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Warhammer FRP (1st Edition): 17th July 2013
Helga Thorgrimmsdottir – Female Dwarf Ranger (Coachwoman)
Male Elf Rogue (Footpad)
Male Elf Rogue (Smuggler)
Male Human Rogue (Footpad)
Male Human Warrior (Pit fighter)
The party of adventurers have known each other for about ten years, and live in a small village just outside of The Empire. A bunch of ne’er-do-wells they were always getting into scrapes until they were taken in by a kindly old gentleman, who gave them lodgings in return for errands run. The old man seems to be an alchemist of sorts; his study usually being off limits to the friends but the occasional glimpse they get through a partially opened door confirms that he studies the chemical goings on of a variety of substances in his plethora of bubbling glass jars and vials full of strange coloured liquids.
A Request from the Alchemist
The adventurers were called together just after breakfast by the old alchemist. He had another errand for them to run. He needed a special chemical (Abelis powder?) brought back from the local town (two and a half days travel time east) and a bunch of small flowers (Litmus) that grew only in deep, dark places, like the mines two days distance but in the opposite direction from the town.
The friends all agreed that travelling outside of their backwater village was always a source of fun, so readily agreed to his request. He gave them a picture of the flowers required, a handful of coin to keep them going and a note of payment to be handed to the apothecary in the local town in exchange for the powder.
The Disused Mine
The party set off for the mines to find the flowers first and were able to get there in good time. The horse and cart they owned allowed them to travel in some comfort until they were but a few hundred yards away from the entrance.
They dismounted from the cart, hobbled the horse, loaded and readied their weapons and set off towards the old mine entrance, Helga leading the way with her blunderbuss as she was the only one who had any mining experience.
The small, twisting overgrown trail led them directly to main entrance that was thoroughly blocked with brambles. Helga, being the smallest of the party, could have slipped through the gaps between the knotted limbs without picking up more than a few scratches, but her taller companions needed assistance, so she used her axe to cut a path for them.
The entrance to the mine showed what lay beyond was an almost impenetrable blackness for the humans at least, so they gathered up as much of the wood cuttings Helga had created and fashioned a few make-shift torches from them.
After the party had gathered their wits, lit the torches and readied their weapons they were ready to advance down into the Stygian depths of the disused mines.
The path into the mine led steadily downwards and a variety of side-branches that struck off from the main corridor were explored in turn and found to either double-back onto the main run or were blocked by rock falls or purposely built walls of stone.
After a short time the sharp-eared elves of the party began to hear scratching and rustling noises coming from up ahead. The party reached a crossroads and decided to call a halt whilst they tried to figure out where the sound was coming from.
Unfortunately the noises were heard coming from both sides of the corridor, but before they could make up their minds which way to turn, three large rats the size of dogs pounced upon them. Helga just had time to set off her blunderbuss in their general direction; the noise and fumes causing everyone to jump and search for cover. Luckily the flash and bang of the black powder weapon caused one of the rats to turn tail and scamper off but the other two continued with their attack.
The sharp-eyed Elf footpad transfixed one of the vermin with a shaft from his bow and the pit fighter stepped in and cleaved the final one in two with his sword.
After the brief melee, the party decided to explore the two side tunnels. Both tunnels ended at small caves where the miners of yore had worked the rock surface. One of the caves was empty, but the other contained the rats’ lair. The rat that had run from the noise and flash of the blunderbuss was found cowering in a corner with one of its fellows, but a few swift sword and axe blows made sure that they would not bother the party again.
The Wooden Casket
The group carried on exploring the underground warrens, making sure that no side turning was left unchecked as the flowers could be growing anywhere down there in the gloom. After a few minutes they came across a network of criss-crossing paths and side tunnels. Each was explored in turn but nothing of interest was found until one of the eagle-eyed elves spotted a small piece of wood sticking out from under a pile of rock fall. Helga used her pickaxe to dig it out. It was a small wooden chest.
The lock that held it closed was easily bashed off, but the contents were rather disappointing; a few small pebbles and a load of rock dust. The party decided to empty out the contents onto the floor and were rewarded with a small nugget of copper. This was quickly pocketed, along with a pouchful of the dust and the casket was then hacked apart in case it held a false bottom. The only other thing of value they got from it was the iron surround that ran around the base. Helga picked this up just in case it might come in handy later.
The Undergound Lake
The network of criss-crossing tunnels was soon left behind and the long corridor carried on in its downward direction. After a goodly few yards, the corridor made a right-angled turn to the left before plunging down a steep spiral walkway. This carried on for several revolutions, taking the companions a long way underground by Helga’s reckoning.
The spiral walkway finally opened out into a large cavern which their torches could not light the far end of. They walked into the cavern, keeping to one side in case they missed any side passages, and came upon a body of water lapping at their feet. They quickly tested its depth; it seemed to get deeper at the same rate as the floor of the cavern did. Realising that they would not be able to cross the water equipped as they were, they decided to follow the waterline and carry on their search for side passages on the opposite side of the cavern. Before they got to the other side though, they espied an upturned rowing boat.
The Elf smuggler quickly righted the boat, made sure it was sound to float and began to launch it into the water. As soon as the boat hit the underground lake, a current seemed to snatch away at the vessel. He quickly pulled it back to shore lest it was lost to the party.
Unfortunately there were no oars or paddles to accompany the small craft and it would not fit the entire party into it at one go. It was decided that the smuggler would attempt to ferry each of them across what they presumed was an underground lake one at a time. He just hoped that the current would lead them to dry land on the other side and that there might be a set of oars that would allow him to row back to ferry across the rest of his companions.
(Thanks Rod for this diary entry - I had to collect my son from his school trip to Vienna)…
The smuggler and the fighter climb into the small boat and it starts floating across the flooded cavern. Skittering noises are heard coming from the passageway we came down. It doesn't sound like the dwarf returning. A huge rat bursts out of the tunnel but a swift shot from the elven archer's bow sinks into its body then a mighty swing from the footpad's hammer crushes its skull.
Meanwhile the boat ride is equally eventful. A large wormlike beast with gaping lamprey jaws shoots out of the water and tries to make a meal out of me. Fortunately the mail shirt protects from its teeth and we hack at it while careful not to overturn the boat. It lunges again but can't get past my shield then chomps down on the side of the boat. Holding still for a few seconds gives us time to make well placed blows and I hack the head off. The rest of the body? tentacle? sinks back into the pool. We land at the other side and find three small flowers growing at the back. The smuggler carefully harvests two and feels a little dizzy from handling them with unprotected hands. We recross the lake without incident but realise that we can't get the magical boat out of the cavern without taking it apart, so we abandon it.
Back upstairs we lever our way through the rock collapse with the metal slats. Two small rooms are found behind. One has piles of old clothing and searching turns up 5gc in loose coinage. The second room has two bunks and footlockers. The elves leap to search them and a few more coins are found. We can't see anything more of interest so we head home and arrive without incident.
We give granddad his plants and after a good night's sleep we set off for town. The elves are eager to make good time so despite concerns for the poor horse they opt to travel for much of the day and night with the group sleeping in the wagon by shifts. We meet a trader and cart and barter for a few incidentals. We decline an offer of 6gc for the nugget. The elves contemplate a number of devious tricks but in the end we pay up fairly. The smuggler is content to have a new bow despite its inferior human design.
During the night we meet a rambling drunk or local idiot. He claims to be following a map but it is smeared to illegibility. His ravings include prophesying that war is coming but these seem more the spoutings of the village drunk than a genuine oracular fit. There is some sort of altercation that I'm not clear about and the outlaw elf mercilessly shoots him dead.
The next day we reach town. We find a jeweller/metallurgist who is willing to buy the nugget for 10gc which we accept. Our trip to the alchemist goes smoothly and we obtain a small vial of granddad's mysterious powder. We are cautioned not to handle it or ingest it... perhaps it's not an ingredient for his pile ointment after all. I'm eager to have some time in town so persuade the others that we should 'invest' our 5gc expenses money in drinks, food and a night at the inn. After a pretty good but uneventful night we eat a hearty breakfast and prepare to leave...