Wednesday 28 February 2018

ZWEIHÄNDER Session #4: Rats in the Walls

The fourth session took place on the 27th of January, 2018, with the following player participants:
  • Agonia Gimdinasdotr, a dwarf adherent of Valaya, quick to help those in trouble.
  • Blitzkrieg, a dwarf slayer, a sucker for disease, wound infection, and critical hits.
  • Päther von Sternwart, a human astrologer, proud of himself for defeating a foe all alone.
With Blitzkrieg's injuries healed and Päther's spell arsenal expanded the party was ready to descend into the sewers under the Labyrinth, one of Nuln's poorest quarters. Blitzkrieg and Agonia bought some rat poison and a few wheels of cheese with themselves, hoping they can use them as bait. The party broke into the sewers through the sewerjack's entry. Agonia and Päther stole their boat, and with Blitzkrieg guiding them on the sewerside, followed the path the cultist told them about during the interrogation. There were swarms of rats everywhere. When they scurried away scared there was a bell tinkling in the distance, but the adventurers couldn't figure out what it was.

When the party reached the breach in the wall they were looking for, the boat bumped into something. A skaven with rebreather jumped out of the water and attacked the boatman. After getting an axe into his face and realizing the numbers are not in his favor he threw a smoke bomb and tried to escape, but Päther pushed the boat forward and blew the ratmen's head off with magick missile. The adventurers looted the various poisons, and warpstone dust from the corpse.

At the end of the short tunnel behind the breach stood a crappy door improvised from trash. After listening and hearing nothing Blitzkrieg took the poisoned cheese, smeared warpstone dust on it to make it extra desirable, put it in front of the door, knocked, and ran away. A minute later the door slowly opened, and after some hesitation someone grabbed the cheese. The party took its time, then entered the room. Inside they found hammocks, crates, simple tables, two huge wooden barrels, and two doors. In the center of the room someone sat on a chair. It was the cultist from last time, with a Colombian necktie. This time the adventurers also noticed the a houselike symbol and the letters ADA painted on his wrist.

When you have so much poison on your blades even
their vapor is deadly.
Faint groaning was coming from one of the barrels. The skaven that ate the cheese was lying there tortured by stomach pains, until his head was cut off. Blitzkrieg smashed the other barrel to find another skaven who was probably planning an ambush. This one held his ground against the dwarf until his comrades arrived and joined the fray - including the Gutter Runner Snikt Snikt, master of oriental martial arts, who is also known as Totenkopf for the many skulls decorating his armor and cloak. By the end of the battle Agonia was losing her sight because of poisoning, and Blitzkrieg's right arm was useless. The slayer just shrugged, muttered something about ambidexterity, and continued fighting with his left handed axe. By some miracle Päther stood his ground against Snikt Snikt and managed to damage him badly with a magick missile. After a smoke bomb the leader fled. Päther tried to stop him with a spell but failed and he collapsed with the wind knocked out of his lungs. Blitzkrieg chased down the last skaven, and after he finished the ratman he returned to Agonia and gave her  his antidote.

The rest of the base was empty. The skaven expected an attack and only left a few assassins behind. They took their prisoners and equipment with themselves, although a prisoner left a diary written in blood behind a brick frequently mentioning the name Ludwig Müller. There was also a closed door with a lock. After opening it black gas bursted out, but it didn't effect anyone - it was probably meant to keep skaven away from the room, which based on the notes and diagrams within belonged to Whitespore. Päther took the plans of a rocket, while Agonia took a plush rat - after removing the warpstone from it. Several letters about human trafficking pointed to a man named Ludwig Müller, again.

Our adventurers returned to the street shivering from sewer fever. After some discussion they agreed that the fever can wait, they should continue their investigation and find out who this Ludwig is. Information from Don Cornetto led to a homeless shelter on the edge of Nuln, lead by an old nun called Theresa Anjürük. The lady knew very well who the party was talking about. She said Ludwig used to transport the mentally ill to the mental health institute Asyl der Angst (ADA in short), but it probably had a bad effect on his mind because he was incarcerated there too a week or two ago.

The asylum was on the edge of the city, a cold grey building hidden by trees, eyes flashing behind barred windows, and the sound of violin coming from within. Blitzkrieg sent a poisoned cheese with a thank you message to the institute, which the others agreed to be a stupid plan. Päther went to the university to find Shultz Brenner. He gave him the plans he found in the sewers, told him they are going to the ADA, and asked him to report their plans to Heinz von Tomatenhaus if they don't return in 24 hours.

The good professor.
The party discarded the option of sneaking in, and chose to enter the asylum through the front door. They introduced themselves as relatives of Ludwig. After a couple of minutes they were greeted by prof. Philippe Neugirig. They had a short discussion about the patient's health, and how madmen can be reintegrated into the society. Philippe allowed the PCs to visit Ludwig. He sent Igor, a hunchback halfling with a wounded right hand with them. They descended through the stairs to the farthest wing's deepest level.

Ludwig sat in his cell, mumbling to his visitors about how the patients are used for skaven experiments, what kind of horrific images the doctors use to brainwash them into Yellow Fang cultists, and how he ended here thanks to an unsuccessful blackmail attempt against prof. Neugirig. The adventurers soon realized that they are trapped here: the massive door on the next level is closed, and the inane Igor had no key to open it. A psychopath called Grinning Walter told them Igor was wounded because he bit his hand not so long ago, and got the door's key without Igor noticing it. He is willing to tell where it is if they torture Igor in front of him. The adventurers didn't want to do that. Päther convinced him that he is a palmist, and asked Walter to show him his hands so he can tell him the future. Päther noticed there was rust on Walter's hands. They went on to explore the level, passing through a cell with a crying ogre that kept complaining about the things inside him.

Leaving the cells they found the medical room (which they looted for medicine and tools), a store room with various tools (didn't bother with this one), the rubber rooms (someone broke his nose here), the spartan bathrooms (didn't bother with this one yet either), and finally a big room with chairs and some strange devious device with a lens, and a canvas in front of it. They realized this was the projector Ludwig mentioned earlier, that shows them nightmarish pictures. While they were curious about the images in the end they all agreed their sanity is more important. Then something started ringing in the next room.

There was a large booth with a conch-like tool inside - another devious device of the vile ratmen! Päther was brave enough to pick up the conch. Someone started talking from the device. They were called by Qiree, aka. "Palemaster", a skaven of utmost importance, who wanted to have a word with them. He knew they were in the asylum thanks to prof. Neugirig. He was angry for the adventurers foiling his plans several times. They stole the red ring, and now Oldenhaller is out of town, who knows where. They killed a rat ogre, and his most brilliant inventor, Eesk, aka "Whitespore". While he managed to get his head back, the brain damage was irreversible, so Eesk's engineering knowledge is useless now. Qiree did salvage what he could though, and his punisher is on its way to the asylum. Our heroes have one hour left.

A thing you don't want to see in your toilet.
The party started searching for ways to exit. They found a rusty drainage in the bathroom, with the key under it. Unfortunately it didn't open the door - Walter was lying, and just wanted them to torture Igor. Agonia got bored of the ogre's cries and checked him out. The ogre was sure that ratmen have violated his private parts, and put rats inside him. Päther made the ogre fall asleep with his spell, Agonia pulled a glove, and checked the ogre's behind - then screamened when she pulled out an ugly wriggling rat from him. Believing the ogre's tales now they woke him up, asked him if he's okay, and asked where did the skaven do this to him.

Following the ogre they returned to the bathroom, taking the scared Igor and Ludwig with them. Meanwhile they could hear the door above opening, and the thumping of mighty footsteps approaching. Blitzkrieg checked out what's coming, and saw an abomination that shouldn't be alive: the skaven put Whitespore's head on the body of his beheaded rat ogre! It also had a flame thrower on his right hand, and a big barrel in place of his belly. Blitzkrieg took out his last wheel of poisoned and warpstoned cheese, rolled it into the corridor, and ran back to the room hoping the bait will work.

The bathroom was loud from the adventurers trying to break through the freshly found one-way secret panel. Suddenly the ogre got sick and collapsed, then a swarm of mutant rats bursted out of his chest. There was a  huge bump on the corridor too, which shook the whole level. Päther and Blitzkrieg looked out and saw the abomination lying on the ground in agony: the bait worked! Blitzkrieg wanted to go there and behead him, but the creature with its last breath pushed a button. Green flames bursted out of his weapon and barrel immolating everything in their path. It was a miracle Blitzkrieg and Päther could jump back into the bathroom in time!

The survivors didn't waste more time, they entered the hole in the wall, and spent hours wading through the sewers until they could surface. Päther reported Heinz von Tomatenhaus about what was going on in the asylum, while the others returned to the Reaver's Return with their new companions.