Actual Play

Castle Xyntillan – Session #41 – A Whimper Rather Than a Bang

The Company:

  • Jürg (F6/T2)
  • Ezio (T4)
  • Claus (T4)

Loot: None.

Casualties: None.


We pick up where we left off last session. Upon their return to town, the company see Othmar, captain of the guard, along with 25 guardsmen posted outside their residence.

The company duck into an ally, and find a quiet spot to plan their approach. They see a peasant with a wheelbarrow passing by and grab him. They give the man a few coin with the promise of more, in return for going up to Othmar and asking what is going on. The man reluctantly assents, and heads up to the guards. Meanwhile, Jürg downs a potion of ESP, puts on his ring of invisibility, and sneaks up on Othmar and his men, miraculously avoiding making too much noise, despite wearing plate.

The peasant asks Othmar what he’s doing there. He is given a curt response and told to move along. Jürg picks up on some worries Othmar has about his secret identity being found out. Meanwhile, Ezio climbs up on a roof and readies his discus in case things start going south, and Claus makes his way unseen to their residence and climbs inside through a window.

A much fancier civic guard than Tours-en-Savoy’s, I imagine (Frans Hals)

Jürg takes off his ring, and approaches Othmar. The guards clasp their halberds in fear, and Othmar tells him to keep his distance. “You are under arrest for murdering the prefect, and acting as an agent of the evil Malévol. Please come along peacefully.” Jürg refuses, and the men are hesitant to apprehend him with force, knowing his mighty reputation.

Inside the residence, Claus heads to their treasure room, pops open a loose ceiling board, and starts stashing valuables up there, out of sight.

They end up debating things right then and there in the streets. And eventually, Jürg manages to convince the captain that he might be a secret agent just like him. Othmar, confused agrees to speak to Jürg privately in his residence. Jürg unlocks the front door, and leads Othmar into a sitting room, while the guardsmen wait outside, on high alert.

After more discussion, Othmar tells Jürg he will let him and his company off the hook if he agrees to aid the Royal Secret Police in putting the Malévols back in their place. Jürg is all like “what’s in it for me?” And suggest he is given the castle as a reward if he does manage to defeat its current rulers. Othmar responds that if they do manage such a feat, they would be the areas de facto ruler after all.

Othmar is clearly afraid of Jürg and his companions, who have developed a reputation of being ruthless killers capable of incredible feats. Furthermore, they killed the prefect by gifting the man some kind of cursed item (even though Jürg insists it was a misunderstanding). Othmar would prefer to not end up the same way. So they leave it at that. Jürg, surprised at how things have gone, bids Othmar and the guards farewell, and lets the company back into their residence. They are confident the guard won’t give them much trouble anymore.


Claus and Ezio celebrate their safe return to town by spending the week drinking and partying. Ezio emerges from the bender with a tattoo of a rose and a slogan in latin that would be bad-ass if it were’nt for the spelling mistake. But Ezio doesn’t know that.

Jürg has the heart in a box identified by Ben Mordechai. It turns out to be the fabled Heart of Roland, a legendary Malévol heirloom with several remarkable magical properties.

Jürg also spends more than a bit of time in The Tap, buying rounds and picking people’s brains about the Malévol family and who might be in charge of things. He gets a pretty good sense of some of the most powerful family members, most of whom they have met at least once. Clearly, they need to focus their efforts on the count and countess. Although The Beast might also stand in the way of their overtaking the castle.

The company begin planning their attack on the count and countess, debating the most viable strategy against not one but two vampires. Claus visits the church and is provided by Father Bernard with some knowledge related to vampire hunting, and suitable equipment to boot: garlic, mirror, stakes, holy water. He leaves a little more confident that they might be able to pull off this crazy scheme…

Referee Commentary:

We are finally back at it after a spell of no gaming due to various personal circumstances.

This was a bit of a strange session because we ended on a cliffhanger last time, and we started later than normal this time around. By the time the scene with the guard was resolved very little time was left on the clock for proper dungeon delving, so we decided to hold off on that until next time. As a result, we had an atypical session of what the kids these days call “RP” I believe.

Running the confrontation with Othmar was interesting. I relied heavily on reaction checks throughout. I could have perhaps done a bit more explicit stakes setting as things progressed. But Jürg’s ESP ability actually made it easier to be transparent about NPC motivations than it would otherwise be. As the debate proceeded I think both the NPC and the referee realized that they would not be able to do anything about Jürg and his companions because they have become simply too damn powerful. I did not feel like Othmar would make a suicidal attempt at taking them in regardless. So, the whole thing just kind of fizzled out. Maybe a bit anticlimactic, but also true to the situation at hand. Furthermore, leveraging the combination of invisibility and ESP was just smart play, and I like rewarding those sorts of schemes.

Will they indeed go head to head with the count and countess? The endgame continues! If they do manage to take the vampires out, that might a good place to call it. I don’t think we want to play out the company smoking out the Malévols until every single one has been purged from the castle. But maybe we do? Or at least we might also see what happens when the company confront The Beast? I wonder what my players’ expectations are. In any case, the castle might turn out to be a less desirable residence than they expect it to be. It is full-on haunted and has a will of his own. That much should be clear by now.