(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
- Nate [Witch Hunter] – I 64
- Gottlieb [Witch Hunter] – I 63
- Larry [Mercenary Captain] – I 58
- Othmar [Assassin] – I 56
- Wilfried [Templar] – I 53
- Karl [Artillerist] – I 45
As the cold winter night settles into Bolgasgrad, freezing its way into every nook and cranny as small fires valiantly attempt to keep it at bay, Othmar & Wilfried head to “palace” of Prince Alexis Chokin II. Over dinner they discuss the plans of Wilhelm Lizard’s Flying Circus and where they could best set up to entertain the people while also not freezing themselves and their audience to death.
Meanwhile, following the route established by their earlier scouting, the rest of the group sneak into the catacombs beneath the Temple of the Ancient Allies. While they avoid the populated main temple, their access route leads them through the library again. This time there is a tome on a lectern that was not there in the earlier scouting. Quickly assessing the tome and other documents in the library it becomes evident that most of the texts are from the older temple libraries (curated by Olvaga) with only a few pieces from the current cult – the most interesting of which are documents of the Conventricle.
In 2455 (Imperial Calendar), in response to the Tsar withdrawing the garrisons at Bolgasgrad a few years prior, Alexis Chokin the First forged a pact with the Renegade Chaos God Zuvassin the Undoer to aid the city against the forces of Chaos. At the same time his son Alexis Chokin II negotiated a contract with Necoho, the Doubting God, to balance the risk of corruption represented by the pact with Zuvassin. Together, these two renegade Chaos Gods are worshipped as the Ancient Allies. It took 20 years from this point before the official renouncement of the cults of Ulric, Taal, and Rhya and the establishment of the Ancient Allies as the official cult of Bolgasgrad.
Shortly after the death of Alexis Chokin the First in 2487, Alexis III proves his devotion to both the Ancient Allies and to Bolgasgrad by launching a chaos-hunt to the north, eventually into the forests and to the verge of the chaos wastes themselves.
Of the continued practices of the cult of the Ancient Allies there is little more between the recorded sortie in 2488 and the present day of 2514 except for notes on tests using the “Cleansing Fire of Zuvassin” to remove chaos taint and mutations. A copy of said spell is found, but requires a special silver container where people (and even beastmen) are sealed within and then the fires of Zuvassin cleanse them of their taint (although in some cases the mutants have died instead).
Descending into the understructures beneath the temple, they find a fairly typical basement chamber with a single door and a massive undead armour-plated bear guarding it. And we all know what happens when we collide with hostile bears – in a remarkably short time there is no longer an undead guardian bear down here.
Beyond the bear’s chamber are ancient stone stairs spiralling down. Ancient dwarven craftsmanship – probably again dating back to the the wars of the elves and dwarves in these lands long before the arrival of humans.
The portal to these stairs is a set of massive stone doors once covered in arcane sigils and runic defences placed here by the dwarves and then destroyed by mightier magics.
The first level of these sandstone catacombs appears to be a set of three low galleries in sequence. In the northernmost gallery they find Leonid Barismann – the leading priest of the cult who greeted the visitors to the temple earlier in the day. He is sitting in the centre of the gallery in deep meditation, surrounded by 75 mummified dwarves. Each dwarf has been wound in long strips of white linen which has been coated with a thick, hard laquer which has in turn been painted with repetitive phrases of magical runes. They seem to be some massive spiritual / necromantic battery – possibly part of the mechanisms that allows Bolgasgrad to maintain such a large army of the undead even miles away from the city without worrying about instability.
Silently slitting the throat of priest Barismann, they decide to not interfere with the battery – yet.
Approaching the central gallery, they all find themselves coughing and choking on something in the air here. Spores and pollen are carried into the air around this area – obviously some sort of dark garden. The garden in turn is guarded by a number of dwarven skeletons and finally by a Tilean botanist named Radici who seems much akin to a Super Mario character with a love for dark mushrooms. Radici lights his way with a swirling bottle of glowing purple fluids. The plants in the garden, however, are a dark and foul lot being cultivated to make bizarre potions – man eaters, poisonous flowers, and something horrific and seemingly necromantic.
When Radici explains his purpose in growing these foul gardens, Karl walks up feigning interest and then buries his blade deep into the botanist’s internal organs. As Radici falls he drops his glowing potion (fortunately not his potion of fireballs, but still) and as it breaks the liquid within immediately catches fire like a deep purple molotov cocktail. Looking at the fusecord wrapped all around his body (and knowing what the fusecord links to), Karl immediately runs out of the gallery screaming and on fire. He dives and slides into the northern gallery full of dwarven mummies and promptly explodes with a dozen bombs on him – destroying the mummies which immediately liquefy into something horrific, and then are turned to a miasma of foul gas in the expanding explosion as the entire gallery collapses on top of Karl’s now “chunky salsa” body.
The southern gallery, anticlimactically, was Radici’s laboratory which they quickly loot for potions (including one of the napalm potions that killed Karl).
Descending to the lower catacombs they determine that these were once burial vaults for the ancient dwarves. Several of the vaults north of the central gallery have been converted into cells – and in the first of these they encounter the sadly undead Mikhail Lementov, Witch Hunter. Mikhail had broken into the temple over the summer and was caught by Prince Alexis Chokin III down here “and a foul warrior of the chaos powers he is! Tainted by these so called Ancient Allies!”. Alexis III then cut him down with his great sword, but seemingly this was not enough.
Somehow, Mickhail had been cursed with never dying. Over the next few months he learned from Radici and Sulring Durgul that he had been exposed to the Undeath Plague while travelling through the gardens above.
The party looks around, all remembering their choking and coughing fits as they approached the garden.
But he has news of Sulring Durgul – Sulring isn’t the elf they came expecting (nor undead, it seems), but a potent necromancer in the body of a 60-ish kislevite woman. Also importantly Sulring has recruited a new lieutenant in the last week – an ice sorceress recently turned into a vampire. The description of the ice sorceress is remarkably familiar… for it is none other than Kisa Yatskaya.
Who is, of course, standing right behind them.