Warning: BTAM spoilers ahead!
Last session we left the Black Dogs mid-combat, scrapping with The Provider and her creature. Accompanied by a handful of conspirators, Balock and Hemming were joined by a new PC, one of Hugo Beck’s conspirator lieutenants, Shylock the Specialist. A long time resident of Karlstadt and a hunter in the area, he has a good knowledge of The Seven and a strong desire to see them deposed.
The flickering flames across town (started by conspirators at the Black Dogs request) cast dancing shadows and mixed with the cries of terror from the refugees outside the town create a strange and eerie setting in the early dawn light. As Shylock joins the desperate melee Jutte Beckman The Provider also joins the fray, hacking at Hemming with her cleaver while the Magic-User tries to smite the tentacled creature with the holy leg bone of St Burchard. Combatants on both sides are injured, but after taking a heavy whack from a club wielded by a conspirator, The Provider flees into her kitchen followed by Hemming, while Balock, Shylock and the remaining conspirators take on the creature.
Beckman, now terrified and fleeing for her life runs across the kitchen but before she can escape Hemming, now able to cast a spell sends a magic missile flying after her in the form of a swarm of screaming skulls that tear at the flesh from the feet up… The Providers screams mingle with those of the skulls. After a moment all that remains is the head of the poor woman (the one who tried her best to feed the starving refugees) which Hemming scoops up and stuffs into a sack.
Now armed with the leg bone, Shylock, Balock and the conspirators are able to bring down the creature, and upon it’s death it dissolves into a puddle of black corrosive sludge. It’s not then long before the voices of more militia can be heard outside and the PC’s run out the back of the house, finding a quiet alley to recuperate and catch their breath.
The Defender is known to live nearby, one of The Seven the group have yet to encounter, and so they set off to her house. Shylock knows The Defender is the only person in the town who has a large house to herself, but it is likely to be guarded by Burgerfriendensmiliz. A quick scout of the area shows a large group of militia stand guard outside the front of the house and a small group of 4 are at the rear. Displaced refugees crowd the streets around the house and watch on with fear, amazement and wonder at the scene that unfolds.
Having arranged for one of the conspirators to draw the four guards at the rear of the house away, Hemming and Balock approach wearing the Burgerfriedensmiliz uniforms they have acquired. When the conspirator throws a rock at the guards, the Black Dogs convince them to chase down the scoundrel while they guard the door. The plan worked as expected, and with the guards temporarily indisposed, it would be an easy job for Balock to pick the lock! Except he couldn’t… after 5 attempts. In the end they smash a window and gain entry through a vestibule to the side of the main corridor.
Entering the house they can hear a woman gently singing, her plaintive voice travelling from a large room; they assume the voice comes from Griselda Uhrlitz The Defender, although she is out of sight. A quick check of the ground floor reveals two doors into the room. But the Black Dogs will have to act fast as a large group of milia outside of the building can also be seen – fortunately the front doors are locked, bolted and barred.
A plan is formed. Shylock and a conspirator will wait by one door while Balock and Hemming head for the other, then on cue they will open both doors and throw flasks of oil into the room, then set them alight before closing both doors so The Defender and her creature burn alive. It didn’t go quite as planned, largely because they were unaware of the creatures special power; it drained the best AC, hp, spells, stats and damage from amongst the PC’s for itself and The Defender, leaving the owner of the stolen ability with the lowest, most feeble value. This is what happened.
- Hemming opened a door, took in the scene and saw Griselda and her horrific creature; a brain suspended in a pod supported by multiple serrated tentacles. Throwing his oil flask he missed by some margin.
- Shylock was more successful and his oil flask splattered across the floor. Then he shut his door but found his movement was slowed.
- Hemming tried to cast a Magic Missile but found he couldn’t recall the spell, so he shut the door on the advancing monstrosity.
- The creature moved to attack, ripping the door open. Hemming was surprised as he felt very weak compared to the overpowering strength of the creature.
- The Burgerfriedensmiliz at the front of the house started trying to bash open the door to save The Defender.
- Both Hemming and Balock were attacked and badly damaged.
- Meanwhile Shylock had entered the room and tried to backstab the creature but missed. The conspirator accompanying them fumbled twice, injuring himself and allowing The Defender to escape.
- As Shylock chased after The Defender, Hemming and Balock, both badly wounded, jumped through a window into the street and joined the remaining conspirators.
- The conspirators moved in to attack The Defender but were unable to hit her (she had the highest AC from amongst the party!), so Shylock took a further backstab opportunity, missing again.
- As the Sorcerer fled around the front of the house to find safety amongst the larger group of militia the creature, approaching from behind wrapped it’s tentacles around Shylock and ripped him in two (a series of criticals left him in a bad way). Although he was carrying the leg bone of St Burchard Shylock managed to fling it clear before meeting his grisly end and it was collected by one of the conspirators.
At this point, badly wounded and one party member dead, Hemming and Balock decided it was best to retreat back to the conspirators house, their minds turning to escaping Karlstadt and tackling The Mother at Goblin Hill.