Now that I’ve been running Warhammer FRP 1e for a year and a half with the Sunday Enemy Within crew, the Monday Night Doomslakers asked me to pull out the game to give it a spin for them. As this is likely to be episodic and may or may not be revisited in the future, I grabbed “The Restless Dead” which is really a collection of mini-adventures published in White Dwarf over the years and then tied together. Having each short adventure be self-contained works great for a short-game or episodic game group.
Our Cast of Adventurers
Drorheim Frothgar the Fearless – A dwarven soldier recruited into the Baron’s levies as a footman as opposed to the elite gunnery squads.
Hartflower – A halfling hedge wizard’s apprentice who worked as a cook and sometimes medic in the baron’s levies.
Matthias Derverzund – A rough and suspicious soldier from the Baron’s levies.
Otto Stumpfegger – A gamekeeper who worked the woods north of Volgen for a minor noble who has been slain in the ambush. Now without employ, he has joined with the survivors of the Baron’s levies.
Senna Fries – A kislevite mercenary who found work in the baron’s levies, for a time.
Session 1 – Night of Blood
Characters Appearing (in order of Initiative)
Hartflower [Hedge Magician’s Apprentice] – I 42
Senna Fries [Mercenary] – I 32
Mattias Derverzund [Soldier] – I 30
Otto Stumpfegger [Gamekeeper] – I 29
Drorheim Frothgar [Soldier] – I 18
Pulling themselves out of the ditch after the bloody ambush of Baron Von Strudeldorf’s levies, a few soldiers, a camp cook & medic, and one of the Strudeldorf gamekeepers find themselves with few supplies and no employment along the banks of the Talabec – aiming for the nearest town of Volgen.
With their destination several days travel ahead, and the battlefield best left behind, they struck west along the riverbank road – better described as a muddy track between the woods and river.
Along with the evening comes the rain. Lightning flashes through the sky, beasts howl in the woods, and the rain comes down in buckets from dark roiling clouds.
Then the screams began. Bestial screams of injured hunted prey, and barking howls as the hunters moved in on it. Towards the group.
Moving off the road and into the trees, they huddled down and kept watch, listening to the mad hunt through the storm. Just when it seemed the hunt would be upon them the cries stopped suddenly and only the rending of whatever prey was taken down could be heard over the howling wind and pouring rain.
Taking the break in the action to escape further down the road, they find the storm keeps getting stronger, the Talabec begins to climb over her banks, and parts of the road are being washed away. As they consider the danger of trying to make camp in the woods, lightning shows off a coaching inn not too much further down the road.
While there are lights shining through the upper-storey windows of the coaching inn, the gates are barred and no amount of banging seems to get the attention of anyone inside. The fieldstone walls are deceptively difficult to climb in the storm. But towards the river is a ferry house which Hartflower goes to check.
The ferry house appears to be a crime scene. Signs of a struggle and blood smears on the floor make it likely that the ferryman is either in trouble, or more likely dead. A bag of coins under his bed implies that this was no robbery.
But a path leads up from the ferry landing to the south wall of the coaching inn compound – to a small side door that wasn’t visible through the scrub and brush around the walls. An unlocked side door.
Ignoring the call to check out the two outbuildings (a coaching house and stables), they head to the inn directly. The curtains are all drawn, and the door is locked, but even over the storm they hear the sounds of drinking and cheer, and can practically feel the dry warmth of the fire.
Banging on the door brings an end to the revelry within, and the door is opened by a surprised looking man of unbelievable girth. Introduced as Otto, landlord of the Hooded Man coaching inn, he seems surprised and suspicious that anyone would be knocking on his door this eve. Behind him an Imperial roadwarden sits by the fire, and a man with bulging eyes begins to mop up behind the bar.
Otto and Hans (the roadwarden) are suspicious of armed travellers out tonight, especially with Hans describing how he was ambushed by bandits earlier tonight. When told about the empty ferry house and signs of violence, the assumption is that the ferryman was attacked by the same bandit crew that attacked Hans.
They also explain that this is why the whole Inn is buttoned up for the night. They already have a full coach worth of noble guests gone to sleep upstairs, and with bandits prowling the area, there’s no reason to let anyone else in.
Advised that the south door is unlocked, Hans and Drorheim head back out into the storm to close and bolt the ferry door. On his way out, they notice that he is bloodied in his back – a minor injury from the bandit ambush he explains.
When they get back in, Hans goes into the kitchen and to talk to Otto. Overheard by Hartflower, he is calming Otto down, explaining that the party aren’t undercover roadwardens or anything, and “The Great Mutator will be pleased to have their souls as well. Use the kurts in their food and we’ll deal with them later”.
Hartflower alerts the group – and the military members immediately slip into battle tongue to prep for Hans’ return. Ambushed at the kitchen door, Hans is quickly knocked unconscious by Senna, and the fighting moves into the kitchen where Otto is joined by the bulging-eyed Fagor, and a third terrifying mutant who’s face appears to have been torn off, leaving him with a bloody skull.
The fighting is remarkably one-sided – the ambush on Hans and then the follow-up charge into the kitchen has the mutants off-balance and being pushed back by the adventurers as we end our first session.