Stick ’Em Wif Da Pointy End

Before leaving to investigate Tempus Knap, Immolatus visits the market square to buy a set of durable new clothes. Yuri continues to recuperate at Dr. Schneider’s surgery; rumours of a sponge bath treatment are rife among the other adventurers.

The adventurers drop in at the Temple of Sigmar’s crypt, to find that Hieronymous Köpfchen has returned to his study, and Niklaus Schulmann has set up a cot and brought over some of his equipment, books and notes from his room at the inn. He seems a bit more haggard and manic than when they last saw him; he says he is making progress on the translation but requires the other pieces of the puzzle. He also tells him that he had a vivid dream the night before: a green fiend, with a throne and a crown of stone; a voracious, all-consuming cavern of fangs; a chattering horde of devils surrounded by night.

The adventurers walk south towards Tempest Knap; on the way they encounter a cart and horses heading towards Stromdorf and talk briefly with one Herr Gubo Ackerland, the owner of a farm several hours south, in the Blitzfelsen Hills. He is on his way to talk with Burgomeister Adler to request his aid in dealing with a recent spate of raids on the farms in his area. The adventurers tell him that they will most likely see him again soon.

At Tempest Knap, the adventurers clear away about a foot of muddy soil from the roughly twenty foot square area enclosed by the ruins, and discover a marble floor with a circular space section in the centre missing, and several small shards of white marble with carving on them similar to the marble mapstones they have already found.

Immolatus and Torus begin to feel the effects of their constant exposure to the rain and cold.

Returning to Stromdorf, the adventurers tell Schulmann about Tempest Knap and discuss with him their theory that that another piece of the stone is buried in the crypt of the Temple of Sigmar. Torus checks the lightning rod attached to the temple and sees that it is grounded via a brass rod down the side of the temple from roof to earth. They all discuss ways of checking under the crypt without alerting or upsetting Lector Gottschalk, and eventually Schulmann suggests that he might be able to make some kind of celestial distraction while they dig up the floor stones.

Entertaining the idea that perhaps the stone is in the sewers beneath the crypt, the adventurers visit Captain Kessler’s office to ask him if there is a map of the sewers below the town, and are informed that there are none at all—the constant rain keeps the streets ‘clean’. While they are there Kessler informs them that Burgomeister Adler wishes to see them. At Adler’s office, the now much recovered—and bathed—burgomeister informs them that he has had a visit from a farmer called Herr Ackerland, and that the town is in now serious danger of famine, since the granneries have been destroyed in the night’s gale, and these raids are threatening the southern farms. He asks the adventurers to track these livestock thieves to their leader, and immediately puts down half of a 50 silver shilling per person payment; remarking that if these troubles continue the town coffers will soon be empty…

That night the adventurers return to the crypt, now rejoined by Yuri, newly recovered from his injures. Schulmann goes outside the temple and begins conjuring an arresting display of coloured lights in the sky, and Yuri shouts out to the passing townsfolk; eventually a crowd gathers. When Lector Gottschalk emerges from the temple he takes the display as a sign of doom sent by Sigmar, and exorts the townspeople to sink to their knees in the mud and pray.

Meanwhile, Grudge and Torus are levering up the flagstones in the temple floor and digging at the yellow earth beneath. They are almost interrupted by the return of the initiate Chlodwig Fromm, but Yuri manages to distract the Brother before he re-enters the temple. After some fifteen minutes or so of digging, a shovel hits stone and they unearth another piece of the marble puzzle—no doubt the seerstone buried beneath the temple when it was first built.

The adventurers desperately begin attempting to replace the flagstones and clear up the mess they have made, even going so far as to have Grudge vomit on the floor and then use this as an excuse to wash it down with water, but their efforts make little difference to the obvious disturbance. The coloured light display over, Gottschalk enters the temple and hearing noises, goes down into the crypt.

Gottschalk stands looking at the mess of stone, dirt, water and vomit that covers his crypt floor, and Torus tells him that the marble stone spontaneously erupted from beneath the flagstones and that it is obvious the entire night’s events are the work of Sigmar. There is a moment of silence as Gottschalk takes this in and … “it’s a MIRACLE!”, he cries. Calling the townsfolk into the temple he exorts them all to pray and repent in thanks at this astounding display of Sigmar’s power.

The next day, after an evening sharing a few ales with Ackerland in the tap room of the Thunderwater Inn, they ride on Ackerland’s cart along the muddy road south. As it has every day since they arrived in Stromdorf, the rain pelts ceaselessly down. After two hours they pass the grey bulk of Tempest Knap to the east, where Ackerland makes the sign of Sigmar’s hammer and avoids looking at the hill, then after two hours more they arrive at the small Ackerland farm, where they are greeted at the farmhouse door by a welcoming firelight and the farmer’s wife Meg. The adventurers are introduced to his eldest son Kleb and and 16-year old daughter Marien (who takes a shine to Yuri), not to mention nine other offspring. Sitting at the kitchen table and enjoying food and drink, Ackerland and the adventurers pour over a rough map of the farm and discuss the plans for the night ahead.

While Ackerland and a hired farmhand patrol the Far Field, and two shepherds patrol the Long Field, Immolatus and Yuri hide themselves among rocks in the Far Field and Grudge and Torus station themselves between the two fields north of the watchtower. All is dark and quiet—save for the rain—until around midnight, when without warning something lands with a thud at the feet of Immolatus, there is a sudden spray of fine mist or smoke, and he finds himself overcome with drowsiness. Yuri cries out for the others and they head towards the cattle lowing in the darkness, but the cannot yet see anything in the thick night. As Grudge and Yuri run, they both trip and fall face first in the mud, further slowing them down. As Yuri gets to his feet he sees small cloaked figures ushering several cattle away from the herd and southwards.

After some confusion the adventurers meet up to the south of the farm, and Immolatus, somewhat recovered, lights up the sky with a flameblast spell. In the brief red flare they see two groups of black-cloaked figures heading into the trees, the sheep and cattle they tried to steal now abandoned; one turns and the snarling, ugly, long-nosed green face of a goblin is revealed. Then all goes dark again.

The adventurers set off on the goblin’s heels. An epic chase of several hours through the stormy night follows, that rapidly takes its toll on the stamina of the heroes: first Immolatus (already weakened), then Yuri, then Torus fall behind, until only Grudge, axe in hand and a stony expression of hatred and determination on his face, finally catches up to the goblin band and charges into their midst, whirling his axe about his head. His strength is fearsome, but he is badly outnumbered by the loathsome greenskins, who quickly surround him and begin sticking him with the pointy end of their spears, doing terrible damage.

Torus finally gets in range of the melee and manages to rapidly fire off an arrow or two, successfully hitting even in the darkness. Just as Grudge begins to weaken and feels that he cannot withstand any more attacks and live, the goblins finally break and flee, heading over a ridge. Grudge follows and crests the ridge, to see below him a fortified farm overrun with dozens of goblins; the breaking goblins are running towards it shouting and waving their arms. Grudge manages to take down one with his axe, and the last is silouetted against the night the sky at the crest of the hill as Torus draws back his bow, aims, and fires—and the goblin falls. Torus and Grudge fall to the ground, grab the legs of the dead goblins and silently drag them back over the ridgetop and into the darkness …

Stretched full length on their bellies, the adventurers briefly survey the farm: it is a well-defended compound surrounded by a ten foot high palisade of stakes and watched over by a stone tower and gatehouse. The farmyard swarms with four dozen goblins or more.

Huddling together, they discuss their next move. Grudge decides to return to the Ackerland farm for some well-needed rest and recovery, while the other adventurers take shelter in a nearby shepherd’s shelter and keep an eye on the farm.

Grudge reaches the Ackerland farm just past dawn, takes some food and ale and goes to bed after learning that the farm belonged to the Baumer family. Back at the Baumer farm, the other adventurers make a map of the compound. At one stage Torus attempts to scale the palisade near the barn, out of sight of the watchtower and gatehouse, but fails. Just before dawn they witness a strange goblin—perhaps a leader or shaman—emerge from the farmhouse, carried on a marble slab born aloft by two bearers and accompanied by bodyguards. He has a shard of grubby white marble tied to his head with leather thongs. He blathers imperiously in the gutteral goblin speech and the other goblins grovel in the mud around him; suddenly, he shouts at one of the goblins and blasts him with a bolt of green lightning. After this display of power, he is carried back into the farmhouse—hitting his head on the door lintel as he passes through.

The only other events occur just after first light when the goblins have returned to the barn and the compound is quiet. Torus spots a small figure—not a goblin however, perhaps a human child—climb up out of the farmyard well and dart into an outbuilding. Also, from within a single-storey extension built onto the farmhouse with a hole in its roof, can be heard the enormous growling snores of some creature.

Late the next day Grudge returns, somewhat refreshed. That night, adventurers decide to set up an ambush for any new goblin raiding party. On the path back to the Ackerland farm they select a suitable area, and lie in wait for their quarry. An hour or so before midnight ten goblins, walking two abreast, fall into the ambush. Torus rises from behind a rocky outcrop to the side of the line of goblins, Yuri rushes in from the other side, Grudge confronts the goblins at the head of the line, Immolatus appears at the rear, and combat is joined.

The goblins spot all their assailants quickly except for Yuri, who charges out of the darkness unseen. Torus rapidly fires arrows into the goblins as they rush towards him. Grudge charges in with his trusty axe, and Immolatus tries to gather energy for a spell but fails to do so before goblins engage him in combat.

Immolatus is close to death as Yuri rushes up behind the goblin and thrusts his sword into its back; Immolatus then reaches forward, grabs the goblin’s face and unleashes a flameblast spell directly onto its head. The body slumps to the ground and Immolatus is left holding a charred skull, which he crumbles in his fist and lets fall. Eventually only two goblins remain, who turn to flee, but they are quickly cut down with an arrow from Torus and a swordblow from Yuri.

Squatting near the goblin dead, after a long and detailed discussion huddled over their roughly-drawn map and a final resolution of the details of their attack, Immolatus butts in with “umm.. so what’s the plan?”

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