(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.)
The Empire in Flames
- Larry [Templar] – I 68
- Nate [Cleric 3] – I 64
- Gottlieb [Templar] – I 63
- Wilfried [Templar] – I 63
With Anastasia swooning at the threat of violence, Katarina begins yelling at the templar and explaining exactly what she thinks of “ill-mannered boors who dare to cross my path – and put that stupid sword away, you silly little man…” before slipping into Kislevite as she passes comments on Blumentopf’s legitimacy, his antecedents, and his general prowess in all fields of human endeavour, especially sexual. Katarina comes to partway through the tirade (as violence hasn’t begun yet), and upon hearing Katarina swearing in Kislevite, promptly swoons again.
Finally, the tension snaps and steel is drawn – Gottlieb is surprisingly not going to town on these soldiers and instead lassos the templar to drag him down off his horse while Nathander pronounces doom upon those who would strike their holy personages. Faced with the fighting and the fanatical speech only about half of the crossbowmen open fire – and one of them strikes Katarina and she falls to the deck of the ship pouring blood from what will almost certainly be a lethal chest wound!
With the heroes unilaterally NOT attacking the soldiers and instead coming to the aid of Katarina and scolding the soldiers for assaulting a noblewoman, the Two Bawdy Countesses returns to the river – with Blumentopf just barely slipping free of the lasso before being dragged into the river too.
Administering their last healing potion to Katarina (for they have no one with first aid or the surgical skills required to save the critically-injured chaperone), they pause at another inn on the Talabecland side of the river (hoping that the hatred of Ulricans coming over from Talabecland will mean they have a better chance of a quiet night).
Finally arriving in Talabheim twelve days after they left Kislev, they escort Anastasia and the recovered Katarina to the gates of the Krieglitz-Untermensch town house. Here they are greeted by several liveried members of Rolf Krieglitz-Untermensch’s household and the Baronet himself. Krieglitz-Untermensch is a most unpleasant young man, around 20 years of age, with a weak chin, bulging eyes, and unpleasant mien. He is made no better by the fact that he is a distant cousin of Talabheim’s ruler, and not above using his tenuous family connections to get exactly what he wants when he wants it. He vaguely thanks the heroes in a desultory sort of way, virtually grovels to Anastasia, then whisks both her and Katarina into the house while ordering the house guards that none of these people are welcome on the property.
Finally at a loose end, the heroes look around for a place to stay and to decide what to do next… after all, they should probably head back towards Middenheim soon as they are Knights Panther under the command of Graf Boris Todbringer.
Talabheim is buzzing with rumours that the Emperor is sick, that he has abdicated, that the Electors are choosing a new Emperor, that the Talabecland and Ostland leaders are in Altdorf and are recruiting mercenaries…
Discovering that Talabheim has a chapterhouse of the Knights Panther, they go there for accommodations less likely to be bombed or home to a series of unrelated grisly murders. They are welcomed with open arms and set up with temporary quarters. The chapter master greets them that evening after dinner and informs them that he is in possession of a letter from Law Lord Ehrlich addressed to them should they come this way on their return from Kislev.
We trust that your task proved neither burdensome nor dangerous.
Graf Boris requests that you rejoin his retinue as soon as possible as he feels that your services may once more be of use – both to his own person and to the City-State of Middenheim.
A meeting of the Imperial Electors has been called in Altdorf. Join us there at your earliest convenience.
Yours, in haste
Ehrlich, Law Lord of Middenheim
for Graf Boris Todbringer
Post Script – The Graf’s agents have secured him lodgings at the Imperial. Report there upon your arrival.
Suddenly en route for Altdorf, where our adventures began, all talk along the river is of the coming Elector’s meeting in the capital so they make as much haste as the Countesses can upon the Talabec.
It is mid-afternoon by the time their boat finally reaches a vacant quay. There is no one down at the docks, but the city seems even livelier than usual in the distance. Disembarking and unable to find the dockmaster, they proceed cautiously into the city.
Altdorf is in turmoil. People are everywhere, pushing up and down streets in droves, leaning out of windows, sitting on rooftops. Nobody seems very violent, although there is an air of tension. Traders seem torn as to whether to pack up their goods just in case there is a riot, or to stay and take advantage of crowds. A few are going home until things settle down; most seem to be working the crowds for every penny they can get. So, for that matter, are the pickpockets. Every once in a while a scuffle breaks out as somebody notices that somebody else has a hand in the wrong pocket.
Everybody – traders, townsmen, city watchmen, children and those who have just come to gawp – seems to be shouting and yelling. The streets are filled with noise: “The Emperor’s dead!” “No, idiot, all the Electors are dead!” “I heard it was the Crown Prince!” “You’re all wrong! Everybody’s dead!” “There’s a fiery dragon in the Palace!” “A dragon’s eaten the Emperor!” “No, he was killed by a Moon-Man!” “Death to all Moon-Men!” and “Hot Pies! Meat Pies! They’re lovely!”
When they arrive at the Imperial, the hotel is guarded by the Knights Panther. Seeeing their Knight’s Panther medallions, they are shown inside the grand hotel but are faced with a long wait inside. All around them, Knights are rushing backwards and forwards, carrying messages and papers to upstairs rooms. One Knight has the taken on the task of emergency food taster. At times meals and wine bottles are carried upstairs; the Knight carefully samples everything – and with the richness of the food and drink, he is definitely looking quite green for it all.
Finally, they are greeted not by the Graf, but the Ar-Ulric. He explains that the Graf is too busy right now before tomorrow’s new elector meeting. They spot someone who is likely Grand Duke Leopold von Bilthofen leaving the Graf’s chambers as they are escorted into the Ar-Ulric’s.
The Ar-Ulric seems pleased to see the heroes, although he can spare them little time at present. Once inside the room, he asks after everyone’s health, although it’s obvious that he isn’t really interested in the answers. Before he can even start to describe what is going on, there is a knock at the door and a harried-looking Knight enters, bows, says “Grand Duke Gustav is just arriving, Your Holiness,” and immediately withdraws. With a theatric groan, the Ar-Ulric turns to the group.
“You see? It’s madness. I assume you know that the Emperor is dead?” He pauses. “Dead as last
week’s mutton. Killed, murdered, assassinated by some fanatical idiot, Lord Ulric alone knows why.
“What’s worse than that is what the killer said before he died. He said the Emperor was a mutant-lover. That’s as may be – some of his edicts were a bit strange. But the killer’s last words also implied that the assassin was a follower of Lord Ulric! The Sigmarites will love that, I can tell you! It wouldn’t surprise me if they think some of Lord Ulric’s servants did kill the Emperor! They didn’t, of course.” The Ar-Ulric doesn’t seem to realise that his off-hand denial sounds patently false.
In the corridor outside there is a shout. “His Highness, the Grand Duke Gustav Von Krieglilz!”
Ar-Ulric looks pained, and then continues. “I haven’t got much time. The Grand Theogonist’s agreed with me that we had to appeal for calm. That seems to have cooled a few heads. But now that you are here, you you may prove very useful. There’s another meeting of the Electors tomorrow. You’ll be part of the Graf’s retinue at the meeting. Now, I really must go. The Knights will see to some accommodation for you, I’m sure. Until the morning, then”
As the Imperial is full, some poor schlub among the Knights Panther was given the task of finding the heroes of the people (second class), a place to sleep. They find themselves halfway across town at the Crossed Lancets, a small and very well kept establishment run by an ex-doctor (thus the name).
With nothing to do until morning, they immediately decide to avoid the curfew and head out to get as much information from the locals as they can at a variety of drinking establishments.