Followers

18 March, 2020

Days & Delays

Hi guys, just a quickie to let anyone following along with our game play stories know, there will be a delay with our next post, until further notice. With everything on `lock down` here and with Greg too, its hard to focus and put out inspired material. So watch this space.. and we shall return shortly.

Meanwhile the assault and siege on Tegel Manor will have to wait a little longer.


...and the Phoenix Knights are assembling and setting up camp near the estate and planning their next move. The Wormriders are deep into their thickening plot and will continue their own intrepid adventures, all in good time.



Cheers Guys


Stevie, Hils, Tarot, and Greg.

05 March, 2020

Two Parts of a Story


Long ago I was asked to put together a story for Jez over at his blog Carrion Crows Buffet. One character there always stuck out in my mind, and even at the time I can remember thinking how cool it would be to bring this over to our Waterdeep game; and as Jez never took the story further, I thought it a shame not to bring it back and update it to our needs. And so much like shared stories that come about from D&D game publication modules {where each DM uses the same material, but alters it to suit the player group} I have done the same here, and changed and re-written it, so it now fits neatly into our games. The rules for this story version were actually originally conceived in a live game session, and were played out using a DM Emulator.. a little bit like Mythic, but written by Stevie.


 

The Vicious Match Girl
 
 

It was the 3rd day of the First Ten Day of Marpenoth, and dreadfully cold for the time of year, as a stiff breeze and a biting chill wind swept in across the deep harbour. A surprise snow fall from earlier in the day, although it had not settled, quickly turned the darkening night into a frosty lace of foreboding.




In the cold and the darkness, there walked along the street a poor little girl, bareheaded and with no shoes on her feet. When she had left home she had slippers on, it is true, but they were much too large for her feet. Her mother had previously used those slippers and passed them down to her daughter; but the poor little girl lost them running across the street when two carriages passed quickly by. barely missing the child in their haste. When she looked for them, one was not to be found, and a boy grabbed the other and ran away with it. So on through the streets the little girl walked, with her bare feet that were red and blue with lack of circulation. 


In an old apron that she wore she had bundles of matches and also carried a bundle in her hand. But no one had bought so much as a bunch all long day and no one had given her even a copper nib.


Poor little girl! Shivering with cold and hunger she crept along, feeling miserable beyond compare.



The snowflakes fell on her long hair, which hung in pretty curls about her neck, but she did not think of her beauty or of the cold. Lights shone from every window, and she could smell the beautiful aroma of roasting meats and half baked stews being cooked in all the houses… for The Sea Maiden's festivities were well underway in their day and night long revelries. She could not bear to think about it. Honey roast hams, and sizzling rolled mops of fish, layered spiced potato and sausage pie, pigs in blankets for the wealthy, along with game pie, pork pie, pheasant and rabbit, liver pâté and a host of other succulent rich savouries.




In a corner between two houses on the Dock Ward, she sat down and rested. She tucked her little feet in underneath herself, but still she grew colder and colder. She did not dare to go home, as she had not sold any matches and could not bring any money. Her father would certainly not be pleased and would be sure to beat her. Besides, it was cold enough at home, as they had only a roof above them and that was full of holes.

 

Now her little hands were nearly frozen with cold. She thought that maybe a match might warm her fingers if she lit it, so at last she drew one out. She struck it: and oooh! How it blazed and burned! It gave out a warm, bright flame like a little candle, as she held her hands over it. A wonderful little light it was. It really seemed to the little girl as though she sat in front of a great iron stove with a lovely fire inside.



So nicely it burned that the little girl stretched out her feet to warm them. How comfortable she was! But then the flame went out, the stove vanished, and nothing remained but the little burned match in her hand... and the night pressing in all around.


She rubbed another match against the wall. It burned brightly, and where the light fell on the wall she imagined she could suddenly see right through it into the room beyond. A snow-white cloth was spread upon the table.. on which beautiful china plates were laid, while a stuffed roast goose cooked away and gave off a most delicious smell. And what was more delightful still, and wonderful to behold, the goose jumped from the dish, with knife and fork still in its breast, and waddled along the floor straight towards the little girl.



But the match went out then, and nothing was left to her but the thick, damp wall.


She lit another match. And now she was under a most beautiful `elf-laid` parkland tree, larger and far more prettily decorated than the one she had seen through the glass doors at the rich merchant’s house. Hundreds of candles were burning on the green branches, and little painted mechanical figures, like she had seen in shop windows, looked down on her. The child stretched out her hands to them, but then the match went out.


From the distance in the darkness there came a mischievous cackle. But when the girl strained to look – there was no one there: only the shadows and the night.




Still, looking up along the arch of the alleyway, to the market square and the lights of the big public elf-laid tree which burned higher and higher into the sky… she saw one candle light fall from the branch, forming a long trail of fire.

 


“Now someone is dying,” murmured the child softly, for her grandmother, the person who had loved her the most, and who was now dead, had told her that whenever a star falls.. a soul goes to Nagash.


She struck yet another match against the wall. It lit and in its brightness her dear old grandmother appeared before her, beaming love and kindness.


“Oh, grandmother,” cried the child, “take me with you. I know you will go away when the match burns out. You will vanish, like the warm stove, the splendid feast and the beautiful Elven tree.” But when the match died away, only an evil cackle remained, quite close by this time.


The girl lit another match and allowed its heat to fill her soul with radiant warmth. But when the flame went out the girl could feel cold breath on her neck, and fingers curling around her shoulder. mine now a guttural voice whispered in joyful glee.


The girl was so woozy she hardly felt scared, but to make sure her grandmother would not disappear, she lit a whole bundle of matches against the wall this time.


And they burned with such a brilliant light that it seemed almost to became brighter than the midday sun. In her mind`s eye, her grandmother had never looked so grand and beautiful. She took the little girl in her arms and both flew joyfully together, climbing higher and higher, far above the earth, away from cold and hunger.. away to Shalya`s heaven, the little child hoped.


But the vicious imp beside the child held her by the throat, by one hand, and long fingers grasped, and turned her round by the neck so she could stare into the child`s glazed over eyes. The child murmured a word and smiled.. “Grandmother?”  But the vicious little old woman merely grinned and slashed once with her other hand. The knife danced in the glorious blaze of the match light, and sliced the match girl`s throat open from ear to ear so that her head pulled back from her neck, to lean awkwardly looking the wrong way, down her back. Blood pumped from her wound and formed a rapidly growing, steaming puddle of crimson on the icy frost covered cobblestones.


Now she is mine.” The vicious female imp leaned in close and placed her mouth over the wound and drank her fill in great gulps of passion and hunger.


They found her the next morning, slumped against the wall, with pale bloodless white cheeks, and a sweet smiling mouth – frozen to death on the very fourth day of Marpenoth. A gaping wound revealed yet another dead victim of `the Beast`.  


“She wanted to warm herself, the poor little thing,” the people of the Ward said.


 “I wonder why she looks so happy?” some people asked. 


Poor thing, perhaps she`s better of out of it"


Good people might have imagined what beautiful things she had seen, and how happily she had gone traipsing with her grandmother into the life beyond. But the realists knew.. the serial killer stilt foot bob had struck again.


No one knew of the vicious little bitch who had stolen her life, and dragged this child’s soul down to hell and eternal torment. No one saw the imp place her long clawed fingers to the child’s face and twist the silent horror filled scream into a mimicry smile of peace and tranquillity…so the little match girl appeared happy at last.


No one saw that night, as the imp changed shape, just like she had done so many times before… and no one watched the thing walk away, looking the very aspect of the little dead girl, dress and matches and all. And no one saw the shadow on the wall, looking for all the world like that of a long.. elongated figure of a stilt footed man. "Click, click, click" went the sticks.


That night.. The Sea Maiden`s Faire, the vicious little bitch would kill again. And when she was done, the thing set lighted matches under the finger nails of it's second victim; and jabbed red hot lucifer’s of spent light into the sightless eyeballs, to create little carnivals of delight: and the imprisoned agony of eternal unrest.


The vicious little bitch was very old you see, and knew how to play a merry jig with the dead.

 

Tarot

 

 

"Murdock"

Night of the 4th of Marpenoth

The Entertainer* had become a nervous wreck. He stayed in his one room dive by night and barely left it by day.. and only then to drown his sorrows along The Cranks or past The Narrows."The Three Cripples" was his favourite haunt, as this was a shadowy place full of places to sit on his own, away from loud noises or any sudden excitement. Here the girls flaunted their wares with wanton abandon, but offered to patrons who enjoyed the darkness.. better to conduct their nefarious dealings away from the prying eyes of the law. Taps poured dark `shipman`s slop` and gynn glasses were as grimy as its patrons. Items were pawned, and fences received stolen goods in exchange for the pittance required for a next narcotic or alcoholic fix.  Children and beggars scrounged in the alleys outside the ramble-down slum dwelling, and miscreants lurked in the gloom, ever at hand to entertain a main chance of ill begotten gain.


(*see the Tegel Manor episodes)
 

It was here that Murdock liked to lose himself in his cups and rue the day he had taken those jewels from that terrible house. The curse had already taken Nobby, his light fingered friend, and now he was next. Not for the first time since he realised he was being hunted, he wished he had run.. fled far way and out of the reach of the hooked fiend which pursued him now. Run... run while there was still time, but his pride had gotten the better of him, believing his knowledge of the city and his streetwise skill at disappearing would be enough. But that inner voice persisted run... run, while there was still time. But then the happenings started, and it was too late!


It started with glimpses out of the corner of his eye. half imagined distortions in the mirror. Shadows on the walls of the darkest of alleyways and open sewer cut-throughs. And when he sat behind the locked door of his hovel, it was not long before he heard in his head the click click click of those bloody leather strap and wood carnival stilts.. and by candle light he would sometimes catch the shadows that seemed to move, all of their own accord.


It was better not to be alone, and his collection of best friends in all of this.. were his numerous cups of ale and the occasional spied bowl of `heaven blight.`


And so The Cripples became his only refuge, and his sojourn by day. But on this night he had dozed in this cups too long,.. far too long.. and night had now fallen. When he awoke it was with  start, and he was covered with slick sweat and he shook with fear. It was four streets over to his rented room and he did not relish the prospect of travelling it alone.. not after that nightmare. He fancied he could still hear the cackles echoing in his head, and that terrible click click click.


And so he dug deep in his pocket for a few more coins, and stayed for a just few more drinks.


Coin was already running out. He and Nobby had been far too extravagant in that first few weeks after leaving that ghastly manor spending silver like it was water. Ha.. it was water by the time the pair of them has pissed it all out in the latrines, and the rest had gone on.. where exactly had it gone? He could not remember, as each day and night blurred into drunken amnesia.


But Nobby was gone. Murdock closed his eyes up tight to chase away that thought, and gulped, burying his head deep into his tankard. "The blood... oh God, the blood."  he whispered hoarsely to himself, as images filtered back into his shocked mind. The thing hadn`t just killed Nobby, it had taken him apart.... as in, parts of him had lain everywhere within a ten foot radius, and much of it hanging as gory slime upon the walls near what remained of the larger parts of his carcass.


He could still remember the headlines from the broadsheet.


 "Papers... papers,..  read all about it. SFB strikes again. Man torn to pieces in his residence. Pieces everywhere.... need a bucket to pick up all the bits... Stilt Foot Bob strikes again in a continuing reign of terror. Graphic sketches drawn by artist at the actual crime scene, all contained within The Miller`s Gazette...... papers.... papers?"


Dusty Miller** certainly spared no details, and each one was like a hook in his heart.... and he felt every slash, just as completely as he heard every guttural chuckle from his awful dreams. Yes, Still Foot Bob was coming for him next!


{{ ** Dusty Miller: the beautiful and adventurous reporter for the City`s most graphic pulp news publication}}.



He needed to pee bad, and rose unsteadily from his perch... and suddenly he needed to puke as well.


Lurching clumsily through standing and seated patrons, towards the open air latrines at the back of the drinking establishment, he bent double as he released his bowl of `second best and slorm crusts` from earlier in the day.


As he stared at the cracked stones beneath his feet, he chuckled to himself `why does vomit always contain carrots` but there was no mirth in his cracked laugher. When he was done, he lumbered towards the urinal hole and started to pee, holding into the wall for support.


He seemed to pee for hours.


... it was then that the beads of sweat started to pour down his back, and a stark realisation sent a shiver wave of cold down his spine.


He was alone out here. Any other urinaters had departed back into the  gloomy confines of the public house.


The guttural giggle from some way off behind him made Murdock piss the front of his trousers, and the stream of yellow was now as hot as the lump of sheer terror in his throat.




Murdock turned as though in a terrible dream he had no control over, half wanting to see what had made that terrible sound, but half wanting never to see at all. A thousand fragmented thoughts entered his head all at once, then were gone, replaced by each successive image... memory.... regret..... certainty!


Just one of many guises
 

"I`m going to die" was the current certainty that caused his heart to beat very loudly in his chest, yet he held his breath.... literally unable to breathe.

That terrible chuckle came again..... this time right behind him.

As he turned... still peeing on his foot as he did so, he caught sight of the most macabre vision he had ever seen. His mind fled into the deepest recesses of insanity, and he drooled open mouthed at what his eyes witnessed but failed to comprehend.

It was also the last thought he ever had, and yet his eyes held the monstrous insanity of that final glimpse long after the rest of him was dead.

The sounds of slashing hooks and wet rending sounds filled the open area of the latrine where Stilt Foot Bob got to work with his hooks... carving Murdock apart. They were alone out here in the dark. Bob liked it when he could work alone.


Oh so many guises

 

Hils and Stevie

 

28 February, 2020

3 in 1 ~ A TGC Tripple Episode ~


The Tale of Many Things - part 2

 

Long go, in a time that once was, there was a person called Games Master Greg. Now, he had a casual player group who would sometimes meet up and play an earlier incarnation of Games Workshop`s Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Old World: he ran this as a geo-political background, that was firmly set after the Chaos invasion led by Archaon 'Lord Of The End Times', but in his alternative history, the forces of Chaos were defeated by a Grand Alliance of all people from the Olde World (notice Greg uses the deliberate addition of the "e" - which is his way of distinguishing the departure from official canon) - except Albion, whose ruling druids decided to keep the 'Land of Mists' out of the conflict.  Please note that this is not in any way tied in with Stevie`s Age of Sigmar/Nagash rendering of the (predicted) future end of times.

 

+++

 

The Dark Conspiracy

Archaon, was born Diederick Kastner: eventually destined to become the Everchosen of Chaos, the "Three-Eyed King" and "Lord of the End Times." Effectively, setting himself up as the self-proclaimed supreme champion of the four Gods of Chaos**.. he felt destiny had sent him to command the last and greatest Chaos invasion during the apocalyptic age known simply as "The End Times."
 

** Some would say their number is five, not four.




Of all the Everchosen of Chaos who have assailed the world over the ages, Archaon is by far the most ruthless and perhaps the most powerful. He decided the fate of entire nations, his sword laid waste to heroes and armies and his unbreakable will dominated those of the gods themselves.

Archaon is truly the "Herald of the Apocalypse," blessed with dreadful artifacts of ancient evil, each one bestowed as a reward for accomplishing impossible trials. In his journey, he claimed the legendary Six Treasures of Chaos which marked him as the Everchosen.

Upon retrieving the last of the treasures, the Crown of Domination, the Daemon Prince Be'lakor performed the coronation that made Archaon the Lord of the End Times. As the crown was fully placed, the last spark of Archaon's humanity was finally extinguished, as he finally accepted the gods of Chaos to be the true rulers of the cosmos.

With his quest finally complete, Archaon set forth to assault the world as the Herald of the Apocalypse, a warrior who did the unthinkable, and succeeded where hundreds of other Champions had failed.

In the climax of the End Times, Archaon battled the God-King Sigmar and brought about the final end of the Warhammer World as it was consumed by a tide of Chaos.. and literally unmade the very fabric of reality. (But that`s official canon). 

"So soon the hour of fate comes around. The Everchosen stirs from his dark throne and prepares the blow that shall split the world asunder. Realms of old have fallen, lost beneath the fury of the northlands, or smothered by vermin from below. Some heroes battle on, too stubborn to realise all hope is lost. Their time is past, and a new age of Chaos and dismay beckons. Perhaps I am foolish also, for I fight with no hope of victory. I seek only to weaken the Dark Gods, to shake their hold upon the future. No other course remains; not to mortals, nor the Divine."

 

Prophecy of the End Times.
 



 

Greg`s party of players chose the following heroes as their personas in this game world.

 

The party:

 
Beska - (a male Bretonnian Magic user) the natural leader of the party due to his intelligence and charisma.

 
Krago - a male Dwarf fighter from the Worlds Edge Mountains. Unusually cautious in battle, "Let yer enemies show ya their weakness, and then exploit it!"
 
 
Pendora - a female Reikland cleric from Altdorf. A servant of Sigmar and Rhya.

 
Trebbelos - a male Wood Elf from Athel Loren. The polar opposite of Krago when it comes to a fight......... especially if the opponents are undead!
 
 

These four were exploring a collection of old dungeon and cavern complexes (actually The Keep on the Borderlands, re-skinned to fit into the Olde World), just at the unfortunate time when Orc and Goblin raids began in Black Fire Pass. They fought alongside the indigenous Dwarf miners, border guards and local militia during the main attack, which was heralded by many initial probing skirmishes along the pass: here, Beska distinguished himself in the eyes of the famous Battle Mage 'Nicodemus'.



Nicodemus later employed the party to seek out an artefact linked to a powerful necromancer (Maeldoraz)............ which is where their tale began on Greg`s blog.


Over the course of articles that followed, Greg continued the adventures of this four in a series of rather cool episodes, following their exploits in quite some vivid detail.
 
 
 



Yet as is often the way in this hobby, work, intervened, and life in general conspired to `get in the way` of gaming, and his campaign never quite saw a final conclusion. Sadly, whatever he had planned for the grand finale never saw the light of day.


++++






And then he met Mr Stevie over on The Game Cupboard, and they began to hatch a rather cunning plan. As the cupboard was very much a miniatures game play site, it quickly became apparent that Greg`s four heroes could live and breathe once again, in a combined continuation of their earlier guise. re-skinned (new stats, converted from Warhammer Fantasy Role Play) and re-invigorated under a new `puppet master`... and so Greg rather kindly painted up his miniatures and sent them in the post to us over in Ireland, for all to use in our own share vision campaign. This way the four heroes could continue and not just live in a vacuum without any game play to help bring them to life..


+++


 
 
Four heroes - lost! Desperately trying to find their way back home to The Reiklands.

 
But this was only part of the plan. Right after this, Greg found himself the proud owner of all the new source books necessary to join us in our endeavours, and he became the forth musketeer at TGC - and thus the crossover campaign began in earnest, i.e. effectively the joining of two blogs into one, sharing a single world, often with entirely different takes on that same subject and space, and yet (never the less) melding seamlessly to create an overall framework and  combined, unique world, and a shared ethos and continued ever growing creation to match.

 
Into this new crossover world, he created an entirely new set of heroes to enjoy in an all solo game "The Wormriders." Four new heroes to set foot upon The Realms, and embark upon a different kind of game - "Waterdeep: Dragon Heist."


 
Meanwhile Stevie now owns and runs the original four heroes from Greg`s old Dark Conspiracy campaign. While Stevie hasn`t yet taken full advantage of these four heroes, don`t be deceived into thinking he has forgotten about them, or has let them sit gathering dust among a pile of unused, unloved miniatures. No.. he is a patient Dungeon Master and has preferred to concentrate on fleshing out other aspects of the game first, before finding just the right moment to bring these Reiklanders back into the fold and at the same time, truly reveal and utilise their importance to the story. That time is now (as too, will all our shared characters eventually get to live.. and shine, all in the goodness of time).
 
There is also a science fiction and science fantasy element in our games, which we keep pretty tightly under lock and key at the moment, until we decide to explore it more closely.. as time and inclination allows. This is basically a merging of many tropes, many styles of science, and a shared love for some of the classics that have gone before us. These include Star Trek, Star Wars, Blade Runner, Aliens, Predators, Terminators, as well as things like John Carter from Mars, Underworld, and Resident Evil (also a veritable ton of beautifully rendered miniatures from the Wargames Terrain Workshop range).

Most of those things are easy enough to drop into an existing campaign as mere `cameo` appearances every now and then for a pleasant change of pace, but to make science fiction fit properly into our fantasy campaign, this took a little more thought. This is why we decided the Star Trek (original series) was the ideal framework we would employ to make this thing happen. In an earlier blog episode.. a mining mineral (actually a chemical element) exploded and then imploded in on itself again  creating a temporal rift, a distortion in the time continuum, and a dimensional vortex within the star sector itself, which in turn led to an entire shifting in known reality, as a new time line sucked the system (a bit like a black hole) along an entirely new wave path.... similar in many many ways, but deviating dangerously at other points along the continuity line.


 
The Forgotten Realms is the name known to the inhabitants of the planet, but it is called Rotarun to those with a wider knowledge of `space` above the clouds. For all intents and purposes, Forgotten Realms is a self contained world - forget the science fiction part. The Prime Directive of The Star Trek Federation works hard to keep The Realms inhabitants completely unaware there is a larger universe out there, and only interact with the people of Faerûn in a strictly secret non interference policy capacity.
 

But ultimately this does allow us to explore things such as the fantastic Core Space game and all its wonderful  expansions, all our other weird and wonderful sci-fi models, as well as my/our beloved Star Trek Away Team converted Clix minis and space ships. If anyone goes "what, hold on, you got science fiction in your world?" then I would point you to look back through the blog to earlier scattered articles to see it all in action. It's far too complicated to write about here, trust me on that, and I advise, if you really are interested, please do go hunt for those episodes in TGC and much of this will be revealed, including how it all ties in with The Forgotten Realms hihi.




 

Tarot
 
 
***  ***   ***
 
The House of Inspired Hands
Picking up the Wormriders story from here:-


 




 


As soon as their visitors were out of the door, Loundre instructed Ulenze and Allinn to return to the streets around Gralhund Villa. “There's bound to be crowds of onlookers while the watch go about their business, keep yourselves out of sight and stay out of trouble, but I want to know all about the comings and goings there when we meet back at the inn tonight”.
 


With that, he led Selemen and Nakalus in the direction of the Sea Ward and the House of Inspired Hands.
 


Curious crowds had indeed gathered on the street corners around the villa, and the pair had no difficulty mingling amongst them and keeping watch until darkness fell.




As Loundre and his two friends approached the House of Inspired Hands, they spotted its distinctive tower above the street, and so it was, that since they were using this to keep their bearings, they noticed a flash of sunlight catching a small object – that was speeding rapidly towards them with a faint buzzing sound! As they dodged out of the way, Selemen also saw the outline of a figure on an upper balcony raise its hands to its head before disappearing indoors, just before the object smashed to the ground and shattered to pieces.
 


Loundre gathered up some of the brass fragments, and upon examining them.. showed that they were the remains of a small mechanical bird. Placing the parts in a pouch, Loundre and the other Wormriders continued on their way, now with yet more questions to ask once they arrived!




Making their way to the main entrance of what looked like a cross between a temple and a workshop, a robed female Dragonborn of Bronze Dragon lineage sat sipping elegantly at a drink.


Interestingly, this is also the precise moment Manfried the Wizard brushed past, on his way out the door, having just spoken with Chainey (Morgan the Witch`s friend) about a rather important matter concerning an entirely different event within Waterdeep.. but that`s to be revealed - later.
 
{We like to double up on our miniatures when ever possible. It help enormously in our combined campaign. This is one of Greg`s latest rendering, so we now both own this rather important character to `play` with. But for the time being we need this Wizard to be somewhere else in the game,.. so that`s enough of his walk on walk off cameo for now}.
 
Seeing the visitors approaching, the robed figure greeted them and introduced herself as Valetta the priestess in charge of this Temple of Gond.

 


 
 
Loundre introduced himself and his companions and in hushed tones explained about the 'mechanical man' and the fireball, showed her the remains of the mechanical bird, and eplainred what had just happened in the street. Valetta responded with a sigh and one word “Nim!” before leading them into the building. As they walked, she explained that Nim is a nimblewright that was gifted to the temple by a Lantanese wizard.....

 




 

 

"…..and although she is extremely good at her work, she has a tendency to immerse herself in her own private projects – nimblewrights have no need for sleep, so understandably she gets bored, which is no excuse for disobeying orders!......."






 
"…..the mechanical bird was probably her latest creation, and I can only assume that its test flight went terribly wrong,"

 

Climbing a flight of spiral stairs, they finally arrive at Nim's room.. only to find the door locked.
 


Valetta ordered Nim to open the door, but getting no response, Loundre offered to attempt to force the door (cursing the fact that Ulenze was away over the other side of the city), but the priestess wouldn't allow it. Selemen spoke reassuringly that they meant no harm and would like her help (passed persuasion test) and moments later, Nim unlocked the door.
 


 
Valetta immediately asked Nim about the metal bird, and the Wormriders were amazed to see that Nim answered in a form of sign language!  The priestess explained that Nim had no power of speech, but could still communicate most effectively, and true enough the party fully understood that it had been a terrible accident during the birds first flight, and Nim was exceedingly apologetic and glad no-one was hurt.
 


When asked about the “mechanical man”, Nim confessed that she had secretly built a nimblewright to act as companion because she was “lonely”. Something had caused it to malfunction, and the nimblewright had run away several days ago. She'd built a detector to try and find him, but could only use it within the temple.

 


 

On learning this Valetta was furious, and ordered that Nim's equipment would be taken away as punishment. She also offered Loundre a reward of 500gp if he would find and destroy the rogue nimblewright and keep the information to themselves, and especially from the City Watch.

 



 
Armed with this information and the nimblewright detector, Loundre, Nakelus and Selemen headed back to Trollskull Manor. Ulenze and Allinn arrived later in the evening and recounted all they'd seen at the villa – most importantly, that after the last of the bodies had been removed, members of the City Watch had posted at sentry points around the grounds, Yalah Gralhund had left in a buggy which paused briefly once it was away from the main gate.

 


 
They'd watched as the  nimblewright “unfolded” itself from beneath the carriage and Yalah had handed it something small and said something to it before it had run off heading south.

 
To be continued....

 
Waterdeep: The Dragon Heist continues to surprise me – once again, without reading ahead, I felt sure this post was going to involve an “action” encounter, but the investigation continues!
I hope you're as keen as I am to find out what happens next, and will join me for the next instalment!!
 
 
Greg.
 
 
 
***   ***   ***
 


 

 

 

Manfried Klausterhou Von Liebewits


of the Third Order of The Blue Tower

 

Manfried had not been idle these past days, and had finally put the finishing touches on what he liked to call "The Infinite Portable Portal of Linear Egress"... or TIPPLE for short. This marvellous `magical` contraption when properly assembled would allow anyone standing within the confines of its spherical platform, to travel instantaneously to anther time and space or/and dimensional mirror image: i.e. to a similar place, but on the other side of our normal known reality.
 
His theories had been correct, he concluded; and where the fabric of reality was thinnest or damaged in some way (such as the site of a powerful psychic event), it might just be possible to step through the veil, and come out on the other side.. a place similar in many respects, but also possibly completely different and at odds with all we know of our side of the mirror image, especially in regards to its own linear time progression. In other words, the contraption allowed a traveller (or travellers) to traverse ordinary existence and cross over into a world where time itself might very well contrive to create a totally separate diversity of events.

 
Of course, all he had to do now was see if his machine and all his hard effort actually worked!
 

He knew it would. And in fact he was so sure of himself and his  initial chosen destination, he set to work on his intricate bronze dials with only the slightest shake in his excited hands. Same time of night, same month, same year, but across the vast void and into The Dimension of Souls.

 
Manfried`s driving desire to be reunited with his long dead wife, had been the focal drive that has steered him in his endeavours, since the day she had passed from this world and into the next. He didnt care that his creation was an absolute miracle machine, or that he might had gone anywhere in time to explore the wonders of this world, in all its different ages. No, he knew enough about time to know that what was written could not be unwritten.
 
 Clarice had been knocked over by that crazy cab driver (this same month.. same time of night.. all set on the intricate dials of his contraption) and no matter how many times he tried to go back to any point before that terrible event, in the hopes of changing history and saving her life. Time conspired to take her from him, and would continue to do so by any means necessary. Steer her away from that street at that exact time, and the cab would still find her on a different route. Stay at home that day and not go to the late market to buy flowers, and the coach and four would lose control and crash off the bridge and land of the roof of their home killing his wife in the process. No matter how hard he might try, time would always attempt to heal itself and set the linear fates in motion,. no matter what he attempted to do to prevent it.
 
No, the answer lay along an altogether different route. He must assemble his TIPPLE within Waterdeep`s mass graveyard.. The City of the Dead, close to her tomb, and attempt to call her spirit to him, and trap her soul within a specially prepared re-purposed phylactery (a magical container to contain her soul). Once this was accomplished, he would bring his machine back through the void to the right reality, and find a way to restore Clarice: thus tricking time into accepting the linear progression, rather than Manfried simply trying to undo it.
 
He knew it would work. It had to work.
 
All his labours had led him to this point. Tonight he would bring his beloved back to him, and they would both be happy once more.
 

Waiting until evening turns `dimpsy` Manfried begins carefully to load the machine onto his cart.
Nearly time... oh GOD, nearly time. He can barely contain his excitement, as his racing heart feels like it is about to burst out of his chest.
The Wizard drives the cart through the city, and into Waterdeep`s mass graveyard... the legendary City of the Dead.
 
Once there he assembles his machine, steps inside, and presses the dials.
 
 
 
It Works!

 
Everything seems strange within the Realm of Shadows,. the land of `the dead`. Yet he is not deterred from fulfilling his desperate mission. He will need to be quick in case the `smell` of his presence attracts other attention.
 
Manfried approaches close to "The Well of Souls" where his dear departed wife is buried.
 
 
 And he waits.
 

" Clarice, my dear. Come to me. It is I... Manfried your loving husband. I promised I`d try find a way to save you, my love."
 
But what rises from the grave is not the wife he knew and adored. It is she, transformed into.... a monstrosity of pure hateful evil. It`s one, soulless intent, is to suck the life out of the living thing that beckons it forth.
Realisation dawns. "Oh my GOD" he whispers to himself. "She was buried too close to the well... what a fool I am, I should have realised."
 
The Well of Souls has an evil name within Waterdeep`s vast City of the Dead. As too, it  would appear, within this other void realm as well.
Manfried may be heartbroken, but he is no fool, and knows what he must now do.
Just as the thing rushes to attack, the Wizard casts a powerful enchantment "Hellish Rebuke" (an altered and customized dwimmer: prepared long ago and memorised among his large arsenal of battle spells.
 
"Oh my love, you have looked better." He utters, command and sad passion etched poignantly by his words. Only a slight cracking in his voice betrays the cost to his heart. "Be gone now, and return to your cold grave."
 
The thing that was once his wife howled in bitter rage... and the cry of the dead seemed to echo in his ears for a seeming eternity. Then she was gone: vanished in a thin mist of sorrow.
 
Suddenly feeling very tired and old. Manfried headed to his machine, set the dials for home, and returned to the land of the living.
 
Dismantling the contraption and returning its parts carefully to his cart. Manfried left the graveyard and drove back to the welcome warmth of his home.
A figure concealed in the shadows within a deep thicket of trees, watched the Wizard depart with intense curiosity.
"Robert... come to me please." 
 
The Illithid called into the darkness. It`s voice was a hiss, like that of a guttural snake.
 "I have a task for you, my friend."
.... and Stilt Foot Bob stepped out from the treeline and nodded slightly. His dry cracked lips widened into the macabre parody of a smile.
 
***   ***   ***
 
..... Meanwhile, in the city, Beska, Krago, Pendora and  Trebbelos prepared to take a table within "The Crumbledown Tavern" on Rickett Street, just off from `The Narrows! `
 
 
They had received a strange message which read.
 
You are a long way from home and wish to return, yes?
 
I may be able to help you. Meet me at The Cumbledown at Witching Hour.. tonight: I will meet you there and we can discuss business."
 
The scrawled message was signed::
 
"C"
 
 
 
 
Steve