Topic: LotFP Actual Play: Ashes of Angels

Hello! This year I started running my first long-term LotFP with my home group.  I've been making actual play posts on my blog for the past several weeks. I thought I'd repost them here as well, since I've enjoyed so many of the AP posts on this forum (long-time lurker!).

Our campaign takes place in 1630 in the Holy Roman Empire, starting near Berlin. I have a handful of house-rules in play. Elves, Dwarves, and Halflings are reskinned as Serpentblood, Molemen, and Outladers. MOst importantly, I'm using Cavegirl's "horrible wounds" rules, which has led to a lot of wonderful complications as my players try and decide what to do when they're suddenly short an arm. I also added the Chirurgy skill, to help counter the reliance on clerical healing.

Here’s the initial party:
Madeline: Specialist and grave robber
Belinda Kage: Serpentblood and midwife
Mortimer: Alice and librarian
Tranquilo: Fighter and conscripted sailor
Hector: Alice and orphan

Two Alices! Unfotunately, they didn’t start out with any crazy powers.

I took Zak S’s advice and started the campaign with the party in a dungeon. The last thing they remembered was being in Berlin, when they blacked out or were knocked unconscious. Sometime later they wake up in a cold jail cell stripped of all their gear and weapons.

“Psst… Are you awake?” says a voice in the dim light of a single torch. As the party awakes, they look through the bars of their cell to the other cell across the hall. There sits Ana Fischer, a young blonde woman, “country pretty” in tattered clothes and showing clear signs of torture. “We must get out of here before the witch hunter returns!”

The party begins examining their surroundings, looking for a way out. Madeline finds an old bronze cloak pin under a pile of moldy straw. Maybe it will serve as a make-shift lock pick? Meanwhile, Belinda detects a slight draft coming from a crack in corner wall of the cell.

Unfortunately for them, this is old-style D&D! Searching an area or picking a lock takes a full 10 minute turn. Before they can try to unlock their door, the witch hunter, Lazarus Holtz (cleric 2), arrives with a couple of goons (0-level).

“Good, I see you heretics are awake,” sneers the witch hunter. “Fear not, I have thumbscrews enough for all of you. You will all confess your crimes in time. But first, Frau Fischer has an appointment with the stake.” The goons drag Ana kicking and screaming out of her cell. The party try to taunt Holtz and his men closer to the bars so they can grab them, but the witch hunter is too crafty and cautious. The PCs ineffectively pelt the villains with rotten straw and pebbles, as Holtz and company leave with Ana.

Now the PCs feel like they have a time limit if they want to save the pretty peasant girl (they do!). Thankfully, Holtz is long winded, and they can hear him chanting litanies and accusations somewhere above them. Madeline picks the lock on the cell door, while Belinda removes a few bricks in the corner of the cell to find a narrow tunnel that leads into the dark where they hear and smell running water. The tunnel is too cramped for some of the larger party members to fit through (specifically Tranquilo, whose 18 CON makes him pretty beefy, and Belinda, whose player previously described as “broad and curvy”). They decide to take the safer route through the open door.

A store room near the cell reveals one of Holtz’s henchmen under a blanket, dead from vicious wounds that the PCs can’t quite identify. Sadly the body has no weapons on it. Looking quickly in Ana’s cell, they only find an old steel bucket full of stinking human waste. For now it is the party’s only weapon.

The party sneaks down the hallway and around the corner where thy find another store room and hear voices in low conversation. Hector the Alice sneaks ahead to check out the voices, while the others examine the store room. They find a few barrels of dried beans and horse feed, as well as a small barrel of gunpowder and (more importantly) a variety of shovels and other tools they can use as makeshift weapons (1d6 damage!). Hector discovers that the voices belong to a couple of Holtz’s goons who are patiently cataloging the party’s stolen gear. A plan is quickly formed.

Hector spreads the liquid waste from the bucket along the hallway floor while the rest of the party hides behind the storeroom door or around the corner. Hector then starts banging on the wall with his shovel, attracting the attention of one of the goons. When the goon sees Hector, he draws his sword and charges, fails his saving throw, slips on the filth, and slides toward the store room door, where Hector splatters his head with a shovel (100 xp for the first kill of the campaign!). The second goon is quickly dispatched before he can raise an alarm. Flush with victory, the party quickly recovers their gear and heads upstairs just as Holtz wraps up his “let’s burn a witch” ritual.

The stairs lead up to the ground floor of a small ruined tower in an old Roman fort. They PCs peek out into the overgrown courtyard. It’s dark and heavy snow is falling. Ana Fischer is tied to a stake on a pile of kindling, soaked with oil. A large, bound book sits on the pyre with her. Holtz is there with some of his goons (two in the courtyard, two on the walls with guns). The villains make their surprise roll, spot the PCs and combat begins!

After years of playing “modern” D&D, LotFP was brutal and visceral. And while the individual rounds went quick, this combat went pretty long. Most fights in 5th edition D&D seem to last maybe 3 or 5 rounds. This fight went on for over ten rounds, but it was never boring. The free-form nature of old-style D&D gave my players the liberty to try things they’d never think of attempting in newer D&D. I also used Cavegirl’s“Horrible Wounds” rules, which led to some very gory deaths, some dramatic turn-arounds, and interesting long-term wounds. The combat started off well for the party, but there was a streak of 3-or-4 rounds where the dice just weren’t with them, and no one rolled higher than a 9.

At the start of combat, the party immediately splits (no time for tactical discussions with recently met strangers!). Tranquilo runs out to the courtyard to try and stop Holtz from lighting the pyre. Mortimer the Alice expresses his frustration with the situation and discover a previously non-existent secret door that leads out of the tower and outside of the fort. The rest of the party follow him out this door and start to make their way around the outside wall to where they hear picketed horses.

One tower gunman fires at the outside party, but misses due to range. The other gunman fires at Tranquilo, but also misses. The fighter quickly dispatches one of the Holtz’s sword-goons while the Witchhunter begins casting a spell. “Surrender!” he shouts at the fighter, casting Command. Tranquilo drops his weapons and goes to his knees. One of the goons slaps manacles on him and Holtz lights the pyre. Ana screams, for she only has a few rounds before the flames reach her.
The rest of the party finds the villains' horses and mounts up. Hector, with his high Charisma, even manages to befriend Holtz’s ill-tempered war horse. They spur the horses and charge through the fort gates into the courtyard!

Hector directs his new warhorse to leap over the fire and knock Ana and the stake out of the flames. They succeed, but not well. The horse catches on fire and bucks Hector off. Ana is free of her bonds, but has caught on fire.

Mortimer uses his sword to strike the manacles off Tranquilo, and the fighter lunges at Holtz. They roll around on the ground, locked in combat, but brave Tranquilo has high DEX, but low STR (only a 6!). Holtz’s gets the upper hand, and his thumb crushes one of Tranquilo’s eyes like a grape. The rest of the party is occupied fencing with Holtz’s henchmen and trying to extinguish Ana’s flames.

One of the goons hits Belinda and drops her to 0 hit points, driving his blade in one side of her head and out the other. According to Cavegirl’s Horrible Wounds table, she’s a “dead woman walking” and will die in 2 rounds. “I have a couple of dots in Chirurgy and a fishing kit,” her player asks. “Can I quickly lash my face back together?” The other players think this idea is hilarious, and so do I. Madeline’s player mimics Stewey Griffin with glass in his forehead (“Uh oh! Do I leave it in or take it out??”)

“Okay, I say, but you need to make 2 successfully Chirurgy rolls.” Belinda rolls her dice, and boom, a 1 and a 2. Two successes.

“Okay, so now you have two inches of broken sword blade sticking out of both sides of your head,  with fishing line and hooks holding your face together. You look kind of like a cenobite. You’re at 1hp, but alive and unconscious.” We all agreed that this was pretty fucking metal, and I don’t regret fudging the rules a bit to make things more metal.

Meanwhile, things are going just as poorly for the rest of the team. Holtz and Tranquilo are on their feet know, going at each other with swords. Holtz gets in a good hit and severs Tranquilo’s arm (I really, really love the Horrible Wounds table). Hector expresses his frustration and the Alice table reveals that he has a small item hidden on his person. We decide that a flintlock pistol is smaller than a breadbox and possible to conceal. The newly discovered gun takes out one of the goons, but another goon slashes the Alice’s guts wide open (100xp to his next character for the first death of the campaign!). Mortimer finally manages to extinguish Ana, who is now horribly burned, unconscious, but at least alive and not on fire. Madeline drags her to the relative safety of the tower.

At this point, it’s pretty much the Holtz and two goons vs Madeline, Mortimer, and nearly dead Tranquilo. The words “TPK” are on everyone’s lips.

Madeline’s grave-robbin’ pick splatters one goon’s head, but the other slices off her arm at the elbow. Mortimer the Alice expresses his frustration is suddenly recalls that the style of breastplate that Holtz wears has a structural defect under the left dorsal arm flap. He’s now +2 to hit the witch hunter and manages to get a light stab in.

Madeline shoves the stump of her arm into the fire and cauterizes the wound. This stops her from bleeding out, but she fails her save and passes out from the pain. Holtz strikes Tranquilo again, and now the fighter’s leg is ruined, along with his arm and eye. But with a surge of adrenaline, the fighter’s sword finally strikes true and kills Holtz.

The remaining goon fails his morale check and turns tail to run. “You have one round to live, Tranquilo” I say. “Do you want to try and bind your wound? You have a 1-in-6 chance.”

“Nope,” he replies. “I’m going to try and go out in style.” He throws his dagger at the fleeing goon, and drops him before he can escape. “From Hell’s heart I stab at thee,” Tranquilo sneers as he dies. The combat is over, and only three PCs remain alive. Two are brutally wounded, along with NPC Ana.

GM’s Note: Ana Fischer actually is a witch, and really is in league with Lucifer! If the flames had killed her, she would have called out to her dark lord with her last breath and trams formed into a flaming undead monstrosity. This didn’t happen, but now I get to use her as a party complication as she tries to get the PCs under her sway and find a new spellbook. Should be interesting!

At the end of the session, the surviving party members take shelter in the ruined fort and try to mend their wounds. They have found plenty of camping gear, so are relatively comfortable. They also found the witch hunter’s treasure cache along with an annotated map of the surrounding area. Their next move is to make their way to the small village of Nonsbeck. Madeline the grave robber has also heard rumors of the Ghoul Market, and hopes someone there can reattach her arm. They are also debating whether or not to explore the tunnel they found in their jail cell.

Tranquilo (Fighter 1)
Hector (Alice 1)

Treasure Gained:
300sp in German thalers
Large gold and ivory crucifix (worth 500sp, maybe more to the right people)
Various mundane arms and equipment.

Last edited by jlhburnett (2019-01-11 02:44:07)

Re: LotFP Actual Play: Ashes of Angels

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Re: LotFP Actual Play: Ashes of Angels

Hello again! In the second session of our LotFP campaign, my players arrived in Nonsbeck (from Obscene Serpent Religion 2) and made connections with a bunch of doomed NPCs. But the big treat in this session was getting my players into the Ghoul Market!


Our Cast
Belinda Kage: Serpent Blood 1, Midwife. (Starts the session with a broken blade thru her head.)
Madeline: Specialist 1, Grave Robber. (Starts the session missing an arm.)
Mortimer: Alice 1, Librarian. (Starts the session moderately wounded, but relatively intact.)
“Matthew”: Outlander 1, Iriquois warrior and former slave. (New PC)
Julius Cervantes: Fighter 1, Former witch hunter. (New PC)

Ana Fischer: Rescued witch, secret Satanist. (Starts the session with horrific facial and body burns.)
Deacon Girnot: A sleazy weasel of a man, deacon of Nonsbeck's only church

The session starts with Belinda, Madline, Mortimer, and Ana tending to their wounds. Once everyone is on their feet, they gather up the bodies of the dead from last session. They pile their enemies’ corpses into a great big pyre. They bury their dead comrades Hector and Tranquilo in the snow so they keep relatively fresh until they can get a proper burial.

As the survivors keep warm by the pyre, Belinda notices Ana gathering up the charred remnants of the book she was to burned with. The accused witch is barely holding back tears and seems distraught. Belinda recognizes the scraps as the remains of a spellbook. She confides in the witch that she too is a spellcaster, and promises to help her recompile her lost spell book. This earns her Ana’s gratitude and (for now) loyalty.

Meanwhile, Julius and Matthew have been traveling together for few days, and notice the warm glow of a fire and the smell of cooking meat coming from the ruins of the old Roman fort. They ride up to the camp and announce themselves. The grizzled Spaniard and dusky-skinned warrior from the New World surprise the group of survivors, but Julius and Matthew are just as surprised by the horrifically mutilated quartet before them. Questions are made and explanations are offered, but eventually the two groups of misfits decide to join forces. PC party reestablished!

The party has pretty decent shelter and plenty of food in the ruins of the fort, so they decide to recover here for a few days until everyone is properly healed up. Belinda’s chirurgy skills help speed this along. While the wounded rest, Matthew and Julius keep watch. On the third day, a rabid bear wanders out of the forest and jumps on a nearby deer (random encounter!). The PCs don’t believe the fort’s crumbling walls will keep the bear out, so they quickly hustle everyone indoors and try to wrangle their horses into a tower. One of the horses gets spooked and breaks free, running off. The rabid bear gives chase!

Matthew and Julius decide the bear is too much of a threat to leave alive so they open fire with their muskets, cycling through extra guns while Mortimer (who’s fully healed at this point) reloads for them. The angry bear charges towards them, making its way through the large gaps in the fort wall. Musket balls hit a few more times, but it gets within melee range before they can completely drop it. Julius’s spear catches the bear as it charges, striking a devastating wound, but the maddened beast will fight to the death! Matthew leaps at the bear with his French tomahawk, and the bear turns on the Iroquois. The beast’s claws and teeth savage his flesh, tearing flesh away from his hand and arm (luckily he makes his poison save, and doesn’t catch rabies).  Desperate, Matthew lashes out with his dagger in his good hand while Julius stabs and stabs again with his spear. Finally the rabid beast falls. Matthew crawls out to join the rest of the convalescing PCs, while Mortimer and Julius drag the diseased carcas away from the fort.

The next few days are peaceful, and eventually everyone is back on their feet. Before they leave the fort, they decide to explore the secret tunnel in the jail cell below. They use Madeline’s pick and shovel to work on widening the tunnel, while the rangy Matthew crawls ahead on his belly with a lantern pushed ahead of him. The outlander discovers that the tunnel connects to an ancient Roman aqueduct, knee deep with cold, clean water. After some debate, the PCs decide not to explore the aqueduct for now and prepare to head east towards the village of Nonsbeck. Maybe they’ll find some work there. They bundle up the bodies of their dead friends and head down the road.

On the road to Nonsbeck, they come across a man pulling a wagon load of dead bodies to a nearby mass grave (random encounter!). Apparently a nearby village (not Nonsbeck) has been recently wiped out by the Red Plague (seting up The Punchline for later). He offers to take their friends’ corpses off their hands (“Plenty of room on the old cart!”) but the PCs decline and give the man their farewells.

Eventually, they make their way to Nonsbeck, a pleasant little village that would certainly never fall prey to demonic terror.  The whole place is decorated for Christmas and seems perfectly pleasant. The hilltop church of St. Margaret is their first stop. They are greeted by Deacon Girnot, a greasy weasel of a character who is not at all pleased to see a bunch of mutilated weirdos on the church’s doorstep. The good priest Father Cristof, however is more friendly to strangers and ushers them into the church. The PCs explain (lie) that they were attacked on the road and two of their friends were killed, and hope the priest could give them a proper burial. Father Cristof is saddened by their tale. Of course he’ll arrange for burial first thing in the morning. For now, they can keep the bodies in the shed where Girnot sleeps. The deacon is not at all pleased to be put out of his room by a bunch of strange corpses.

The party’s next stop is the stable where they meet the friendly stable boy Reiner. They pay him for a week’s worth of stabling in advance, as they plan on staying here for a bit. Then it’s off to the inn for some food and rest. The inn is busy this night. A group of farmers drinks mulled ale and sings Christmas songs. A small group of five soldiers are spending the night here while on their way to Berlin, a merchant and his guards have made this their stop for the night, and two travelling nuns also have rooms.

The party makes arrangements to rent the last two rooms and settle in to eat. While they are eating, Belinda notices that the soldiers are starting to get “handsy” with Gela, the nice young barmaid. The buxom redheaded serpentblood saddles over to the soldiers and snags their attention away from the younger girl. While the soldiers thusly distracted, Belinda takes some of the opium form her chirurgy kit and spikes the soldiers’ beer. Soon the soldiers are all unconscious, and the inn is a much more pleasant place.

Meanwhile, Julius talks to the nuns. They are on their way to the convent of St. Agnes, about a day away. The men escorting them along the road have abandoned them, and it’s a dangerous world out there. Julius offers the party’s aid in escorting them, if they are willing to wait a few days. The older nun decides that arriving late is better than arriving dead, so they reluctantly agree to wait for the PCs to finish their business.

The next morning, Father Cristoff performs a nice but simple funeral for Tranquilo and Hector. The party springs for a couple of nice headstones (and the money so spent becomes XP for their new characters, Matthew and Julius). While in the cemetery, Madeline notices a large monument bearing a statue of the Virgin Mother. It is clearly old as it is covered in moss and the inscriptions have long worn away. But on the back of this monument she sees a white ankh, the sign of the ghoul market!

The party spends the rest of the day lazing about the town or chopping wood for extra silver. But when night falls, they head back to the cemetery to investigate the marked monument. It’s starless and bible black. The moon is nothing but a thin sliver behind the clouds, and all the lights are out in the village. The only sound is deacon Girnot’s snoring from his nearby shed. They manage to find the monument again, and Madeline works her shovel into a crack in the base. She moves a slab away to reveal narrow, steep stairs descending into the cold earth. Madeline, Beleinda, Mortimer, and Ana head down into the foggy darkness. Matthew doesn’t wish to walk on burial land, and Julius feels guilty about desecrating the dead, so they decide to stay topside and stand guard. We have split the party!

The stairs widen and grow less steep as the quartet descends, but it still takes them 30 minutes to reach the bottom. The stairs lead to a large tunnel filled with low-fog and shards of old bone. They refill their lantern and press on.

Topside, Matthew and Julius grow worried. Their friends have been down there for a half-an-hour or more. The decide that deacon Girnot (that sleazy weasel) must know something. They sneak into his shed and awake him with a sword held to his throat. Girnot looks up in fear. “Did Agamot send you?” Who? The PCs have never heard of this man. After some graphic threats and a failed Morale check, they learn the truth. Girnot stole a book from a wizard in Heidelberg named Agamot. He suspects the wizard has sent people after him. “What’s buried under this cemetery? Who’s buried under the Madonna gravestone?” they demand. Girnot claims he doesn’t know. The grave’s been here longer than anyone remembers. He doesn’t think there’s anything under the cemetery other than more dirt and worms. Matthew and Julius don’t quite believe him, so they grab the deacon and frog-march him to the cemetery and drag him with them as they head down the stairs to the Ghoul Market.

Meanwhile, deep below the earth, the first group continues down the tunnel for an hour before it comes to a large cavern. A wall of skulls stretches across the cavern, and two statues of faceless angels form an entrance arch with their wings. Black-bannered market stalls are scattered among crumbling crypts and mausoleums of ancient design. Green flames burn in large iron lanterns suspended from the ceiling. The smell of rot, spices, and cooking meat fills the air. The dead and damned wander the isles, buying and selling. This is the Ghoul Market!

The PCs walk to the central square. They can feel hungry eyes watching them, but they use the timeless social tactic of “acting like we belong here." Belinda still has a sword blade through her head and rough stiches across her face, and the cenobite look helps sell the illusion. The central square features a dry fountain with a large statue of a nude medusa. Behind that lies Cold Ethyl’s Pleasure House, a desecrated cathedral of black stone with a crucified nude woman writhing and moaning on the cross in ecstasy.  The PCs decide to ignore that for now and follow a road sign towards the Skinsmith.

In the cavern of the Skinsmith, they are greeted by a robed dwarf with a patchwork face, one of the Skinsmith’s minions. Of course they will be able to fix Madeline's arm and repair Belinda and Ana’s scarred faces. Sadly the party does not have enough money. But the dwarf is glad to inform them that the Exchequer will trade them silver for parts of their vital essence (250sp per attribute point permanently sold). The PCs have some scores they aren’t really using, so this sounds like a good deal to them. They chit-chat with the dwarf for a bit before leaving, and find out that a human wizard known as Lord Prospero frequents the Ghoul Market. They file this info for later.

As they leave to find the Exchequer, they run into Matthew and Julius, who have finally arrived in the Market. They have Girnot all tied up so they look like slavers (“so we look like we belong). The party is reunited, so they all head to the Exchequer for some easy money.

The Exchequer has a tent in the main square. He is a hulking creature in dusty yellow robes with a cage of fire where his head should be. The PCs have a new idea. Since Girnot is their "slave" now, his Essence is theirs to sell! Plus, if they reduce his Intelligence and Charisma low enough, he won’t be able to tell anyone what the PCs have been doing (“And if he dies, well, he doesn’t seem like someone anyone will miss.”). The Exchequer pulls silver cobwebs out of Girnot’s face, reducing his INT and CHA to 4 and 3, respectively. The deacon is now very stupid and poorly spoken, and the party is several thousand silver oboli richer.

Pleased with themselves, the party heads back to the Skinsmith. Madeline wants her old arm re-attached, but it’s too far gone. Instead, the great cyclopean demon gives her a new arm covered in green scales and orange hair, ending in a taloned claw (1d4 damage!). Belinda doesn’t quite trust the Skinsmith to remove the blade from her head (and she kind of likes the cenobite look), so she just has him grind the metal down so it’s not sticking out any more. Ana whispers something in the demon’s ear (she’s actually in league with Satan, remember, though the PCs still don’t know this). The Skinsmith nods in ascent. When he’s done with his work, Ana’s hair and skin is replaced. She’s beautiful, but her skin has a weird too-tight almost-artificial look to it.

Next, it’s off to the antiquities and sundries section of the market. Belinda buys magical inks and psychoactives so Ana can begin to make copies of Belinda’s spells. Julius buys a lightweight coat of bone chainmail from a purple woman of Carcosa. Madeline buys a glove to cover her demon hand. It’s here that the PC’s hear a hissing, hungry voice behind them “You look like you’re new to the Ghoul Market, how delicious.” A group of six hungry ghouls have come up behind them. The rest of the market looks on with interest. When the PCs came to the market, there was a 1-in-8 chance of them running into “hungry complications” from the patrons. Each time they went someplace new, this chance went up by 1. They were lucky for a long time, but I finally rolled low enough for the ghouls to make their move. “You don’t have a Writ of Protection,” says the lead ghoul. “That means you’re meat for the taking. But we’ll give you a break, just give us one of your number and leave.”

I fully expected my players to hand over Grinot, but they are craftier than that. “I wouldn’t mess with us! We’re on business for Agamot the wizard.”

“Agamot? Who’s that?”

“He’s a friend of the great Lord Prospero?”

“Oh really?” Says the ghoul, “Well Prospero is right over there. Let’s go ask him.”

Sure enough,  since they are in the antiquities section of the Market, Lord Prospero is here with his servant Catherwood. Prospero is a decadent Vincent Price sort of wizard, and Catherwood is a stooped old man carrying a large cabinet full of Prospero’s goods. Both wear a scroll around their necks that reads: “The bearer of this writ of protection shall be afforded all the hospitality and safety due a guest of Prince Dracula and his official representatives.”

Prospero is drunk and in a good mood, but he doesn’t corform to the PCs’ lies. “I assure you that amateur Agamot is no friend of mine!” The party quickly explains that Girnot stole one of the rival wizard’s books. “Well in that case, anyone who causes Agamot such irritation is certainly welcome in my company!” He extends his one-time protection to the PCs for the night, and the hungry ghouls slink off disappointed. The party talks with Prospero for a bit. They find the libertine wizard charming, and he finds the adventurers amusing. He invites them to come visit him in his castle sometime “And bring that book of Agamot’s. I will pay you well for it!”

The party has made a new friend and finished their shopping while narrowly avoiding being eaten by ghouls. They decide they’ve pushed their luck enough for one night and leave the Market. The PCs emerge from the cemetery just as dawn breaks over Nonsbeck.

Treasure Gained:
Nothing that earned them XP, but..
300sp in Ghoul Market oboli, left over from shopping
Carcosan bone mail that protects like chain but encumbers like leather.
Friendship... the real treasure

Re: LotFP Actual Play: Ashes of Angels

Our third Lamentations of the Flame Princess session was shorter than the first two. One of our players (Julius the fighter) couldn’t make it, and the rest of the group was loathe to get into too much trouble without him. Most of the session revolved around travel and administrative work, as well as an admirable amount of roleplaying.  They also fought some wolves and barely escaped with their lives. By the end of the session, though, they were properly set up to go straight into their next adventure.

Our Cast
Belinda Kage: Serpentblood 1, Midwife.
Madeline: Specialist 1, Grave Robber.
Mortimer: Alice 1, Librarian.
Matthew: Outlander 1, Iriquois warrior and former slave.

Absent PCs
Julius Cervantes: Fighter 1, Former witch hunter.

Ana Fischer: Rescued witch.
Deacon Girnot: Deacon of Nonsbeck's church. Intelligence and charisma sold off to the Ghoul Market.

The players exit the tunnel from the Ghoul Market and return to Nonsbeck. Madeline replaces the slab in the side of the monument that leads to the tunnel. The slab easily ker-chunks back into place, almost as though it’s magnetic. The party leaves the cemetery just as the first cock crows. They shuffle Girnot into his shed and retrieve the Black Book of Agamot from the hole under some haystacks where the deacon had hidden it. Confident that they’ve covered all traces of their otherworldly explorations, the party makes their way back to the inn.

Most of the party crashes into their beds and fall right asleep, but Belinda stays awake to eagerly copy the spells from the Black Book into her own spellbook. She is happy to discover that she now has access to Summon and Transylvanian Hunger (from Vaginas are Magic). Particularly, the regenerative benefits of Transylvanian Hunger might allow her to fix her face or replace the seemingly inevitable lost limbs that have been plaguing the group.

While the PCs doze away in their rooms, word quickly spreads across town that something has happened to Deacon Girnot. He seems to have gone quite mad, babbling incoherently about a nightmare world and monsters underground. The party had sold off a large chunk of his intelligence and charisma to the Exchequer (Session 2). While it didn’t erase his memory like they’d hoped it would, it left him unable to form coherent thoughts or express them to others. The villagers send a boy to a nearby town to get a physician, but there’s already talk of sending the poor man to an asylum.

Around noon, the PCs finally wake up and face the day. Belinda has allowed Ana to borrow her spellbook, and the witch dedicates herself to copying spells into her own fresh new book. (This gives a good boost to Ana’s Loyalty score.) Mortimer goes off to one of the local farms to chop wood for a few extra coppers, while Belinda buys a puppy from another farm. Her eventual goal is get a whole pack of loyal doggos. Madeline offers to help the innkeeper’s wife pluck chickens in order to pay for the party’s dinner. Since the grave robber has a fresh new demon arm, she refuses to take off her gloves or roll up her sleeves, even while elbow-deep in chicken blood. This causes some questions from Gella the serving girl, but Madeline manages to wave off her concerns. Meanwhile, Matthew heads a few miles out of town to scout around the road ahead. He finds several wolf tracks and the signs of a small pack operating in the area.

As the sun sets, everyone meets back in the Laughing Ox inn. Ana comes from downstairs, still clearly high from the narcotics required to research and transcribe spells, but proud of her success. Between the restoration of her previously fire-scarred face and the on-going reconstruction of her spellbook, the witch has clearly grown more confident and ambitious. Belinda notices that Ana is transcribing spells (“copying recipes into your new cookbook”) a lot quicker than expected. “Oh. It must be because they’re recipes I already knew and am only relearing,” Ana explains. This seems reasonable to Belinda and the matter drops for now.

It’s a busy night at the Laughing Ox. There are several farmers here, as well as another group of traveling soldiers and the two nuns the PCs had talked to previously. The nuns are eager to leave the village soon, but the PCs convince them to wait one more day and then they will escort them to the convent of St. Agnes as agreed.

The topic of Girnot eventually comes up. Asylums are terrible places, but no one seems to be too upset about sending the weasley deacon away. On the other hand, if the party decides to take him with them, they can use him to carry equipment and stuff. Belinda and Matthew decide to go and talk to Father Cristoff and ask for his permission to take Girnot with them.

In the church, Father Decaon sits in a pew, drinking heartily from a bottle of schnapps. He seems to be in a surprisingly jovial mood. Belinda and Matthew suggest letting them take Girnot with them in order to spare him the indignity of the asylum. “Yes! An excellent idea!” the priest agrees, almost before the words are out of Matthew’s mouth. “In fact, here’s 25 silver thalers to help with travel expenses! Let’s drink a toast to poor Girnot’s health.” Schnapps are poured, toasts are made, and a deal is struck.

Belinda and Matthew go to Girnot’s shed to tell him the news. The (now former) deacon is in a bad way. His shed smells of piss and sweat, and he’s clearly been digging around looking for the Black Book. He is terrified of the PCs, because he knows they did something to him, but can’t properly comprehend what. The thought of going underground fills him with horror. He’s also calling himself “Conrad” now for some reason. Matthew tells him they are going to take him with them to the convent “You know, where the nice ladies are. Maybe they can help you.”

“Oh yes,” leers Girnot, “The nice virgin ladies. They can help me indeed, yes.” It’s here that Girnot’s personality changes from Gollum to Ken Shabby.

The next day passes without incident. Belinda and Ana continue to copy spells, while the others buy and sell equipment and prepare for travel. Finally, the party leaves bright and early the next morning. The PCs and their ersatz henchmen are on horses, and the nuns ride a couple of stout mules. The little convoy heads north along the muddy road to Hegendorf, there to turn east toward the abbey of St. Agnes. The whole trip should take a day.  Julius (whose player is absent) stays behind in Nonsbeck to look after affairs.

Halfway to Hegendorf, danger rears its baleful head. The party hears they baying of hungry wolves. It’s winter in a time of constant war, so the beasts have almost certainly tasted human flesh. Four wolves bare down on them, charging towards their horses with terrible speed.

But the party has arrows, bolts, bullets, and several rounds before the wolves’ teeth can get at them. They are rightfully afraid that the gunfire will spook the horses, so Matthew, Belinda, Mortimer, and Ana leap off their mounts. Madeline grabs the rest of the horses and leads them, Girnot, and the nuns away from the combat, hopefully keeping them safe from the wolves.

The PCs take time to aim at the wolves (they’re still at long distance), while Ana begins chanting an alien rune. The air around here glows, and smoke pours from her mouth as she summons a smoke demon with multiple antenna and jointed eyes. She does remarkably well on her control roll and permanently bonds the demon (thanks to Ramanan’s awesome Summon app). The witch crows in triumph, feeling like a real spellcaster once more. Thankfully, Madeline is leading the nuns away, so they don’t notice this obvious display of sorcery.

Bullets and arrows fly. Two wolves are wounded, but none are killed outright. The smoke demon engages with another wolf, lashing it with festering wounds. There’s another round of fire from arrows and bolts. The alpha wolf is wounded as are two other wolves. The two lesser wolves fail their morale checks and flee. The fourth wolf continues to fight the demon, both exchanging damage. Matthew issues a war whoop, successfully drawing the attention of the wounded alpha wolf.

The wolf fighting the demon finally kills it. The wolf is badly wounded, but maddened by pain. From a distance, Madeline fires her pistol at the wolf but misses. Mortimer the Alice expresses his Frustration. He recalls a bit of information about wolves—they can often be distracted by fresh meat. This isn’t immediately helpful, because all they have on them is hardtack and dried beans.

The alpha wolf is upon them! It leaps upon Matthew and tears off the outlander’s arm! He’s bleeding out and will be dead in moments. The good news is the wolves now have fresh meat! The alpha runs off with Matthew's arm, and the reaming wolf follows its leader. The wolves, having gotten what they wanted, have technically won this combat encounter.

Belinda’s chirurgy kit is on her person, not her horse, so she is able to quickly staunch Matthew’s bleeding. Madeline returns with the nuns. The younger sister looks positively green and ready to faint. Even though there’s a nice easy-to-follow blood trail, the PC’s decide not to track down the wolves. They know how to get to the Ghoul Market. Once they get their hands on a Writ of Protection, maybe they’ll get Matthew a new arm.

Hegerndorf was only an hour away, so the party packs up their unconscious friend and heads to the village. Hegendorf is another small village, maybe even smaller than Nonsbeck, without a proper church or tavern. But the people there know the nuns, and are willing to help the wounded outlander. The PCs spend only an hour in Hegendorf, reapplying bandages and giving Matthew some strong drink to dull the pain. They head east along the trail to the convent of St. Agnes where they are assured Sister Brunhilde is a talented surgeon.

At the convent, the party is greeted by several nuns, excited that their missing sisters have returned safely. Ana the witch seems reluctant to enter, but Belinda convinces her to come along. “What, does it burn?” she chides the witch. Matthew is shuffled off to the infirmary where he is attended to by Sister Brunhilde, a short, warty troll of a woman with the hands of an angel. Girnot/Conrad is locked into a nice comfy cell where he can’t cause any trouble. The rest of the party is invited to the dining hall for a simple but hearty meal of turnips, peas, bread, and short beer. The nuns they party escorted relate the events of their trip to the mother superior, Mother Ruth. They commend the party’s bravery and honesty.

At dinner they meet a permanent guest of the convent. A nameless but harmless madman the sisters simply call “Mensch.” He showed up on the doorstep of the convent a year ago, babbling nonsense about a “Pale Lady.” He is a eunuch, so the mother superior allowed him to stay here. The PCs try engaging him in conversation, and he only babbles about the “Pale Lady, the Queen of Flowers” and how he and his sister were taken by her beastmen as a child, had his genitals removed, and forced to work in fields of flower with other men, women, and children. He only escaped when a man in a starry robe told him the secret words that let him escape her realm.

After dinner and evening mass, Mother Ruth invites the party into her office. She tells them how Mensch came to the convent almost a year ago, and confirms much of the story they have already heard. She has had to piece together the story from Mensch’s ravings over the course of several months. The nearby woods are supposedly haunted by a witch or demon, and her beast men kidnap children every winter. Mensch and his sister were kidnapped unknown years ago, when he was a child. The Pale Lady welcomes occultists to her home who enter as young men and leave aged. One of these wizards told Mensch how to escape through the hedges using a complicated magical phrase.

In his ravings, Mensch also mentioned a gleaming white cube of stone. Mother Ruth believes this is one of the fabled “Words of Creation” cast down to Earth after God created the world. Mother Ruth would like the party to travel to the Pale Lady’s realm and find out more about this Word of Creation. If they do this for her, she will give them the Sword of Prester John, an artifact the convent has hidden for many generations.

The gateway to the Pale Lady’s realm will be accessible only on the Winter Solstice. That’s only two days away…