Thursday, 5 October 2017

Brunnen 1795 - Play recap

It has become customary in our games to recap the action (or lack thereof) and post in our Facebook group, as we generally only get to play every other month at most and we are almost entirely shitfaced for the last couple of hours of every game, so recall is always poor.

I never got round to writing up the last episode, but will endeavour to do so at some point, but for now here is an example of just how unheroic and low grade my games tend to be these days, for whatever reason...

The Story so Far
1. Poetry night at the Moon and Pfennig
Manfred Krupp dodged his turn by standing on a chair and declaring poetry a third class art form, fit only for those who cannot create with light and colour. Surprisingly he won favour with his arrogance and posing, but then he does have a silver tongue. Hans the urchin stole some pennies and hid under the table. Nobody pressed him to perform. Glen Schmidt on the other hand rolled a load of old guff off his tongue, seemingly at will and gained the admiration of all for his sheer brass. Finally the ex-soldier Friedrich Grabler brought tears to the eyes of the room (although Manfred was probably faking) with his heartfelt war poem.

Unfortunately this was all too much for Udo Dirkschneider, a popular local up and coming player whom had a bright future in theatre before the Pogrom. He was somewhat in his cups all evening as it was but once he had had enough of the poetry he yelled and threw his stein at Friedrich and snorted, “AMATEURS… FOOLS… PETTY DABBLERS… YOU HAVE NO IDEA OF YOUR LACK OF WORTH… YOU ARE SNOT ON THE PAGES OF A LARGER PLAY AND YOU KNOW NOT WHAT LIES BENEATH AND BETWEEN…”

With this he pulled out a pistol and drunkenly swayed across the room. His eyes were bloodshot and weepy. After some more ranting he shot himself in the face but did not die quickly, or easily. Manfred, armed with one good handkerchief and at least an ounce of concern, checked the stricken playwright, only to have perhaps a quarter pint of blood coughed in his face as Udo pressed a small box wrapped in a crumpled handbill into the actor's hand. “Take this to my Father…” Udo croaked before shaking uncontrollably and fitting violently before one last choke, a rattle in his throat and he lay still, finally at peace. Or it would be so, had his face not contorted into a look of abject terror.

He had dirt ground under his fingernails, some were tattered and torn. The handbill was a tattered and water-stained invitation to view the debut of a ‘fresh and thrilling new play’ in Heideldorf the previous week. Inside the box was a key, ornate, the size of large thumb, and inscribed with cryptical arabesques. 

Father Otto Dirkschneider, Dirk’s father, is a priest in Uttenhoffe and tends to the spiritual needs of the locality outside Brunnen, between the western reaches and the edges of the Teutoburgerwald. After some discussion, a couple more cognacs and a brief diversion to see Hans the Fence at the Golden Kugel (where Manfred undersold the wooden box for a paltry sum) the company deigned to rest the remainder of the night before departing for Uttenhoffe to discharge their vague acquaintance's dying wish.

2. The Tower on the River
After a good night’s slumber, the artists determined that the easiest way to travel to Uttenhoffe was by skiff on the sluggish but as yet unfrozen river.  Mid-morning the gang passed by Mischer, a small village where a gypsy boat failed to sell them some lucky heather. An ill omen perhaps? Travelling onwards they spied a small jetty by a path leading into the dense fringes of the Teutoburgerwald.  A boat appeared to have been unloaded onto the jetty but the cargo not taken further, coated as it was with the ubiquitous frost. Being an aspirational group the gang determined to examine the cargo afore making off with it downriver. However some commotion in the treeline distracted Friedrich, and the three boar melee underway gave sufficient cause for salivation (wild boar making for a delicious roast). The ex-soldier handily dispatched two of the rucking beasts with shot and knife leaving the remaining combatant, a huge, scarred and one-eyed beast, to drag its prize into the trees. The detritus littering the scene, mostly tattered cloth and human organs, suggested that the three animals had been fighting over the ruin of a man.

Curiosity roused the artists to explore the path, lest the occupants of the abandoned boat (and perhaps the companions of the corpse) be in some distress and/or in a lootable state. Some yards up the steep and heavily wooded hillside trail they happened upon a guard-tower occupied only by the dead. Five men and women, deceased for some days, apparently killed at each other's hands. One was bitten around the neck and face, and another on the hands and forearms. The bodies wore well-tailored but worn leather jerkins and boots in the merchantman style. Weapons were amongst the dead, short swords and a dirk, as well as some small trinkets, tobacco and foodstuffs. Curiously there were also a couple of handbills similar to the one that Dirk had wrapped around his box. In better condition the hand-drawn imagery was clearer…

A hooded figure taking a mask away from its face to partially revel that behind it… Another mask…

And the text more fully legible...

‘Friends… Waldemar and Company invite you to witness the debut of a play in three acts, ACT 1: The Demoiselle d'Ys’

3. The Magistrate
As the light faded and the now shy sun dipped behind the canopy-draped hills deep in the Teutoburgerwald the companions heaved to at Uttenhoffe, little more than a walled village but at least an occupied and relatively safe settlement free from the banditry and worse that blights the main roads to the East and North of Brunnen.  Father Dirkschneider wasn’t at home, as his housekeeper Granny Grasser informed Manfred Krupp. He had left the previous day to conduct confessions and services at the woodlander villages of Gruuthuse and Mischer before attending the spiritual needs of the town of Dunnacht, half a day further downriver.  Granny Grasser, in between lengthy sucks of her sole remaining tooth, explained that Dunnacht’s previous pastor passed when the church roof fell in and crushed him in his pulpit some months ago.

Dunnacht was known by reputation to most occupants of these parts, being as it was the site of mass beatings and later burnings at the latter end of the pogrom.  The tales of how viciously the townsfolk turned upon the Calvinists and Lutherans that were formerly their neighbours have haunted many a fireplace since.

Retiring to the village inn, The Gelded Fox, to take in the fire and the hospitality of proprietors Karl and Wertha Tannenbaum, the gang hit the booze and evaluated their booty from the day’s adventuring.  Old compadre Didier Alencon and his travelling company regaled the patrons with his latest short play The Jester, a tale regarding an ancient god whose one power was to juggle balls to such unfeasible heights that one day they never fell back.  The punchline was that one did fall back, the star (Morrslieb) and that the other (Mannslieb) must also follow.  It wasn’t that funny.

Throughout the evening Didier’s capering was punctuated by the snoring of a tall and gaunt old man slumped at the bar, his long fingers still wrapped firmly around a stein.  Fellow patrons, in between rounds of banter and swearing, tipped off the companions that the elderly gentleman at the bar was in fact Manfred Haarwitt, seasoned magistrate and, latterly, burner of heretics and witches. Judging that her day had not yet seen enough excitement, young Hans decided to steal his purse.  Perhaps overcome by the heady contents of her several cups, or maybe simply too unrefined in her method, the young urchin’s attempt was interrupted by the realisation that the old man’s long fingers were no longer on his stein.  Instead they were detaining her wrist in a painful iron grip and a pair of rheumy grey eyes were regarding her with dawning awareness and curiosity.  Sensing that his young semi-ward had encountered difficulties Glen leapt to her defence with a holler, only to be knocked backwards by the impact of Hans on his chest as the magistrate, defying his apparent age and swinging the urchin like a weapon in a wide arc.  Friedrich, rising to his feet, was knocked down again by the bulk of the back-pedalling operator of heavy machinery, who was simultaneously roaring in protest at the failure of his great strength to offer any useful advantage.  Now fully alert and still holding a dazed Hans like a bruised ragdoll, Haarwitt interrupted the progress of a charging Krupp with the thunder of a discharged shot from a foot-long flintlock cavalry pistol and the actor took the impact high on his shoulder.  This may explain the dramatic pirouette that described a glorious arc across the salon, scattering cups, ale and patrons in its wake.  Glen, now simply furious, swung his blade with vigour (if not panache) and re-tailored the old man’s battered leather coat and drew some blood to boot.  Now fully awake and focussed upon his surroundings Haarwitt reared to an impressive height for 1795 and drew his side-sword… notched, well-used and thirsty looking it was.  Krupp, his palm stemming the weeping of claret from his wound, called forth across the inn and made a call for rationality and peace with great depth, timbre and impeccable enunciation.  Glen and the magistrate lowered their weapons and stood a moment, winded as they were by the sheer force of the actor’s projection, and the whole inn took a grateful breath.  Everyone was very… very… drunk.

4. The Dunnacht Horror
Following an alcohol and blood infused sleep the friends woke, famished, and broke their fast on black pudding and turnips.  Manfred Krupp was patched up by the ex-soldier Friedrich in field dressing style.  Manfred, looking for revenge upon his elderly namesake expressed sorrow and frustration upon learning that the patrician murderer of men, women and children had left at dawn.  The river, and Dunnacht, beckoned.

At noon the skiff was steered through the crumbling arch of the south wall of Dunnacht, a small town of modest means now sparsely populated thanks to the flames of the pogrom.  A heavy, granular rain battered the cobbles, forming insistent rivulets in the cracked and scorched paving in the square.  Blackened, almost glass-like in places, the site of the burnings was immediately before the ruined church, the Dunnacht Epiphanienkirche, roof collapsed and masonry walls collapsed inward on two sides.

Before the companions determined what action was to follow, a vigorous tremor shook the town causing dogs to bark and windows to shatter. Gathering themselves and regaining their feet they heard a clamour of panicked voices up the street from the square.  Down Böttcherstraße they found a group of locals, hysterically shouting, “The Aachen house… the Aachen house… oh the horror etc.”  Still being largely drunk from the previous evening the gang entered the house, finding little amiss in a spartan but lived in family home that looked to be the domain of a family of five.

Venturing behind the house however young Hans found the old oak doors to the cellar ajar and ventured down the stone steps into a dimly lit chamber.  The tang of iron, whale-oil and shit in his nostrils, he could make out a body strewn at the foot of the steps and, beyond two more, one atop the other. The latter two were children it appeared, barely discernible in the gloom from the two flickering oil lanterns hooked upon the walls.  A fourth body slumped, sitting, against a timber support, gasping fast but broken, excruciating breaths. A woman Hans saw as he pressed forth into the murk, the air close and clinging.  Before she expired she snatched words from the scant breaths she could muster against the clods of part-congealed blood that sucked and blew from her broken lips…

“Oh my life… My love… You’ve come!” 

By now Manfred, Friedrich and Glenn were surveying the scene and attempting to comprehend the meaning.

All felt a pressure in their ears, a squeezing against their temples and a chittering in their heads, like the chirruping of insects en masse.

Friedrich yelled out a warning and struck at Glenn.  Hans shook her head free of the distractions and leapt to her ward’s defence, to little avail.  The wiry soldier, with steely determination, cast the urchin aside and beat the shocked and confused Glenn to the stone floor of the cellar, amongst the blood and bodies of the Aachen family.  Manfred called across the cellar, his words of power and reason piercing the fug of the cellar, and Friedrich froze, midswing, legs astraddle above the prone nobleman beefcake, and regained his wits.

The three, their resolve temporarily broken by the scene, bolted for the steps, desperate for egress and the outside air.  As they panted and gathered their wits, spitting the bitter taste of bile and the dense miasma of that terrible chamber they considered events.  Shaken they were, and near broken by the experience.  Except Friedrich.  He wasn’t overly bothered to be fair.

Taking some control of the situation Manfred choked back the rising stomach acid and ventured back below to drag Glenn by his substantial ankles back to daylight.

The rain and some attention from the now rational Friedrich roused Glenn and the four gingerly made their way back to the square, only to find a small mob gathered by the churchyard howling and spitting.

“He’s there!” they cried, “There he his… murderer…!”

At a far corner of the churchyard, in the patch used for infants, a teenage boy barely older than 17 knelt by a plot of clawed up earth. Between the ragged, soil-encrusted fingernails of his hands he clasped a bundle of rags.  As the friends approached they could see it was the corpse of an infant he was rocking back and forth and speaking to in soothing tones.  Despite his rain-soaked clothes he was spattered with blood.  As he rocked the child, part of the shroud fell away to reveal legs like that of a small dog, only naked of hair and pallid skinned.

Hans saw the child reaching for him, mouthing words. Moving closer he heard the child speak…

“I am a dying god… coming into human flesh…”

All of this was rather unsettling, so they all went to the Golden Tap to regroup.  The boy was identified by the locals as Henry Aachen, the eldest of the Aachen children and a black sheep according to the rumours, as well as father to his sister’s child.  Now, parted from the corpse that was hastily reburied, he languished in a locked room in the cellar of the Tap whilst the companions sought victuals.

  • More pubs
  • More cellars
  • Glen has an encounter with a knitting needle
  • Even less heroics
  • Some other things I can't remember...

Brunnen 1795 Appendix - The Characters

As a GM I always love the character creation part of the RPG process, despite the fact that I, as a player, am rather lazy in this respect.  Over the last 25 years or so (I've resurrected one character from back in the day at least twice and another multiple times, including appearances in the background as an NPC (see Das Englander).  This has never posed a problem as Loz (our other regular GM) and I are Moorcock nerds so we both embrace the lazy concept of our characters essentially being avatars of The Eternal Buffoon.

This trait has, rather adorably, rubbed off on one of our younger players whom has taken to playing variants of the same character in everything, whatever the genre, the mighty (or otherwise) Glen Smith.

On this occasion the players really rose to the occasion and provided detailed and well reasoned backgrounds, even finding ace pics from t'interwebs that then led me to have to explain why photographs existed in 1795. Read on to find out...


Magda Jurgenstein, artist, previously of the underground nihilist group Düsternkinder, who painted solely in shades of grey and brown. Upon completion of each work, it was set on fire and destroyed, without ceremony. As this was done by the artist themselves, some doubted any paintings ever existed. Magda copes with the lack of artistic expression, and the horror of the mundane, with a raging laudanum habit. She is currently employed in a meat processing factory - initially denied employment due to her sexuality (and penchant for wearing skulls on her head), she was granted leave to work in the filleting section after her knife skills were described by the manager as 'sublime, like a razor edged spider weaving a delicate web of muscle destruction.' She works alone, at night.

The manager, one Viktor Unstahl, was reported for uttering such prose - he is currently languishing in a Schloss dungeon, awaiting trial for possession of undeclared poetic tomes.

Kapitän Johann Wilhelm von Archenholz, aka Das Kapitän

German painter, sculptor, alchemist and chef. Between 1775 and 1776 he travelled in France and Italy, making numerous drawings of courtesans, which provided the subjects for many paintings finished on his return to Brunnen. Archenkolz fell into disrepute in Venice, when commissioned by Doge Alvise Giovanni Mocenigo for a religious sculpture. Archenkolz delivered a controversial interpretation of the martyrdom of St Jermome and was imprisoned on charges of blasphemy and witchcraft. He escaped, albeit after losing an eye during a duel, and fled across Europe.

Agnes Kohl (Stage name: Dove Drinkwater)

Scared of the dark and plagued by nightmares of an eternal night since childhood, Agnes was kept hidden away from society by her frightened, well-meaning but inept parents. Her only companions were her sister Irma, cousin Ruben and the family maid, Griselda, a great teller of tales. Though often kept inside, with Griselda's help Agnes was able to see the world through stories.

Her parents and Irma were two weeks into a three week journey to visit distant family the night that the star fell. Agnes was reading a book about witchcraft by Eloisa Di Pietro when she found herself seized by an overwhelming sense of dread. She ran to Griselda's room only to find her old friend dead, having passed quietly in her sleep. Agnes ran to her cousin's house nearby but he was not home. Hopeless, she tried to decide what to do next; then she made the mistake of looking to the sky.

She ran aimlessly, the story of The Order of the Silent Sisters of St Ekaterina in her mind, the last tale that Griselda had shared with her. She decided she would run to them, throw herself at their feet, rip the tongue from her mouth, do whatever it would take to hide with them. Agnes was too frantic to consider the fact that she had no idea how to find them.

After a few minutes of running she came across a well-lit building. She crept to a window almost entirely hidden by branches and looked inside. It was, she would soon discover, the Moon and Pfennig. She watched the second half of the 'The Boatman and the King' and listened to a lot of poetry (some of quite questionable quality) from her hiding spot. The world inside that room, a room of warm laughter and candles and fire, carried on indiscriminately as the world outside raged.

When the music started she entered, and it was not long until she taken under a thespian's wing.  Though she has lost her fear of darkness since the star fell (having realised that it was not the night that haunted her, but the dread of its inevitable approach), she rents a room at the highest point of the Moon and Pfennig, as Agnes has discovered she is happiest living in a place that is unrelentingly busy and bustling. She longs to forever be surrounded by people, noise and artificial light.

Glën Schmitt

Born 1750. His mother (Lilliana) married well but died in child birth. His father (Mutschek) was a successful playwright who penned such classics as ‘The Moon Under Oakfell’, ‘Silent Wood’ and ‘Joseph Ullage: A Tale of Sorrow’. His father also wrote propaganda pieces for the Holy Roman Empire. The combination of his father’s wealth, social status and crushing depression (due to Lilliana’s untimely death) made for a strange upbringing for Glën. His father would invite illustrious people of great fame over for banquets and Glën would spend many evenings watching through door cracks as his father engaged in wild sex parties with prostitutes from the brothel of Rosenstrasse.

Though a broken man, Mutschek treat Glën well. The finest silk clothing and the best food one could eat, meant that he soon became fattened and perpetually sick. By his late teens, he spent most of his time in a permanent state of drunkenness (ale and absinthe are his favoured tipples) and did little more than sleep with prostitutes and eat, ‘forcibly fattened goose pie’. One day Mutschek came home in a particularly drunken stupor after a fight with group of local peasants who were angered by his most recent play, ‘Holy Roman Order’, which depicted poor people as being a sort of pond-scum underclass. Upon arriving home, a scuffle broke out and he struck Glën down with his longsword cutting off his left ear and leaving a 4-inch-long scar across his face that stretches from his left eyebrow to the top right corner of his upper lip. Glën fought his father off and put him to bed.

The debacle shook Glën. He realised he had never been a fight before and that he was fat, weak and now also permanently disfigured. So, he spent his early 20’s training hard to lose weight & bulk up, learn to fight and even got a job at the local engineers learning to operate heavy machinery. Along with his physical training he also set out on a quest to improve his emotional and spiritual self. As part of this journey, he joined his father’s local parish in central Brunnen and quickly became one of their largest donators and service attendees. It was during this time that he became friends with the youngest and newest Bishop, Josef Furcht.
Living in the shadow of his father, Glën always felt small and insignificant. So, in his mid-30’s he decided to pursue a career as a playwright. After all, his father had paid so much for his education it would seem wasted to not use it in a productive way. It also provided ample opportunity to prove to his father that he was worthy of the family fortune when the time came.

Sadly, when time came to put on his first play for public performance, it was met with great protest as the locals had become aware of Glën‘s heritage. Instead of arguing with the peasants, he took to organising a meeting in the local parish to calm the local’s anger and stitch the tear in the figurative fabric that held the community and the church together. The event did not go well. A great fight broke out almost immediately after Glën began his opening speech. To this day, the fight is known as ‘The Brawl of Brunnen’ and is arguably considered to be the event that kick-started the 1787 uprising.

In 1790, 3 years following ‘The Brawl’ (as it is un-affectionately known), Glën met a peasant lady named Mongsida and fell in love. He became quickly fond of her family and, during many a drunken evening with her brothers and father, heard the peasant’s side of the argument regarding the church and wealthy families like his own. In July of 1790 Glën proposed marriage to Mongsida and took her to meet his father for the first time.

Mutschek however, took a strong and loud dislike to the idea that Glën was to marry a peasant and that evening, whilst Glën and her were sleeping, he took the same longsword he used to disfigure Glën with and drove it through the heart of Mongsida. He awoke to the scene of his dead fiancé and broke out into such an extravagant rage that he murdered 3 guards whilst in pursuit of his father who had fled.

Since the falling of the star in 1792, Glën has become a prominent face of the uprising. He is famous for his plays which are set in spring and (mostly) tell tales of the poor rising to defeat the rich and powerful. Oft times his works are performed live with accompaniment from Klaus Engel's Progressive Oompah Collective. Examples of his work include ‘The Unholy Roman Empire’, ‘Mongsida and I’ and ‘The Second Children’s Crusade’ (based on a painting found in the Moon and Pfennig).

He found additional underground fame when he masterminded the smuggling of 260 peasants out of central Brunnen during a Holy Roman Empire led mass execution in 1796. He can often be found in the Moon and Pfennig meeting with other artists and playwrights developing new pro-uprising propaganda. He is still yet to seek out his coward father and holds a burning rage for anybody associated with the church or the Holy Roman Empire. He will not rest until Mongsida is avenged.

Frederick von Gabler

Name - Gabler:

Meaning & History: Occupational name for someone who made or sold forks, from German gabel "fork".

Born in 1774 in the city of Eisenach, north of Frankfurt, Freddie has wondered around aimlessly since finishing his education. He played instruments since a young age and left home to join a travelling band. They parted ways after a year, due to artistic differences (and Hans wanting to roger him, frequently).

He moved from village to village, acquainting with the local frauleins, busking for money for food, drink, and a roof over my head. Often the "ladies" would put him up, but he moved on when he got bored, when they stopped giving him money or when he was frequently run out of town by angry fathers and/or husbands, often with his skin barely intact.

In 1792, he joined the Prussian army as they offered more money than he was making. As the French Revolution sparked a new war between France and several of its neighbours, including Prussia and Austria, he marched on Paris with the Duke of Brunswick, an army that was smashed by the French at the battle of Valmy. On the eve of the battle the star fell in the east, and the following day the blood of the dead and the dying turned black as it mingled with the blood, churned by boots and the black rain that fell throughout the day.

It was a bloody affair but Freddie fled the field with his life, disillusioned and sickened. He tried to pick up where he left off but life had changed, he had changed. He started writing poetry, and added it to his repertoire, busking and performing, whether on stage or on the street. However, the ongoing censure of the arts ensured it became tougher than before to make enough marks for beer and food.

Manfred Krupp

A romantic artist, known for his watercolours that direct "the viewer's gaze towards metaphysical dimensions". He was in the Pomeranian town of Greifswald at the Baltic Sea, where he began his studies in art as a young man. He studied in Copenhagen until 1777, before settling in Brunnen. He reflects in his works the growing disillusionment with materialistic society that is giving rise to a new appreciation of spirituality.

As the ideals of early Romanticism passes from fashion, he comes to be viewed as an eccentric and melancholy character, out of touch with the times. His patrons have fallen away living in relative poverty and now increasingly dependent on the charity of friends. He often spends long periods of the day and night walking alone through the woods and fields, often beginning his strolls before sunrise...

Minna/ Hans

Minna was born in 1780 in the brothel on Rosenstrasse. She had no last name that she knew of. Her mother Else was a famed beauty and a favourite among those that frequent the red light district in Brunnen. Else adored her daughter and tried to be a good mother. She frequently resolved to leave the brothel and take work somewhere as a domestic.
Shunned by decent society she had no choice but to stay at the brothel. Unaware of the cruelties of the outside world Minna’s childhood was one of relative luxury. Else was showered with gifts by her wealthy patrons and they never wanted for anything. The most generous of which were the clergy members she often ‘entertained’ of an evening. Minna was loved by the women in the brothel and was at her happiest watching them at their toilette, laughing and joking with each other.

When she turned twelve everything started to go wrong.
Gossip was that Fraulein Wilhemine, the madam of the brothel, had decided that Minna was nearly ready for her debut. It was clear to see that Minna had nothing of Else’s beauty or charm. The child was awkward, clumsy and altogether too scrawny. Wilhemine was undeterred and intended to make a return on her investment. The women would take it in turns dressing her up and applying liberal amounts of powder and rouge. Minna enjoyed this newfound attention and the opportunity to play dress up until she came upon her mother weeping one day. When she asked her what was wrong she simply said ‘I couldn’t save you’ and elaborated no further. Alarmed, Minna demanded that Ingrid, one of the younger working girls, tell her exactly what her ‘debut’ would entail. Pitying her, Ingrid tried to explain what was to come as gently as possible. From this moment on, Minna resolved to run away from home.

One night Minna was playing in the kitchen when she heard shrieks from upstairs. Fearing it to be her mother’s voice she hastened to her chambers. She stumbled upon a scene far beyond her comprehension. Her mother crying and tearing at a great beast of a man bearing down on her. She grabbed the nearest object (his latest gift- a heavy gilt hand mirror) and clubbed him over the head. The man died instantly. Else scrambled out from underneath him and held Minna for a long moment. Through tears, Else explained that this man was a very important man in the church- one of the highest ranking bishops. Minna would have to leave the brothel and never come back. Else enlisted Ingrid’s help to find an assortment of leftover men’s clothing and cut off Minna’s long brown hair. Else reasoned she would be safer as a boy in the dark streets of Brunnen, safe from Fraulein Wilhemine and hopefully, safe from the wrath of the church.

Since that fateful day Minna has been masquerading as Hans the street urchin, eventually falling in with the patrons of the Moon and Pfennig. Hans has since been known to tread the boards as of late, rather confusingly as a girl pretending to be a boy who is playing a girl. He has a usefully high voice, ideal for portraying Shakespearean heroines, unusual in a boy of fifteen.

Other People of Brunnen

Ruben Kohl

His first night working for the city guard, Ruben attended the scene of the murder of Tamás Németh and held the man as he died. Though usually unwaveringly diligent and loyal to his employers, Kohl finds he cannot resist keeping any works by Tamás that he confiscates. When he finds a new piece he hears the man's last breath in his ear again, as clearly as he would if he were truly in Kohl's arms once more.

Kohl dreams of Tamás often. His favourite work is 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man'.

Connelly (Das Englander)

Connelly is a drunk and, most probably, a liar. His artistic efforts are desultory, his poetry and spoken word juvenile at best. He does show some dilettante talent with watercolours but, as he is paradoxically fond of saying, “Watercolours? Pah… wankercolours!” He is prone to fits of weeping and abject self-pity. 

Connelly's one contribution to the community at the Moon and Pfennig is the box-like contraption he calls the Talbotype, depite his never having used it to any useful effect. Even then it only came to the attention of landlord Adelfried Wurfel when Das Englander had exhausted his resources with which to pay for his room and vittels (he boarded there at the time). Adelfried, unsure of the value of his latest payment but generally impressed by the evident workmanship of the contraption, stood it in the corner by the big fire and it was some months before Connelly, once again in his cups, explained the purpose more clearly to Kapitän Johann Wilhelm von Archenholz. Das Kapitän became obsessed with the baffling image on heavy paper that Connelly presented to him that night (see below) and he bought the contraption from Adelfried and spirited it away to his lodgings. Some weeks later he made a triumphant return to the Moon and Pfennig and delighted the patronage with his bizarre claims that he could capture any likeness with the one-eyed, heavy timber box that he now dubbed the Heliobscura. Sotted on liebfraumilch and terrible cognac the revellers enjoyed the show, particularly the WHUMPHS of the flashed gunpowder that accompanied every pose and pout before the box. Days later however they were astounded to see the results and ever since the vain and artful have clamoured for further exposures, particularly the ever demonstrative Manfred Krupp with his penchant for mock-violent drama and spectacle. The results of the marvellous Heliobscura adorn the walls of Adelfried's upper salon where the artful and the pretentious hold court and admire their own images. And get really pissed.

Occasionally the provenance of the device, and the picture that fascinates Das Kapitän. become the subject of conversation amongst the patrons. It never lasts for long though, as Connelly and his works are poorly regarded and not considered in any way meritous or mysterious, and their attention and focus generally turn back to themselves in short order.

World-building in RPGs Part Three - Brunnen 1795 (BoL Hack)

My most recent attempt at investing our gang in a detailed setting was the result of a combination of scavenging an older WFRP setting I threw together a few years ago (the threads of which also can be found in Ramsay) and throwing the setting out into our Facebook group page to encourage generation of ideas.

As we had taken on a couple of new players, one only having played D&D and the other a neophyte, I decided to keep things simple from a system persepctive.  I've always been a fan of Simon Washbourne's approach to rules-light RPGs and the system that underpins his best known effort Barbarians of Lemuria in particular lends itself to easy modification, accommodating just about any setting. For reference the original version of those rules is still available for free download here.  If you like what you read please consider investing in the later, more refined edition.

Brunnen - 1795

A star fell from the sky in the east in 1792.  Over the long winter that has followed, the nations of Europe have descended into turmoil. Spies are hunted, noble families cling to power and guard their walls against starving proles, religious orders either ally with corrupt governments or monarchs whilst others rally the peasantry in a move towards conflict, blaming generations of greed and wealth in church and state for the blight and misery of the long winter. Mud mingles with blood, ancient forces are massing, old gods awakening from long slumber to emerge into the dim light and challenge the new.
In 1794, the second year of winter and with famine ravaging the land, The Pogrom of Westphalia saw the remnants of the Holy Roman Empire (the bishops) declare heresy the source of the blight on the land and Lutherans and Calvinists became the targets of the ire of the angry mobs. Tens of thousands were burned, executed, or beaten in the streets of the region's towns and cities.

It is now 1795, the killings have largely subsided and the bishops hold spiritual sway, if not total control of the population centres. 

You are artists, poets, actors, musicians, writers in the Westphalian city of Brunnen.
Since the Pogrom and the investiture of the guardian of the city walls (the infant Baroness Amelie von Gottschalk) into the fold of the Holy Synod of St Ekaterina, your creative arts have been declared a proscribed activity unless specifically sanctioned by the Baroness's steward, Bishop Josef Furcht.
The city guard and watch, under the command of Oberbürgermeister Max Valdemeier, has generally been fairly tolerant of the arts (in fact a couple of sergeants of watch have been known to frequent the Moon and Pfennig, but not so much recently). However the recent death of the Baron (consumption) has left the young Baroness Amelie Von Gottschalk in the thrall of Bishop Josef Furcht, the senior cleric in the city. His grip is tightening and he is becoming more involved in the day to day civil affairs of Brunnen, using the staves and maces of the martial order of the Silent Sisters of St Ekaterina. The Silent Sisters are flagellants that (rumour has it) remove their own tongues to show solidarity with, and devotion to, their patron Saint.
What you hear

The star fell in the east in 1792, ushering in a week long night and, three years later, spring has yet to arrive. The sky is... lower. When the sun does break through it is ill hued. Due to the collapse of many nation states and the closing and barring of city gates against ravening mobs (seeking solace from starvation, murder and worse in the open country) news is parochial and oft contaminated by false rumour and misinformation pedalled by the church in order to maintain control. This allowed for the minds of ordinary city folk to be more susceptible to the twin poisons of fear and hatred. The previously sickly and weakened Holy Roman Empire tacitly allowed, then actively encouraged, the violence that became the Pogrom. Rumours from the east suggest that the peoples of Central Europe may be less lucky. Tales of mass burnings in Warszawa, Odessa an icy wasteland with people frozen in place where they stood, the second and third defenestrations of Prague, scores of children walking into the Oder River in Silesia with hundreds more vanishing in the night.
Voices in the inns and taverns whisper that the great revolutionary army of France, that headed east in the year of the falling star, mostly froze or starved in the wastes. But the remnants, still numbering many tens of thousands, are returning westwards after falling upon their dead comrades for food and now they scourge the lands before them like a pestilence in search of warmer meats.

The Rider
Only last week a rider came from Magdeburg to deliver messages to the Baroness from her cousin. Once laid low by absinthe in the Moon and Pfennig he told tales of glows on the horizon from the razing of the villages along the Elbe. A detachment of mounted jägers sent to reconnoitre failed to return, although one rider did make it back to the gate dead in his saddle, a mess of cuts and with his gizzards tangled in his tack and harness.
All good fodder for the arts.
The rider from Magdeburg, at breakfast and once again in his cups, told of groups of children on the roads always bearing east. Oftimes unaccompanied, but one time following a Gaunt Woman with a red beak and pale eyes, the infants mocked the rider for lacking spirit, or showing compassion when offering them some meagre rations even as their ribs pressed against their skin most apparently and flies fed upon the scurvy sores on their mouths. The Gaunt Woman never spoke, only dragged one foot in front of another in spite of the heavy stones bound to her torn, claw like feet.

The Golden Kugel

By the tannery on Altstrasse is a coaching inn called the Golden Kugel. The landlord, Wolf Ledbetter (cousin to Dirk), has been cultivating mushrooms in his cellars. According to Dirk the cellars reach far down into the foundations of that part of town and Wolf has been spending inordinate lengths of time below ground; far more than would be warranted in the harvesting of fungi. Whilst no one is particularly bronzed these days, Wolf has taken on a particularly sickly pallor, although his girth doesn't seem to be suffering. His forearms are like hams and those infamous knuckles, as walnut-like as ever, remain firmly affixed to hands the span of Michaelmas trenchers.

The Brothel on Rosenstrasse

Connelly, the Englander, hasn't been seen at the Moon and Pfennig for weeks. He came second best to Didier Alencon in a debate regarding the most preeminent schools of poetry in London. After championing the cavalier poets over the metaphysicals he was humiliated by Alencon when challenged to a recitation and found to be unable to enunciate anything at all without sounding like a talentless, monotone mule. Alencon loudly likened him to a simpleton phonetically reading random Latin without a shred of comprehension. Connelly, bested by words and ridiculed roundly by the patronage, sallied forth with fists a-flying yelling his occasional and enigmatic riesling-fuelled war cry 'Victoria Imperatrix'. He succeeded only in stumbling into some candles and igniting his sideburns. He has since retreated to his attic suite at the Brothel on Rosenstrasse where, in between indulging in earthly pleasures, he can be heard hammering and sawing at his latest project.

The (second to) Last House on the Left

It is said that the locals have become to shun the south end of Konigstrasse, particularly the penultimate house, said to be the residence of failed artist Johann Wilhelm von Archenholz. Rumours are abound that the smell of sulphur seeps out of the windows at night and that diabolical mutterings can be heard if close enough to the basement.


In the Chapel of St. Januarius, just off Augustusplatz, it is said that housed in the statue of the Holy mother is one of the original silver shekels given to Judas for his betrayal of our Lord. The legend states that it was found in the fields of Akeldama, during the first crusades in 1099 following the siege of Jerusalem. The shekel was found by Benedict of Peterborough, who following the crusades was found wandering near Brunnen, suffering from an unexplained malady that was rotting him from the insides out. Following his death it was said that the flesh fell off him like liquid, leaving bones as black as tar.

The Krank

Hans Krankel, a well-known thief in Brunnen was overheard in the Golden Kugel last week that he had found something of value in the ruins of the old synagogue in the eastern quarter. As well as a few items of real silver he went on to say that he found something in the basement - a full size clay statue with the name of emet hanging upon its neck. In relation to this revelation, it has been suggested that Loew ben Bezalel, the late 16th century rabbi of Prague, reportedly smuggled his infamous golem out of the city and into Germany to defend the Jews from the onslaught of antisemitic attacks and pogroms.


The poem, 'The Malignancy of Crows' by the late Heinrich von Kleist was said to be based on the strange flight patterns of the birds as they flew over Brunnen. Kleist believed that the shapes they formed could be interpreted and decoded, and indeed he kept several sketch books full of the shapes and patterns. Kleist slowly lost his mind, and was often seen shouting at our avian friends, imploring them to share what they knew. Hans Krankel, the well-known fence, is said to have the books in his possession and will sell if the price is right.

Burnings are back and they’re bigger than ever

The people of Weißhafen do not appear satisfied with the relative lull in carnage since the pogrom. They loathe the people of neighbouring town mill-town Arbeitstadt so much they have reported them to the Emperor's papal inquisition several times, swearing that their town leaders are engaged in dark practices with their cousins and in-laws, the remaining woodspeople that cling to survival in the Teutoburgerwald. They came a-cropper this time. Malachai Essendarmer, the infamous Westphalian Witch Burner, is himself from Arbeitstadt. He tortured and burned 173 Weißhafeners including their Bürgermeister and his entire family.

The Moon and Pfennig

Three key questions:

·        This weekend marks three years since the week-long night. Where were you when the star fell?
·        What have you lost during the long winter that followed?

·        On Samstag night, at the Moon and Pfennig, in the shadow of the glassworks, you will debut your composition/creation. What will you perform/display?

Also on Saturday at the Moon and Pfennig: 
·        Klaus Engel's Progressive Oompah Collective perform their sophomore composition: State of Putrefaction
·        Didier Alencon unveils his latest painting, Gustav Contemplates Redemption in direct riposte to Connelly's watercolour, Satan's Mute Flute. Conflict must ensue.
·        Hirsute Gustav has created some more woodcuts. He really likes woodcuts.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

World-building in RPGs Part Two - Peronell’s Demesne (Dark Heresy)

Pre-dating the Ramsay game and post-dating my initial failed attempt at rebooting our gaming lives via Call of Cthulhu back in 2010 or 11 (entertaining from a boozy social perspective but disastrous as a game), we had  an all too brief dalliance with Dark Heresy, the first RPG based in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.

Packed with amazing artwork and fluff, as you would expect from that setting, Dark Heresy was based mechanically on the old WFRP rules. As a result the characters, supposedly hotshot agents of the sinister and powerful Inquisition, were useless doughballs that couldn't hit a barn door from three feet with a 10 foot pole with a mirror on the end.  That did not stop us having a little bit of fun with the setting though and, as usual, I eschewed published material in favour of establishing my own setting. As any W40k nerd will no doubt spot, I am not steeped in the lore of the setting, but I do like the imagery and the crazy blend of Name of the Rose, Dune and Moorcock that it posits. I present my brief effort here for your entertainment/scorn (artwork nicked from t'interwebs).

Peronell’s Demesne

+++Dark Heresy Game Dossier+++

Peronell’s Demesne - Dateline 815.M41

Calixis Sector

Imperial Tithe world


Produces specialist components for the factory worlds and shipyards of the Calixis Sector and as such is an essential resource for the Imperium’s war machine and particularly Battlefleet Calixis. The Battlefleet maintains a high harbour in the system to protect the export routes and, at times of religious festivals like Saint Drusus day, to oversee the stream of pilgrims that visit the world’s shrine city, St Ekaterina. Ekaterina was the peasant girl long held to be responsible for leading the cleansing of the taint of the Ruinous Powers from the population during the Angevin Crusade. Prior to Peronell’s stewardship the noble houses were corrupt and of impure and weak blood. As such they formed a natural opening for the powers of the warp to force entry from the Empyrean and conduct their foul business. Ekaterina led a peasant’s revolt and overthrew the sickness but died in doing so at the hands of a Daemon from the warp whose name has long been banished from scripture. An Adepta Sororitas edict declared Ekaterina a Saint with the support of the Holy Synod of Tarsus but beatification has been denied thus far leaving St Ekaterina’s level of recognition isolated to the Drusus Marches. The case for canonisation is re-raised every generation or so and has been for centuries but for now Peronell’s Demesne is not considered an Imperial Shrine World and does not receive the same level of control from the Ministorum as a result. Nevertheless the annual Feast of Drusus celebrations can expect to attract in the region of a million pilgrims to the city, many from off-world, and both the Ministorum and the Sisters of Battle maintain colleges and libraries in the holy city. Should the case for full canonisation into the Imperial Cult be successfully made then the name of Peronell will disappear from Imperial charts forever, replaced by that of a peasant girl who lived a meagre 19 years. A colossal edifice, the Sepulchre of St Ekaterina, has been carved from the rock face above the plaza which dominates the city. Atop it, carved from natural formations, stands the likeness of Ekaterina in full Battle Sister armour from where she watches the population for signs of taint.

St Ekaterina is Peronell’s Demesne’s second city. The Capital is Falkenberg, seat of the planet’s noble houses, as well as the Planetary Governor Dell Villicus, and the site of the world’s formidable Glassworks and Foundries. The Adeptus Mechanicus maintains a constant presence in the forges and colleges of the capital as the Tech Priests of Mars oversee the production and quality assurance of numerous components including massive lenses destined for the Adeptus Titanicus. Many noble families send sons and daughters to be schooled by Adeptus colleges or the Schola Progenium as tribute to the God Emperor. For six centuries these tributes have been deemed sufficient but due to the increasing population in recent decades Peronell’s first, and thus far only modern Founding* was raised two years ago. The founding’s inauspicious beginnings (the Commissariat ship Gorgoroth, carrying the regiment’s political officers, suffered a warp accident on exit from the Empyrean killing most on board) have contributed to a reputation for ill-luck for the Peronell First. This label as an ‘unfortunate’ regiment has been further compounded by difficulties in their first theatre of action, the Imperial Pacification of 47 Kapella.

There are no other major settlements on a world that is generally hostile to habitation due to its largely mountainous terrain which, though littered with lakes and fens, has an unusually high salt content in its water and soil in most areas, residue of the once great oceans that millennia ago covered two thirds of the surface. The settlements that do exist reach populations of only a few thousands at the most due to the harsh climate and lack of land-tilling opportunities. Most peasants scratch a living keeping wiry livestock or gathering aquatic life in coracles in the fresh water lakes that occupy some higher valleys and gorges in the unforgiving mountain ranges that encircle the great plateau where the bulk of the habitable land is located. This accounts for only a tenth of the planetary surface. 


Peronell’s Demesne was named for the Imperial Guard Marshall Zif Peronell, saviour of the systems that dot this part of the secure warp route networks connecting the sector capital Scintilla with the forges of the Lathes and Opus Macharius, and the Imperial Shrine Worlds of Sentinel and Maccabeus Quintus. Peronell was granted governorship of this sparsely populated but mineral rich ancient colony following his service under the Lord Militant Drusus himself during the Angevin Crusade of almost 1500 years ago. The world was further settled by the surviving noble houses of this and other systems trampled by the rolling maul between the forces of light and darkness. Peronell governed for 62 years before his death in a warp accident. Since then the position of Governor has been largely an honorary title held by noble families for generations as a reward for good service to the throne. The real administrative power on PD is the Ecclesiarchy on issues of faith and governance and the Adeptus Mechanicus on logistics. Essentially the rule is split down the middle with the Ministorum’s seat in St Ekaterina and the Tech Priests in Falkenberg. Governor Villicus is little more than a figurehead with little real power but a responsibility to represent the noble houses in all dealings with the Imperium and trade with other worlds. The Adeptus Arbites oversee planetary law and order from a distance only concentrating mainly on policing the Imperial Tithe and tackling smuggling operations. This lack of effective governance has contributed to making Peronell’s Demesne a likely home for heresy, sedition and all manner of unsavoury activities. 

The following information is held securely by the clerics of the Sepulchre of St Ekaterina and is only accessible to those with high level (inquisitorial?) clearance:

“There is a surfeit of evidence to suggest that Peronell’s Demesne was settled by human colonists millennia ago and the original colony may even predate the Heresy. The peasantry of the more isolated settlements on the planet display distinct racial features not attributable to the influx of settlers during Peronell’s era. Some brothers have surmised that these ‘indigenes’ are the survivors of a great cataclysm that may have rendered the world largely uninhabitable during the Dark Age of Technology twenty-five millennia ago. This however seems an extreme conclusion when faced with the fact that the Calixis Sector was discovered by the great rogue trader Solomon Haarlock only eleven thousand years ago. Nevertheless, and in spite of censure by the Holy Synod at Tarsus on Scintilla, some brothers have pursued such theories with a passion and have, in the past, involved those from without the Ministorum who sought benefit from such knowledge for reasons known only to themselves and their masters.

In the area known as The Fens there are a number of unusual stone deposits scattered throughout the wetlands. An investigation by Ordo Xenos Inquisitor xxxxxxx of archaeological digs dated 198.M41 uncovered Logician Cult involvement (see Threat Briefing Further Ministorum and Scholastica investigation concluded stone deposits to be natural detritus from retreat of glaciers in pre-history of world and assertion of Inquisitor xxxxxxx that they are crafted menhirs is without foundation or merit.

+++Heresy+++Inquisitor+++Menhirs+++Logician Cult+++



· The Glassworks

The towering edifice of the monumental glassworks dominates the skyline of Falkenberg. The mammoth furnaces and refractories are meticulously overseen by techmagi for any flaws and blessed by administratum clerics to enhance the inert properties of high quality glass components of all sizes, from the humungous dioptric lenses destined for the Titan forges of the Lathes to the bespoke scope faces intricately designed to the specifications demanded by chartist captains and rogue traders. The workings extend deep into the rock foundations of the hills and connect via railway to the Spaceport in the east and the foundries to the west. The southwards slope from the base of the huge walls is the site of the dingy, sprawling workers habs.

· The Foundries

As well as providing the moulds and other equipment for the glassworks the Falkenberg Foundries produce a cornucopia of minor trinkets and implements for export including a range of Munitorum essentials for the Imperial Guard and Battlefleet Calixis. Anything from sextants to shovels are produced in bulk or can be found being traded in the Commercia to prospectors hoping to scratch precious minerals from the river delta beyond the Boondocks. Located on the western edge of Falkenberg the Foundries are linked directly by rail to the mines of the Kilnius Range to the north. To the south the slopes extend down to the delta where centuries of slurry, effluent and slag have polluted the already saline waters that run northwards to the Fens.

· The Spaceport

The constant export of products from the Glassworks and Foundries provides the lifeblood of Peronell’s Demesne and Falkenberg Port is the artery through which the nourishment flows. In ground space alone the berths, warehouses and loading docks account for over a third of Falkenberg’s landmass and the spaceport dominates the bulk of the Falkenberg plateau with the rest of the city extending westward up into the foothills of the Kilnius Range, the exception being the Boondocks to the southwest where the terrain turns marshy and, eventually to wetlands.

· The Commercia

The Commercia is the mercantile heart of Falkenberg and houses the guilds and trading houses that dominate the planetary economy as well as being home to the noble families, including the Governor Villicus whose palatial residence adjoins the Glassworks on the district’s northern limits. The western fringes of the Commercia are the site of the Adeptus Mechanicus collegia and the Administratum offices. The Administratum is a dour, crenellated granite affair that also houses the local branch of the Adeptus Arbites and hosts the local council functions such as the Mercantile Concern, the Council of Arbitration and the Peronell’s Demesne Land Registry. By contrast the colleges of the Tech Priests of Mars are ornate and finely crafted domes of basalt and glass, their beauty defying the populist image of techmagi as half machine themselves. Beyond, and in the shadow of, the glassworks and the Commercia lay the sprawling worker’s habs.

· The Habs

Home to miners, foundry workers, glassworkers and almost all other menial workers in the city, the Habs occupy the lower slopes of the foothills sandwiched between the Foundries to the west and Commercia to the east and sit forever in the shadow of the colossal Glassworks to the north and extend southwards to the sprawling, sewage infested Boondocks. The Habs district is the working muscle of Peronell’s Demesne and, comparatively, allows a reasonable standard of living with schools, clinics and chapels serving the needs of the populace. The markets that form the main social link between the Habs and the Commercia are lively and bustling environments where all classes and professions mix, socialise and trade. Nevertheless the limited diet and inevitably hazardous working conditions in Falkenberg have resulted in poor life expectancy for the average citizen and orphans, gangs and violent crime are commonplace, more so in the darker corners of the Habs and particularly on the southern fringes where the district adjoins the Boondocks.

· The Boondocks

In Falkenberg all of the shit runs downhill and there, at the bottom of the hill, you will find the Boondocks. The majority of the district sits bare metres above the sludge and effluent from the upper city, suspended upon scant foundations of ancient stonework and crafted from lumber that rots rapidly. This decaying and ramshackle timber town is home to the more unfortunate residents of Falkenberg. Those unable to work in the Foundries and Glassworks, those escaping from bondage, the weak, the frail, the predatory and the simply unlucky all settle at the bottom of the heap in the workhouses, brothels and slums from where they can only luck up at the city above them and the spacecraft that go beyond even the highest points of their city. Some residents do hold down jobs, most often working off debts to former masters or merchants on the eastern docks where goods and people are ferried upriver to St Ekaterina or downriver to the sparse settlements of the Southern Reaches. The majority however scrape a living by any means necessary whether by theft, prostitution, murder or worse.

The Mines of the Kilnius Range

Starting a the northern gates of The Foundries a number of snaking passes wind steadily upwards as the land inclines dramatically from foothills to treacherous, mountainous peaks. The barren environment affords life little foothold but in the deep gorges and crevasses toil the men and women of Falkenberg. The range is rich in mineral deposits and has been mined for millennia for its rich seams of essential metals and ores. It is unclear how far back some of the oldest digs date but even now newly dug tunnels from time to time break into ancient galleries. It takes miners of stout heart and mind to breathe such ancient air and not feel the chill touch of the ancients in such aged places. Some surmise that within the tens of thousands of miles of tunnels, of which only a fraction are currently worked, there are old secrets to be found. Some even actively seek such treasures; others have found them and found them not to be treasures at all, but cursed things that cause taint and mutation. All the more reason then to worship Him upon His Golden Throne and seek his protection against the dark things that dwell in the depths of the planet.

The Fens

A vast area of wetlands beginning 130 miles to the north-west of Falkenberg, the Fens are home to a peasantry that survives by scratching an existence from the unforgiving environment and trading blocks of dense high energy peat to the river merchants who supply the industry of Falkenberg and the colleges and chapels of St Ekaterina. Settlements rarely reach population numbers above two hundred and are, for the most part, deeply suspicious of outsiders. The original people of the Fens have a rich folk-lore and mythology revolving around the stones that populate the area and believe that they were placed there by the Emperor himself to ‘gift’ the faithful with good fortune in ill times and to draw a tithe in times of plenty (although few can remember such a time in living memory). Pregnant women will visit the stones at their traditional times of bleeding to offer essence in the belief that not doing so will lead to a build-up of ‘tainted blood’ that will harm their child and lead to defects and misfortune in the child’s later life. Many of the newer generations of Fens-folk, often only a few generations on from Imperial colonists who thought they were buying their way from the crowded hives of Scintilla to a pastoral paradise, have traditionally taken a dim view of such old wives tales. However in recent years this custom has gathered urgency due to an increase in strange, ill-omened or unlucky children dating back some fifteen or more years. Due to the low education levels and intense superstition of these people the phenomenon has not been reported widely and Spayss Bahri has been on the spot to benefit from such unfortunate parents. Bahri runs his Fens operation from an old sky mill in the western reaches of the area where the unfortunate children are corralled before being ‘tested’ for ability and thenceforth shipped onwards either to the Falkenberg workhouse in the case of ungifted children or to the catacombs below St Ekaterina in the case of those ‘awakened’. There they will face an unspeakable fate at the hands of Villicus’s daughter Borgia as they are offered to the gestalt daemon and stitched into its whole.

The Truth of Peronell’s Demesne 

The world is site of an indescribably ancient warp beacon. ‘The Cult’ is feeding child psykers to a bound Daemon, literally stitching them into the bloated ‘body’ of a chaotic, psyker gestalt, the core of which is the cackling daemon, growing increasingly agitated and aroused by the power and suffering of the victims to which it is bound by its insane worshippers. The occurrence of ‘awakened’ humans on PD has historically been incredibly rare with the Black Ships visiting only once or twice per century in the past. This has been changing for the past twenty years, since the gallery was discovered in the Kilnius mines and the stones were reawakened. The standing stones scattered around the world both on the surface and long since buried have slowly been gathering potential and, thanks to the machinations of Bahri and his network, contributing to the rise in birth defects and ‘awakened’ children, particularly amongst the mine workers and Fens-folk. This steady increase is reaching its nadir and will, come the St Drusus Day celebrations, pour over into the Empyrean and provoke a vicious warp storm. The Cult seek communion at all costs with the Ruinous Powers and will gladly see the flesh and minds of millions melt and run into corruption and madness in order to accomplish their goal.