With just two players I decided to try a bit of adlib GMing, and so with a few random tables and a bit of brain storming I had a few notes and a starting point – I didn’t really know where it would end up though. Although I had previously said that I wouldn’t come up with narrative reasons certain characters were missing on some sessions, as they were conveniently stopping in the Sword and Flagon inn on Wagner Strass it was too good an opportunity to miss.
Not wanting to waste time Balock and Miklos headed off to the town square, while Hemming, Maldron and The Captain were confined to their rooms, suffering the effects of dodgy food and ale. Scraps of paper on the notice board offered rewards for the heads of The Seven of Karlstadt, pleas for help by the despairing folk of Thungen, news of brigands on the road to the north and a rant about a giant cat made of glass(!?!), but it was Mathilda, a young girl from Werneck who grabbed their attention. She told of vampires in the village, her mother had lost her life to them and her dad was always angry. No one in the village would talk about it or ask for help, so she stowed away on a wagon bound for Wurzburg to look for assistance.
Balock and Miklos were approached by Hermann, a guard from the watch who asked if they were interested in earning some coin; 500 silvers could be theirs if they could find the killer of Emil Traschelman, a young nobleman from a wealthy family. Realising that Werneck was too far away and they couldn’t help Mathilda at this time, they took up Hermann’s offer and started by talking to members of the Traschelman household.
With the information provided by Hermann and after interviewing Girnot the butler, Emil’s mother Lucinda and his sister Berlinda they discover:
- Emil was the last of four bodies found down at the Fisherman’s Wharf on the river Main; each was found early in the morning by the night guard
- Little was left of the bodies, no more than their skeletons, their clothes turned to mush. Emil was identified by a dagger he carried bearing the family crest.
- Emil was only 19 and had no known friends. He was cruel to many of the younger servants, they feared him.
- Many nights recently Emil would leave the house late and night and not return until early the next morning. He was known to frequent the Dog’s Head tavern down by Fisherman’s Wharf.
- A tortured soul, Emil fancied himself and artist and had an attic studio. While checking this out Berlinda showed them Emil’s hidden paintings – scenes of dismemberment and torture.
Cobbles outside the The Dog’s Head are covered in a putrid slime, but the trail is disturbed and broken by passing feet and can’t be followed. The grimy inn is closed, but never ones to let that deter them Balock picks the lock and they explore the run down and decidedly seedy inn. An empty corridor with curtained doors to either side is discovered in the basement through a trapdoor behind the bar.
Pulling back the curtains to each room reveals scenes of torture, terror and violence and it is while checking the last of these that they find a terror lurking in the basement; a huge mass of crawling slime with body parts of children visible within, still animated by some macabre energy… taking a sensible course of action they flee and decide to return with the rest of the party. Just before leaving the basement a severed head briefly breaks the surface of the slime and in a desperate voice from beyond the veil begs ‘Help us…’