At the end of the last session, the Players decided their Character would head for the strange bug marking they had found on a map inside the skin of a dying Knight of the Order Medicinal. This meant they were heading toward Karlstadt! This meant we would soon be playing Better Than Any Man!
I created the inserts for the center and right panels of my Referee screen to help me with running the massive book. In the middle panel are ilustrations of the The Seven, their names, their nicknames, images of their familiars, a listing of their spells, the locations of their homes in Karlstadt. In the right panel is a timeline of the events in the region, the random encounter list, and the rumors found with Karlstatdt. (The left panel are tables from the LotFP rule books (reaction tables, morale table, movement table, and so on.)
Well… I never got to use any of it. Because a funny thing happened on the way to Karlstadt…
On their way from the small village at the base of the Alps beneath the shrine of the Duvan’Ku (DFD), the Player Characters decided to stop in Munich to resupply and let the magic users share spells.
So while the magic users were busy with their homework, the specialist and the fighter went off to pursue more information about the rumors they picked up during play over the last few sessions.
The fighter was curious about the rumors of a man who lived in the mountains and said to be possessed. Digging around Munich for a week and a half (and paying 20 silver pieces as his expenses, per the rules for rumors from Qelong) he found out details of the man who had a base in the Alps.
Apparently this man claimed to travelled to different worlds and come back with treasures. (These rumors will lead the PCs to the Isle of the Unknown if they choose to track this adventurer to his home. The home is abandoned and the man is long gone. But there is a rigged sailing ship in an underground lake that can travel back and forth between the lake and the waters around the Isle.)
Meanwhile, the specialist (who is reading The Million Violations, by the way, which he took from the Duvan’Ku shrine!) wanted to ask around Munich for more information about the Duvan’Ku.
I remembered that in the book in the cabin of Death Frost Doom the players could learn that the Duvan’Ku have been based in Munich 500 years earlier. So I figured, “Sure, why not! There’s something to find!”
I rolled for a random NPC Encounter from Vornheim (after the PC payed his silver.). I got an MU who sold familiars. That didn’t really fit in with setting, so I decided he was a crazy old guy who thought he was an MU who sold mice he claimed were familiars. He also had actual rumors about the Duvan’Ku in Munich at the beginning of the city’s history.
He found a man who claimed to know a bit about the Duvan’Ku having been wiped out 500 years earlier.
At first, thinking fast, I thought I’d drop Stonehall under Munich. But I realized it would be too weird for the immediate locale. It also wouldn’t fit with the Duvan’Ku.
Instead, I decided to fold The God That Crawls into the earth beneath Munich.
As the PCs puzzled out rumors, Googled the history of Munich, and decided how they would track down tales from 500 years ago from a barely literate time, I decided the Duvan’Ku base had been cleared out, but the potent magic remained. A monastery built in Munich 500 years earlier (when Munich was first founded) had been razed during the destruction of the Duvan’Ku base. It later became the site of a church.(People didn’t know about the Duvan’Ku connection 300 years later (it’s all hush-hush stuff, after all.), but new the monetary had once been there.).
And that latent power of the site ultimately allowed a holy man to become the crawling God beneath the streets of Munich..
The PCs went to orphanages looking for tales of bogeyman stretching back hundreds of years. They figured that since the Duvan’Ku leave no monuments and keep their deeds secret they were looking for tales of people vanishing in the early years of Munich’s founding.
(This line of investigation began when one of the players declared, “We’ve noy going to find anything looking for clues left by the Duvan’Ku. We need to see this from the point of view of the people the Duvan’Ku affected.” Which is how I had already decided the situation would play out. And then they decided to track down tales of Boogey Men passed down through the centuries. I love my players!)
They finally found tales of Brother Death from the days of Munich’s beginning, connected to the original monastery. They followed those rumors to a closed up church near the southeast corner of the city’s wall built 200 years ago where the monastery had been.
They made their way in to the church at night. (Father Karl and the parishioners of the neighborhood and watching them, waiting for them to get deep enough inside to force them into the pit.)
The PCs examined the paintings and got far enough into the church to find the pit, and there we stopped.
Not only is a good cliffhanger but to the party members were not present this evening and I don’t want to move for without everyone who might be involved In any decision or action that leads the party going down that picked.
Oh, and the fighter bought a mouse from the man who claims to be a sorcerer. He bought the “familiars” for 25 silver pieces. It should be noted that’s when one of the party magic users cast detect magic on the mouse it was indeed magical.
I am really determined to be as open as I can in letting the characters make the decisions about which way they want to go and what they want to do.
I’m also determined to stitch together the campaign with callbacks and clues and ideas that the players form, letting their curiosity and what they care about become the focus of the game. Between all the LotFP material I have and a let’s-d-this attitude about improvising character details and situations on-the-fly I’m excited to see where we will end up by the time it is all done.
I should also note that the players were fascinated by the snow globes in DFD, so the theme I’ve been building in the campaign (since the start) of many alternate worlds and dimensions is going to pay off in spades.