Better Than Any Man: Game of Joy

Warning: BTAM spoilers ahead!

After some deliberation the Black Dogs decide to checkout the Bauer House located in the South East section of Karlstadt, and not too far from their current location (Musician’s Square where common folk and talented musician’s play for the sheer hell of it and loving couples dance while they can accompanied by those infected with the Dancing Plague).

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Approaching the Bauer House the streets grow quieter, perhaps even the forlorn refugees are not desperate enough to come to this part of the town with it’s proximity to The Watcher‘s abode. Walking past an alley the adventurers see two Burgerfriedensmiliz accosting a woman, accusing her of spreading unrest and dissent against The Seven. Proclaiming she is bound for Goblin Hill, the woman begs her captors to show mercy. Whether it is the woman’s plight or hearing her accused of belonging to a conspiracy against The Seven, the adventurers leap into action. Sneaking his way behind the two Milizionäre, Balock grabs the arm of the biggest of them, a giant of a man who is about the raise the alarm with his clacker, while Maldron smashes his fist into the man’s face instantly killing him. The second Milizionäre runs, but is pursued by Miklos and Hemming; while Miklos struggles to catch the man, Hemming melts his flesh with a Magic Missile spell.

Once freed the woman quickly introduces herself as Luise Betz and it soon becomes clear she does indeed belong to a conspiracy against The Seven as evidenced by the pamphlets she was distributing. They read:

Rise against our unholy rulers and their demonic creatures. Your body may perish under the blades of the Swedes, but you must save your soul. Join us

The name of a nearby inn, Zum Goldenen Schwan is handwritten on the back of the pamphlets, and so grabbing the clothes of the Milizionäre the party dump the bodies and follow Luise who leads them straight to the inn. The inn has been commandeered for use as a hospital, but really it is a place where the sick and injured are left to die with little food and no care. There they meet Guido Steiger, a doctor and member of the conspiracy, who having established the PC’s motives takes them to meet their leader, Hugo Beck, in a nearby house.

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Inside the finely decorated home the adventurers, surrounded by many armed conspirators meet Burger Hugo Beck. It seems they have a great deal in common for Hugo believes that if The Seven can be deposed and executed the Swedish Army may bypass Karlstadt, and based on this an alliance is formed. The party learn a little more about The Seven and discover that a Holy Relic is stored in the crypt under St Andreas’, a nearby catholic church that is now occupied by the Burgerfriedenmiliz and used as their headquarters. Surely the leg bone of St Burchard of Wurzburg will have a holy power that will help the adventurers defeat the demonic creatures of The Seven.

A plan is made to attempt to retrieve the relic once the sun has set, and so with many hours to fill, the Black Dogs decide to visit Zum Erleuchteten Hurenbrock, the local brothel. Having been informed that one of The Seven known as The Joy spends a great deal of time there, and that The Joy is a mine of information, the party harden their hearts and prepare to face whatever depravities can be expected in such a place.

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I’ve read BTAM a couple of times from front to back and this was the bit I was most nervous about. It’s brilliantly constructed, such a clever idea and so on form for LotFP, but still I was a bit unsure how it would go down with the players. Ludmilla Roder, the one known as The Joy gave her creature away, and since The Seven came to power she has been acting as the madame of the brothel. There is more to her story that I shan’t mention here, but two facts are pertinent: she knows loads of valuable information, and she won’t give it away easily – Ludmilla needs to be entertained. After a massage to ease their aches and pains the Black Dogs soon realise that the only way they will get information is to play The Game of Joy. Ask Ludmilla a question, carry out her request and you get the information. Simple. Some of the information asked for and the acts a party member had to undertake to get them are summarised here and censored in the name of good taste.

When Maldron asked about The Seven’s Creatures he was instructed to run to the town square naked, grab a hood off a Milizionäre’s head and run back with it.

The Joy tells him that the creatures just turned up, but she doesn’t trust them and that is why she sent hers away.

When Hemming asked about The Mother Ludmilla told him to put himself in a grave before sundown and scare the living shit out of Emma Gabges (the one know as The Defiler) when she comes crawling about. He has yet to do this.

When Miklos asked about Goblin Hill he was required to have some fun with the next person to enter the brothel. Whatever they wanted, in front of everyone.

Miklos learns that there is a back door into Goblin Hill, a cave on the south side of the hill. Take the fourth passage from the right and keep going up.

When Maldron asked about Gabriel Bauer, the eighth sorcerer he was asked to….CENSORED…

The Joy tells him that she’d never heard of any of The Seven before Gabriel Bauer contacted her. Gabriel warned them all that they were about to be arrested (for witchcraft), they all agreed it would be better if they were in charge, she cast her spell, was dead and that’s that.

We finished the session with the adventurers still in the brothel. It seems they have further questions to ask and may be developing a taste for this particular style of entertainment…

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