Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Bretonnian Bloodshed - wfrp session recaps

Good lord, I'm the worst. Have not updated the campaign recaps since May. My excuse is that I moved cities and jobs, but it's really I could have carved out a few minutes. These posts are good for thinking about 'next adventures' with the group, anyway, so I really should keep up with them. These are very handy in remember stray plot threads and generally in prepping adventures, so it'd be for my own good too. Here we go:

Dramatis Personae
Onfroy - fencer and louche extraordinaire, with a fetish for female urine
Boneshard - terriblely corrupted mutant Norscan berserk, hellraiser-skin, disguised with a great helm and gigantic black cloak
Regis aka Don Gonada - spy and huckster, the voice of reason
Okra, a female ogre smith, good at smashing, always hungry
Twiggett Plumbottom, halfling thief
Stomply Rockcrusher, ornery dwarf Ironbreaker

Dragonsbridge and the Grey Mountains
After reaching Dragonsbridge on their way through the Grey Mountains of Bretonnia, the party continued to carve a path of bloodshed, violence, and similar hijinks through the land before returning to their old quest - killing Lord Agravaine who messed with them at the beginning of the adventures.

In the last recap, we ended with the party reaching Dragonsbridge, a castle guarding the lone pass through the mountains from Gisoreaux to Couronne. The group made some plans with a creepy hedge wizard named Ferregus to obtain a key to a sealed cave beneath the castle where a dragon was reportedly entombed. Initially, the group was going to sneak in, but Onfroy, drunk, picked a duel with one of the gate guards with some critical successes on Entertain (Taunt) rolls. We rolled with it, and Onfroy not only killed the guard but began wrecking mayhem in the castle yard. Things went south when the overall garrison was roused, and Boneshard and Onfroy were captured after the gates were shut and several knights pinned them down. Regis managed to disguise himself as a regular guard (who he had killed) in true spy fashion, and was able to move about the castle. He steals the key from the lord's chambers, while Onfroy manages to disarm the castle torturer in the dungeons and protest to the lord that he was undertaking an honorable duel (with some good rolling and judicious expenditure of fortune too). DM's note: the lord agreed to release him because he thought he could spy on Onfroy and find out the mutant's other accomplices, perhaps able to blackmail some noble rivals with a confession from Onfroy or the mutant. But he wanted to know where the group came from. Unfortunately for the lord, these plans unravel as Onfroy uncovered the spy, Regis supplied Ferregus with the key to the dragon's chamber through Ferregus's accomplice, the 'washer woman' Mathilde, and all hell broke lose when the dragon breaks free while Onfroy and Regis are making their escape with stolen horses and more convincing lies from Regis.

After a brief sojourn away from the castle, and seeing that a dragon has wrecked havoc on it before flying off into the mountains, Regis and Onfroy returned to save Boneshard. More hire-wire combat ensues and they manage to capture the Lord Drakemont in the chaos and his son and wife. There is a negotiation with the garrison commander, and the group is allowed to leave in exchange for no harm befalling the Lord's family.

Lord Drakemont
The group then spends several days on horseback in the windy, cold, snowing, starving mountains. They are attacked by orcs and a strange horse-monster before coming upon an Ogress, Okra, who had been working as a smith for the orcs before the warboss cast her out for eating too much of their foods. The group smashes up some orcs together before finally reaching site of the nearest town in the mountains' foothills, Souen. A halfling n'er'do'well Twiggett was in town and learned that three knights sworn to the king to find the chaos warrior (Boneshard, though they did not know his name) had hired a ranger guide through the mountains. The knights soon find Onfroy, Boneshard, Regis, and Okra on the mountain trails and battle ensues. In a striking moment, Boneshard is slain as a questing knight, Sir Bourchard de Montcalm, rammed his sword to the hilt through Boneshard's heart (in game terms, he was criticalled, rolled a 99 or 100 result to the body, and had no permanent Fate points left to avert). Okra then smashed the knight's skull in with her warhammer. While the questing knights were soon defeated through Okra's and Onfroy's prowess, Boneshard was dead---a blessing in disguise as now Regis, as the party's face, could disclaim that they were associated with the chaos warrior and mutant. 

An amethyst wizard from the Empire, Willem of Nye (Boneshard's player's new character) was also traveling in Souen, following the tales of Boneshard's demonic sword that he had obtained some ancient stories on. The lord of Souen, Alaric, shamed by his marshal Sir Godefroy into riding out  to confront the chaos warrior, summoned his men-at-arms to ride out. The wizard, a foreign notable, was allowed to accompany them as a dignitary (ah, the class solidarity of the elite!). Godefroy approached the wizard secretly offering him a stack of gold, like 30 crowns, to kill Alaric. Gossip gathered by Twiggett revealed this was because Godefroy sought to marry Alaric's daughter and gain his lands, but Godefroy refused, seeking a better alliance for his daughter. Willem agreed but then crossed Godefroy by casting a sleep spell on him as he sought to provoke a fight against the party, who Lord Alaric had begun to negotiate with. Regis sold the lie that they were mercenaries who had helped the knights kill Boneshard, and they were welcomed to camp in Souen. Alaric, though, realized what Godefroy had attempted to do, and so enlisted Regis to have him killed in a duel - he could not kill Godefroy openly himself, as Godefroy, a younger and martial man, had the respect of his household knights and troops. After insulting him profusely at dinner, Onfroy quickly slew the man (a lucky critical that slashed apart Godefroy's arm). Alaric then invited them to leave, with a bag of gold as a reward (20 GC i think?).

Outside Souen, the companions were greeted by their old patron, Lady Griselda, first in raven-form and then skyclad. She reached an agreement with Regis for them to resume their Olde Quest: kill Lord Agravaine, now Duke in the south. She offered to purchase them passage on a ship she hired in L'Anguille for the purpose, and they would take the group south where they were to figure out some way to kill the Duke. 

Griselda emerging from raven-form (kelly hensing)
The companions then traveled west, trying to avoid settlements. They were thwarted when hunting deer for Okra to eat, as several hunting knights found Regis 'poaching' as he stood over a freshly killed deer. A typical combat followed, with the knights' entourage of footsoldiers scattered and fleeing after some bloody work by the ogre and fencing-masters. Now equipped with fresh meat, but forced to hide from any settlement whatsoever, the party promptly wandered into a town to obtain a boat to travel to L'Anguille on river. A new companion, Stomply the ornery dwarf, tired of negotiations with the boat's owner and sons, killing them and they attempted to row and steer the boat out of town as footmen caught wind of the party's presence and sought to stop them. Through some luck and Okra the Ogre's well-placed anvil throw, the pursuing ship of men-at-arms was sunk. They group then got the vessel stuck several times and abandoned it to continue to L'Anguille on foot. 

Finally in L'Anguille, the party, now 6 strong with an ogre, managed to not kill everyone and sailed away on the Swan Maiden, south to find fell Duke Agravaine.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Bretonnians! WFRP 4 NPCs

I created a list of stats for commonly-found Bretonnians folk in the spirit of WFRP first edition where they published lists of NPCs in the sourcebooks and adventures so you had all the stats you needed to kill maim steal and get kill maimed and stolen from.

These stats are for 4th edition WFRP and I have found them to be very handy. Not only can I pull up a random knight's stats for when my player inevitable stir the shit, when preparing an adventure I simply write down the guy's stats (Sworn Knight, Entertainer, Damsel, whatever). It's great.

This one also has my Bretonnian character creation rules - two new careers Bretonnian Knight (Knight Errant to Grail Knight) and Battle Pilgrim. I interpreted the famous Bretonnian 'Damsel,' who are prophetesses and priestesses of the goddess the Lady as Mystics careers under the new rules - except they can cast the full Lore of Heavens spells! Much cooler and dangerous that way. I also assume noble women generally can be wizards after training at the Tower of the Enchantress, there studying Life, Light, or Beast lores.

Anyhoo, below is the link to pdf of the Bretonnian stats.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Longshanks Guide to Gaming: On Running a Rules Complex Game like WFRP4

Warning, a long theory and GM/referee advice post follows. Another warning, some of this advice is repetitive, but so be it.

Backstory. After running D&D 5e and rules light old-school basic D&D (Lamentations of the Flame Princess) for several years, I started running the new edition (fourth) of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP) - as is clear from many of the recent posts on this blog. I was skeptical however of running it, and was worried that I would stop to go back to a rules-lighter system like OSR D&D, but I was intrigued when I bought the new WFRP book and so gave it a shot. I had run WFRP 2nd edition in the past, and that lasted about 4-5 sessions before I got fed up with running it for 8-9 players and went back to OSR D&D. But my players in my current WFRP4 group had all played Call of Cthulhu before and Deathwatch, both d100 systems, and I loved there was a lot of options for a low magic campaign. I also knew we'd all enjoy the Critical Wounds/Hits tables. 

This, as again you can see from the numerous posts about it, has been wonderful and rewarding. But I definitely have had to make some adjustments to the WFRP rules-as-written to make the game play fast and fun. I thought I could summarize some of how I have been running the game into some general principles applicable to most games on the heavier-crunch/complication side of the spectrum so that they play more like a fast and imaginative simple, uncomplicated game like B/X D&D. 

The biggest problem crunchy games like WFRP suffer from are:
1. Rules Bloat: Remembering how to-hit, damage, wounds, healing, combat manuevers, feats/talents/powers, and spells work and work together can slow everything down when you want to have the most excitement: life-or-death combat. I suggest addressing this with referee familiarityquick sheets, and making a decision and moving on.
2. Decision Paralysis: The number of rules for stuff your character can do often leads players to look for the sheet for answers instead of coming up with in-game solutions, and not knowing what to do when its your turn in combat. I address this in my game by calls for action, asking them to describe actions (not use game turns), and moving on.
3. Constrained Thinking: Similar to the above, thinking in terms of game mechanics (since there are so many) instead of in-game and real-world thinking. Rules-heavy games can be great toolboxes, don't treat them like a computer system or computer game where everything should be addressed from the rules' perspective. Instead, imagine whatever you want and let the rules of the game help you determine a fair way to resolve things. 

Overall though the advice of the late Dave Brockie of GWAR is the best and will see you through: KEEP IT MOVING.

So, here are DM Nick Longshanks's principles for running a rules-heavy game like WFRP (or D&D5e, etc.). These principles are for the sake of fun while playing a game. Don't let the game rule you, you rule the game.

1. Keep it moving! Cannot be said enough. Do not stop the game to look something up unless its really crucial/worthwhile like a PC's critical hit or otherwise evening-making/breaking. Call for actions. Have enemies attack or arrest the PCs if they're dithering. Make 'em roll Endurance or get the plague if they're farting around. Decide what a rule will be if you cannot remember and no body else does; you'll correct it later or whatever. 
2. Only call for rolls if something interesting or unexpected will happen if the character fails. No Perception test needed for listening at a door (they're already listening at the door, jsut tell them what they f'ing hear!). No Charm test to see if the barmaid likes you (who cares). You don't roll Ride/Dex/Agility for traveling, you do it when wolves attack your horse or you're racing away from a knight or whatever.  Every roll slows down the game and breaks up the flow of player interaction, jokes, and imagination time, so make them interesting and worthwhile (ie. they should affect the plot outcome). Most published adventures and games for these systems are filled to the brim with bad examples of boring as paint-in-the-numbers skill checks that a just a snooze fest. Look, any RPG sucks donkey if its just you sitting around rolling dice that don't mean anything while the GM narrates stuff. Get away from that by: (a) telling the players what happens, no need to slow down the narrative or dialogue with a roll (I look under the carpet, I knock on the door, I greet the NPC-most gameplay does not require rolls). 
3. Players describe what they’re doing, you tell them what to roll or roll for them if it’s secret or simply tell them what happens. This is related to the above. Do not stop players asking for different stat to roll if it makes sense. Think about what the roll really means: it's simply a randomizer based on the in-game character's fiction to generate interesting results. Don't make the characters memorize their character sheet, their concept should tell them and you as DM all you need to know (really). So call for descriptions of what they do, you tell them what they roll or if nothing interesting happens if they fail the roll, just tell them what happens.
4. If you don't know the correct rule, make a ruling! Rather than slow down to look something up or argue, make a ruling and move on. If it was wrong, explain later and announce the rule going forward. If this results in house rules, all the better. You're much more likely to enjoy a house rule than a "condition" rule buried in the rulebook anyway. 
5. Know how to run a combat, cast a spell, and heal well. These generally are what go beyond a base mechanic like roll under percentage or roll high on d20. Understand the basics of combat (surprise initiative attack defense damage healing death) and spellcasting/magic. Don’t worry about fiddly exceptions until you’ve got some basic combats under your belt. Run some mock combats by yourself before gaming, and have basic foes before introducing more advanced foes with special abilities and spells when you're playing with characters. 
6. Have reference guides. Make some quick sheets for yourself and the players with character creation outline, combat, spell casting, equipment list (damage, armor, costs) and common monsters/NPCs. This last part is really your basic setting/campaign creation, and you can make random encounter charts off these. Then when writing adventure outlines you can just write Cutpurse or whatever, and reference it. Making these yourself is helpful because then you learn the complicated rules. But if you buy these, it's fine, just anticipate fudging and making a ruling and moving on more at the beginning.
7. Decisions have consequences. Don’t pull punches to preserve the ‘story;’ the story is what happens due to players decisions, and if you give plot immunity, it’s boring for everyone. This also preserves the unique thing of the medium of RPGs over movies, books, and video games: your imaginary characters can do anything but you have some rules to introduce the tactical and decision-making/problem solving bits that makes any game or sport fun. 
8. A description is more important than a mechanical effect. So if a character has the Carouser or Attractive talent, that is more important as a description than the mechanical effect of a bonus to certain rolls or whatever. The feat should not be driving a call for rolls, it should simply have the natural consequences. So an ‘attractive’ woman should have no problem drawing attention and distracting a drunken man, no need to roll (unless there is something interesting like a failure means learning he’s not attracted to women). 
9. Disregard "canon." To the extent you have a fictional world with a lot of backstory and 'canon,' ignore this at whim. You're doing all the work of running the game for your (ungrateful) friends, they don't get to one-up with some shit some stranger asshole made up about elves. Part of the fun for all DMs is making setting background stuff and plots, so don't get that derailed by some know-it-all player or worse yet, stranger working for a company, to tell you how to imagination-elf-game. That's some middle school shit no body should have time for. Sure, if you all agree you're sticking by Tolkien or Warhammer 'canon' and that's part of the deal or fun for your friends and you, sure, but the default should be that what the DM says rules

Folks, you're playing a roleplaying game, not a movie or videogame. Use the fact that the DM is a thinking, human being who you're playing with. You don't need to outsource your friends' imaginations to a rulebook, which is a tool, not a cage. If you're using a game with a lot of rules, the latter is always a danger moreso than rules-light games where it's intrinsic that you won't have rules or rolls for lots of situations. But if you run the rules-complicated game more like that, you can have just as much fun but without needing to make up a spot/house rule for as much stuff. Also, I enjoy different weapon/armor interactions so there. Happy dicing!

Soulstealer Sword

Write up for the chaos magic sword that has taken on a strong prominence in our weekly WFRP game. The sword was thrown into a river in Gisoreux due to warping one of the companions, and then recently retrieved by one characters prayers to the chaos gods and spending a permanent Fate point. I like a magic item with a history and personality so here goes. Much of this is secret to the players.

Mighty zweihander (SB+5, hack, damaging), graven with an open eye at the base of the blade. (1) Ignores all APs (not TB), (2) +SB damage (x2) against Large or larger foes, (3) whispers dreams of madness and bloodlust into the wielder: Cool (WP) test after slaying someone with it to avoid gaining Corruption 1 points; Cool (WP) test to not get lost in slaughter, such as the sack of a city or raid, which leads to more corruption if innocents are slain. While on such a 'bender' after failing the corruption test, wielder gains effects of 
frenzy. The soul the sword ultimately steals is the wielder's; after becoming a chaos mutant, the wielder finds his mind bound to do the bidding of Margubilex, a chaos demon prince.

The Sword was first wielded by Kislevite-turned-Chaos-champion warlord Ivar the Bloodletter 600 years ago, who sacked many towns in Ostland and Nordland before being defeated by wood elves and Imperial forces. It was said to be a gift from the Chaos Prince Margubilex the Mighty, who's 'secret name' is rumored to be inscribed in chaos runes on the underside of the crosspiece. Ivar's Norscan allies rescued the blade after the battle of the Soddenfields, and after many wars in the frozen north, the sword came to the hand of Grimdane the Black who was slain by a Grail knight Sir Ghishelm 200 years ago while raiding up river from Bordeleux. Grimdane also slew the Grail Knight, and the blade was interred with him in a Grail Chapel erected in Sir Ghishelm's memory. 

The recent turmoil unleashed by the War of the Plague between Agravaine of Aquitaine and Duke Albericht of Bordeleux allowed a beastmen warherd to sack the nearby settlement and seize the sword from Ghishelm's tomb, where it had called to the brayshaman. It then came into the Party's hands. The sword seeks to transform the wielder into a mighty warlord who can cut down the great champions of order. 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

The Perfect, Enemy of the Good

so I’ve been trying to post a few more blog entries but have been delayed by family business. My daughter of 2 is now going to bed at 9 instead of 8, losing me an hour of free time each night. I’ve decided to simply post off my phone to keep content coming; if the nifty pics I used to include suffer so be it. I don’t want my session write ups getting lost any longer and is like some review space. Expect more content but worse edited, ha!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Lamentations - House Rules for New Campaign

As part of my reconsideration of running Lamentations of the Flame Princess but properly rules-as-written, I of course had to muck it all up and add a bunch of house rules. To make the mental ability scores more applicable, I apply them to set categories of saves. The other major feature is a Casting Roll so magic-users and clerics are limited to a number of known spells, that may be swapped out or replaced with difficulty, but can cast them as long as they keep rolling well. I think this is both more fun at the table, as a wizard is worried about any time they cast a spell and yet could spam a bunch of spells. I ported over the sleep exhaustion rules, already present in the game, to make this complete.

Additionally, I added some AD&D classes: Paladins, Rangers, and Bards, and a more status-based Fighter, the Knight. The last is basically just a Fighter that eschews the starting Base Attack of +2 for a starting Melee Attack of +3. The backgrounds and idea for their status are stolen from coinsandscrolls.blogspot.com's Knight GLOG class, but made simpler for Lamentations play. Also taken from skerples at coinsandscrolls.blogspot.com is a devastating Death and Dismemberment table. It's in between instant death and a gentler table that makes 'death' no big deal.

Hope yall enjoy! I've already started running at my table, and the cleric casting rules and ranger are being playtested.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

WFRP4 - Campaign Session Reports Updates - From Bordeleaux to Dragonsbridge

Lord Agravaine, the player's nemesis

Oh boy, it has been awhile since I updated the WFRP4 session recaps. I knew it had been awhile, but not as long as it has. So there’s no way I’m going to go into the detail I did before for this post. Instead, I’ll try a bullet point list of the highlights and then maybe add back in some detail once we’re all caught up.

Map of Bordeleaux

Dramatis Personae
Boneshard, Norscan Marauder Champion (tier 3 career)
Regis de Pubiens (nomme de guerre – Don Gonada de Ciudad de … I don’t remember, some estalian identity)
Onfroy Proudhon le ‘Wretch’ – a new character who joined later.

  • As mentioned, with the aid of a chosen band of knights from Duke Alberich of Bordeleaux and four High Elf archers from the Ambassador’s guard, Boneshard and Regis plunged into the city sewers to find the Idol of Flies and stop the skaven plans.
  • After many ambushes along the way, the adventurers made it to a skaven undercity with a slavemaster’s platform in the center of a market-looking square. From the derelict state of the affairs, the town looked semi-abandoned but then the group heard a crowd from a distance. Carved into some old sewers (built by High Elves in Bordeleaux’s far past?) was a large auditorium. The characters murdered some ratmen guards and snuck closer – there was a skaven Grey Seer before the Idol, his thousands of ratmen minions chanting and squeeking. The characters unleashed mayhem, ambushing the Seer with burning oil flasks and attaining several critical hits. Regis broke his leg jumping from the rafters to grab the idol, successfully chucked to Boneshard. Regis is captured while the knights hold off the rodent throng in the sewer and Boneshard runs out carrying the Idol. They make their way to the nearest sewer manhole, several passages and rooms past, and with some lucky rolls, Boneshard escapes.

  • Boneshard makes his way through the streets as whatever skaven have amassed beneath the city boil out, frantically seeking the Idol. The Duke's men, warned by the characters, fight back, fires spreading throughout the city.
  • Regis is captured by the skaven master Grey Seer, now burned. (He spent a permanent Fate point to survive.)
  • After resting a few hours, Boneshard finds the Elven ambassador Menilthir who assists in finding Regis and teleporting Boneshard and himself below the streets. Boneshard kills the ratmen guards (and a ratogre), saving Regis
  • The group advises destroying the Idol. In a ritual, Menilthir and priestesses assist in melting it down while fighting continues.
  • Bordeleaux is saved, for now, though the rats have left behind disease and destruction. Not on the scale they could have unleashed with the Idol.
  • After doctors' care, Boneshard and Regis now seek to save the cursed duke having destroyed the Idol of Flies and so travel to Castle Aquitaine.
  • In the wilds on the journey, Boneshard receives a dream vision of a herdstone - with a large and powerful sword leaning against it. 

  • Boneshard finds the beastherd, to Regis's dismay. He defeats the minotaur champion of the beastherd and the beasts bow to him. This lets him claim the sword, which now speaks to Boneshard in his mind. Regis goes along with the situation, but works with Boneshard to find a place for the beastherd to be wiped out in their raiding and rapine of the local Bretonnian towns. After gaining much corruption, the beastherd is drawn into a village which Regis prepared to defend itself a few hours before, and Boneshard cuts down the beastman shaman. Boneshard keeps the Sword of Souls.
  • [DM note: Boneshard and Regis both gained much corruption in this episode. Boneshard's earlier acquisition of an enchanted bone necklace that summoned worms provided the pathway for the chaos sword to enter his mind and tempt him.]

  • The duo emerges from the woods and soon finds Castle Aquitaine, but besieged by Lord Agravaine's host. They manage to signal a knight riding a pegasus and make it into the castle to tell Duke Armand's council their story of the Idol and that its destruction should free the Duke from the curse. The Damsel of the Lady, Dame Helvis believes the adventurers and lifts the magical slumber from the Duke. He is indeed no longer cursed. A new plan emerges: the adventurers will take their pages from the sorcerer's grimoire, captured in Castle Greemley many moons before, and letters from Agravaine to him and the summoning a pestilent demons to the King of Bretonnia, to formally accuse Lord Agravaine of sorcery. The Duke Armand, honor bound to defend his seat and his loyal men, will stay to fight off Lord Agravaine.
Castle Aquitaine
  • [DM note: I made extensive siege rules if the adventurers had stayed, but they decided to come up with this plan of traveling to the King and I said to myself, that works.]
  • With Sir Jaspert, the pegasus rider, Boneshard and Regis travel by flying horseback to the north. Then suddenly they are attacked in the sky over the Forest of Chalons near the western mountains of the Massif Orcal by a griffon, who slays their pegasus and they crash into the forest.
actually a lammergeier getting territorial with a vulture, but too cool not to share
  • after crashing in the Forest, they encounter a traveling ne'er do well named Onfroy Proudhon le Wretch, wearing a wig on a horse. He was searching for work before getting lost in the forest after a drunken spree with a bard named Jarlyle. 
  • The now three encounter a giant stag with many antler points, which speaks in their minds as the "King of the Wood." He will grant safe passage to the hungry travelers for removing an encampment of lumberers from the woods.
  • Led to the camp of lumberjacks, Onfroy immediately accosts them at their palisade gate. They shoot arrows, yelling that they are free men not serfs of Onfroy. Armed with his Soul Stealer, Boneshard and Onfroy make short work of the 15 or so woodsmen who resist with but axes and gambesons. They take a few prisoners as slaves, and are allowed to leave the forest by the King of the Wood. They pass a troll crossing, slaying one of the river trolls.
  • [DM Note: I did not expect their aggressive posture to the woodsmen to go so smoothly for them, but if you don't roll a critical, your PC got the Frightening trait, and they have some good rolls, they can carry out quite impressive feats. They also made short work of the trolls, which I forgot to use the surprise for.]
  • The lord of the nearby manor allows the adventurers to stay as guests, as they reveal they are on an errand for the king with a known knight Sir Jaspert. They recover from the encounters in the woods and prepare to head north. They consider buying horses but do not have enough coin for Boneshard to have a horse.
Boneshard had gotten pretty ridiculous at this point
    • They come to a monastery, really a nunnery, a few days travel to the north as they head for Gisoreux. Outside it's wall, a knight awaits with a lady nun. He challenges Boneshard to single combat, as she has had a vision of an evil and corrupted Norscan who should be slain. Boneshard agrees, and is badly wounded in the charge. Onfroy decides to attack the knight, seeing things going badly. Jaspert, horrified, steps in on the side of the Lady. Boneshard slays the knight, but Onfroy is blinded by the nun's prayer. They reach an agreement not to kill the nun to be left on their way. Jaspert refuses to travel with these men any longer, and takes the nun back to the monastery shrine.

    • The party soon makes it to Gisoreux, bribing their way past the quarantine order on all southern travelers. While at an inn, they discover a man spying on them, having been paid good coin to report tales of a traveling Norscan and his companions, including an Estalian. They slay the man in an alley, then confront the innkeep if he has any knowledge. Onfroy, drunk, decides to stab the innkeep for the coin he demanded for his information not being good enough for Onfroy. All hell breaks lose, Onfroy tossing an illegal petard onto the doorframe soon after the local guards arrive. The Duke of Gisoreux's men-at-arms arrive soon thereafter. After much butchery and the use of flaming oil, the adventurers manage to escape. But they were spotted by the knight commanding the city men-at-arms.

    • They steal a boat and collapse, exhausted in the slums outside the docks. Here they are taken in by the stevedores guild. Sometime around then Boneshard has used the chaos sword enough to develop a mutation, scaly skins granting 1 armor point. He was also having dreams of travelin to the Chaos wastes and becoming a mighty champion by slaying a chaos troll. The scales marked him as chaos-touched. 
    • With her stevedores and spies in the slums of the docks, the Guildmistress Adele finds them, smiling to find Boneshard is chaos-touched. She offers them hospitality in her hall and revealed her interest in certain grimoire that spoke of opening a portal to the Realms of Chaos by orgiastic ritual. Sure enough at the full Morrslieb moon she brought Boneshard down to her secret temple to conduct a ritual with her and her cultists. During the orgy, Boneshard mutates further, growing spikes from his scales.
    Adele at the ritual

    Boneshard's spikes, approximately
    • Boneshard dons a large helmet and black cloak to hide himself in public. The companions then decide to follow up on some leads, but end be drawn to near the Hall of Justice in the main Gisoreux square. Realizing they've been tricked, they knock out the investiagotr, but everything goes sideways for the adventurers. A general "hue and cry" is raised, and all within the city are mandated to grab weapons and seize the companions. Men-at-arms are assembling in the square. While distracted, somehow Regis steals Boneshard's blade as the adventurers scatter to the four winds running away.
    • Separated, Onfroy and Regis make their way to the Stevedores Hall. Regis decides to set it afire to burn out the heretics, while Onfroy gets involved in a duel with a Hall's guard. Onfroy slays the guard, and before being found by a knight leading a continegent of men, they hide in the back alleys and escape.
    • Meanwhile, Boneshard has been trapped on a main street by a large force of men-of-arms and knights. He throws down a burning oil flask as he is hit by several arrows. Three knights charge him, and he takes a lance wound as well. Bleeding, Boneshard cuts down a knight and intimidates the others. Then a mighty knight on a black destrier, his silvered armor fine and filigreed, leaps over the flames. Boneshard challenges him to one on one combat, which the knight accepts and combat is joined. Before his lance reaches Boneshard, however, Boneshard calls upon the dark powers to smite his foes, and knight's helmet crumples and he falls from the horse. Boneshard gathers the body, dragging him from the city as the gate's guards are too frightened to stop him.
    • [DM note: through a long discussion with player badgering, I let Boneshard's player spend a permanent Fate point to kill the knight with a bunch of corruption points rather than merely save his own life - he would have died had he taken much more and was already burning Resolve to stop his bleeding critical.]
    An impressionist rendering of Boneshard v. the knight
    • That night, the companions tried to escape through the villages and hamlets ringing Gisoreux. They heard the howls and yelps of hounds and hoofbeats as the city gathered some force to find them. The companions successfully hid but abandoned the captured knight's body. They made refuge outside a village and found a deer for meat, but were soon found by some local knights, who they killed and stole their horses. Having been found, they decided to resume their quest to find the King in Couronne and resumed travels north.
    • After getting lost in the ravines and valleys of the River Oise in rainstorms, the companions find the royal road. Exhausted, beset by a pack of wolves, they make their way to the village outside the Castle Dragonsbridge, which bridges the Oise in the mountains of the Pale Sisters. Winter had fallen and so the snows had come to the mountains.
    • In a tavern in the village beneath the mountain and castle, the characters take a room for the night and stable their stolen horses. With a knock at their door, a stranger introduces himself as Ferregus. He offers the characters a deal, but also a warning: the Lord of Dragonsbridge has been tipped off and is sending men. The characters escape and make their way to Ferregus's mountainside cave. There he offers them a bargain: he needs a key from Dragonsbridge to free a slumbering dragon beneath the mountain, and in exchange will aid the adventurers in any of their goals, as he will be a powerful Dragon Master.
    what slumbers beneath the mountain?