This will be a WFRP second edition campaign based on the published Terror in Talabheim sourcebook. We will be starting with new characters. I will be keeping the game low fantasy with Human and (if you really want, Halfling) PCs, and little magic. I am aiming for a balance of thoughtful character roleplay and problem solving interspersed with tense and brutal action to keep everyone on their toes.

If you're unfamiliar with the WFRP setting, wikipedia does an ok job of describing it:

Rules are available from a variety of sources, including:

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Hubert's Diary Part 2
27th Nachtgeheim

Missed yesterday, but Gunter and I made it past the Taalbastion and into Talabheim.
Sadly our guides had planned on killing and robbing us and Gunter was wounded.
He was in bad shape and couldn't move, but I managed to get him to the Temple of Shallya with the help of a halfling named Bogi Crompot and The Terriers.
Luckily, today when I woke up, Gunter was healed and could even walk!

With Gunter able to move around, we put ourselves to the task of settling our debts to the Temple and rescuing Gunter's sister from the Theatre of Light and Darkness.
We set off in the morning and visited the Alchemists' Guild, where Gunter apparently had a delivery to make - don't know what it was, but it paid for both our treatments!
After we'd settled that and been assigned a new task of finding a missing member of the Guild, Gunter went back to the Temple to rest, while I went to check out the Theatre.
On the way there something happened that was just shocking the 1st as the 2nd time: I stumbled into Magnus again - this time with Ecro and Eva, who were being questioned by the Guard.
Fortunately I was able to get them out of that mess and we went on to locate the Theatre.
With help from Magnus' gossiping and asking around we found it in the Old Market, after which we fetched Gunter for the task at hand.

Our infiltration of the Theatre of Light and Darkness was a strange one, but considering none of us have probably never done the sort before it went a lot better than expected.
1st we tried to gain access to the ground floor where the Theatre was through the above floors of the building.
Through some excellent climbing and bluffing from Gunter we learned that there was no internal stairwell or way to get from the upper floors to the Theatre.

As we were contemplating our next move in an inn across from the sidestreet where the Theatre was, we saw a Veiled Lady leave the through the front door.
We decided to follow her into the Tallows, where she'd entered an orphanage. Inside the children we're mad with laughter.
Unnatural and unstoppable laughter.
As we tried to confront her she mesmered Magnus into a spontaneous dance before disappearing.

Feeling that time was of the essence we hurried back to the Theatre and Magnus found a "locksmith" who opened the backdoor for us.
Inside, the Veiled Lady was back behind what was apparently her desk, guarding the backstage.
Using Scratch as decoy we managed to determine that Philomena was there somewhere in the Theatre and we also found some tickets for the show.
That was all we managed before the commotion we caused by our presence forced us to leave, but now we had a proper way inside using the tickets.

Needing clothes for the occation we suited up at the Tailor and waited for the afternoon show to start.
After being permitted inside, we went up the stairs of the Theatre to get a better look on things.
We found an empty alcove on the balconies and waited there for the show to start, a lot of people were having "fun" in the other alcoves, but considering what we've seen, that almost seemed normal.
When the play finally started, Gunter immediately recognized his sister Philomena sitting on a chair with distant look in her eyes.
In front of her was a masked man with a sword - we didn't waste time.
Gunter threw a firebomb into the audience and went with Magnus down stairs and through the burning theater, while I took the "easy solution" and managed to use my whip swing myself across to the scene using on the chandeliers (reminder to buy a new whip).
I fought the masked man, but he was very skilled with his sword, but I managed to keep him at bay, while Gunter & Magnus engaged the Veiled Lady who'd joined the fight.
She managed to wound Magnus, but luckily for me, that made my opponent drop his character as he rushed to help as he cried out his name.
Sadly for him, turning your back to your opponent in battle is a mistake you only commit once and his last word upon his lips were that of his brother's name.
His name was Albrecht von Bighausen, 1st in line to the dukedom, but apparently also a slimy son of a whore - luckily Magnus doesn't seem to mind moving up the heirarchy so we're still good.
As the Theatre was crumbling around us a masked man unnaturally leapt through the fire towards us, but retreated though a trapdoor within the stage.
At this point Eva had already gotten Philomena out of the Theatre, both Magnus and Gunter were heavily wounded, and a pursuit would be a one-man job - so we decided to leave the blazing inferno and the odd scream.
After that we hauled ourselves out of the burning building and hired a wagon to take us to the Temple, where I'm now writing this now.
Now it's time for my Mandrake Root, good stuff, but you certainly have to remember to do everything else 1st.
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Meanwhile back at the farm
Magnus had ridden for best part of a whole day by the time he entered the courtyard of the old farmstead. His charge, who had started the journey being so full of talk he wished for deafness, was now quite quiet. Gunter's mother, Freda, was about as used to travel by horseback as flying carpet. The two of them were very grateful to be out of the saddle.

Ecro looked up from the last of the logs he was splitting to the new arrivals. "Ah, you've come to join the fun eh? I thought we'd seen the last of you."
"And who is this fine wench you travel with? Didn't think you went in for the older ladies Magnus?" He said raising an eyebrow. Freda scowled at him but Magnus didn't even make eye contact, merely demanding "My steed needs water and stabling peasant, where is the farmer?" He handed Ecro the reins and marched off toward the farmhouse, from where the sound of children laughing and a woman yelling could be heard.

Eva had been busy in the kitchen brewing some unmentionable concoction but in the time between her preparations she had time to play with the children who were at this moment scurrying to hide from her.

...more detail to follow later

Freda stayed at the farmstead, Eva and Ecro accompanied Magnus back to Talagaard where they tracked down Eladio Solorzano, gave him the passphrase and were escorted under the wall. Luckily surviving a suprise attack by 3 blighted Skaven in the passageways.

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Money for old rock
Gunter awoke to the strangest of sensations, a breath of cool morning air against his feet. At first, he thought he was dreaming, but no, he managed to flex his knees and draw his feet up under the blankets. Tears of joy, welled in his eyes, "a miracle, a blessed miracle!" he thought to himself. "Sweet mercy of Shallya I am spared!"

The paralysis he had experienced the previous day was gone, a dull throobing pain still lingered in his back and every so often, if he turned a certain angle, a stabbing pain would shoot through him like some iron poker lifted from his fathers own furnace.

There was still much to do but he would not be rushing into any fights today. Gunter limped out of the cell he had slept in, and was helped by a orderly who rushed on sandalled feet to his aid. "You should be resting herr Eisenbrucher" he ministrated. Gunter insisted on breaking fast at the refectorium and there met Hubert.

"Ah so we didn't waste our money then?!" Hubert chortled, "I was wondering when we could get going again, there's still so much to do! and of course there is your sister we still need to save!"
Gunter grimaced at the thought of having to confront anyone in his current state. "I know, don't you think I spend an hour of the day not wondering how I am going to help her?". "Yes yes, but we can't do much from here, plus there is the small matter of paying our debts off" Hubert persisted. Gunter glowered into his bowl of porridge. "I have a plan for that" he said, hoping against hope that he would be paid properly for his work in the middle mountains.

After breakfast the pair made their excuses to their carers and said they were taking the airs in the gardens of Taal. Soon after leaving Gods row they headed south through the Law District and past the forboding temple to Verena into the Manor District and into the university. Their destination was the Alchemist's Guild.
Leaving Hubert in the street outside, Gunter made his way into the cool stone corridors of the university faculty of alchemical studies. He soon found his way to the same small musty office that he'd been dispatched from some 3 years ago. The same weasly faced secretary looked up from behind a desk strewn with parchment, and blotting paper. The smell of beeswax, leather and aged oak hung in the air. "And you are?" she enquired, gazing up through a pair of smudged looking glasses. "Gunter Eisenbrucher of the Middle mountains expedition" Gunter presented his papers. "I'm looking for Wolfgang Munchau"

"I'm afraid you will have to wait Herr Eisenbrucher"
"Please inform him that I have the Mithril sample he was after"
"Very good, we will be in touch with you, where might we find you?"
"Tell him I am currently convalescing at the temple of our lady Shallya in God's Row"

With that, Gunter left the office and reluctantly meandered back toward the street. How long would they take? Would he get paid at all?

"Herr Eisenbrucher!?" a voice called out enquiringly. Gunter wheeled to face the man calling him.
"Herr Eisenbrucher, you have the sample you say? please, follow me" The voice belonged to a well dressed middle aged fellow with greying hair and worrisome complexion.

(I can't for the life of me remember what this guy's name was)
Leading Gunter to a small lecture theatre (?) the gentleman introduced himself and asked to see the Mithril sample.

He performed a range of alchemical rituals upon the stones and was satisfied that the ore Gunter had found was in fact the very stuff they had been looking for. He was paid handsomely for the find and after some enquiries about Herr Ybert and Herr Munchau it turns out that no word has returned from the mountains about Herr Ybert or his situation. Gunter only divulging that the encampment he passed was burnt out and only the tracks of rats were to be found around the entrance to his mine. He made no mention of his encounter with Herr Pohl or the greenish black rock that he had found. Instead he diverted the conversation to Herr Munchau, who it turned out had gone missing from his chambers some two weeks(?) ago with no trace and no help to be had from the city watch. Gunter offered to help find him and requested that Hubert be able to assist in the search.
Hubert was admitted to the college lecture theatre and from there they began their search.

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Into the eye of the Forest
Whether it was by sheer luck or divine guidance that Gunter's friends administered the strange blue tinted elixir in the nick of time we'll never know but without their intervention, he would be walking Morr's realm by now for sure. His miraculous recovery leads the party to confront Captain Nierhaus about the source of the remedy he had so blatantly left with the now dead apothecary. (It had been found in a box with an accompanying note in his own hand) Witnessing a desperate attempt by a group of refugees to breach the outer gates of Talabheim with nought but broken chair legs and iron will. The ensuing bloodbath was truly a horrific and barbaric display of force on the part of the City Guard, commanded no less by Herr Nierhaus. It was an indication of the lengths he would go to in order to protect his home.

The party was reluctantly granted an audience the Captain by sergeant at arms. The ensuing tense conversation revealed the captain to be under the influence of parties unknown within Talabheim. He had come by the elixir as payment for his loyalty. Knowing that his daughter's life depended on it, he was bound to his masters. The party divulged that Gunter had been cured by the Elixir and the apothecary was onto a possible solution and requested that they be allowed into Talabheim to pass the information to the Apothecary's guild. Nierhaus told them that the effects wear off after a day or so.

Nierhaus asked if the party had the elixir on them right now. Of course, realising the danger they were in, they denied this and told him that the elixir was in safe hands and the party was expected to return safely by nightfall or there would be consequences. Nierhaus took this as a threat, but realising that he still had the upper hand, dialled back his anger and informed the party that they should contact one Eladio Solorzano using the passphrase "these must ride the dragon's tongue".

The party, left for Talagaard after being told that Gunter's recovery was no more than a temporary reprieve. Their opinion was split, Gunter and Magnus did not trust Nierhaus or his contact. Hubert did not think that trying an alternative route into Talabheim would be fruitful. The party retired to Gunter's house to think things through and question Phil, (the thin man's enforcer and lacky). There they found Phil's dead and drained body strung up above a pool of blood (too deep to have come from a single body) wearing a rictus of ecstasy on his face. Outside, Magnus discovered from a neighbour that not only was Gunter's mother working in the house and was hiring help to clean the place but there was sign that the Thin Man had paid a visit too. This put the party on edge and Gunter was particularly agitated that the Thin Man now knew about his family home and that the party were onto him. Gunter wanted his mother far away from the messy and dangerous business he knew would follow. He had no time to both evacuate her himself and get the job done.

The elixir could wear off at any time and the Gods only knew what fate had befallen his sister. He was desperate to get going at any cost. Enlisting Magnus's silver tongue, the noble was able to persuade Gunter's mother to quit town for a few weeks and look after the orphaned peasant children that the party had left at a farmstead out of town. She and Magnus, left by horseback with Magnus vowing to rejoin them in Talaheim as soon as he was able.

Meanwhile, Gunter and Hubert left for the docks, their only lead was that there might be some underworld types willing to guide them under the wall. It took some carousing to achieve but soon they were in the company of one Mr Fitch. A shady character of dubious origin. He told the party to turn up to a warehouse bearing the mark of a stag, on the docks, before dawn. From there, they would depart on their "tour" of the city. Without much option, Hubert and Gunter made their way to the appointed venue where they were met by a hulking norseman of little charisma. Obviously they were headed into dangerous territory and Herr Fitch wanted some "protection" was all the explanation they had as to why this monster of a man would be accompanying them. Hours ticked by until they were finally told it was time.

Gunter's dead reckoning told him that they had made their way most of the way through the wall before they'd encountered dwarven architecture. A huge carriageway running north south around the eye of the forest. Beyond this the pair were lead into a crack in the opposite wall and into a dead end. There they were set upon by their erstwhile "guides" and Gunter was paralysed by a mighty blow from the norseman's zweihander. It took a chance encounter with a halfling fugitive and Hubert's tenacious dragging to haul Gunter out into the muck and filth of the Talabheim sewers. With lots of swearing, brute force and pausing for breath they emerged into the brilliant sunlight of a street in the slum district.

The two were immediately picked up by street urchins and pickpocketed before the local "guides" helped Hubert load Gunter's lame carcass into a cart and off to the God's quarter to be attended by the Shallyan high priestess for the princely sum of 50 Crowns!!

Knowing his luck was up, Gunter paid up and even relented to Hubert's vulture-like tendencies to sell whatever goods he thought might fetch enough to pay for their treatment. Hubert was hopeful that his mind may be tended by Shallya's blessings but it seems that sometimes the body heals faster than the mind and he was left feeling quite dejected when he was told that his treatment may take months.

Letting the ministrations take effect, Gunter allowed himself the blessing of Morr, sweet blessed sleep....

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Hubert's Diary Part 1
25th Nachtgeheim
Brother Grunwald found an unused notebook while he was looking through the apothecary's stuff, gave it to me and told me that it may help me sort out my thoughts by writing them down.
So here I am, far from home and now keeping a diary, not that anything is gonna surprise me anymore.
Today was a good day, despite the apothecary's murder, the killer's escape and Magnus getting shot.
They also made me crawl through a crack in the wall, alone, to see where the killer might've gone. It turns out it lead to the bottom of the well and further into the sewers.
This, by the way, was not the good part.
After we had searched the place and left, we stumbled upon what was apparently a friend of Magnus' and her whore friends being dragged out by fanatics.
I tried to make them leave by calling upon the rats to help me, but they didn't show up.
Instead, Magnus hijacked the witch burning and allowed me to find an escape route (the sewer of course).
However, I don't know how to explain what happened after: Below, we were greeted by not hundreds, but thousands of rats. I do not know why there would be so MANY, it could be their sheer population in the area, maybe them wanting to talk to me or even that I might have become "stronger".
They told us of the Skaven dominating them and making them fetch a silvery powder before leaving us.
Gunter joined us and guided us back to the apothecary's house again via the sewers (I noticed that we were at the bottom of the well again).
That's more or less what happened today, we've returned to the inn and we'll figure out how to get into Talabheim.
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