Monday, March 5, 2012

Hornung's War Camp

September 11, 1650, pre-dawn Thursday
Weather: cool, with cloudy conditions and a gentle breeze

When the party finds Hornung's camp, and makes their way past the pickets and temporary defenses, they are bone tired.  They've picked up a number of refugees on the way, children and cripples, and there is a long line of refugees escaping the town behind them.  The party learns that Hornung is directing the movement of the host - numbering about seven thousand, you'd reckon - and can't see them ... so they collapse and get some sleep.  Even Emmanuel is too tired to properly break down the wagon - but the party finds help for such in a couple of soldiers who pitch in without being ordered.  The children and cripples are bedded, and impromptu tents are being set up for the refugees.

After two hours of sleep the party is awakened to meet with Hornung.  Hornung has much to tell you.  He is attended by a self-declared 'medicant' who once tended horses in the Lower Bailey, who has been making use of an object that allows him clairvoyance of the proceedings there; he has been able to cast clairaudience besides, for brief periods, and so Hornung is better informed than the party as to what's gone on inside.

The tale goes that that the Bishop has deliberately caused the ground in the Lower Bailey to be descecrated (see note on descecration to follow).  The mine that collapsed (it is uncertain, but theories abound as to how the Bishop managed this - perhaps it was always set up to fall when desired - had a great many convicts that worked within.  These convicts, having been thus buried in descecrated ground, rose during the vigil as ghasts - who proceeded to attack and feed upon the convenient food supply of the mourners.  The bowmen, you learn, were actually shooting at the mourners just to stun them long enough to be sure the ghasts got their hooks in.

The Bishop then ordered his men to seize as many servants and lesser townspeople as possible to dump them into the Bailey to make even more ghasts; this process will probably continue all through the night.

It is believed the Evil Bishop has some means to keep the ghasts in place, to keep them from swarming out of the Lower Bailey.  For one thing, Hornung is supported by the Bishop of Minden, who thinks he may be able to destroy ghasts at will, or certainly turn them away easily ... provided the ghasts are not on descecrated ground when the attempt is made.  It may be that, upon their own ground, the ghasts will have to be killed hand-to-hand; it may be impossible to turn them, because of the power the Evil Bishop possesses.

So the plan is obviously not to release the ghasts through the countryside.  Forcing an attack on the Middle or High Bailies, or the Castle itself, severely reduces the benefit of numbers Hornung has brought.  This will either be a long siege, or a successful attack made by sappers or small bands with a mage or two who can breach parts of the castle long enough for Hornung's army to enter.  The alternative is to slog through the ghasts on their ground.

Eventually the Bishop will certainly lose; Hornung will surround Arnsberg and wait him out if necessary.

What news can the party tell?

65 comments:

Lukas said...

Lukas offers a bow in greeting to Hornung, and allows Andrej to speak first. However, if Andrej should miss information on the secret door, its ghouls, its giant Minks and their trainer and the location, also that it is blocked currently.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet likewise defers to Andrej.

Andrej said...

Andrej explains what is known of the outer defenses this night (12 guards on the doors to the lower bailey, keeping the townsfolk trapped, 200 armored foot rounding up servants in the town).

He then relays what is known about the number of ghasts as the party would estmate, to compare numbers with the medicant(60 dead miners, 200 or so townsfolk plus however many servants are rounded up and tossed in).

Finally, the good news. Ahmet, Lukas and the now missing Ninetoes discovered a secret entrance at a fountain in the nearby woods. The way was guarded by ghouls and giant minks (at least two, one now dead). The party was unable to determine for certain if the passageway actually led to the castle and from where within the walls it emerged, but it was plainly leading that way and where else could it go?

The secret passage was collapsed by the bishop, but not totally. A group of sappers could clear the rubble and open it back up for egress.

Ahmet said...

Does Andrej want to share about his own adventures in the Church, or is Hornung already aware of all that?

Andrej said...

Andrej nods to Ahmet and adds. "Yes, there is also that... another girl found at the cathedral, not so lucky as Fatima. She is alive, though, and now under Serafina's care, Herr Hornung."

Alexis said...

Hornung listens to this all, as do his advisers - the medicant, Peter of Harz; Hermann, Bishop of Minden; Jules, Graf of Knull; and Johannes, Graf of Taunus. The number of dead in the mine is corrected; the count was in fact 187 dead (the party only saw 60).

(GCI: I forgot to add the note about desecration:

A cleric is able to desecrate or consecrate so much ground - one half an acre per level, or enough for 750 plots. If a cleric goes one ceremony farther than they would normally be able to perform, the earlier ground they transformed ceases to be transformed; this is not usually enough to cause undead to rise, as the bodies were originally buried in ground that was consecrated at the time ... but other aspects can cause an old graveyard, so abandoned, to become dangerous.

The interior of the Lower Bailey is about 3 acres, so the Bishop would have had to denude six other formerly created plots, if he was up to his full tally.

For reference, Arlington Cemetery is 12 acres in size)

Hornung will show all due respect to Lukas, and will ask all three of you, not just Andrej, what part would you want to play. There's no shame in stepping down - Hornung knows of Ahmet's family troubles from Fatima through Serafina, and he knows that Andrej has business elsewhere.

"I will free you from this dreaded task, my friends, if your destinies take you elsewhere. I shall see that the murderer of Father Jan is brought to justice, and I shall see through this matter to the end.

What, my friends, do you need from me?"

Alexis said...

Hornung would probably know about the girl, but only through letters from Serafina; he has not seen or met Carolina himself. He has not seen his own wife since the night of their wedding.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet again defers to Andrej... but you can see his eye twitching.

Blood... blood... BLOOD!

Andrej said...

Andrej answers, "Sappers, and men brave enough to take into the tunnels."

(OOC: I appreciate the chance to step down, but from an immersion standpoint Andrej would also like to take part in bringing Jan's killers to justice. From a meta-gaming aspect, that castle is one huge fucking XP bomb and I want to be around when it goes off. I have no interest in a seige, but should we strike out at the castle from below...)

Andrej said...

(OOC: Also, I'm assuming that Hornung is outfitted with high level henchman much like the bishop and we won't need to repeat our almost ill-fated but aborted frontal assault on the lower bailey... we'll have a role in the coming battle more befitting our abilities.)

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Well, that dwarf looked like a pretty stout fellow... here's hoping he's needed elsewhere!)

Lukas said...

Lukas glances at the others, "I go with these men, work has been hard to find as of late, and I believe there is plenty here."

Alexis said...

Hornung lets you know he can provide you with a cadre of twenty dwarves and their leader. "Will you need more? Can you judge the work the tunnel will need to clear it for entrance?"

Andrej said...

Now it is Andrej who will defer to Lukas and Ahmet.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Ahmet's earlier estimate was 10 to 20, presumably human, sappers; I would think 20 dwarves would be sufficient.)

Ahmet goes into exhaustive detail about the equipment needed -- picks, shovels, ropes, braces, pulleys, carts, mules, etc. -- managing to also explain how this is quite similar to a collapse in 1639 that killed Ahmet's nephews but not his cousin, who was rescued after a long and arduous excavation that resulted a secondary cave-in that killed a third nephew, although that boy was a useless fool anyway.

Alexis said...

Hornung will cut Ahmet off. "Make a list."

He will be sending out forces today, at dawn, to cover various points of travel from the castle, and spreading these to close the inhabitants in over the next two days. Hornung can provide you with the dwarves within an hour - he will need to know the exact location of the tunnel entrance, and so he will be sending an officer and 40 men to picket the outside. He will perhaps increase this to 80 men, if he can spare them.

Lukas said...

Lukas is glad to help with giving him information enough for the exact entrance, and also to write out a list with any materials provided.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet will dictate the details to Lukas to be passed on to the appropriate Hornung underling (or perhaps to the Dwarf foreman himself), along with numerous remembrances of mining days past.

"Perhaps we should ask for more healing salve as well," Ahmet says.

Andrej said...

Add a footman's mace and a shield to that list, would you Lukas?

Alexis said...

At Ahmet's suggestion about healing salve, the medicant replies, "I can let their party have 30 doses."

Lukas said...

Lukas adds said things to the list.

Mining Supplies
Healing Salves
20 Dwarves
Footman's mace
Shield
Ahmet's Cousin (For canary purposes apparently)
dart quiver
full compliment of darts for said dart quiver

Actual list may vary.
Lukas really doesn't have anything big on his list, except maybe a few more darts might be handy...

Lukas said...

Ahmet really needs to start gathering cousins as underlings...

Andrej said...

How much time left before dawn? Does the party need further rest?

Alexis said...

There's about six hours before dawn; I would presume the party gets as much sleep as is humanly possible. None of the spells that were cast before the gate counted - so I don't think either Andrej or Lukas have any spells to memorize or pray for; you'll catch sleep when you can.

The equipment above that you ask for arrives, along with 40 torches, two lanterns, ten flasks of oil, six crowbars, two vials of acid, six vials of holy water, a gross of iron spikes and a skull cap for Lukas (one was not in evidence).

Andrej said...

Lukas, do you want to run Joost now that he needs a boss?

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Wow, it's nice to be part of a big organization!)

Andrej said...

Alexis, what is the difference as it pertains to use and effects between a large and small shield?

Alexis said...

If anyone tries to sleep in the next two hours, they're going to be awoken by a mess of dwarves showing up with their bedrolls, laying them out and crashing back into sleep.

A muscular, gnarled specimen presents himself. "Frith, Haft of the Princess Alaina's Troop, sir. This is my second Warth, and these are my men: Batath, Kushi, Odval, Salth, Seth, Culf, Balther, Zoft, Ganzor, Ermeth, Palt, Wedth, Worter and Aruth. And these are my women: Htuya, Nerga, Mega, Erdina and Vala."

Alexis said...

A large shield is +1 AC vs. missiles.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet greets Frith, asks him a few rudimentary questions about mining and tunneling, and, if satisfied with the answers, returns to sleep.

Andrej said...

Andrej rises, and assuming the dwarf addresses him (or that Ahmet and Lukas would defer to him anyway ;) ) invites them to bed down, accepts their introductions and in turn introduces our party.

"Warth and Frith, eh? Must be common names... I made the acquaintance of a Warth, cousin of Frith, on the road to Nordhausen. Nice fellow."

Andrej said...

Ah yes, perfect. Ahmet is the miner. He will take command of the dwarves. :)

Andrej said...

I assumed large shield so am adding one to my inventory along with the footman's mace. the healing salves I will place on our cart. Alexis, are we getting another cart and horse for all of the mining equipment?

Alexis said...

(OOC: caught!)

"Odd coincidence," answers Frith. "I have a cousin Warth, and Warth has a cousin Frith. Probably, the two you met on the road weren't using their real names."

Ahmet said...

(OOC: I'm looking forward to Ahmet and Frith having an epic scowl-off!)

Alexis said...

Call it a large.

Andrej said...

(OOC: :) )

Andrej said...

Once the dwarves are settled in Andrej returns to sleep.

Ahmet & Lukas, plan is to break camp at dawn and make for the secret entrance, correct? There we can set camp and go about the business of clearing the tunnel.

In the morning Andrej will seek out Hornung or one of his lieutenants. Do we have a cart and horse for the mining equipment, if not can we get one? Also, what of food for the party and 40 sappers for a week? Do we forage/ pillage the countryside or will we be given supplies?

Once these questions are answered, Andrej will be ready to depart.

Andrej said...

Andrej seeks out Hornung or a lieutenant as described above in the morning.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: I thought Dwarves ate rocks.)

Ahmet beds down as well.

Prior to Andrej seeking out Hornung or his lieutenant, Ahmet will confer with Frith and go over the delivered supplies. If there's anything either of them thinks is necessary for the operation, he'll tell Andrej to add it to the list.

Ahmet said...

See what you did?

Strike my "will" also.

Lukas said...

Lukas gets as much rest as he can. He feels no compulsion to insult either the dwarves capability with mining, or Hornungs ability to select workers by checking their references.

He does take the skullcap and toys with it for a while. "Very utilitarian, I'll need to find something fancier at some point."

He does however make a point of trying to know where all the more interesting goods are placed, vials, healing salve, holy water and the like.

On arrival at the site he will do everything he can to assist as possible.

(OOC: Guess what Andrej, we're both miners. Let's hope there's a few good mines in Cumana ;) )

Andrej said...

(OOC: That's right, two miners. I had forgotten. You may have missed it Lukas, but while Andrej has business in Cumana, Ahmet has some in Anatolia concerning a family claim on a (copper?) mine. Hopefully we can squeeze it all in.)

Lukas said...

(OOC: I did actually, but somehow I think that will be a short stop compared to a visit to South America.)

Andrej said...

(OOC: Ah, Cumana in this sense is much closer... along the Black Sea. As we're needing to go to Anatolia I figured we'd go there first, by ship to hopefully Istanbul (not Constantinople), then north to Cumana.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: At which point I'll have to decide whether I want to...

Remain in my homeland with 10,000 g.p. and my cousin's hot friends, or

Go with you guys to spread your false religion among the half-orc barbarians

I'm going to have to think about this one... :) )

Lukas said...

(OOC: For that 10,000 GP just send 100 GP by courier to king mukawe at 111 somewhere, Riches and women will be yours!)

Ahmet said...

Ahmet also will point out to Andrej, who should mention to Hornung and/or his designee, that Ahmet estimated late Wednesday afternoon that 10 to 20 sappers with the appropriate equipment could clear a passage by Friday afternoon, so about 48 hours.

It's now pre-dawn Thursday, so that would likely mean pre-dawn Saturday. (Although perhaps 20 Dwarves will be able to work faster than 10 to 20 presumably human sappers.)

Andrej, can you ask Hornung to sen along a rider on a fast horse (in addition to the 40 men and an officer)? When Ahmet, Lukas, and Frith reach the site, we'll get a better estimate on how long it will take.

With that... I'm ready to move on to the site when you guys are.

Andrej said...

Andrej relays the original time estimate to Hornung or one of his subordinates if he's not available, saying we'll update him during the day. If a messenger doesn't reach us by the time we have a better estimate, we'll send one along.

Ahmet, since we have horses and spare hands (Klaas, Joost, Emmanuel) we can always send a messenger if needed.

I'm ready to move on as well. If nothing else happens consider Andrej and Ahmet as having directed the breakdown of our camp, the loading of our cart(s) and our leaving for the font.

Alexis said...

Andrej,

The dwarves will bring their own provisions, and supplies will be delivered in five days if necessary.

It won't be possible to bring a cart to the font due to the terrain and the lack of roads, and in any case, Hornung does not have a cart to spare. The font is in the forest and can only be reached by a pathway just wide enough for a horse. The dwarves plan to hump their equipment in, by back and by three donkeys.

The officer who will guard the entrance finds the party, about an hour before dawn, and rousts you all out of bed. He wants to be on his way before the sun rises; he understands the total distance will be something like 8 miles (he's approximately right).

Alexis said...

(OOC: Lukas ... regarding mines in Cumana. Have you heard of the Donbass?)

Alexis said...

Actually, it is still called Constantinople. The use of Istanbul did not come into regular use until the 19th century.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Up before dawn? We're in the Army now!)

After helping to break down and pack up their stuff, Ahmet proceeds to the font, either riding on horseback or, more likely given the terrain and pace, leading it.

Alexis said...

Since you'll be travelling with the officer and his 40 men (the officer's name is Nachnamen, by the way), he'll send a runner himself to inform Hornung of your progress.

Alexis said...

So you're on your way. You'll have to decide what to take from your wagon.

Ahmet said...

As for me, the only personal items I have on the wagon are my scale mail and an extra military pick. They can stay on the wagon.

For the group, let's bring two of the linen tents and about five days of food for each man and horse.

Anything else?

Ahmet said...

(Five days may be overkill, but I was going by Alexis's comment that supplies will be delivered in five days.)

Lukas said...

Lukas helps bring the five days of food, and as many of the vials and salves as possible. (Likely it would be better if he spent turns applying such things.) He then carries everything else he logically can of the necessary supplies.

(OOC: As for the mines Alexis, I was trying to research, but given I had the wrong Cumana, I couldn't find it. Furthermore apparently finding our Cumana is a pain on the interwebs.)

Alexis said...

(GCI: There is no Cumana on the interwebs.

In deciding where to include non-human races in my world, it was necessary to posit that some of the peoples of the world had to be non-human. I began with the idea that most of the tribes that flowed out of the east during the late Roman empire and right up to the Mongols, were either Orcish, Ogrish or Trollish in race. This included the Huns, the Avars, the Bulgars, the Kipchaks, the Khazars ... and the Cumans. The Bulgars were actually two groups - one of them human, who settled in the lower peninsula, and one of them ogrish, who settled in the Upper Kama river valley, below the Urals. The Slavs and the Magyars too were humans. The Mongols were a mixed race of human with Uruchai blood ... but that's another story.

In true History, Kiyev and Russia eventually wiped out or bred with the Cumans, so that the tribe mostly disappeared in the final raids and subsequent overlordship of the Mongols in Russia. But in my world, a various coalition of ogres, dwarves, orcs and humans fought back the Mongols, who never raided Europe and never conquered Russia. The Cumans were never completely defeated by the Kiyevans, either, and eventually those orcs interbred with human and dwarvish tribes in east Ukraine and the Donbass, forming half-orcs (like Andrej) and dworkins (half orc/half dwarf). That region I call "Cumana")

Alexis said...

The human Bulgars settled in the lower Balkan peninsula, that is ... though as an aside, I've considered them to have a very small amount of orcish blood, perhaps 10%; if you've read Bulgar history of the Middle Ages, you could see the justice in that.

Andrej said...

Being brought from the cart, loaded and bound onto the three horses (Ahmet's one and Andrej's two):

Magic keg of ale and milk (11 lbs.)
30 lbs. of horse feed
40 lbs. of potatoes
20 lbs. of beans
20 lbs. of peas
10 lbs. of olives
cooking pot (26 lbs)
30 doses of healing salve in burlap sack (20 lbs.)
burlap sack of cooking supplies (10.8 lbs)
2 tents (30 lbs.)

Andrej's Hollsteiner will take on some of it, but is already loaded... how much can a Hollsteiner and a Percheron carry? Andrej will ride neiter horse, but will march and lead the Hollsteiner while Emmanuel leads the Percheron.

Did I forget anything (I assume the dwarves hump all of the gear from Honrung except the personal items we acquired)

Alexis said...

A Hollsteiner tends to prefer a light load; it isn't a cart horse, and more than 500 lbs. will make it unhappy; but it can carry more than it has to.

The Percheron is a draft horse, and will carry anything up to its own weight - 2,000 lbs. - though that will necessitate that ALL of it's feed will need to be oats.

An intimate acquaintance has given me the figures I need to determine how much oats a horse needs in comparison to how much work; I don't have the link just now, but I can post it if needed. I simply haven't felt inclined to institute those rules yet. For the present, I'm ready to forego them, as they aren't terribly important right now.

(see ... I could be a LOT more anal retentive if I chose to be).

Alexis said...

Should read, will carry more IF it has to.

Andrej said...

Based on that Alexis, I think we've got plenty of horsepower assuming all of the above can be strapped or tied down.

(OOC: Can't wait to get to and campaign in Cumana)

Alexis said...

We continue on the next post.