The quest for unknown Zamora

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It all started on a dark night in Wissenland
First meeting of the campaign

Our heroes, who did not know each other, were lured to the Boozy Maiden, a flying inn, that is, an unauthorized inn that changes location frequently in order to fool the authorities, which at that time opened in the barn of an abandoned farm in the foot of the Grey Mountains in the Ghostwood that surrounds the small village of Weilerberg. They had been told that it was an hub for travelers and information, but when they got there they were very disappointed by the few customers and the seedy atmosphere. The only conversation they struck was with each other and with a ‘doctor’ who sold “medicine” and specialized in amputations (they later discovered that he mainly dealt with mutants).

Later in the evening one of the few customers reported that he had heard noises coming from a fight not far from the barn, and that some of the fighters were certainly not humans. Our heroes, minus Matthias, rushed to the scene where they faced the last stages of an ambush. A war band of beastmen had just finished to kill a party of humans, while a man was rummaging through the the properties of the defeated. The party charged the beastmen, who, severely weakened by the recent fight, were defeated (Varzartag defeated the uber beastman) and it captured the man, who turned out to be a poison-farting mutant. He had received instructions to retrieve a signet ring and to bring it to first milestone in the direction of Nuln.

THE MONTMIRAILLE REGALIA AND ZAMORA: among the dead the party retrieved the signet ring and the banner of the Bretonnian house of Montmiraille, together with a damaged parchment in which the people of a settlement called Zamora offered the rectorship of the town to a member of the Montmiraiile family:

THE BROKEN PARCHMENT:

*__In name of our Lady Myrmidia the holy maiden warrior, the community of the ancient city of Zamora salutes the Noble House of Montmiraille and wishes to its members good health and prosperity.

We hold fond memories of the rule that once your Distinguished House held in Zamora. We deeply regret the rebellion of some foolish and despicable ancestors of ours that drove it out many years ago.

Indeed we plead the Noble House of Montmiraille to rule again our city and district, and we offer to one of its illustrious members its potestas as rector, arbiter and protector. Under your authoritative rule, we will restore our vineyards and fields, our mines and trade, making our community flourish again, and you will share its prosperity with us.

Our representatives will explain our relations with our Zenres, but especially the challenge of the dark….[section missing]…..from the sky for which we seek your advice and guidance.

After all these many years the identity of the member of your Noble Family will be confirmed by our representatives who have been sent to you and by the seal of the House of Montmirraille, whose coat of arms is still carved in the gate of our kastro and whose flag will flutter again from the tower of our formidable fortress and lighthouse.

Written in the Garrotted Dukling by Abacuc, causidicus and scribe, on order of the consuls Giovanni Carandini, Willhelm von Kunsberg, Gavrilo Gavras and Johannes Bretonniopoulos_.
*

INVESTIGATIONS IN WISSENLAND That is how the party was formed, which decided to investigate what was happening. In due course they slowly uncovered a conspiracy in which a group of cultists of Tzeench was on the verge of taking over the barony of Kreutzhofen, successfully denouncing it to the imperial authorities. Most of the cultists, however, escaped.

Known cultists included the group led by Kevin the farmer, who, at the Boozy Maiden, recruited mutants and victims for sacrifices, and also led a party of thugs and kept of a hidden temple of Tzeench under his farm. The party found and stormed his farm, discovered and looted its temple, but Kevin was not there and escaped unharmed. Kurt Vonnegut was the sherif of the village of Weilerberg who dealt with the party at the beginning of the quest, trying to covertly suppress its investigation. When the conspiracy was uncovered he disappeared. Marcus Heinz and Andreas Herenstein, respectively chamberlain and court wizard to the Baron von Kreutzhofen: again the pretended to help the party was were probably the leaders of the cultist cell: escaped unharmed.

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Trip to Zamora

After stumbling upon, exposing and crippling a cultist network that was taking over the barony of Kreutzhofen, in the southernmost tip of the Empire, the party started to look for and to travel to Zamora in the Border Princes with Jean pretending to be the heir of the house of Montmiraille in order to claim the rectorship of Zamora.

Travelling through Wissenland, the party first engaged with prospectors near Sonnefurt, where, instead of getting rid of a giant for them, the party actually sided with the giant (the prospectors had killed his son). The result was that the prospectors were massacred, but the party also murdered the imbecile nobleman who was meant to lead their hunt for the giant.

Next the party fred an alleged witch, who turned out to be a real witch, but a good one. She came from the village of Thalfang and belonged to the local hidden cult of the Goodwalkers, who worship nature and actually fight Chaos. She took the party to her village, which was almost entirely inhabited by women, where they were fed, healed and where Jean even got laid (having no men posed a reproductive problem to the witches)! The party’s nosiness then brought it to the nearby wood, where it discovered the shrine of the good witches, their priestess giving it advice regarding its future, and especially the need to find Lithium, a protecting stone that is to be found in the Badlands and is going be be helpful to them.

After leaving the village the party was ambushed by pink horrors, which were sent by the remnants of the Kreutzhofen cultists in revenge. The event was partly expected and predicted by Matthias, but there were many false alarms before it, leading to interesting events. Varzartag the ogre died fighting valiantly against the creatures of chaos. The rest of the party survived, but was severely battered.

Further travel got the party to the Wurstfest at Grenzen, anf by then Gavin’s psicological problems, caused by recent experiences, had become quite severe. He tried to alleviate his anguish with alcohol, but he felt he needed more than that and approached the gypsies who were attending the fest. The old crone who led the gypsies was not particularly helpful, but predicted the party’’s travels to the east and the Badlands, and their encounter there with a great king of old in an ancient city. Eventually Gavin got a large quantity of camomile, but it is not having much effect on his nerves.

Next stop was the small town of Ummembach, at the mouth of a minor pass leading to the Border Princes, where the party was engaged by a noblemen to get rid of the judicial champion of the local major, with whom the nobleman was fighting a legal battle over the possession of the town. The champion happened to be a ogre managed by a halfling. The party’s way of solving the problem was to murder their yappi dog using a trail of sausages, and then to attack their barn during the following night, killing the ogre and then the halfling, and setting fire to the barn. The halfling had climbed to the roof in order to escape the attack, but injured by cross bolts, he had actually surrendered. Yet while climbing down the roof with the Bretonnian, the latter lost balance and fell over the halfling, finishing him off. In the meanwhile the party became aware of the presence in town of bounty hunters who were looking for them, but in different groups and for different reasons. One of them was pursuing the group because of the liberation of the witch, but intelligence gathering lead the group to believe that the other, nastier one, might have been working for their old friends the cultists of Kreutzhofen, who were also guarding the mountain pass.

The noblemen then won the trial against the major thanks to his own judicial champion, and he exiled the major, but then refused to pay the party, which then plotted revenge with the exiled major. One night one of the town guards loyal to the major left one of the doors of the town hall open, where he nobleman and his retinue were living. The party sneaked in and a battle commenced with guards first, who were taken by surprise and quickly dispatched. The situation, however, became far more difficult with the nobleman, who locked himself in his own room together with his judicial champion, awaiting re-enforcements, which were not arriving. Eventually the party got access to the room, and when, after a rather difficult fight, the noblemen felt himself cornered and he jumped out of the window, dying on the street beneath. The party, however, was unable to open his safe (they had not considered the ground floor rooms, where the secretary lived, who held one of the two required keys of the safe and managed to escape unharmed). It was decided to throw the safe out of the window, and it fell over the body of the dead nobleman, partially cracking open. In the meanwhile, however, a large crowd had been gathering around the hall. The group. therefore was unable to take the valuables from the safe, but it took advantage of the confusion and of the mixed allegiances of the leaderless crowd and town militia, to escape towards the mountain pass for the Border Princes..

The rush escape from Ummembach meant that the party could not avail itself of the guide which it had found, but the decision was taken to attempt the cross of the Black Mountains nonetheless. Despite various difficulties it eventually worked. The main danger came from a mountain troll that attacked the party which sheltering from a tempest in a cave. Fortunately Gavi spotted the Troll while it was sneaking inside the cave and the following battle was successful. In the case the party also found the remains of people who had not been as successful as them, and turned out to be the cultists who had been sent to intercept them in the pass.

Eventually the party left the Empire behind and ventured into the Border Princes, first travelling to the logging republican settlement of Styratia, and then following the River Starnek down to Browska, where Gavi and were arrested for putting up a shooting display within the town, while Jean and Matthias seek audience with the fellow Bretonnian local prince, Duke Beaucamp. The prince believed the party, released the rest of the party and hosted it for a few days, supporting their mission to Zamora and warning them of the rising power of the principality of Zenres, which was now controlling Zamora. The provision of wood for the forges of the dwarfish settlement of Barak Var, on the coast south of Zamora is one of the main financial resources of the region. With the help of Duke Beaucamp, the party disguised as logging agents and travelled on the River Starnek, finally getting Zamora.

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Finally in Zamora!

The party eventually arrived at Zamora by boat on the river, pretending to be loggers and merchants. Zamora turned out to be a settlement built in a plateau between the Varenka hills and the Howling River. There are only three entrances to the plateau, one of which is thought the actual town of Zamora, and the other two though the manor houses of the von Kunsbergh and Carandini factions. The burghers, or polopo faction dominated the town, while the Gavras dominate the surrounding marshes. There is also a river harbour between the plateau and the river, which is now controlled by the Zenrians. Moreover, the plateau and the river are dominated by a castle, which was built at the highest point of the plateau.

When the party disembarked, however, the Zenrians arrested Jean when he revealed to be Bretonnian. The guards found the Montmiraille regalia, but did not seem to recognise them. Eventually the party got Jean released showing that they had various signet rings (see the death of noblemen with the giant and at Ummenbach), thus convincing the not too bright Zenrian captain that they had found them on their way to Zamora.

Next the party met Alexios Bretonniopoulos, head of the people party and owner to the Garrotted Duckling, the only inn in Zamora, but they mainly seek to meet Abbacuc. When Alexios introduced them to him, to whom the party revealed its intentions, and Abbacuc turned out to be a local wiseman, historian, scribe and magic user who supported the party’s plan to seek the rectorship of the town.

Discussions with Abbacuc revealed various adventure seeds, from a meteor crater in the Varenka hills where a strange settlement was growing, to lost ruins in the Badlands, but the party decided to start from the local castle, which it bought was key to take control of the town.

Abacuc revealed that 20 years before a meteor had fallen in the Varenka hills and when Cedric, the only son of the Count of Montmiraille, investigated it with various Bretonnian fellow knight, he had never came back. The same applied to a rescue party. The Zamoran factions had taken advantage of that to rebel against the weakened Bretonnian rule, leading to the siege of the castle. One day the attackers noticed that all activity by the defenders had stopped, and when they got access to the fortress they found all the defenders dead. It was believed that the defenders had committed mass suicide because they had lost all hope. Yet almost immediately ghostly murderous apparitions forced the Zamorans out of the castle, and they believed that it was the course of the count of Montmiraille who was seeking revenge against the traitorous Zamorans. The loss of the caste crippled the principal defensive asset of the town and its control over the river trade, and loosened the cooperation among the Zamora factions. Unable to contain the rising power of the neighbouring Zenres, who seek control of the Howling river and to the trade to the dwarfish centre of Barak Var, the Zamora factions decided to seek the heir of the house of Montmiraille in Bretonnia. Yet unable to wait any longer, the Zamorans eventually bowed to Zenres, who sent a military detachment to take control of the town.

Basically the Zamoran envoys had found an heir to the Montmiraill in Bretonnia, but on their way back to Zamora they had been ambushed by the beastmen in Wissenland, and that is what the party had stumbled across.

The party then decided to investigate the castle at midnight in order hide its plans from the Zamora populace and the Zenrian occupying force. Within the abandoned castle the party fist encountered ghosts in the courtyard, and while most escaped frightened, Jean stood his ground, but the ghost actually spoke to him in Bretonnian: Je suis coincé. La chose dans les racines.

The party thus investigated the dungeon under the keep, to which it got access after battling a ghost at the entrance of the keep. In the keep the party found various corpses, which were particularly numerous in the dungeon, where the party also found a hole that had been excavated in the ground. Various weapons found among the corpses and bones looked strange, but the party did not not where they came from.

Eventually the party descended into the hole, where they found passages going in opposite directions around a large and deep well with spikes at its bottom. On one side they found a chamber with empty niches in the walls and carved images and inscriptions. Yet from the other side an evil apparition came, which took the shape of a column of darkness with spiky tentacles. The party defeated thanks with spells and Abbacus temporary turning of their equipment into magic weapons.

An investigation of that corridor revealed other two rooms, one leading into the other. The floor of the first was entirely covered with bones, and the second contained a sarcophagus. Yet when Gavi entered the first room ghostly apparitions attacked him. He managed just to escape, but when he got to the well the dark tentacled column appeared again, which the party just managed to repel again.

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Masters of Zamora's castle!
Or on the usefulness of strategic retreats

At the beginning of the session the party was still in the passages under the castle. Despite lacking fortune points and offensive resources, it attempted to reach the burial chamber through the room that was full of bones and was defended by spirits that seem to be very difficult to hurt. That proved almost fatal. Having barely escaped with their lives, and having lost fate points, the party left the castle avoiding the re-animated corpses in the keep, and regrouped in Abbacuc’s house.

After spending a day healing and resting, the following night the not-too happy Abbacuc enchanted their weapons again, but attracted various times Tzeench’s curse, resulting in dogs howling across the town, which woke its inhabitants up. The party decided to pursue its objective nonetheless, and, indeed, spotted people looking at it from windows in the houses overlooking the haunted castle. Matthias tried to distract a woman by flying towards her window, but she shut her shutters in his face.

This time the party rushed to the dungeon to take full advantage of the limited time of Abbacuc’s spell. It vanquished the Thing and then the ghosts that were defending the room of bones. Then, after many attempts it managed to lift the lid of the sarcophagus while Gavi sensed a strong danger coming, and they saw that the mummy it contained had started to emanate a pulsating glow. Gavi then pearced the body and head of the mummy with a stick, which seem to do the trick and the party heard a “merci” coming from nowhere in particular. They realised that the Thing was an ectoplasmic manifestation of the soul of the mummified individual, which it could cast several times, and that by destroying the mummy the party must have released the Bretonnian-speaking ghost, which probably belonged to the old count.

Jewels were recovered from the mummy and a glowing khopesh. Moreover, in the castle the party found s stash of weapons and a safe.

the party is now master of Zamora’s castle!!!!

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