A Generic Warhammer Adventure
Deep in the Great Forest a lonely Coaching Inn is beset by a swarm of villainous creatures. Defend the crumbling tavern with all your might, or die screaming!
This is a role-playing adventure set in the World of Warhammer but can be readily adapted for many settings. The players must help defend a lonely coaching inn from attack. The adventure can easily be inserted into a campaign as a filler adventure or as a new plot thread of its own. The assault would typically be by Orcs or Beastmen, but Skaven, Undead or a lost war-band of Chaos Marauders are just some of many possible opponents. The Players help determine the outcome of the small scale siege whilst dealing with intrigues beneath the roof of the inn.
This adventure outline contains background details of the various NPCs and the suggested timeline of the small siege. The GameMaster slots the players in and uses this framework to run the adventure to his or her liking.
PCs must defend the inn by leading the inhabitants as an effective fighting force. They need lookouts, runners, fire fighters, medics, and of course, warriors!
If the PCs are skilled, the attack might be over in the course of a night. Otherwise the siege may continue in a bitter war of attrition until the inn is captured or the antagonists are driven off.
The inhabitants of the inn may present another set of problems with their own petty agendas, including jealousy, murder, theft, escape attempts, alliances with the attackers etc
Lastly the PCs will want a firm grasp of tactics in siege warfare.
The Shepherd’s Crook is an old coaching inn on a lonely stretch of road deep in the Great Forest. It lies betwixt a village and a small town, a day’s ride in either direction. Two farms (barley + sheep) and a small homestead are clustered within half a mile of the inn which forms the hub of this tiny unnamed hamlet. The beer is good here, and brewed on site. The owner even exports a few kegs of every batch to town. The meat pies, made at the Shepherd’s Crook, are even better. The building is a standard coaching inn right out of the rule-book: Large and rambling, but sturdy and with a 10-foot-tall curtain wall.
The Shepherd’s Crook is defensible as it has thick doors and shuttered windows with good arcs of fire. The large double doors to the exterior, and into the courtyards, are strong and barred with an even thicker block. Whilst serious ramming by a log and/or a Troll will soon snap the bar and stave in the doors, the players should aim to prevent this from happening.
Traffic along the road is infrequent but there is usually a traveller or two every day. The weekly stage coach is due late tomorrow morning and road wardens do pass this way intermittently.
The hamlet has been pestered by both Greenskins and Beastmen in the last decade, but it has been a quarter century since any major attack. Recent heavy rains have swollen the nearby river to a fast flowing torrent and damped down the timber such that fire is not likely to spread easily.
Friendly NPCs at the Inn
The personalities at the Inn will enliven this adventure if you can bring them to life. There will be three basic types:
Fighter types – shoot arrows, thrust spears, die valiantly. One or two of whom will disagree with the players plans (especially if they are wrong OR if they are too clever)
Screamer types – useless distractions but fun to role-play and add flavour. One or two will be attractive performer types touring on the way to a show in the local city. One or two may be overbearing rich sods or useless fops who just want to live (and will sell out everyone else).
Worker bees- carry stuff, fix things, fetch hot water and blankets, die horribly or defend like a lioness and her cubs etc
Innkeeper – Winifred Borscht: a stout, no-nonsense, hard drinking woman formerly of Praag. She has a penchant for gnawing meat on the bone, and settling arguments by thunking a meat cleaver into a table. Winifred must protect the underground wine cellar at all costs. Apart from the beers and wines, Winifred has distilled a potent brew of spirits. Guests are very important but the cellar is her pride and joy. Don’t make her choose between them. Players may suspect that the delicious chunky meat pies she serves up have questionable contents but it is merely because she uses her home brewed spirits to flavour the meat (beef +lamb). She keeps a pistol handy for troublesome guests. Winifred is not the best manager of people. The lesser staff at the inn are poorly treated, overworked and underfed.
Quotes “Pay now, drink ale, eat pie, live long ya?!”, “The cellar is where the magic happens, go in there, I kill you, ya.”, “This inn is my life. Don’t threaten my life, ya!”
Witch-hunter – Salazar Von Glum: Nasty, morose Solomon Kane type, gaunt and with a sadistic accusative personality. Quick to find fault with anyone, he assigns his two muscled brutes to do his bidding. Currently travelling with a captive hedge mage for interrogation in the local town. Salazar has an eye for pretty women, especially Bella the singer. If she doesn’t succumb to his charms he will consider accusing Bella of witchcraft. He is skilled with a blade, less so with his pistols. Salazar has several blessed items that are very damaging against undead and daemons. He will try to take command during the siege but his obsession with anything out of the normal will slow him down and affect all decisions. He can be easily fobbed off by suggesting he guard the extremely dangerous heretic. If things go wrong he will suspect the players of being in league with the invaders.
Quotes: “The heretic must burn”, “Suffer not a witch to live, nor a mutant, nor a heretic”, “Sigmar bless your thoughts and keep them pure”, “Flame is his only salvation”, “Identical twins are often mutants”, “Adventurers are, in my experience, only one small step from heresy”.
Hedge Mage – Rodger of Nuln. A self-taught fire wizard and thus a heretic who must (appropriately) burn. Apart from some cool flame related cantrips, Rodger knows the infamous battle magic spell Fireball and has a rudimentary grasp of Flame Storm. Both spells are potentially dangerous, yet very useful in the current situation. Rodger is kept gagged and bound in one of the holding pits in the courtyard. One of the brutes also keeps a sporadic watch on him at any given time. He has been beaten, starved, partially tortured and has had a rough life long before Salazar caught him. He may well present a sympathetic figure to the PCs. However, unknown to the Witch hunters, he actually has consorted with a daemon who taught him much about magic. This daemon hunts him now. A natural wizard, his innate ability causes fires at the inn to blaze brighter when he is in pain. Rodger is unstable and is just as likely to incinerate the Witch -hunters and all with them as he is to torch the cannibalistic horde at the door. Salazar will bring him inside after the first assault.
Quotes: “I am innocent!”, “Release me, I can help”, “Salazar is in the pay of my enemies he is the heretic, I love Sigmar!”, “Beware the three horns, there is a traitor among us, I have seen it in a vision”, “The demon lies, it is trying to remove the one most likely to foil this attack- ME!!”.
Sutlers – Heinrich and Henri Haast. Twin brothers who sell military equipment to the local garrisons. Their wagon only just arrived at the inn and has yet to be unloaded or stabled. It contains unsold or surplus military wares. They have nifty things like 7 spears (slightly warped), 4 rusty halberds, a dozen handguns, a small barrel of lead shot, and two barrels of inferior gunpowder. All of this was rejected by the local garrison commander, but is still serviceable. Even so the Haast brothers do not want this used unless it is absolutely necessary, ie. they are going to die. They won’t mention their wagon of army supplies sitting in the courtyard until it is nearly too late. Setting fire to and detonating the wagon when it is surrounded by monsters could be a tide turner. The Sutlers are greedy former spear-men from Hergig, and are useful in a fight. Henri also sells an assortment of illicit herbs on the side. Their father was hung by a Witch-hunter whilst they were serving in the Hergig garrison many years ago, so they hate Salazar as matter of course. If presented the opportunity they may try to murder him.
“Quotes: “Wanna buy some weapons? Spear, handgun, shot, powder, ex-military swords, rations, healing herbs…you name it we got it”, “That Bitch hunter looks sideways at me one more time…”, “How ‘bout that Bella eh, nudge nudge, she’s a proper lady.”
Travelling Entertainer – Bella Morricone. A pretty Estalian singer and knife thrower. She is the leader of the small troupe of entertainers staying at the inn. When she lets herself go Bella’s voice is truly amazing (actually slightly beyond the human range due to a chaos mutation in her throat). When jealous rivals in Altdorf began to suspect something, she hit the road as a travelling entertainer. Her knife throwing side act pays the bills in taverns where operettas aren’t appreciated. She is trying to buy some illegal herbs off the Haast brothers, but Salazar is always watching her. Her stash of Sleibbane Leaf is almost done – it keeps the subtle chaos skin mutations on her throat in check. Withdrawals, stress and/or the presence of chaos magic will drastically accelerate her changes (bullfrog throat, strength boost). She always carries a hidden knife or two and if pushed she can deliver a horrendously loud scream (an incapacitating sonic attack) to all within 5 yards. If revealed and threatened she will fight viciously at full capacity.
Quotes: “The brew here is quite divine”, “the acoustics in the tap room do leave a lot to be desired”, “perhaps a more ‘pointed’ demonstration tonight?”, “fa la la la ti doooh”, “Tell my troupe to scoot up to the loft, I shall do some knife practice down here”.
Stablehand – Anton Brugheim. An intellectually impaired man working as a drudge at the Shepherds Crook. A lifetime of shovelling manure, shoeing and grooming horses and the like has warped Anton’s fragile mind. He wanders in the wood in the little spare time he has and talks to the trees and other things there. His friends tell him secrets and he brings them trinkets. When the high horn blows three times he is to open the door and “let his friends into the big house and they can all have a feast”. Anton does his work well but talks to himself. Winifred doesn’t beat him too much for this so no one really cares – he is usually only talking about the hooves and withers of his charges, or friends? He is a gangling but strong redhead, some 30 odd years old. Years of being the whipping boy make him resistant to pain and he will take many blows to stop when his mind is set to ‘letting his friends in’. The enemy wizard visits Anton in the woods and has cultivated this poor touched chap.
Quote: “Da horseys this way, this way”, “Water ‘n feed, da groomin’s extra”, “Did you hear anything then? Thought I did.”, “yes yes master, hooves and withers, hooves and withers.” “Look at all the pretty fires.”
Inn staff: 1 groom, 1 chef and 3 bar & kitchen staff, 3 indentured servants, 2 gate keepers. Most dislike Winifred but, until it seems certain the inn will fall, they will do as told. Half of them can fight, the others can at least help. “Mistress sez, we do, that’s all”, “Do you want ‘taters with that?”
Blacksmith/Cartwright: An acid tongued smith known as Black Harriet. Her husband died three years ago leaving her in debt to Winifred so she took up the hammer and saw. She uses her friend Rudi the Ogre as muscle and a bellows assistant when he isn’t lifting (or draining) kegs. She is strong and none too shabby a smith. She wont shy from a fight wielding her hammer. Harriet shoots well with a crossbow too. “Woman or not I’ll shoe that horse or fix yon carriage in a trice”. “Care to discuss that with Rudi?”,“Call that a sword, pfft, my tongue is sharper ‘n that butter knife!”, “A real hero wouldn’t hide behind walls yellin’ at all these tired farm folk!”, “Quit yer caterwauling- if you can scream you’ll live, more’s the pity.”
Key master: Bolli Bjarnasson is a stern Dwarf who runs the inn for Winifred. He does the books, greets the guests, keeps the place running, and supervises the brew room. Middle aged no nonsense Dwarf, good with a cudgel (and battle axe). “Mind the walls please, be they shoddy man work or not.” “That’ll be a silver, or two if you want to haggle”. “Step aside manling and you’ll see real axe work.”
Road Warden: Karl Werbler is an ageing man with a bad cough (he has tuberculosis). He uses a crossbow and broadsword. He has been bedridden at the inn for the last few days with his progressing illness. Karl is annoyed at Salazar’s imposition upon the road wardens quarters. He will rouse himself and hobble around during the siege. He admits, between coughs, he is in no condition to lead the fight. He will cough up red gobbets and spit them in the face of the attackers. “Thrice damned lungs, Sigmar take em, *hack*, and these devils.” “Don’t let Salazar command, cough, he’ll have you praying as the doors are breached. *spits*”, “Lookouts will see the fire, wardens’ll come, …maybe”
2 Witch hunter brutes: armed muscle. Gunter is a sadist, while Kurt is just partial to ale and violence. They follow Salazars orders to the letter. They are not stupid, but rather cunning thugs when they are sober. If given the day off they are prone to drink. “Come along nice n quite like Herr Von Glum sez”, “Whatchoo lookin’at?”, “Fancy a bit o rough?”
3 Entertainers: Bella’s troupe. Singers dancers, musicians. Fops and vain petty fools of little use save screaming for help. They will harden up as the night progresses (or as rigor mortis sets in). “Ooh an orc!! Or is that a gobblen? It’s a beastyman silly! I broke a nail, This place is just wretched – Sigmar I miss Altdorf. Why o why did I leave my handkerchief in the parlour? An arrow, how gauche!”
Shepherd: Mallory is former drunkard, but a hard as nails ex-pitfighter. “I’m tellin’ ya, thars a shed load of flesh eatin’ gribblies a comin’!”, “Bah! Oive scrapped worse than this down tha pit.”, “No! I baint drunk.”, “Oill swap yon shepherds crook for a sword and show you how tis done proper loik.” “Drink, anyone?”
Rancher family: Mom +Pop, 2 teenage sons + a daughter, 2 farmhands + wives. All no nonsense realists, ready to fight for their lives with their farm implements. They bring 3 children under the age of 10 who will be a liability. “Praise Sigmar and pass the arrows.”
Young Couple: Strong lad (brave but foolhardy) and his pregnant teenage wife (near hysterical) and her 40yr old mother (sensible and wields a mean wood axe). “They come near, an I’ll split ‘em good!”
Cocky Merchant: Young salesman on the road looking to secure bookings for his family wheat business at the local town. Fancies himself minor nobility. Sports a long-sword, but not with any real skill, despite his boastfulness. Has been conducting a dalliance with the barmaid (who is married to the chef). “Have at it villain” “My father will build a statue here to commemorate.” “Best sword in Fuechedover if you know what I mean.” “The lady is offended good sir, kindly step aside”
Rudi: An Ogre! Oft referred to as – “shhh, don’t wake Rudi”. He is the heavy lifter around here. He is a friend of Harriet’s and sleeps in the smithy. He will not be seen initially and should ideally surprise the players when he appears – they might even assume he is a baddie. He is a civilised Ogre who works here for food, grog and company. Sleeping off a hangover from his birthday yesterday. Winifred loves the cachet he gives to the inn and the additional muscle his presence offers. GM to use carefully. He a bit timid (for an ogre) after years dwelling in this quiet backwater. “Hmmm food?, Lift for food? Fight for food?” Swap food?”, “Rudi sore head”, “Rudi smash!!”, “Rudi like von Hauptman’s codex, and clever talk of ethics”
Pompous Asses: a merchant and his wife over-nighting on their way to the next town. They are pampered city folk and cannot fight. Insert your favourite stereotypes here: Obnoxious, useless, demanding, gluttonous, pampered etc. “See here, we are not to be spoken to that way!”, “Do you know who I am? Wait til the baron hears about this.” “Have them all flogged, see if I don’t”, “Avert your eyes, my dear”, “We will pay good coin for you to escort us out of here mein herrs.”, “Forget the plebs, take this gold and protect us!”
Coachman: An experienced and well known coach driver staying overnight at the inn with his passengers (the pompous asses & cocky merchant,+possibly the PCs). Carries a blunderbuss and a tomahawk. Dislikes Halflings after some thievery a few years ago. “Coach leaves at six am, don’t be late.”, “Quit your yammering. This lot will disperse after a few blasts from me lead trumpet”, “Who is riding shotgun with me?”, “Out of the way peck!”
There will be three types of these: big bosses, sub bosses and expendable minions. The ideal enemy will be either Orcs or Beastmen (both are presented below) but many other races could be used.
War Boss –An Orc or Wargor leading of a small war-band intent and on making his mark. Cunning, willing to take risks and sacrifice his lesser minions. Loyal to his elite units but no others. Suitably formidable and well equipped. The leader of the horde. A large but cunning brute. He/she will send the minions forward in probes, distractions, and concerted attacks. The presence of Zagrax (see below) has inspired him to attempt this raid with a less than ideal numerical advantage. He will be visible in the distance sending troops forward and will be present in the later attacks to press home the advantage. “Over the wall lads, over the wall and thru the windows!” “You lot swing around the back ‘n keep em busy” “First one in the big hut gets the best cut”. “Come out, come out little pink piggies, it’s supper time!”, “Don’t burn it yet, I want fresh meat not charcoal!”
Sub bosses – jockeying for the big job by leading minor assault parties. Has to fight well to impress the lesser minions. Cunning and smart– will do things that PCs would do. There will be 2 or 3 of these hero level minions leading minor assaults. Nasty and brutish but ultimately designed for the PCs to kill. Feel free to make them distinct with mutations and/or outlandish affectations and a mind of their own….ie play them like they were your character. “Quick get em lads!!”, *points*“Watch out behind you!”*stabs*, “You think you’ve won? Wait ‘n see”, “The burning master will get yuz”
Shaman or lesser Wizard – a tricksy spell-caster whose primary role has been subverting the stable-hand Anton over many months. The mage is very wary of the Daemon as it far surpasses his magical ability to control. It should have a few minor spells to even the odds when the players get the upper hand. The players may want snipe and/or to conduct a sortie to eliminate this potential threat. “It does what it is told or the dark gods eats it”, “It opens the door and gets a treat”, “the gods tells me an i tells yoo.”
Minions – typical small raiding force. Lottsa scummy troops, some hard veterans, an elite core unit, some mounted scouts, one or two large troll size critters, half a dozen fliers like harpies or fell bats. Numbers aren’t that important – keep them coming in amounts appropriate to the story requirements. Generally speaking there’s about 100-150 of them. “Die humie!!” “Boss eat your carcass, flame lord eat your soul”, “Soft pink meat, no fur, no horns, just fleshhhh!”, “Spares us, and we helps you escape”, “Aieeeeee!!”
Daemon Prince – the lesser Daemon Prince Zagrax lurks ominously behind the action pulling the strings. Evil to the core, tormenting mortals is its bread and butter. Years ago Rodger of Nuln summoned this minor daemon Prince and learned the secrets of Fire Magic. The Daemon eventually tricked the wizard into selling his soul. The wizard fled before the deal was sealed. If the Daemon can catch Rodger it will take his soul but leave him alive, a walking breathing thing. But if he has to kill him then so be it. The siege of the Inn is merely a pathetic sideshow to getting a soul.
Zagrax has come to collect the soul of Rodger but he needs the wizard alive. The Daemon tracked Rodger down but not before the hedge wizard was captured by Salazar. Zagrax is wary of the Witch Hunter’s potent anti-daemon charms so has enlisted help. He killed some local baddies and made it look like humans did it, thus whipping up the horde into a human killing frenzy. He conveniently showed up to assist the War Boss on this raid. Zagrax will do very little unless the baddies are being easily routed, in which case a fire based spell that burns a few defenders will even the odds. Zagrax will avoid fighting, until the towards the end when he will risk combat to take Rodger. PCs and/or Salazar will be the likely opposition at this point.
Quotes: “Give over the Nulnite Rodger. His soul is mine. Do it now and the rest of you might get to keep yours”, “Don’t make me come in there flesh bags”, “Tiresome mortals, just die. It is your doom is it not!”, “Ah Rodger, look where your meddling has got you now. All these other souls on your conscience too.”, “Stand aside mercenary fool. Let Rodger pay his debt. Your destiny need not end here and now.” “I know your grandmother well, her cups of blackroot tea are divine. As are her screams.”, “Soon you will meet your two sisters. They were miscarriages and now they are soul toys.”
THE FLOW OF THE SIEGE
Basically the players should arrive and meet most of the personalities at the Inn, after which the attackers surround the building. Multiple assaults should then be fought off during which various internal intrigues will play out. After lots of fighting and drama the inn is either saved or lost.
The suggested linear approach is as follows (GMs should of course be ready for innovative or annoying players altering this timeline and doing the unexpected):
- Players arrive and familiarise themselves with the inn, its layout and patrons. Meet Anton in stable, Winifred in courtyard, Witch Hunters, rich merchants + entertainers in parlour
- Patron rivalries and tensions established. Clues dropped. Sutlers arrive, Bella asking about blackroot, pies from the cellar, travellers missing, the Goerller family that disappeared 2 years ago, hear about the captive heretic in the pits.
- Warning – rumour of approaching force. Shepherd runs in saying the baddies are coming. Former drunk is met with scepticism.
- Alarm – prepare for attack. Outlying farmer seeks protection. Batten down the hatches. Fire seen at sheep farm – it is burning, shots fired! Then Rancher Family and farm hands run in pushing a wheelbarrow with their valuables. It is happening. Bell is rung. Young couple from homestead enter, then the gate is barred. Call to arms. Struggle for command. One of the Brutes reveals that the heretic is a fire wizard. Someone will suggest that torches are lit to illuminate firing zones, and shutters barred.
- Here they come… A small band rushes the gate and the walls – they should be rebuffed. But noise of a larger force approaching – they are all around, capering in the dark treeline. Players should develop a strategy or plan now. Ie shooters in windows up high. Lookouts up top. Water buckets filled. Armed guards at entry points. Reserve Swat team to fix problems.
- Bring it down! Bring it down! They charge! Led by an ogre/minotaur/troll. Shoot it with everything. Walls scaled – target rich environment. Courtyard taken but the house resists and the yard fills with bodies.
- Withdrawal. Baddies retreat out of courtyard. Players get a break. Baddies planning on second assault. Tensions in house rise. Strange beasts sighted outside.
- Here they Come again! Strange beasts lead next assault. Harpies? FellBats/ Vargeists? Spider riders? Something that negates walls. Players must race upstairs to repel incursion, then back down to hold the door. Someone is dragged outside and dies horribly in full view.
- The Taunting. Obligatory monologue by the big bad. “Come out now or else. Or what you ask? Come now and die horribly, or come later and die horribly. It doesn’t matter either way. I just wanted you to know.” Or the Daemon says… “Rodger of Nuln, I have come for what you owe me. A thousand leagues I have tracked your stench. Tonight I will take my payment.”
- Meanwhile. Inside things have reached boiling point. The Haast brothers are sick of the Witch hunter and urge the freeing of the wizard…
Henri “Use the fire wizard for Ulric’s sake. His magic can drive them off!”
Salazar “Sigmar is the true god. Ulric is the fetish of heathens. And using hedge- magic is sacrilege. Advocating such is seditious heresy!”
Heinrich “Then give Rodger to the demon! He’s what that thing wants.”
Salazar “I will not surrender my prisoner, he is an abomination to be burned, not a bargaining chip”
Bella goes into withdrawals- covers throat with a scarf as mutation escalates. Anton lingers weirdly near windows listening for the signal. Winifred threatens to brain anyone who goes near the cellar – this sparks the interest of Salazar – what is down there? “People have been going missing round here for ages. And the pies have always tasted good here…”
- Another assault. They come again this time with lopped improvised tree ladders going for windows and a primitive door ram. The Haasts and/or Winifred and/or Bella snap during the assault. Baddies capture a room or two (perhaps the Stables, Coach House and associated courtyard) and cannot be dislodged. They start hacking through the walls and ceiling or floor, during which time more freakouts happen.
- The Inevitable Betrayal. The Three Horns signal comes – Anton opens a door either to the outside or the captured area. He is cut down but not before they get in. Survivors fall back upstairs. Now it is desperate. Shall they blow up the Sutler’s wagon and thin the ranks? Or release the kraken hedgemage? Either one can result in a sudden reversal and the PCs may recapture lost ground if not the entire Inn. If not then they are probably hemmed in upstairs.
- Stalemate or checkmate? Still besieged but holding on just barely. Sniping. Random attacks. Everyone is getting tired. Firefighting. Interior intrigue. Dawn? Time for the 11am coach? Or is it the local mounted patrol that drives them off? Or is it a band of Orcs come to loot the Inn (fighting outside results in new siege by orcs). The daemon taunts Rodger, or some unknown other heretic (Bella), and encourages them to open the gates.
- Resolution? A final confrontation – either the baddies are driven off/annihilated or…our heroes die, or slink off in the confusion as the inn falls. Ideally in the final assault the Daemon makes it to Rodger. The PCs help beat off or kill the big bad and then run to save Rodger but he is taken or slain along with the Daemon. The inn is blood splattered and broken & burnt in part, but it still stands with many of the defenders still living.
Assistance for the Players
- The coaching inn was built with defence in mind
- The Sutler’s Wagon has surplus spears, handguns, shot and powder.
- The Hedge Mage with damaging fire spells.
- Strong liquor – flammable, allowing for improvised molotov cocktails
- Oil cask (for lantern refills) – for real Molotov cocktails!
- Recent rain helps prevent the Inn from catching fire quickly.
- Numerous capable NPCs (including an ogre with a hangover in the smithy)
Unexpected Assistance (Deus ex Machina for GMs in need)
- A large road warden Patrol approaches the inn tomorrow afternoon – they heard rumours of an attack here. The GM can make this attack as small or large as is required to cull the enemy.
- An armed coach arrives at 11am – if forewarned (someone must escape the siege and flag them down) it could be used as a heavy chariot to ride through and scatter an assault.
- Another rival group of evil humanoids is drawn to the flames and smell of blood. They attack the original baddies just outside the inn. Use this only if the GM feels the PCs are in dire straits. Whoever wins will be weaker than before but the Daemon just subverts them to continuing the assault on the inn.
- The real big bad could capture the Hedge wizard and abruptly depart leaving the horde unsupported and directionless.
GM-ing the Siege
The Gamemaster has to juggle relentless action and decisions for the PCs, along with numerous colourful NPCs.
The PCs need to make some good decisions. If and when they make them should determine how well their defence goes (and the game progresses). Sensible strategies the players should employ include:
- Lock and bar all the gates.
- Reinforce the gates with heavy objects/barricade them
- Lock and bar the ground floor window shutters.
- Use Black Harriet (et al) to nail boards across the shutters
- Knock loopholes in walls/windows
- Lock and bar all unmanned upstairs shutters
- Illuminate the exterior
- Prisoners out of pits and into house?
- Post lookouts all around the upper level
- Shooters on top floor, warriors on ground floor near entry points.
- Response team to rush to break throughs.
- Organise runners, aid station, fire fighting.
- Layered defence? Line of retreat, final bastion?
- Molotov cocktails
- Priority targeting of large monsters, leaders, ladder and ram bearers.
All of these ideas don’t need to be applied but the more they do should count in their favour. Inventive players will come up with other ideas – judge them on their merits and apply to the result.
The GM should keep the tension up whilst maintaining believable major NPCs and the plethora of spear carriers/ cannon-fodder as well. Have NPC names ready, and snatches of dialogue for a few of them too. Try and make the loss of an NPC a tragedy, especially if it is one of the more vivid ones.
Interrupt dull moments with an arrow, rock or harpy through a window. Or a scream from another room…
- Perhaps an NPC is found dead but with no evidence of enemy action. Murder?!
- Perhaps the Witch Hunters and the Sutlers start brawling,
- or the chef catches the merchant canoodling with his wife?
- Perhaps a PC might find an upper window open – a baddie is somewhere in the house!
- Harpies might break into Rodger’s cell and, as he is attacked, a flame storm destroys the room and sets the upper story alight?
- Bella might suffer rapid chaos mutations during the siege and if threatened will fight with her enhanced mutant sonic ability and deadly knife skills. Perhaps her entourage are also mutants or chaos worshippers who have been feigning helplessness?
Remember it is the Zagrax the Chaos Daemon, who gave Rodger his powers, that is behind the attack. The Daemon Prince is using the attack to distract the other humans, so he can claim Rodger’s soul. Salazar the Witch Hunter will not negotiate with the Ruinous Powers and will not allow his charge to be taken.
Balance the opponents vs the defence. Barring catastrophic failure or stupidity by the PCs, each assault should be narrowly beaten off. Conversely exceptional rolling and great ideas (blowing up the wagon or well a timed flame barrage) should easily beat off an assault. But there is always the next one and the Daemon is there to negate too much success. Give them a glimmer of hope, but snatch it away with a glimpse of the remaining hordes capering at the firelight’s edge.
Insert some pathos – poor farmers defending their livelihood’s; slaves having to defend their oppressors or die; the poor tortured Hedge Mage accused of heresy who has actually been consorting with daemons; the horrible Witch Hunter who doggedly sticks to his principles and won’t let the daemon do his work for him; the boastful young merchant who dies for no good reason; the old road warden who is dying anyway.
Sub plot summary
- The Innkeeper is overbearing and rumours persist that she uses human flesh in her delicious pies. Her cellar only contains fine alcoholic brews, which she is overly protective of.
- The Witch Hunter is a sadistic letch, on top of being the fun police. His wretched captive practiced wizardry on his own (rather than in a college) which doesn’t seem a big deal. The Witch Hunter, despite his flaws, will not allow his captive to die in any way but before a tribunal.
- The Hedgemage did actually made a pact with a daemon and is being hunted by said daemon.
- The Stablehand is touched in the head and has been consorting with the enemy in secret. He will open the gate or a door and let them in after 3 consecutive horn blasts.
- The Travelling entertainer is a chaos mutant about to undergo changes due to stress.
- The Sutlers hate the Witch Hunter and have valuables they want to protect.
- The young Merchant is having an affair with the Chef’s wife.
- The XP!
- Loot the fallen – there’s little on the minor baddies but the horde leader and sub bosses will have swag. The Daemon Prince will just evaporate if you slay it, so no loot for you on him.
- The eternal gratitude of the survivors (assuming the players acted honourably enough).
- Players may gain a reputation after incident too.
- Boost some stuff from dead Inn mates. Weapons, cash etc. Just don’t get caught.
- Information – regarding Rodger, the horde, PLUS the operations of Roadwardens/ Witch Hunters and daemons!
Army lists for Warhammer Fantasy Battle scenarios
Some rough army lists for WFB gamers to use. Siege or Mordheim rules could also substitute. The GM should alter enemy forces to suit the narrative.
Orcs and Goblins
Orc Big Boss – magic choppa, magic heavy armour, shield
Orc Boss – great weapon, heavy armour
Goblin boss – great weapon, heavy armour
Goblin Shaman – level 1. minor spells
75 Goblins – 25 archers, 25 spears, 25 sword and shield
5 Spider riders, spears, shields +bows – good for quickly scaling walls/ getting on the roof
20 Orc boys – choppaz +shields, light armour
15 Big uns – choppaz +shields, heavy armour
15 Arrer boys – bows, choppaz.
1 Stone Troll – “Troll smash door!”
Beast lord – magic axe, magic heavy armour, shield
Wargor – great weapon, heavy armour
Wargor – great weapon, heavy armour
Bray Shaman – level 1. minor spells
75 Ungors – 25 archers, 25 spears, 25 sword +board
6 Harpies – can fly unexpectedly to any point ie. an unattended upper window.
20 Gors – 2 swords
15 Bestigors – great weapons, heavy armour
6 Centigors – spears +shields – will have trouble entering the building but can kick doors in.
1 Minotaur – great weapon “GRRR-AAAARH!”
Empire- Defenders of the Coaching Inn
The PCs – insufferable know-it-alls, with skills and kit to match.
1 Roadwarden – Hero: crossbow, sword, light armour (sickness penalty= -1 on all rolls)
1 Witch Hunter – Hero: Rapier, brace of pistols, holy water, magic silver bullets. Light armour
2 Free Company Champions (Salazar’s brutes), pistols, knives and clubs
1 Hedge wizard lvl2 – Spells: Fireball, Flame storm
1 Inn Keeper (Winifred) – Champion swordswoman: Short sword (meat cleaver)
4 Archers (inn staff),
2 Free company champions (Anton+ Black Harriet),
1 Dwarf Warrior Champion – Club +battle axe, crossbow, heavy armour
2 Sutlers – Spearmen champions: spears, handguns, light armour.
1 Hero (Bella the Entertainer): assorted throwing knives and one stiletto. BS 6
12 Local Farmers – armed with bows +farm tools -11 archer/ halberdiers, 1 is a champion.
1 Hero (Shepherd/pit fighter): quarterstaff, dagger
1 Overrated swordsman (Merchant): Longsword, intolerable boastfulness
1 Ogre (Rudi) – large club, nasty hangover.
1 Free Company Champion (Coachman): blunderbuss, tomahawk
11 Non-combatants: children, entertainers, feeble wives. When the chips are down 5 of these will pick up a weapon and defend themselves. The rest will just hide, run or scream.
Continuing the Adventure?
If the siege has whet your appetite for action, then the adventure can continue… with an energetic chase sequence:
During the siege Rodger of Nuln promises to teach the players the secrets of Fire magic. He’ll do it quickly too, without the tedious formulae and background a college requires. And for free! Just get him out of here and protect him from the daemon.
Or maybe the rich merchants promise a bucket of gold to get them out of here.
Or perhaps the inn falls and the players must simply fight their way out of the burning building pursued by the horde…
There are two likely escape routes:
- Mount horses and/or a carriage and make a break for it. This will require a distraction to draw attackers away from the point at which they will exit the inn. Assuming this works then a ‘car-chase scene’ follows with minions like centigors, harpies or wolf/ spider/ boar riders, and of course the daemon, in hot pursuit.
- The inn is built close to a small river. Along the bank are several canoes and a larger river craft. Recent rain in the hinterland has turned the normally sluggish flow into a torrent. Players can escape the inn and board a boat that will be sped rapidly downstream. A waterborne chase ensues. Pursuit in the remaining craft by Gors/Orcs will follow, along with riders on the river bank using the barge+ tow path.
Basically have the players fight their way out, then ride or paddle to safety whilst fending off the pursuit. A final confrontation with the Daemon can end the adventure nicely. As the daemon expires and fizzles back into the ether it will promise to seek revenge eternal on our heroes!