Thursday, 30 May 2013

[actual play] Iron Kingdoms - Adamantine Will

Episode 1 : The Beast of Gedon - Part 4

Darcey ran from the Waal manor house and mounted her horse, urging the beast back to the town. She would get Gregore and then together join the others. She only hoped that they would reach them in time.

Out in the woods, Brother Eckert and Hurst, along with their group of a dozen town watchmen, peered through the gloom of the trees. They could see the hunting lodge and the that there were a few guards, hunters, circling it. The building was 3 stories tall, and was old and covered in vines and creepers. A little light escaped the windows, and at the front there was a balcony from which two men kept watch.

Hurst sneaked forward to the stable, and hid in a haystack. He had to be careful of not leaving foot prints in the snow, and to stop the steam from rising from his mask. He watched as one of the guards walked by. Hurst shifted, and his leather armour creaked. The guard turned, and with sword drawn and pistol ready called out ‘Who’s there? Show your self.’

Eckert had sent half of the watch about the other side of the lodge, and seeing the trouble he threw a stone to distract the guard. It didn’t work.

There was a bang, and the guard stumbled back from the stable, gripping his shoulder. He fired back, hitting nothing but wood and stone. The fight had begun.

In short order the fight had begun. Under a hail of gunfire Hurst and Eckert ran forward to the main doors of the manor house. The fight had also got the attention of Darcey and Gregore, who heard the gunshot echo through the forest. They arrived in the clearing and dismounted, with Darcey sprinting to aid her fellows. Gregore also stormed forward, with musket shot impacting his plate armour. But it held, for Brother Eckert had invoked the holy protection of Morrow.

The group burst in through the doors. Before them was a main hall and sweeping staircase. Musket shot fired down upon them, splintering wood and stone. Eckert launched forth at the nearest man, and the two parried and circled, as the priest punished him with blows from his staff of office. Hurst and Darcey traded shot with another, with Hurst rushing forward with his dagger, pressing it into the man’s chest. There were still huntsman upon on the balcony, firing down upon them. Gregore stormed forward, letting out a thunderous call, a challenge for one on one combat. He stood at the top of the staircase, and hammer his sword against his breast plate. The hunters, fearful of this warrior, turned their guns upon him. In short order the huntsmen were defeated. Eckert tended to Hursts wounds, with the Telgesh runes blossoming out from Eckert’s hands.

There was a howl from above, from somewhere in the room above. The floorboards creaked and something padded down the steps. Gregore stood his ground as the beast charged him, smashing him back. The twin heads of the Argus snapped at him, clamping on steel and flesh. Gregore smashed down with his great sword, hammering the beast at it’s legs with controlled strikes. Darcey also waded into the fight, swinging her mace into it’s head. The Argus fought back, with one head savagely crunching down on Darcey’s arm. Gregore saw his chance and pummeled the beast again and again, and finally slew the creature. Eckert turned his healing touch to Darcey, stabilizing the bleeding.

With the beast dead Hurst took some fur samples and then together the group headed upstairs. There in the room was the Alderman’s daughter, bound and gagged. She was in the centre of a circle of candles. Gregore rushed forward to release her, but Darcey and Hurst were quicker witted, and spotted her draw a dagger from her robes, and before she had a chance to slide it between the plate armour of Gregore’s Darcey had already fired her pistol at the girl, maiming her arm.

Gregore rebound the girl, and from above, in the loft, they saw the gleaming mask of Brother Valenor. He explained that they were too late to save anyone now. The priest climbed down the ladder, and presented his hands for binding. He whispered to Gregore, his tainted words effecting his mind, suggesting that the others were liars and the real heretics. But Greogre resisted and they removed his mask and gagged him.

Outside, the fight over, and the copies of the Red Talon now a burning pile, and the printing press ruined, the group reflected on what had happened. The priest had surely gone mad and was driven by his jealousy of his brother, and had found a way, possibly similar to that used by the druids, to change his brother into the creature. The sister was also insane. The two would be taken to Corvis and there they would be imprisoned and more than likely executed for their crimes. The captain of the soldiers who had been trying to hunt the beast, he was now in charge of the town for the time being. In the night sky the moons of Calder and Laris shown down. The red moon casting a baleful light over the lodge.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

[Review] Terraclips Scenery - Buildings of Malifaux

Terraclips Scenery - Buildings of Malifaux - Review

So as you can tell from my recent posts that I have been running the Iron Kingdoms RPG by Privateer Press. And so far that game has been a blast. The first session I ran without miniatures. But for the second session we used them. And guess what. Combat is damned quick with minis. It's a lot easier and fortunately, the IKRPG rules are fast and furious - no surprise given the wargames Hordes and Warmachine are also fast paced games.

Now for some time I have also been aware of the Malifaux game, and the scenery for it. And I had spotted some of the sets in the FLGS. Well I took the plunge and got a set. The Buildings of Malifaux.

The Terraclips system, which this is set is from, consists of the Buildings of Malifaux, Streets of Malifaux, Sewers of Malifaux, and 3 more sets not for Malifaux but market for more general rpgs and wargames. The buildings are popped out from A3 card that is of a good thick stock. The images on the cards are excellent and the card is varnished in a matt varnish, that gives a good tactile feel. Doors are popped out and can stand on their own, and there are also ladders and steps to put together. All pieces are double sided, meaning you can represent different floor and roof types, and walls are decorated to represent the inside and outside of a building. There are different wall lengths, floor sizes (3 inch square, 6 inch square), and various other pieces to create complete buildings that have complex interlocking of roofs. There are also pieces for walkways/balconies.

The floors themselves also have a subtle grid system marked upon them, and this means that it should not really influence how you use these buildings in games where premeasuring is not allowed. The walls are tall enough for a 32 mm figure to stand inside.

The buidlings use a system of clips - bought separately. You get flat pieces (I), corner pieces (L) and t shaped pieces (T). So with these you can clip the walls and  floors together. The result - with clever use of the clips - is a sturdy building. Different stories of a building are not clipped together. But the clips do have grooves that mean that they sit on top of walls and so prevent a story sliding away. Everything easily unclips again. It is impossible to use everything in the box though since the extra pieces are so you can change the layout and accommodate it properly. The makers really have thought well about this set.

With one set of scenery, and one set of clips, a good amount of buildings can be made. I would say you can put together 6 buildings of different sizes. Maybe more. Compared to other card based scenery, it is far easier to put together than the stuff that came with the Mordheim boxed game, and more sturdy than the Necromunda card scenery from 16 years back. Or you can easily make one big building. I would highly recommend these sets for those of you that want good rpg scenery, or for wargames, that flat packs. It's not cheap mind you. £60 for a set and the clips. But then the clips you can use as you see fit. I would eventually like to have 2 sets of the buildings and 1 of the Streets of Malifaux set, as then I think I would have the perfect set to represent the streets of the city of Corvis in Iron Kingdoms.

[actual play] Iron Kingdoms - Adamantine Will

Iron Kingdoms - Adamantine Will

Episode 1 : The Beast of Gedon - Part 3

In the clearing the troupe sat under a tent with the other gentry of the town and ate a luncheon of cured meats and pickled vegetables. The Alchemist, Hurst, attended to Brother Eckert’s wounds, using some prepared bandages to help bind flesh and staunch bleeding. The priest of Morrow was already feeling better.

The others were watching the hunters and nobles. Hurst had spotted one man was carrying what looked like a copy of the book they had been sent to destroy - the Psalms of Ekris, or at least their distorted version - the Red Talon of Menoth. Hurst tried to follow the hunter but he was less than subtle. Darcey was watching the young poet and the Alderman’s daughter. She did not seem too distressed, while the poet had been told off by his father, the young woman had been let off lightly. The poet, angered, explained to Darcey how his father had often spoken of his disappointment in him, and that he would rather have a better son, rather than let him inherit everything. Darcey also heard Brother Valenor speak to his sister. Darcey could only make out what the young woman said - that tonight would be the best time. Darcey sensed something sinister was going on.

The hunters and townsfolk and the troupe return to Gedon, and to the largest inn, The Troll Gate. The hunting lodge was filled with the trophies of hunting. There were antlers, horns, skulls, and even the skulls of some rare animals from the Thornwoods. There was much merriment and drinking and singing, as outside the snow drifted down. There was some conversation by Brother Eckert as he tried to find out more about the faiths and beliefs of the region. He listened to the folklore, the tales of hags, of ghost and of the strange fae that had been rumoured to haunt the woods. He also listened to what little the the townsfolk knew of the Blackclad druids.

Darcey spotted in the back of the inn, behind the stairs, the town’s banker, and the Alderman’s wife. The two of them were being particularly amorous, and together they headed out of the back of the the inn. Hurst was also watching, and followed them.

Outside was frigid, but it seemed the Alder Lady, and her lover, did not care. They were drinking and laughing in the storeroom. Hurst crept forward to listen some more, when he heard a blood curdling cry of pain and the terrified screams of the woman. Hurst watched as something dragged the banker away. Taking the opportunity, Hurst threw a concussion grenade, stunning the beast. With the sound of the commotion Eckert and Darcey ran out of the inn to find out what was going on. More grenades were thrown, and guns fired. The wolf, an Argus, unleashed a skull splitting bark at Hurst, but it failed to stop the Alchemist. Darcey threw a cinder bomb, startling the creature, and setting it ablaze, causing it to flee into the night.

Hurst pursued it, and followed it as well as being soon joined in his pursuit by a group of town watchmen. After tending to the injured banker, and calling on his faith healing, Eckert and more men had caught up with Hurst and his tracking party. Along the way, as they headed to the woods, they found a curious item on a falling tree trunk. It was a pendant and had fur on it. It was a star of Morrow, and had the Waal family name on the back of it. The group then continued into the woods.

Darcey had ridden from the inn to the Wall manor house. There were only a few rooms with light coming from the windows. She sneaked into the manor house via the kitchen, using her hidden wrist blade to break the locks. She crept through the house, and then upstairs. She noted the large family portrait on the wall. It showed the Waals. The Alderman, his wife, their baby daughter, Valenor, and their other son, who was dressed in the garb of a priest of Morrow.

Darcey continued up the stairs and found the Alderman’s room. She looked under the door and was sure there was alight on in there and that someone was on the floor. She broke in and found the Alderman, dying. He has a knife in his chest and was coughing up blood. He looked at Darcey, ‘He took my daughter’. And just as he passed away he looked at Darcey again, as if looking at his own daughter.

Darcey continued searching the room, and the daughter’s room. She found nothing and went down into the basement. There she searched around in the gloom. She turned and dodged just in time as one of the servants of the house attacked her with a dagger. The man screamed, ‘Die and seek retribution before the true god!’. Darcey spun about and smashed her mace into the man’s jaw, almost killing him. Darcey checked his body and found a copy of the Red Talon, and in the man’s chamber there was a small altar, and in the book a map that led into the forest.

In the woods, Eckert and Hurst were still following the tracks of the beast. It then occured to Hurst that he knew who’s star of Morrow it was, as he recalled the painting he had seen the other night. He also realised that they must be somewhere at the epicentre of all the murders. And in the gloom, aided by his blessing, Eckert see in the dark, and make out the shape of a hunting lodge.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

[actual play] Iron Kingdoms - Adamantine Will

Episode 1 : The Beast of Gedon - Part 2

The carriage trundled down the muddy road to Gedon. The town in the dying daylight was blanketed in fog, with only light from the houses and the church of Morrow to guide the carriage in. The streets of the town were muddy and townsfolk and those from the villages were taking carts back from the market.
The carriage passed through the mud caked town centre, and up toward the Gedon manor house, which was where the Alderman of the town and the lands made his home. The house was 3 stories tall, and was a grey stone building, built up upon the old hunting lodge that stood there during the Thousand Cities period. The gravel courtyard had many more carriages sat in waiting and from within there was the sound of music and laughter.
The Alderman, Sir Terron Waal, came out to greet the church investigators. He was joined by his wife, Jeuruse, and his daughter. He of course wore the regal blue of Cygnar. He offered the party to stay at his manor as they sought the truth behind the beast of Gedon.
The party was brought into the house, finding the main hall festooned with all manner of hunting trophies. They had the coats and gear collected, and their boots cleaned, and then presented to the other gentry of the township. In the drawing room many men and ladies were gathered talking. Amongst them was the Captain Hornbeck, and another lady played the harpsichord. Once introductions were done they party was free to speak to others. Investigator Beck Hurst walked amongst the crowd and listened to their conversations. Sitting with the ladies of the house, Darcey Dimiani, who was offered the utmost respect as a noble of Llael - and who outranked many of those present - listened to the superstitions of the older ladies. She heard how tonight was a night of ill omen, for Calder hung in the sky almost full, and that Laris was also a pregnant moon and almost blood red. Artis also sat low on the horizon, and shone a pale green. The elder lady warned the younger women to stay indoors, and to not stray with any man. Darcey, being able to speak to other women as part of her vow, offered more reason, and told the younger ladies of age a simple prayer to Morrow, and how to bind together a small bouquet of herbs, such as lavender, angelica, basil and carnations, which would ward off evil forces.
Gregore spoke to the soldiers who were present. They explained that they had in the last year seen the beast once. That is had two heads, and that its howl chilled the heart. They claimed it was as big as a man, and that it seemed impervious to gunfire, and that it only killed on the full moon of Calder. They also spoke that old legends told of such beasts being weak to silver.
Brother Eckert sat and listened to the Alderman, his wife, the local banker, and their son, the Menite priest, Valenor. Valenor wore the white robes of the old faith of Menoth, and his face was covered by the enclosing mask of bronze, save for the cross shape slit. They spoke of the beast, and Valenor explained how it was clearly the work of the Blackclad druids, the foul worshippers of the Wurm. He would see all their kind incinerated. His far called for calm, as this beast may not be their doing, and that those druids were still men, regardless of their faith.

With the night drawing on they feasted. The local poet read some of his latest work, only to be interrupted by a soldier arriving with dire news. Another villager had been found dead along the Woodsman road.
The troupe, with the Alderman, Captain Hornbeck, and Valenor, rode out to find the body. Darcey remained behind to see what else they could learn.
After riding through the town and almost into the woods they found a dozen soldier who guarded the body. Investigator Hurst immediately set to work, asking if the body had been moved. He noted the large paw prints, and the size of the bits. This was a big wolf, with two heads apparently. He looked over the dead man and opened his black leather bag filled with the alchemical equipment of his business. He was able to give an estimate the time of death. He asked that the body was taken and stored in the cellar for further examination. Valenor was most disgusted by this, asking that the body be burnt to save the town from the restless dead.
Meanwhile in the manor house, Darcey was in the chapel, praying to Morrow, but she had decided to lurk in the chapel, allowing her to watch who else made use of it. She watched as the Alderman's wife came in to pray, and then was approached, scooped up, and passionately kissed by the town banker. It was scandalous, and Darcey listened to them as the sought to find somewhere private to continue their adulterous affair.
When the other's returned it was a relief to Darcey. She has been approached by the poet, when had taken a shine to her, offered her a flower, and sought to impress her with his poems. Hearing the others return, Darcey was able to leave the poet without hurting his feelings him.

In the morning, Brother Eckert lead a small prayer in the chapel, attended by Darcey and Hurst, and those others of who had stayed at the manor house. Hurst then went to look at the body some more, and to also concoct more powder for a concussion grenade. On the body he found traces of wolf hair, but was unable to make much sense of it. The bites looked real enough. And the description of the soldiers and the bits fitted that of a Argus, a strange two headed wolf. But could that be the case? Hurst had already taken to suspecting the Menite priest.

Later that day they all rode with the Alderman and his men to the north where a large hunt had gathered. Many of the gentry of the land and hunters were ready to try and flush the beast out, and kill it. The assumption was that it was a wolf.
As the day progressed, wolves were heard howling as they fled the hunters, only to be killed in their droves by those armed with rifles who had ambushed them. Hearing a scream for help the troupe rode to see what was wrong. Far away from the hunt they came to a clearing and some ruins, and there on top was the poet and the Alderman's daughter, fending off 5 very large wolves. The troupe went to aide them. Darcey levelled her rifle and fired, and felling on beast as the shot splintered its skull. In response another wolf charged at Darcey. Its gnashing teeth tearing into her. Gregore leapt to her aide and drew his great sword down onto its back, rending flesh and fur, and then struck twice more, and severed the creature head from its neck. The other wolves darted into cover, as Hurst ran through the tree line, taking aime and firing his pistol. His shot struck true and another of the large wolves collapsed. Brother Eckert did the same, but on the other side of the clearing. He invoked Morrow's name, and from his staff leapt a blinding flash of light that scorched the largest of the wolves. The beast howled in pain and ran for the holy man.
Darcey, seeing her chance, mounted her horse and rode forth and had the two youngsters mount her horse. The large wolf tore at Eckert, taking the priest into its jaws and shaking him about like a rag doll. Gregore again ran to his aide, and hacked away at the wolf with his sword, and decapitated the beast. The last wolf was then soon killed by the combined power of Eckert and Hurst.
With the two youngster rescued and berated for coming to the hunt, they rode back to the hunting party, where they were thanked and rewarded for their bravery and help.
The investigators watched as wolf upon wolf was heaped in a large pile. Their corpses ready for skinning. The wolves they had killed were also added to the collection, being that they were fine examples of Dusk Wolves. But was the Beast of Gedon dead?

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The God Machine Chronicles - Review

The God Machine Chronicles - Review

9 years ago White Wolf did something that caused controversy - they ended the World of Darkness and restarted it, with fresh new plots and refreshed approaches to the themes. The first significant change of course was that the rules for the World of Darkness were revised and placed in a single core book, that would be used for all supernatural characters in future. This 'blue book' would mean that at a base level all creature types would have a common base of reference for power balance and crossover, but it would also mean that we had a core set of rules for playing just normal human characters.
Since then we have had numerous setting books, covering vampires, werewolves, mages, created humans, mummies, changelings, hunters, and ghostly sin-eaters. And in that time we have also seen numerous variations on different parts of the system, and in particular the morality system and variations of ephemeral beings, and numerous ways to modify dice pools.
So it is of no surprise that the time has come for a revision of the New World of Darkness core rules. Many games in the same time period can have 2 or 3 editions, so that just shows how robust the original New World of Darkness rules were. They accommodated a number of creature types, and provided a great common baseline from which all other settings were derived.
The God Machine Chronicles book is two parts. The first is the God Machine Chronicle itself. And the last part of the book are the core World of Darkness revisions. These revisions are available for free which is great.
The God Machine Chronicle provides a default setting to use in a chronicle that is suitable for mortal characters. We get insight into the machinations of the God Machine, a cosmic horror that slowly maneuvers the world to it's own occult purpose. It's agents are humans, strange corruptions of the laws of reality, machine like people, and angels (angel being a broad term here - agents that work for this god based on instructions they are given). The true nature and intent of the God Machine is never given in the book, just the theme and mood, since any number of explanations could be valid.
To support these chronicles we are given plenty of ideas for how characters can get involved in these plots, and we are also given explanations of how the God Machine goes about manipulating the world, creating infrastructures to gathering, nurture, create and hide it's plans. Based upon these ideas we are then given a series of 20 or so example stories. These are not fully fledged Storyteller Adventure System (SAS) descriptions, but more condensed descriptions that explain the concept of the story, the types of characters involved, and the reason for why the event are happening. We are also given explanations for how these stories would influence future stories, depending upon the success of the player characters.
Given these story examples we are then given story tracks. These are 5 or so of these stories that are tied together to give a chronicle. Each track assumes player characters follow a certain setup (they are all medical professionals, they all work at a school etc), and each track aims to tell a story for a particular game tier. Tiers were introduced in Hunter the Vigil and return in God Machine Chronicles with a description for Tier 4 - Cosmic Level chronicles. Each Tier, street, city, national, cosmic, just gives us an idea for the scope of the game and the importance of the changes the players and the antagonists will make.
Overall the God Machine Chronicles provides a perfect framework for a chronicle that is suitable for telling stories for mortal characters, emulating things like The X Files, Fringe, Lost, Millennium, The Burning Zone, and Cthulhu.

Now the rules.

The rules still work essentially the same, but with some important changes to Morality, Combat, Experience, and the introduction of the concept of Conditions and Tilts.
Morality is gone. The Victorian concept of madness being linked to morality is abandoned, and now we have something far more nuanced and representative of how people's life experiences can make them more or less able to cope with the horrors of the world. This is Integrity. Integrity now relies on the players creating a list of important moral perspectives for their characters. This provides a base for how they respond to actions like violence, crime, death and unspeakable horrors. A war veteran is of course going to be more calm and resolute in the face of death than a college graduate. This then means that characters have their own particular 'Breaking Points' that cause the degradation of Integrity. But, all characters, no matter how jaded, will still see the action of killing a person, or the intent to kill, as a breaking point. Of course virtues, vices, and situation modifiers can make it harder or easier to pass the breaking point, and resist degeneration. It is then plain to see that Integrity better models Post Traumatic Stress, that can be triggered by our moral choices. Hence the change in name.
Of course degeneration of Integrity does not inflict derangements. Those are now conditions, and are invoked based upon the judgement of the player and Storyteller.
Conditions are similar to things we have seen in games like FATE. They are factors that modify characters, and have associated modifiers to how one should role play, and to dice pools, but also associated clauses that inform us how the condition can be ended. Conditions can be positive things, or negative things. So for instance, if your character sees a loved one murdered they take the condition of Grief Stricken. This may induce certain modifiers. So that the character is less able to be sociable, and may have bouts of grief induced by further stress. Resolution of this condition could leading to the condition being removed, or just moving to a lesser version of the condition, like Mourning. The book contains a number of these conditions to use in play.
Finally experience has been changed. Experience points are broken down into beats. 5 beats is equal to one experience point. Beats are earned in the game via a number of means. You gain them for filling character aspirations (these being things that are meaningful, achievable in playing through the chronicle, and are chosen for each player character and modified as the game progresses), the resolution of conditions (both positive and negative), if the player opts to turn a failure into a Dramatic Failure (the only way for this to occur now), the character being reduced to their last health boxes, good roleplaying, and of course the end of a session. So it is clear that all this points are earned by players who are proactive - they take risks, push the story forward, and even do things that cost them positive bonuses they may have acquired as conditions.
Of course there is a lot more in God Machine Chronicles that what I have spoken about here. We have revised rules for spirits, ghosts, and also rules for angels. We have all new merits and fighting style rules (extra actions now a thing of the past), and a host of supernatural abilities for mortals (the sort of things seen in Second Sight). And to top it off we have excellent art and fiction throughout - including some of Samuel Araya’s best work to date.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Upcoming stuff

So Darker Days #47 has been recorded, with an interview with Matt McElroy about DTRPG and One Book Shelf, plus we did a retrospective on Vampire the Masquerade 20th anniversary edition, and we reviewed God Machine Chronicles.

Next up will be the written reviews for God Machine Chronicles and Convention Book: Progentitors that will appear here.

I also have 2 new Darklings to record, covering Fading Suns, and also looking at how the Vampire the Dark Ages material, in conjunction with Vampire the Requiem, can be used to created a Requiem game set in the Dark Ages.

Other stuff includes more Iron Kingdoms, and hopefully an interview and look at Unhallowed Metropolis.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

[actual play] Iron Kingdoms

Iron Kingdoms - Adamantine Will

Episode 1 : The Beast of Gedon - Part 1

The train powered its way through the winding mountain passes that cut through the Upper Wyrmwall mountains. The train briefly stopped in the high altitudes at a small stop to for more water. At this mountain side town the travelling party of the Order of Illumination. Sat outside one of the two inns, overlooking the sweeping landscape and green fields with grazing cattle, the party was taking a break and enjoying a local meal. Brother Eckert Talbot, a wiry middle aged man, sat drinking in the landscape, contemplating his journey, his life, his place in life and his faith. He prayed that Morrow would bring him through and allow him to repent his sins.
Sat next to the priest was the regal looking Darcey Dimiani. Daughter of the Dimiani family of Llael, and daughter of the Earl of the Dimiani House, land holders of Voxsauny, and the city of Rhydden. She wore a voluminous Robe d’Llaelese, a fashionable dress of petticoats and finest cloth from Merywyn. She sat picking at her food, a plate of finest beef, local root vegetables, and a glass of the wine, her own that she buys that comes from Llael. She did not seem impressed by the local drink that had been served - fermented goats milk. She absent mindedly played with a mechanical puzzle box. Her hair was a dark auburn and wavy and was waist length, but tied back to stop the wind making a mess of it.
Also sat at the table was the roguish looking Beck Hurst. His durable leather coat was  unbuttoned to make it more comfortable to sit. He sat eating, taking his time tasting the food and making notes. His hands were gloved, to hide the burns he had acquired as a apprentice in Corvis. He swilled the local alcohol in his mouth, trying hard to work out all the components and the adequate words to describe the concoction.
Finally there was Gregore MacLuken. He was in his typical jerkin and trousers, wolfing down the food and starting on a second serving of goat meat pie. He seemed happy to be enjoying the ride and to be out of his plate armour.
Soon it was time to board the train once more. The train had many carriages, and the witch hunters had their own private cabin. Other cabins carried livestock, jacks, soldiers, cargo, and other travellers. With a blast of steam and a whistle the train pushed on to Fharin.
At Fharin, the smog blanketed city, the party switched to a horse drawn carriage, and continued on towards Fort Falk and then North to Corvis.

The city walls of Corvis loomed, and the carriage passed through the south gate. Here they changed carriage and were taken through the winding streets, and over the web of bridges, to the Ecclesiarchal district. Here dominating the city stood the imposing Cathedral of Corvis. The towering baroque spires loomed over the small city houses. Freshly cut stone from the recent rebuilding of the cathedral was already beginning to become stained by soot and filth. Outside in the main square, surrounded by looming figures of the Ascendants and venerable tombs, the Prelate, Father Dumas, came to greet the new arrivals. The bald crowned priest looked in his 60s, but he was far younger. He looked over the papers of the witch hunters and informed them that quarters for them had been prepared within monastery and nunnery. Darcey said little, as Brother Talbot explained that she had taken a vow of silence, and so she would never speak on first meetings. Dumas proceeded to invite them to dinner that evening so that they may get a good start for the next day as they travel to Gedon. As he left a young woman in white with jet black hair ran from behind a statue to join him.

With the chance to explore the ‘City of Ghosts’ the party split up. Beck headed to the University of Corvis, and to visit his mentor, the now reclusive and somewhat eccentric, Dr Reynard Hadley. The sat and caught up with each other, as Reynard tended to his home built coffee bean roaster, preparing a batch of new beans from Zu.
For Gregore the city was something of a novelty, and so he lost himself in the busy streets and passed by the arena to watch a fight between a Ogrun and a Trollkin.
Brother Talbot meanwhile remained at the Cathedral, speaking with Father Dumas about matter of faith and the troubles in Gedon. Apparently since the last message to Caspia, 3 more deaths had happened in the area in and around Gedon. Apparently there is also the issue of a heretical text being found in the region and that has made its way to Corvis - the Psalms of Ekris. Apparently the book spoke of the deception of Morrow and how true faith is found within following the faith of Menoth. Dumas was surprised by the construction of the book, and the subversion of the new and old faiths. To more astute readers the book is in fact promoting self strength and veneration over others.
In the markets of Corvis, Darcy went looking for a gift for the middle brother of her 3 older brothers. She had gobbers trying to get her to buy pocket watches and shoes, and she witnessed a brave man shouting down a Trollkin as they argued over the price of a cow. She eventually settled on getting a leather bound journal that bore her brother’s initials.

That evening the troupe enjoyed their meal with Father Dumas, and were joined by the same girl they had seen earlier. Alexia, his niece. They spoke some more about the recent events in Corvis and Caspia, and the troubles with the Menites of Sul.

The next morning the group awoke, with many finding their doors to their rooms sealed shut. Beck had played a prank - he’d glued them in. Darcy knotted her sheets together and climbed of the window, while the others either battered their door down or called for help. Beck sat out in the courtyard laughing, with the others looking on unimpressed. Their carriage awaited and took them out west and towards the Thornwoods. A half day travel through the rolling, foggy lands of ancient Morrhd, and to Gedon and the Gedon woods. The church of Gedon could be seen in the distance, and they had passed 2 villages on the way, and the people living in these looked like tired, frightful country people.

There was cries from the nearby field, and Gregore lept from the carriage and was followed by the others. They came upon a pair of villagers being beaten by 4 men. When asked why the violence was being inflicted upon them the attackers told their visitors to either fuck of or show some proper credentials. They claimed their victims were thieves and gypsies. When it was clear words were not going to make a difference, Darcey, who was had been travelling in her leather armour, pulled her knife and threw it at one of the men, hoping to disarm him. Gregore stood his ground, taking a strike to the head, before disarming the man with his expert swordsmanship. Brother Talbot rushed to the aid of those who had been beaten, and tried to stood the man ready to lay another blow with his club. Beck drew a concussion grenade and hurled it, knocking two of the men to the ground, allowing Darcey the opportunity to rush in knockout one of the men with her club. The attackers soon gave up, and they were all soon joined by Captain Dexer Hornbeck. The portly captain called for a stop of the fighting. He explained that the men were soldiers, disguised as villagers, as a way to tempt the beast of Gedon out and to set traps. They had left their duties, and regardless of the accusations, the people they had beaten had taken enough punishment, criminal or not. He asked for the forgiveness of Brother Talbot, and then took his men away while ordering others of his soldier to attend to the injured. He then asked that they attend the Alderman’s manor this evening for dinner so that they may discuss with the other Reeves the nature of the beast.