Empire Apocalypse

To The Ratholds We go
(I think I smell a Skaven...)

It doesn’t take long for Crellion, White Wolf Knight of the Inner Circle, to irk a full confession out of the blubbering thug.

“The Ratholds… We’re collecting for her… she’s got the power… she sent us to stop the alchemist from finding the cure… don’t know her name… never see her… too many rats… they will tell her everything…”

The thug’s unconscious by the end, and Eladio’s caught the pale shivers. Daubler removed his infected arm during the interrogation, hoping it would save him. His chances are the flip of a coin at this point. Daubler is the first to talk.

“I’ll take him and the cure to the Temple of Verena since my shop is no longer safe. They command the strongest influence in the law quarter. If I trust anyone it’s them.”

Not a second later, the door opens and two figures cloaked in black enter — priests of Morr by the look of it.

“If you’re here for the bodies, they should be burned,” says Daubler.

The lead priest steps forward. “We’re not here for the bodies, we’re here for your souls!” The figure withdraws an axe and steps forward, Elu falling back on his ass as he tries to ready his halberd, then the figure pulls down his hood. It’s the Executioner.

“Just kidding, dogs. We’re off to the ratholds. Seems they’re stealing dead bodies. Probably a necrophiliac orgy. Thought we’d pick you two up for a good time.”

The other priest lowers his hood. It’s Roland. He tosses two more cloaks at the group.

“Eladio?”

“Out of commission,” replies Crellion, “it’s just us four.”


Disguised as priests of Morr the four of you navigate the dark streets of Talabheim under curfew, careful to avoid the major streets.

Some of the oldest and foulest portions of Talabheim are actually located within the walls of the Taalbaston itself. Scattered throughout the massive cliff face are holes, tunnels, and warrens carved into the living rock center of the crater wall. The inhabitants of the ratholds are the lowest of the low. Inbreeding, disease, and poor ventilation make the average Ratholder more pathetic than even the scum that roam the streets outside if not that restless dead themselves.

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You find an unsuspecting entrance as any and step inside…

Roland: “It’s been a while since we’ve done this… anyone have torch?”

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Roland steps forward into the warren, Elu after him, then Crellion, and X as rear guard. There seems to be little order or purpose behind the tunnels and from what you’ve been told they seem exceedingly vacant.

As you patrol further the sounds of running echo from the tunnel in front of you. There is just enough time to grab a weapon as a figure charges from the corner, cloaked in dark and bloodied rags, a rat-faced beast that scampers up the stony walls trying to pass by as quickly as possible…

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As the group prepares to move forward past the riddled bodies of Ratmen, the ground starts to tremble faintly then a sound not unlike an avalanche of footsteps shoots through the tunnel in front of the party, advancing quickly, so quickly that the source enters the light radius of the lantern before anyone can react: the sight of thousands of Skaven descending upon you…

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The mob slams into Roland, then continues on, lifting up each of you into the foul procession. Skaven claw and stab as they continue to scurry forward, heading for the streets of Talabheim…

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Rusty Remedies - Part 3: Crellion and Elu
Night of the Long Knives

Eladio: “Well, Elu, I’ll take first watch up here. Best check on your friend below. If there’s any disturbance up here I will signal you.”

Elu’s lost some composure for what he’s stepped into joining this group of adventures. Never did he think that looking for Andar Revelstone would lead him here — a city surrounded by the dead with a rotten disease festering on the inside. Never-the-less, Crellion’s survival plays the biggest key in all of this.

Elu enters the basement and finds Crellion awake, but fatigued, eating from a small plate of food. Daubler, showing the pallid look of sleep deprivation, hovers over him.

Daubler: “His fever has past. The cure is working. An appetite is a good sign if he can keep down the food. We’ll know for sure come the day. Now I must sleep. Watch him. Find me if need be.”

Elu: “I will. Eladio is on watch.”

Daubler squabbles to the stair and climbs out of view.

Crellion scarfs down the remaining food on the plate, looks up to Elu. The knight of the White Wolf hasn’t looked this good in days — minus the grey patches on his exposed skin.

Crellion: “I’m started to regain my senses about me, Andar.”

Elu: “It’s Elu.”

Crellion, looks closely. “Yes, it is. My memory is thin. Tell me everything I’ve missed…”

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Rusty Remedies Part 2 - Recon, X & Roland Style
A Little Light Night Music

Roland: “Let’s see if anyone has died of the plague inside the walls. And if they have, where the bodies are.”

Elu: “The City Watch has always been in charge of collecting bodies. They usually pass them on to the Priests of Morr.”

Roland: “So it is. Hold down the fort.”

X and Roland slip into cover of darkness along the Talabheim streets with adept use of concealment, shadowing, and silent footsteps…

The two of you arrive at the Garden of Morr and the stench of the body piles hit your senses before the sight on the mounds of dead. Even at night the priests toll away dragging corpses along the tombstones. Roland approaches a priest, makes an exchange in the Classical language (with a Gossip role on the sly). Whatever they say, the priest seems in the mood for talk and responds to Roland favorably.

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Roland: Well, X. The priests are willing to talk if we’re willing to haul some bodies…"

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Rusty Remedies - Part 1

Daubler guides Crellion through a back stair to the basement of his shop where he’s cobbled together an impressive laboratory/experimental workshop. He points out a cot where Crellion will be resting for the next three to four days, then ties a piece of cloth around his mouth.

Daubler: “We don’t want me getting sick, now do we.”

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Daubler gathers the implements the party handed over to him and begins his work on perfecting a cure for Crellion.

“I will forgo my normal fees for donating these implements to my practice. You must rest as much as possible, and there is a hot water bath in the next room. From the smell of you, I suggest that first. Here is a piece of leather to bite on if the shivering grows unbearable.”

He hands over the strip to Crellion, continues:

“Here is an urn with a temporary remedy, it will slow the course of the disease, which still may take your life. But it will buy us needed time.”

Crellion inspects the urn, whatever is inside has a sweet smell to it.

“In a few days we shall find out if this is a disease, a poison, or the work of Chaos…”

In the parlor of Daubler’s shop, X, Elu, Roland, and Eldaio discuss exactly what the four of them shall do while Crellion waits for the cure.

Eladio: “It’s unwise for all of us to stay here without a little sneak through town. We must keep alert of any developments. I insist on taking the task.”

Roland: “I’m not really apt to let anyone out of my sight at this point. Seems whenever we do… cloaks turn if you get what I mean… Besides, one of us should be down there with Crellion, watching him. I don’t trust Daubler anymore than Hohenlohe at this point…”

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Apocalypse S1 Session 13
Is there an apothecary in 'da house?

Daubler’s shop rests on the far end of Nordgate‘s main drag called The Iron Lane. The locals you pressed with gossip skills called the place "Daubler’s" but the a sign above the door reads: Rusty Remedies.

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The Sabine Rose and ivy covers part of the squat front wall and a round stained glass window in center – not cheap by Old World standards. The front door is open and quite a few patrons are lined up in the waiting room inside.

Roland remarks that the crowd just won’t do. Quick on the response, X bullies himself inside to the front of the line. There is an outburst from a few of the customers ended quickly as X plants the blade of his axe into the floor. They look at it, then observe Roland uncoil a length of rope into a hangman’s nose.

Elu steps forward, taps the badge of his watch uniform, and states official business requires everyone out – least the situation get ugly. They stare thinking of how to counter-argue when X leaps up and shouts… “Boo!”

They file out like frantic roaches, nearly knocking Crellion over in the process.

The noise brings forth a healthy, middle-aged man from an open doorway. His wide bright blue eyes scan the lot of you…

“There are better ways of seeking my services than scarring off my customers. This should be good, indeed. How may I help you?”

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Apocalypse S1 Session 12
Bring Out 'Yer Dead

Taal’s sacred city comes to life as you take your fist steps out onto the streets of Talabheim. Indeed, the looming walls of the Taalbaston dominate much of the city’s life — for the closer you live to the wall, the poorer you’re likely to be. In fact, the poorest live within the wall itself in a series of crudely hacked out caves and passageways known as the Ratholds.

You cannot help but notice the hordes of liveried servants that scurry past you carrying sheaths of documents back and forth from the center of the city, the Law Quarter. It squats like an ominous grey toad as the heart of Talabheim. Pic1002642 md

On a street corner, you hear a man declaim loudly he has business in Taalagad that must be doing poorly without him until a friend hushes him.

A pair of Dogfaces patrol the front of a shuttered inn forcibly closed because too many of its patrons were diagnosed as having the Grey Ague. The Sabine Rose, a bloom sacred to Shallya, is pinned over nearly every doorway.

And there is no laughter to be found that doesn’t die quickly. Crellion fights back a cough, tightens his white wolf cloak over his head.

“I haven’t asked your business,” says Eladio, “but I can offer my assistance around the city for a cut of your take — assuming that’s what you’re here for.”

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Apocalypse S2 Session 2 Part Two (of three)
If you meet a zombie on the road, kill it, part two.

House for wh

Details soon…

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Apocalypse S2 Session 2 - Part One (of three)
If you meet a zombie on the road, kill it, Part 1

Rat zombie

Details soon…

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APOCALYPSE S1 Session 11
Is That A Smuggler I Smell?

You exit the Wizard’s Way back into the streets of Taalagad. The place is in utter turmoil. Citizens have either fled, are massing on the docks to escape, have boarded themselves up or have been killed along with the zombies. Whatever’s left of the watch soldiers remains mostly unseen except those that have gathered in small groups to protect themselves. There sporadic fires, few walkers and plenty of pandemonium.

Crellion stops abruptly and bends over, tossing his cookies, and from the looks of it, emptying everything in his gullet. Crellion’s in full fever now, stomach a bloated mess, head aches, this thing’s getting worse.

OCC: Crellion’s -5% penalty is now -10%

Crellion cleans himself up as best he can, moves on.

Roland: “You were a smuggler, Crellion, correct? I hope you remember that vocation well. We’ll probably need it in your condition.”

Crellion: “I know one thing. I never smuggled in Talabheim, but the trade was ripe from all the tax laws in this city. I should be able to gain some sympathy.”

Elu: “Best beware. The watch has a special force to deal with smugglers… Terriers they call ‘em though I’m sure they have their hands full with other matters…”

X: “And if that fails, it’ll be the haft of my axe.”

Roland: “So, Crellion, is it bribery we’ll need? How do we find this Eladio?”

Crellion: “We start asking around the docks.” He coughs, moves ahead.

With some quick gossip inquiries you are pointed to a fishmonger’s shack, now boarded up.

“There’s the dunghole of the only Estalian on the docks — if he hasn’t cut and run,” says a haggard dockworker after you tip him a few gold crowns. “This’ll fix me out of this rat’s nest for sure. Thanks.”

As he turns, X haymakers the poor sap, knocking him out, and takes back the crowners.

Crellion bangs on the shack door, a voice sounds out, asking what the racket’s all about.

Crellion: “We must ride the Dragon’s Tongue.”

The door opens. In the the shadow of the torchlight you see the bright and winning smile of Eladio Solorzano. His shaggy black hair and dark skin mark him out as foreigner. A pistol and rapier are at his belt.

Crellion: “Nierhaus sent us.”

Eladio: “Ah, Signore, I know just the thing then. How many dragon riders are you?”

Crellion (clering his now sore-throat) “Four.”

Eladio: “Well signore, maybe three from the looks of you. No matter. I’ve been holed-up in here long enough. Meet me at the Crooked Shoe Tavern in an hour, south edge of town. They seem to be holding up there.”

Roland: “Our business is urgent.”

Eladio: “No more you fool ruffians, get away from my shop.”

Eladio slams the door. As you take in his action, screams echo behind you on the docks from the remaining refugees as they leap off into the water for their lives. “Rats, rats, rats!!!”

In their wake, six giants rats snarl and run at you. And they’re not just normal rats. These rodents are giant-size. And not just giant-size… they seem to have caught the plague..! Rat zombie

(After the party dispatches the rats…)

Navigating your way to the Crooked Shoe is fairly easily. Though in the dead of night, one cannot miss this section of the the Talagaad docks. A barricade of burning ships separates the living and the dead. Outside the perimeter bodies are left to rot in the street, packs of giant rats eye you hungrily before moving on to easier prey, and openings in the barricade are guarded by anyone brave enough to stand against the dead – or have the guts to turn away sick men, women or children. Before the thought of how to get Crellion through is uttered by any of you, the latest bunch of barricade guards make their presence known to you.

The biggest of the bunch, who could dwarf the average ox, stands close to seven feet tall; bright blond hair and piercing blue eyes betray a Norscan origin. He’s clad in amail shirt, leather jack, and balances a two-handed sword over his shoulder.

“Well, the gods have shown their mercy upon me. Look what the dead have dragged in boyos. The Executioner. In sad shape I’d say. But I thank you for it as I intend to collect the bounty the Crimson Skull has on your head and offer your soul to Khaine.”

X has no recollection who this oaf is, but the word Khaine sends a jolt along Elu’s spine… The elven god of death!

Four motley looking thugs move around him, the closest one, bears a strong resemblance to an upright weasel, mail shirt, leather jack, cudgel and knuckle-dusters. The other three have dark cloaks and brandish seasoned swords.

“Ewald, why don’t you take care of the sick looking fool in the puppy cloak. The rest of you ruff up the elf and the witch-hunter wannabe. Leave X to me.”

Seiglief hartmut Ewald, the weasel looking bastard smiles and moves towards Crellion.

Crellion’s eyes are watery, blurring his sight as fever grips him. He could faint or vomit at any second but it’s a fight he can’t avoid. None of you can…

Two hours later, Eladio leads you to a dense copse of trees, right up against the mighty Taalbaston itself. He pauses at a strange large oak and produces a pair of Storm Lanterns from his packs. He lights both, hands one to X.

“To the rear with that one.”

He winks and steps into the tree. On closer inspection you find a crack in the roots with a carved spiral staircase heading down underneath.

You proceed in this order after Eladio: Roland, Elu helping Crellion, and X. The tunnels are smooth from use over the years. As you walk on you pass numerous branches of the tunnel system itself, wondering where in the name of Tzeentch they could possible go. After an hour of this toil, Eladio stops for a rest. He passes out some water.

Roland: “There’s a scrabbling sound, do you hear it? Like claws on stone.”

X: “Not only do I hear it, I feel it. We’re under attack!”

X turns and holds the lantern up illuminating five wretched figures, cloaked in torn rags. The first one blinks, its eyes flicker red in the darkness. The second has milky orbs that must be sightless, and the third has no eyes at all, just ragged strips of leather bound over its face. The last two are obfuscated in shadow. All five sniff the stale air and hiss in union. Their rat-like muzzles pull back revealing yellowed teeth as they brandish rusty weapons towards you.

Eladio gasps, “By the Gods,” as he draws pistol and rapier forth with lightning speed.

Then the Skaven are upon you.

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APOCALYPSE S1 Session 10
Streets Of Fire

Everyone slips out of Widenhoft’s house, approaching the alley as the fiery rays of dusk cast the docks of Tallagad in cruel awe, adding to the smoke and flames from riots that seem to have taken the town while you searched the apothecary’s manse. A group of berserk zealots step out of the havok and charge right for you.

“Perish them! Perish them all!”

Taalagrad streets

The stalwart members of the Six-Bladed-Doom-Cult take down the advancing zealots with little difficulty: X splits one at the pelvis, and two more at the skull, Roland severs a zealot in half, decapitates another, Crellion beheads a zealot with a swing of the White Wolf hammer and breaks the neck of another mortally wounded by Elu’s hefty halberd and Alette takes down the last, thought she is severely wounded.

The streets at night are a mess — rioters, refuges, zealots, the scattered Talabheim watch, and the first sightings of more walking dead. You stray out of sight and keep to your mission — to return to the temple a Shallya.

At the temple, a cadre of priests have assembled a makeshift barricade near the docks and you see a group of them set three zombies on flame with torches and flasks of oil. They see you approach, uncertain, until Elu shouts out a Watchman’s call. Gladdened, they escort you inside.

It seems death has made a visit to the rudimentary hospital, and a few priests of Moor hold vigil over several bodies thrown upon a hulking pyre. The priestess in charge offers to heal Alette after checking her for the plague and agrees to have a look at the items you brought from Widenhoft’s residence.

She studies them for several minutes then reports:

“Seems to be notations of a alchemical sort… The bowl is labeled Talabec – 1 Bell after Dawn. The silvery powder is labeled: River Extract. The blue fluid – Not an inoculant – an antidote. Well, if it is, there isn’t much here to do anything. But it does tell us there could be a cure. This leads me to inquire, where is Mr. Widenhoft?”

Crellion, addresses the priestess at the temple of Shallya: “If the blue fluid is an antidote, how do we use it? We’ve evidence that the plague itself does not cause one to become a walking dead. What causes it, we do not yet know, but if this be an antidote, is it drank? Placed on a wound? Injected? Please review these other texts and notes. So many need help, me not the least of them.” Crellion coughs. “I have not cause any of my group to become ill. And I am of more use to you alive than dead.”

Elu adds, “And if it is indeed an antidote we should attempt to produce more as soon as possible.”

The priestess responds: “I am afraid there is not enough here to manufacture anything, nor do we know the full ingredients. The surrounding townships of Talabheim are no place to pursue this knowledge. You’ll need to get beyond the wall. Take these instruments with you as they’ll be no use here. You are likely to be refused but let it be known we are caring for the daughter of the commander of the watch. She is safer here than out in the streets. If you were to take her and if she were to be killed you’ll never get in.”

“Knight of the White Wolf you are infected. What we know is that some can withstand the infection period and live, others die. Some that die become undead. You need to be cured. Soon you will be so ill that you won’t be able to move. You will have to pull your resources to get your White Wolf friend beyond the wall. Daughter or not, I’m certain no one will risk allowing an infected body into the city.”

Roland: “One thing that you priests should add to your theories, we’ve seen a decapitated head animate into a writhing zombie belonging to someone who wasn’t infected. This plague may be Chaos after all. I motion we go into the city and seek out a cure. At least we can save the Eye of the Forest, if nothing else.”

Crellion: “Then let’s try to get into the city. The guard seem to know me by name. If nothing else, we can ask for Nierhaus to meet us by the entrance at Wizard’s Way. We can tell the guard we need to reach Nierhaus and that we have news from Widenhoft. Priestess, would you be willing to write us a letter? This is dire work. I know you believe my sickness is not a part of the undead curse. If a letter were penned from your hand, it may give us leverage to enter.”

Priestess: “Tell them you might have a cure and our blessing.” She hands Crellion a token with the image of Shallya on it.

Roland: “Crellion, I’ve a plan. Follow me, gents.”

Alette: “My wolf, with your leave I’ll stay and protect the child.”

Crellion: “Do so Alette. Roland, lead on.”

X: “I agree with going to the city. Lets find a cure, so I don’t have to deal with an undead fence. They never know how to haggle.”

Roland, laughs. “Rightly so. Hold the heroics also as I’d have to have an undead X even more.”

The four of you move quickly out into the darkened streets and head straight for the Wizard’s Way. You don’t trek too far when the roar of a great crowd echoes up ahead. Four-hundred Hochlanders charge into the city, headed for the Wizard’s way, demanding entrance to Talabheim. At no closer than one-hundred paces, Talabheim opens fire on the lot of them. Dozens of cannons roar into the night sending cannon balls exploding into the disoriented mass, ripping them and the streets behind them into pieces.

Pic1013336 md Everything thing within fifty yards of you is leveled or reduced to a pulp. Cannons boom on the far side of the walls as the city defends itself from who knows what. The path between you and the Wizard’s Way is clear.

You run for it, and seven half-mutilated zombies leap at you, very hungry…

After dispensing the zombies you make a dash for the garrison blocking the wizard’s way and are met at sword and crossbow point by thirty city watchmen. Through a series of blather, charm, (lies), disguise, intimidations (X), displaying the outdated documents from Hohenlohe, and Elu’s own membership in the watch, they grant you passage to the high watch tower halfway up the wizard’s way. There, the commander, Nierhaus, will decide what is to be done with you. Four members of the watch accompany the long walk.

Passing through the garrison you can see the nearly two-hundred foot high wall of the Taalbaston outlined in torches. The road becomes a series of switchbacks just wide enough for two wagons crawling upwards until you reach the very top — the high watch. The stone structure encases a two-hundred foot tunnel that leads to the other side of the Taalbaston, blocked by four portcullises and numerous murder holes where enemies can be shot with crossbows or covered in boiling oil, or worse. The tunnel is lined with torches on the walls and candelabras dangling from the ceiling. Each gate raises one at a time as the watch escorts you into a chamber midway through the tunnel, where two huge guards stand outside a door made of heavily reinforced and iron-banded oak.

The guards give you menacing looks, then one pounds the door with a series of varied beats. Shortly after, the sounds of sliding bolts precede the door opening and you step in. The room is made with slabs of dark slate and resembles a jail cell or dungeon – places you’ve all been in before in your adventuring careers. One lone occupant emerges from an alcove off to the side of the door, a pair of finely engraved pistols aimed at two of you.

Presumably Nierhaus, he’s an average sized-man with a penetrating blue-gaze that even X can’t deny is a stronger will than he’s ever faced. His blonde hair is close-cropped, thinning on top, but little else betrays his age. The captain is also decked in full mail armor, sword and sword-breaker at his side and shield slung over his shoulder. He jesters the pistols to the other side of the room waiting for all of you to enter…

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