27 June 2007

Splitting Heirs: Session Eleven

Still no siege, as this session ended up being very light on screen-time for Scharf and his expedition southward. Instead focus was on events in Himmelfeuer and (to end with) Drachenmalstein.

We began with the private audiences that the baron had offered. Only Pou and Lady FitzCarstein took up the offer [of the PCs], as Scharf left to see to organising his men – 30 or so – who would rendezvous with local Kupfers once they reached the southlands.

Pou was first to see the Baron, and they talked about the common man, faith and the plans for Die Kupfers. Pou mentioned official militia status, and how the men were all volunteers, the Baron countered with talk of chains of command, formalised structure and the need to stand down for their future if a given fight was un-winnable. Pou had concerns about how his men would react to being placed under the direct command of Scharf and his small cadre of career soldiery, and as a result – stressing the need for order, men of faith, and standards/reliability, Pou quickly found himself officially named Lieutenant, officer in charge of the Militia. He was a little taken aback by this – formalised rank being the last thing Pou craved – but was at least happy that the Baron agreed with his plans to man the castle from the ranks of the newly official militia. He was to choose his men, prepare them, and present them to the Baron in a week, when they would take occupancy of the castle.

Lady FitzCarstein’s meeting followed Pou’s directly; she caught wind of his title from Gottfrid as she was presented to the Baron, retorting with telling and touching questions about the nature of the box(es) the steward held for Werner. Once alone with the Baron, Lady F counselled the unthinkable – that the Baron disowned his only offspring and sever his family line, thus permitting him to name a worthy heir (and the Lady presented herself as willing to take this role). She spoke of how she knew it was not possible for him to do this, as a father, but how it was the only way that she could see the Barony he had built surviving the oncoming troubles. The Baron, naturally refused. Helena also spoke of the lands to the North and how she was requesting aid – from her father and the Order of the Raven, but also from other lords in the south of the Empire. Alas, she also wanted to be able to send refugees there to harbour, but the Lords would require assurances beyond the tax breaks on travel and trade that she could offer. She tied this in to needing the Baron to offer the prize, and intimated this could only be realised if he did sever ties with Josephine, naming Helena heir in her place, then offered the Lady’s hand to a Lord or his heir. Again the Baron had none of it – it would be too big a betrayal, at least before the Templars had arrived. He did, however, bid Lady FitzCarstein to take his addled brother, Gerhardt, to Drachenmalstein for safe keeping. The Baron argued that if the plan was for them all to shelter there if the attack did come then Gerhardt in his fragile mental state would need more time to prepare and travel than would the rest. The Lady agreed and said she would do this. However she left the meeting angry [for more reasons that outlined here, I suspect] and instead left Himmelfeuer that night, alone, and rode through the night to reach Drachenmalstein.

Next morning Scharf was up, prepared and leading his men off early – but only after stopping by Pou’s foundry for some bits and pieces. Pou wasn’t there, though they had arranged terms the previous evening, and Scharf let himself in to seize the goods. As he led his men out from the castle courtyard, the word was already going round that Lady F was missing.

Pou had got up late(ish) and was in the inn, talking over his “promotion” and wedding plans with Herbert, whose daughter Cornelia was also present and, as a trained book-keeper, quickly assumed responsibility for number-crunching the nuptials. A little later, as he was overseeing a drilling practice, Pou felt a hand on his shoulder, and turned to find Jonn, his hitherto missing foreman, looking him in the face, and seeming worse for wear. Jonn bade Pou follow him to the shop – where they found evidence of a break-in and hoped it was down to Scharf taking the arranged goods, though the thought of the theft irked Pou all the same – and more so after Jonn told his tale as the foreman didn’t trust Scharf at all. But the majority of his tale had been how he’d disappeared to track the retreating Tileans in the aftermath of the attack on Gunter, only to get jumped by bandits, who had tortured him and from whom he had only just managed to escape. Jonn spoke of hearing that Scharf was asking about him from a barkeep who had overheard the Captain’s conversation with Pou some nights before and felt that Scharf was trying to divide and conquer a bit.

Pou still had time to arrange for a few trusted Kupfers to head west looking for Josephine, with strict instructions to make her aware that people were looking for her, and to try to keep her safe.

Meanwhile Lady FitzCarstein reached a silent Drachenmalstein as it approached midday. There was no answer to her approach, knock or call – a truly unusual and disturbing find. It was only after a while when the wind died and she heard faint sounds of life from inside the castle proper carrying out. Annoyed before she arrived, and angry now, she tried the gate and found it unlocked. As she moved in it was clear the noise was coming from the great hall. She proceeded through, and upon throwing open the hall doors found almost her entire staff present. Jurgen was on the dais along with a figure tied to a stake. Helena’s brother hit him once, causing him to pass out.

Helena strode to the dais angry, shouting a challenge to her employees that they had work to do. As she got closer she recognised the limp figure: Helmut von Schicksal, the self-styled “lord” of another Border province. Jurgen claimed he was the poisoner who murdered the four monks of Morr – he was found uninvited and unwelcome in the Underworks, some time after their deaths.

Helena brought the man round and interrogated him. He confessed to the trespass (which could not be denied) but asserted it was accidental whilst pursuing academic interests from caves outside the castle, and categorically denied murder. Lady F laid out her position – including that she had hoped von Schicksal might be an ally in the coming trouble with vampiric forces, the mention of which caught him by surprise. She inquired much of him, his past and how he claimed to be where he was, then consigned him to the cells to await further decisions. Jurgen was livid but Helena would not summarily execute him without talking to him further and learning of how he came to be inside the walls.

Ended promisingly, and with the knowledge that the next session will start (and likely focus) with Scharf’s march southwards and what he finds there, and giving enough information to Lady F to convince her to keep von Schicksal alive was a big bonus for me.

Need to figure out how to write these sooner and quicker though – much missed, much forgotten and still too long and too late!


Thomas said...

Congrats on the 11th session and still going.

I've been gaming for 7 months every week more or less. We're right now testing out some new games; A LOT of older things I have NO idea what it is.

When everyone else is 7+ years older, you feel a bit left out on some stuff. But still fun though.

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.