Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Episode 16 - The Enemy Within - Wittgendorf's Physician

The physician Jean Ressauex's house. The best house in abandoned Wittgendorf.
This is an actual play recording of Death on the Reik, a chapter in Games Workshop's classic campaign The Enemy Within.


Download Episode from Google Drive (40.9 MB)

Heroes present were Esmeralda the Shallayan initiate, Herdan the vampire hunter, Joten the dwarf veteran, Walter the halfling agitator, Solomon the halfling smuggler and Magnus the dwarven prospector.

We left the heroes having evacuated the entire cursed town of Wittgendorf on their trading vessel 'The Hammer'. They planned to return to Wittgendorf to deal with the disturbing Wittgenstein family who they suspected of holding a warpstone meteor.


Key points from Episode 16

(3:44) On docking in Grissenwald with a boatload of Wittgendorf refugees the group were met by the Harbormaster. Despite his reluctance to take in possible mutants, the heroes used the recent pro-mutant Imperial edict to verbally out manoeuvre the Harbormaster. Esmeralda proclaimed "Has the Emperor not decreed that mutants are people too? As a priestess of Shallya I have vetted each and every villager and can vouch for for the sanctity of both their bodies and minds." The Wittgendorf refugees disembarked and moved into the slums on the edge of town.

(7:34) We learnt that the trading rules are inflexible, hard to utilise at the table and not to our taste. So I changed them. They will be there own blog post one of these days.


(8:56) The heroes struck a trade deal with Gorim Greathammer, leader of Grissenwald's dwarfs. They had aided the dwarves earlier in reclaiming their coal mine from goblins. In exchange for some timber to shore up the mine the heroes received a contract to sell the coal entitling them to 5% of sales. The first shipment of coal would be ready in a week.

Care to travel aboard 'The Hammer'? Alas we are fresh out of strawberries.
(16:40) While sailing to Wittgendorf the group pondered turning their boat into a dedicated passenger vessel. It's the Firefly angle the players find appealing. That and it seemed a more reliable way of earning coin than trading. I whipped together some very rough passenger rules that again will likely see its own blog post.

(22:02) While sailing Walter and Solomon, the groups halfling chefs, noticed that something had been eating the ships supplies. The boat had a rat problem. Perhaps it was time to invest in a ships cat? Later as they headed into Wittgenstein by row boat the sharp eyed in the group spotted rats jumping into the river in surreptitious pursuit. Jotun suspected Hilda, their outlaw guide, of being in league with the rats based on ... nothing really... he's a suspicious dwarven bastard. The halflings picked of the swimming rats with precision slingshots.

Sigrid - Priestess of Taal and leader of the Outlaws
(29:00) Hilda, their guide, had suffered the twin tragedies of having her husband taken by Wittgenstein guards on suspicion of collaborating with outlaws and then her newborn had mutated into a green furred spider. As it turned out she and her husband were outlaw collaborators and she offered to take the band to their woodland camp. They made the trip during the day. The corrupted wood was a haunt of beastmen, and they mostly come out at night ... mostly. At the camp they met Sigrid the outlaw leader and Priestess of Taal. Walter's contrarian nature almost argued the outlaws into leaving. "With the village evacuated you have no need to remain to defend your people. You should leave these cursed lands." Esmeralda reminded him that they needed the outlaws help against the castle defenders. Sigrid tells them of caves beneath Castle Wittgenstein and encouraged the group to explore them. The outlaws agreed to assist in any attack on the Wittgensteins.
Kurt - a simpleton that ran the local still
(40:10) The heroes decided they needed a map of the castle. The only person they knew who had been inside the place was Wittgendorf's physician Jean Ressauex. They set out on a simple snatch and grab. They waited at the edge of the vacant town and crept in at nightfall. First they searched the physician's shed. There they met Kurt the simpleton who operated the physician's still. The still was used to make a strong elderberry spirit that was passed out to the mad mutant beggars of Wittgendorf. Esmeralda convinced Kurt that the group were from the castle and that there was nothing to worry about, oh and could he lend them the key to the house? Examining the still revealed a growth of small waving tendrils near the spigot.
Jean Ressauex - Wittgendorf's Physician - still caring for the down and outs
(52:24) The group surrounded the physician's house and moved in with SWAT like precision. Jean Ressauex was confronted in his dining room by Esmeralda "J'acuse! We know you are in league with the evil Wittgensteins." Despite his outrage at the home invasion Jean Ressauex told them about the Wittgenstein family, their Norscan guest and guards. The group figured he was feeding them half truths and turned up the heat. Their lines of questioning focused on the warrior from Norsca who never left his armour as well as the apparent terminal injury to the Wittgenstein's Captain of the guard.

(61:12) While the interrogation progressed Herdan and Joten explored the house and ventured into the cellar. They discovered a horrendous smell which they countered with the old tunnel fighter trick of soaking a handkerchief in urine and wearing it as a mask. This caused the stench to be somewhat lessened. The cellar was set up as a lab full of pipettes, rubber hosing and surgical saws. Herdan approached a slab of fly covered meat on the cellar table using his lantern to shoo the buzzing swarm away. The meat, to no ones surprise, turned out to be a dismembered human body.


(66:20) Esmeralda headed down into the cellar to lend her apothecary skills to the investigation. She opened several vials to determine their contents. From one such vial a grey ooze leaped forth landing on the fly bloated corpse. The body shuddered and suddenly lashing tentacles burst forth. Joten gritted his teeth and put down the thing with two swift sword blows. Esmeralda had seen enough and screamed "Get the Doctor!" Jean 
Ressauex was manhandled to the body and ordered to investigate it. When asked what he should be investigating the group insisted he "Just use science or something." To everyone's surprise grey tentacles emerged from the corpse and wrapped themselves around the physician's neck. Herdan figured fire was the only answer here. He smashed his lantern on Ressauex and then tipped medical alcohol onto the ensuing conflagration. Ressauex was engulfed and his house became his pyre. Whilst he burned the party managed to catch a glimpse of his rapidly melting face. The speed with which his face melted suggested something was amiss, as if he wore a wax mask to conceal ... well now they will never know.

(79:00) The group conducted a rapid search while the house burned around them. The two notes below were found as well as a stash of coins. 

Notes found during the frantic search of Jean Ressaux's burning house
(84:00) The heroes stood before the blazing building using the ample light to read Jean Ressauex's notes, trying to unravel the mystery of the physician. Esmeralda speculated that the physician had been a love stuck dupe used by the Wittgenstein's. Perhaps he had been concerned for the people's welfare after all. His misguided ministrations had clearly caused much misery to the locals. Everyone agreed the old world was better off without Jean Ressauex.

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