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  1. - Top - End - #1351
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown XIV

    Ludo, 32nd Sommerzeit

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    The second man - Ludo hadn't caught his name - lead Ludo upstairs, to a room that looked more like a store cupboard than an office. Inside were a couple of chairs, a table, and a lit candle in a little tin saucer. There were no windows.

    The moment Ludo stepped over the threshold, the door closed swiftly behind him, and he heard a key turn in the lock. The footsteps of Sussman's lackey hurried away back down the stairs - call as he might, Ludo got no reply. He rattled the handle of the door, pushing and pulling, but it wouldn't budge.

    He had just started a thorough examination of the floorboards, looking for any that might be loose, when he heard heavier footsteps approaching. This was the sound of multiple men - and over the sounds of their feet, he thought he heard the jangle of armour. The lock clicked, and Sussman stepped inside. Ludo caught a glimpse of what looked like two Iron Company men standing outside the door behind him, before Sussman closed it again.

    "This is pretty good," he said, putting Ludo's letter down on the table. It now looked a little creased. "I'll admit it, you had me going for a minute there. Just got to work on the signature. I'm guessing there's not much call for what you'd call a professional forger, up your neck of the woods."

    Pulling back a chair, he sat down, and held up a hand to forestall Ludo's protests. "I wrote two letters, Herr Stubbs. The one this letter is replying to - that's the one I sent through Painford to see if it would get stopped. I wanted to see if the rest of you were as mad as your lord." He sighed. "I hope Jander's alright, by the way. That boy doesn't deserve to get hurt just for carrying the post."

    Turning the letter around, he pushed it over to Ludo. "The other letter - the one I sent a different way - that wasn't the same letter, Herr Stubbs. And whoever wrote this hasn't read it."
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    WFRP 2E - Tales of Perilous Adventure
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    Dark Heresy 1E - Wake of the Byzantium
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    WFRP 2E - The Bloody Crown
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  2. - Top - End - #1352
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown XIV

    Ludo, 32nd Sommerzeit
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    "What other letter?" Ludo protested, pitching himself as indignant at this grossly unfair treatment. "There was only one letter at Savonne. I was there, I watched Sforza sign it. Practically punched a hole through the paper he was so angry."

    He looked around. "You can't treat me like this!"

    OOC
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    I'm working on the assumption you want a bit of back-and-forth before a charm test but if not feel free to roll one for me: Ludo's default test is vs 92 and he will use a fate point to re-roll any fail.
    Last edited by LeSwordfish; 2024-07-09 at 04:43 PM.
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  3. - Top - End - #1353
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown XIV

    Ludo, 32nd Sommerzeit

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    "What," said Sussman, "you didn't like the chicken?"

    Taking the letter back, he folded it in half and tucked it inside his jacket. "I always thought you were one of the smart ones, Herr Stubbs," he said. "So you tell me, because I must be missing something... how does shielding him, or joining him, or whatever you're trying to do here - how does that make any sense?" He looked Ludo dead in the eye. "You know you're just going to get a whole lot more people killed."

    OOC:
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    Very happy to play this out - I think it's an interesting interaction between two characters in similar positions. If you do want to cut to the chase on achieving a certain goal with a skill test tho, don't let me stop you.
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    WFRP 2E - Tales of Perilous Adventure
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    The Lord of Lost Heart
    Ill Met By Morrslieb

    Dark Heresy 1E - Wake of the Byzantium
    Episodes: I, II, III, IV, V

    WFRP 2E - The Bloody Crown
    Threads: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X

  4. - Top - End - #1354
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown XIV

    Ludo, 32nd Sommerzeit
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    "As soon as the news arrived, Sforza dragged me out of the bar and in front of him to prove I knew nothing about it," Ludo said, not willing to be deflected. It didn't seem likely that Sussman's gentler words would lead anywhere good. "And he believed me."

    He sat back and scowled. "You had some kind of clever plan that relied on sending two letters, one of them through the Thornwood away from the roads? And through the bandits in the downlands and the rebels at Arrow Heap? And past a madman who's one of the greatest fighters in the reaches, and travelling with experienced woodsmen and hates the Iron Company? And you didn't think... it didn't occur to you that the letter might not make it?"

    He let that sit for a second before cutting in again. "Or even be delayed by half a day?"

    He thrust out his hands together for cuffs. "Take me away and hang me! Your beautiful elaborate web of intrigue has snared me! Nothing could possibly have gone wrong with it - the perfect scheme!"
    Last edited by LeSwordfish; 2024-07-10 at 07:50 AM.
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  5. - Top - End - #1355
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown XIV

    Ludo, 32nd Sommerzeit

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    Sussman pinched the bridge of his nose.

    "Alright," he said. "Alright. Let's suppose you're right. Let's suppose my second messenger got delayed. Then Prince Sforza's second messenger won't be far behind you. When they get here, I'll let you out, with a full apology. Until then, I think I'm going to play it safe." He raised his palms to Ludo. "If that's alright with you."

    He paused, taking a deep breath. "I'm trying to help you here. Believe it or not, I - I really am." He lowered his voice. "Those men outside the door - you know what they'd want me to do, if they knew who you'd come from? You know how they feel about the man who killed their sergeant?" He raised his eyebrows at Ludo. "I've got forty bloodthirsty Tileans to manage here, and just my way with words and a few lads fresh off the farm to manage them with. So why don't you help me too, and skip the games."
    Spoiler: My Games
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    WFRP 2E - Tales of Perilous Adventure
    The Hour After Midnight
    The Lord of Lost Heart
    Ill Met By Morrslieb

    Dark Heresy 1E - Wake of the Byzantium
    Episodes: I, II, III, IV, V

    WFRP 2E - The Bloody Crown
    Threads: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X

  6. - Top - End - #1356
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown XIV

    Sieghard

    "There may have been one," Sieghard replied. "We aren't certain."

    He considered a Ingwald's question for a moment, trying to deciding the best way to explain. "We have just shy of 40 men. These are the men at Sforza's call, as I understand their numbers." He reached a hand into his purse and placed a number of coins onto the corner of the table.

    "Maybe 150 in the Iron Company after Arrow Heap," he sorted 15 crowns and placed them in a pile at the center of the table and "south" of them, 4 shillings. "Only 3 ogres." Another three crowns stacked next to the pile. "About 20 halberdiers." Two pence. "In Mirino, 20 or so militia swordsmen and 20 from the Brotherhood. Maybe 30 halfling archers." Seven pence more away off to the side and away from the larger group of mostly gold. "And his wizard, in Caerfort." One final crown on its own.

    "About half of his Iron Company went with Carraciolo to Alvarran. There's unrest in the Raven Hills and they'll soon find themselves occupied with that. How many of the hill men there are, I can't say, but we share a common enemy. Of what's he had left, half are in Manaan's Keep." He swept 7 coins from the Iron Company pile into one of their own and a further 4 into a third. "We deal with them before Sforza is able to react," he said, plucking those coins from the table. "Lord Valdes, I believe, can be convinced to keep his men out of this. He won't turn against his prince, but I consider him a friend and saved his life once. Elsa will not fight us." Another 3 coins removed. "There's no love for Sforza among the local companies. The Volunteers fought for me once and can be persuaded to do so again." He swept those 2 coins into the pile of silver. "Perhaps the halflings as well, though I'm less sure. Arrow Heap will join us willingly - Sforza had his ogres eat some poor bastard there."

    "We can draw new men there and from Manaan's Keep with the promise of vengeance. It'll be some time before they're ready, but the south will be secure. From there, it's a question of how Sforza responds. He cannot recall the men from the north or else he risks losing it. He cannot leave Savonne ungarrisoned or else his city falls into chaos. None of the men he could send carry shields or have a way to respond to missile fire. The Halberdiers would join us as easily as the Volunteers." Two more coins removed from Sforza's pile and added to his own. "The Iron Company cannot keep pace with us in their heavy armor. His ogres are few in number and he wouldn't send them without an Iron Company handler."

    The coins were now stacked much more even than they had began, with 8 in front of Sieghard and 7 for Sforza. "We strengthen our position and train the men who flock to our banner. Perhaps horses too if we can keep them fed. Any men Sforza sends men south, we bleed on the march and stop at the river."
    Last edited by TheSummoner; 2024-07-10 at 12:07 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #1357
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown XIV

    Ludo, 32nd Sommerzeit
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    Ludo allowed his panic, and his feigned indignation to ebb away a bit. This might need a more delicate touch than he had been thinking.

    He sighed again.

    "I think in a lot of ways you and I are quite alike, Stefan. We both have an appreciation of the finer things in life, and a keen eye for a corner or an edge or a deal. You'd make a good halfling, and when one of us says that to the tallfolk its a very generous compliment."

    "But I don't think I know that much about you. So, between you and me... lots of water under the bridge, lots of red in both our ledgers... the last time the regime changed here, what was your role in all of that? You turned with the wind very smoothly when Sforza arrived. Did you know what was going to happen? Have an eye on or a hand in what happened to Evatt?"

    Whatever we say can stay in this room. You've been kind enough to offer that to me."


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    Here's my first charm test, to try and get him to open up about this, and talking more loosely and freely in general: (1d100)[11] vs 92

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  8. - Top - End - #1358
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown XIV

    Painford, 30th Sommerzeit

    Ingwald followed Sieghard's reasoning with a grave expression. His worries were still written plainly on his face.

    "Asking your permission to speak freely, sir... who put those coins in your purse?" he asked. "Herr Stubbs will correct me if I don't have the understanding, but if I do... all our silver comes from Savonne. All those people you want to turn, he pays them too. Maybe they don't like him - gods know, sir, who does - but what are we offering? We've barely enough food, even, let alone gold."

    He cleared his throat, staring down at the neat little piles of coins. "It's just... it's a lot going right, isn't it, sir? Considering - I mean, considering our numbers haven't stood still since Arrow Heap, and all we've got to recruit from is these woods, when they've got the city and the towns. And I don't doubt Ranald's with the righteous, but we've fought alongside Sforza long enough. We know the old man's as slippery as a snake."



    Ludo, 32nd Sommerzeit

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    Sussman gave Ludo a long look. He seemed to be weighing his words.

    "Well," he said, "why stop at last time? I didn't come here with Evatt, you know, I was born here. I was here when the Bandit King's bully boys came down from the north. And before that, what did he call himself, the Margrave. Every one of them you could see the change coming, and the longer it took, the more people were going to get hurt. So what's wrong with greasing the wheels a little? Speaking purely in the abstract, you understand."
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    WFRP 2E - Tales of Perilous Adventure
    The Hour After Midnight
    The Lord of Lost Heart
    Ill Met By Morrslieb

    Dark Heresy 1E - Wake of the Byzantium
    Episodes: I, II, III, IV, V

    WFRP 2E - The Bloody Crown
    Threads: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X

  9. - Top - End - #1359
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown XIV

    Ludo, 32nd Sommerzeit
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    Ludo nodded, keeping his face neutral, a man talking about hypotheticals. "The smoother these things go, the fewer people get hurt. It's an act of loyalty, of service to the people around you, to work to avert these disasters. The people of Painford, the people of Last Water... they're my people, and it's my job to protect them using the skills I have. For you, it's the people of Manaan's Keep and the skills you have. And I bet they're not grateful at all. In fact I bet they'd string you up for some of those things. Gut you like ...an Orc?"

    Ludo weighted the last noun with significance, and made no secret of passively studying Sussman's face for a response.

    OOC
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    I think Perception vs 68 is appropriate here: (1d100)[75]

    Ouch, but I won't spend a reroll on that.

    Last edited by LeSwordfish; 2024-07-10 at 03:07 PM.
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  10. - Top - End - #1360
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown XIV

    Sieghard

    "Less of my coin comes through Sforza these days than you might think, but it is true that I can't outspend him. I suppose what I offer depends on who we're talking about," Sieghard said. "For the farmers of the Thornwood, I offer the only chance at survival they have. They'll support us because they'll die if nothing changes. Two revolts even before this because they know what Sforza's rule means for them and their families. It's not them you're worried about though, is it? It's the other soldiers."

    "Like us, the core of the militia swordsmen and halberdiers was drawn from Manaan's Keep and the surrounding forest. They will need to be shown how disastrous Sforza has been for their loved ones. Esteban and Elsa you will have to just trust that I know better than you. The Gamecocks, as I said, I am less sure of. Sforza has treated them as cannon fodder in the past. Perhaps that's enough to sway them, but even if not, Esteban staying neutral should keep them neutral."

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    We'll try a charm roll here. I could always go into specifics about just what Sforza's done, but I'd rather not have to explain how Sieghard knows that if I can convince him without doing so.

    (1d100)[79] vs 54 Charm
    (1d100)[75] and the reroll

  11. - Top - End - #1361
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown XIV

    Painford, 30th Sommerzeit

    Sieghard could see from Ingwald's face that he was still less than fully convinced - but if he had further worries, he kept them to himself.

    "Well, I guess we're in it now, come what may," he said, as much to himself as to those present. "The lads'll need telling. Ranald bless us..."



    Ludo, 32nd Sommerzeit

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    Sussman's face remained suspiciously impassive.

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    "I'll take you at your word, Herr Stubbs, that you think you're helping them - but you're not," he said. "All those men who came before, you could always tell who was going to win before the fighting started. This time's no different. Mice trying to fight the cat." He screwed up his eyes, rubbing the side of his head. "Sieghard isn't up to this, you know he isn't. And say what you like about the Prince, he knows how to fight a war. If you follow through with this, you're just going to get those people killed."

    He paused, giving Ludo time to think. "There's still time to stop it all," he said. "Without blood. Even Sieghard's. We can say it was... a moment of madness. That he's run off into the hills. Who knows, maybe play your cards right, it could even be you who ends up filling his boots. I can help with that." He raised his eyebrows. "Just tell me what he's doing."
    Last edited by LCP; 2024-07-11 at 07:09 AM.
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    WFRP 2E - Tales of Perilous Adventure
    The Hour After Midnight
    The Lord of Lost Heart
    Ill Met By Morrslieb

    Dark Heresy 1E - Wake of the Byzantium
    Episodes: I, II, III, IV, V

    WFRP 2E - The Bloody Crown
    Threads: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X

  12. - Top - End - #1362
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown XIV

    Ludo, 32nd Sommerzeit
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    "I don't want Sieghard's job, I want to do what he was doing!"

    "You said it yourself - the Iron Company right now are bloodthirsty idiots killing starving people over bread. People are already dying, and will go on dying until the next harvest, a year from now. Esmerelda knows I didn't want it to start like this, but I'm proud to work for the man who stood between them and the people they would kill."

    "Sforza can fight a war, but can he fight a revolution? How long do you think people will watch their children starve while the army eats well?"

    "You want to grease the wheels? Get them the food they need before the only thing they can do to survive is to charge a pike line."
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  13. - Top - End - #1363
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown XIV

    Ludo, 32nd Sommerzeit

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    Sussman laughed - a nervous laugh he didn't seem easily able to stop.

    "Alright - alright. Suppose - suppose somehow he wins. You think things will be any different?" There was an sting to his words now that hadn't been there before - some of the weariness worn away to reveal a sharp edge underneath. "Sieghard's another man with a sword, same as all the ones who came before. He won't make the rains fall, or the crops grow, any more than Sforza can. You think when it comes to it that he's going to let himself starve so others can eat?"

    Pushing back his chair, he stood up. "We're survivors, Stubbs. There's nothing else we can be. We can fool ourselves that we can fight with lions, and get ourselves killed for our trouble - or we can be honest with ourselves, that we're jackals. We take the scraps we can get, and stay alive."

    He turned back towards the door. "You've had a long journey... I'll give you some time to think things over. I'm afraid you'll have to stay here, though. If you want me, just tell the men at the door."
    Spoiler: My Games
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    WFRP 2E - Tales of Perilous Adventure
    The Hour After Midnight
    The Lord of Lost Heart
    Ill Met By Morrslieb

    Dark Heresy 1E - Wake of the Byzantium
    Episodes: I, II, III, IV, V

    WFRP 2E - The Bloody Crown
    Threads: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X

  14. - Top - End - #1364
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown XIV

    Ludo, 32nd Sommerzeit
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    "You think when it comes to it that he's going to let himself starve so others can eat?"
    Ludo let his chin jut out. "Yes."

    We can fool ourselves that we can fight with lions, and get ourselves killed for our trouble - or we can be honest with ourselves, that we're jackals. We take the scraps we can get, and stay alive."
    "You know who thought he was a lion?" Ludo said. "The vampire."

    He settled back in the chair. "I hope you're very sure who you think will win, and what you think they'll win," he said. "But I'm not going to sit back and let Sforza become king of another dead kingdom. Not many people will."

    The door clicked behind Sussman, and Ludo sighed to himself.

    "Well. Alright. That could have gone better."

    OOC
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    I have some questions about Ludo's situation.
    • Where in the castle is Ludo? Is he on the outside, or the top layer? If he gets a look out of the door as Sussman goes past, can he guess? Ludo is at least passingly familiar with the castle from his time there back when he was helping Elsa with Beatrix.
    • Are the walls, floor, and ceiling all wood?
    • Does he have his pack with him, including his weapons?
    • It's late in the day right - how late?


    Ludo's willing to sit and wait and sulk think for another couple of hours. If nothing else happens in that time I can double-post/edit with his actions.

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  15. - Top - End - #1365
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown XIV

    Sieghard

    "Round them up," Sieghard said, "The entire company. I'll tell them now."

    He gathered up the loose coins from the table while he waited. Then, when everyone was assembled, he began.

    "Men, tomorrow we march to war. Not for gold or for glory, but the survival of the Thornwood and of the Reaches in whole. Many of you have already been told, the prince has become a mad tyrant. His miserable rule has caused his power to slip through his fingers and now he tries to tighten his grip over what's left. And now, when more than anything the Thornwood needs relief, it's us who he tries to choke."

    "Four days ago, Sforza had his Tilean bandits murder farmers in the south to rob them of what little stores they had left. Not long before that, he ordered the same in Arrow Heap. While his city starves, he ignores the suffering around him and plots some new conquest. There will be no end of it while he rules in Savonne. He'll strangle the life from the Reaches one town at a time until there's nothing left just so long as he can call himself prince of the ruins. This isn't a decision made lightly, but if we are to have a future, then it must be one free of Sforza's misrule. We march to bring justice to the murderers still lurking in the south and to make sure the Thornwood survives to see another summer!"

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    Let's hope this one goes better than it did with Ingwald. And that having the ones who are already on board will help sway those who are just learning about it.

    (1d100)[19] vs 54 Charm
    (1d100)[91] reroll.

  16. - Top - End - #1366
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown XIV

    Jarla

    Jarla listened to Sieghard's speech, a range of emotions flicking across her face. After all her mixed feelings about moving against Irene and Muzio this was the breaking point. No going back now.

    I better say something.

    As Sieghard finished speaking she stepped forward clearing her throat.

    "I am Jarla, Lady Schreiber and I have left the comforts of the court to join this cause. I saved the prince's life once and I was Irene Sforza's closest friend... but I found I could not stay with them any longer as they behaved like tyrants and lunatics. I had the great displeasure of hearing the princepessa asking me to spy on Ludovic Stubbs as Irene planned to murder him," Jarla said, momentarily wondering if she should add Elsa's name but deciding against it. A lot of people were suspicious of mages.

    "I have also learned that in a previous attempt by her goons to kill Stubbs she caused the death of my own Brother Schreiber, the priest of Verena and my own brother. This is the same woman who has total ascendancy over her husband. Herr Stubbs can and will confirm the truth of this."

    She turned and gestured at Sieghard. "I am not the soldier this man is, or the soldiers i know you are but I know if anyone can stop the mad prince and his elf-hearted wife it is Sieghard. Heed him and follow him my friends."

  17. - Top - End - #1367
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown XIV

    Ludo, 32nd Sommerzeit
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    Ludo stewed in the room, looking around at his meagre surroundings and cursing Sussman for being too clever by half. He had very often before had the growing, sinking feeling of being in over his head, of having messed up, of being, this time, too deep in to get out - but usually that was when somebody was directly swinging a sword at him, and not leaving him to moulder in a cell for hours.

    He had failed. If he said nothing, Sussman would easily figure out what the plan was, and the Thorns would walk right into an ambush. If he told the truth, the same thing would happen. He had only two choices: escape, and warn the Thorns himself, or spin a lie that would completely distract Sussman and, well, win the battle single-handedly.

    It wasn't much of a choice. Forcing himself to wait until his best guess for sundown, he then went and rapped on the door, and demanded the guards outside brought Sussman up.

    When Sussman arrived, Ludo had stashed his pack in the corner of the room behind the door, and was sat at the table, slumped down as if in a deep funk. It didn't take much acting.

    "Handrich's Cross," he said eventually. "Sieghard, the squad that was with him, the dwarf, and Frau Schreiber are travelling to Handrich's Cross."

    "They met me outside town and persuaded me to forge the letter. The rest of the Thorns don't know, Sieghard only has the men he thought he did. Sieghard knows Handrich's Cross is barely defended: his plan was to plunder it tomorrow night, maybe the night after. Get the gold, get the food, leave you looking like you can't keep control here. With only ten soldiers in Manaan's Keep, I was going to try and persuade the citizens to rise up again, maybe with the food and gold from Handrich's Cross to help grease the wheels. You'd lose control, and Sforza would be spread even thinner looking after the Vale as well. The rest of the thorns are safe under lock and key until he wants to break them out, when they'll be far more loyal to him than if he comes now and just explains what he did."


    He sat back heavily. "Now you know. I think if you offer him clemency for his friends, he'd be willing to give himself up."

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    Ludo is trying to persuade Sussman to send troops to Handrich's Cross for a few days.

    Charm test for this big lie: (1d100)[6] vs 92

    You don't have to be very lucky when testing vs 92 but boy I have been.

    If Ludo gets less than 2 degrees of success on that (72 or lower) he'll reroll: (1d100)[54] vs 92


    I'd also like to request a secret Perception test for Sussman's reaction, which is vs 68 and Ludo will reroll if failed.

    It occurs to me that I haven't waited for Sussman's response to what Ludo said as he left. But I typed up this whole post so oh well here we are. We can timesplit if we gotta.
    Last edited by LeSwordfish; 2024-07-15 at 02:01 PM.
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