Sunday, February 17, 2019

Dog Days in Hegedorf [LotFP Session 5]

After defeating the Pale Lady, the party returned to the mortal world and the Abbey of St. Agnes. There were debriefings to give, rewards to earn, secrets to hide, and fallout to deal with. It was mostly a decompression session after the action of the previous game. Most of the action took place in the village of Hegendorf. It was a good social/role-playing session, but they managed to get into spooky trouble near the end.

Our Heroes:
  • Belinda Kage: Serpentblood 1, Midwife
  • Madeline: Specialist 2, Grave-robber
  • Mortimer: Alice 2, Librarian
  • Julius Cervantes: Fighter 2, Ex-witch-hunter
  • Gerrit Liddstadt of Worms: Fighter 1, Soldier

  • Ana Fischer: Witch
  • Girnot: Dogsbody
  • Hernando and August: Children rescued from the Pale Lady.

The party stepped out of the woods, as they returned from the Pale Lady’s realm. They had two pre-teen boys with them, August and Hernando, potential sacrifices rescued from the faeire queen. It was a frigid winter night, so the party sent Julius ahead with the boys to explain things to the Mother Superior. The rest of the party stashed the magic mirror (containing Lucifer) in the hay loft of the abbey’s barn.

With Lucifer hidden, the party headed towards the Abby and ran into Ana waiting for them on the steps outside. The witch had a tuft-eared squirrel sitting on her shoulder, who regarded the PCs with judgmental black eyes. “This is my new friend, Beverly,” Ana explained. When asked how she got the squirrel Ana said “Well you know… Innocent country girls like me, we’re always making woodland friends.” The party decided to leave it at that for now.

Once inside the Abby, the sisters made sure August and Hernando were feed and warm, then the party met with Mother Ruth in her office. They told her all that had transpired in the Pale Lady’s home (leaving out the demonic mirror and the child murder). They explained the nature of the Word of Creation and gave Mother Ruth the amulet that would her to experience the Word herself, come the next solstice. The Mother Superior was clearly disappointed that the Word wasn’t something they could simply give to her, but the party had kept their end of the deal, and they were owed their reward.

Mother Ruth took them to the secret vaults under the church (the players were briefly concerned that they were returning to the Ghoul Market). Once there, she presented the party with the Sword of Prester John. It was an old cruciform sword in a shabby scabbard. The blade was rusted, dull, and useless, but the golden hilt was decorated with biblical scenes and valuable jewels. Belinda, the chaotic, half-alien serpentblood felt uneasy looking upon it. Julius took possession of the Sword for the time being. The former witch hunter was determined to have the blade refurbished.

GM’s Note: As written in the adventure, the sword of Prester John is a rusty old fake of little value. That seemed like a cruel trick to my PCs (although they could have asked to look at it before accepting the job.) But I didn’t want to give them a boring old magic sword. Luckily, Eldritch Fields recently posted ideas for religious artifacts, so I swiped some ideas from there. The Sword of Prester John is useless in combat, but it acts as a holy symbol that gives non-clerics the ability to turn undead, and lets clerics turn undead at +1 level.

The next morning, the party headed off to the village of Hegendrof and stayed there for three days. My computer crashed in the middle of writing this, and I don't have the wherewithal to write it all out again, so I'm going to hit the highlights with some bullet-points, then get to the house robbery.
  • The party spent most of there time at the Alexander Hegen's trading post, the main social hub for the village.
  • They met the new PC, a retired infantry soldier named Gerrit Liddstadt.
  • Pig framer, Karl Hogon, told Madeline that crazy Old Man Hagan has treasure hidden somewhere in his house. If they help him get it, Karl will cut them in for 50%.
  • Belinda charmed Antonio the blacksmith and convinced him to take on Hernando and August as apprentices.
  • Antonio did not have the skills to repair the Sword of Prester John, but game Julius a letter of introduction for the master blacksmith who taught him in Neubrandenburg.
  • They made friends with Black Molly, the charcoal burner, who is also a skilled trapper and skinner. She was able to skin the body of the Pale Lady, preserve the spell runes on her flesh, and bind them into an ersatz spellbook.
  • On a trip back to the Abbey, Belinda and Ana were unable to bring the Lucifer mirror into the convent. Instead they made a generous donation and rented an unused tool shed elsewhere on the grounds. When Lucifer complained about his new abode, it startled Ana, whom the party had not told about the mirror. After Belinda introduced Ana to “Lucifer,” the witch slyly replied “That's not Lucifer.”
  • On the way back to town, Ana confided to Belinda “Y'know, if you wanted to meet Lucifer, I can make that happen.” Belinda replied “Let's save that for later.”
  • Mortimer wanted to drum up some money by entertaining the villagers, so he put on “a saucy puppet show.” The villagers were thrilled and delighted. But then Old Man Hagan entered. The crazy old man was outraged by the puppets' excessive sauciness and attempted to thrash Mortimer. Julius clocked the old man on the back of the head, diffusing the situation.
  • With Old Man Hagan unconscious, Madeline and Gerrit took this opportunity to rob his house (without telling Karl Hogon).

This is where things got real interesting. While the rest of the party kept the villagers distracted, Madeline and Gerrit snuck off to Old Man Hagan's home, a large, two-story house that had seen better days. They had heard that Hagan had a dog named “Manfred,” but none of the villagers could recall ever actually seeing it. Needless to say, the two thieves were playing things cautious.

The came to the back door, picked the lock, and opened it. With a sharp “THWANG!” Madeline took a crossbow bolt to the shoulder. The old man had trapped the door, and likely had traps elsewhere. They entered the house and came to the next door. Madeline took the time to examine this door more carefully, and found a wire leading from the handle into the doorjamb. Carefully plucking this wire, a 50lb weight crashed through the door frame, and would have crushed the heard of anyone who had carelessly opened the door. “This place is like Home Alone,” commented Madeline's player.

The next room was a large dining room, with an open doorway that lead to the sitting room. The dining room was dusty, and seemed mostly unused except for one spot at the end of the table, presumably where Old Man Hagan ate alone. The nine unused place settings all had taxidermied animals sitting in their places. Poorly stuffed badgers, squirrels, foxes, and other critters with glassy, misaligned eyes. “This is severely fucked up,” said one of the off-scene players. Madeline and Gerrit carefully examined the expensive looking silverware but found no traps. The heavy knives, forks, and spoons all went into a sack. Loot at last!

As they moved on to head into the sitting room, Madeline said “I stop to look at the floor under the arch to see if there's a tripwire or something. Should I roll?” Nope, I told her. She was looking for a specific thing in a specific place, so there was no need to roll. Madeline is played by my kid, our youngest and least-experienced player. It makes since that they're the one most quickly adapting to OSR-style trap finding. They don't have 20-plus years of programming to overcome! I was very proud.

There was no trip-line to be found, so Madeline and Gerrit moved into the sitting room. The room was decorated with old German flags and a huge (and expensive-looking) painting of the Emperor. That's when the two thieves heard something on the stairs. The looked up to the landing and saw a small black schnauzer staring at them. “That must be Manfred” said Gerrit.

Bark,” said the dog.

Wait. Did he actually bark, or did he say 'bark'?”

Bark,” said the dog.

Okay we're backing slowly away.”

As they backed away, the dog continued to approach them. “Growl,” said the dog. It opened it's mouth, wider and wider until its head began to hinge backwards towards it's spine.

Fuck it, I turn and run,” said Madeline, and she did so.

The two ran as fast as they could, through the kitchen and out the back door, Madeline made for the Trading Post across the street, while Garret tried to climb a tree while fumbling for his rifle. A failed saving through meant while he got safely up the tree, he dropped his gun and it landed in the snow. 

Gerrit watched from his perch as the “dog,” no looking perfectly normal walked outside, picked up his rifle and brought it back inside. Once inside, the dog dropped the gun and turned around. It looked Gerrit straight in the eye, said “bark” once more, and the door closed without anyone touching it.
Gerrit briefly considered going back into the house for his musket (it's an expensive piece of equipment), but eventually thought better of it. 

The party is now fully ready to leave Hegendorf behind them.

Treasure Gained:
500sp in fancy silverware
Hand-crafted faerie-skin spellbook
The Sword of Prester John

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