Actual Play, Fantasy, OSR, RPG, Shadows of the Ruinous Powers, The Empire in Flames, The Enemy Within, Warhammer Fantasy, WHFRP, WHFRP1e
(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
- Scargetter [Assassin] – I 60
The Knights Panther, the Ar-Ulric, and the remaining group evacuate the Volkshalle and force their way through the streets with the sounds of violence behind them until they get back to the Imperial.
The Ar-Ulric and a few senior Knights head upstairs while the others (and the group) work to close and bar the shutters and the doors while pushing over tables to make defensive barricades. There is some minor scuffling outside but no one makes a serious attempt to breach the Imperial.
As the Knights are closing the doors, couriers arrive from Grand Duke Gustav von Krieglitz of Talabecland. Before they are shown upstairs to see Ar-Ulric, the two men pass on two pieces of information: Graf Alberich Haupt-Anderssen of Stirland has been seriously wounded, and may even be dead. He was struck down by one of ‘our’ Knights (ie a Talabeclander). Chancellor Maximillian Dachs of Ostermark – who was with the Ostlanders – has been slain by the Grand Duke himself (Gustav von Krieglitz of Talabecland). The couriers are not bothered by the deaths, and one even describes Gustav’s killing of ‘the traitor’ Maxiinillian as a “masterful piece of swordsmanship”.
About half an hour after their arrival, the couriers leave the Imperial, their messages delivered. The heroes are finally requested to join the Ar-Ulric and are escorted to his audience room. Once the knight has left, the Ar-Ulric opens another door, leading into his apartments. A cowled figure stands in the doorway. The man throws back his hood: it is Kaslain, the Arch Lector of the Cult of Sigmar.
“You know, of course, that all this means war. They will all fight – the first blows have already been struck. Graf Boris is dead. Graf Alberich may also be dead. And The Empire without an Emperor … Ah, Boris was right. He could see no good coming of Karl Franz’s meeting, and Wolfgang … a mutant!”
“But not one of Sigmar’s making,” says Kaslain. “Of course not. He was no more a Sigmarite than any other Chaos-spawned foulness. But there are many who will believe otherwise, and will blame the cult of Sigmar. I have already had a message which does just that! And now the Electors are already leaving the city. They are going home to raise their armies. And we can do nothing! If I speak out, I may lose what control I have over Ulric’s followers. Yorri and Aglim will turn against Kaslain if he speaks. But if we keep silent, many will die in a needless war.” Ar-Ulric’s horror at this dilemma is plain. “I cannot believe that Lord Ulric and Sigmar want war … “
Kaslain interrupts him. “Wolfgang was a servant of Chaos. It is there we must put the blame. At least he is dead, but to think he – it – was nearly elected Emperor! But time is pressing. Graf Boris, Ar-Ulric and myself have talked for many hours. We planned and thought, but in the end we realised that desperate times need desperate measures.”
“We want you to find Sigmar’s Hammer.“
And thus they depart with a hastily scrawled map by Kaslain, leaving behind the Two Bawdy Countesses and instead embarking on Kaslain’s enchanted riverboat, the Comet. It has a dedicated crew, and is enchanted so it never runs aground and maintains a constant pace of 3 miles an hour, regardless of the river current (particularly nice as they are headed upriver).
Commenting to the ship’s crew about their need of a doctor (as they desperately need someone in the group to learn some basic healing arts), the captain of the boat (Adolph Rinner) stops in Kemperbad to bring aboard a physician he knows. With a tap on the side of his nose as he comes aboard, they are “introduced” to Doktor Maximillain Schnippmesser – the very same “doctor” who taught Gottlieb the assassin’s arts.
News on the river travels fast, but they expect to outpace the rumourmill by the time they make it to the source of the river near Hochsleben.
- The Knights Talabec, an order that no-one has heard of before now, has claimed the credit for the deaths of several Ostland and Ostermark nobles. Grand Duke Gustav von Kreiglitz is said to have disclaimed all knowledge of playing for time before Talabecland’s army is gathered.
- Grand Marshal Bock has put Altdorf under martial law but no-one, least of all Bock, seems to know what to do next. The Electors have withdrawn to their own lands without choosing a new Emperor.
- Duchess Emmanuelle von Liebewitz of Nuln seems to have stayed in Altdorf. She is well known to be non-partisan, and may have considerable influence on Grand Marshal Bock.
- No-one has heard anything of what Nordland, Middenland and Middenheim intend to do. It is widely believed that these provinces and Middenheim will declare their support for Talabecland.
- Graf Alberich Haupt-Anderssen is young and foolish enough to believe that war is a glorious adventure. Stirland’s ancient grudge against Talabecland is enough for him! It is rumoured that he has received Ostlanders with every sign of warmth and affection.
- Sigmarite witch hunters are active in Stirland. However, they are not just hunting down wrongdoers. These demagogues are also raising money from their followers to aid their cause in Averland – and they are making no secret of the business. While many Averlanders follow the Old Faith, the activities of Sigmar’s more militant followers are causing concern.
- “My mother’s cousin works up at the castle. He says the nobles have orgies and that they worship” – the speaker has a shifty look around – “Slaanesh! There! What do you think of that?”
- This war is one thing, but there’s bad times coming, just mark my words. Before the Emperor died my cows stopped milking, and now my wife’s been having funny dreams. She only does that when something’s up. Keeps talking about strange lights in the sky, but I can’t say that I’ve seen them mysel’.
- I heard that there’s a vampire down at the docks! Only last week poor young Mathilde was found with her throat ripped out! She was as white as a sheet, not a drop of blood left in her!
Somewhere between Grissenwald and Nuln, they run into a “party barge” drifting out of control down the river towards them. A pair of young ladies in party dresses are in a panic and crying for assistance.
Despite how obvious the ambush is, they do their best to assist the young women and the small crew of cultists hiding at the back of the boat. It turns out that they were specifically hunting for Arch Lector Kaslain and are taken aback at his absence from the Comet – nonetheless, they summon a deamonette and attack the party, which goes about as well as one would expect when confronting a squad of templars in disguise.
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