Today I ran a follow-up session of Warhammer 3 (WFRP 3) based in the world where I previously ran a Pathfinder Onsen Adventure. In the first session the players safely completed the first adventure, and now they are ready to explore their world and do a bit of adventuring. I’m running this as a kind of sandbox in a steam-powered world of below-Victorian-level tech, set in a world that corresponds geographically with Kyushu, Japan but is not intended to be anything except a cultural mish-mash. The characters in this session were an elven scout, a human wizard (of the jade order) and a human roadwarden. Our group changes a little from fortnight to fortnight, so the group won’t be constant.

Just as in the Pathfinder version, at the end of the first adventure the PCs got a document granting them ownership of a small onsen resort near the town of Steamline Spa. They need to head down to the coast, to Separation City, to find a lawyer who can ratify their ownership of the onsen. The PCs planned to do this in this adventure, but they ran into a small hitch…

The Disgruntled Guards

The PCs arrived at the onsen resort as bodyguards to a rich old man who needed healing, but the resort itself actually had some guards already. After these guards found out that the PCs had taken ownership of the onsen resort they got a little uppity, and all five of them visited the PCs’ office to demand a renegotiation of the situation: specifically, that the PCs relinquish the deed of ownership to the guards and leave immediately. The guards consisted of:

  • Carsk: a massive, hulking barbarian-type from an undisclosed region, kind of swarthy with a face so heavily scarred that forming complex sentences is a challenge
  • The Spitting Woman: one of those lightly-armed cut-and-run types, obviously the brains of the group, this woman is probably from the far South and speaks a language so heavily punctuated by spitting and hacking sounds that the PCs never really learned her name, and just refer to her as “the spitting woman.”
  • The Triplets: A trio of fighters, inseparable, probably born at the same time, of indeterminate gender, who may not speak common and come from some barbaric place in the far west, beyond the World Forest.

The Roadwarden, Chrestia, decided to use her leadership skills to try and convince the mob that instead of taking over the shop they should work as the PCs loyal servants. The PCs had been digging through documents and so discovered some evidence that Carsk was deep in debt to some gambling parlours in Steamline Spa, and they offered to help him work out his debts if he stayed loyal. However, none of these incentives worked, and after a couple of minutes of debate things turned sour. Combat ensued, and would have gone very badly if Chrestia hadn’t had the good idea of upturning their huge mahogany desk for cover. This gave them a small defensive bonus in the first round – not enough to stop the scout copping a third critical hit on top of the two he already had – but things were clearly looking dire. In fact the scout at this point was only alive because he had previously got healing sufficient to ignore one critical hit for a day – one more critical hit and he was dead, and if he didn’t get some decent healing in 24 hours he would die.

Fortunately the room backed onto a verandah and then a garden, and so the PCs decided to make a run for it into the garden. The garden was surrounded by a wall with a gate, and they figured if they could make it to the gate one of them could hold the gate against the whole horde. The upturned desk gave them the chance, so they ran for it and made it to the gate. Here, Chrestia blocked the gate while the wizard fired magic darts over her shoulders and the scout dropped into the shadows. He used his ambush skills to deal with the triplets when they tried climbing over the wall, and Chrestia dealt with the spitting woman, who was first to the gate. Carsk, seeing no way through the gate, tried to climb the wall. The scout used a trick shot that enables him to shoot round corners, but it didn’t work; however, after Chrestia killed the Spitting Woman, the wizard was able to cast an entangle spell on Carsk as he was halfway up the wall.

This had an unfortunate effect. The garden was already full of topiary that had been carved into sexually suggestive shapes, and Carsk was climbing the wall next to a topiary figure of a rabbit pleasuring herself on a rhinoceros’s horn. This topiary expanded to engulf Carsk, so that he was pinned to the wall with vines twined around his sweetmeats and his greatsword embedded in a sensitive part of the rhinoceros. Carsk was probably too tough for the PCs to kill in an open fight, but finding himself compromised by a rhinoceros-shaped shrub, and with vines slowly crawling around his balls, he changed his tune. He blamed the whole thing on the Spitting Woman, and agreed to work for the PCs as a loyal and faithful companion.

The gnome wagons and the Beastmen

The following day the PCs explored the valley near their onsen, finding the caravans that belonged to the gnome crime-boss they killed in the previous session. These caravans are luridly painted with famous stories in the history of the gnome race: in this case, scenes from the story of Grimsby’s contest with Casanova, in which Grimsby attempts to deflower every virgin Casanova is pursuing before Casanova can get to her. This story is known to have ended badly for everyone involved except Casanova, and the wagon decorations were really not suitable for display in a civilized city, but the wagons were pulled by wargoats and the PCs figured they could repaint them or sell them, so they took them back to their onsen. They then realized that the scout was in dire need of healing, and since they had to travel to Separation City anyway they headed off for Steamline Spa. A night at the healer’s later, and the scout was good as new. With a new day dawning, they headed to Separation City …

Unfortunately, they were ambushed by Beastmen on the way. Four ungors and a wargor charged from the bushes to attack them as they were heading through a forested valley, with almost hilarious consequences. The wizard cast another entanglement spell, trapping the ungors in the scrub, but the wargor – a great 12′ tall monster of a screaming bull-headed bastard – hit their wagon at a full run, and did some serious damage to the roadwarden, who was driving the wagon. Unfortunately, to do this the wargor had charged through the side of the wagon, and got his head stuck in the wagon wall, and the roadwarden got a free hit on the beast’s head[1]. Having used her free attack, the roadwarden then pulled a classic stunt: she stabbed the arse of the wargoat dragging their wagon, forcing it into a blind run, and leapt out the back of the wagon. The wagon hurtled off down the road with the wargor still trapped by its head, desperately stumbling and struggling as it tried not to be trampled or run over and still with its head stuck in the side of the wagon. This left the PCs free, at least for a round or two, to deal with the entangled weaker beastmen. And this is where the session ended …

fn1: the card “Fearsome charge” includes an effect when you roll 2 banes, in which the target gets a free strike. I figured this was because the wargor got stuck in the wagon’s boards.