lonelywood - Icewind Dale campaign

I have been remiss in posting the final player write-up of our Wednesday night adventures in Icewind Dale. This chapter covers about two sessions of play and wrap up what was a very enjoyable mini campaign.

The Tale of Lonelywood

The region of Icewind dale where you can find Lonelywood.
Look north of the Spine of the World. The land of Icewind Dale lies west of the Reghed Glacier and east of the Sea of Moving Ice. Cold and snow covered even in the midst of summer, it is a harsh land.

Move in closer.

The Ten Towns are gathered around the skirts of Kelvin’s Cairn. Look to the northernmost town. Lonelywood, sheltered from the bitterly cold northern winds by the pine forest that shares its name. Established but recently in the years of men, it is the northernmost outpost of “civilisation”. The barbarians who used to freely call this land theirs were in an uneasy alliance. An alliance some would like to break …

Four heroes had rescued a handful of gnomes from their invaded burrow Klinderstone, killing the ogres and priestess of the Ice Maiden Auril in the process.
  • Jon, a human (Luskan) warrior.
  • Leif, a halfling fighter.
  • Power Aide, a human priest.
  • Sprite Zero, a gnome mage.

Events in town

With the spoils of their victory, and a reward from the grateful survivors, the heroes had declared “drinks are on us!” The town was slowly recovering from the resulting extended celebration.

Quin, the halfling priest of Waukeen, approached the heroes.  He was worried about the closure of the only road out of Lonelywood. Bremen’s Run headed south, along the eastern shore of the Mael Dualdon, to Termalaine. There had been caravans or travellers from that direction in the last few weeks. And the few who had tried going south had been ambushed by barbarians of the bear and wolf tribe.  Their valuables had been taken, and they had been ordered to return to Lonelywood. No one had been killed to his knowledge though.

Quin was concerned the barbarians wished a return to war, to try and retake their ancestral lands.  The recent troubles from a year ago were still fresh in many people’s minds.  It rankled with some that the barbarians had been given the town of Bremen.  But none were prepared to take up arms against the barbarians.

From what Quin had gathered, they had set up camp around an old mead hall. There were two tribes present, bear and wolf. Reports varied wildly, but it appeared there were at least ten warriors of each tribe.

Quin was also worried about what the mayor was doing. Like many of the townsfolk, he did not really like the major.  He believed the man made himself rich by sustaining a monopoly on trade, and did not have the town’s best interests at heart.  A few days earlier a man with an eye patch came to Lonelywood.  The major claimed he was an ambassador sent to talk to the barbarians, but to Quin he looked too much like a hardened warrior; an assassin. He had left two days earlier.  Beyond that the mayor seemed to be doing nothing. He had locked himself in his house, set his mercenaries as guards, and wasn’t seeing anyone. Leif and Power Aide started throwing around some of their typical ideas. Force the mayor to help by kidnapping his daughter. Set fire to things. Jon was disgusted. Quin was shocked.

The heroes agreed to go and look, and talk to the barbarians to ascertain their motives.  When Quin was asked he agreed to join them, agreeing that someone representing the townsfolk should be present. 

On a boat

Jon suggested taking a boat, that way if there was immediate trouble they could simply row away from it. Young Jed’s boat was duly made ready, and in an icy rain they set off.  It rapidly became obvious that most of those on board had never steppe doff dry land before. Quin, Power Aide, Sprite Zero and Leif all became seasick. Jon however was happy. Fortunately it wasn’t that far down the shore. The Lonely Wood slowly thinned out until there was nothing but small windswept bushes and the occasional boulder to break the wind.

The boat was beached when they saw the mead hall, a vague blur through the rain.  Jed stayed with the boat as they stepped onto shore.  Moving away from the lake, details became apparent.  There was a palisade around the mead hall, and several large tents within the walls.  Thin trails of smoke rose from many, to be whisked away by the wind.
Barbarian Camp

Barbarian Camp

A huge dead tree stood just outside the walls of the palisade.  Crows braved the weather to sit in its upper branches and occasionally flutter down to something on the side of the tree.

Jon raised his voice and hailed the camp. Armed guards appeared immediately. The five were polite, and spoke firmly. They wished to talk. To discuss the bear and wolf tribes’ actions and see what could be done. Agnar, a member of the wolf tribe, led the guards.  He named their leader Tormund Giant Bane. Tormund was from the bear tribe.  His tribe, the wolf, were there because their leader, Hjollander, wanted to assist Tormund.

Agnar deliberately took them past the old dead tree.  A body was crucified there. It was largely unrecognisable after the crows had worked at it for a few days, but its eye patch was visible.

They passed into the palisade.  Eight large tents were visible.  They were taken to the mead hall, where they were required to leave all weapons at the door.  An ancient custom, they were told, forbade any wearing weapons in the presence of their leader except his personal guard.

Inside the hall there were obviously three groups present.  The bear tribe sat along one bench, the wolf another.  And a third bench was centred around an older man, later identified as the tribal priest Beorning, a follower of Tempus.  A large bear stood behind the bear tribe.
Tormund - leader of the bear tribe


Tormund was initially hostile. The heroes did nothing to threaten him at first, merely reiterated that they had come from Lonelywood to talk.  To find out why he was attacking travellers and what he wanted. This got an immediate response. Tormund spoke, passionately if wildly about reclaiming the ancestral lands of his people.  When asked why he did not say so, why he chose to attack, he used an analogy of why would you reason with a swarm of insects. He agreed to talk the next day, and offered hospitality that night.

Tormund also brought up the dead man on the tree outside. He claimed the man had tried to assassinate him.  And threatened them with the same fate if they tried as well.  Jon got offended at being called an assassin, but restrained himself from starting a fight.  He did lock eyes with Tormund and angrily ask was Tormund accusing him.  Tormund dropped his gaze first.

Jon offered to tell a story, accompanied by images after the initial platters of food had been devoured.  He narrated, and Sprite Zero created the illusions.  It was well received, and the feasting continued.  Quin, suffering from the boat voyage and starting to shiver from chills retired to a tent to sleep.
Hjollander - leader of the wolf tribe
Hjollander was observed talking to Tormund’s daughter Gyda.  She was a strong, handsome young woman, and he was obviously smitten with her.  But equally obviously he had no skill in talking to women, and she was largely ignoring him.  It was painful to watch
Gyda can hold her own on the battlefield
But they had learnt of a potential way of manipulating the situation.  If they could get Gyda to notice and appreciate Hjollander, they would have an ally.  Leif befriended Gyda’s handmaiden, a slighter girl. Where Gyda looked like she would be comfortable on a battlefield, the handmaiden looked comfortable holding a needle and thread.  Leif learnt that Gyda enjoyed poetry and well-made jewellery.

Jon continued drinking, to the point where he got into a wrestling match with the bear when it tried to take food off his plate. He lost, but it didn’t claw at him, merely pushed him to the ground.

A series of odd requests

Hours later, after all had retired for the night, the heroes were woken.  A group of barbarians entered the hall, led by a man they had not seen before.  Floki offered them a way to save Lonelywood.  He stated that Beorning, the priest of Tempus, was not well liked.  He followed a foreign god, not worshipping the spirit of bear or wolf as would be appropriate.  And he spent a lot of time in the Ten Towns. In short, he was not trusted.  And there had been several assassination attempts on Tormund. Floki wanted the group to stand up and state that they knew of Beorning. That they had heard of him or seen him, and knew him to be behind at least one of the attempts.  Then, after Tormund removed Beorning, he would be in debt to the heroes.  A debt they could call upon to save Lonelywood.

After Floki left they talked it over.  Jon stated he would not do it.  Not only did he not trust that Floki might have been setting them up, he wouldn’t be part of getting a man killed by lying like that.  But he wouldn’t stop the others from doing so if they wanted to. Leif and the others considered it. They were still considering the next morning. So they had a conversation with Agnar.  

It was obvious by then that Agnar wasn’t personally interested in Tormund’s grand plan of rekindling a war to reclaim any ancestral lands.  The situation became a bit clearer when they asked about one of Tormund’s tattoos, shared by Floki and all his personal guard.  It was of a man wreathed in flames.  Agnar described it as a tattoo symbolic of those who followed the tenets of the barbarian war leader who had ignited the war a year earlier. They asked him about Floki and Beorning. They learnt Floki was Tormund’s right-hand.  It was he whom Tormund turned to, to get things done, especially potentially unpalatable things.  Conversely, Agnar seemed to have a lot of respect for Beorning.  The priest had leapt into battle on many occasions, saving individuals with weapon and spell.

This didn’t help clear up anything.  So Jon outright told Agnar of Floki’s offer, and asked what it might mean.  Agnar shrugged and replied politics. Tormund might put on a face of loyalty to his priest, but in reality he did not like anyone who could challenge his authority.

Agnar then asked the heroes for a favour.  His leader Hjollander had come up with a plan to impress Gyda.  He wanted the heroes to kidnap her, so he could then stage a rescue.  Jon laughed out loud and refused immediately.  They sent Agnar back to try and tell Hjollander, politely, the plan was stupid.

Leif did reveal some of what the handmaiden had mentioned, saying that Gyda liked poetry.  Hjollander, flustered, asked the heroes to create some.  They did.  It was awful.  Hjollander took it anyway.

Then the time came for council.  Hjollander had a black eye and Gyda was studiously ignoring him.

The council did not last long.  Tormund was adamant the lands were his by right, and that everyone else should leave.  Or he would kill them all.  He only wavered from that position when he decided to allow the villagers of Lonelywood to leave. They would have but two days to pack, and then he expected to see them trudge past his hall as they returned to the towns further south. He ended the council abruptly, ordered the heroes to leave.

Jed had departed some time the previous day, so they started to walk north.  Only an hour or so out of the camp they saw ten men blocking their path, led by Floki. Tormund’s lackey shook his head at them.  If only they had taken his offer, they might have saved their town.  Jon still did not trust Floki.  Why would Tormund have made such an offer?  He might not have wanted Beorning around, but he obviously wanted the settlers of the Ten Towns gone.

Guest rights, what guest rights?

Floki gave no good answer.  He then observed that if the people of Lonelywood didn’t get warning that they had to leave, then they would definitely be killed. Jon lost his temper. Tormund had given them hospitality, and allowed them to leave with a message. To then send killers after them was a gross breach of honour.
Jon attacked. Sprite Zero sent in his two ferrets, one real, one less so. Battle was joined.

And to Floki’s surprise, it was very one-sided.  Within minutes all of his men were killed, and he had been captured, subdued by Leif violently driving his axe hilt into his groin.  None of the heroes had died, although several bore wounds.  Power Aide and Quin fixed them up.

They tied Floki up, and Leif kicked him in the groin again when he wouldn’t cooperate. Jon swung a casual backhand at Leif, who ducked.  Jon demanded there be no torture.  Leif did not understand.  Jon had cut down several of the attackers without mercy.  Jon saw combat, where one was fighting for one’s life, in a very different light to treating a prisoner.  Leif did not.  Jon asked Quin to heal Floki so he could walk back to Lonelywood.  Leif ordered Quin not to.  Jon ordered him to.  Quin started the spell.  Leif tried to disrupt the spell being cast, but Jon blocked him.  However, Power Aide stepped in and broke the spell, saying they needed to save their spells for themselves.  Even though by starting it Quin had already committed the magical energy, so by breaking it he had lost the spell anyway. Quin threw up his hands and walked away. Jon managed to hold his temper, but stalked off in in disgust. They dragged Floki to his feet, tied him up, and forced him to walk back to Lonelywood as a prisoner.

Town meeting

When they got back Quin called a town meeting and presented the situation.  The townsfolk refused to leave, and looked to the heroes.  The major in particular used his charisma to highlight the heroes.  After all, they had killed a group of ogres, how hard could a bunch of barbarians be?  He managed to gloss over the fact the ogres had been largely asleep.  And laughed at the idea the barbarians were more intelligent and could plan. He did say he would take a boat and get help. With his wife and daughter.  And some of the more valuable items from his house. 

Moderately disgusted, the heroes contemplated several methods for punishing the coward.  In the end they went for asking their drow thief companion Szordlin to lighten the mayor’s boat of anything he thought reasonable. Szordlin had a private word with Power Aide after this.  He offered to kill the man, thus guaranteeing he couldn’t escape and keeping all his valuables in town.  Power Aide agreed.

Plans within plans

The planning started. Jon had some idea of challenging Tormund, of calling out his dishonourable behaviour, with Floki supporting him by admitting that Tormund had broken the laws of hospitality.  Floki initially refused to help in any way.  Until they started casually talking about returning his head, unattached to the rest of him. At which time he decided there may be more important things than his loyalty.
The others were less convinced this would work.  So the fortification of the town began, and their defensive strategy.

Szordlin and Emeric the half-elf bowyer were the primary scouts.  Several of the trappers were to back them up, and to set up a lot of snares and a few deadfalls. The trappers task was simply to bring back news of the barbarians’ movements. Szordlin and Emeric were to lure some of the barbarians into the various traps.

Several other ideas were discussed:
  • The wind, rain and climate ruled out using fire as an option.
  • Jon hoped to be able to sow discontent between the wolf and bear tribes.  The wolf clan appeared to be already uncertain of their support.  He planned on calling out Tormund and accusing him of dishonour and lying.
  • Quin offered to cast a spell on the scouts so they were highly resistant to the cold.  That way they could scout unencumbered by bulky fur cloaks, dive into the lake or hide in a snow drift, and so forth.  The spell would last for a long time.
  • The trappers offered to head out and set up snares, deadfalls and other traps within the forest.  Several of them would remain at the edge of the forest.  When the barbarians were seen, they would return at speed.  Others, including Szordlin, would try and lure some of the barbarians into the traps.
  • Sprite Zero asked for a spell of flight from Kiernan.  He would fly out after the scouts return.  He would fly at treetop level, and use the “change self” spell from the scroll to make himself as bird-like as possible.  He proposed attacking the barbarians with the following illusions.
    The first to be an illusion of an undead Floki, his cut throat wide open.  He would point ominously at Tormund, and then attack the barbarians near him.  If the illusion seems to be getting disbelieved, or was being struck too often, it would flickers with a pale blue light, shrink to a mote of light, and whisks away.The second to be a repeat of the first, but from a different direction so it attacked barbarians who hadn’t seen the first one.The third an illusion of Tormund.  It would appear near the bear, then step into sight and attack the bear.  Once the bear was enraged, the illusion would manoeuvre the bear towards Tormund, and then suddenly dive out of sight.  Leaving the enraged bear facing the real Tormund.
  • Jon drew on his naval background and looked at the boats.  He suggested choosing two boats, reinforcing one side of each so it was too thick for arrows to penetrate, and putting 10 or 20 of the militia out in the lake.  When the barbarians arrived, the defenders would sound horns/light fire/whatever.  Or maybe be alerted by a returning Sprite Zero.  The boats would land behind their forces, snipe from behind.  If the barbarians tried to charge them, they would dash back to the boats and cast off, releasing arrows from the cover of the shielded side.
  • Jon even suggested an initial ambush from the boats south of the forest, but they realised they probably wouldn’t have the time.
  • Kiernan admitted to having a fireball spell.  It would obviously work best if the enemy could be guided into an enclosed area.  Given the size of the town, sprawled along the edge of the lake, building a palisade was infeasible.  So they decided to cut down a lot of the tree to form barricades.  Archers could snipe from the forward barricades, then retreat.  Giving away some of the defences, but luring the barbarians into pathways that had been set up by the ways the fallen trees.  Hit them with the fireball when enough get bunched up.  Given that they couldn’t predict exactly where and how the barbarians would attach, there would have to be several potential trap points.  The fireball was to be used against the bear tribe.  If the wolf tribe were in range, Kiernan was to use a different spell, one which would put a lot of them to sleep.
  • Kiernan also had a spell to create a large mass of spider web.  He proposed doing so amongst the standing and/or fallen trees.  They have no real purpose except to make the barbarians more nervous, and add to the funnelling effect described above.
  • Power Aide had ten pints of oil he offered to the cause.  They could by thrown into the area of the fireball, either before or after the spell was used.  Or simply spread at a few certain points where the invaders would be directed, then set off with flaming arrows.
  • The trappers could create more snares and maybe even a deadfall or two in the outer edges of the felled trees, to be set off by pulling on ropes laid under the snow.

A mage to turn the tide

Kiernan had only reluctantly admitted to the heroes he was a mage. He had fled the mage’s order from the cities to the south many years earlier, and didn’t want to be tracked down.  He wanted to keep a low profile.  So the heroes planned to utilise his abilities in such a way that his spells can be cast out of sight of the rest of the townsfolk, to keep his secret.  The webs could be ascribed to Sprite Zero. The spells of flight, sleep and fireball they would put down to potions or scrolls. To cast the fireball or sleep spells, they planned on getting Kiernan into a house overlooking an ambush point.  By himself.  He would cast the spell, and then exit the rear of the building, hopefully all unseen.

The townsfolk threw themselves into work.  Even the children wanted to help in the battle.  Only the older children were asked to participate, as runners to deliver messages.  The women and children also wanted to stitch together a banner for Lonely Wood.  A single green pine tree on a field of white was the image chosen.
Even after the sun set, the preparations continued, so that at any point in time about a third were awake, the rest sleeping.

Murder most foul

Early in the evening there was a commotion from the mayor’s house.  Jon got the people organised in case it was an early attack.  Then they followed Power Aide to the house.  The mayor’s daughter was distraught, being consoled by the mercenaries then Quin.  In the house, the mayor’s wife lay at the foot of the stairs in a pool of blood.  It looked as if she had fallen and struck her head.  Upstairs the mayor’s body was slumped on the chamber pot.  Blood oozed from a hole in his foot.  Quin looked at the body and diagnosed poison.  The hole made by the quarrel was found near an upstairs table.  And there was no sign the wife’s head had struck anything where her body lay. It appeared to all there except Power Aide there was an assassin in Lonelywood. People were told to move around in groups, families were moved in with their neighbours. 


A few hours later Jon and Power Aide were woken again. Leif, unaware of the mayor’s death, had secretly carried out his own plan to keep the man here.  He had sunk all the boats.  Jon and Quin of course assumed it was the same enemy agent.  But with no way of identifying who it was, the only option they had was to get someone who knew their letters to list all the people in town, and then cross off any who could be vouched for in either incident. Fortunately, the boats had only been capsized or sabotaged with a minor hole.  At least were repaired by morning.

An hour after sunrise the heroes and Quin had gathered in the mayor’s house again.  Quin cast a spell to recall the mayor’s spirit.  His spirit lingered only for a short time.  Long enough for Quin to ask two questions.  To the first, they learnt that it was Szordlin who had killed him with a poisoned quarrel.  To the second, the one-eyed assassin had been sent by a coalition of councillors in Targos.  A coalition led by someone he called “the young crow”.

Szordlin was no longer in Lonelywood by then.  He was out with the scouts and trappers.  They agreed to not let the rest of the townsfolk know.  But since they could not trust Szordlin – he was either working for the barbarians or “simply” a murderer – they had to say something.  Sprite Zero suggested that the word should be passed to watch any scout that returned and bring them directly to the leaders, in case they were an enemy concealed behind an illusion.

During the day they talked to Floki.  He was asked what he thought Tormund would do.  When and how he would attack.  Floki mentioned the story they had told him.  How they had defeated the ogres when most were asleep.  Tormund had paid attention.  It was possible he would seek to use the hero’s tactics against them.  Or he might just turn up in the afternoon.

The day passed.  The defences grew stronger.  By nightfall it appeared Floki was right.  Tormund had not attacked during the day. It was just after midnight when the undead rose silently from the water of the lake and slipped into town. The fire of the damned burnt inside them, and their eyes glowed a hellish red. They were the bodies of those slain by the heroes two days earlier. And they headed unerringly towards the one who had slain them. They moved like animals, scuttling on all fours, but with the minds and bodies of men.
Draugr - returned from the dead

Draugr- the frozen dead!

Four burst through the door of the inn, where Jon was sleeping in the common room, with other townsfolk.  Two crawled up the side of the building and entered Power Aide’s room.  Another two tried the same approach with Leif.  The paranoid halfling had secured his window though, so they scratched at the shutters in vain. The last one climbed into Sprite Zero’s room.

They had a moments warning.  A patrolling guard saw the undead moments before they burst in, and raised an alarm.  In the ground floor Jon drew his sword as the townsfolk scuttled back from the horrors.  He yelled to them to grab spears and fence the monsters in.  While he cut at the ones closest to him.

Upstairs, Sprite Zero’s ferret simply knocked the undead back out the window.  It fell to the ground below and its spine snapped.  Sparks flew and flames flickered as the fire within it consumed it.  Leif waited until those the two trying to get into his room had torn down enough of the shutter to try and wriggle in.  When it was partway in, he stepped forward and nearly decapitated it.  It too began to burn from inside.

Power Aide fared less well.  He woke none too quickly, and his first thought was to grab his mace.  He swung, and an undead arm blocked his attack.  Hands twisted into claws tore at him, and he staggered back in pain.  They moaned in anticipation, and the red glow coming from their open mouths revealed their true nature.  Grasping the symbol of his god, he called upon the power of his dark deity.  The two zombies halted, their former loyalty lost.  Subservient to his will, they turned upon each other when he ordered them to do so.  As flames and sparks flickered, he ordered them to throw themselves out the window and finish the fight outside.

Leif had killed the second undead the same way as the first. And downstairs, with a dozen spearmen stabbing at the monsters to keep them in place, or even pin them to the wall, all four had been dispatched. All nine were destroyed. Power Aide was the only one to have taken any serious injuries. Quin healed him.

It felt like only moments later they were woken again. The scouts had returned. The enemy was on the way. Szordlin and Emeric returned. The trapper’s snares had slowed the barbarians, and some had even fallen to one of the deadfalls.
Kiernan and Sprite Zero disappeared for a while. Kiernan returned, nodded to Jon and Quin. Sprite Zero was airborne, and heading off to inflict his own brand of chaos.

Illusions frustrate the horde

He returned half an hour later, flushed with success.  The illusion of Floki had reduced the barbarians’ morale, already lowered by the traps they had encountered.  It had injured several of the barbarians as well.  The illusion of Tormund had worked exactly as planned.  The bear had become enraged, tried to attack the illusion.  It had then been turned to face the real Tormund.  He had tried to calm it down.  It had torn at him.  So he and his loyal followers had cut it down.  Beorning had been forced to use several of his healing spells to restore Tormund.

Now out of spells, Sprite Zero stayed with the women and children as a last line of defence should all else fall.

Jon climbed onto a wagon and addressed the townsfolk, the mercenaries and the other heroes.  He had not planned a speech, but nevertheless managed to inspire them.  With high morale, they turned to the defences.  And waited.

The bear tribe approached along the road, from the south-east.  Beorning led a contingent of warriors along the shore from the south, passing the timber mill. And Hjollander attacked from the east, out of the trees towards the Whistling Gallows Inn.

For an hour the barbarians tried to break through the defences of Lonelywood. The first time they thought they had succeeded, they were met with a fireball.  So they suddenly became a lot more cautious after that.  Hjollander and Tormund fought at the front of their forces, inspiring their followers.  Beorning attempted the same.  However, he had to deal with the archers from the boats attacking his flank.  And then he had to be dragged back to safety by his followers when his arm was broken in the melee.

Duels in the thick of things

Jon, Power Aide, Leif, Quin and Kiernan led the defenders.  Jon took himself to the eastern front.  He called out challenge to Hjollander.  The leader of the wolf tribe accepted.  They traded words first, compliments of true warriors to each other. Jon tried to tell Hjollander of Tormund’s dishonour, but the wolf had sworn to follow the bear.  Hjollander would not take his men and depart.  So they fought. It was short and brutal.  It ended with Hjollander on the ground, but not dead. Jon had turned his sword to strike with the flat of the blade, knocking Hjollander out. Agnar and his warriors dragged their leader away.

With both Hjollander’s forces and Beorning’s taking a more defensive stance, the heroes all gathered to defend the road.  Jon got a clear shot at Tormund with his crossbow, but only managed a glancing blow.

Both Power Aide and Jon took serious wounds fighting in the forefront all the time. They each took a magical healing potion.  One they had found in Klinderstone, the other had been provided by Quin.

The horde breaks

As the sky started to lighten, Tormund assessed his position.  He had lost his two secondary leaders.  His warriors morale was shaken by the traps in the forest, by the vision of Floki, by the fireball, and by the stout-hearted resistance of the “soft” townsfolk.  He called for a retreat.

When Jon and Quin realised, they pressed forward to attack.  The barbarians did not rout, but tried to disengage defensively.  In this the men in the boats were their biggest problem.  They would appear, launch a flight of arrows at the backs of the barbarians, then return to their boats to head further down the coast.

During the retreat, a squad of townsfolk caught up the barbarian group carrying Hjollander.  Agnar turned to hold them back, but was swarmed under.  Before he could be killed, Jon interceded.  He called the townsfolk off, and told Agnar to see to his leader, and to do everything he could to break the alliance between the wolf and the bear.

On another front, Power Aide stepped through the trees to come face to face with a woman warrior in a helm.  He called out a challenge, and she accepted.  It was Gyda.  Power Aide bore several wounds from the battle since he had taken the healing potion, but Gyda was limping from a spear wound to the leg.  They fought. Power Aide utilised his last spell, blinding Gyda with a brilliant light in her eyes. Even blinded she fought on cannily, until Power Aide’s mace smashed through her defences.  He crushed the side of her head.  She died instantly.

A final showdown

Tormund and Jon finally came face to face on the road.  The bear tribe’s leader, enraged beyond endurance by the outcome of the attack, screamed a challenge. Jon accepted. The battle and the retreat stopped, as the warriors and townsfolk watched.  The two traded insults as they circled, struck and parried.  Then Jon stepped in with a low attack, just as Tormund went for a whistling blow at Jon’s head. The black-bladed sword struck Tormund’s leg, shearing through muscle and sinew, shattering the bone.  Tormund’s blow faltered, the axe twisting in the air so that it struck a glancing blow to Jon’s head.  Enough to render him instantly unconscious.

The watchers surged forward, to drag their heroes to safety.  Quin called for a halt to their attack, and the barbarians retreated back to their hall. Their war chest remained behind.  Inside was a considerable amount of coin, and a few miscellaneous items of value.

The townsfolk returned to Lonelywood, elated to be alive.  They had been outnumbered, and the enemy stronger and more skilled.  But they had prevailed, with very few casualties.  And the bear tribe had been badly hurt, up to half their warrior killed or crippled. There were some dead though, and many injured.  The celebrations did not really begin until well into the afternoon.

The group begins to fracture

During the morning, Jon spoke to Quin and the other heroes.  Certain people’s behaviour concerned him.  Szodlin in particular.  The drow had apparently fought well in the battle, so it seemed he was not a spy for the barbarians.  But he had killed the mayor and his wife.  Jon suggested banishment.  Quin and the others agreed.  Szodlin was upset, apparently more with Power Aide that with Jon.  He left angrily.

Jon expressed his suspicion that Power Aide had somehow been involved, but there was no proof.  He also brought up Power Aide’s disturbing tendencies to threaten people with fire, and his apparent callous disregard for others.  This was largely based on several comments made during the preparation for the battle.  Power Aide had thought of plans requiring sacrificing a small number of the townsfolk for tactical advantage.

Jon would have seen Power Aide banished as well.  But Quin came to the priest’s defence.  Power Aide, along with Leif, Sprite Zero and Jon, were seen by the town as heroes.  They would not want their heroes besmirched. Jon backed down. Reluctantly.


That evening the mead and ale flowed again.  If the barbarians had returned, they would have found no significant opposition to their attack this time.

Leif woke the next morning with the two gnome women from Klinderstone – Oakleaf and Sarsha - in his bed.  It was only because they remembered as little of the previous night as he that he managed to run away from their demands for marriage.

Jon woke when someone gently kicked him in the ribs.  He was stark naked and freezing, and lying in the temple of Waukeen.  Quin, standing over him, was not impressed.  Jon could not remember why he was there.  He knew Quin had made him annoyed, but couldn’t remember what it was.  Something to do with agreeing with Power Aide?  But the priest was a friend, so it made no sense.

Power Aide was pleased with the change in Jon’s demeanour.  He had drunk with the others for quite a while.  Then an idea had occurred to him.  He had returned to the mayor’s house and taken some of the smaller, more valuable items there. With these spoils of murder, he had prayed hard to his god.  And his god answered.  Jon, and to a lesser extent the others, forgot many of Power Aide’s more evil behaviours.  But his god gave him notice.  In return for this favour, there would come a time when a service would be demanded.


Life in Lonelywood returned to normal over the next few days.  The wolf tribe made cautious contact.  They had severed their alliance with the bear tribe. Tormund had survived, but his leg had been lost.  He and his tribe had gone back to Caer Conig, one of the Ten Towns where the barbarian presence was strong. Beorning had not gone with him.  Instead, he had resumed his wandering, intending to visit the other barbarian tribes and the Ten Towns as he saw fit.
Beorning held no grudge.  The townsfolk had fought valiantly, and as a priest of the god of war that sat well with him.

Tormund of course nursed a deep hatred, for Lonelywood, and for the heroes who had stood against him.

Quin re-established trade with the Ten Towns.  And as the days passed several new arrivals came into town.  The tale of the battle had reached them, and several enterprising families chose to come and live on the frontier.

Leif sent word to his many siblings, cousins and bastard children that he was now lord of a vast and fertile demesne, and that they can all come and live under his protection.  In return for some very minor labour, barely worth mentioning.  In other words, cleaning out Klinderstone, making it habitable for halflings and potentially even building a keep around it.  Planning on being big (metaphorically speaking) and important, he arranged for a stout warhorse to be delivered and trained.  How else could he ride about and look down on all the yokels?

No one knew where the Mayor's stash was.  Quin insisted that the valuables that could be gathered from the Mayor’s house were given to his daughter.  After the cost of a massive party was deducted first.  The Mayor's daughter left Lonelywood
Quin, Leif and Jon all agreed that some of the other potential threats in the area needed investigating if Lonelywood and Klinderstone were to grow.  The Temple of All Consumption, the Tower of Lum the Mad and the Fane of Auril were all mentioned …