Catching Up in Fauligmere
After dealing with the Reuter Incident, you had travelled to Eilhart for the Festival of All Gods, a somewhat heretical but well-attended festival in the Western Reikland. In addition to the unusual festival, Eilhart is famous for two other things: eilwein, a nectar-like white wine, and kartoffelkäse. a delicious mixture of pureed potatoes and pungent cheese.
At the festival, you encountered an old mentor and priest of Sigmar, Father Anders, who recognized one of you and pulled you aside. He had just arrived from the remote hamlet of Fauligmere, in the westernmost reaches of the Reikland (almost to Marienburg). He described the terrible events he witnessed a few nights before in Fauligmere, when a witch came out of the marsh and attacked the village.
Father Anders witnessed the attack and helped the villagers in the aftermath (more detail on the attack is below). The next day, Father Anders left the village to find help - any help - to send back to Fauligmere. He found you. You agreed to help, and Father Anders paid (handsomely with a large signet ring) for a barge to carry you quickly and directly downriver to Fauligmere, while he sought out more help in the region to send along after you.
A few days later, you arrived in Fauligmere, a miasmically stinking and poverty-ridden fishing village clinging to the banks of the River Bäch on the edge of fetid Grootscher Marshes (known colloquially by Imperials as The Cursed Swamps because of a famous battle the Empire lost there).
People Met and Facts Learned in Fauligmere
A handful of militia armed with bows patrol the palisade surrounding the village.
A Fishing Village With No Fish
Although nominally a fishing village beside a healthy river, no fish are ever caught anymore. The villagers survive on roots, mushrooms, and bog octopus meat harvested from the marshes.
The Temple of Manaan is a Wreck
There is a ramshackle and poorly tended temple to Manaan in the village. The attending priest, Father Salzig, is a stinking drunk. Esme beat him.
A Perfect Little Shrine. DON'T TOUCH IT, YOU HEATHEN
There is a simple, well-tended, open-air shrine to Sigmar. However, anyone except a priest of Sigmar approaching it is accosted by its keeper, a fanatic named Seth Reizbar, the local cobbler and tinker, who meticulously maintains the shrine. The shrine itself is nothing more than a granite column topped by the weathered sculpture of a fist clutching a hammer in the center of the village common. A well-polished bronze plaque proclaims the mightiness of divine Sigmar.
A Busy Smith
There is a working smithy just off the village common.
Three Hogs and Goede People
You obtained lodgings at The Three Hogs, the best and only inn and tavern in the village. It's run by an affable family, the de Goedes: innkeep Tomas; wife Emma, young daughters Elise, Ingrid, Linde, and Miriam; and full-grown and protective son Karel. The de Geodes were kind and generous people, pleased to see you as brave help against the witch. Although kind and generous to you (they are providing you free room and board in return for you helping the town), you learned they think very little of their neighbors, the van Berkels.
Supper with the von Stauffers
You were met upon arrival by the local baron, Eldred von Stauffer, a handsome man with greying blonde hair and shockingly blue eyes in his forties. He seemed intelligent if somewhat distracted and overly fond of pigeons. He invited you to an early supper at the manor.
You arrived at the manor, met at the door by stooping old man in pigeon-dropping stained livery. The manor is a dusty affair and infested with pigeons. Led to the dining room, you were met by Baron Eldred (pleasant and forthright, his favorite pigeon still perched upon his shoulder), his mother the Lady Theodora (imperious, cold, stiff, concerned with the minutiae of "what is proper"), his wife the Lady Wandelina (coy and shy, traits that seem to irritate her husband), and the mysterious and alien Voluria, a high elf from beyond the sea. Servants held small umbrellas over the three ladies while they ate. Pigeons roamed freely over the table.
You made some serious faux pas during dinner, harming your standing with the village nobility (notably, the Lady Theodora), but the Baron pushed past these to get down to business matters after dismissing the women from the table and inviting you and Voluria to his lounge for brandies.
The lovely and mysterious Voluria answered some questions about her presence: she is from Ulthuan, seeking a lost shipwreck her family lost sometime around the War of the Beard (about 4500 years ago). She believes the wreck is somewhere in the marsh not far from Fauligmere. Although she believes the wreck to contain a vast store of ithilmar treasures, she wants but a single item: an ithilmar pendant of great sentimental value to the lord of her house. When pressed for details (which were light) it seemed she was probably holding some information back or otherwise dissembling.
Over brandies, the Baron admitted he felt he was a poor leader and was happy that Father Anders had the wisdom to send heroes to help the village. He trusts Father Anders' judgement, so he trusts you. He has already sent the village bog hunters to scour the swamp for signs of the witch. Once one of them returns with information, he intends to form a hunting party - himself, yourselves, what bog hunters he has on hand, and about half the village militia - to enter the swamp and apprehend the witch.
After leaving the Baron, you return to the inn, where a distraught Emma informs you that Tomas and Karel, inspired by the arrival of you brave heroes, marched off into the swamp to hunt bog octopus so that he could provide his esteemed guests with a half-decent meal. It has grown late and the two have not returned. They weren't prepared to spend overnight in the swamp. Something terrible must have happened to them.
An old, crippled bog hunter, Steffan Visser, gives you some advice about the swamp and lends you his spear and net, both of which are of Fine quality. In particular, he warns you to watch out for bloodroot, fleshslugs, marsh gas, and the Beast.
Tidbits and Gossip
You learned the following tidbits and gossip:
Details of the Attack
- The witch attacked a few hours after midnight, about a week before you arrived.
- All the dogs started howling in the village. Everyone thought they were under attack from some marsh-monster - many grabbed whatever they could find as a weapon or lit flaming firebrands and ran outside.
- The villagers surrounded the intruder in the north-west corner of the village. He was a young looking man, dressed like a savage. He was tall, with a shock of golden hair and clear blue eyes.
- Someone jabbed at the witch with a staff (nobody remembers who). In response, the witch began to sing in an eerie, entrancing voice. Weird lights began to dance around the witch's hands, and his eyes glowed.
- His song inspired terror in the villagers. Dark energy crackled from his hand, and the thatch of a nearby house burst into flame. The folk who lived there barely escaped the blaze.
- Pirn van Beek lunged at the witch with a spear, but was consumed by fire conjured by the witch. Pirn lies wounded in his home near the temple, where he is cared for by Saskia.
- The villagers ran screaming, while the witch ran away. He vaulted the palisade and fled north-west into the marshes.
These details line up with what Father Anders told you in Eilhart, although the part about the villagers jabbing the witch with a staff is new.
You can actually cook, and eat, bog octopus. In fact, a good enough cook could make a fine dish. Bog octopuses are clever, strong, and surprisingly flexible - they're too cunning to be trapped, and must be hunted. The paucity of fish available in the vicinity of the village compels the denizens of Fauligmere to rely largely on octopus for food. There's also the Beast to contend with.
- Tomas de Goede, the innkeeper, and Claes van Berkel have been quarreling again. Fighting over that patch of land as usual.
- Watch out for Seth Reizbar. If you don't know the Hail Sigmar backwards, he'll probably want you burned for blasphemy!
- Got a nasty cut yesterday. Saskia sorted me in no time - no scar!
- Does Father Salzig ever stop drinking?
- That strange elf-woman came here a day before you arrived. Staying at the Baron's place. I hear she's looking for some old shipwreck.
The Cursed Marshes
- Beware the Beast. Be very still if it comes near you, or it'll get you!
- The river gave us plenty of fish twenty years ago - nowadays, nothing! We have to scavenge for snails in the mud. We'd leave, but where to? Manann don't hear us, 'cos the priest's never sober!
- Times were better before the old priest, Marbad, died.
- Praying at the temple gives us no joy, so instead we… er… no, I can't talk to you about that…
- When Mannslieb's full, we go to the Knochenpfütze and offer sacrifices to Manann. If we don't, things will only get worse.
The von Stauffers
- The von Stauffers have been lords of Fauligmere for generations. Baron Eldred's father, Edrik, died fighting Norse in the Sea of Claws. Can't imagine his son dying a hero's death, though. Lived in Altdorf for three years. He likes to talk to his pigeons more than human folk…
- The Baron's been married for 15 years, but don't get on with his wife much. Quarrel all the time, so I hear.
- Lady Theodora, the Baron's ma, she's a cold-hearted cow. We're all nothing but dirt as far as she's concerned.
- Lady Theodora always acts like she's got something to hide. There's guilt in them icy eyes of hers, mark my words.
Favor and Disfavor
As you interact with the people in Fauligmere, you gain Favor and Disfavor with them. Step carefully.
The Effects of Favor and Disfavor
When attempting any social Dramatic Test with the factor as a whole or a member of the faction, any player may remove a point of Favor from the pool (permanently), even after the test is resolved, to give +2 Success Levels on the Test.
Disfavor affects you automatically if there is any Disfavor in the pool. You suffer an automatic -2 Success Levels on any simple Fellowship-based Test with that faction or members. Additionally, members of that faction gain +2 Success Level on any Opposed Test against you (excluding combat tests). The effects of Disfavor get more pronounced if you sink to 3 points of Disfavor or more.
The Common Folk
- You impressed the villagers as forthright and brave heroes. +1 Favor
- You treated fairly with the villagers, bringing them news of the outside world in exchange for local gossip. +1 Favor
- You have promised to protect Fauligmere against the witch. +1 Favor
- You agreed to search for Tomas and Karel de Goede. +1 Favor
You currently have +4 Favor with the Common Folk of Fauligmere. As a result, you have free room and board at The Three Hogs for as long as you have any Favor with the Common Folk.
- You showed an interest in the Baron's pigeons. +1 Favor
- You promised to protect Fauligmere against the witch. +1 Favor
- One of you impressed the Lady Theodora as a priestly or devout person. +1 Favor
- One of you pushed the Baron's pigeons away or otherwise commented negatively about them, upsetting both the pigeons and the Baron. +1 Disfavor ** One of you failed to show the Lady Theodora the proper respect. +1 Disfavor
You currently have +1 Favor with the Nobility of Fauligmere. As a result, you are miraculously unscathed by pigeon droppings.
Addenda - Pirn van Beek and Saskia van Oort
You visited the only villager brave enough to attack the witch, Pirn van Been. Pirn paid for his bravery by being horribly burned by the witch's magical fire. He rests in a hovel near the temple of Manaan, his face, arms, and shoulders are badly burned and covered in bandages. He has developed a stutter. He related the events of the night of the attack - the facts seem to line up. He drinks constantly from a bottle containing an herbal healing draught crafted by Saskia. She tends to him daily, replacing his bandages and covering his wounds with soothing poultices. Though in pain, he was bored, and wished to someone would play farkle with him for a few pence. He has a wife, Janna, and a son, Fritz.
You inspected Saskia's healing work and found nothing wrong with it.
Saskia van Oort
You met Saskia while visiting Pirn. Saskia is a small woman in her forties with fading good looks and long corn-colored hair. She tends the sick in the village with potent salves and poultices. She is well-respected by the villagers. Saskia gave you one of her healing draughts.
The Baron's favorite pigeon is named Von Schnell. The Baron mentioned that Saskia once healed Von Schnell of bearkat. As a result, she has the Baron's full backing.