(Being a series of quick game notes trying to account for the events of many sessions of playing through The Enemy Within using the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1e rules.)
Something Rotten in Kislev
- Gottlieb [Witch Hunter] – I 63
- Larry [Mercenary Captain] – I 58
- Othmar [Assassin] – I 56
- Brother Nate [Witch Hunter] – I 54
- Wilfried [Templar] – I 53
- Karl [Artillerist] – I 45
With their squirrely guide Kara Rokossovsky, they head forth at first light the next day to cross the Goromadny mountains via Belyevorota Pass – the only pass open year round, although still nearly snowed in in midwinter. In the last town past Praag on the edge of the mountains, they hear that few merchants and grain shipments have come across the pass in the last month… in the pass itself they find holes dug in the snow on the side of the road until they are about a day from town where they find the scene of an ambush – someone was camped here and was ambushed and killed, buried in the snow and then the ambushers returned down the pass towards town.
Expecting a similar ambush, our intrepid adventurers set up a fake campsite for a counter-ambush… And after a cold night waiting for nothing, they proceeded on their way into the Wheatlands.
Guided through the midwinter Wheatlands by Kara Rokossovsky, they cross the Zapadryeka river well southeast of Chernozavtra – the river near the old colony is deep and runs quickly, so crossing the tributaries puts them in position to take advantage of the city’s ford. The road along the river shows signs of a lot of wagon and foot traffic in recent days, which convinces them to take their travel off-road.
Unfortunately it also puts them in the steppes, the contested region where the Hobgoblin Hegemony is in as much control (if not more) than the Kislevite government or the local Dolgan tribes. And just outside of Chernozavtra they run into a small squad of goblin outriders on wolves. Avoiding the initial patrol, they find the hills nearby are full of these patrols and they are soon greeted by a goblin who “invites” them to meet Habblo, the leader of the hobgoblin forces in the area.
“Follow please. Captain Habblo want talk. Put away weapons. No harm, Captain says. This land under protection of Habblo’s Heroes. Habblo say jump, everyone jump. You start something, we finish it.”
Following the goblins over the hills to a site overlooking the ford and the island colony, they see that the whole area of the ford has been taken over by a hobgoblin force of many hundred hobgoblins and associated goblin wolf-riders.
Across the ford from the greenskin encampment is the island colony which in turn was surrounded by brightly coloured Dolgan tents of their own encampments. Worried that they were seeing a combined force of arms between the tribal Ungols and the nearby Hobgoblin polity, they accepted the “invitation” to meet with the hobgoblin warlord, Habblo, leader of Habblo’s Hobgoblin Heroes.
Some time around this point, they lose track of their guide, who slips away to try to avoid dealing with backstabbing greenskins.
The hobgoblin hoard is lead by the titular Habblo and 4 senior Lieutenants. On entering the camp they are greeted by the four Lieutenants who lead into a series of provocations and dick measuring contests until Habblo shows up and puts them into line.
“Woz goin’ on? I sed bring ’em ter me straight off You four better watch yerselves or I’ll nail yer to a board an’
use yer fer shields. Orright, wot you lot gawpin’ at?Aincher got work ter do? Get goin.”
In Habblo’s tent he listens to the party’s explanation for being here and tells them they’ll be spending the night in the camp while he figures out what is what. Seems the hobgoblins aren’t in league with the Dolgans but are actually laying siege to them. They have orders to extract revenge for Dolgan raids on their caravans and slave trains. Habblo intends to extract this in cash and/or bison from the Dolgan herds whereas the Lieutenants are itching to turn it into a good fight and a chance to earn a promotion.
Habblo then leaves the party in the care of his grizzled goblin advisor, Krowbag. Several of the party wander the greenskin camp with Krowbag in tow while trying to pump him and the goblin wold-riders for information. According to Krowbag, Chernozavtra has been abandoned for decades. While Habblo would like to occupy it as a military outpost on the edge of the Wheatlands, but doubts he can keep the supply lines open… and if he can’t occupy it, there’s no way he’ll let the damned Dolgans occupy it instead.
And of course they run afoul of the hotheaded lieutenants again. Karl ducks off and alerts the rest of the crew that things are heating up in the camp, and Habblo follows to the scene where he gives the Lieutenants yet another yelling down, and brings everyone back to his tent again.
This time he has a plan.
The party will each pay him 3 gold crowns to cross the river to Chernozavtra, which is where they want to go anyways. And since he’s being so generous, they will also carry his demands to Dolgan boss. He’s offering them safe passage off the island and out of the siege at a cost of 1 bison for every 5 Dolgans to cross the ford.
The next morning starts bright and early as the party is re-equipped and marched to the water’s edge where they very publicly pay Habblo for passage to the Dolgan-occupied island.
Half way across the icy river, Dolgan pickets open fire on the party – warning shots for them to stop crossing. Not speaking Dolgan, and the Dolgan pickets not speaking Old Worlder, there is an impasse as the party stands waist-deep in the frigid waters. Finally a Dolgan picket signs that a single member of the party can cross to discuss what’s going on. Karl gets pushed forward and is met by “Somebody Important” – a trio of Dolgan shamans (obviously a master and two apprentices). The leader slaps himself on the chest and says “Dafa”.
“The spirits have sent you to do their will. My prayers, and the prayers of my tribe, have been answered. All praise to the Spirits of the Earth, Sun, Wind, and Fire!”
“You have travelled far to us. You have come at the bidding of other men, but you do not know their true intentions. You seek to challenge dark sorcery, but you do not know its power. You are full of the strength of the spirits, but you are
empty of wisdom.”
“I shall give you that wisdom. Before you are tested, you must be taught. Come, sit at the feet of the master, if you would learn.”
He then cast sleep and explains that the spirits have summoned the visitor to the dreamlands are even now explaining their wisdom to the sleeping Karl.