The Baron Drachenheim and His *DELETED* Ladies.

Chapter 8: Ever-Changing Variables
Organizing the Shade & journey into the Grotto

Thean Calendar       1684, Secundus 17, Terdi


[PLACEHOLDER]

  • Eilísh's chat w/ Vasya; Lucia & Lorenz's chat w/ Tragüe
  • Eilísh's recruiting incident & training
  • Lorenz's dead drop for Die Kreutzritter
  • Meeting w/ citizens

    • 3-head council formed

1684, Secundus 18, Guerdi

  • Journey into the Grotto

    • Battle w/ the Dracheneisen Beast
    • Discovery of new Dracheneisen mine
    • Hauled Stapp's treasure out of Grotto
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Chapter 7: Fleischwulf May Be Friendly, but he DOES Still Steal Souls You Know...
Acquisition of the second key.

Thean Calendar       1684, Secundus 10, Terdi


[PLACEHOLDER]

  • Got back to manor; saw note from Lord E. & Lorenz's sister's locket
  • Slept through the morning; Lucia recovered faster w/ magic bread candle
  • Planned reclamation of the Shade & prepped for expedition to Habermann estate

1684, Secundus 11, Guerdi

  • Travelled 2 days to Heilgrund königreich

1684, Secundus 13, Voltadi

  • Stopped in shantytown​​​​​​​ & chatted with bartender about curses, Eisen, etc…
  • Slept in hayloft

​​​​​​​1684, Secundus 14, Soldi

  • ​​​​​​​Searched Habermann estate
  • Fought kobolds
  • Confronted Fleischwulf
  • converted kobolds
  • hired Hans the farmer
  • 2 days travel back to Freiburg

1684, Secundus 16, Amordi

  • Talked to concerned citizens; arranged meeting for tomorrow night with neighborhood heads
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Chapter 6: Never Insult an Unseelie...
Acquisition of the first key.

Thean Calendar       1684, Secundus 9, Amordi


[PLACEHOLDER]

  • Osk's debrief
  • Carl's internship
  • Lucia invesitages the church
  • Heroes break into church
  • Confrontation w/ Tylwyth Teg

1684, Secundus 10, Terdi

[PLACEHOLDER]

  • Got back to manor; saw note from Lord E. & Lorenz's sister's locket
View
Chapter 5: The Cast of NPC's Doubles in One Session!
An Improvised Play at Politics...

Thean Calendar     1684, Secundus 8, Veldi

Our Heroes wake and can think of nothing else than the ball Logan Sieger invited them to tonight.   Armin recommends a same-day tailor on the other side of town and they are off to acquire some proper attire worthy of a noble engagement.  On the way Eilísh's eye catches a rocky shoreline where the local children (street urchins and parented children alike) play and swim in the river.  She sees a girl swimming faster than all the others.  Too fast… Inhumanely fast…  Just as Eilísh glances in her direction, the young girl stops, stands up out of the water, and turns to stare back directly at Eilísh.  Their eyes meet for a moment, then the girl jumps back in the water and swims out of sight.

Lucia, Eilísh, and Lorenz are fitted at the tailor for "tactical" noblewear, and Lucia springs for a few additional sets of suitable clothes for everyone since they are still wearing the only clothng they had on the island.

The Heroes split up for the rest of the day; Lucia orders some beds worthy of a Manor for everyone (including Armin!) using her seemingly endless trickle of Wealth.  Lorenz visits his guild hall and speaks with his Master, Wencill Von Brahms.  Eilísh checks in with the Avalon embassy and registers as a visitor to Freiburg with the immigration office.  She sees no other notable Avalon names currently in town.  She then patrols through Freiburg and the Shade, again meeting eyes with the young swimming girl before she leaves Eilísh's sight.

Our Heroes arrive at the ball and are announced by the herald: "Lorenz Volkers Hölzenschilde The Baron of Drachenheim, Lady Lucia de Rodrigo, and Lady Eilísh MhicCuirc!"  They are met by Wilma Proust the city administrator and see a room FULL of interesting characters; all the movers & shakers of Freiburg:

  • Cezary Yevgienie: Cezary has confided in Lucia that he is a Losejas; a Sarmatin Sorcerer who unwillingly has been tethered to a personal demon that grants him supernatural abilities through bargains they make with each other.  Cezary's new play has come from a brilliance granted to him by his deman, or Dievas.  However, his Dievas has plans to sabotage the opening night, voiding their bargain and giving the Demon great power over Cezary.  Lucia has come up with a plan to ingratiate the Heroes into the play and foil the dastardly plans mid-performance!
  • Dietrich Proust: Lucia flirted her way into possibly having Dietrich forge a long dagger for her, which technically would not be breaking his agreement with the Order since it isn’t a sword.
  • Kelby Loring: Eilísh was able to glean that Loring has, on occasion, ventured out into the streets of Freiburg when not on watch and doled out his own brand of severe justice to any law-breakers he has come across.
  • Logan Gottschalk Sieger
  • Redmund Erhart: He introduced himself to Lorenz at the ball and confirmed his sleazy reputation.  He seemed to be very knowledgeable about the Heroes' goings-on since arriving in the city.
  • Tibold Dedrick: Tibold appeared to be the life of the party at the Freiburg ball, entertaining many nobles with tales of his travels and adventures to exotic parts of the world.
  • Vasya Wilhelm: Vasya is one of the good apples in the bad batch that is the Freiburg Guard. With corruption and general malaise running rampant, he does what he can to keep law & order. Despite that he is committed to upholding honest justice in any way possible.  Eilísh has an open invitation to come and advise Vasya’s guard in the training yards.
  • Wencill Von Brahms: Lucia and Wencill seemed to hit it off at the ball, much to Lorenz’s dismay. There was ample flirting and dancing done.

 

During the night while Lorenz was trying his damndest to be anti-social, he caught a shadowy figure down a deserted hallway.  Upon investigation the completely soused individual turned out to be none other than Eisenfürst Nicklaus Trägue!  Trägue was thoroughly trashed, but seemed relatively coherent and engaged Lorenz in a philosophical discussion debating the vagueries of man's nature and tendency to want to be goverend.  In the end, Trägue came to some internal judgement of Lorenz, though what that judgment was is not quite clear.  Lorenz probably also came to some new conclusion about his Eisenfürst.

At the end of the night the Heroes consider the ball a success considering the wealth of new information and contacts they have access to now (even though Lorenz and Eilísh didn't get to fight anyone).


1684, Secundus 9, Amordi

The next morning, Lucia convinces Eilísh and (finally at great length) Lorenz of her plan to help Cezary battle his Dievas.  With Lorenz thoroughly exhausted and beaten, his face swimming in his oatmeal, he decides to take another look for the elusive Osk and visits the Vesten bar The Drachen Wing.  His longshot pays off and her spots her, though she also spots him and immediately runs off.  After a harrowing chase through the city he catches her and is able to convince her he has no designs upon revenge. They are currently heading back to the Manor so Lorenz can… “debrief” Osk on her situation.

View
Chapter 4: Lorenz Will NEVER See Osk Again...
Discovering Drachenheim lineage & ending the Mad Wolves

Picking up immediately where Chapter 3 ended.


Thean Calendar     1684, Secundus 7, Soldi

  • After a short while searching the library Lucia finds a book that displays that same seal on the spine.  The book turns out to be a ledger of the Manor’s early finances during its original owner, Lord Walther Jens Stapp.  The ledger itself appears rather mundane, the entries appear to consist of nothing more than the daily expenses of living in a Manor: foodstuffs, maintenance, staff wages, etc…

 

  •  OPPORTUNITY (Examine the pages & binding of the ledger):  A careful check reveals the ledger was constructed using an outdated form of binding in which every two pages are sewn together.  Delicately pulling the sewing string out from one set of pages reveals an entirely different book hidden inside.  At first glance it seems to be the personal diary of Lord Stapp.

 

As the heroes carefully dissect the diary and disseminate information, the following passages jump out to them:

The Heroes discovered there is an unknown great and terrible treasure behind the Dracheneisen door.  Something that Stapp believed would tear the already fragile country of Eisen apart.

Lead the heroes to the records office at City Hall, have Armin suggest it if needed.  Once there, they meet Logan Sieger, Trage’s scribe.  Logan is eager to help the heroes, having heard of their exploits against the Mad Wolves.  “Greetings, you… You are Baron Drachenheim and his lovely ladies, are you not?” … … “Ahh, of course how rude of me, encouraging the silly rumors that spread throughout the city.  However, it is true you have gone up against the Mad Wolves on several occasions, yes?  It seems you are fast becoming folk heroes in the Shade.  What brings you to the Records Office?”  Logan is quick to take the heroes to the section of the office where they can find documents on the Stapp family lineage.

The GM and the campaign book both obliviously overlooked the fact that the players were given a clue that lead them right to the last document, bypassing the trail of clues left at the records office.

Simultaneously Lucia heads to the Cathedral to speak with Monsignor Weissels about the location of one of the keys.  She finds the Monsignor speaking to a few familiar faces: Father Weissels seems to be counseling a few lost souls.  He is pacing back and forth, speaking in tones that are little more than indiscernible sounds this far away.  Sitting and apparently listening intently are Freidrich the boxer, the Mad Wolf you let live and sentenced to religious penance, and a familiar woman with long golden hair tied back into a single braid.

Father Weissels will assume Lucia is an Inquisition agent come to keep tabs on him and his “re-education” of Frieburg citizenry.  If not corrected Monsignor Weissels will speak freely about the following subjects:

  • He knows the Inquisition is operating in Frieburg to undermine the Vaticine Church, but not specific names or locations.
  • He was approached by the Inquisition about 3 months ago and coerced into subtly introducing Inq. doctrine into his sermons.  He complies for fear of his Church and his charges.  Weissels is a weak man but he does not want to see his acolytes or the good people of Frieburg hurt.
  • The Monsignor does have a way of potentially contacting the Inq. and getting someone to come to him, however he is much too cowardly to do that without a LOT of encouragement.

Lucia is able to roll with the Monsignor's assumption and convince him to contact the Inquisition.  He says he will do so, however they will arrive on their own time and he can't say when exactly that will be.  The best Lucia can do is have one of his acolytes run to the Manor and warn Lucia as soon as they show up.

Lucia also inquires about entrance to the crypt (although she does not mention WHY she wants entrance) and Weissels gets very nervous, saying the crypt door is thrice-locked and there are beasts inhabiting the lower levels of the Cathedral.  He forbids Lucia from entering for fear of releasing them, and the two have a discussion on how many locks are enough to secure the door…


Once the Heroes regroup at the Manor, they attempt to decide on their next course of action.  They are eager to retrieve the key from Leopold's estate, however with the Mad Wolves still on the hunt, they are nervous leaving the Manor and Armin unguarded for several days.  Lorenz tries to hire some duelists from the Chapterhouse to watch over his house, but they apparently don't operate that way.

Fed up with the Mad Wolves constant interference in the Heroes' plans, they decide to just end it once and for all.  Under the cover of night they descend upon the Abandoned Carriage House in the Green, being used as the base of operations for the Wolves.  Overhearing a power struggle inside, Lucia, Lorenz, and Eilísh surround the building and cover all three entrances.  They take the gang by surprise and during a short and unproductive dialogue between Lorenz and their leader, Felix du Paix, Lucia is able to convince some of the gang to retreat and try to live better lives.  The ensuing battle is brutal on both sides, with Lucia almost succumbing to her Wounds but in the end Felix is defeated and the two leiutenants our Heroes had met previously, Axel and Wilhelm, are allowed to live and escape to one of Lucia's church safehouses in a nearby village.

The next morning the town finds Felix strung up, hanging from the prominent Tuttenberg Bridge with the message "Bad Wolfie".  The Heroes are quickly becoming known as "The Shade's Salvation".

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Chapter 3: All The Previous Baron Drachenheims Are Deadbeat Douchebags...
Ending the Nightbringer & starting the main campaign!

                    Thean Calendar             1684, Secundus 2, Amordi

Picking up immediately where Chapter 2 ended…

The drag marks on the ground end several blocks away in front of a large barred pipe.  The bars have been twisted and bent, and something has been dragged through them up the pipe; apparently subtlety was no longer required.

  • OPPORTUNITY (Side Passage): You see a short side-passage before the bars and something catches your eye.  You move your light source over to get a better view and discover a body.  He appears to be a young man, maybe 25, with a mail bag over his shoulder; torn envelopes and letters litter the alcove.  You can see no wounds of any kind on his person, however what strikes you is his face.  It appears to be frozen in a horrible, terrified rictus.  His skin is also blue-black and icy to the touch.

    • OPPORTUNITY (Letters): After a thorough search and quick read of the letters not torn to shreds or soaked through with detritus, you find one with another clue to this mystery.

The Nightbringer currently lurks in a stone cellar at the end of the pipe, pondering its stolen illuminator and deciding how best to dispose of it.  Rubble chokes the entryway on the far wall, rendering it impassable (although the Nightbringer can slip through easily).  The illuminator sits in the center of the cellar, an unlit candle in its holder (Bottenfeld left it and the creature did not think to remove it).

Once confronted, the Nightbringer fights with all of its might to defeat the Heroes.  If that’s not possible, it will do whatever it can to destroy the invention before they manage to drive it off.  If one of the Heroes thinks to ignite the candle in the machine, the entire cellar blazes with light (considered bonfire strength).  The Nightbringer howls in obvious pain as beams from the numerous mirrors pierce its body.  It flashes past the Heroes through the nearest exit, its body now torn and tattered.  Cries of pain echo after it for some time.

If its path is blocked (i.e., a Hero with a light source is positioned both in front of the pipe and the rubble-strewn entrance), the Nightbringer writhes horribly in the center of the room as the light seeps into its essence.  It will try to knock any light source out of the blocking Heroes’ hands, but will otherwise be unable to inflict any harm.  If it remains in the chamber for more than 3 rounds, it collapses into a puddle of shadows before slowly dissolving into nothing.

Returning Bottenfeld’s notebook to the Invisible College rewards 3 favor, plus an additional 3 favor if the illuminator is intact and its location given.  Reporting the existence & information about the Nightbringer to Die Kreuzritter nets 2 favor, plus an additional 2 favor if the creature was destroyed.


1684, Secundus 3, Terdi

The Heroes deliberate for awhile to decide the best course of action on how to get the Illuminator out of this cellar.  Lucia ends up spending the night and subsequent day alone in the cellar, in the dark, guarding the device while Lorenz and Eilísh return to the Manor to recover from their wounds with the Eisen shadow monster and at nightfall they grab their fishing boat, The Stolen Kiss, and sail down the Rothstrom as close to the abandoned house over the cellar as possible.  They smuggle the invention up out of the house and take it to Lucia's contact at the Bookstore.


1684, Secundus 7, Soldi

After a few days rest to recover from their battle with the Nightbringer…

Lorenz arranges a meeting with his Die Kreutzritter contact who comes to the manor to speak with him.  The sever lack of furniture in the receiving room (and the Manor overall) prompts Lucia to spend some of her hard-earned Wealth and sends Armin out to get a few chairs, plus one for herself for the Library.  Lorenz gets some reputation for reporting the death of the Nightbringer and turning in a small piece of the claw he found.

Before the Heroes have a chance to decide their next course of action in the city, the large door knocker at your front door pounds and the sound echoes throughout the empty Manor.  Armin is already opening and answering the door and returns to the dining room a moment later.  “Master, there is… a… umm… at the door.  Well, he gave me this.”  And holds out his outstretched hand… …At the door is a well-dressed, well groomed gentleman with a disarming smile.“Good morning Lord and Ladies, I heard rumor that a new Baron or Baroness Drachenheim was named and has recently arrived in town.Might that be one of you?”Lorenz introduces himself.“Ahh, yes, a pleasure.  I believe then, this needs to be delivered to you, sir.”

Julias P. Thornton is a barrister here to collect on a 20,000G loan taken out by the previous Baron Drachenheim, Reinhardt Damask.Mr. Thornton is a cheerful individual, and feels somewhat embarrassed bringing this matter to a new Baron, but he must collect the money nonetheless, it is his job.

  • OPPORTUNITY (Examine the loan): The loan is genuine, taken out by Lord Damask about 6 months ago, presumably once he had sold off whatever there was left of value in the Manor.  All the paperwork is in order and according to the terms of the loan Lorenz, being the new official Baron Drachenheim, is responsible for this debt.
  • OPPORTUNITY (Sweet talk Mr. Thornton): “Hmm… I see you truly knew nothing of this debt.  I want to be fair, so I’ll give you a 30-day extension to raise the money.  I realize this is a hardship for you, but I simply cannot afford to lose much more time, and technically you ARE leagally liable for it.  If you cannot pay back this loan in one month’s time, I shall be forced to bring this matter to the courts.  I am truly sorry to bring this burden upon you.”

 

  • Give the heroes some time to fret about this development.  Once they start to feel a bit more secure, but before they run off to carry out one of their schemes, there is another knock at the door.  Armin gives the party a worried look and goes to answer it.  He returns, whitefaced, with another card in his hand.

At the door is another man, this one wearing a noticeably more dour expression.  “Hershel Hobbs, I am here to collect a debt owed to me by the Baron Drachenheim.”  Hershel is all business and has no intention of giving Lorenz an extension.  Any attempt at negotiating will only annoy him.  He has been waiting a long time to collect.

  • OPPORTUNITY (Cross-reference this loan with Mr. Thornton’s): Unfortunatley this loan appears genuine as well, and is for even more money (35,000G), however a few things do stand out.  This loan was NOT taken out by Lord Damask, but a previous Baron Drachenheim, one Lord Anselm Karavaccio over 5 years ago.  The paperwork here suggests the debt has remained buried in legalities all this time.  The chances of both of these loans being brought to your doorstep in the same morning are… remote.
  • OPPORTUNITY (Find a legal loophole – requires scholarship): Looking over the paperwork you are able to discover a small loophole that may buy you some time since Mr. Hobbs does not seem inclined to play quite as nicely as Mr. Thornton.  This loan includes a clause buried deep in the documents that states if the debt is overdue for more than one year and has changed owners in that time the new owner of the debt can file a formal grievance with the debtor and call for a full review of the loan documents.  You doubt the debt will be forgiven, but that should at least buy you some time to figure out a plan.

 

  • Let the heroes fret for a few moments, hopefully they are starting to panic and considering drastic measures.  At this point, the sounds of an argument can be heard at the front door.  Armin lets out an exasperated “Oh dear!” and goes to answer it once more.  He returns chasing two men and a woman into the room, they all seem to be arguing with each other AND Armin simultaneously.  Once everyone quiets down enough to sort out the details, it appears that all told Baron Drachenheim owes 5 different debtors for loans taken out over the course of 2 decades for a grand total of 150,000G.  All the contracts are legitimate and all the debtors were apparently told about your new title as soon as you got to town.  The arguing reaches a fever pitch, each barrister fighting for who gets to be repaid first.  Just as they all start to come to the agreement of taking this matter to the courts, Armin speaks up from the corner.  “Please sirs, the Baron and his friends are good people.  If I sign a guarantee that the debts will be paid will you give us some time to come up with the money?  I am well-known around Freiburg and I will happily vouch for my new Master.”  The debtors fall silent at this remark and consider the offer.  Armin is indeed an institution in this neighborhood and they seem to be satisfied with that arrangement.  Before any of you can object Armin has signed each debt and tied his fate to yours.  With some final grumbling your guests leave the Manor and you are left alone to ponder just what has befallen you.

 

  • OPPORTUNITY (Go over all these loans with a fine-tooth comb):  You three take all your new reading material into the library and pour over it for a few hours.  You don’t see any way out of this responsibility other than to repay the loans.  The only thing that strikes an odd chord is one of the signatures; Redmund Earhart was present and a witness to all 5 loans at the times of their signings.

 

  • IF THE HEROES ASK ARMIN ABOUT REDMUND EARHART: “Oh, he is a very powerful man in Freiburg.  He owns many of the resident buildings across several districts.  I suppose it is a bit odd that he signed all of these loans, however it certainly is not out of the realm of possibility.  If your intentions are to question Mr. Earhart about these loans, please consider doing so with discretion.  He has been an established name in the city for a long time and is very influential.  He will not be intimidated by newcomers such as yourselves so easily, and he has the power to make life difficult for you, if he sees you as a threat.”

 

  • Once again before you have a chance to actually put a plan into motion, almost as if on cue, you all hear an enormous CRASH come from the cellar and you feel the foundation of the Manor tremble.  As you head downstairs to investigate the first thing you see is the floor of the basement is currently under about a foot of water.  It turns out cellar wall nearest the river has partially collapsed, and more water is seeping in gradually.  If the heroes wish, they can spend some time and effort patching up the hole as best they can, and they will at least prevent any further collapse until they get a professional to do a more permanent job.

 

  • OPPORTUNITY (Investigate the foundation): Upon closer inspection it appears the foundation is not in any immediate danger from collapse, however it would be best to have someone make professional repairs as soon as possible.  One more development makes itself known during the assessment; as you make your way through the basement, on the North wall furthest from the damage you detect an area that seems to have been re-plastered.  The work was not recent by any stretch of the word, in fact the repairs appear to have been done so long ago that the overall age of the house makes it seem nearly imperceptible to the rest of the walls.  It is obviously door shaped…

 

  • Breaking away the plaster reveals a door whose frame is anchored directly into the bedrock.  It stands about 6 feet high, 3 feet wide, and is mostly unadorned except for a single seal depicting a fox leaping over a sleeping hound.  Two keyholes can also be seen, one above the seal and one below.

 

  • OPPORTUNITY (Investigate the door – Lorenz only):  The door seems to have a strange glimmer you know you’ve seen before.  That metal…  The door, its hinges, and its frame are made entirely out of Dracheneisen!

OPPORTUNITY (Remember something – Lucia only):  That seal of the fox and the hound.  You know you’ve seen it somewhere before…  Perhaps while you were exploring the multitude of literature in the library?

The game session ended here.

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Chapter 2: Split The Party On The Second Night? Why Not!?
City exploration & beginning the first actual side-quest!

Thean Calendar                                1684, Secundus 2, Amordi


Lorenz and Lucia decide to go explore their own niches in the city while Eilìsh continues work on the training ground until a more appropriate hour; happy hour.

Lucia heads off to the largest and most beautiful church in Freiburg: The Heart of the Drachen Cathedral

Lucia is immediately struck by the beauty of the cathedral; the elegant stained glass windows depicting scenes straight out of The Books of the Prophets, the large, bleached bones of an ancient Drachen form the flowing, natural contours of this grand structure, it seems even the patrons sitting in the pews attending the mid-day sermon could be painted as an ideal representation of the faithful.  There is a service currently in progress, and the church seems fairly full.There is a service currently in progress, and the church seems fairly full.

  • OPPORTUNITY (Listen to the sermon): Once you are able to set the majesty of the cathedral aside for a moment and the actual words of Monsignor Weissels register with your brain, the stark contrast is almost jarring to your senses.  The words coming from the man in the pulpit technically seem to be a Vaticine church service, however he is speaking extremely ineloquently.  His tone, his incessant stuttering, even his mannerisms seem hysterical and off-putting.  He is a squat man, somewhere in his late sixties you guess, balding and with beads of sweat running down his face.


    • OPPORTUNITY (REALLY listen to the sermon): As you listen for a few more minutes something strikes you; just as a hunch, but it sends shivers up your spine nonetheless.  This sermon doesn’t blatantly come out and flaunt it, but you could swear there are subtle undertones of Inquisition doctrine in these words.  The Monsignor repeatedly champions the Third Prophet and “dividing the righteous from unrighteous”, which is generally accepted to mean cleansing all non-Vaticine worshippers.  He also speaks far too much of the Fourth Prophet’s coming for your taste and not nearly enough of the Creator’s decree to learn and unlock the secrets of this world.  This man’s words could just be the rantings of a priest who has passed his prime.  Or they could be the seeds of dissent being planted by an Inquisitor sleeper agent…

Once the sermon is finished Lucia speaks with one of the acolytes for a few moments.  Nothing concrete was learned, although this particular acolyte did not appear to share the Monsignor's passion for that particular style of preaching.


The recently-Baroned Lorenz heads off to Freiburg's Duelist Chapterhouse to check-in, announce himself, and meet with his fellow gentles.

Upon entering through the main doors you see this is actually a large hallway connecting the two wings of the Chapterhouse.  Directly in front of you is a receptionist’s desk staffed by a young woman, her nose buried deep into a book.  She doesn’t notice you.  The young lady is Gwendolin Trachtenberg, one of the clerks employed by this Chapterhouse.  She is somewhat surprised a swordsman is actually coming to announce his presence to the Guild, what with the lax regulations of Frieburg.  She presents the logbook for Lorenz to sign and directs him anywhere he wishes to go.  Lorenz heads off to the living quarters.  The main living area boasts a large common room where the duelists currently residing in the city meet to converse, trade stories, share news, and lounge in general.  The room is divided up into several sitting areas, some with fireplaces, some with a table or two for chess or a card game, one even has a podium as the centerpiece where it seems a group of Swordsman are taking turns telling boastful tales of their exploits.  Lorenz immediately heads over to the podium and tells his harrowing tale (with only moderate embellishment) of escaping a secret island prison filled with Inquisition soldiers and saving two "lovely ladies"…

IF LORENZ ANNOUNCES HIMSELF AS BARON DRACHENHEIM:

  • OPPORTUNITY (Gauge the duelists’ reactions): Most of those present give a few snickers or otherwise seem unimpressed.  Two in the room seem to take special notice.  One is an old man among a small group of elderly gentleman who looks upon you with what seems satisfaction.  The other appears would rather not notice you noticing her.  A woman playing chess with another duelist, she has her golden hair in a long braid and her clothing style identifies her as a Vestenmennavenjar.  It is clear she is trying to watch you without your knowledge, but you are able to pick up on that.
  • CONSEQUENCE: You have entered an area where it is common for disputes to be settled by the sword.  It would be wise to be on your best behavior, unless that sort of thing is what you’re after.

After his impressive story, Lorenz introduces himself to the old man who turns out to be none other than Wencill Von Brahms, the master and council member for the Eisenfaust school of dueling, which happens to be Lorenz's very same school.  Afterwards Lorenz attempts to join the chess-playing woman for a game and to investigate her strange stare, but he is interrupted by a brash young duelist whose bravado demands Lorenz's attention.  Lorenz tries to brush him off, but Marcelì as another duelist calls him appears to has had his honor insulted by Lorenz's incredible story and his brief but casual conversation with the young lady, Osk Ketildatter.  He challenges Lorenz to a duel right here in the common area, a rather uncouth thing to do as the others in the room grumble.  Rather than stoop to Marcelì's goading, Lorenz calmly but dangerously threatens Marcelì into backing down, and he does so with injured pride.  Osk, however, overheard the exchange and immediately bolts from the room.  Rather than chase her down (which was the obvious choice), Lorenz decides he has had enough of duelist society for one day and heads back to the Manor to meet up with the others.


After Lucia and Lorenz return to the Manor and Eilìsh has done what she can with the training grounds for now, the Heroes decide to head out to The Drachen Toe Tavern for a drink and soak in a bit of the social life of Frieburg.  Armin overhears where they are going and cautions the three; while he is aware they are more than capable of handling themselves, the Drachen Toe just happens to be the place where the former Baron and Lorenz's second cousin thrice-removed, Lord Reinhardt Leopold Damaske, was killed.  It is also known for its boxing ring and extensive gambiling.  The Heroes thank Armin and continue on their way.

The smell of stale beer hits your nostrils as soon as you open the door to this establishment.  The main room seems rather unimpressive; about a dozen tables lie scattered haphazardly across the room and the only patrons present are a handful of souses hunched over at the bar.  Behind said bar stands a man just shy of six feet.  He has shoulder-length brown hair with a bald spot on top and a large handlebar mustache.  He eyes you, being the most interesting thing in the room at the moment, but says nothing.

The Heroes take a seat at a table and order a few drinks (mostly for Eilísh), noting the locked door by the bar.  They volunteer Eilísh for a fight to gain entrance and are shown down to the basement where the real action is.  The Bartender eyes Eilísh up and down and, despite her small stature, he seems to see something he approves of.  He pulls on a rope behind the bar and you hear the faint sound of a small bell ringing behind the door.  After a moment a multitude of mechanical turnings and clicks resonate and the door opens.  You can clearly hear all of the sounds you were expecting to hear when you first entered this building; shouts, laughter, glasses clanking and yes, the sound of fists hitting flesh.  All the evidence of a lively tavern.  The doorway leads downstairs into what you assume was once a wine cellar.  The stale beer smell follows you and is accompanied by stale sweat.  While there are a few rows of wine racks behind a much nicer looking bar than what you found upstairs, most of this basement has been cleared of all obstructions except for human bodies.  People are packed in everywhere down here, but no matter where you look they all seem to be doing one thing: gambling!  There are card games, dice games, knife throwing, mahjongg, and at the center of it all a human ring surrounds the pugilism pit.  Currently two large, bare chested, indiscriminate men are trading graceless punches while everyone cheers on and money changes hands.

Eilísh gets pitted against a very large man, and she couldn't be happier.  Drawing a small glamour circle in the pit sand, she stands her ground and lets the fight begin.  Many blows are thrown and the entire crowd (including Lorenz and Lucia) are amazed when at the end of the fight, Eilísh is still standing, beaten and bloody, over the unconscious giant.  When he comes to, he introduces himself as Friedrich and Eilísh buys him a drink.  Things learned at the Tavern:

  • Rumor of the Mad Wolves being led by an influential member of Frieburg nobility. They are driving housing prices down so this noble can buy up more property and raise the prices back up to corner the market.
  • The former Baron Drachenheim, Lord Damask, was killed in this very room. He was known for gambling away what little was left of the manor’s wealth; and he was known for losing.  The night of his death, Damask became indebted to a particularly sadistic businessman.  When this man found out Damask had no more money left to pay up, he revealed the duelist in his pocket, and summarily had Damask killed.  No one knows who the duelist actually was, but they describe her as a Vesten woman with a long, golden braid and a whip accompanied her sword.

On the way back from the Tavern, the Heroes dispatch another group of Mad Wolves harrasing a family on the doorstep of their home.  They let one live in exchange for the location of their base of operations; an Abandoned Carriage House and Lucia convinces him to find salvation by pledging his service to the Cathedral.  They then come upon a group of poor, homeless souls and Lucia's generosity gets the better of her,  She ends up spending a good portion of her limited Wealth feeding everyone and the call goes up, "Theús praise The Baron Drachenheim and his lovely ladies!".  The party name will live on in infamy…


Lucia spots a hidden drop for her Secret Society, The Invisible College.  Subtly dropping back from the others, she snatches the Invisible College Letter and reads it in private.  She convinces Eilísh and Lorenz to accompany her and the Heroes are off to Bottenfelds Cottage

Outside Bottenfeld’s House:

  • Doors are locked & windows shuttered, though light still streams out from the cracks.

    • CONSEQUENCE: While the hour is late and visibility is lessening, there is still the very real potential for passersby or nearby residents to see any breaking & entering going on…  (Members of the Inquisition or City Guard show up at the end of 2nd round if Heroes do not spend a raise here)

Inside Bottenfeld’s House:

  • Several lights continue to burn, illuminating a terrible mess: Papers & books are scattered about, many with pieces ripped out of them.  The occasional draft blows tufts of torn paper into the air.  An overturned desk lies against the wall, and several chairs have been smashed to flinders.  In the back room you find the remains of what you can only assume was Ernst Bottenfeld.  His throat has been slashed and several deep gashes have split open his chest, sending rivulets of crimson pooling onto the floor.

    • CONSEQUENCE: With papers flitting about and open flames knocked over, this place could likely become a blazing inferno in mere moments… (Heroes have until the end of the round)
    • OPPORTUNITY (The Desk): A quick search of the tossed desk reveals mostly mundane items, however you do discover the keys to the cottage.  If all the doors and windows were locked and intact, and the keys are INSIDE, how did the invaders gain entry?
    • OPPORTUNITY (Torn Books): Perhaps the most telling sign all is not what it appears can be found in the torn papers and books scattered about the cottage. While a few burned notebooks line the floors and sections have been ripped out of numerous books, the missing material doesn’t appear to be that pertinent. Numerous pages of copious scientific notes have been left untouched, and the missing book pages often cover useless material (one torn chapter explains the proper table settings for Montaigne nobility).

      • OPPORTUNITY (Notebooks): A thorough search produces a recent series of diagrams depicting the missing invention: an “illuminator” designed to light a large space with only a single candle. An elaborate system of pulleys and mirrors based around a simple candleholder.  No Inquisitor worth his hood would leave such blasphemous evidence behind.  According to the notes, the invention weighs upward of three hundred pounds, more than any one man could carry. The Inquisition might have been able to move it, but it would take time and attract a lot of attention; why not simply destroy it and move on?
    • OPPORTUNITY (requires knowledge of Eisen Monsters OR Die Kreuzritter): Bottenfeld’s cuts appear torn & jagged, as if from a crude sword.  Upon closer inspection you find a strange item lodged in one of the wounds.  It appears to be the tip of a claw, as if from some animal predator.  Die Kreuzritter has weapons made out of similar material, and they burn with an icy frostbite as well as cut like a sword; anyone who didn’t know better would think that a human made these wounds.

      • CONSEQUENCE: The claw seems composed of living shadow – black, formless matter given shape.  Even the nearby light seems to get sucked into its inky darkness.  (Any hero touching the claw with bare skin suffers 2 wounds)
    • OPPORTUNITY (requires knowledge of The Inquisition): The Inquisition rarely conducts assassinations with bladed weapons, preferring bonfires and lynchings to close combat. Blood on the walls is a tad too gruesome as well while Verdugo’s men rarely shy away from torture, such obvious ghoulishness detracts from their self-styled position as Theus’ defenders.
  • On one wall, written in blood is a crudely drawn Vaticine Cross and a warning matching the mantra of Verdugo’s Inquisition: “Repent your sins.  The Fourth Prophit approaches.”

    • OPPORTUNITY (requires knowledge of The Inquisition and/or the Eisen language): The phrase on the wall isn’t quite right: the words are crudely painted, as if by a child, and the word “Prophet” has been misspelled. While the Inquisition is the scourge of education, most of them were raised in the Church and know how to write properly. The words are also written in Eisen; the Inquisition tends to leave its messages in Théan, the language of the Vaticines.
  • A close survey reveals an area in the corner which is free of dust; several indentations can be seen in the floor, indicating that something large once stood there… something like an invention.

    • HIDDEN CONSEQUENCE (requires a Finesse + Athletics OR Wits + Notice raise to discover OR 2 raises to avoid): The floorboards in this corner of the room appear loose and a slight updraft can be felt coming through from underneath, aiding the swirling tears of paper. (Failure to avoid results in the Hero falling through to the sewer, suffering 3 wounds)

Prying up the floorboards reveals a short, earthen tunnel, leading straight down to a large city sewer pipe running beneath the house.  You can make out drag marks in the filth-encrusted floor leading north down into blackness.

  • OPPORTUNITY (Drag Marks): The drag marks clearly match the indentations in the floorboards you just pried up.  Whatever was sitting in that room was taken this way…
  • OPPORTUNITY (The Tunnel): You notice tell-tale claw marks in the tunnel leading into the sewers, indicating someone or something dug its way up into Bottenfeld’s cottage.  What is puzzling though is the fact that the floorboards did not appear to have been pried up prior to what your group did just a moment ago…

The game session ended here.

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Chapter 1: Why Does The New Baron Look Like A Hobo?
Island escape & arrival in Freiburg

Thean Calendar                                        1683, Decimus 20, Guerdi

Eilísh MhicCuirc, Lorenz Volker Hölzenschilde, and Lucia Constantina de Rodrigo find themselves prisoners on a secret Inquisition island prison.  Rather than accept their grim fate, they hatch a scheme to escape!  Lucia concocts a rash-inducing compound using her botany skills; Lorenz has stockpiled a dozen makeshift weapons using sticks and stones, to break Inquisition bones; and Eilísh contacts a Sidhe to gather information about the island in exchange for her unconditional aid when she will inevitably meet another Sidhe in Freiburg.  They are still just 3 prisoners, however, on an island filled with jailors.  They manage to convince the other prisoners willing to fight that any chance at freedom, no matter how small, is better than waiting for death by starvation or torture in this place.

With the other prisoners' help, they storm the small fortress guarding the Inquisition barracks and docks, dispatch most of their captors (including the Warden), and hijack the ship that brings food & water to the island.  The Captain, while hired by the Inquisition, only wants to retain control of his ship and agrees to transport all the prisoners to Five Sails in exchange for his freedom.  From Five Sails, the party retains a few horses from the Vaticine Church (complements of Lucia), and heads for Freiburg where they were instructed to go by their mysterious contact from their mysterious new double-secret society.  Coincidentally Lorenz appears to have inherited a Barony from a long-lost cousin as indicated in the Drachenheim inheritance letter he has recovered from his belongings.


1684, Secundus 1, Veldi

The mid-spring air still carries a very noticeable chill common to this region, and that is not helped by the seemingly endless overcast sky you have been gifted with for the past weeks.  Any piece of land not in direct sunlight for most of the day is still gripped with patches of muddy, slushy snow; and as you have been traveling through alpine forest, that means most of what you can see.  As your group travels through Eisen, coming down out of the mountains inherently characteristic to the country, the landscape finally begins to give way to rolling hills.  The first thing you notice is the top of what must be an enormous tower appearing over what is left of the lapidarian scenery.  As the view opens to finally give you proper view of the horizon, you find yourselves heading into a valley that appears roughly 60 miles across.  One major river runs through the plains coming in from the northwest, flowing through the center and exiting at the eastern edge.  Another, albeit smaller river, enters from the southwest and runs straight into the main water way.  This must be the convergence of the Rotstrom and Roth rivers, respectively, for at their meeting point lies the gigantic sprawling porttown of Freiburg.  The metropolis takes up the majority of the center of the valley with smaller hamlets trailing out along the banks of each river.  The famous Wachtturm stands at the city center, stark white and rising up 200 feet into the air.  Almost as if on cue with your party’s departure from the forested mountains, the clouds begin to break and real sunlight shines through!  As you descend to discover what Freiburg has in store for your motley group you can’t help but think perhaps your group’s hardships may have found their end for the moment…

As you push your way through the hustle and bustle of this cosmopolitan metropolis, you are halted by a young girl, no older than 10, shouting at everyone obvious enough to be a newcomer to the city.

“Tour guides!  Get your Freiburg Tour Guides!  Only one pfennig!”

She is standing right in your path, very clearly shouting (and staring) directly at you.  ((If the Heroes do not buy a tour guide, she sends a street urchin to pick their pocket, Wits + Notice roll, req. 2 raises))

((Any member of a secret society may leave a dead drop now letting the chapter house know they are in town))

The party makes their way to City Hall; Clerk Hannelore Urhoff raises an eyebrow at the trio in their smelly island tatters, but takes the letter regardless.  She has Lorenz sign some paperwork and the rest of the party signs as witnesses to his identity, then hands over the deed & keys to Drachenheim Manor and without any fandare whatsoever, Lorenz Volker Hölzenshilde has just become the new Baron Drachenheim.  The manor overlooks the Rotstrom River and has a beautiful view of the nearby Tuttenburg Bridge. There is even a small dock near it with an old fishing boat tied up. The manor appears to be well-maintained, and birds sing in the trees outside. If the Heroes knock on the door, an elderly man answers it, saying, “Yes, my lords? How may I be of service to you?” The man is the caretaker/butler, Armin Fauser. He is naturally reluctant to allow strangers into the house without a good reason, but showing him the deed gets results. He invites the Heroes inside and offers them something to eat and drink.

Lunch With Armin:

  1. Armin’s services come with the manor. His first master, Lord Jeremy Drachenheim, included a clause in his will giving Armin a lifetime position as head butler and providing for his salary.
  2. As of late the manor has been bouncing through the irresponsible members of the Damaske family.  The last Lord, Reinhardt, was the last known Damaske and had a reputation for gambling.  And for losing.  He met his end when a game of dice went south at The Drachen's Toe and the man he lost to just happened to have a duelist friend…
  3. The title of Lord Drachenheim goes with the manor as well. Armin knows that the title has become something of a joke, but he’s not about to tell the Heroes that.
  4. Armin will try to convince the Heroes to retain possession of the manor, at least for now. He’s tired of dealing with an endless stream of masters, and he wants some stability in his life again.
  5. Armin grew up in an orphanage and learned the servant’s trade as an alternative to crime or back-breaking work in the mines.  He showed a knack for it and eventually attained a respected position with the declining Drachenheim family.  He was promoted to head butler during Lord Jeremy Drachenheim’s tenure and after he dies he has cared for the manor ever since.
  6. The Drachenheims were a notable family who served as officers at the Stein for many generations.  They were awarded this opulent mansion when the former owner, Lord Stapp, died under mysterious circumstances.  The last Drachenheim died many years ago.
  7. The Drachenheim family made their money as merchant traders, and set aside funds for the upkeep of the manor. Any improvements the Heroes wish to make, however, must come out of their own pockets.

Despite the obvious hints from the GM to explore the city, the players decide to fritter away the rest of the day in-game and their characters go to sleep.


1684, Secundus 2, Amordi

The Heroes awake to Armin being hassled outside, on the front porch.  There seems to be local gang problems in this part of town, and the Heroes handily dispatch twenty goons belonging to some outfit calling themselves the Mad Wolves and run off two of their lieutenants.  Lorenz and Eilísh round up the survivors and lead them (still in their nightclothes) to the 2nd nearest guard station, only to find out the guards can't be bothered with, you know, their job of dealing with criminal elements of the city, so they lead the prisoners (still in their nightclothes) across town to the local jail, known as the Gaol.  In the early morning, Eilísh begins construction on a training ground in the yard of the manor.

The party spends the rest of the morning arguing about how to solve their problem of being completely broke nobility.  Two of their better ideas being either selling the shitty weapons they confiscate off of these Mad Wolves, or pimping out Armin for some kind of butler training program…

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Campaign Intro
The opening presentation given to the players.

As you think back to the events of the past few months that brought you all together, you can’t help but be reminded of the irony of your situation.  To have come together in the name of combating an unknown evil, only to be captured by perhaps the most well-known evil in all of Théah.  But we are getting ahead of ourselves.  About 6 weeks prior you were each called to a secret meeting by the heads of your respective organizations.  Whether it be your Secret Society or your country’s government, you were all summoned because you were told you had something special to offer.  To what you were offering your services you did not know at the time, but it intrigued you enough to attend.  You were given a set of landmarks to follow and told to come alone.  No maps, no companions, not even a horse that could potentially lead someone unworthy back to your destination.  In the middle of the night, under the cover of darkness, you gathered in a grove somewhere in the snowy steppes of northern Ussura.  Here, even in early winter, you have trouble contemplating how an entire nation survives in this cold and dreary environment.  As each of you enter the grove one by one, you see no others present other than the 3 of you, strangers in a strange land.

(Have each player give a physical description of their character)

Before any of you summon the inclination to speak to one another, a flame erupts seemingly out of nowhere at the edge of the clearing.  You don’t recall seeing any campfire materials stacked in that particular vicinity, but nonetheless there roars a healthy flame with white-hot coals as if it has been stoked for a good hour.  Even more surprising is the figure crouched at the fire opposite from where you are all standing, poking at it indiscriminately.  It is hard to determine any physical characteristics given their current stance and layers of bundled clothing, but they are clearly well suited to traveling in cold climates.

They speak without looking up, “Please, gather around fire.  You all look cold.”

You all do so, and once the warmth has recovered your stamina a bit the figure looks up at all of you, and you discover she is, in fact, a she.  With long dark hair spilling out of her thick-furred hood, pale skin, and thin, almond-shaped eyes, she is clearly a native to this region.

“Do not speak.  This one instructed to give message, then leave.  Leaders of all countries and organizations of Théah hear rumors of great evil stirring in land.  This evil has no name, no voice, no body, no evidence at all; but pattern seen in tragic events bring conclusion that someone or something acting behind scenes, pulling at strings.  To this end leaders commit to creating new arm of justice.  Just like evil, this force for good has no name, no voice, no body.  You four now one finger of this force, one fist, acting independent of all others.  This one your link, always know by this.” And she lifts a patch on her coat and shows you a symbol; a distinctive pictograph of a rising sun above a pyramid.

“Now, leave one at time, just like you arrived.  Make way to Thorshofn, there ship waiting for you, Folium Qod Vento.  Take ship and make way to Freiburg, mathematicians predict next large-scale evil to occur there.  City with no laws seems good place to begin, yes?”

As she stands and turns to leave she chuckles to herself, as if that were some inside joke she ascribed some special meaning to.  She mounts a horse a few yards away (again, something you didn’t notice until just now) and fades away into the lightly falling snow.

One month later the four of you find yourselves departed from Thorshofn and just one day outside of arriving in Pösen, sailing on the Folium Qod Vento.  It is a small vessel, able to be sailed by just the four of you, and it is quite swift.  What you couldn’t out-maneuver, however, was the Inquisition blockade waiting for you there.  You made an incredible showing, and ended up actually sinking two ships larger than your own, but in the end you all knew it was a futile effort; there was no way you were escaping that scenario.  It was pure luck none of you took a cannonball head-on, and only suffered minor injuries all told.

And here you are, dropped off on a remote island-turned-prison for the Inquisition’s captives.  It is a pitiful piece of land, about 1 mile long and ½ mile wide made up of small hillocks and a sparse palm tree forest.  The North East end of the island is occupied by a garrison of soldiers housed in a wooden palisade on top of a rocky outcropping boasting deep enough water to warrant an actual dock extending out 50 feet or so.  The South West end has a concentration camp with tents made of ratty old sail canvas that don’t do much at all to keep the rain out, but it’s all you’ve got for the time being.

In the fortnight you’ve had the luxury to call this place home, you count about 100 prisoners at any one time, and somewhere between 1 and 2 dozen Inquisition guards.  It seems every week or so a ship will either drop off a few new prisoners or take a few off the island; where they are taken you do not know.  From what you are able to glean from the others here, a food ship passes by once a month dropping off a number of crates of salted fish, crusty old bread, and barrels of stale, tepid water.  Once the garrison guards have taken their pick, there’s usually not enough to adequately feed the rest of you, and you’ve seen a couple of prisoners die of starvation already.

In the short time here you can already begin to feel malnutrition and exposure begin to take its toll on your bodies.  In another month you’ll look and feel no better than the poor bastards who’ve been here longer than you.  The four of you need a plan, and quickly.  It is now dawn and a patrol of guards are approaching for their morning roll-call, task assignment, and random beatings…

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