Friday, November 19, 2010

The Curse of the Dertflinghans: Chapter Nine


excerpt from DR. RICHARD ALCOCK'S JOURNAL

25 April. The Old Graveyard of Dertflinghan - We set out from Dertflinghan yesterday on the East road towards the Old Graveyard. In hindsight, it would have been wiser to wait until today and leave at first light, but as soon as the the scrap of the nun's journal was found, Mannleigh insisted on heading out straight away. After seeing his dogged determination I saw that argument would be futile, so we packed up and headed down the road as fast as we were able. We were accompanied by Sister Benedicta's bodyguard Hugo Forst. Although a little on the boastful side for my tastes, he does seem able to handle himself in a tight spot and will hopefully be an asset to our cause.

By the time we reached the graveyard the sun was already beginning its descent. The darkness replaces the light so quickly in this land. It is most unnatural.


The Austrians moved along the perimeter.


Ms. Poundwood caught sight of a crumbling statue and the ground at its base showed signs of recent excavation. Upon closer examination she discovered the grisly remains of a body in the fresh earth. I noticed that it showed signs of being recently defiled with bite and claw marks all over. Weapons were readied.


Just as we were making this discovery, I was startled from my examination by Rutter's bark. He and his master were running down the main path towards some advancing figure in the gathering darkness. Within seconds I heard the resonating sound of Mannleigh's battle cry. Any chance at a stealthy approach was lost. Mannleigh is a great friend for whom I hold the greatest respect, but in truth, his impulsiveness can be most vexing.


It was then that Ms. Poundwood, Hugo, and myself became aware of more figures in the advancing darkness. It seemed that we would have to fight our way to the mausoleums then.


Judging by the shouts and sounds of rifle fire coming from the other end of the graveyard, it was obvious that our Austrian allies were not without their own problems.


As the others were becoming embroiled in a bitter conflict with the creatures of the night, I decided to take a different kind of action. Seeing that Mannleigh had gained the upperhand against the demonkin with whom he was engaged, I ran to the mausoleum entrance behind him and, finding the doors locked, used as much force as I could muster to gain access. The doors fell open and a blast of musty foul air shot out of the dark chamber. In a moment, Mannleigh was beside me with sword drawn and out of breadth. A thin ray of moonlight shone into the interior and revealed a staircase going down into the earth. This was to be no easy search then.


We headed down into the catacombs with nothing but a flickering torch and the brave Rutter to guide our feet.


Then, without warning, a foul creature shot out of the darkness and I can honestly say that it took all three of us to send the thing scampering away with its tail between its legs (so to speak).


At the far end of the gallery I could just make out a dark shape hovering over a sarcophagus, pulling its contents out in a most horrifying fashion. If I ever survive this expedition, I can say with some certainty that the images of these vampiric children shall haunt my dreams and I fear that I shall never again know a peaceful night.


As I stood for a moment in my reverie, transfixed by the colossal grandeur of the mighty tomb, Mannleigh had charged into the darkness, aware of some hidden figure that I could not detect. I heard a clashing of swords and, judging by the bloodcurdling scream that followed, Mannleigh must have dealt the creature a crippling blow. (He told me later that, after impaling it on his sword, the foul thing dissipated into a damp mist right before his eyes)


With the head vampire defeated, the rest of the creatures seemed to disappear into the night. We found our companions on the surface no worse for wear and wasted no time in getting to the task at hand. We descended back into the earth, and after a thorough search, found that the various mausoleums provided access to the same sprawling catacombs beneath. It was a hellish job, searching through the remains of those sarcophagi, even more so thanks to the work of generations of vampires and ghouls, but our horror reached its height when we opened the eastern-most sarcophagus.

As the lid fell away, it was obvious that the corpse was relatively fresh and certainly couldn't be the original occupant of the sarcophagus. Furthermore, his horrible posture and extended arms showed that he had been sealed in while still alive. Upon closer examination I noticed a few lines of text scratched in the underside of the sarcophagus lid. It read:
MY HAND WAS FORCED
LEAVE THIS LAND
TRUST NO ONE
KASTOR VON DERTFLINGHAN
The weight of those few lines hit the party with the force of a tidal wave. If the letter that brought us to this land was written under false pretenses, who could have been behind it and what could their purpose have been in leading Mannleigh to this cursed place? The dead man's warning causes my thoughts to go out to Sister Benedicta. Mannleigh agrees and we have decided to head back to Dertflinghan at first light - RA.



Game Talk:

It's been a while since the last installment, mostly because I had mentioned in The Hand of the Almighty that Mannleigh and his companions were heading to the Old Graveyard and I had to finish (i.e. start) making the catacombs. As you can see from the picture below, I painted a tile for each mausoleum and then a collection of random dungeon tiles. These will match the cellar tiles from my buildings as well, so underground networks below towns will be possible as well.


The skull token marks a secret door (which nobody found).


The entrance to the catacombs from the largest of the mausoleums. The statues are made from wood blocks, cardboard, and a couple of old Warmaster models I had lying around.


The columns are the easiest (and the most effective in my opinion). They are wine corks glued to round plastic bases and painted to match the floors.


The sarcophagi were made from card and styrofoam. The "ornamental" pieces on the top are cheap hinges from wooden boxes (the ones I made Grunberg's Asylum out of, in fact). I knew I saved them for a reason.


The game was a modified Seek & Find scenario. Using my new furniture house rules, characters could search the four sarcophagi, statue in the graveyard, pool, and the chest for a total of seven possible objective finds. At the end of the scenario, 1 VP was awarded to the warband that found the most objectives and 1 VP to the warband that ended with the most objectives. Ms. Poundwood found one in the pool.


Lyleth escaping with her objective at the end of the game.


During the last round of the game, we were tied for VP's since we each had found and held two objectives and the head vampire was alive. However, when Mannleigh delivered the killing blow to the Count he took one of the objectives AND killed a Master of Evil, all in one move. Bastard.

Found most objectives (1 VP) - 2 each, neither player
Held most objectives at game's end (1 VP) - Monster Hunters
Capture Female Victim (1 VP) - n/a
Kill Master of Evil (1 VP) - Monster Hunters

Result:
2 VP Monster Hunters
0 VP Romanian Vampires
= major victory for Monster Hunters

In other news, Jordin has ordered the models for his Nosferatu warband so we now officially have four players for Chaos in Carpathia in our group. Can you say "tournament?"

Thanks for reading,
JET

5 comments:

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

Absolutely wonderful and catacombs are just great!

Cheers
Christopher

indierockclimber said...

These are probably my favorite battle reports in all of geekdom :)

JET (aka Jason) said...

Thank you guys for the encouragement. The story is finally starting to develop :)

Furt said...

Really top notch gaming! Sweat and tears just drips from this whole setup - keep it up. BTW - have u ever toyed with doctoring some gloomy, blue tinged images with Photoshop? I think they might work wonders.

Frank
http://adventuresinlead.blogspot.com/

SteelonSand said...

Great narrative as usual - love the twist at the end - our protagonist's slow realisation that they are caught up in a sinister manipulation of Fate....

Some great model work, too - those cork pillars are the business!