No worries that makes sense, I just saw an odd word and my head went crazy. For some reason in my tired state I ended up with "Kark must be Anslem!" and thought the group may decide to kill him for being Nagash's blood. I have no idea how I came to that conclusion though.
Speaking of Anslem, has he basicly stopped using his Magic Sight and kind of abandon that entire Mystic career idea after the run in with Matthias Krieger? I just got and am looking over Witch's Song and it made me think of that and how I don't recall him using it ever since.
Anselm uses his magical sight sparingly and never "admits it in game" (everyone knows he has it and asks him about it at times, he protests, "I don't know what you mean, shouldn't you ask Hans"), he certainly doesn't volunteer it when there are pools of Dhar so powerful merely seeing them can corrupt you lying about (he is carrying more Corruption points than any other Player already). Hfans is also very kickass in his Magic Sight now having maxed out Int and stacked up fortune dice, training etc, seldom failing. The more "suspiscious" thing is Anselm's career ability from mystic of being able to grant someone a Comet (once session) with his mystical insight - Anselm gives very good advice at times, uncanny.
In game, I think it's played that people are so annoyed by Anselm's apparent cowardice (he isn't actually, he steps up and fights as with the wolf, he just only does it when it makes sense to him) and oily charm (oleaginous charm in the player's own words) that they don't think more about him in other ways.
It like they are brothers who don't really quite get on very well but are still brothers? It is hard to sometimes get a sensemof some things getting amrather "raw" GM recap of the sessions. Though we get the actual happenings without bias and I love the GM insight/notes you give, don't get me wrong. Just sometimes the characterizations aren't too clear.
(Verses, for example, friends follow my Game of Thrones game I play in, but I am the only one who publicly publishes nything andmit is all in-character. So everything is very biased and one sided as you see the whole game through a specific lens.)
It like they are brothers who don't really quite get on very well but are still brothers?.
An external observer would likely conclude that could the only rationale why they have not parted ways/killed each other. They would, however, strenouusly object to any suggestion they are related (and do act completely differently, Hans the noble-meaning curious scholar with occassional dark appetite, Anselm the irreligious, not the least bit introspective, doesn't mean anyone harm just doesn't see why he should do anyone good since no one ever did him any, lecherous con man - I think I've mentioned Anselm's player is a laywer who makes his characters amalgams of his former clients).
I remember you mentioning that about Anlsem's player, yes.
Another question if you get around to thinking on it: How does your group work with Party Cards? I have been reading your earlier adventures again (as I picked up the adventures myself finally, so kind of "reading along") and I notice more mentions of party stress in the earlier games than the later ones. Also over nearly 90advances, did theychange their card often?
They changed card one reflecting shift in attitudes but we stopped using party card and have tried a homebrew variant (posted on my blog). It's not really working either in my view and I'm mulling gonig back to party card or less extreme variant.
I like the idea of sharing skills, collective identity etc. but people don't really roleplay "how the talent is shared" etc.
Roleplaying talent sharing means if player A puts their Observation-assisting Talen on Party Card and Player b makes use of it Player B says something like, "remember the advice [Player A's character" gave me, I look more carefully"…
Interesting. I can see that. Sounds like your problem is, like most GMs, you simply don't beat your players enough. *nod* ;)
Gaming shortened a bit by career choosing for next campaign.
We find our heroes in the inn portion of the Mistgarten, amidst five vampires (and an innkeeper). Father Erich charges towards the female vampiress who cried out their intentions but before he reaches her Finulas (Me First) sends a stream of silver arrows into Valin (who was looking at him and glancing meaningfully at the vampiress beside him).
Father Erich than brings the Hammer of God down upon the grave-reaking woman (as he closed with her he resisted becoming Queasy with a Resilience check). She will soon fall to a magic dart from Hans.
- She's a Strigoi, the stench and added effect.
Valin’s companion vampires conjures dark magic, despite Hans’ counterspell, and sends a bolt of black energy into Findulas [GM note – had heroes not stopped the flow of Dar from the Belthani Mound by repairing the circle there all black magic here would have been ‘just a bit nastier’].
The melee develops to be with 3 vampires as Valin flees the room, leaving two female and one male vampire standing. The spellcasting vampiress is so innocently beautiful is it hard to try to attack her (added challenge die) and the male so commanding with his transfixing gaze that if not averting eyes (adding challenge die) a chaos star means being transfixed (action aborted and paralyzed 3 rounds). Heroes repeatedly risk this and Anselm is transfixed for a few precious rounds.
- "innocently beautiful" is a Lahmia and "transfixing gaze" is a von Carstein
Hans suffers two critical wounds (up to 3) as the blood from one he already suffered attracted a Bloodthirsty Frenzy, and the vampires’ beguiling powers (sultry beauty and commanding presence respectively) caused Findulas to shoot at Hans and Father Frederich and Anselm to send Senor Bity to attack Father Erich! Father Erich incurs an increasing amount of fatigue in the fight, only adreline (boons on physical checks) really keeping from feeling it.
Sir Rolf and his knights come to the heroes’ aid after a round of fighting (bonus dice). Eventually, the final of the four vampires falls. Hans has doused oil and a tapestry is pulled down to start a fire to consume bodies.
A quick search finds being a vampire pays well (5 gold crowns – none from the stinking one though). Sir Rolf is concerned about any escaping vampire warning the castle (the snowstorm should conceal a fire, at least for a while).
Father Erich calls Sigmar’s blessing power to heal Hans of one critical wound.
Findulas races out the door behind bar that Valin exited, finding the innkeeper dead and drained in hall (human minions are walking first aid kits for wounded vampires) and the arrows that had been in Valin scattered and broken, he continues on and out the back where he sees snow has recently blown in. Anselm has gone out the front of the inn.
In the back, where the hillside rises up steeply, Findulas meets Valin who quietly calls to him from in the rocks overhead, using them to shelter against attack. Valin asks if they cannot now have a quiet talk – he is not here to help the Ritual, he is here to stop it! They can try to kill him or the heroes can have an ally – if necessary, this can be between the Valin and Findulas if that Sigmarite won’t be reasonable.
Findulas pauses and replies, “No he wouldn’t be reasonable. Neither will I.” He raises his bow to shoot - Act 2 begins!
Anselm is 2 manoeuvres away from Findulas’s location, the other heroes 3 away.
- And so the von Carstein agent seeking to prevent Lydia's rise to power fails to recruit the heroes to his cause (to explain why he was actually helpful when met in Wurtbad).
Afternoon of Jahrdrung 20th, as fire spreads in the Mistgarten spa, Findulas refuses Valin's offer of alliance, making the point with an arrow shot.
However, now outside once more in the winter storm, Valin having chosen a shielded spot in the rock above to speak from, and Valin revealing himself "a bit more than seemed before" (all those wounds still there, silver arrows after all, but they don't seem to trouble him as much as he let on when there were still other vampires to see), his Improved Dodge has recharged as well, and Findulas misses (Rapid Fire fails). Howls are heard in the wind.
[As a von Carstein agent against the conspiracy of the Sisters of the Wood, Valin has a Lord template that he has been "pretending not to have"]
His allies are at the front of the buidling with the Raven Knights and as they try to come to his aid a pack of wolves appears. Five (regular and gang on 4 henchmen) intercept heroes, attacking Anselm first as he was in the lead, while one larger than normal wolf leaps to assist Valin by attacking Findulas.
Valin leaps down onto Findulas, the smell of blood from Findulas existing 2 critical wounds making him Seized by Bloodlust and rends Findulas with claws and teeth (a total of 3 more critical wounds, which aside from all their accumulating penalties such as Fade to Black and initiative penalties, means he has so many that if he falls in battle he will die).
Father Erich's crossbow fire pins down the wolves engaging the other heroes (around corner and out of line of sight of Findulas' struggle). Hans went around the other way and avoided wolves, coming up to cast Magic Dart at Valin. Alas, Valin is more challenging as a target for even the simplest spells and flashes a transfixing gaze Hans' way that Hans avoids. His magic dart barely scratches the vampire but the winds of magic turn against him and he is briefly Petrified (miscast, turned to stone).
Findulas flees, retreating into the burning building and risking the smoke to recovery his winter gear (not wishing to be out in the snow without it and hoping Valin will not follow into the fire). He avoids Fatigue damage from the smoke (Resilience checks per Burning Building location card).
Father Erich attacks Valin, invoking a blessing against the "man who is not a man" (fortune is with him for this blessing as foretold by the Prophet of the Goose - cf Favour for Fostenklauster adventure, an extra expertise die to add when the stituation applied, which it does here). Valin is injured and retreats, though not before Beguiling Father Erich. The vampires is supernaturally Fast and disappears into the rocks and snow above. He has the aid of Sir Rolph and the raven knights as well.
As Hans recovers from his brief Petrification, Father Erich must resist the compulsion to attack him - he does but has no memory of having just faced the vampire Valin (those must have been tough wolves).
The heroes defeat the remaining wolves, the last fleeing into the show.
Rally Step, Findulas is cured of some wounds and Hans suppresses one of his criticals - Father Erich cures another (though Findulas still is at great risk in melees). Healing draughts are also consumed by more than one hero to recovery from their "stay at the spa".
The heroes engage in more healing and preparation actions (Hammer of God invoked by Father Erich) [metagame giving their next encounter, which alas is forewarned, about 2 rounds worth of advance preparation in terms of being ready to receive them].
The heroes ride along the hillside to the causeway bridge that leads to the steep isolated hill on which fairy-tale-like Castle Helfurt stands. Riding over the causeway, Anselm announces they are a patrol seeking shelter from storm, himself being Graf Anselm von err…. Bruner, yes Bruner that's it. [Had they really had to make a check to get in there might have been a penalty for not remembering the last name but as it happens the castle is expecting them…]
A voice calls down that it is no fit day to be out upon and they hear a portcullis being raised and a great bar being drawn back as the gates open.
The heroes and knights ride into a small roughly triangular courtyard (narrow end being gate entry, broad end being the actual castle, to one side stables, to the other guardhouse).
Four knights in white armour flank the entry (2 and 2) as they ride in. As the last of the party enters, Hans trying to use magic sight to see what he can of their hosts etc., from the open doors into the castle they hear a familiar, happy voice, "YOU'RE HERE! MY FRIENDS!" It's Karl! Happy to see them, standing beside a beautiful noblewoman with dark features.
-- And now we check to see how happy heroes are to see Karl. Those who resisted his influence before check at one less challenge die, for Anselm however this is the first check. The other three pass, some barely, but Anselm does not and Karl is now Light of his Life (a card of Karlist benefits and effects given, it's not all bad, Karl is very Inspiring to be around).
-- By chance this means Hans is using magical sight to look at Karl, this is actually the first time Hans has done this (of course the white knights are undead of some sort, not vampires). He sees that Karl is surrounded by a magical effect of some sort, all the colours of magic woven artfully together not mushing into black as they would if a human tried - he's only seen things like that before looking at elf magic, it's sooooo complex and dazzling (Teclis really was right to prohibit humans from trying, how could I ever even come close to that) he must resist being Perplexed by it (he does). He realizes the effect would be a freakish random mutation, it is much more likely a powerful spell or artefact at work, in fact the way the effect wards and channels winds of magic, Hans believes it would completely ward Karl from even dark winds and corruptive influences such as warpstone - far from being a mutant, Karl is the only human Hans has ever encountered or heard of who would be immune to mutation.
[That was magical sight and education checks, figuring out more about the spell is Spellcraft]
Findulas is weighing seriously the option of sending a stream of arrows at Karl and ending this menace once and for all, regardless of the consequences to himself (or his allies).
As Findulas is deciding against this an old woman in colourful Strigany garb comes up, apparently a nurse or caretaker for Karl and the noblewoman, who introduces herself as Baronness Lydia von Carstein (the Plicticos name seems to have been discarded), welcomes the heroes inviting them in, "come as guests, leave as friends".
Hans magical sight informs him Lydia is a vampire and powerful magic user (as powerful as anyone he ever looked at in his College) and the old Strigany woman is also both - but even more powerful, in fact something about the dark energies around her matches those in the forest ruin the heroes explored. (he passes Terror 3).
Findulas has settled for Find Weakness against Karl, however this tests Intelligence vs Fellowship, and if Karl is anything he is "a charming boy" (test against stat x2 yours). Also it turns out "it's good to be Karl", any check against Karl automatically adds 2 failures and a chaos star to outcome pool. Findulas fails to Find Weakness (in a roundabout way succeeds at 'finding strength').
As the trio (the two women and Karl) turn and enter the castle, with the heroes and knights to follow, the heroes hear the sound of the portcullis coming down behind them and that heavy bar sliding back across the gate. Before they reach the castle entry, as Karl and the ladies have gone inside, another portcullis falls down over it and the castle doors swing shut.
Eight more knights in white armour appear.
[Lydia's enchanted skeletal guards in pretty plate armour are 4 improved Stilchelms from Gathering Storm +, 2 gangs of 4@ of such, all wearing Eldritch Armour that has some additional 'bad outcome lines' for attacks against wearer]
Inside the castle, "Lydia why aren't my friends coming yet, what are those noises outside?" "Oh Karl they're playing one of our games, you know how people are always crying for help and such here in the castle when we play our adult games of lets pretend, it's called roleplaying - it's lots of fun. We'll let them have their fun."
Metagame, Anselm recognized the strigany woman as the same he met in the camp down below - the one he failed two checks against. Her being here now might explain the castle being ready for guests, with the extra time used during 'rally step' being that much longer for the castle to get ready once she arrived to tell them of the guests on the way.
super thrilling how you manage and model the story - a master piece.
Perhaps you should write a WARHAMMER novel based on your group ;)
That's very kind of you. Pretty good players help inspire.
I forgot to mention that Sir Rolph and the other Raven Knights all failed their checks when meeting Karl and like Anselm are now all "Karlists". Per the official 1000 Thrones, this is not being an automation, you're still you, just a you who is certain Karl is wonderful etc.
Karl is really a "catalyst" for roleplaying and "showing what you are" by how you choose to react to him. For all that it is very uneven in parts, with some stuff to drop, it has so much that I have loved the 1000 Thrones - though it looks like a railroad there is so much stuff in here with competing factions each with own agenda etc. you can run it as a sandbox and it has lots of potential for big iconic moments. I'm getting stoked to run the new Enemy Within but admit not quite as stoked as 1000 Thrones has made me.
The whole table was not sure whether Findulas was going to try to kill Karl or not, including myself and the player himself - he was really mulling it as I was decribing scene and what Han's magic sight saw etc. That is part of the fun, finding out "where the story will go" by letting it go where it will - Findulas has a decent chance to kill Karl with his Rapid Fire if he rolled well enough, for all Karl's specialness etc., he's just a remarklably healthy and somewhat advanced for his age 9 year old - a stream of arrows will do the trick and two auto failures and a chaos star is not all that bad a modifier for Findulas who is about as tricked-out an archer as you can imagine.
Being a Karlist is not that bad. imo, you still have your own will and could pursue a plan for Karl as long he is convinced and does like it.
He is a boy and can be swayed if played right.
As you said, 1000 thrones has so many possibilities, so I started to use a mindmap with all the directions/plotlines as an overview.
Helps to have storyfood at hand if your players decide to take a totally odd turn ;)