The Old World is, and has always been, a grim and perilous land. Today is no different. The current year is 2520 and the current month is Harvest-Tide. As always there are rumors of a great evil brewing in the north ready to pounce on the empire from the Chaos Wastes and that the Kislevites are tiring. This time, however, the rumors seem to be a little more urgent, and the doomsayers a little more coherent. The last 200 years has been fairly quiet, since the incursion of chaos was quelled by Magnus the Pious who appeared in Nuln and united the Empire once again, as Sigmar had done years before.
A wide shot shows the towering spires of Altdorf, rivers running through the town people bustling around the streets and you can hear shop keepers selling their wares, children laughing and the echo humming in the background of what could be a religious orders chanting. The wide shot narrows as it moves toward the center of Altdorf, hanging for just a moment on the splendor of the spires of Altdorf. A man dressed in brown robes with a wooden sign hung around his neck is shouting on the corner of a street: “Morr has given me a vision in my dreams! The Lord of the End Times is coming! We must seek the guidance of the gods! The corrupt will lay low our defenses to make way for his armies!” A young man in white robes walking at a hurried pace rushes past the madman on his way through a maze of alleys in what appears to the slums of large a city. He walks passed shops and warehouses bordered up, signs posted “out of business”. At first it looks as if the man is going in circles, making very precise ninety degree turns to all six cardinal directions; up, down, left, right, front and back till he rounds a final corner and the air seems to simmer. In the middle of small but beautiful park lies a large pyramid that at first glance appears to be made of pure light. After the eyes adjust it’s actually made of white marble & quartz, but is illuminated so much from within it appears slightly translucent.
The sounds of a choir can be heard in the distance. Once inside the man’s shadow disappears completely. The corridors are filled with candles and torch, but it’s as if the walls themselves radiate light. Now almost running the man descents further into the depths of the pyramid, it’s obvious, what was seen from the outside was only the tip of the structure. Skidding to a stop before a beautifully carved door made of white ash. The young man flattens his robes and opens the door just enough to slip inside. The man joins a group of 30 or so similarly dress boys. He steps into place just as they begin singing a Gregorian chant. The camera lingers for a moment then rises high has if carried by the music itself. The choir getting more and more powerful in sound as it travels quickly through corridors, long hallways and up flights of stairs till it stops just outside a door. The scene cuts to the other side of the door the stands a man, in his early thirties with long brown hair with a streak of white running through the middle, before a lectern with a massive tome opened up. Sitting before the lectern is a young man nearing twenty. [Johann speaks,] “Do I have your attention again, my I continue?” [The student nods and says,] “Yes sir, sorry sir.” [Johann speaks,] “Good, now as I was saying the Order of Light’s philosophy is entirely different than those of Sigmar Templar’s and other “witch hunters”. Where they believe in purification by fire, we believe in banishing the darkness and saving the man.” [Johann speaks,] “Now, have you gathered all of the supplies?” [Student says] “Yes” [Johann says,] “Good then let us leave; there is a child in need of saving.” [Scene change] Johann and the student are walking down a small city neighborhood; both are wearing brown cloaks and wide brimmed hats. The further down the street you get the less people are around. You catch the glimpse of a few eyes peering through windows. Eventually they reach a small house at the end of a cul-de-sac. [Johann hears someone whisper, “Johann”, but no one is around and the student appears not to have heard it] [Johann] “This is the one” as he knocks on the door. A muffled scream can be heard before the door quickly opens. The screaming is louder now. A man is standing the door way quickly looks both the wizards over and says, “Come in.” He shuts the doors behind them. There are two sobbing women standing in front of a closed door. [Johann Says] “What is the child’s name?” One of the women replies “Ernesto, my sweet Ernesto.” [Johann says to the man] “Lock the door behind us” (they hear another scream) [Johan Continues] “Do not open this door no matter what you hear. Tell me you understand what I am saying.” [The man replies] “Yes, lock door, don’t come in.” The door opens into dark bedroom. Although it is daytime the single window has been covered with heavy cloth. Tied to the bed is a small figure. His body is covered with spider veins of black ichor. His face is dark and twisted. [Describe possess child, hissing, and snarling.] [Johann says to the student] “Unpack the tools” They begin lighting candles throughout the room. A smile washes across the child’s mouth.
[In a voice not human spoken in Dark Tongue (sub titles for the viewers)] “Foolish Witch Hunters, yes come to burn me…yes do it and when this body dies I’ll be free.” As the last candle is lit Johann says, “We are not witch hunters”, he then throws off his hat and cloak reveling his white robes and a belt with silver medallions so polished they reflect like mirrors. The creature goes completely wild and feral. Thrashing around; the bed thumps against the floorboards. Johann begins to chant, “Diabolus exitus abhinc abs abyssus coma” (Translated: “Devil, exit back to the abyss by the rays of light”) The child Ernesto begins steaming with darkness from his pores, the darkness lingers around him, and then he breaks free one arm restraint. The student moves to secure the arm. Sound of a crash as the clay jug of water flies across the room and breaks over the students head. He slumps to the floor unconscious.
Johann waves his hand and the cloth covering the window rips down bathing the creature in sunlight. It screams. Johann begins chanting once more. “Emendo abs Liber infectum!” (Translated: Free this child from your corruption) A beam of light is cast down on the creature, it releases a horrific scream as the darkness burns away. Ernesto remains, his body cleansed of the ichor.
The mother is smothering the boy with kisses. The father thanks the White Wizard and Johann says, “Keep one lit candle burning in that room for exactly one month.” Walking away the student says “I don’t recall reading about the candle in the exorcism books.” Johann explains “They need to feel safe, and simple superstition will provide that for them.”
Several days later back at the College of Light a young student is guiding a scruffy faced man dressed in worn dark leathers who very much stands out of place within the Pyramid of Light. They reach their destination a door with a polished silver plate written in classic “Magister Johann Ehrhard”. After being told to enter the student is dismissed. Johann welcomes Albrecht briefly and then tells the manservant to prepare us for travel to Nuln, immediately. Albrecht’s eye goes from a recent opened letter on a silver tray to a partially silken wrapped sword in sheath on the desk. Albrecht loudly gulps at the sight of the sword and says, “The sword of Akemtosh, please don’t tell me it’s happening all over again.” Johann says, “I don’t believe so, but an old friend is asking for help and the sword, we shall go to Nuln and discover why.”
The next scene shows Johann and Albrecht riding out of Altdorf through the merchant’s gate. Much of the view is obstructed by foliage and over a wide rivulet. Albrecht passes a few coins to a guard who nods his understanding. The view changes to an odd downward angle, also though foliage. Albrecht speaks: “I have been too long in a city, my friend. Being here in this woods gives me the feeling of being watched”.
As the scene changes, scream of a Lune echoes across the forest. A ship rises over the crest of a wave and plunges into the trough and salt spray rises over the prow of a large ship passing through rough seas. Standing behind the figurehead is a beautiful woman. Her hair is flying back from her face. From high above in a crow’s nest a man shouts “Land Ho”. The woman raises her hand to shield her eyes from the sun as another man standing nearby smiles and says in a thick norsca accent “Hvor Marunbaerg”.
The ship rises and plummets again throwing spray across the view which, when it dissipates looks like smoke clearing from the screen but the view quickly makes clear it is simply ash that has been stirred up by slender calf-high boots. The pretty woman from the ship is standing in the charred doorway of a farmstead somewhere in the Empire. It is unclear how long she has been standing in the doorway, but a voice seem to bring her out of her revelry: “You look like you’re feeling the breath of Morr on your neck young lady, are you looking for the Golsteins?”
The view pans back and away from the two women as the old lady points away to the North. The view is dark for a few moments, as time passes, and clears again with the Estalian woman in front of another chard husk of a homestead. The young woman walks through the door and kicks over a few blackened pieces of wood and picks up a scrap of paper, a small smile playing across her lips. As the view turns the scene changes from a charred house to the inside of a small inn.
A rather thick dwarf is sitting alone at a table in the back of an inn. There is a pile of tankards before him and one in his hand. As he finishes the tankard, just in time for a young barmaid to pass his table, he slaps her backside and says “Fetch me another, eh lassie?” The young woman glances back at the heavy set man behind the bar who nods. She smiles at the dwarf, pats his cheek and says of course, honey”.
The barmaid goes to the bar and speaks with the bartender. “You know he can’t pay.” The bartender sighs and looks a bit sad for a moment. “That one is a Troll Hunter. He will seek his glorious death soon. The dwarves have done a lot for us here in the Empire. I don’t know what that one did to dishonor his name, but until he regains his honor with a glorious death, he will not be welcome back among his kindred in the Karak”
The view changes to a beautiful woods, light filtering down from the trees. The scene looks like it is of some fantasy land, not the dark forests of The Empire. There are a man and a women both dressed in finery kneeling before a priest. He is speaking a benediction in a foreign language which is translated for the viewers, a secret wedding is in progress. “Che gli dei onorare la vostra promessa di matrimonio” which is translated for the viewers from Tilean: “May the gods honor your wedding vows”.
The view changes to the man and woman, running through the crowded streets of Marienburg away from the docks. They dodge and weave through the throngs of people and finally into an alley way. They slump down in the muck and breath heavily for a few moments before the alley goes dark as a shadow passes across a street lamp and they jump up and begin to run again.
The scene changes again, this time to a tiny farmhouse somewhere in the empire. The woman is in the kitchen boiling what looks to be cabbage soup and slicing a very tough, stale, piece of bread and the man is outside walking up the steps toward the front door. The pretty young woman races to him as he crosses the threshold. They embrace and she smiles hopefully up into his face. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a few pence. She claps and hugs him again… when she turns away his shoulders slump in defeat but his eyes betray a deep love for the young lady as he watches her dance across the floor to their boiling dinner.
Hordes of Chaos
It is just before dawn, a heavy mist hangs all through the woods here in Wurstheim and spills out into the streets of the small farming village. There are a few people in the street further into the town talking in hushed tones that are used early in the morning. Johann and Albrecht are walking toward the inn. Just before Johann reaches the inn a dark figure materializes out of the mists. “Welcome Johann, did you bring the blade with you?” “Give me the blade, or I shall do to everyone in this village what I did to our friend Roland, here.” The mists swirl as a ghostly breeze flutters past Johann and Albrecht.
As the mists part, a witch hunter clothed in traditional garb is hanging, pinned to the bole of a large tree with eight weapons. It is obvious that he no longer draws breath. Perception Test: Just out of view in the mists, strange creatures move about. Knowledge Test: There are exactly eight weapons protruding from the witch hunter and he is covered in other recent battle scars.
Johann refuses to deliver the sword.
“Destroy this town my pets!” The cloaked figure steps back into the mists and disappears while many daemon-like dogs race out of the mists towards Johann and Albrecht. The scene changes to the interior of the Inn, just ahead of Johann.
Inside there are a few patrons drinking ale. One particular patron is the Troll Slayer we saw earlier. As the barmaid is leaving the bar to walk toward the Dwarf with his new ale, a window in the back of the room crashes open and three daemon dogs fly through the window and begin attacking the inhabitants, starting with the young barmaid.
The man from the earlier wedding scene is outside his home chopping firewood he hears a howling noise from somewhere to his left then he hears the sound of breaking glass and a scream from inside his house. He rushes to the door and throws it open just in time to see his new wife pounced on by what can only be described as a daemonic dog which rakes his claws down her body, takes her head in his mighty jaws and twists her neck, killing her instantly. Just inside the entry way of the home is a crossbow. The man picks it up.
In the burned husk of a building the pretty woman from before is still kneeling down looking at the small scrap of paper she just retrieved from the ash covered floor. A twig snaps outside the building she is in and she quickly stands up, just in time to dodge out of the way of two pouncing daemon dogs.
One of several daemon dogs jumps at Johann, but before he can react, the daemon dog is struck by an arrow which seems to slay the dog, but more than killing it, seems to cause it to dissipate into mist.
Up ahead in the road is an overturned wagon. Lying under the wagon, moaning is an old man, appears to be the driver of the wagon. He is wearing fairly nice clothing. There are four guardsmen laying on the ground, dead. The carriage has been ransacked. The guardsmen have several arrows protruding from their bodies. The man speaks when the PCs arrive: “Please, you must save them, Matilde and Elinor have been taken by goblins”
As if they hear their names being spoken a woman cries out from deep into the woods. Background The wagon was headed to Nuln carrying a young cousin of Emmanuelle von Liebewitz coming to learn from her aunt at court. Her father, Helmut Feuerbach the Count of Talbacland sent her to Nuln. The wagon was attacked just a few minutes ago. A small tribe of goblins currently is harassing this portion of the road to Nuln. They have been so successful due to the layout of their home and the two ballista that they have just inside the entrance to their hideout.
The ballista is not accurate. Like a blunderbuss, it is up to the PCs to make an agility check each time one of the two ballista are fired to keep from being hit for a d10 worth of damage.
Just beyond the entrance of the cave, there is a wide cavern. In this room there are several more goblins and the young lady. Two goblins hold the woman while the others try to drive the intruders from their home. This is also where the Shaman has taken up his defensive position behind some rocks and will hide there until the most opportune moment to spring on the unwary adventurers.
Speech in Nuln
Good people, hear me! It is time that we rose up to be who the gods would have us be! The other lords have kept us down here, at the bottom! I say it is time for us to rise! We are the victorious! We will no longer be looked down upon by the rest of the Empire! We will no longer have our place in this Empire kept from us! We must Rise! RISE!
Those rich lords who keep it all for themselves and give nothing to us! Those foreigners from other lands who come here and take our jobs! Our gold! Our livelihood! They teach our children their ways! They rape and murder our wives and daughters! Good people of Nuln! We must change our stars! We must protect ourselves against the other lesser lands! Know this, there is nothing between us and Stirland but the ungoverned land of Averland! You all remember Stirland, no? You remember what happened not but a few years ago! Shall we let them come here and steal our lands? Will we wait for some chaos touched mercenaries to pluck up the courage and save us? What can we do you ask? We can protect ourselves from the damage that those people want to inflict on us! We can save ourselves! We must not trust those who are outside our borders! We must gather our strength to protect ourselves! The time is coming my friends! The time for great deeds!
My Friends, I have heard the same rumors that you have heard! I know you all keep your ears to the ground and, like good stewards of your land, keep up on the important happenings in our fair Empire! I know you have also heard that Helmut Feuerbach, the Electoral Count of Talabecland is very sick and will probably die any day! Do you think that the mighty Boris Todbringer of Middenland will allow Talabecland to stand? Was it not the he who cleansed the Drakwald Forest of Beastmen all by himself! Only one mad with the desire to rule all of the lands would do such a maddening act! When he is done with Talabecland, then what? Stirland? Wissendland? Reikland and the Throne?!
The days of Chaos are upon us! For too long we have relied upon the Norsemen to keep Chaos at bay! Chaos is among us and we must cleanse our city! Look around! How many outsiders are in our grand city today? Hundreds? Thousands? We must ensure our safety! We must put them to the question and ensure they do not spread Chaos here in our fair city!
As of now, for your protection I have ordered all the gates sealed! For your safety I have doubled – no tripled the city watch! I have instated a mandatory curfew! All those on the streets after dark are our enemies! What good man of the Empire has need to walk the streets at night? What good Empire man has need to leave our fair town without our express consent? Do they carry messages to the north? Do they carry your secrets to other lands?
Good people! My name is Lyrus Draght! I am one of you! I am your friend and I will keep you safe! I will make sure that your hard earned coin is yours, not sent out of our city! Your taxes will no longer go to support nobles with estates outside of Nuln, but instead be used inside our walls to make our lives better!
Good people! Spread the word! Let all who have an ear hear the wonderful message! I was sad too to hear of my aunts passing! But, after I heard about her lecherous lifestyle I was sickened! SICKENED!
I will not hide from you my friends! I will live, work, sweat, and bleed with you! We will work together to make this city the great jewel of the Empire it once was! For the Empire! For the Empire!