Better Than Any Man: Balocks!

The usual Spoiler Alert applies here, don’t read this if you expect to be a player in A Stranger Storm or Better Than Any Man.

Quick recap: PC’s at an inn, storm raging outside, entertainers, merchants, innkeeper, kitchen staff and horses. Plus dopplegangers and murder.

Unsure how to proceed (technically dithering), our adventurers couldn’t settle on an approach. Options discussed range from sending one of the entertainers to Simmershofen alone to the party forcefully dragging everyone with them, and burning the place to the ground with everyone in it was still on the table. What to do, what to do….


At the height of their indecision and just to reinforce what a dire situation they were in Maldron and Miklos returned to the stables to check there were still twice as many horses as there should be. A closer (but not too close) inspection reveals that one set of horses are exact duplicates of the others including brands – with no obvious way to tell which is which.

Meanwhile back at the inn the remaining Dieter and the entertainers encourage the party to fetch Father Drucker from Simmershofen. Dieter won’t leave his inn, the entertainers want their horses checked by the priest before moving on, and the two Ursula Gottlieb‘s want to return to Simmershofen because they want their family. The merchants, lead by Guntram Schneller are being stubborn and are insisting they are allowed to get on their way as they have business to attend to.

In the end Hemming Kristofferson offers to fetch the priest accompanied by Adelgis Schottel, one of the entertainers, and the pair of them are tied with rope at the waist. Before they leave the Ursula Gottlieb’s start screaming and have to be restrained by Maldron.

8c7802f9abbfcc08ee7613f191c1d3d4Hemming travels to the village and is met by relatively unfriendly locals who direct him to the church and it isn’t too long before he returns from the village with Adelgis, Father Drucker and some handy information about the creatures that the priest refers to as Mimics – things like Detect Evil will detect a mimic and that they will avoid copying magic users or characters with magic items as they cannot mimic anything magical. On the way back to the Incontinent Vicar they were passed by Guntram and another of the merchants on horses.

Of course everything was quiet and nothing happened until Hemming, Adelgis and Father Drucker returned. Apart from absolute chaos!

In convenient easily digestible bullet point format, things that happened were:

  • The merchants decided they had had enough and ran for the door. Miklos tried to dissuade them by throwing his spear but they escaped. Unbeknownst to the party at that time, the four merchants ran around the back of the inn to get their horses and flee. Only two of them made it out…
  • Balock tried to attack Balock with moderate success.
  • One of the Ursula’s ran over to Dieter for comfort, then changed shape into… Dieter.
  • The Dieter’s started whacking each other with whatever came to hand; a wooden pale, a metal tray. Despite Maldron and Miklos trying to separate them one of the Dieters had his brains bashed out (turns out it was the real Dieter, poor fellow). Ursula, who we can assume is now genuinely Ursula screamed…
  • Maldron and Miklos managed to grabbed both Balock’s (we had lots of childish wordplay with that name) and pulled them through to the kitchen.
  • In the meantime the entertainers, not knowing what to do ran to their room and grabbed their swords and rapiers.
  • Hemming and company ran around the back of the inn to see two pairs of identical merchants fighting each other. Before Hemming could intervene one had just finished strangling the other, and of the other pair, one had grabbed a horseshoe and smashed his counterparts’ face in with it.
  • Things briefly settled down as everyone was corralled into the common room. We now had the party (including a pair of Balock’s, guffaw), Dieter, Ursula, the entertainers and Father Drucker (who had left his back of tricks on the counter), with a dead Dieter on the floor. A decision was made to cut open the dead Dieter to find out if he was a doppleganger.
  • Hemming ordered Dieter to help Father Drucker lift the dead Dieter into the kitchen, and before you could say ‘sneaky doppleganger bastards’, Dieter had transformed into another Father Drucker.
  • Father Drucker had previously left a glass vial on the counter and now one of the Father Druckers made a grab for it and smashed it on the floor. The adventurers had a fraction of a second to act while it was still clear in their mind who the changeling was and killed the doppleganger Drucker.

Following all this the party learned that the holy water Father Drucker was carrying burned the skin of dopplegangers and they just scraped enough off the floor to use against the Balocks and determine which one was the mimic.  The mimic was quickly dispatched and so they worked out that the two dead merchants were mimics also.

The session ended with a sigh of relief from Balock as his doppleganger was dead. In fact it seems all of the changelings have been killed – apart from the horses in the stables. Assuming they’re still there…

This session was amazing fun, but with lots of moving parts was tricky to keep track of. Lets hope next week we have some simple stuff to kill!


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