Saturday, 16 July 2011

Eight Jolly Butchers

Englebert the cat burglar has been tasked with restoring his family's control over the Doodkanal district of Marienburg; with him he has brought two slabs of muscle, the Norse berserker Steiner Eriksen and the dwarf Hammerhead Harry, and the smuggler Gisbert Lufthansa. Together, they are the Jolly Butchers!

Last time, the Jolly Butchers were scouring the local graveyard for evidence of some kind of beast that had been bothering the local ratcatchers, and causing them to go on strike until it was dealt with. Although we'd done a bit of grave-robbing and earned some cash as a result, we were no closer to finding this mysterious creature, and so made the decision to put aside the ratcatchers' strike for now and focus on other issues.

We had only just arrived in town and our control over the Doodkanal was still almost non-existent, so there were a number of roaming thugs causing trouble in the area. Furthermore, a bigger and more organised gang -- the Red Hand Gang -- had taken over half of the district, although had not yet allied with the Marienburg thieves' guild, so could technically still be ousted without political repercussions.

We chose to go after the lesser thugs first, and soon ran into a group causing trouble at the fish market. As planned we roughed them up, a task which took much longer than it should due to Harry's inability to hit anything with his not-so-trusty hammer. Only one survivor remained -- covered in the blood and bone fragments of his fellows as a result of WFRP's lethal combat system -- and he was persuaded to join the Jolly Butchers, bringing the number of enforcers up to eight. Harry took the survivor off to get his gang tattoo, while Steiner and Englebert -- Lufthansa had been called to the docks on business matters -- set about displaying the corpses in public as a warning to other opportunistic ruffians.

Next up was the Red Hand Gang. They had taken up residence in an abandoned mansion in the eastern part of the Doodkanal, and were under new leadership, a halfling poisoner called Steevil. That part of the Doodkanal bordered on the Little Moot, a halfling district, so we got in touch with the halfling boss Rudolf Ingo Pickles, who was also the head of the bakers' guild of Marienburg.

We met Pickles in a lovely patisserie called The Crepe Hole where Harry enjoyed some spiced pork pasties -- Harry's human comrades declined to partake, which he put down to some kind of strange human religious practice -- and Englebert set about charming the diminutive crime boss. It seems he was none too fond of Steevil, would be quite happy for us to expel him from the Doodkanal and gave us a bit more information on the poisoner and his gang; there was some talk of owing favours at this point, but Harry was too busy munching away on a pasty to pick up the details, although he did hear something about a back way into the mansion.

The Jolly Butchers were too few and too disorganised to make a frontal assault on a dozen career criminals holed up in a fortified building, so we decided to pick off as much of the gang as we could while they were out and about on their business.

We took over an abandoned building in what the Red Hand optimistically called their turf, spruced it up a bit and opened it as a pawn shop. As expected, a group of Red Hand enforcers wandered by after a couple of days and took notice of the new shop; they entered and intimated to the shopkeeper -- Harry, in an unconvincing disguise -- that he should pay them some protection money. Harry said he didn't understand what they were getting at -- this may or may not have been a ruse -- which angered the thugs, and they grabbed him, which is when the rest of the Jolly Butchers sprang into action.

Englebert had rigged the door to spring shut behind the last of the Red Hand thugs, trapping them in the shop with an angry dwarf, a bored Norse warrior and a bloodthirsty cat burglar. Once again Harry missed with pretty much every strike of his mighty hammer -- despite a Weapon Skill of 51 and two attacks per round -- giving his foes a chance to whittle away at his stockpile of Wounds with little in the way of a retort. By the end of the fight, Harry was battered and bruised, but the Red Hand Gang members were all dead or unconscious, largely at the hands of Englebert and Steiner.

Once again, there was a lone survivor, Wolfgang:

"Tell us what you know about the Red Hand hideout!"

"I don't know anything!"

"Then you're no longer useful to us."

"I might know something!"

The Red Hand often met in a tavern not far from the mansion, called The Sea Hag, so we decided to press our advantage and attack them there before they could withdraw to their fortified headquarters. Harry was too injured to go straight into another fight however, and was forced to rest for a day or two, a delay which may yet prove disastrous for the Butchers.

We went to the tavern and attempted to pick up some gossip from the locals -- this is where Harry did shine in the session; despite not having the Gossip skill, and so defaulting to a modified Fellowship of just 11, he succeeded with each and every attempt he made -- but were unable to learn anything helpful, although they did make the acquaintance of a boat captain who went by the name of "The Captain". As Harry chatted to his new friend The -- being a dwarf, Harry either didn't understand or didn't care about the difference between a name and a title -- Steiner's sixth sense warned him that trouble of some sort was on the way.

The Butchers left the tavern, and detected they were being followed. Suspecting the Red Hand, Steiner and Englebert dropped back to set up an ambush, while Harry provided the bait; a short fight ensued between the Butchers and a pair of suspiciously skilful swordsmen -- we suspect that the GM was cheating a bit here, as he is wont to do on occasion -- which ended with Englebert once more turning on the charm and negotiating a truce. The two flashing blades wandered off into the night, and the Butchers made a quick retreat back to base to plan their next move against the Red Hand Gang.

1 comment:

  1. Cheating? Pah! You guys gave me a great line. Interactive story telling ;)


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