A Rudiaria Awakening
The party are exploring the ruins of a pre-schism war Flambeau Covenant (Rudiaria), about which all the party knows is that it was destroyed and that infernalism might have been involved. The location is now accessed via the cellar of the Broemserburg castle, in Rudesheim.
While my Drachenfels crawl was more about exploring a natural cave, this one to be about understanding a human made error.
The players explore and find notes, wards and evidence of what happened. Some kind of slow burning disaster where some of the magi bit off too much, and the young mages tried and failed to seal the rent in reality which allowed the infernal in. The whole thing is now contained under a castle and a divine aura, but the PCs will be breaching the seals left by an archbishop centuries ago.
Elements: infernal, infernal masquerading as magical, demons, animated training automata which the flambeaux used for sword practice, infernal lore loot, a corrupted spells as reward.
(Inspiration includes the Phosgene lab accident level of Shadowrun video game.)
What really happened?
What the players know:
- See GotF, p116, Rhine gorge timeline handout (foundation/destruction years, infernalism charges)
- A member of the castle (in my case a local ambitious landless noble) invites the party to come have a look at the basement, where noise happens sometimes (Halloween, Walpurgisnacht, Easter Friday). I my case, the lordling hopes that the PCs can find a document to help forge a claim on Pfalz Island.
Who lived there
Eginolf ex Flambeau, one of the founders of the Covenant, biggest infernalist, CrIg Archmage. Greedy for power.
108 at the time of the disaster
Maria-Valencia ex Flambeau, filia Ramius, a Re-ward expert and swordswoman, the other senior mage of the Covenant. Helps with warding demons. Has an automata for dueling practice. Addicted to thrills.
91 yrs old at the time of the event.
Aalis ex Flambeau, filia Eginolf, CrIg mage, Avid note keeper , in charge of the library.
57 yrs old at the time of the event. Too curious.
Hermann ex Flambeau, filius Maria-Valencia, a weaker Re mage and swordsman, OK with human sacrifice
48 yrs old at the time of the event. Merciless.
19 yrs old at the time of the event, Aalis’ apprentice. Damned by association.
- E ginolf was in his lab experimenting with a powerful entity (aspect of Grimnir)
- E rent a hole in reality with a botch, which “opened the gates of hell”
- E blasted the big bad at full force, containing it but not his horde of minions
- E managed to contain the main demon long enough for M aria- V alencia to seal off and ward his lab. E is dead, his soul lost to Hell, though his infernal ghost is trapped by the wards in his wrecked lab.
- MV and H ermann fought the demons, using both wards and swords.
- T hielo (lacking PM) was mind controlled to attack A alis, wounding her but getting killed for it. The few lab assistant grogs in the basement get ripped apart by demons.
- A caused a fire in the library in the process.
- MV and H got more and more wounded, laying wards in the process.
- A joined in on blasting demons but H got killed nonetheless.
- MV decides to sacrifice herself, seeing her death close, and painted her final ward with her own blood mixed with ashes of the now burned things of the basement
- A is the only mage left, she uses Re magic to seal off the dungeon physically, and escapes overground, where she uses her magic to burn down the Covenant to cover all traces of infernalism.
- A disappears, never to be seen or heard of again, knowing that she risks infernalism charges.
Rudiaria had a normal magic aura, with a mystic tower and a small village of Covenfolk around it in a couple of longhalls. But as the Flambeaux got more and more infernally corrupt, they took to placing their labs in the (ever strengthening) infernal aura underground, accessible through the cellar of the Mystic tower. They gradually expanded natural caves into a full dungeon complex, where they had their labs, using PeTe.
The ceilings here are high, 4.5 paces, high for even the tallest of people. The corridors are exactly 4.5 paces wide and to those who pay close attention, there are small seams along the stone floors at a regular interval of 4.5 paces. The whole place feels unnaturally warm, rather than a cold cellar, this feels like a stuffy poorly ventilated antechamber. The sweat makes your clothes stick to you, which you get the occasional random cold shiver despite the heat. The walls are cut very neatly though the rock in most places, with geometrically perfect cuts, matching PeTe magic.
In a few places, the natural rock was left as it is, where no magic was needed.
While the place is not lit, there are torch sconces all along the walls, when all lit, the place would be quite bright.
A few rare rats scurry around, fleeing as you approach.
The small square room (antechamber) is a true magical aura 2, from then on, the whole area are false Infernal auras masquaerading as Magic. The corridor, Thielo's workshop and the library are "Magic" 2, Aalis and Maria valencia's labs are "Magic" 3, Hermann's is "Magic" 4 and Eginolf's is an actual undisguised Infernal 5. All these infernal and false magical auras will be 1 point higher on Halloween, Walpurgisnacht and Easter Friday.
A search of the bottom of the cellar (stair round room)will reveal that the northern wall seems to have been melted in place. (the back side of this wall pannel has a chalk warding cicrle on it, not that the players can find this out). This wall can be broken or removed with MuTe/ReTe, or sledgehammers...
The small passage is about 2-3 m long and slightly wider than a man, and ends in a similar "melted in place" wall. This wall is marked in chalk saying "Do not enter for any reason A.e.F." (there is another warding circle, in chalk on the other side of this wall)
This room is completely barren 4.5 pace wide cube, the only other exit being a stout door leading into the main corridor.
Form then on, all the rooms are labelled with a small brass plaque about a two fingers wide and a handspan in length, saying the name/function of the room, the owner's name as well as sanctum markers for the labs.
The doorframe has a metal (lead) warding line around its outside. It is locked. The room is a square of exactly 9x9 paces.
A well set up lab, there are no active projects and it is dusty but seems in order. The glassware is neatly ordered along the wall. The further wall has a midsized furnace, along with a variety of metal tripods, hooks and some smelting devices. A triptych of clay tablets contain an inventory of the glassware and their location in the lab. There is a milkmaid’s bucket containing a small pile of basalt lumps, and a bar of about 1 pound of brass is stashed in a drawer.
(underground +1Te, Monolithic +1 Te, Well heated +1 Ig, well lit +1Im)
The door is cracked in half and is half open. Burned down almost entirely, the shelves are no more, the only indication that they were ever there are the metal hooks poking from the wall. there are ashes everywhere. A scorchmarked skeleton and an axe lie side by side on the floor. Small scraps of scorch-marked parchments are scattered around the room. A search roll will find the scattered but unburned pages of A century of Ignem Research (800-900), collected by the House of Flambeau Q(whatever the search roll was) L6, the pages are written on Newt/salamander hide and were resonant enough with Ignem to be untouched by the flame, this is not the case of the bindings or cover.
The scowling ghost of Tielo wielding something, swinging it once and then falling down shrieking silently on the spot where the skeleton is will greet the party as they walk in. The scene repeats itself every diam, if the party stays long enough to observe it.
The room was not very damaged, the room contains a knee high bench with a large wooden table in front of it. The desk has a few writing implements and a dried up ink well. On the wall, a series of work tools are attached to hooks. The room contains a scroll case marked with Cr Ig symbols with the Pilum of blackfire spell scroll inside.
A large room 9x18 paces, the floor is broken wooden floorboard, particularly worn with use in the centre. Along the right side wall, two wooden sparring dummies stand at attention, pitted metal swords and shields still attached. The faces have been painted to crudely resemble human ones, with a frown and large eyes.
The automata (Murmillo and Secutor) were both designed by Flamma ex Verditius of Lemnos, as a metal plate nailed to their back indicates. They will be dormant until people start exploring the room, at which point they will go and attack whoever is holding a sword. They will not attempt to leave the room.
Murmillo and Secutor
MM 10 , Init +0, attack +13, def +13 and Dam +0 and soak 20, unless someone has a proper axe. They will only take a light wound from most blows but will keep attacking until totally dismantled. They are vulnerable to fire and can be set alight, taking ongoing damage from it.
(2 pawns of He vis in the head)
The doorframe has a metal (lead) warding line around its outside, which is visibly cracked in tow points a little under shoulder height. The door is blown inward. The lab has been turned inside out. There are scorch marks along the walls, broken glass covers the floor. Several pieces of wooden furniture are marked with chops, likely from a blade. Two workbenches have been tiled sideways and for a V shaped barricade at the entrance. Further in, a small forge has been set up, and a big puddle of solidified metal (lead) a pace away from it.
There is a locked chest chest in the corner of the room, which contains half a dozen human skulls inscribed with strange symbols and a straight bone knife (20cm half of it hilt, no guard) with the symbols for Perdo and Corpus in the hilt (Destroy a Human corpse at touch range, 1/day, level 10, material bonus +6, activated by stabbing into said dead human body).
The room has in its centre a metal (lead) circle about 2 paces across.
The lab is a mess, but things to be found include 4 lead horseshoes nailed to the wall around the door, 2 obsidian candles (as in just like a normal candle, but made out of obsidian), a milkpail full of sulfur, metal tongs, a nice set of whetstones.
Maria Valencia’s Lab
The door has a metal (lead) warding line around its outside. The door is shut but not locked. There is a warding line drawn inside, out of soot and something gooey.
The lab is messy, broken glassware, chops in the furniture. Many things have been turned over.
This lab differs from the others in that it has an even higher ceiling with a viewing platform. A chain dangles from that platform.
There is a hidden section of a desk that has broken revealing a secret drawer, it contains Drawing Battle Wards, by Ramius ex Tremere (copied by Maria-Valencia ex Flambeau as an apprentice), Q12 Re tractatus
She can also bring them to a Q9 Infernal lore tractatus from her Notes on the demon Lords Grimnir.
Her skeleton is sprawled out under the gallery, the bones lightly scattered.
Ghost of Maria will be confused about any precise question but will claim/ask:
- She sacrificed herself stopping the diabolic nonsense of the others. (this is a lie)
- She entrusted the Herman’s talisman to Aalis, as well as her own, in the hope of teleporting out.
- Tells them about the Covenant’s recent discovery of an improved pilum of flame, to find the scroll, as it was not in her lab.
- Asks the party to go rescue Eginolf from his lab.
- Asks to have her skeleton taken away from here and buried within the cemetery of the Covenant. (so that she can haunt them). She will ask for oaths and that the people wipe their feet as they leave (to smudge the warding line across her door). Once the oaths taken and her skelton packed up, the ghost will disappear.
If they refuse, she will attack them.
The Infernal Ghost of Maria-Valencia
Appearance: the ghost looks like a tall, old but well built Meditareanan woman. She bears many scars, her voice is an ululating shriek once combat starts.
IM 15 , Init +3, attack +13, def +10 and Dam +7 and soak 10. She will cast a Wall of Putrid Wind at PEN 0 (diam version of charge of the angry wind, but requires sta 6+ roll or be at -3 to everything that round from the disgusting stench) before wading into the fight.
Wounds 1-6, 7-12, 13-19, 20+: banished (will not stop at -6)
The chain will attack every turn whoever is nearest Chain: Init +5, attak +7, dam +10
(3 pawns of Co vis in the skull)
Right after Hermann and Maria-Valencia’s labs, a ward has been drawn in a mix of blood and chalk along the floor. It is straight across, clearly hermetic warding, but is broken. Next to it, lies a skeleton with a cracked skull (Hermann). As the party approaches, his ghost appears, sword in hand, kneels where his skelton is, and says “I fucking got this Aalis, let me focus on the ward and we’ll be…” and the ghost collapses, onto the skeleton. The skeleton has a sword with a pitted blade, with a finely decorated hilt, a chalk soaked in what seems to be fresh blood (this will dry if taken out of the dungeon), keys and a chain shirt that seems untouched.
The armour is enchanted with Shriek of the Impending shaft (1/day, level 15 p136), Repel the Wooden Shaft (unlimited, level 10, p138) and Hardness of Adamantine (1/day, level 25, HoH:S p 37)
There are gooey pools on the floor in the corridor, of old blood as well as soot
Where a door would have been, stone was unnaturally melded together to block the entrance. In addition to the metal circlet going along the frame, a white chalk geometric shape is drawn on the stone (MT roll here: it’s extra warding ReVi). The area near the door is heavily scorched with sooty burn marks. The heat emanating from the room can be felt from the outside.
If opened, the room is revealed to be empty, everything burned, scorched and destroyed, shards of metal and old wood litter the floor, with a few metal shards stuck in the walls. In the centre of the room, two concentric soot covered metal circle about 2 paces wide are sunken into the ground. In some places, the stones paving the floor seem to have slightly melted before cooling back down. A strong smell of sulfur and soot permeates the room (stamina 3+ or lose a fatigue each round).
If the players explore the room after breaking the warding circle a ghostly flaming humanoid figure will fly out of the room howling as it goes through them (deals one light wound to whoever was in the doorway).
The Infernal Ghost of Eginolf
Appearance: the ghost looks like a flaming shadowy human form. The shadows around it constantly swirl and it sucks out the light from around it. In the brief moment where it is still, the face looks like that of an old german man contorted in some kind of agony. It wields a flaming black wand that pulsates with flames right before shooting the pilums.
IM 15 , Init +3, attack +13, def +13 and Dam +5 and soak 10 or alternatively, be entirely insubstatntial aside from his wand (from which emanate the pilums of black flame). Each good hit on the wand will damage it, and reduce by one the number of pilums cast each round, until it hits 0 at which point it shatters and the whole place goes quiet.
The ghost triple casts pilum of black fire every round (init +3, +10 damage, 1 warping, PEN 10), one at each of the three nearest humans.
Anyone damaging him/his wand in melee received +5 damage in a gout of hellish flame.
(3 pawns of Ig Vis in the wand)
Demonic Rat Swarm
A swarm of ghostly fiery eyed rats scurry around the floor of the room, everywhere but within the metal circle in the centre.
The demonic rat swarm contains a couple hundred individuals, enough to fully engage about three average-sized people. When attacked by a swarm, a victim will be bitten on any exposed flesh. No attack roll is required for the mice; the amount of damage taken each round is dependent on the amount of protection worn:
Protection Damage Total per round (armor does not add to Soak)
None (loose clothes).....................................................................Stress die + 6
Minimum (sturdy clothes).............................................................Stress die + 3
Moderate (winter garb or partial armor) .............................................Stress die
Good (half armor) .........................................................................Stress die – 3
Excellent (full armor).....................................................................Stress die – 6
Total (full armor, helm, and gauntlets) .........................................Stress die – 9
Anyone fighting the swarm will be able to kill 1 rat for each point of their melee Attack Total each round. As soon as 100 rats are killed, the swarm will retreat. Spells that affect areas (T: Group or Room) may kill or affect the entire swarm if placed correctly, but the target would certainly include any victims of the swarm. The mice have fiery teeth and are immune to
all forms of fire damage.
- Pilum of blackfire scroll: as pilum of fire, but level 15 and causes 1 Warping to the caster, is infernal (including aura/realm interactions) to those who know how to recognise it [Tielo’s workshop]
- An (incomplete) copy of A century of Ignem Research (800-900), collected by the House of Flambeau Q(whatever the search roll was) L6 [Library]
- 2 HeVi in each of the automata
- Drawing Battle Wards, by Ramius ex Tremere (copied by Maria Valencia ex Flambeau as an apprentice), Q12 Re tractatus [Maria-Valencia’s lab]
- Notes on the Demon Grimnir, bringer of natural disasters, by Maria Valencia ex Flambeau, Q8 Infernal Lore tractatus [Maria-Valencia’s lab]
- Basalt &Brass [Aalis’ lab]
- skulls inscribed with strange symbols and a straight bone knife (20cm half of it hilt, no guard) with the symbols for Perdo and Corpus in the hilt (Destroy a Human corpse at touch range, 1/day, level 10, material bonus +6, activated by stabbing into said dead human body). [Hermann’s lab]
- 4 lead horseshoes, 2 obsidian candles, a milkpail full of sulfur, metal tongs, a nice set of whetstones [Hermann’s lab]
- Hermann’s armour [corridor]
As ever, anyone is welcome to comment/ask questions.