The Enemy Within is an epic campaign with a huge cast of NPCs and some very interesting mysteries and plot developments.
Our player characters are:
- Edler Burgolt von Engler, a Gently-Born nobleman, Pistolier, and third son of Frieherr Peczold von Engler, a local Baron.
- Ninewise Gyre, an Initiate of Ranald who is also an acquitted Criminal.
- Lina, Ninewise's sister, recently returned to Averheim from the distant university where she studied Bright Order Wizardry and other Academic topics.
- Hrulgar Steelheart, a Dwarven Runesmith and businessman. He is Battle-Scarred from his time at the Third Battle of Blackfire Pass.
Hrulgar, being a professional businessman and the only member of the party likely to use Conservative stance, shows up early. The rest of the party Recklessly show up late or at the last minute, as usual, so he has a few minutes before they arrive to shop from the waterfront stalls. He meets Olga Klinski, who tells him the sob story about her husband who went missing a week ago. He buys a fish from her as an act of charity, and then heads to the tavern for the meeting.
Sidebar about the previous unpleasant business:
For some time they have been aware that Burgolt's father the Baron is engaged in political underhandedness and assorted unpleasant dealings that may even include witchcraft. The party has for sometime been Oathbound to figure out a way to undermine his ambitions (and evils) without bringing down Burgolt's entire family. This is of course a sensitive task, which is part of why they are conducting the conversation in the Wharf District slums where the Baron and his social equals would never set foot. It's also worth noting that Burgolt's older brother was all but disowned (and sent off on some fool's errand) and that Burgolt's mother has been dead less than 2 years but father is already courting other women.
Burgolt starts with his latest scoop on dad. Last night, after tying one on (which he does quite often) Burgolt stormed home to tell off his wicked father and renounce his familial ties once and for all, but was unable to get in. The butler and valet refused him entry to his father's Library, where dear old dad was entertaining some unknown visitor. While waiting in the courtyard and being given the run-around, Burgolt saw a dark, cowled figure (hereafter known as The Black Cowl) scale the walls and enter via the balcony attached to his father's study. Normally, Burgolt might have shot this intruder, but not only was he drunk tonight, but he'd actually earlier in the day pawned his family heirloom Superior Pistol to one Mathilda Durbein. Burgolt reported the prowler to the Butler, but either the servants were expecting it or they imagined it merely a drunken hallucination. Either way, Burgolt was again not allowed entry, and so left in a huff.
Ninewise asks about The Black Cowl. She's heard that name or description as a possible new crime boss moving in on the Wharfs. There's speculation and discussion of whether the Black Cowl works for Burgolt's father, or the other way around, or if perhaps the Black Cowl was merely spying on Burgolt's meeting.
They also begin to discuss whether or not this new crime boss is involved in any of the handful of disappearances they've recently caught wind of.
Ninewise had heard that a dockworker named Rolf Haller has recently gone missing. She has a meeting later this very day with Rolf's boss at the Wharf-Rats (one of the Pauper's Guilds in the Wharf District), who wants Ranald's assistance in finding out whether or not their rival guild the Fish were behind the dockworkers disappearance.
Hrulgar mentions that an old war buddy of his named Ingo Baerfaust didn't show to a get-together they had planned a few days ago, and wasn't at home the next day either. When he inquired about his friend, he was told that no one had seen him in a week.
Are these three missing persons in any way related? Jurgen and Rolf worked in the same area, but Ingo had no obvious connections to the docks or either of them.
From here a number of smaller scenes transpired.
- Ninewise met with the Wharf-Rats boss for more details.
- She also talked with Ute, a knowledgeable local information-broker, who had some more clues to the way the underworld power structure was being shaken up by the Black Cowl. I made Ute very helpful and friendly. She explained that The Cowl's enforcer or underboss is a tattooed bruiser named Bischoff who recently returned from the Templeman Expedition to the Southlands.
- Hrulgar scheduled an appointment for the following day with Captain Marcus Baerfaust, the uncle of his missing friend Ingo.
- Burgolt got into an argument with a street agitator that was disparaging the noble-class. While he was distracted, he was nearly robbed by a pickpocket. Lina's sharp eyes foiled the attempt, but clearly made her an NPC enemy (the first of several, it would turn out) and the scene dished out some Stress and Tension.
- Cutting through an alleyway, the PCs discovered a body, it's ringed hand sticking out of a shipping crate. The dead man was a local racketeer and enforcer. His distinctive ring was left on the corpse, which they figured might have been done to send a message. Worried that this show of brazen force might further consolidate the Black Cowl's power, Ninewise pocketed the ring before they called the city watch.
- Burgolt swallowed his pride and returned to his father's manor for his daily allowance. Dad wasn't present, but his Valet was and did the old man's dirty work. He plied Burgolt and company with fine Brandy. He apologized for the previous night, and said that the Baron would be quite busy the next several nights so please be a good boy and stay away. Here's an extra Silver in case you need a place to crash for the night. Bribe mostly accepted.
A sidebar about Noblemen and their money:
Burgolt has Noble Rank 1, which per the rules means a stipend of 1 Gold (100 Silver) per month. Since the Campaign involves a detailed day-by-day timeline, I decided to break this up into a daily instead of monthly payment. Most months in the Imperial Calendar have 32 to 33 days, so Burgolt will be given 3 Silver per day. Since his father is a wicked and controlling man, Burgolt is required to visit the family manor-home each morning to receive this allowance from his father's money-keeper.
Back to the Upright Pig: Ninewise was looking for Gerd Knakk, the leader of The Fish gang, who frequented the tavern. Before finding him, however, she found Bischoff.
Bischoff was gambling at a table with some other people they knew. He kinda blew off Ninewise, but told her sister Lina (an obvious Bright Wizard) that he might have a job for her tomorrow, and that if she grabbed a table he'd join her after this round of the gambling was over.
Gerd Knakk, the leader of the Fish, came in just then, and Ninewise pulled him aside for a talk. She mentioned Rolf Haller, but Gerd swore he and his workmen had nothing to do with it. She mentioned the Black Cowl, and was told Gerd was uncomfortable talking about that with the Cowl's enforcer just across the bar. She pressed him on it, and found out that the Fish were being leaned on to bend a knee to this new Criminal Empire. At this point, Ninewise took a risk, and it backfired. She pulled out the ring from the body of the racketeer and showed it to the leader of the Fish. He got very tense and quiet, thanked her for the information, and excused himself from the table.
Lina was still sitting at the other table adjacent to where Bischoff was gambling, so she couldn't help but notice when Gerd walked over, looked Bischoff in the eyes, and said "You win. We're in."
That elicited a lot of face-palming by the players, so it was a good place to call it a night. I adjusted the Criminal Empire's Agenda to 5 and Party Tension to 3. End of session 1.
(We just completed session 4, so hopefully I'll find the time to put together more logs like this in the next couple days.)