The Enemy Within – Shadows Over Bogenhafen Part Four

When we last left our intrepid adventurers, they had detected a whiff of corruption in the higher echelons of the town of Bogenhafen and had decided what was most needed was a midnight break-in.

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The players and characters were;

Ed – Thorgrim – Dwarf Scholar
Amy – Llewellyn – Wood Elf Warrior
Andy – Thorn – Wood Elf Scholar (wizard’s apprentice)
James – Deem – Dwarf Warrior
Alan – Yvette – Human Ranger

The Steinhager offices were a standalone structure near some dark alleyways. This suited to players greatly. After wandering around the offices several times to discover all the windows had been shuttered, Andy decided to try one of the doors (there were two, front and back). A quick twist of the knob, and there was a hell of a racket as the (big) dog inside started barking. They quickly scooted off to consider their options.

The plan (if we can dignify it with the term) was that James would clamber onto the roof and remove tiles. With enough gone, he would drop down inside, go to the front door and open it. Presumably he had an idea on what he was going to do about the dog.

Approaching the offices again, the players fanned out while James tried to get onto the roof.Not being the most agile of dwarfs, he failed. Twice.

This set the dog off again and, this time, two watchmen arrived to investigate the racket. Seeing James, they challenged him. Amy, deciding James needed a hand, crept up behind one of them and announced she would Strike to Stun. Unfortunately, she rolled a critical hit – and then kept rolling for multiple damage. By the time she had finished, her stealth attack had delivered well over 20 points of damage and caused the watchman’s head to fairly explode.

James ran, pursued by the other watchman, while Amy sprang onto the roof (being an elf, she had no trouble getting up there – naturally). Unfortunately for James, he ran straight into a large six-man watch patrol but in a feat of superhuman deception (he has Fellowship 15-odd, and managed to get an awesome roll), managed to persuade the patrol leader that the watchman following him was a murderer and trying to kill him!

As the watchman was led away under extreme protest, James returned to the office and, frustrated at their general lack of progress, used his own pick lock on the office door – his axe. Entering with Andy, they padded about before there was a low growl and a HUGE dog leapt out of the darkness, straight for Andy. Mouth open wide, the dog clamped down somewhere very painful (if you have seen Kick Ass 2, you get the idea). It was eventually beaten off, but Andy would be walking very gingerly for a while.

Given free reign within the office, the players turned up a list of warehouses belonging to Steinhager, a stack of parchment with the Ordo Septenarius logo, and a grimoire full of petty magic, which made Andy happy. They found a safe, but had no way to get into it (they did briefly consider the bombs Ed was still carrying) and decided to retreat while the going was good.

The rest of the night was spent aboard their friend Josef’s boat, and they got up early – Alan had not forgotten that the clerk at the town hall had told him to come back that morning.

It was not a good meeting at the town hall. The clerk kept them waiting for more than an hour and, when he finally deigned to notice them, announced that after a lot of hassle, he had managed to get an okay to release funds for their work. One Gold Crown a piece.

Alan was ready to separate the clerk’s head from his body over this, but the rest convinced him to let the poor man live.

Outside, they bumped into their merchant contact Magirius – the man looked very scared about something, and babbled on about secret rituals and sacrifices. He was looking to get out of the Ordo Septenarius, and wanted their help. They agreed to wait for him to contact them again, when he should have details about where the Ordo’s next ritual would take place, one that would include murder…

Sensing oncoming conflict, the players promptly went shopping, though they were somewhat appalled when they saw how much a mail coat cost, while Alan had trouble even finding someone who could sell him decent arrows. They also took time out to visit the wharf where the town’s warehouses were located, to see where the three-legged goblin had (apparently) been killed. There, they encountered a warehouse guard who confidently claimed he had been the one to kill it. Of course, the players knew better and some careful questioning (backed up by an impatient Alan’s threats) quickly pulled his story apart. However, despite his boasts, the man had no useful information for them, other than confirming what they already knew – someone in Bogenhafen was covering the goblin incident up, likely because it had been killed in the secret temple they had discovered earlier on…

Presently, a young messenger boy located the players, and delivered a message – from their new best friend Magirius – asking them to visit his house urgently. Apparently, the merchant had found something out about the forthcoming ritual and they would now have a decent target.

They did not think to question why the boy quickly ran off after delivering his message, without waiting for a tip. Nor did they think it odd that when they finally got to Magirius’ house, the boy was already there waiting for them.

He let them in, politely enough, and then indicated they should walk into Magirius’ study. It seemed empty at first, but a quick investigation revealed Magirius crumpled up behind his desk, his throat slit – obviously very recently.

Behind them, the boy had thrown open the front door and was shouting ‘Murder! Murder!’

Cue a watch patrol sprinting towards the house, cue the players realising they had been set up. The boy reappeared in the study (literally blinking into existence) and, in a very, very deep voice that did not belong in a child, mocked them for all the trouble they were about to get into. Then the boy faded from view…

Behind the scenes, the boy was actually a manifestation of a daemon named Gideon who had made a deal with Teugen. The forthcoming ritual was meant to give Teugen a new lease of life as his soul would be released from the daemon’s debt in return for another, the sacrifice Magirius had told the players about. In reality, the daemon was going to take Teugen’s soul anyway and the ritual would actually open a Chaos Gate right in the middle of Bogenhafen. If that happened, for the inhabitants of the town at least, it would make the End Times seem like a picnic. However, the players did not know any of this…

So, to recap. The players’ one friend has been murdered, they have been framed for the crime, and the watch are just a few metres outside the house. What would be the best thing for them to do?

Well, Andy decided the best thing would be to steal the silver letter opener on Magirius’ desk. Alan pointed out that when the watch burst in, they would see Andy standing over the body, holding the letter opener, and naturally conclude they were witnessing a burglary that had escalated into murder.

Ed had been poking about the study and realised that Magirius had been trying to write something in his own blood as he died – WHSE and either the number 13 or 17. Ed quickly deduced that WHSE meant warehouse, and that all they had to do was check out the ones numbered 13 and 17. Logically, one of those would be the site for the ritual.

While Andy and Alan were still arguing, Amy made a bolt for it, running past the watch patrol, who started to chase the agile elf. Everyone else took this as the right time to make their escape, and they split up across the town.

Except Andy – he thought the best idea would be to avoid the watch altogether and instead ran into the garden, which he discovered was surrounded by a high wall. It took him a couple of attempt to climb it, even with the help of a convenient tree (some elf…), but froze when he reached the top and realised more watchman were standing in the alley directly below him.

Fortunately, they did not see him, and he jumped down when they had moved out of view.

Eventually, after a long, long time of evading patrols and ducking into alleyways, the players finally reunited and started to make their way across Bogenhafen to the wharfs, where all the warehouses were located. Night was approaching and they had a sense of urgency about them, but were surprised when they saw, a short distance away, a building had been set on fire and a mob was chasing someone. That someone looked exactly like James and ran into the players, smiled, then disappeared into thin air (yes, it was the daemon Gideon again, trying to make their lives difficult).

Then the mob showed up, and demanded James be handed over for ‘justice.’ Being a dwarf, James was not about to outrun them, so the whole party resorted to threats and, finally, managed to get the crowd to back down. However, the mob started calling out for the watch, and the players hurried on quickly, wanting to avoid any legal entanglements.

 

In the next instalment – the players infiltrate a ritual and Ed gets to use his bombs at last!

 

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