The third day of the Fools resting sees the storm blow up such a gale that the granaries on the Eastern edge of town are knocked over, leading to a massive food shortage.
Kessler asks the fools to follow him as Adler has yet again requested their assistance.
Adler introduces the Fools to Herr Gubo Ackerland, a farmer from up near the Blitzfelsen Hills, south of Stromdorf.
Ackerland tells the group that the farmers in the uplands region have been beset by bandits recently who come when night falls and rustle most of the cattle and sheep belonging to the farmers. The bandit activity is threatening to ruin the farmers in the area.
Adler hands the group half payment for the job up front and the Fools head off with Ackerland to his farm.
On the route south, they past Tempest Knap, an ancient ruin that Ackerland says is the site of ghostly happenings, mentioning that only a couple of nights ago he saw vengeful spirits flying around the summit of the hill and flashes of blue lightning.
Upon reaching the farm, the fools spend a short while looking around before planning their defense for the evening. Victor stands atop the watchtower, Karl waits in the farmhouse and instructs the farmers on patrol to call in every 10 minutes. Joachim and Boris take their horses and perform further sweeps away from the farm itself.
Shortly after midnight, Joachim is caught short and hands his reins to Boris whilst he relieves himself in a nearby bush. As he does so, a small pungent grenade lands at his feet and explodes, causing him to momentarily lose sense and feel very woozy. Boris spies the creature that threw the grenade and attempts to give chase, but is unable to catch the spry humanoid.
Back at the farm, Karl doesn’t hear from the farmers for a while and heads to long field to investigate. Spotting three creatures attempting to rustle a cow, he points out their location to Victor, who quickly fells two of them with a couple of well placed arrows.
The Fools gather and discover tracks of more creatures leading from far field, where they appear to have made off with a couple of sheep. Victor’s keen senses track the creatures and the Fools follow them at a distance until they come across a human farm, deep in the hills which has been overrun by Night Goblins.
They witness the shaman, Gobspite, give a display of his power whilst borne aloft on his palanquin, a large slab of marble similar to the previous stones they have found and handed to Schulman. The party decides to wait till morning when the Goblins will be asleep before pressing on.
When morning comes, the group splits up, Victor prepares to fire at the Goblins manning the watchtower, whilst the rest of the group manoeuvre to a position where they can quickly storm the palisade once the guards are down. A brief moment of panic ensues when Joachim knocks a stone off a nearby formation and attracts the attention of a wandering patrol with a squig. Thankfully, Karl’s quick reactions are able to move the group away before they are discovered.
Victor masterfully places a shot through the heads off the two Goblins on the watchtower with such speed they remain upright and pinned to each other despite being dead on impact. The remaining fools help Boris scramble over the palisade near the gatehouse who runs round to open the gate, after having dispatched the 4 Goblins (2 of whom were sleeping) stationed in the guard hut.
Exploring the buildings in the farm itself, Victor notices a small humanoid shape flash past the window of the smithy. Upon investigation, they discover a small child, named flea, hiding underneath the bed in the smithy’s small room. Joachim is able to calm the child down enough to get a small amount of information about the Goblins from her, before telling her to sit still whilst they deal with the threat.
The Fools move on the farmhouse and enter it, taking the sword Acitus which hangs above the fireplace. Moving upstairs they engage 3 Goblin guards outside the master bedroom whilst strange, guttural noises come from within.
Upon dispatching the guards and breaking the door down, the Fools are greeted with the sight of Gobspite and his bodyguards, the Shaman crackling with malicious green lightning powered by the marble stone attached to his head by means of a leather strap.
Preparing for the worst, Victor lines up his bow on the doorway whilst Joachim and Karl pull down the two drapes in the room and Boris holds the door shut against Stichelm
Boris lets the door fly open and as Stichlem runs to meet the party, Karl and Joachim throw the drapes over the giant skeleton and temporarily confuse him. Victor is able to make a true shot past the lumbering form of the skeleton and right into the face of Madriga, hosting the spirit of Lazarus Mourn.
Stichelms ambulatory corpse lashing out wildly and despite being blinded by the curtains is able to smash Karl into the wall, knocking Karl unconscious.
A second arrow from Victor takes Mourn’s head clean off and Stichelm ceases to move almost immediately as his controller is felled.
The fools stabilise Brother Grabbe, retrieve Stichelms shield (his tombstone and another piece of the lightning stone) and attempt to smash the amulet Madriga’s corpse was wearing, but to no avail.
Returning to town, the group are greeted by Kessler and Adler, who reward them with the agreed amount and also introduce the party to the local doctor who aids in their recovery.
Niklas Schulman coerces Boris into leaving behind the newly acquired portion of the mapstone in his quarters and the fools settle in for a couple of days of well needed rest, during which time the storm grows considerably worse.
Leaving Victor at the ford with Waltrout, Boris, Joachim and Karl headed down stream to find a fordable crossing, which they found a short while later. The crossing was still hard going, but with Boris’s horsemanship he was across in no time and able to ride back to the ferry and cross the others.
Once across the Tranis the Garden of Morr emerged from the trees. It was silent and there were no visible entrances in the high, spiked walls. A short distance from the walls stood a small stand alone structure containing nothing more than a stairway down. There was no sign of Brother Grabbe, and after a circuit of the Garden Boris descended the stair. He found himself in a tunnel which was unnaturally pitch black. He slowly proceeded with great caution and discovered a door that was closed but unlocked. Beyond was a large room with an alter and several curtained alcoves containing the corpses of three people, ready for embalming. At the far side of the room was another metal door, this one was locked. Joachim and Karl joined him and as the trio attempted search for signs or Brother Grabbe or some way of opening the door the three corpses awoke and attacked them. The thunder of Boris’ pistol was deafening in the enclosed space but highly effective against the slow moving undead, especially as Joachim had the good sense to cover them in holy water, and soon all three lay lifeless once more, one had lost it’s head entirely.
With no hope of getting through the locked metal door the Fools decided that they would remove the curtains in this room, tie them together and climb the wall in order to gain access to the Garden. Before long Boris had clambered up and helped Joachim and Karl up. leaving Victor as sentry the trio entered the Garden in search of Brother Grabbe.
The Gardens were very quiet with no signs of life at all. After an initial search they found the locked door back to the underground room they had just left. Karl was able to pick the lock much easier from this side.
They then found the tomb of Olaus Stichelm, the doors were smashed open and something large that was previously adorning the wall had been removed. At that point a number of dead bodies began to claw their way out from the ground and the number was steadily growing, within no time the Fools were running for their lives and fighting a tide of undead in their headlong rush to get to the door at the end of the Garden. No sooner had the cut down their opponents and taken a few steps more undead moved to cut them off. Joachim was felled by a zombie and had to be carried by Karl who’s blade was nimbly darting between cadavers. Boris seeing that things were desperate, risked a misfire by double loaded his pistol and dismembered three zombies in one shot only to see more fill their place. They were surrounded and things looked bleak until a hail of arrows launched by Victor’s from the roof of the mausoleum opened a path through the corpses and they managed to reach the safety of the door and slammed it shut behind them.
Waltrout closed the door as they fell through it, he had apparently entered the Garden through a small hidden gap that he knew existed but had failed to tell his new friends about. After a short rest to patch up their wounds the recently re-united quartet descended the only exit from this morbid room containing a number of objects made entirely from human bone.
Below was a room with more curtained areas and two doors. the first led to a small study with a desk and a number of books. Boris opened the second door to discover the fully armoured skeletal remains of who could only be Olaus Stichelm in his dragon inscribed armour wielding a huge greatsword, Brother Grabbe, who was confined to a coffin and was being held in place by some arcane effect from the corpse of a young woman. The woman bore a striking resemblance to Madriga, Burgomeister Adler’s beloved. Boris slammed the door shut on the sight and Stichelm’s blade punched through the wood, narrowly missing his head.
Rudely awoken the following morning by Sebastien Brenner, the innkeeper, with a message that Captain Kessler is waiting for the party downstairs.
Kessler informs the group that the Holtz family and Keila Cobblepot have been arrested and the party will be required to attend the trial that afternoon to give evidence.
With the morning free, the fools each carry out some personal errands
Boris heads to the temple of Sigmar and witnesses a fiery sermon from Magnus Gottschalk, the local priest
Joachim says a small prayer at the shrine of Shallya in the market square in the hopes of a swift recovery from his wounds
Victor heads out to the wilderness to hunt for the morning
Karl spends the morning in friendly duelling with Eduardo Castillo Rogrigues, a Tilean swordsman who has fallen on hard times.
Come the afternoon, the trial is held in the Town Hall. The difference between justice and a lynch mob is seldom great in the Empire and the trial has elements of both. Very little discussion is held before the Holtz clan (lacking Marie who fled before the rest of the family were captured) and Keila Cobblepot are sentenced to death for consorting with the forces of Chaos and are led to the field of Verena where they are hung by the neck.
The townsfolk head back to the Thunderwater for an evening of revelry, during which, the Fools are approached by one Niklas Schulman, a Celestial Wizard from the Altdorf colleges of magic. Schulman says he has been looking for stones which display an ability to influence the weather in the local area and is interested to hear any information the party has on these artifacts. The group say they will show him evidence in the morning.
Sleep that night is interrupted by a knocking on the door, which swiftly turns into an uproar as it appears that the recently hung criminals have risen from the dead and are assaulting the Inn! Sebastien wakes the party with a shot from his blunderbuss as the restless dead break down the front door of the Inn and the Fools aid in dispatching the creatures but not without some cost to them as they suffer badly at the zombies clawing hands.
When morning comes, they meet Niklas Schulman and take him to where they buried the Lightning Stone. Schulman says he can definitely work with the information written on the stone, although he wants it taken back to his room at the Thunderwater Inn for studying.
Later in the morning, Kessler asks the party to come to the Town Hall and meet Burgomeister Adler. Adler, a withdrawn individual, tells the party that he had a dream last night where he was visited by ‘his dear Madriga’. She appears in a decayed undead form and begged him to save her. He requests the party head to the Garden of Morr to fetch Brother Grabbe, the local expert on both the undead and dream interpretation. After a brief negotiation, the group settles on a 50 silver per day wage, backdated to the day before.
Just as they are heading in the direction of the Garden of Moor, Schulman appears again and says that after casting a divination on the Lightning Stone, he received a vision of a mighty warrior, clad in armour etched with dragons. This sounds very much like the local hero Olaus Stichelm, a statue of whom exists in the town square. Schulman tells the group that Stichelm is likely a clue to the location of the next piece of the stone.
The Fools leave town via the Reikland gate and head down the coffin track that leads to Morr’s Garden. After an hour of travel, they reach a ferry crossing with a bell and the small raft tied up on the opposite bank of the river. They ring the bell but receive no response from the other side. In frustration, Boris fires his gun into the air, and this elicits a yelp from behind them. A small, bedraggled and dirty man, calling himself Waltrout Glöckner steps out of the long grass and states his confusion that there is no answer ‘Brother always come, always come when ring bell’
Victor Von Hoffstein picks up the trail of the dead Beastman shaman and leads the intrepid fools through the trees to large clearing. Within are a score of beastmen with some sort of leader in the centre worshipping the lightning stone. Occasional flashes of lightning strike it.
Victor Von Hoffstein, Boris & Karl, followed by Joachim move thorough the foliage to the edge of the treeline and Victor unleashes a flurry of arrows with unerring accuracy at the leader in order to cause infighting within the rest.
The lead beastman roars in rage and directs the rest to attack before charging into the fray himself. Boris finally kills the brute by removing half of its face with a pistol shot, but gets felled by its retaliatory deathblow.
Joachim takes advantage of the resulting pause in the fighting to convince the beastmen that the Fools are merely the vanguard of an entire militia unit sent to wipe out the tribe. When he points out that only a handful of the militia managed to kill the leader of the beastmen and encourages the rest to flee rather than face the same fate, the surviving beastmen fall into confusion and instead begin to fight among themselves for leadership.
Chaos ensues and Karl and Victor Von Hoffstein take the opportunity to seize the lightning stone while Boris and Joachim, both wounded, assist each other back to the sacrificial tree.
The fools load the stone into a decrepit but usable hand cart and wheel it back to Stromdorf. Boris decides to punish the farmers for their crimes by telling them that the beastmen are following them and tells them to run and not return.
They bury the stone just outside town within a small copse for safe keeping, and head straight for the Stewpot Hostelry where Boris threatens and extorts Keila Cobblepot over her part in the abduction and murder of the merchant Florian Weschler. He also questions her on the whereabouts of Florians’s guild ring but she sold it to a travelling merchant.
The fools retire to the Thunderwater Inn where they cross paths with Captain Kessler; captain of the town guard and effective Burgher of Stromdorf. They tell him of the foul deeds committed by Cobblepot and the Holtz family as well as their actions in the forest.
In the expectation of finding the missing merchant, Florian Wechsler, our Fools meet with Lord Rickard Aschaffenberg on the pretence of borrowing a coach for the journey to Stromdorf, where Florian was last known to be heading.
Rickard grants them use of the coach on the proviso that they visit the town of Hugeldal on their journey back. He is seeking information about one of Lord Heissman von Bruners’ relatives who has recently taken over stewardship of the town. Rickard is keen for the Fools to poke their noses around and see what they can dig up.
Boris drives the coach in the direction of Stromdorf for a full day, during which the weather gets progressively worse, culminating in the coach having difficulty crossing the Western bridge into Stromdorf.
The bridge collapses as the coach crosses it and Boris drives the coach into town and parks it expertly (with one broken axle) into the yard of the Thunderwater Inn.
The evening is spent meeting the locals and performing tentative enquiries as to the whereabouts of Florian Wechsler, a person the townsfolk haven’t seen for some time.
In the morning the group visit Keila Cobblepot, owner of the Stewpot Hostelry, where Wechsler was last seen. Keila, a Halfling, says she hasn’t seen Wechsler for several weeks, since he left early in the morning after fulfilling his errands and head Westwards.
Discussion with the town guard shows that Wechsler wasn’t seen leaving by the West gate on the date Cobblepot mentioned, but Reiner Holtz (a local farmer) was seen leaving the East gate on the same night, driving a crt pulled by a splendid white pony which the guards don’t recall seeing before.
Heading in the direction of the Holtz farmstead, the Fools come across the burning remains of the Eigel farm, which appears to have been hit by a Beastman raid. They spy the Holtz farm on a nearby hill and head in that direction to see if survivors have fled there.
Upon arriving at the Holtz farm, the Fools see Tristan Eigel and Fritz Holtz in the middle of an argument over the destruction of the Eigel farmstead. Karl Ritter calms Tristan down and he breaks down, being lead inside by Marie Holtz whislt the Fools find out what happened.
After several lies and false starts and much interrogation by Karl and Boris, Marie Holtz eventually admits to the group that the two farming families having been making sacrifices to the Beastmen for years in order to pacify the creatures and keep the town safe. Since the head of the Eigel family died, the Holtzes have wanted out of the practice but even since the recent storms began, the Beastmen have been completely out of control. She admits that Keila Cobblepot has helped them in the past by providing travellers that ’wouldn’t be missed’ and sending them to the farm for use in sacrifices.
Marie takes the party to meet with someone she says might be able to help with the current situation of rampant Beastmen and her and Otto Holtz lead the group into the Oberslecht, to the hag tree where the sacrifices are left.
Once at the clearing, a strange, cloaked figure emerges from the undergrowth and talks with the party about how they can end Izka the Madtooths bestial grip on the local herd by stealing the Lightning Stone which he believes is giving him the favour of the Dark Gods.
Victor Von Hoffstein catches the creatures features in a flash of lightning and, noticing that they are talking to a Beastman, Victor loses all control and looses an arrow at the creature…
In a red misted rage (of which he remembers little), Victor fires several arrows into the creature with unerring accuracy and the beast is felled before the rest of those gathered can move.
Victor pins the Rat Ogre in place with a well placed volley of arrows, giving the BYF a scant few rounds to pepper it with ranged fire before it eventually broke free and ripped a large wound through Boris
As the Rat Ogre falls, the true mastermind behind the attack on the Masquerade reveals himself. A Grey Seer named Rasknitt emerges from the rear room and starts casting all manner of warp fuelled spells at the party.
After a tense fight, Rasknitt and his Skaven allies are defeated and the Fools are able to scan his laboratory. Amongst the dust and apparatus, Victor find an orrery, which appears to have a chunk of warpstone representing Morrslieb.
The group decides to smash up and set fire to the apparatus in the laboratory, but this process throws a lot of green dust into the air and Victor picks up a wracking cough. As he emerges from the laboratory, the others notice a greenish tinge to his eyes.
Whilst the above is happening, Boris and Victor notice that the dogs are restless. During their investigation of the kennels Victor spots a small creature scurry away from the beer barrels outside the kitchen. On closer inspection, it would seem something has spiked the beer with a glowing green dust, presumably contaminating the beer. Victor tracks the creatures footsteps to the garden well and notices a collapsed wall inside the well shaft.
Interrupting the shenanigans between Victor, Karl and the gathering of Nobles, Boris calls the priest downstairs to investigate the corrupted alcohol and the novels disperse back to the party.
After having investigated the glowing green stuff, Gunther Emming heads off to find the local Witch Hunter to confiscate the obviously heretical brew and the BYF’s decide to go down the well in search of whatever spiked the drinks.
After wandering through the sewers for an hour or so and Joachim suffering at the hands of a cunningly constructed ‘nails through a plank of wood’ trap, the group arrives at a hollowed out cavern knocked into the wall of the sewers.
With Boris leading the charge, the BYF’s enter the cavern to see 8 Skaven pottering around. The ratman are dispatched but not without some minor injury and exhaustion to the party. Just as they were catching their breath, the door to the rear cavern smashed open and a Rat Ogre burst through!
With the Masquerade approaching, the brash ones prepare themselves for the social event of the season. Joachim and Karl visit Madame Beaumarteau’s in search of fine costumes for the event. Joachim picking up an ostentatious suit featuring a half mask and Karl picking up a costume in the style of a Raven. Meanwhile Boris has a few lose holes in his cloak sewn up and has his equipment serviced whilst searching for a suitable coach to use as a grandiose entrance for the evening.
Plans for how to achieve the groups goals at the masquerade are discussed, culminating in Karl going to see a local forger to get a letter drawn up, allegedly from Graf Siegfried von Saponatheim to Lord Rickard Aschaffenberg, stating the Graf’s intention to support Rickard in his bid for Lordship. As part of this gambit, immediately prior to the masquerade, Joachim conceals the proscribed Chaos texts within Guest Bedroom 1 of Holzenaur’s mansion, with the intent of using this as a trap for both Von Saponatheim and Aschaffenberg
Boris drives the coach containing the fools and Lord Rickard Aschaffenberg back to Ubersreik. En route, Rickard is hit by the realisation that perhaps this cult run in is just the thing he needs to bolster his reputation in the town and starts to discuss grand ideas of how to position himself as the next Lord of the region.
During the trip back, the party notice that Morrslieb is visible during the day time and also hanging much lower in the sky than normal.
Once in Ubersreik, Rickard intercepts Matthias Krieger, a local Witch Hunter and tells him the story of how the cult was intercepted and destroyed. Krieger arrests the members of the coach and has a few words with them. Karl is able to sneakily remove the Chaos-tainted writings from the coach while Joachim spins Krieger a yarn portraying the Fools as heroes and downplaying their contact with questionable artifacts and literature.
Satisfied at their explanation, Krieger departs with Lord Rickard back to Grunewald Lodge to investigate the remnant of the cult and ensure it is stamped out.
The Fools check back in to the Red Moon Inn and discuss what to do with their new found riches and the books.
Joachim and Karl spend the evening at the Emperor’s Rest, an up market hostelry in the Hill district, where they successfully fleece a local minor noble out of several of his gold coins at a game of cards. During the game, said target Noble reveals that Baron Manfred von Holzenaur has been making a big show of himself recently after the rumour that the city may be due to lose it’s Freistadt status in the near future.
Boris spends the evening in the company of one of the regular wenches of the tavern and Victor heads out of town to hunt his own dinner.
Early next morning, the party has a brief discussion with Vern Hendrick (Aschaffenberg’s manservant) about Lord Rickard’s whereabouts and if they could help Hendrick with any of his duties. Hendrick says he will bear their offer in mind.
The following day is spent exploring Ubersreik, Morrslieb is still low in the sky and glaring malevolently over the town as the party go about their tasks.
Boris checks in at the Bridge House, the local informal coaching guild and registers for any future work that might be available.
After that, Boris tries to locate work at the Merchant Guild, failing in this task but attracting the attention of Klaus von Rothstein, who mentions a fellow merchant (Florian Wechsler) has not returned from his trip to Stromdorf recently. Von Rothstein is worried as not only is he fearful for Wechsler’s life, but also for the merchant guild signet ring that he carries, which can hold a lot of sway throughout the Reikland.
Seeking to find out more about von Holzenaur’s involvement in town politics, the Fools gather together and head to his mansion for a discussion with the Baron. The Baron had heard of the party members by reputation, and was impressed by their forthright nature. Seeing potential allies of use in his campaign for the Lordship of the area, the Baron gives the party an invitation to his upcoming Masquerade Ball: