Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Arnsberg: Gravedigging and Vigils

September 10, 1650, Wednesday late afternoon
Weather: pleasant with sunny conditions and a light breeze

The conditions are as fine as you could wish for in September.  It may very well be the last truly warm day in the year; the afternoon is so warm that it's uncomfortable to wear too much clothing.  It spat rain for a bit in the morning, but the overcast skies before noon have cleared up and there isn't a cloud in the sky.

Not that the gravediggers are happy.  They've been hard at work all day laying bodies into the prepared ground.  The Bishop has had a stable removed and the ground prepared, and stone cutters have been busy since Tuesday cutting and chiseling stones as best they can.  The more complex work, they say, will be done after - for now the names are being roughed out.

The town has been busy making candles, dressing the buildings in black, washing themselves and praying.  Word has come down that in respect for the dead no one should laugh, no one should participate in any games or drink, and that even speaking unnecessarily should be viewed as an act of disrespect.  Most people in the town are adhering to this; those who are not cannot be found to be seen disobeying.

Ahmet, Melchior and crew make their way out to the Font to discover the tomb and the ground around has been caved in.  There's about 40 feet of collapsed stone, mostly limestone, but the top of the stairs can be seen.  The mining skills of both players comes into use; there's a small place where the air from the cavern inside can be marginally detected; with the help of 10 or 20 sappers, plus rope and equipment, a passage might be cleared by Friday afternoon.  In the meantime, the blocks are too large for the party to move, and no way inside is evident.

The graves have been undisturbed.  There's no emanation of evil that Melchior can detect, which would suggest the two ghouls were the only ones likely to rise here.

What have I forgotten?  Ah, the vigil is to begin at sundown, when the lower castle will be opened up to the visitors.  They will be allowed inside the Lower Bailey with a bare minimum of clothing; there are to be no weapons, and no food or drink - the vigil is to be a fast lasting the whole night.  The guards will be examining those who enter, but its not expected that this will be problematic, as most do not intend to wear heavy clothing or even cloaks.

Here's an image:  not the best, but I'll probably improve it over the next few weeks.  This should suffice to get a 3-D picture of the place.


77 comments:

Andrej said...

Alexis, is there some location within the town where one could view the vigil over the wall of the lower bailey without entering the lower bailey? A church tower or the roof of an inn or something?

Assuming word gets back to Andrej regarding the collapsed tunnel, we should stand down the camp and have all return to the inn. Obviously its no longer necessary to watch the secret entrance.

Alexis said...

There wouldn't be, would there? It wouldn't be very defensive if the town could be used as a place to shoot down into the Bailey. So while the town is nearby, the Bailey itself would be about fifty feet above the level of the town, and the outer wall at least high enough to ensure safety for those inside.

You shouldn't assume word gets back to Andrej - unless the others say they send it.

Andrej said...

There wouldn't be when the lower bailey was first built, but by the 17th century the town may have built up and the importance of the lower bailey as an active defense attenuated. I accept that there isn't in this case, though.

Andrej keeps a low profile at the inn, dressed in his adventurer's garb. I have no plans to attend the vigil but when the time comes will keep an eye on the gates to the lower bailey.

Alexis said...

(OOC: That the town could have built up is a good argument; I hadn't considered it. I might have changed my position there ... except that Arnsberg is a pretty small town. But keep at me; I don't win every argument.)

Lukas said...

Lukas does not take this opportunity of everyone else's silence as a time to talk. Instead, he changes plans and finds a quiet place to talk with Andrej. (Quiet as in no people, not people who are quiet.)

So... Do we want to infiltrate this vigil, or just stand outside like sore thumbs? Sounds like an easy way enough to pick out the strangers that don't belong.

Andrej said...

"One of the bishop's agents we questioned in Munster knew me by sight and the other two we still seek, Daniel Duvall and Jacqueline de Beauce, might as well. I won't risk entering the castle unarmed. I also wouldn't ask anybody else to, since the advantage of doing so is rather small when compared to the risk. Consider, if the vigil somehow goes amiss, we will know of it whether we go or not. The likelihood of preventing some evil being done in our current state would be minimal, I'm afraid. The likelihood of capture and perhaps fouling up the greater battle to come seems more likely. Unless there is some reason or advantage you see that escapes me, Lukas, I say we stay put and remain patient... if you're concerned about thus standing out, perhaps we can hide somewhere during the vigil."

Alexis said...

(OOC: I have a meeting that will run until 2:30 EST; I'll pick up there. I presume Andrej and Lukas are out of actions; it would be good to hear from Melchior and Ahmet during the interim ... presume you've all had 6 hours with which to take actions before the afternoon arrives.

Next events will be described when I return)

Andrej said...

Unless Lukas or the others have more to say or do (I'm open to both) Andrej will see if there is an upper storey room in the inn from which he can at least observe the castle gate during the vigil.

Lukas said...

Lukas agrees, "You are correct, I fear only I and the one who as already spoken against the bishop are the only ones not yet associated. And I doubt I could do much alone against capable armed guards."

He agrees to the hiding as well, "That may be prudent. I wouldn't be surprised if they try to flush us out. I think at best we can only observe and attempt to inform our employer upon his arrival. Furthermore I hope that we do not have trouble from giant minks further at the other entrance."

Ahmet said...

I'm assuming the bishop's men collapsed the secret entrance to prevent us from using it... can Ahmet determine (using his mining background) if that is the case, or likely to be the case anyway?

In any event, unless Melchior disagrees, Ahmet thinks they should return to the Inn, given the scope of the collapse. Ahmet explains the nature of the collapse, the inaccessibility of the tunnel, the time and manpower that would be required to the repair the tunnel, and a similar incident that occurred in Anatolia from which Ahmet only narrowly escaped death. That story somehow ends with "and that's why he had to marry the goat."

Lukas said...

Lukas, having heard many of these stories already, nods knowingly to the party. He then shares all the information Ahmet may have not learned in the time of his leaving and return.

Melchior said...

We don't have the resources to even start excavating, so there isn't much point in remaining here. We may as well return to the inn. Perhaps when Hornung arrives we can get started on opening the Font tunnel.

(OOC: Speaking of marrying goats - http://www.oglaf.com/)

Lukas said...

(OOC: As a side note, that site is generally NSFW)

Alexis said...

Ahmet can't be absolutely sure it didn't collapse on its own - but it seems far, far more likely that it was done because someone within determined the entrance was known, and that this was the surest way of closing it up again; not quite successful, for as I said a group of sappers could probably still make their way inside.

So I will judge that Melchior and Ahmet return, and that you are all sitting on the roof of the inn (there's a door, and no resistance to you 'meditating' there).

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Oglaf is indeed NSFW but very, very funny.)

Alexis said...

As the sun begins to set, the town in general begins towards the Lower Bailey's Gate. There's no action on any member of the town to force people to go. The party's presence on the roof (or elsewhere, if the roof seems undesirable) is unchallenged except perhaps with a curious look. People seem to take it as a matter of still having business to do, not as an offensive action on the party's part. At this point, you're on the roof of the inn in town, not the inn where you were previously staying. This, the White Chalice, has three floors and the roof is about fifty yards from the Bailey wall. It's really the best view you're likely to have.

Andrej said...

This works for me. Andrej is dressed in his adventurer's attire and cloak. He has his staff and backpack with him.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet, still in his magic studded leather (under his cloak), sits on the roof and watches.

Melchior said...

Melchior wears his regular robe, and has his sword belted under it. His shield is at his feet, concealed from passers-by. He is holding his rosary and clearly praying softly for much of the time.

Alexis said...

I don't want to rush things.

The sun dips below the horizon; there's still plenty of twilight, but the gates open and the hundreds of people outside start to quietly file in. You can see that many of them have lit candles with the dipping of the sun.

All told, you would guess there are three or four hundred persons moving through the gates.

After about ten minutes, you can distantly see lights appearing on the High Bailey - this is quite a distance away, perhaps 300 yards, and above you ... but there are torches being lit by a collection of persons up there.

Lukas said...

Lukas watches and waits, however, he also starts looking around to see what's going on around the rest of the town.

Alexis said...

Long about twenty minutes after the sun has set - there remains quite a bright dusk in the sky - two riders will be heard pounding through street below from the direction of the town's main gates. The streets are empty; all the townspeople that mean to go are inside the Bailey now. Only a dozen guards wait outside, at least 80 yards away (the gate is at the side of the Bailey).

One rider below calls "Hello!" The guards at the Bailey are too far away to hear; and no one responds. The rider calls again.

Andrej said...

Andrej strains to hear all that is said between the guards and the rider.

Ahmet said...

"I don't think the guards can hear them," Ahmet says to Andrej. He peers down at the riders. "Do you want me to investigate?"

Andrej said...

"Approaching them now might draw attention, Ahmet."

Andrej gives the riders a second look, how far away are they and could Ahmet sneak up on them from ground level?

Alexis said...

Let me try again, giving more information. The riders are BELOW the party. All I said was "below" and that wasn't enough. They are on the street directly below the roof. They are nowhere near the guards at the gate, who are 80 yards away. The riders in the street have no idea there's anyone on the roof above them. From their vantage point, they can't see the guards at the gate.

These are my errors. I'm hurrying. Hope this makes it clearer.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Excellent. Prepare to tip the cauldron of boiling oil!)

Lukas said...

What do the riders look like?

Lukas said...

Specifically perhaps information on allegiances and the like.

Andrej said...

Great question Lukas.

Alexis said...

They are not wearing Arnsberg livery. Lukas doesn't recognize it.

Lukas said...

Do they look like soldiers or messengers or peasants? Also, french accent? Or are there no accents?

Alexis said...

They're definitely soldiers.

(GCI: I do use accents; its because I can 'do' accents ... whereas I can't speak or understand foreign languages)

Alexis said...

Meant to add, Germans ... but the accent isn't precise enough to tell Lukas from where, or he doesn't recognize the source.

Lukas said...

Lukas whispers to the others, "Look like soldiers, messengers perhaps? Should we intercept them?" He peers over the edge looking for witnesses.

Ahmet said...

How far below us are the riders?

Ahmet whispers: "Perhaps Melchior or I should speak to them?"

Andrej said...

Andrej listens to his friend's counsel, then decides to act. Pointing to Lukas he whispers "The townsfolk are all at the vigil. You're up here enjoying the sunset. See if you can find out what they seek."

Lukas said...

Peering over the edge, Lukas speaks to the men. "Ho there! Who are you that you are in a hurry? They've all closed up for the vigil!"

Lukas then tries to find out what they are doing, and where they are from.

Lukas said...

Oh and specifically his reply as to why he is up here will be the view.

Alexis said...

They're about 32 feet below you. They look up at Lukas.

"Where are the people of the town? Where are the residents of the Rathaus?" (they mean the town hall); "We come with a declaration of hostilities from Eberhardt Hornung, Prince-Knight of the Empire."

At this point, the others besides Lukas can see the guards closing the gates to the Lower Bailey. They swing closed with a rattle and a bit of a long squeak. There's no special sound from anyone inside.

Lukas said...

"They're in the castle! They've all been gathered by the bishop for a vigil for the dead miners. The gates are closing now!"

Alexis said...

Both riders will break off at this news, and start towards the castle. The party can see them start up the road, before turning out of sight.

The guards, meanwhile, seem to be buttressing the gates closed - from the outside. They are using heavy timbers and setting them against short stubby posts that were already present.

The party will see the riders again when they come up to the wall. By the time the riders find the guards, the walls outside are buttressed. The riders speak with the guards. The guards flap their arms; there seems to be a great deal of discontent on both sides that goes on for about three minutes. Then the riders ride back into the town. At that point, the party loses them.

Lukas said...

"What are those guards doing? Are they blocking the residents in?"

Melchior said...

How many guards are doing the blocking in?

Melchior swings his shield to his shoulder and glares down at the gate.

"I don't know what in God's name they are doing down there, but I don't like it one bit. We should stop them if we can."

Lukas said...

"Us and what army? What about the men inside the gate? Wont they just finish the job AND us?"

Melchior said...

"If they are blocking the gate from the outside, it is because they want to keep all those people IN. And it is because they don't think the troops they have will be sufficient to do that."

Melchior frowns mightily, considering. "I hate to say it, but we may need to wait until they start doing whatever it is they plan on doing, then unblock the gates."

Alexis said...

There are a dozen guards on the ground; no telling how many guards are in the two towers on either side of the gate. The walls as I said before are 25 feet high; the two towers, 35 feet high each, with stone machicolations that extend outwards from the tower's top.

Melchior said...

Ugly. We'd get chewed up by archers up there. Best to wait until it seems like something is happening inside and their attention is focused on that.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet tells the others he must prepare for battle.

"I fought the crab in splint. Devareux in a doublet. The pirates in rags! And those accursed ghouls and the Nebbles in these leathers. Gentlemen, I will be properly outfitted for this battle."

And with that, he nods at Klaas, and the two bolt down the stairs to the wagon, where his mithril plate awaits.

Lukas said...

"Wait, battle? When? Is it starting? Isn't it supposed to be a while until Hornung shows?"

Melchior said...

"Lukas," explains Melchior grimly, "there are hundreds of townsfolk being barricaded in there by the Bishop's men. I cannot imagine it is for a friendly reason. If there is the slightest chance that we can help them, we must. If only to keep the Bishop from carrying out his plan, which cannot be to our benefit. But more to the point, there are women, children, a whole town in there... If we can help them, we must."

"I agree with Ahmet, though. This is a time for armor." With that he turns and hurries down to the wagon as well.

James C. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lukas said...

Lukas shakes his head, "And what? A crossbow or two between the lot? Likely they'll end up as pincushions as they try to lay siege to a castle. Maybe we could use their noggins as a battering ram to get through, they seem thick enough." Lukas looks to Andrej as if to hope the holy man could talk some sense into the young headstrong paladin.

Andrej said...

Andrej, eyes agleam, squeezes Lukas reassuringly on the shoulder. "You were right afterall, my friend. We go to the vigil."

Andrej strikes below to don his armor.

How lond would it take Emmanuel to saddle two horses? Ahmet, Melchior... would you like to ride into battle?

Ahmet said...

Andrej -- depending on when and where the fight starts, Ahmet will ride into battle, but probably not fight on horseback. (I need to roll an 11 or 12 on 2D6 for Ahmet's horse to survive a morale check.)

Ahmet dons hauberk, chausses, mithril plate, helm and shield. (Is that AC 2, or is there a hauberk/chausses bonus?) He leaves his pick on the wagon so he can use his shield.

(OOC: If there are going to be ghouls about, I want to be as hard to hit as possible!)

He has his scimitar, daggers and whip.

Andrej said...

Skip the horses, then.

Andrej dons mithril plate and both maces. He kisses the holy symbol worn about his neck, then lays it upon his breastplate. "Ghouls will not be our concern, Ahmet, but rather steel."

"If we go on foot, we do so together... in formation. We should make a wedge shape with you at the point, Ahmet. Melchior and I will guard your flanks while Joost and Klaas in turn guard ours. We will drive at them like an arrow head, filed with fury and death."

"We do not try to reason with these guards, or command them aside. If they only follow orders and their lives are to be saved it will be by breaking their morale. We must dominate them. We wade in together and inflict as much damage as quickly as we can. Four bodies, six bodies or twelve... we care not. The gate will be opened."

"Lukas, it would be foolish for you to march upon the gate. You should remain hidden but close at hand and ready to act should an opportunity arise."

"Emmanuel, you will ready the horses for a quick departure and wait out here in front of the inn. If we are unsuccessful and retreat, we will need to leave Arnsberg. If we are unsuccessful and dead, you must bring word to Hornung."

"When you are all ready, gather out front. I will say prayers and hear confessions for those Catholics desiring absolution before we march. It is not too late for baptism for those that wish it."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet nods grimly, but can't hide his excited grin at the prospect of battle.

"We'll pour through them like sh-- wait a minute. Won't the townspeople think we are attacking them? I'm sure the Bishop has told them they are about to be attacked, and he is protecting them. Even if we break through, then what?"

Andrej said...

"If we act only once the die is cast by the bishop, then by the time we make and clear the gate the townsfolk will be clamoring for release."

Ahmet said...

"Yes... my point exactly. Don't we want them on our side?"

Andrej said...

"I think we agree on waiting, we must pray that once we act we have enough time."

Lukas said...

Seriously though, you're going to kill the 12 guards, get pelted from above for the whole time, then disassemble the buttress while being pelted, then... wait and kill any guards that come out the gate to re-buttress?

Ahmet said...

That's Plan B.

Plan A is to wait for 10,000 Hornungites to pour into the town while we wave and cheer from the rooftop!

Andrej said...

Sure it sounds crazy when you say it like that, but consider this:

1) We don't know who is upon the outer walls, it could be nobody.

2) You assume the entire castle will be paying attention to the front door while our attack goes on, but they're busy.

3) I don't think killing 12 guards will be a tough task, but even so... killing 1/3 or 1/2 that number should be sufficient.

Lukas said...

Counterpoints,

1) They know Hornung is coming. Meaning they know a real attack is coming.

2) Who's to say the 'innocents' are in the lower bailey? They could have been brought higher and this buttressing on all doors in-between.

3) What if the 'innocents' in the lower bailey are instead a horde of uncontrolled zombies at this moment? We have no clue what these guards are blocking in, or even if maybe these guards are spies of Hornung like us.

Lukas said...

Furthermore, maybe I should go say hello, you know, unarmed?

Andrej said...

Now that, to me, sounds crazy.

Who but guards in league with the bishop would buttress the outside of the bailey and for what other purpose than to do harm to those within?

With a small but decisive action taken now we could deny the enemy hundreds of troops.

Ahmet said...

Alexis -- How long would it take us, armored and on foot, to reach the buttressed gates?

Melchior said...

Melchior puts on his banded mail, helm and belts his sword and dagger. He swings his shield over his shoulder where he can access it easily and quickly checks over Joost and Klaas, making sure they are ready to go.

"We do need to wait, unfortunately. They would only bar the gate from the outside if they were doing something that required the people stay inside, even if they don't want to. If we, God forgive us, let them start, then quickly attack and open the gate, the people should be able to escape, the Bishop's plan will be ruined, and the townsfolk will see the truth of what rules them."

"Andrej's plan is good. If we go as a tight, quick wedge, we can probably take the guards. If the walls are heavily manned, we'll discover that before we get there, from missile fire, and have the chance to fall back."

"But either way, Lukas, your place is definitely not with us in the wedge. Can your spells provide us with any cover? Obscurement or distraction would be excellent. Perhaps even some commotion that lures those guards there away from the walls somewhat?"

Andrej said...

Should we decide to make this assault, I'd save the sleep spell for whomever shows up upon the walls.

Andrej said...

Lukas, what do you think? I'm not ignoring your concerns but I feel at this point given what we know an attack on the gate is our best course of action. Once we all agree on a plan we can submit an action.

Also, we'll await Alexis's response to the time/ distance question above.

Alexis said...

Wow, big time catch-up.

To begin: you will find an image of the gate and the guards outside on a new post; I haven't written anything there yet, as I thought I better catch up here.

Lukas said...

Well, if we're going to do this, we might as well go all in. After all, I'm probably the only guy to bring a ranged weapon to a bowfight...

Lukas said...

I'll stick behind the group and hope I don't get barraged by arrows.

Alexis said...

Andrej,

It will take about five minutes per horse to saddle them.

Ahmet,

Plate and shield is AC 2; there are no bonuses for hauberk, chausses and helmet, though the plate will chafe without the first two and the helmet has a 5% chance of reducing triple damage to double.

Alexis said...

Ahmet, regarding how long; depends on your approach. See map on next post.

Alexis said...

(OOC: All I can say is this is the point when the DM feels confident there are no rails)

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Oh, I'm quite confident there's a "third rail"...)