Paths of the Damned Austinites

Methfannar's Vision
Sam recap post
Methfannar didn’t like this. Not one bit. He was not a fighter. He was hardly what one would call a productive worker. Only doing the smallest amount of work he could to get by. It was a wonder that the handful of industrious dwarves that found themselves in this village put up with him!
He was young for an elf. And very much the rebellious sort. His family tried to get him to into the tutelage of a famed Loremaster. But he didn’t have the patience. Before he even turned the obscenely young age of 30, he ran away and ventured to the human lands.
And despite the occasional war, it’s been a good life. At first, with his natural talent with with a bow, he hired himself out as a scout. But he had one too many run ins with things that shot, stabbed, or even bit back for his liking. So he quickly learned to depend on his silver tongue and wits, usually playing on his “exotic” elven nature to con some fool out of a few coins.
Unfortunately, he eventually found himself in the village of Untergard. There times were lean and even the fools had their purses sewn shut.
Methfannar thought about leaving, but considering their were roving bands of mutants out there that were the scouts of a nearby Chaos warhost, he opted not too. Instead he allied himself with the most unlikely of allies… the dwarves. A race known for being hard workers. Even their laziest sort put any honest working human or elf to shame.
So he soon found himself once again putting his neck on the line fighting these beasts off in a huge battle that lasted nearly a ten day. He survived, though his dwarven employer, Durak Thunderstone, did not. So for the last few days he’s hung around with the dwarves that remained when the Imperial army moved on.
And he was quite fine with that until now. Today once again trouble reared its ugly head. During a impromptu celebration of bread and wine, a mysterious shot rang out and handful of mutants swarm across the bridge towards the revelers!
Not having any desire to party with the mutants for obvious reasons, the would be revelers ran off. Instinctively Methfannar pulled his bow struck one mutant solid in the chest.
In hindsight, Methfannar knew he should of just ran. Afterall, he was no longer getting paid to protect the town. But you know what they say about hindsight, “If only Morai-heg would share her pouch.”
But he couldn’t very well run now. Instead, at the thick of the battle, and for some Asuryan forsaken reason, he found himself pulling his sword to try and vainly pry some mutants off of one of his dwarven drinking buddies.
He barely even tickled the mutant and he nearly lost an arm for his efforts.
But fate had a different plan for him. As he laid there bleeding and praying that he wouldn’t come back in his next life as some crazy halfling, he had a vision.
In this vision he was in an impossibly huge library. There were shelves of books so tall and wide that he could see no end. And on these shelves were books with names written in never before seen languages. Books that emitted an aura of power.
Suddenly he heard a cough as if someone was trying to get his attention. Not of his own free will, he suddenly found himself spin around. And behind him, where there was nothing before, was a desk. And sitting at the desk was an ancient elf. And though he had never seen this visage before, he knew instantly that this elf could be none other than Hoeth, God of Elven Knowledge, Learning, and Magic!
Hoeth finish reading a page and then looked up at him with a grimace. He was not happy.
“How dare you ignore you’re calling!”
Methfannar didn’t know what to say. Not that it mattered because he somehow knew he could not talk.
“I gave you gifts to wield magic and an easy path to learn under the greatest of Loremasters and you foolishly throw it aside!”
Suddenly Methfannar found himself pulled toward Hoeth so that he was face to face with him in an iron like grip!
Hoeth then continued “This will not stand! You WILL pursue the path of magic! You WILL learn it’s ways! And you WILL learn it fast! I have a destiny for you and the clock is ticking!’
Hoeth than relaxed his grip.
“In the meantime help the villagers of Untergard. If anyone needs your help, it is they. Now wake up.. come on boy… wake up… come on you long eared…”
His vision blurred and for a moment it sounded as if Hoeth’s voice was becoming more feminine, albeit grainy. And Hoeth seemed to have suddenly developed a serious case of halitosis.
But then his vision cleared and he saw himself staring up at the kindly face of the elderly village wisewoman.
Was his vision just a delusion brought on by blood loss? Or was it a real message from Hoeth? Or was some trick of the mutant blood that was currently mixing with his on the ground? Methfannar did not know. But he figured, that he could not take chances. He was going to have to become a mage!

Trouble was, he had not a clue how!

I knew it! Granny Moescher was a witch!
Sam recap

I knew that Granny Moescher was a witch! I called it from very early on. How else do you explain her miraculous ability to keep the orphanage intact and unmolested by the foul touch of the chaos war host that must have been dancing across its very steps?

Unfortunately, no one would listen to me. No one that could do anything about it that is. And this eventually led to the slaughter of Sternhaur Keep and the release of a yet another demon upon this already demon plagued world.

And I curse my own inability and cowardice to stop the events that unfolded. May Asuryan forgive me.

It all started on the road to Middenhiem when we came upon the corpses or a recent slaughter. I say slaughter because so vicious and terrifying was the spectacle that I lost my lunch… and very nearly lost my mind!

Very quickly things went downhill from there. As we set about to burn the bodies, a thrice cursed raven squawked to alert Granny of the presence of an abandoned and overgrown road to her to old village where her father was murdered. A murder that she never managed to get over.

I knew the raven was an ill omen and shooed it away. But the seed of vengeance had already taken root in the old woman.

And then we lost Father Dietrich to a spiked pit trap set up by those wretched goblins! He wasn’t long for this world after he fell. But he held on long enough to pass some sort of human religious symbol to the halfling rogue (it’ll be interesting to see what the rogue does with it). After which, one of the dwarves helped remove him from the spikes and had enough sense to destroy the trap.

That night, the seed that took root in the old woman blossomed. In the middle of night she left the children in her sleep to make a midnight errand. Something not at all unusual, because this “caretaker” seemed to have a habit of doing that to collect herbs.

But this night was different. This night we were awaken by the cries of one of her abandoned children. The child had awakened from a nightmare in which a raven had carried him away in its claws! He tried to seek comfort in the arms of Granny Moescher, but of course, did not find her. This had done little to calm him.

Fortunately the halfling was there to help calm the kids. Unfortunately the twisted grave robber was also there. He wasn’t much help.

Quickly several of us got together and deducted that Granny was on her way to her old village to seek vengeance. Realizing her importance to the village and the dangers she was exposing herself too, we decided to try to catch up with her. After all, how fast could an old woman who could not see in the dark like us be?

Apparently very fast. Because by the time we caught up with her, she was towards the end of an unholy ritual. And guarding her was a pack of wolves!

To say we were all scared, was an understatement. Even the dwarves, who are supposed to be known for their unassailable courage, faltered. We were hesitant in our efforts and first tried to vainly talk some sense into her, though we knew her to be way past talk at this point.

I eventually stepped forward and aimed my bow at her to disrupt her spell.  But I’m afraid, my nerve faltered as well. Staring into the eyes of those hungry beasts, I could not take the shot. Heck, as much as I was shaking, it would have probably missed anyways.

And because I failed, Granny was successful in summoning her demon. Fortunately for us the demon did not stay around to “play” with us before it went about its mission. I doubt that those of us who remained would have stood any chance against it.

At the spells completion, Granny fell to the ground and passed away, so drained was she from the energies required to cast her infernal spell. And again fortune smiled on us as the wolves dispersed into the woods when she fell.

After it was over with, we burned her corpse. And we burned the vile spell book we found on her when I discovered that its leather binding was made of human hide!

Now, I think I know why I must learn magic. If I had even a fraction of the power available to the skilled hands of my brethren, I could have simply waved away the wolves and stopped the old woman before she could finish her ritual.

I shall have to see if I can find a Loremaster in Middenheim.

Methfannar's Journal
Sam Recap

The good news is, I finally managed to enroll myself as a student at the nearby university, thought it did cost me quite a bit in bribe money. Greedy humans.

I would of rather of simply found an Elven loremaster to study under. But it appears that I don’t have much choice in the matter. Finding an Elven loremaster in Middenhiem would be like finding a needle in a haystack while blindfolded.

Besides, let’s face it, it would takes decades to learn from an Elven loremaster what I could learn from a human mage in a matter of years. I figure, with my intelligence, I’ll just learn the fundamentals fast and then perfect it as I go along.

Unfortunately, too pay for this education, I now find myself hunting human/rat mutant hybrid things in the Middenhiem sewer system. A system obviously not designed for tall elves.

The price for the heads of these skavens is nice (hence why I’m even bothering to do this). But having to walk mere inches from a river of muck and fecal matter while hunched over is almost unbearable.

To make matters worse, we have yet to find skavens. Instead, we run into other monsters. This time it was a small squad of chaos loving beastmen.

This was a tough battle and we were outnumbered. But fortunately the lead dwarf was carrying a shield. And though he eventually fell, and I ran out of arrows, we prevailed.

Of course, having to fish out the beastmen from the river of sh#@ so we could chop off their heads was far from pleasant. And now we are stuck with the difficulty of trying to carry our bleeding and heavy dwarf comrade out of the sewers to the Temple of Sigmar.

Oh yes, before I forget, apparently the halfling got the sh$# kicked out of him… again. This time muggers from the slums we visited followed him till he was alone and robbed him of everything (including his clothes). And according to the captain, the little bugger should consider himself lucky he wasn’t eaten! Apparently the residents of the slum have taken to being cannibals to survive these rough times! I’ll be damned if I ever step foot in that area of town again!

As for the halfling, he says he wants to become an entertainer. If so, I’d say he’s well on his way. It’s like listening to a weekly story from one of the loremasters. Only this time I show up every day to find out how the heavy bottomed one gets himself beaten up!

I’m betting on the dwarves kicking his teeth in tomorrow.

Methfannar: Scouting the Skaven
Sam Recap
I’m probably one of few mortals who can say they were glad to have finally encountered skaven. 
Take this not as a mark of madness. Rather, it finally means our journeys into the retched sewer system of Middenheim may be coming to an end.
Recently, we were hired to root out some troublesome skavens who had been preying on the fine folks of Middenheim for a while now. And who stole a sacred relic of the Sigmarites.
Unfortunately this meant crawling through a foul series of sewage tunnels, as there is no way these vermin would be allowed to live on the surface world. Not only did we have to deal with the stomach turning stench, but there were other dangerous things in these tunnels. A few days ago for example, we barely survived an encounter with beast men!
Killing these rats meant not having to go down there anymore.
Ironically, our encounter with the rat things was actually above ground, much of it outside! It was a tough fight as they outnumbered us at least two to one. And one of whom was some sort of super skaven. Still inferior to a comparable warrior of any real race, but formidable enough.
It was beginning to look bad. Our shield bearing dwarf nearly got his head crushed. As it was, he still lost an eye. And supposedly his face was shattered (though to be honest dwarves are so damn ugly, I couldn’t tell the difference).
I got too hand it to him though, despite his face falling off, he still kept cranking out bolts. Mind you, he couldn't hit the broadside of a barn at that point. But I'm sure that sight must of terrified the chaos out of the skaven! 
And the halfling accounted for himself as well. He even managed to strike quite a telling blow against the “super” skaven. But to hear him talk, you’d think he single handedly fought the skaven by himself! 
We finally routed the enemy. But as pressed as we were, there was simply no way for us to pursue. The best we can do is report this to the captain, maybe get him to send some men to come with us (maybe even an engineer), and then return back to their lair to clean and/or seal it.
I have no doubt they will be gone by the time we get back. Sigmarite relic and all. But hopefully, with their lair found and their leader “dearmed”, it should be some time before they come back to harass Middenhiem. And hopefully that will be worth some gold from the captain.
Kazbora's Tale
Jeff Recap

It was the end of another long day convalescing at the Temple of
Sigmar. The priests there are kindly folk, but there's only so much a
dwarf can handle in that place. Kaz needed a beer, badly. His face
hurt. Once upon a time that was something he'd say to exaggerate a
particularly harsh day. This time, however, it was no exaggeration and
no turn of phrase. His face really did hurt. The priests could heal
the damage, but the soreness was still there. And his eye itched.
Well, more accurately, the hole that used to hold his eye itched. He
could feel the slimy mucous building up over the freshly healed wound.
It was odd; he knew his eye was gone but he could still feel it. So
the cold dampness of the mucous seemed to be coating the back of his
eyeball. It'll be nice when it scars over and stops oozing. It would
be nice to pack some gauze behind the eye patch, but the priests said
the wound has to air out to heal properly. Otherwise it may get
infected. And that's something he didn't want to deal with; an
infected eye hole.

Kazbora pushed his way to the pub. There was a crowd tonight, like
most nights. Usually he'd just move on, but tonight he had a itch for
their particularly malty brew and no patience to wait in line. What
protests he got for pushing to the front of the crowd were quickly
quelled when they saw the glare from his one remaining eye. The large
scar running from his left cheek, over the bridge of his nose, through
the eye patch, and ending at his right temple, he was sure, helped.

"Pub's full, dwarf, move on," the thug at the front door spat in the
gruffest voice he could manage.

Kazbora swallowed hard to clear his throat and said in a voice that
sounded like the low rumble of a volcano on the verge of eruption,
"Listen you piece of shit townie, it's been a rough few days and if I
don't get enough ale down my throat to make me forget about the pain
in my face, and soon, I'm going to have to start sharing that pain.
And right now I'm thinking to start sharing by pulling your eyes out
with my teeth and sticking your balls in the sockets to see of that
improves your looks!"

He didn't know if it was sympathy, the look of death in his eye, or
the calm matter-of-fact way he said it, but it worked. The guy stepped
aside and let him in. Kaz pushed his way to the bar, climbed onto a
stool and ordered the ale he so desperately needed.

"By Sigmar, what the fuck happened to you, buddy?" somebody asked next
him. Kaz glanced over. It was a human of medium build, in the mail and
tabbard of one of the city watch. He'd say it looked like a young
human, but they were all young.

"Stinking Skaven in your sewers" He replied between gulps of the ale,
trying not spill any of the precious nectar but not caring when he
failed and steady stream flowed out either side of the mug, down his
mustache, and over his ample beard.

The kid laughed. "Skaven, huh? They did that? Hah! Why don't you run
along and let us real soldiers do the fighting?"

"Listen, kid, you're what? 12?.."

"Seventeen," he snapped.

"Huh…17. How many skaven have you encountered, kid?"

"Well, um, none, really."

An older voice spoke out from the other side of the young guard,
"You'll have to forgive Wilhelm, old timer. He's young and still
invincible. Why don't you tell us what happened? Barkeep, that dwarf's
ale is on me."

"Well, we just came in from the countryside, my friends and I,
escorting what was left of our village into town. Encountered a goodly
number of beastmen and other nasties out there…" Kaz paused for a
moment, staring back into the woods, at the demons brought out of the
fire… He shook it off and continued. "Your bossman hired us to
investigate some killings. The trail led to sewers and pointed at
skaven misdoings. So, we went after them. Our first venture below we
encountered more beastmen. Made a right mess of things. The path was
narrow and the tunnels dark. So I took the point, behind my shield,
out in front of the rest of the crew. They're a noisy lot, and I
didn't want to alert whatever was down there to our presence. Problem
being, there's no room to move down there. So I'm out front and my
guys are behind me with no reach. We encounter those beastmen and hold
them back the best I can, taking shots at them with my axe while the
rest of my lot take pot shots at them from behind. Well, we took them
out, but I was too hurt to move on, so we pulled back to get me fixed

"Few days later we're back at it. This time we manage to track the
skaven back to their layer. A small hole in the wall out where the
sewer dumps over the cliff. Once again, a small, tight space. Just big
enough for a dwarf, or that useless pile of flesh halfling that's been
following us around. Our elf friend has to crawl, which makes him as
useless as the halfling. So it's me in front with the shield and axe,
a dwarf brother behind me with his crossbow, going into this hole when
we encounter the little rat shits. We can't push into the cavern
enough to let my party spread out and take out the skaven and I start
taking heavy damage again. So we pull back out to the open area hoping
to bring them out. Turns out they had another way in. They pulled
around the other way and sent in some reinforcements. Had to have been
a dozen of the little bastards. My party engages them in the open
while I try to hold off their reinforcements from flanking us from
this tunnel. Towards the end there I took a rock to the face. It did
this," Kaz motions towards the healing scar and eye patch. "Laid me on
my ass. I though it was it for me. The skaven probably though the same
thing, because when I sat up loading my crossbow, they panicked and
ran. In the end, I think we took out a few of them. Heard from one my
guys they injured their leader pretty bad. But we gotta go back down
there and finish the job!"

Kaz climbed off the stool. "Thanks for the ale. And, uh, don't be
surprised if you find yourselves volunteering to go down there with us
in a day or two. Wilhelm here needs to face hell with whiskers, teach
him some humility. Kid, my recommendation for you; go home fuck your
sister, or whatever it is you humans do for fun, play with your little
inbred children, and enjoy the next couple of days."

And with that Kaz walked out of the tavern and back towards the temple
for his next round of healing.

Notes for the staged play, "Hunting for Skavens" by Poddwise Smallstones
Chris Recap

It was sheer madness, I tell you!  Stepping into the depths of the very sewers for the second in less than a week! 

The first such instance was disaster enough if it wasn't for me, the mighty halfling with my Mithril  chain shirt and magic short sword.  My companions had all fallen and was literally up to me.  I slayed those chaos beasts single-handedly and with such ease!  When the task was done, I dragged my companions from the sewer to get them the medical healing the badly needed …

…we entered the sewer a second time and the rats' nest of skaven-slime!  The battle was hard fought and MY Dwarfen friend got his face cracked open.  I pulled him to safety on the surface and went back down and had done a mighty blow to the super skaven.  The elf would have folk think it was he whom had done the deed, alas it was I, Poddwise Smallstones!  The super skaven retreated back into …where-ever skavens come from as we made haste to rejoin our fallen dwarf back on the surface I pulled to safety.  The Watch Captain was highly impressed at my deeds, that he awarded me 200 gold for my awesome accomplishments!

Zaragund's Confession
Charles Story
Zaragund was disturbed by what had happened in the Skaven's lair.  Fro that matter he was disturbed by all of the combat he had participated in since this war had started.  After taking Kazbora to the Temple of Sigmar for healing, and then reporting to the Commander of the Watch, he just wandered the streets for a while, thinking to himself.  he wasn't worrind about being attacked.  NO ONE in their right mid would attack a blood-covered dwarf who smelled like an open sewer who was carrying a halber and loaded crossbow. 
 He decided to sleep on it for tonight and decide what to do about his problem tomorrow.  He went back to the barrack for sleep, but the rest of the barracks wouldn't let him enter until he bathed and washed his clothes.  "They are all weaklings" he thought to himself, but obliged them to be able to sleep in a proper bunk. 
The next morning he decided he would talk it over with Kazbora, so he headed over to the Temple.  "just as well I bathed last night" he muttered to himself.  "The priests would not have appreciated me tromping around their Temple in that condition.  And I want to keep on their good side."
Zaragund found Kazbora convalescing in a private room at the Temple.  "Did you bring me a beer?" the bed-ridden dwarf asked. 
"No, it slipped my mind" Zaragund responded. 
"What kind of friend forgets to bring his wounded compatriot a beer?" snarled Kazbora. 
 "I'll remember next time" Zaragund responded.
"So why did you come by?  I lived through the fight and made it to the Temple alive.  You know I'll be fine" said Kazbora. 
Zaragund looked at the bandages covering Kzabora's right eye and remembered his eye hanging down his cheek.  He knew the dwarf had lost that eye permanently.  Apaprently Kazbora's definition of 'fine' differed quite a bit from his own.  "I came to make a confession" Zaragund responded in Kazalid; no need for the humans to hear Dwarven business. 
"Confession?  What did you do, screw the elf?" asked Kazbora. 
"No, nothing like that" responded Zaragund.  "I wanted to talk about the fight." 
"What about it?"  grumped Kazbora.
"I was terrified" said Zaragund.
"That's okay.  You didn't run, and you were of more use than that hafling".
"I've been terrifed every time I have been in combat" stated Zaragund.
"You're young, and spent your time in a safe profession.  You'll get used to it, or get dead.  Either way, the problem will be solved."
"Being frightened isn't the problem" confessed Zaragund.
"Then what is?"
"I liked it" whispered Zaragund.
"What do you mean?"
"I am terrified during the fight.  When it is over, I realize that I am still alive.  It is better than the best drunk I have ever had.  And I can't wait until the next time I can feel that."
Kazbora looked askance at him with his one functioning eye.  "You have been hanging around too much with that halfling!"
"What should I do about it?" asked Zaragund?
"If you are so fired up to be staring death in the eye, you take point next time!" snarled Kazbora.
Zaragund thought about that a moment, and then said "Give me your armor and shield, and I will."
Thesis: The Effects of Chaos on Magic Resistant Races
Sam Story
Below is an excerpt from one of the early thesis papers of the famed adventurer and scholar, Methfannar Seamist.
Thesis: The Effects of Chaos on Magic Resistant Races
By Methfannar SeaMist
Much research is available about the detrimental effects on those races that are capable of using magic in some form or fashion. This includes Elves & humans, as well as lower races such as orcs & goblins. But not much research has been done on those few races that have shown a resistance to magic (dwarves and halflings notably). The presumption being that they are just affected by chaos to a lesser degree, if not outright immune in some instances.
But based on field observations I have made in the last few weeks, I believe that these races are just as susceptible to the effects of chaos. For example, it was only a couple weeks ago that I observed a pair of dwarves, who I know to have ample amounts of the famed courage of their race, panic and run in the face of a witch casting a spell. Albeit, given that she was summoning a daemon of vengeance, one can hardly blame them.
Nowhere is this susceptibility more evident than in halflings. Case in point, I’ve recently observed a chaos exposed halfling dive into neck high sewage to fight a ghoul with nothing but a dagger. This single act alone would be enough to convince most that he has been driven mad by chaos. However this was only his most recent act. So brazen and bizarre has been his antics, that the church of Sigmar had once saw fit to put him to the question (the fact that he survived the ordeal brings up concerns about the possible chaos cloaking effects of magic resistance, which will be discussed later in this paper).
It is therefore my goal with this paper, to show evidence that magic resistance does not provide any sort of defense against chaos taint. And that every race is susceptible to it.
Dear Diary
Sheena Recap

Dear Diary,
Forced to leave town.  Sad.
Love, Edyth

Dear Diary,
Granny took off into the woods.  Stupid elves got all aggro but we told them to step off.  Granny okay.  Dumb dwarf scared the kids.  Must keep an eye on that one.

Dear Diary,
Priest fell into a pit.  Very sad.  Big butt halfling found an icon of Sigmar on the priest.  Not sure he should get to keep something so valuable.  Was priest's last wish tho.  Not happy about any of this.
Love, Edyth

Later – Granny left again.  Guess we're going after her.

Later Later – Granny was a witch!  She made a big scary fire and there were wolves everywhere.  The elf almost shot her but the dwarves chickened out and ran. Wasn't sure what to do then – whoosh – big green thing.  Almost peed pants.  Burned the witch's body.

Dear Diary,
Still keeping an eye on that crazy dwarf.  If he keeps coming near the kids I will kick him in the head.
Love, Edyth

The Revelation
Finally, the #@$% Elf learns magic.

“Alas, I see!” shouted Methfannar in his head. He almost shouted it out loud, but fortunately stopped himself.

Methfannar was very much on the edge of casting actual spells. He already new how to channel the arcane energies. That was taught to youngling Elves before they could walk. And the language of human magic was very close to Eltharin, the language of Elves (probably in no small part due to who taught the humans how to cast spells to begin with). So there was no real learning curve there.

But it was that last leap to learning actual spells that continued to evade him. And the inferior books they let the students use at the school library was of no help. Methfannar suspected they were meant more to prolong the learning of students, thus forcing their rich families to pay for their slow child to stay a few more semesters all while adding to the school’s coffers.

Plus humans relied so much on formula. For Elves, magic is more of a spiritual or mystical thing. So it went against the grain of everything Methfannar knew to try and cram magic into a formula. It made magic so rigid. Comparing Elven magic to human magic was like comparing a chef that cooked from the heart to a cook that relied on a recipe book and measuring tools.

That’s in part why Methfannar was glad to be on this current adventure. He got a chance to get away from the books for a bit. Plus the chance to be out in the open for a few days after spending so much time in the sewers, was an added bonus.

Methfannar had no idea though that Hoeth would smile upon him this time. For Methfannar had the fortune of traveling with a blind priest of Ulric. Ironically, it was this priest who taught Methfannar how to see.

In their battle with the minotaur, the priest cast a variety of spells with fluidity and grace. He still had that bizarre ritualistic approach that humans rely on. Yet it had that touch of spirituality that is missing in the human’s arcane schools of magic. With this last piece of the puzzle, Methfannar understood what he was missing!

Suddenly, despite the fact that he was about enter what just may be a shrine of Khorne, he couldn’t help but smile.

If Methfannar really knew what he was getting himself into, he would of stopped smiling and start running before it was too late!


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