Topic: Three men went to Dunnsmouth (Session Report)

(Session Report 01)

My very first session in Dunnsmouth ended last sunday. My favorite quotes from one of my players from that evening was: „I am afraid of (rolling) dice now“. But let´s start at the beginning...

I was able to gather three friends of mine (all of them experienced roleplayers) for a sunday afternoon and evening, and they were willing to join me in my first ever session with Lamentations of the Flame Princess. At first I explained them the basic rules after I had handed them some empty character sheets (nothing about magic) and gave them the basic about the adventure once more (I had emailed those to them before). Then, I gave them pre-created characters and let them „draft“ those (without talking about the characters) and this was the group that was formed:

The centerpiece of the group was Jasper (“Specialist”), a rather simple (simpleton) shepherd who became a poacher during a harsh winter. He was a boyhood friend to Angus, and Angus and Japser where both drinking buddies of Cormagh.

Angus himself was a soldier who had lately lost his position in the personal guard of a local lord (who could not effort to hold all of his men after they had killed a few to many peasants as they crushed an uprising in his village).

Cormagh, was a dwarf who had come over from the Dwarven Realm (which replaced Scotland in my personal game world) to work as a craftsman but was thrown out by his master after a very vicious brawl with some fellow craftsmen.

They had heard of a bounty that had been placed onto the heads of the last four members of a group of bandits called the Brownfox brigands (the Witch-Daughter Shelly-Ann Webster, Martin O´Brian, Tommy Felkham und a guy only known as Edward). Those four were able to flee, and the King´s men believed that they fled south from their hideout, over the mountains and into a swamp near the coast. There, the only known center of population is a small community named Dunnsmouth, which was believed by some to have been eradicated a generation ago by the plague. But seamen from a merchant vessel that travels along the coast insisted that they were sometimes met by fishers from Dunnsmouth, out at the sea, who traded salted fish for metal tools. For a bounty of 200 sp for each of the cutthroats, the band of three was willing to take their chances.

Explaining the rules was quick, choosing the characters took a little longer and a little more time was spend semi in-character as the three began to make plans and to acquire weapons and gear (they had not much starting equipment, but starting some money instead). Their very first hard decision was if they would try to bring the four back alive or if they would try to kill them (the bounty was “dead or alive”). There was a discussion about transporting prisoners vs. transporting rotting corpses, at the end they spend money on shackles but agreed to decide on the spot what they should do. All the while, I had some medieval sound loop running to set the scene for my fictional harbor town of Spillswick, in which the characters would start in. As they were ready they called it a night went to the docks with the rising sun on the next morning, as the captain of the cog Madlein had told them to. At the docks, they met a mad beggar, and as they passed by they heard him ramble one thing or another as he argued with a seagull, but one word he barked caught their attention: Dunnsmouth. It was Jasper who approached him friendly to ask what he knew about Dunnsmouth, but the madmen hushed him with a look of urgency on his face... before he strolled away. Non the wiser, the three embarked onto the cog to begin their journey.

The day on sea was uneventful, but even so the ship never left the shore line out of sight both Angus and Jasper became seasick on the short journey. As they reached their destination all they were able to see was a thick bank of fog before the coast. A row boat was readied for them, but the captain of the Madlein gave them one last warning: he told them that about legends, of an old evil that had been waiting in the mountains and that Dunnsmouth itself was of ill-reputed and the people there were rumored to be both inbreed and mad. Never the less, they were brought to the pier, but the two sailors who brought them there hurried to get back. The fog was so thick that they might have never found the pier if it would not have been for a lantern that had been placed there, and the time they had spend in it upon entering the wall-like bank had been disquieting to them. (I had switched to some scary background music for the narration of that event, it had worked out quite well).

As they were about to start their journey four massive, black dogs charged out of the mist and stopped a step away from them while they barked and snarled threateningly. The three decided to hold still and not to make a move. A moment later, they heard a raspy, hoarse voice calling out to the dogs and a spindly old man came out of the fog and into view. He was bald, crooked and staggered forward while he leaned onto an boathook. The dogs obeyed to his orders immediately and came to his side, still watching the characters warily.

The unfriendly old guy who later introduced himself as Reginald Dunlop demanded to know who they were and where the PC where from (a fact that he forgot repeatedly during the conversation, only to ask again and again) and what their business in Dunnsmouth would be. The characters introduced themselves nicely and put up with the insults he spewed forth (“SPILLSWICK! Pah! Hav´been there, only two kind of people liv´there: those who have lice and those who have syphilis. Now, to which doya belong?!”). They showed him their wanted poster and asked if he has seen any strangers. Reginal, half blind that he is had to shuffle all the way to the lamp to take a long look, denied that any of these would be in Dunnsmouth and gave the poster back... and Jasper learned that he had been holding it upside down.  They bought some dried, salted fish from him and some of his booze (after they had to reveal that they had no barter goods with them, which earned them even more disapproval from Reginald). In the end, they were able to learn that Dunnsmouth was largely flooded and nearly devoured by the swamp by now, and they learned the direction to the Church (and thereby to the home of Samuel Dunlop and Obediah Duncaster and the ruin of the old guesthouse) from the old man. In addition, Reginal had let it slip that Samuel was a relative of his and that “the stupid ninny” was searching for some treasure he believed to be in the swamp and “he´s ain´t just no right anymore since his sista is dead”.

Jasper, Cormagh and Angus guessed that they had about two hours left till the sun goes down and decided it would be in their best interest to reach the church by then (“if push comes to shove, we strike up a camp on the cemetery!” And they already considered that to be the second best place to stay!). So, they packed up after haggling with Reginald over the rent of his skiff (20sp as a dead pledge, an sp a day as a rent). While they came past what must have been the home of Samuel Dunlop (a two story brick house in the middle of what seemed to be a flooded field) and that of Obediah (an assortment of small tree houses that looked like a home as well) they did not made contact with any of them but went straight to the church. After a long while they reached a large lake that seemed to have swallowed what might have used to be the center of Dunnsmouth: a number of ruins stuck out of the black-brown water, some of them only partially flooded, others had crumbled and sunken in. The mist seemed to swallow any sound there. At first, Jasper was reluctant to cross and would have rather moved around it, but the delay worried him: none of the three wanted to be outside in the swamps after dark. This was the first moment that they noted that the light was still as it was as they had reached the pier. So, they crossed it and checked one of the ruins that still was in a better state (after all, they were searching for some fugitive cutthroats), but as they recognized that a badger was inhabiting the ruin they decided to let it be (if the fugitives would be there, so they reasoned, the badger would have not).

After they crossed the large lake, they came past the ruins of an old guesthouse (the front door was unhinged, the former stable were just a pile of rotten wood and the middle of the roof had collapsed) but decided to move on as after listening quietly for a while (no sounds, no light, no fugitives, so they thought). Once they came near the hill the church had been erected on they needed to pull their skiff like a sledge, which Angus did. As it finally came into sight through the fog (that has thinned a little after they were away from the coast) they developed a bad feel about this: the church garden had not been tended to for  very long time, strange piles of reed where found left and right. They already had heard from old Reginald that Father Ivanopolus seemed to be out of his mind, but the actual signs of neglect fueled their unease.

It was Angus who leaned against the heavy church doors to push them open, and before he knew what happened he was struck down by a number of bricks that fell down onto him from above, leaving him with a serious head wound and a damaged shoulder. The inside of the church was dimly lit by a number of candles that somebody had lighted on the altar and what little light fell in through the stained glass window behind the pulpit. The priest seemed to learn against his pulpit and a couple of people were sitting on different pews but there was no sound and nobody even moved. Jasper was readying bow and arrow while Cormagh helped up Angus as a door left of the altar was kicked open and a massive silhouette moved out of it. The only detail the three where able to glimpse were the blades of the two-headed battle ax the unknown assailant raised as it stormed towards the PC, first in silence and then with a war cry.

Battle ensued and the dice where completely against the PC. I have -never- seen a complete group of characters rolling five “1” in a row when it came to damage. In the end, they barely made it and and Angus killed huge grizzled looking attacker with a slash over the throat. Himself badly wounded both from the trap and an ax blow to his his side, he toward over the opponent has he lay on his back and began to choke on his own blood, only to spit him HIS blood into his face. Then he sat down onto a pew and barely managed not to collapse.

To be continued...

Last edited by Gregorius21778 (2017-01-30 17:46:02)

With kind regards
My blog

Re: Three men went to Dunnsmouth (Session Report)

Second part of Session 01

As the fight was over, Cormagh helped Angus to tend his wounds (which were pretty bad, as the PC was down to zero hit points) while Jasper began to look around inside the church. As neither the priest in the pulpit nor any of the four figures on the different pews had move at all or had made as much as a sound during the fight, it was no surprise to the group that all of them were dead. What did came as a surprise was that all of the corpses were stuffed like animals and that their eyes and lips were sewn shut. The only exception to this was the corpse of in the priests garment, inside of the pulpit: here, the mouth was kept open with the help of a few wooden splinters (and the corpse was secured to the pulpit both by rope and by the left arm being nailed to it). Among the corpses were two of the bandits they were after (Martian O´Brian and the guy who was only known as Edward), the other two were a young guy (16 years old) and an old woman. The attire of both suggested that they could be locals. Otherwise, the search revealed nothing but the church chronic (a leather bound tome), a bible (at the pulpit) and a trap door leading below.

Jasper decided to check the room their assailant came out of. A light was still shining in their, but they had noted no move our sound from the room as they had checked the bodies. In the meanwhile, Angus put himself to rest onto one of the pews while Cormagh searched the body of the attacker before closing the church portal (by locking it with a large bar he found in the corner). The search of the dead body produced nothing more than his old Great-Ax, his leather armor, a few copper pieces and a key ring with some keys. Upon entering the room to the left (which the PC already had expected to be the quarters of the priest) Jasper became witness of another dreadful scene: the wooden desk that took up much of the room had obviously been used as a working table for taxidermy, both the tools of the trade as well as lots of large blood splatters were still present. The other door, leading out of the small, annex was nailed shut from within (with wood that obviously belonged to a pew), the hammer and several nails were still laying in front of the door. Jasper searched the room and found among some rations and the worldly belongings of the priest an assortment of candles, different wooden stakes, garlic, some small glass vials with a clear liquid and a strongbox (which they opened later with one of the keys: it contained more than 800 sp). Under the bed they found a LOT of straw.

By then, the characters (and the players alike) were puzzled and worried by the cause of events. They had found out that the madmen they had killed (who but a madmen would do something like THIS?) was not the priest (as they had guessed at first), as the robes they found weere much to small for a man of his size. The money they had found was much more than they had expected: they were aware that the Church gathered tithe, but how could a community that was isolated and did little trading gather so much money? Who was that madmen, and where were the other two wanted criminals? Who where the other two corpses, weren´t those people missed? And what was it with with the light outside? It should be dark by now, or sunset at least, but nothing had changed a bit since their arrival at the pier! And why had they found the tools of a vampire hunter?

As they opened the trap door, they did so very, very cautiously. A breath of foul, damp air greeted them as it opened up with a squeak. As it turned out, the cellar of the church was flooded (quote from Jasper´s player; while face-palming) “...of course.. how could it have been otherwise...”). They inspected it anyway, but found nothing of interest. Afterwards, they laid themselves to rest, but not before they had barred the church portal, beheaded the two stuffed criminals ("a price on their heads"), moved all the bodies into the priest´s quarters and set the trap back up that Angus had triggered (with some fishing line Jasper had with him). The door to t he priest´s quarter they barricaded with further pews (but not before they brought the bed into the church room). Jasper took the bed, Angus took his bedroll and slept on a pew and Cormagh showed a lag of piety by doing the same on the altar (none of the others made a thing out if. After a day like this...). As they woke up, the light was still as it was before and they were not sure if they had really slept at first. But soon they realized that they indeed must have slept, and it crossed their mind that they had another problem: the ship Madlein would pick them up in five days and expected them to wait at the pier... but how should they keep track of day and night?

To be continued....

Last edited by Gregorius21778 (2017-02-06 16:37:08)

With kind regards
My blog

Re: Three men went to Dunnsmouth (Session Report)

Third Part of Session 03

After they all were awake and decided that “night time” was over now, Jasper began to feel hungry and so they started their “day” with a meal (none of the characters had eaten much since the morning, but the events had driven them on and on). In the meanwhile Cormagh studied the church chronic (he was the only one of the three who was able to read and write). The latest entries turned out to be the unintelligible scribbling, but older entries of Father Iwanopolous told the characters that this”Twilight” is already lasting for years (and that non of the remaining inhabitants seemed to care much about it). After they found a register with all the souls of the Parish (from the time Father Iwanopolous took up his duty) they went through it and memorized who still has been here here 5 years ago. They checked the chronic for entries about vampirismn or other strange events beside “the Twilight”, but found none (they only thumbed through the chronic, so), while they sized up their situation and counted the silver from the log box.

All in all, Cormagh considered this to be enough to “call it a day and stay near the pier to wait for the Madlein.” His point of view was that they came to earn themselves 800sp, and  now they already had 800sp and two heads worth 400sp in total. He had a point there and only Angus seemed to have second thoughts about stealing from the church (but eased his mind that he could always donate 50sp to his local church...). Jasper agreed with Cormagh this was a good plan, but he still wanted to see if they could find the other two “...and perhaps we find out what is wrong here along the way”. Cormagh just shrugged and Angus was not in the spirit to argue (the fact that he used the booze as painkiller might have had something to do with it. Or the fact that the players were intrigued enough by what they had seen so far that they wanted to go on).

Their plan for the “day” was to leave anything they would not need really need to carry around (their tent, the bedrolls, etc.) at the church, so that this would become their base of operation for now. The silver from the strongbox, they shared equally among themselves. A quick search has revealed to them a long wooden box with gardening tools, and there they stored their belongings (together with the sack that contained the two severed heads). Everything else (including the skiff) they would take along and go back to the flooded area they had crossed on their way to the church “the other day”.

Jasper:        “But what if somebody comes here and steals our stuff?”
Cormagh:    “IF somebody comes here and steals from us, I will start stealing from the people here, too!”
Angus:     “...starting? Haven´t we just looted their church...?”

Cormagh answered with an open ended “Well....”, the other two smiled and shook their heads before they packed up to move back to the flooded area and began to follow its northern edge. On their way back, they came past the ruin of the old guesthouse again and checked it once more , but their was still no sign of any occupation. While they inspected the area, they noted a feint gleam in the fog to the north (after what might have been an hour or more they spend following the edge of the water, but that was just a guess as they had no method to measure the passing of time). They followed the shine, and the water grew more shallow, but not so shallow that they would need to pull their skiff again. At least, not before they heard the first sounds through the mist: quick, repeated strikes, like somebody would use an hammer on something. The noise disappeared and re-appeared as they came closer and after a while they came across small stone cottage with a crude wooden door, but with a burning oil lamp outside, hanging from a nine-inch-nail in the door frame. From the sound of it, somebody was working with hammer and nail on the other side of the house.

With a quick look the three assured another that they would try to simply call out and greet, and see what happens. Their call was not answered at first, but the hammering ended. From around the house came a tall, lean guy in erstwhile good, black clothes that were now stained with earth and dirt. In his left, he held up another lantern and in his right, he held a hammer. Surprise was clearily written all over his face (that was framed by curly black beard that has obviously had been cut with a knife instead of a razor, same as his hair), but he just said “oh... strangers... a moment please...” before he put down the hammer in front of the door and turned out his second lamp. The characters introduce himself, and the stranger introduced himself as “Johan van Kaus, the undertaker”. The characters had noted immediately that the man was speaking with a strange, thick accent but were unable to say where it was from (I tried my best to mimic a mix of English accent while speaking like I would have a numb mouth). Jasper asked him where he would be from “as your obviously not from around here”, and earned himself a rather miffed response by the undertake, who explained that “I have been hear since my childhood, and we van Kaus simply speak like that!”. The small faux pas was quickly forgotten as the PC explained why they are here and Johan was shocked to hear that “robbers and murders” would be on the loose around Dunnsmouth.

During their (otherwise polite) conversation they learned that Johan was mostly busy offering his service to those already dead “see, the graveyard has been flooded. So many coffins and corpses are now floating around in area, it would not be very christian-like to leave them like that. And a lot of them are from my family, and I won´t leave a van Kaus behind like that. Oh, no sir! I will stay till I refurbished enough coffins to give them all a proper burial at sea instead”. Furthermore, Johan made for them a simple map of the area (by crudely scrimshawing it into a part of broken coffin lid) and told them who would be living there. The characters also learned that it might be wise to stay away from the Samsons, and that if they would be looking for help they would better ask one of the Duncasters. And of course, that Johan was the last of the van Kaus in Dunnsmouth. As they parted, Johan murmured something to himself about “...robbers and murderers” before he went inside his cottage, turned out the light and barred the door from the inside.

To be continued

Last edited by Gregorius21778 (2017-02-08 09:49:22)

With kind regards
My blog

Re: Three men went to Dunnsmouth (Session Report)

Fourth part of Session 01

There the three stood, outside in the mist and deliberated on their next move (after they had walked a few steps). From what they had learned so far there was the ruin of an old sawmill at a river; a potential hideout. Johan van Kaus had mentioned a woman near the flooded, former center of Dunnsmouth he had never seen before, and one of the fugitives they were after was a woman (Shelly-Ann, the Witchdaughter). Other than that, they had gained an overview of who else was still living in Dunnsmouth, a total of ten households. From what they had heard about “those Samsons” they would better leave them alone (they did not seem to like strangers), but neither Johan nor Reginald had said one bad word about “the Duncasters”. Johan even called them “goodfolk” while that the nasty, foul-mouthed Reginald had not dispraised them in anyway. So, they decided to pay Herod Duncaster a visit, partially because his home was, according to the undertaker, the nearest one around and the only one they could reach without crossing a flooded area. The constant fog, lag of landmarks or orientation lines especially worried Jasper. He had asked Johan, who claimed that he would pick up floating corpses from the swamp, how he was able to navigate the fog anyhow. The fact that the undertake simply answered that he knew the surrounding area since his birth, and was thereby familiar with it, frustrated Jasper who had hoped for some landmarks or signs he simply had failed to note yet.
Going north, they got into trouble. The description of Johan van Kaus had mentioned some wooden pegs connected with a rope that would allow them to find (or at least: get near to) the home of Herod Duncaster. But there were none. It took them what seemed to be half an hour till they located  the missing peg, which had tipped and lay in the murky ground. From their on, they were able to follow the moldy length of rope from one peg to the next.

The home of Herod Duncaster turned out to be a tree house, not unlike the one they had seen early, but only consisting of a single room. As they called out there was no reaction at first, and the only one to peak out under the hides, that covered the window openings, was a curious black cat. Quickly afterward, a young, bearded fellow came to the window who smiled down on them with a surprised, but friendly smile. “My, my, my... strangers, and three of them! What have led you folks here?” As they introduced themselves and told him that they were after fugitive robbers hey exclaimed “Really? You have to tell me about that. My name is Herod Duncaster, please come up and be my guests. I hope you can handle the rope ladder”. The three could, so Angus´ wound started bleeding again. Their host recognized that quickly and produced some medical herbs from a small leather pouch, and renewed Angus bandages. While his household looked very simple (not to say, poor) there was one very particular feature: a collection of books.

While they enjoyed Herod´s hospitality (dried fish and -STRONG- booze) and chatted about Dunnsmouth, its inhabitants,  likely hideouts, whereabouts of the fugitives and “the fog” Jasper politely asked how it would come that a “seemingly world-open and educated man” like him would stay in Dunnsmouth. Herod gave him an understanding smile, and leaned forward a bit as he explained that ships would not come here often, and that the passage over the mountain would be a dangerous one. Other than that, he said, moving somewhere else would take some money, and despite his ability to read he only knew the life of the swamp people. Even if he would find work somewhere else, he would need some shilling to set himself up. And at that moment, Herod seemed to see a chance.

“You said you where after a bounty. How much do you get for them?” They answered rather honestly, but had not told him about the church or that they already had the heads of two of them yet. Herod nodded and proposed a deal “I can help you in finding them, if they are here. I was born and raised in this area and know the swamps here like the back of my hand. And, if you want to look for them you will sooner or later have to talk to the Samsons. They won´t react good to you...” he said, looking over to Comragh “..but if I talk to them there will be less trouble. They know me and have no reason to wish me ill. All I want in return is 50 Shilling (sp) and that you talk to the captain of the ship that brougth you here so that I can come along to Spillswick. If we don´t find anyone, you don´t owe me anything. What do you say?” The characters were willing to accept this terms, as they needed a guide, the payment seemed fair to them and all in all, there was no real risk for them. So, they accepted the deal. “Excellent!” Herod exclaimed “let´s seal the deal with a good drink” and  filled the wooden cups of each of them with his strong Moonshine like it would be water. Jasper was the first one who tried to make him fill the cup only halfway, but Herod insisted on filling it up to the edge “You all either down this with me in one go or the deal is not a deal!” Needless to say, the booze burned in their throats and exploded warmly in their stomachs, but it was only Jasper who ended up slightly drunk from it. Herod packed up some gear and supplies and once they were down, he readied his own skiff as well. “Your fugitives must have come over the mountain pass. If they would have come over the sea, my brother Obediah would have noted -something- about it. He regularly pays Reginald a visit, and if only to sell the old croaker some booze or when he joins him on the sea to fish with him. That means they might have either visited the Samsons first or they could be at the church. Let´s go to the church first and visit the priest, the Samson´s can fend for themselves.”

Cormagh quickly agreed to this plan, and all of the three kept quite about them having been at the church already... and about what they have found there. The first session ended when Herod opened the church portal.

To be continued..... perhaps in two weeks

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