This is session 2 of my single PC game of The Dark Eye, featuring Wilhelm Alflock, an apprentice guildless magician. In the last session, Wilhelm had left Magister Burkhardt’s tower and traveled to the nearby village of Eldham to investigate the disappearance or kidnapping of several children and young adults.
Setup: Meet with Siegfried
Chaos: 12 vs 3, no chaos
Led by the woman from the performance troupe and the villager escorting her, Wilhelm and Hermine make their way toward the Boar’s Snout to confer with Siegfried, the captain of the small contingent of soldiers in Eldham.
Is there a crowd outside the tavern? +5: yes
Do they take note of Wilhelm going in? -3: no
The inn sits on the edge of the town square, and a large crowd has gathered just outside its doors, kept out by a pair of soldiers. His escort and the performer push their way through the crowd, where they are admitted quickly.
“This is Adeptus Wilhelm of the Tower, and he’s come to help,” the man says by way of introduction to the sentry. They’re let in without much attention.
Is Siegfried there? +0: no + event
A handful of soldiers and more important villagers are sitting at the tables in the Snout, away from the crowds outside. They rise when they see the newcomers.
“Harald, you’re back!” one of the men calls to Wilhelm’s guide. “She found it?”
The performer steps forward and drops a small patch of herbs on the table. “Can you stew these up, Mr. Hertel?” she asks. “Gerlinde has trouble breathing when times get…hard…and these are the hardest we’ve seen in a while.”
Bastian Hertel, keeper of the Boar’s Snout, rises and takes the herbs back to the inn’s small bar, where he begins to grind them with a mortar and pestle. The woman waits as he works on the tea.
Harald glances around the room and then turns to the soldiers. “Captain Siegfried isn’t here?”
Is he somewhere else in the inn? +0: yes, and… he’s expecting them
Can Wilhelm tag along? +0: yes, and… the help of a wizard will be welcome
One points upstairs. “His office,” he replies. “He asked to meet with Mrs. Krueger when she returned.” To Hermine: “That’s you, I assume?” Hermine nods yes, and the party proceeds upstairs.
What is Siegfried like? Perfectly/Petite — a dwarf!
Goals: work lust (workaholic), weaken music (disdains frivolity), determine zeal (dedicated servant of the Baron)
Is this unusual? +0: yes, and… people are superstitious about dwarves. They’re nearly a forgotten people
Harald introduces Hermine and Wilhelm to the dwarf captain, who seems impressed by Wilhelm’s presence.
[(helpful) inquire – skepticism – future act]
“A wizard, hmm?” the dwarf muses. “There is more to this village than I thought, perhaps. And what do you intend to do here, Adeptus?”
“Mrs. Krueger came to the Magister’s tower,” Wilhelm explains, “to ask our help locating her daughter and others gone missing from Eldham. I intend to do that, if I can.”
[(helpful) knowing – effects – future act]
“A noble effort, Adeptus,” the dwarf replies, “and one I pray will not be wasted, hmm? Though I fear the worst–for those gone long weeks, in particular. Still, many hands break hard stone, so we welcome your help.”
“And I’m honored to give it, Captain Siegfried,” Wilhelm says. “A few questions of you, if I may?”
“Have you learned anything from the woods, where Maria Krueger was last seen?”
Have they? -6: no
The dwarf huffs under his breath. “The old game trail there hard-packed earth, and there was little evidence of passage besides animals. We did not travel beneath the trees, on the Baron’s orders. None may pass into their shade.”
Wilhelm holds his tongue about his opinion on those orders, but asks another question instead: “And from the performers? Have they told anything of value?”
Have they? +0: yes, harm/home
The dwarf pulls a backpack from the floor and drops it onto the desk. “As a matter of fact, we have. The troupe gave us Petrus’s pack as soon as we explained the situation. We have been through it, and found inside a variety of small items, taken–we believe from the homes of the missing.” He dumps a handful of miscellaneous knickknackery out onto the surface of the desk. It numbers nearly a half-dozen things.
“They are all…accounted for?” Wilhelm asks.
Anything out of place? +0: yes
What? d4 clothing, home good, key, memento: home good
“Hmm. Almost,” he admits. “None of the mothers of the missing children were able to claim this.” He pushes a broken hand mirror, clearly many decades old, apart from the other items. “But the other performers were insistent that they had never seen Petrus with a mirror, and this isn’t one to take on the road. Too large, and there’s no cover for the glass.”
“Have all the outlying families been checked?” Wilhelm asks.
Are there any families with kids far from Eldham? +0: yes + event
Event: ambiguous – celebrate/the mundane
As they speak, there is suddenly a loud shout from downstairs. Siegfried rushes out into the hall with Wilhelm close behind, quickly to learn that the soldiers downstairs had gotten too involved in a game of cards. After berating them, the dwarf and wizard return to the small office.
“Yes, there are a few outlying farms with children,” the dwarf says. “Harald, what were their names?”
Harald thinks for a minute, then says, “I think freeman Mayr–Eggert–has a child. The others are all older, now.”
Have they been seen recently? +0: yes
“Have you seen them of late?” Wilhelm asks.
“Not today, but within a week or so, I think. Eggert comes into town every couple of days to buy or sell goods, or his wife does.”
[inquisitive – demand – allies]
Siegfried nods. “Worth a visit, perhaps, but I don’t want to promise these poor women more than we can deliver. My men are here to keep watch, and to capture this minstrel if we see him. Adeptus, when will your master be arriving?
Willpower 4 (CO – IN – CH) check to resist short temper: 19-18-18 vs 13-13-13, fail
Wilhelm frowns and snaps at the implication that he isn’t enough help. “Given that your men are too cowardly to follow a kidnapped child into a forest, I think my own talents will be a sufficient improvement that the Magister needn’t be called, dwarf.”
[hostile – surrender – last story]
Siegfried the dwarf rears up to his nearly four-and-a-half foot height and draws close to the sitting wizard. “The woods are off-limits on the order of Baron Jonas. Off limits. If I hear of your passing beneath them, you’ll be the one in stocks, Adeptus. I see no Guild sigil on your cloak.”
Does he send a guard to watch Wilhelm? -4: no
Do Hermine and Harald stay? +5: yes + event
Event: NPC Positive – gratify/release (!!)
“Now, get out of this office. Come back if you find anything worthwhile. Freeman Harald, please get Mrs. Krueger something to drink. I have questions for her, now.”
Suddenly, shout from outside began to stream in, even through the closed window. Within moments it became clear that one of the missing children had returned!
Is Maria found? +0: no, but… one of the others
Has he found his way back from the woods? +0: no, but… he’s just back + event
Event: neglect/the public (he’s in bad shape)
Running outside, Wilhelm watches as one of the soldiers is grabbed by a man with tears streaming down his face. “Get the captain!” the man cries.
Siegfried is only a few steps behind. “What is it?” he asks.
The man smiles. “My son–Viktor. He’s back! But…something’s wrong.”
“Is he hurt?” Wilhelm asks.
Is he physically hurt? +0: no
The man glances at Wilhelm, confused, but answers: “Not that I can tell. He’s just…still.”
“Take me to him,” Wilhelm says. “There may be something I can do.” The man glances at the dwarf, who nods.
They’re soon taken to a [offensively/military] squat stone house with tiny windows and a heavy oak door. The man must be a mason, Wilhelm thinks. They’re shown inside the dimly lit house and taken to a narrow bed against the back wall. A boy is lying there, pale and almost totally white even in the half light.
[(forthcoming) scheming – proposition – current scene]
Siegfried sighs. “It appears I may have been mistaken, Adeptus–these are twisting tunnels indeed. There may be more going on than I thought. Can you heal the boy?”
Treat Soul 0 (IN – CH – CN): 7-4-4 vs 13-13-12, success!
Wilhelm examines the boy, speaking softly to him all the while though he seems delirious. Finally, Wilhelm turns back to the others. “I’ve done what I can, but he is…not well. A Blessed One should be called.”
Is there a Blessed One in Eldham? -5: no, and… the nearest is far away
Is the nearest at the Baron’s castle? +0: no, one the road
The father of the boy shakes his head. “We’ve only a deacon at the church, and I know not when the Blessed One of Peraine will come next.”
Can the boy speak? -2: no
Siegfried and Wilhelm leave the parents with their boy after Wilhelm encourages them to keep him as comfortable as they can. “He may be still, but I think he can hear you,” he says. “Speak to him, keep him in the present as much as you can.”
[mysterious – shadows – previous scene]
Outside, Siegfried takes a deep breath and grunts, “The earth groans, Adeptus! If this boy is back now…” To a soldier: “Grab a horse and a spare. Head out along the roads. Visit the villages until you find a Blessed One and bring him back here.
[friendly – alliance – current]
Turning back to Wilhelm, he says, “It looks like we may be needing your sorcery after all.” He offers a hand to shake, which Wilhelm takes. “To the Mayr house?” Seigfried suggests.
The magician nods, and the pair set out along the road.
Chaos +1: now at 4
This scene ended up taking way longer than I expected, and introducing far more plot elements that I had any idea would take place during a simple interview. I still have not had a chance to use much of the Dark Eye rules, but I’m excited for a coming adventure.
I had no intention of Siegfried being either a dwarf of a traveling companion (I was anticipating a taciturn administrator), so I’m quite pleased by the curveballs I’ve been thrown.
Tools and Affiliate Links
Oracles and Tables: I am predominantly using Mythic, Variations I, and Variations II for this game. I am also using the Universal NPC Emulator (pay what you want–worth getting!) and d30 Sandbox Companion for random tables.