“Looking for work? Resourceful and intrepid fellows required to assist in house move. Job involves discretion, danger, and some heavy lifting. Only honest applicants will be considered. No layabouts. Hired candidates will earn 6 silver shillings a day for their labor, plus any expenses incurred. Interested? Ask for Herr Hendrick at The Red Moon Inn in Ubersreik. Don’t delay – seek Herr Hendrick today!”
Zarkon – Wizard’s Apprentice.
Caius – Pit Fighter
Hektor – Burglar
Rolfe – Bodyguard
Kraft – Rustler
Nim – Hypnotist
The candidates met Herr Hendrick and were hired with minimal questions about the job. The real job, he told them, was to investigate the odd manner of the staff at his lord’s new lodge in the forest. Well, the lodge isn’t new, but Lord Aschaffenberg’s arrival is. The lord wants to be sure the staff isn’t fomenting rebellion. If they are, he wants proof before involving the authorities.
They did notice that Hendrick was sporting a bandage on his left hand and asked about that. It seems the lodge suffered an attack from Chaos Beastmen about a week ago and many were injured defending the lodge. Further payment was offered if the candidates’ lives were put in danger, but Hendrick didn’t expect further trouble.
Trouble started while traveling to the lodge. Once in the forest, it was soon apparent the wagons were being shadowed. Everyone was on high alert, but there was nothing they could do but watch until the beastmen attacked outside the lodge gates.
The beastmen acted strange, and seemed to want the lodge guard to open the gate more than they wanted to hurt those on the wagons. Those inside, on the other hand, refused to open the gates while a number of beastmen waited outside. Once a number of the beasts were slain, the rest retreated back into the forest…with the noise of more creatures braying and sounding horns from the cover of the trees.
The wall surrounding the lodge looked quite rundown, and they found the grounds inside to be much the same. The lawn and gardens were much overgrown. Nobody came from the carriage house to take care of the hired wagon, either. Hendrick eventually convinced the groom to come from the stables to take care of the horses. The wagon driver elected to stay with the wagon.
Hendrick was about to take the party into the house to meet the lord, when Aschaffenberg came out and trod through the grass to meet them outside. He invited them to grab some crates and follow him inside. On the way in, a few of them could tell they were being watched from an upper window. Rolfe was able to see a slightly built man in his 30’s with bandages wrapped around his head and his upper arm.
In his private quarters, the lord reinforced the mission and ostensibly gave them the night off after carting his belongings. He expected a report after dinner. He told them the dinner options were good or venison. He recommended the venison, and most of the party agreed to try it.
The characters were shown where they would be sleeping, and then immediately proceeded to split up. Kraft went to the stables to take care of her horses. Caius headed to the Hospice to have his wound looked at. The rest of the party decided to explore the grounds outside of the house.
In the stables, Kraft found a friendly coachman who volunteered to show her around the grounds. The second coachman had been wounded the previous week and looked to have a bum knee. It seems the medicine for the pain was also making him a bit drowsy. Finally, the groom was a complete layabout, who only kept the lord’s coach and horses and nothing else in the stables. He complained of always feeling tired and being kept up at night by the noises in the forest. His eyes were red, and he seemed to have trouble concentrating. The first coachman chalked it up to the youth being straight-up lazy.
In the hospice, Caius was welcomed by a blind priestess of Sigmar. She was assisting the doctor as he made his rounds. The doctor was able to help Caius by means of a poultice together with a draught of medication. The medication was a bit pungent, and the doctor in turned smelled strongly of the herbs used in its creation. After tending Caius, the doctor dismissed him to return to the heavily wounded people on his cots. Besides those two on the cots, there was a third human who hardly looked wounded and a dwarf who often muttered mad ramblings. The priestess told Ciaus the dwarf had taken a serious blow to the skull during the beastman raid.
Rolfe led the others to a ramshackle shrine out on the grounds. There was barely anything inside but a single candle and a triptych of Sigmar’s hammer, Ghal Maraz, a twin-tailed comet, and a skull with a wreath. The triptych was quite dirty with neglect. As a devout Simarite, Rolfe decided it needed to be cleaned up. He headed to the Garden Shed with Zarkon to look for cleaning supplies. Nim decided to check out the forge.
Hektor and Caius left the shrine to investigate the Gatehouse. They found the captain of the guard and 4 guardsmen. The captain congratulated them on handling the beastmen outside. Two of the guards were banged up from the previous week’s beastman encounter. They were able to get a little more information out of the captain of the guard regarding the lodge and its inhabitants. However, the captain admitted that they spend the majority of their time outside the lodge itself, and the two may get better answers to questions from the lord’s assistant Hendrick or the lodge’s steward, Gregor Piersson.
Finishing in the stables, Kraft proceeded to the hospice to have her leg wound treated. The doctor treated her exactly as he had treated Caius. Kraft also talked for a bit with the less-injured looking man sitting on a cot. He introduced himself as Bertoldt and said he was the gardener. He complained of trouble with his knee, his back, and his shoulder. He asked if she knew of any jobs for a gardener in Ubersreik. Again, the dwarf’s wild ramblings echoed through the house. The priestess said the dwarf used to be the blacksmith.
At the forge, Nim verified that the work area was set up at dwarf height. He decided to explore a bit more thoroughly and found an empty wooden case, perfectly fitted for the shape of a warhammer. The case was located behind an armor rack, and the lock to the case had been broken. Remembering the hammer in the triptych, and also being a devout Sigmarite, Nim decided the Warhammer on display in the shrine looked more like the shape from the wooden case than it did Sigmar’s famous hammer. He returned to the shrine to share this information.
From the gatehouse, Hektor next decided to investigate inside. He stopped by on the way to the shine, and Nim joined him. They found some accounting ledgers in the study. From there, they decided to head to the library.
Kraft had finally decided to meet up with the rest of the party outside in the yard. On her way out, she met a servant who was tidying up in the hallway. He reported that he was very busy, as they were down a number of the help.
Shortly after joining the party outside, both Kraft and Caius began to feel rather tired. They decided to take a quick repose in the long grass outside the front door, so as not to miss the call to dinner.
In the library, Hektor and Nim found a large man reading a book near a window. The man quickly closed the book, and tucked away the drawings he was making when they arrived, but not before Hektor noticed some strange bestial shapes on the papers he tucked away. Hektor engaged the man in conversation and found out he was the librarian…and a snobby one. Nim scanned the room while the other two conversed. He found two starting works amongst the other mundane books: a collection of sheafs titled A Disquieting Proposal and a play titled Strange Flowers. He sandwiched those books between two histories and asked about borrowing some reading material for the night. The librarian dismissively agreed.
Just then, a maid popped into the library to tell them that dinner was ready. As the librarian got up from his seat, he unknowingly dropped a small piece of paper and headed out of the library to show Hektor and Nim to the great hall.
Rolfe and Zarkon were at the shrine when the call to dinner came. They saw the captain of the guard, the wagoneer from Ubersreik, and a man from the kennels they hadn’t met all head inside for dinner. The two chatted up the kennel master on the way in. He indicated he had 3 large dogs, and he was preparing them for defense against beastman attack.
Kraft and Caius had awakened by the time the rest of the group walked by, and entered the lodge with them.
Exiting the library, Hektor grabbed the slip of paper the librarian had dropped. He had Nim read it to him: “Goose is good.”
Most of the lodge inhabitants were seated at the table, except those who were serving dinner. Of the serving staff, two were quite somnolent. There was soup and goose spilled in the course of the dinner. The steward of the lodge seemed quite upset, upbraiding the sleepy staff in front of everyone. Nim used these distractions to try to discretely warn his companions to order the goose. Lord Aschaffenberg invited the party to his rooms after dinner to discuss their continued hire.
Shortly after the meat course was served, a terrible spate of barking drew the kennel-master away from the table. He hadn’t been able to try his venison.
On the other hand, Rolfe had gotten a great serving of venison, as had everyone except the doctor, one of the patients, and the librarian. Others of the party merely made a show of eating the venison, without putting any in their mouths.
By dessert, many at the table were feeling quite sleepy, as a matter of fact everyone that had eaten venison. For the party members, this meant Rolfe. The goose-eating staff animatedly discussed politics and astronomy while the staff cleaned up.
Aschaffenberg wearily led the party members upstairs for their interview. Hektor slowly followed, listening to the goose-eaters worry about more beastmen attacks. Zarkon slipped off to check out the library.
Zarkon noticed nothing further out of place in the library, and joined up with Hektor to slip into the master bedroom before the door closed.
Aschaffenberg started to ask about their investigation, but it was quickly apparent he was too tired to pay any attention. He dismissed them after a single question, which they were not even sure he heard the answer to. The Lord was falling asleep sitting on the edge of the bed as they left.
Out in the hall, the doctor appeared, suddenly taking an interest in the party. He made neutral small talk, and offered to take the less sleepy party members out to show them his herb collection. Rolfe, Kraft, and Caius headed to bed.
In the garden, the doctor rambled on about his herbal painkillers and his plan to seed the lawn with an anti-beastman plant (Beastbane). He carried on until Zarkon and Hektor’s sixth senses felt something creeping behind the east side of the wall. Hektor and Nim moved that way to investigate. Zarkon headed for the relative safety of the forge. The doctor disappeared.
Hektor could hear some bestial grunts coming from the other side of the wall. Nim decided to fetch the guard, while Hektor climbed a tower to get a better look. On the way to the guardhouse, Nim met the friendly coachman heading toward the lodge carrying a large sack. Nim asked the coachman to warn the people inside.
Nim returned to the east wall with a couple of the off-duty guards. Hektor had positively identified beastmen. Some were stacking wood (for climbing over the wall?). Another was heading from the forest with a lit torch (for burning the stacked wood?). One guard drew weapons, while the other summoned help from the guardhouse and the kennels. Nim decided to join Zarkon in the forge.
The guard took over the tower, and started shooting at beastmen. The dogs barked and patrolled inside the wall. There was no reaction from inside the house. Hektor decided to investigate.
Inside, all was quiet. Neither the doctor nor the coachmen seemed successful rousing anyone. Hektor went upstairs to wake the sleepy half of his party.
Everyone was back down the stairs and getting ready to head outside to defend against beastmen, when someone heard a noise from down the hall. It was coming from a room nobody had explored yet. The party split further, Rolfe and Kraft to the room with the noise, while Hektor and Caius went to defend the Lord’s chambers from possible assassination.
Kraft and Rolfe dashed into a sitting room with a nightmarish scene. A number of robed staff members surrounded the unlit fireplace, while the lodge’s steward ducked inside. The steward had removed his head wrap to reveal a large, mutated eyeball. He was holding a frame-less painting, glowing otherworldly green. Here, finally, was proof of treacherous activity. Kraft and Rolfe fought to get to the fireplace, but the robed staff members impeded them. The steward took the painting up a ladder in the back of the fireplace.
Hektor and Caius were in the master bedroom, watching the lord of the manor…sound asleep in his clothing on top of the covers. However, it just so happened that the chimney ran up through the master bedroom, which had a fireplace of its own. Hektor and Caius got a unmistakable look at the mutated steward and the glowing painting. Caius fell back in terror.
Hektor stabbed at the steward as best he could in the small confines of the fireplace. He was able to wound the mutant, but he was not able to halt the steward’s continued climb to the roof. Hektor did decide to follow the steward up, at safe-from-kicking distance. On the roof, he continued his attacks, varying between knife and body-checking with little success.
From the forge, Nim and Zarkon could make out the two silhouettes on the roof. Nim circled the lodge to find a way up from the outside. Zarkon started throwing rocks. The painting glowed brighter and started bubbling otherworldly goo in the light of the two moons.
Nim felt the terror of the painting when he reached the top of the roof. But he was a distraction (him and some hurled stones) for Hektor to deliver a fatal stab to the lodge steward. The painting fell to the roof, but did not stop its activity.
Hektor scooped up the painting (taking an insanity point for his troubles) and headed back down the chimney. He needed some way to destroy it. In the sitting room, Rolfe and Kraft had managed to hold their own against the defending cultists. Rolfe took one last sucker-punch to the gut as Hektor emerged from the fireplace. He had the painting. The cultists stopped and stepped back. One of them mentioned that “the demon is coming.” The 3 party members in the room tried to burn the painting, with no success.
Fifteen minutes after first finding the robed cultists and the painting, Rolfe remembered the warhammer in the shrine of Sigmar. As a last ditch effort, he retrieved the hammer and used it to destroy the painting. The hammer must have had some magical properties to counteract that of the painting!
The steward, the cook, the doctor, the librarian, and the gardener were all dead. The rest of the staff/cultists were restrained to be turned over to the authorities. When Lord Aschaffenberg awoke, he praised the party for saving the lodge, doubly once a demon was mentioned. He paid them all hazard pay and promised to write them letters of recommendation in Ubersreik, should the party want them.
Here are some lessons I learned running a third edition Warhammer adventure, Eye For an Eye, using first edition rules:
Third edition combat does not translate well into first edition combat. If I had legitimately attacked with all of the beastmen at the beginning, the game would have ended there. Also, the players weren’t completely sold on the beastmen attacking in an attempt to get the gate open instead of in an attempt to kill. If I had fewer beastmen, I might have been able to sell it better.
I really need to have the NPCs down better. Some didn’t get portrayed exactly as they should, and it might have kept the group from getting the clues they needed. I think I did OK with the doctor, and maybe Sister Sonja. I could have done better with the coachmen and the servants.
There was no reason for the party to stick together, and it showed. We’re not quite sure, in the end, that it was a bad thing. I feel I was able to keep the pacing going, and the others were interested even when they weren’t in the spotlight. They all needed to solve the mystery, and, theoretically, they would all share information when back together. This kept them alert when it wasn’t their turn…for the most part. Then there was the roaming attentions of those playing online….
The adventure gives away a lot of experience points. It’s good because the campaign I want to run suggests the party has some advances, but I usually run a much slower rate of progress. Some players are choosing advanced careers after one adventure. I’d definitely give away less experience next time: probably 100 per sitting, with a 100 experience bonus if they stop the cultists (with an expectation of the adventure taking 2 sittings like it did this time.)
I told the players that I wouldn’t be miserly, but there’s not a lot of money to be had in this adventure. We’re going to have to work on trappings some other way. I’m also going to double check third edition money vs first edition money. I did that a lot before the game, but there’s one other aspect I want to double check. Especially since the next adventure/campaign doesn’t seem to give out monetary rewards either.
I have another box set to run them through next, but the player who ended up with the magical Warhammer really wants to return it to the dwarves. I might have to go off book already! (Edit: I discussed this with another GM who’s not playing in this game, and we found another way to achieve this task without deviating from the next adventure. Hooray for friends!)
I’d be happy to answer any questions!