We finally got the WFRP going again yesterday, after 4 weeks off- too long a break for comfort really. The session suffered as a consequence. It didn't bomb like the one back in early September, but it was a bit lacklustre.
There were several reasons for this.
1. The month-long layoff meant that we'd all lost our sense of momentum, and the tensions that had built up around the unfolding plot had all dissipated.
2. My preparations were insufficient, so I didn't have a strong enough hand on the tiller properly to force the pace to start to revive these tensions: not for the best when I'm trying to get the PC's engaged in a heroic mission to find out what has happened to their friends back in Stirland.
3. This being our first get together in so long, I broke the rule about starting promptly and decided to wait for a latecomer, with predictable consequences for the atmosphere.
4. The party will insist on splitting up to pursue their own agendas- and there's really not a lot I can about it, because, well: because their decisions are often sensible; and because that's partly what I wanted to do yesterday- to round of a few of the loose ends from the last session.
In the end though roleplaying did get done, and the party did get themselves organised for their trip.
The PC's awakened the morning after the night before from troubling dreams. My favourite was Siegfreid's: he dreamt that he met Beyer again, and that they ended up sharing a passionate kiss. Shocked awake, Seigfried faced the new day with the utter certainty that Beyer is, in fact, a woman. He didn't know why, he just knew that it was so.
[Basically: Brian has long thought that Beyer looked female from the picture in the GM's Pack. I had thought otherwise, but decided to go along with this, because it should be fun. So I'd been working towards revealing this in some suitable fashion. Then, last session, I let slip a reference to Beyer as 'she', and the jig was up. On reflection I realised that there was nothing for it but to make a feature of this, hence the dream.]
Alane dreamt that her 2 brothers were accusing her of being responsible for something unspecified. Which was odd, because she has sisters not brothers, as Tony reminded me later. But that was OK, because it turned out to be a twist in the unfolding of the consequences of Alane's unusual background.
Berthold dreamt about his dwarfen chapbook, and of mysterious shadowy figures trying to read it over his shoulder.
Grundi dreamt of facing death as a Trollslayer- a fate Antony insists Grundi will not meet.
Mordrin- alone of all the PC's- had pleasant dreams that night: he dreamt that Grungni was smiling down upon him.
So, after breakfast- and a few questions from Siegfried to find out if anyone else in the party thought that Beyer was unusually good-looking, or feminine even; after that came the inevitable 3-way split.
The dwarfs went to the watchtower where Mordrin collected his armour, then straight to the Wynd to visit the Chapel of Grungni to pass on the news about the discovery of the lost temple in the sewers. They were introduced to Hargund, chief priest of Grungni in Middenheim, and told their tale. The sight of a young devotee obviously blessed by Grungni himself sparked great animation in the aging dwarf. Messengers were sent out, and our 2 dwarfs found themselves at a celebratory lunch as a gathering of senior dwarfs from the city began to digest the news and to consider their next move.
Mordrin and Grundi had been expecting to lead a party down into the sewers to the site of the temple that very day, but they soon realised that things weren't going to be happening that fast. So after a good meal and a few beers they headed back to meet up with everyone else at the warehouse in Southgate-Ostwald. Oh, and Grundi raised a few eyebrows by being a bit grumpy because Mordrin was the centre of attention, being the devotee who had found the lost temple.
Alane in the meantime had set out to visit the Guild of Wizards and Alchemists, in the Freiburg district. Siegfried decided to accompany her. There they met a wizard by the name of Klaus. Alane paid for her licence to practice magic in Middenheim and her Guild membership. Siegfreid cased Klaus' office. At first preoccupied with the elf before him- whose reputation had preceded her, Klaus eventually became suspicious of Seigfried's shifty demeanour. The wizard kept a close eye on our thief as he showed the pair out after Alane's business was concluded.
As farewells were said at the front door, who should appear but Jocelin Herzog and companion, from the Wolf's Tail tavern the night before. The woman this time betrayed only a momentary trace of the shock- at the sight of our witch- from their first encounter. Alane was left wondering why this woman seemed to be dogging her footsteps, and why the human apprentice wizard seemed to have taken an instant dislike to her.
Suffering from a heavy hangover, Berthold had decided to stay at the warehouse while the others had gone wandering. Thus it was that he got embroiled in a dispute between young Gustav- who Berthold had met the night outside Middenheim, when they had fought a wolf together, and Otwin. Gustav- an orphaned young man- was claiming that Otwin had stolen the ornate claspknife that had been handed down to him from his great grandfather. Otwin denied this, but was vague about how he had come into possession of the knife.
Berthold unfortunately couldn't remember seeing Gustav with the knife, so the situation had to be contained by Captain Schiller taking charge of the knife, and sending Otwin off to his post at the watchtower. Berthold and Schiller talked about the matter, but it remained unresolved.
When the dwarfs returned after their lunch, the party set to planning their journey back to the Strutting Cock. Siegfreid's part in this consisted of heading out to try to sell the gold ring that Alane had found in the sewers the other day. He soon discovered the problems- for a thief trying to reestablish old underworld contacts, of being known for having been deputised to the city watch. But he did manage to sell the ring.
As the afternoon wore on, the PC's set upon marching south to Delberz, and taking a river barge from there all the way to their destination. With that decision made, they organised themselves to buy on the morrow what was needful for their trip. Then it was time to eat.
The 2 dwarfs set off for the Morkai's Axe tavern in the Wynd, there hoping to meet one young Thrunbor Gimrigson. They had been supposed to meet him the previous evening, but the events of the day had led them to miss their rendezvous. Gimrigson was disappointed at having been stood up. He declined to enlarge upon his reasons for having wanted to meet them, saying that the moment had passed. A couple of beers left him somewhat mollified, and they parted on tolerable terms.
And thus the party spent a 2nd evening in the Wolf's Teeth tavern. Beyer and companions were there when our PC's arrived. Seigfried flashed what he hoped was his most winning smile in Beyer's direction. This was noticed by Beyer's bearded companion, who immediately set about badgering Beyer for reasons not discovered.
Confused by this strange situation, Siegfried sought advice from his old mum Ingrid. She told him that Beyer's companion- one Tankred Kaltenbach- was a shady character of dubious reputation. Not a man to cross in other words. She also pointed out that if Beyer was indeed a woman disguised as a man, then she must have good reasons for this subterfuge. Siegfried got the point, and realised that he couldn't just blunder in and expose 'her'. Apart from that, he remained none the wiser.
Herzog and her companion made an appearance too. But as soon as they saw Alane already there, they turned on their heels and left.
The dwarfs proceeded to get drunk- suitable preparation for an early start and a long day on the morrow!
- Index:- My little Old World: Ashes of Middenheim