Tuesday, November 15, 2005

My little Old World: From Delberz to Altdorf #2

Turning the tables
The Ventura set off on time the following morning. Adelbert, the master of the Ventura, explained that the journey to Altdorf would take 2 days, because they would be travelling without tying up for the night, in the hope of avoiding outlaws. This hope was to be unfulfilled.

Early the following afternoon, Adelbert's mate- Wolmar- came and told the PC's to hide themselves at the stern of the barge. He explained that a rowboat was approaching and that Adelbert was worried that it would prove to be a pirate attack. When the PC's questioned the wisdom of their hiding, Wolmar told them that Adelbert was banking on the power of surprise. The PC's saw the sense in this, so they secreted themselves around the stern.

A longboat crewed by 4 men approached the stern of the Ventura. In the prow stood a man who identified himself as a river exciseman, duty bound to inspect the barge's cargo. Adelbert assented, and the longboat drew closer. The master of the Ventura told the hidden PC's that this was an old trick. Our heroes began to cackle gleefully as they considered the prospect of themselves getting the drop on some outlaws for a change.

Throw me a line called the exciseman. Sure thing replied Adelbert, crouching down to hide the club in his right hand as he threw down a rope with his left. Just then the man in the prow of the longboat pulled out a crossbow pistol and fired at Adelbert. Fortunately for the master of the Ventura, the bolt missed. Simultaneously, the forward oarsman put up his oars and readied a grappling hook.

The surprise was to be all on the part of the pirates though, when 5 people leapt up in the stern of the river barge, and a hail of extravagant curses, arrows and crossbow bolts rained down upon them. The pirate leader in the prow soon fell into the river with an arrow sticking right through his elbow. At this point, the pirate readying his grappling hook for yet another throw dropped it and grabbed for his oars.

Everything might've ended there had it not been for Seigfried. His blood up, the young thief was unwilling to see such a valuable longboat disappear. He took out his own grappling line, and prepared to throw. What are you doing?! came the chorus from around him. Undaunted by his companions' incredulity, Siegfreid swung his line, and snagged the longboat with a single throw.

The pirates' own would-be grappler promptly pulled out a dagger and tried to part the line. His fellow oarsman pulled hard to widen the gap between the barge and the longboat. The man at the tiller grabbed a crossbow and opened fire, hitting Alane in the chest with a bolt. Meanwhile, realising the booty that could be theirs, the other PC's went to Seigfried's aid with a will.

Mordrin tried to help Siegfried to pull the longboat in, only to find that the young human had dropped his end of the rope, so that the young dwarf's strength was insufficient to keep his grip. Berthold meanwhile had grabbed Siegfreid's shortbow, and opened fire on the pirate trying to free the longboat from the grappling line. By this time, Siegfried had picked up the end of his line and was able to tie it up, so that Mordrin felt the rope pull taut as it slipped through his hands.

Faced with the increasingly desperate attempts of his companion to part the rope now dragging them along behind the barge, and seeing a bow, a crossbow, and a blunderbuss arrayed before them, the pirate at the tiller of the longboat shouted to his mates that this wasn't going to be their day. He promptly jumped into the river, to be followed by the other 2 pirates.

Adelbert was delighted at this outcome, and hooted and hollered as the pirates swam away. He was so pleased at having kept his life, and his cargo, that he was quite happy to allow the PC's to keep the longboat for themselves, asking only for fair shares of the other booty. The party was happy to agree to this.

The rest of the voyage passed without incident, and the Ventura arrived in Altdorf just before dawn the next day. The greatest city of the Empire stood before them.


The GM's lament
So, that was Sunday's session of my WFRP campaign. Andy, Antony and I were talking about later in the pub, and I had to confess to them: I was having problems with the campaign. We quickly formed the consensus that the game had lost a bit of focus. And no wonder: I'd got them all to Middenheim, where I dropped them into volume 1 of a 3-volume epic campaign. Part 1 of volume 1 completed, what did I do? I promptly diverted them in pursuit of a plotline of my own devising, part 1 of which entailed a journey all the way back to where they'd started...

What on earth was I thinking of? Sheesh.

Ah well, as Andy said on Sunday night: I'm stuck with it now, and I'll just have to get this bit of the campaign sorted out, and see where that takes us. It's just, well, it's just that I feel such an idiot! ;)

From Delberz to Altdorf
- #1 Strangers in town
- Index:- My little Old World: Ashes of Middenheim

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