Masks of Chaos – part 5

Part 1 – background – is here.

Part 2 – Grey Mountains/Peru – is here.

Part 3 – Nuln/New York – is here.

Part 4 – Altdorf/London – is here.

MARIENBURG (Cairo)

Marienburg

THE MANY SHOPS OF FALK NAAR

Wilde Hond Street, Handelaarmarkt.

Burnt ruin. Destroyed by fire over five years ago.

  • Locals are superstitious and blame a demon that set the building on fire.
  • Officials blame an oil lantern.

No one will buy and renovate the ruin.

Falk Naar survived, albeit horribly burned and opened another shop in the in-decline Kruiersmuur on Pottenbakkers Street.

  • Denial, worthless threats, then tells them to meet at the nearby temple of Haendryk, god of merchants, prosperity and trade.
  • Had various items believed to be related to the Peacock Prince. Tried to sell them to Rüdiger Carstens via the agent Willem Behrend.
    • Scroll detailing a hidden room in a ruined tomb in the Wastelands
    • A bust of the Peacock Prince (the same one in Gausman’s secret workshop in Altdorf)
    • A small drum marked with elven runes he was unable to translate.
    • A circlet said to be part of the Peacock Prince’s crown (actually the Crown of Nienke) 
  • Under pressure, admits he actually stole the items from the local merchant prince, Marius Schaake, after Behrend told him about the items and how to steal them for Carstens.
    • Had heard rumours of the Brotherhood, but only heard that Schaake was a member until after the theft and the cult came after him.
  • Has heard the cult was involved in a theft from the Klein Expedition recently and wants an item from the Heiligdom monastery and asylum.
  • Suggests they talk with Noortje Warns whose son Valentijn worked from the Carstens Expedition. She lives in a small village in the Tumble Downs called Elsdorp.
  • Cultists likely to attack and murder Naar after he talks with the PCs, either immediately after while they are there, or later.

NOORTJE OF ELSDORP

The Tumble Downs

Elsdorp lies on the Middenheim Road, halfway between Marienburg and Laurelorn Forest.

  • Low, rolling hillocks; boggy dells; rare stands of stunted oak or pine; jumbles of cyclopean rock breaking the surface; thick fog or frigid winds; mosquitoes.
  • Valentijn: right arm, shoulder and side of face has been gouged away.
  • Noortje: both hands and lower jaw has been burned away.
  • The right half of a piece of bas-relief recently broken off from masonry and into two. Shows intertwined elvish and dwarven runes.

MARIENBURG BULLETIN

Nicolaas Wassenaar, pro-Imperial publisher and spy,

  • Security was strict and mercenaries paid to rough up anyone who tried to spy on them.
  • The expedition members had dinner several times with Marius Schaake, a merchant prince who Wassenaar finds distasteful and who has an unsavoury reputation.
    • May reveal Schaake is involved with the Brotherhood.
  • Another expedition is also in the Tumble Downs: the Klein Expedition.
  • Recently discovered a tomb and body, but it and its ornate coffin was mysteriously stolen.
  • Their Imperial archaeologist – William Heuermann – was recently fired for incompetence. Broke, he’s still in Marienburg.
  • In the archives, the story of Falk Naar’s shop being burned down. (Carlyle Papers Egypt #3).

THE GREAT LIBRARY

Dr. Allard Kallen resident expert in matters occult and archaeological, and accomplished linguist, at the Great Library in the Cathedral of Verena, Tempelwijk.

  • History of Nethrenkar, The Peacock Prince, and Queen Nienke.
  • The Carsten Expedition and his interactions with them, especially Sir Alberic Peninger and his trading company.
  • The deaths and disasters of the subsequent expeditions.
  • The existence of the Brotherhood and that they go into the Wastelands for their rituals.
  • The Imperial archaeologist – William Heuermann – of the Klein Expedition was recently fired for incompetence. Broke, he’s still in Marienburg.
  • The body recently discovered and stolen was most likely Queen Nienke.

THE BLACK CAT

William Heuermann’s Misfortunes

When Heuermann was fired for continued drunkenness, Maarten Winand of the Klein Expedition, pointed him towards a temple of Ranald saying if he could secure the Black Rites of Lourens Kemper he might ingratiate himself back into the expedition’s graces. Filled with cats. Stole the scrolls. Been followed by cats ever since while he tries to translate the scrolls.

  • Room above a tailor on Motstraat in Oudgeldwijk.
  • Might admit he was dismissed for drinking.
  • Can give information on members of Klein Expedition.
  • A cat enters the room.
  • Scrolls discovered in the ruins were legible.
  • Black Rites are hidden. He uses copies. They detail the rites of Ranald and suggest a link between Ranald and Loec, the elven god of trickery, music, and revelry. Believes they’ll be valuable to Imperial scholars.
  • Worried because a woman, Noortje, threatened him last night to return what he stole.

Cats will start following the PCs after they talk with Heuermann.

  • Noortje will appear and exhort them to have Heuerman return the scrolls.
  • Ranald frowns on unnecessary violence, which she wants to avoid, but she will force the issue if she has to.
  • If any cats are kills, Noortje will be more aggressive and may turn into her werecat form to intimidate them.
  • If Noortje is killed Ranald will torment her killer(s) while they remain in Marienburg and surrounds.
  • If either are killed in the temple, Ranald pulls out all the stops and they are plagued by cats and bad luck for the remainder of their stay.

THE KLEIN EXPEDITION

Members:

  • Dr. Heinrich Klein, archaeologist and cultist
  • Maarten Winand, archaeologist and cultist
  • Jakob Gärtner, archaeologist
  • Johanna Specht, archaeologist, cipher expert and enthusiastic member of the Cult of Ulric’s all-woman Sudfast Temple.
  • Agata Bredemeyer, Doomsayer from the Cult of Morr hired by Klein to contact Nienke and unknowingly aid in her resurrection.

Two days north of the Middenheim Road bursts a particularly large rocky outcropping from the moor. Where it burst, tonnes of earth covered the Tomb (and Summer palace) of Nethrenkar. Soil erosion has started to reveal parts of masonry here and there. While the Klein Expedition hasn’t found Nethrenkar’s Tomb proper, like the Carsten Expedition, they have found Nienke’s later addition.

Her body and ornate coffin were taken via secret passages deep beneath the surface and back to Marienburg to the Prince’s Palace under Elftown and its complex that includes The Great Chamber.

The previous expeditions were either funded by the Peninger Trading Company or Marius Schaake, each sabotaging the other tit-for-tat over the years. The Klein Expedition has had success thus far by explicitly including government overseers, as well as shipping in non-Marienburg mercenaries specially to guard the camp, who are forbidden from fraternising and socialising in Marienburg for fear of corruption.

That being said, they know there will be other merchant prince and Brotherhood spies, so everyone is suspicious and guarded, hence the cloak and dagger of the coffin theft.

  • A forged letter from Gausman will let them have access to the site or an introduction from Heuerman will at least pique their interest.
  • Lies when claim the scrolls in the queen’s tomb were illegible.
    • These have already been given to their backer, Marius Schaake.
  • The mysterious theft.
  • Scoffs at the suggestion the body was of Nienke.
  • Bredemeyer and Gärtner confirm everyone thought the body was of Nienke.
  • Bredemeyer thinks it was stolen through magic. Gärtner thinks there was a secret passage.
  • Bredemeyer thinks it has been stolen to resurrect Nienke:
    • Mentions the Crown, Necklace and Girdle.

AN AUDACIOUS THEFT

Heiligdom monastery and asylum

Adriaana De Haas, priestess of Shallya and guardian of the Girdle of Nienke.

  • Summons Neske Eftink, who bears the Staff of St. Anneke.
  • If persuaded of the threat of the Brotherhood, admits people wearing the inverted rune tried to steal it recently, but were driven off.
  • Knows of the Peacock Prince and the risk of resurrecting Nienke with the girdle.
  • Have tried destroying the girdle, but are unable to.
  • Five other elderly priestesses stand guard around the girdle in the cellar beneath De Haas’ office, taking turns to tend to patients upstairs.
  • Hunting Horror of Slaanesh attacks: pastel shades, intoxicating perfume, when a victim is killed it spends a turn writhing around in its blood and innards in ecstasy.

A DANGEROUS MAN

The Estate of Marius Schaake

Walled grounds around fine trade mansion in Goudberg: not only is this where Schaake lives, but it is the base of his operations too, with warehouses, offices and barracks within the walls.

  • Possible to spot the inverted elven Tree of Life rune amongst the workers
  • Possible to follow the workers as they use the four entrances to the palace complex beneath the city once a month.
  • Identical advanced clockwork orrery as in Nuln’s Daroir House and in Sartosa.
  • Painting of Schaake and Zwiertje Schab (Altdorf).
  • Proclaims he is only a merchant.
  • Claims he only briefly met the Carstens Expedition as a courtesy to Sir Alberic to help smooth diplomatic permits.
  • Lies when claiming he never met Elsner.
  • Superficial investigation shows he is above board.
  • Breaking and entering, if discovered, he will once again protest his innocence and bring in the authorities.
  • Safe:
    • Business records
    • 250 GC
    • Log book with five years of shipments of ancient elven artifacts to Folke Holmstrom (Sartosa) and Teodoro Ramirez (Estalia).
    • Eduard Gausman’s calling card.
    • Initialled receipt (Carlyle Papers Egypt #5) signed AP thanking Schaake for the serpent broach and asking him to look out for the matching pieces.

THE HORRORS BELOW

Peacock Prince had a palace in the city and a summer retreat in what would become the Tumble Downs where the more overt chaos worship went on. That was where he also built his future tomb. When he was overthrown, he retreated to that summer palace and that is where he fell. For whatever reason, the elves and dwarves who defeated him buried him in his own tomb, but sealed it with runes and then summoning earth elementals had it and the rest of the palace swallowed by the earth.

A millennium later and Nienke found the tomb. While she couldn’t break past the rune wards she was able to commune with the Peacock Prince from beyond the grave. When she in turn fell, her followers secreted her body to the Prince’s tomb and then fled.

When the Carstens Expedition came to Marienburg they used information from Maëlle Wervik’ visions of Slaanesh and old diaries from followers of Nienke who had escaped to rediscover the Prince’s tomb. They were then able to break the ward and commune directly with him and then take his corpse, leaving Nienke’s behind.

The subsequent expeditions of Schaake and Gausman were trying to retrace the Carsten’s expedition footsteps, which magic had thwarted them from doing at the time. The Klein expedition finally found the outer chamber housing Nienke’s body, but she and its elaborate coffin were mysteriously stolen and taken back to Marienburg and the ruins of the Prince’s palace long since buried under Elfsgemeente (Elftown) and covertly used by his cultists ever since under the noses of the elves.

Descent into Horror

Entrances into the Tunnels under the City

  1. Magical stele in Suiddock.
  2. Shaft found in cellars beneath Doodkanaal.
  3. Another shaft in Winkelmarkt.
  4. Underneath a modern tomb in the Deedesveld Graveyard.

Beneath the City

Main Tunnel: A to Great Chamber. Images of people, beasts and hybrids having sex, feasts and fighting duels.

Side Tunnels: Events beneath the City table, essentially the same, except

  • Conversations are in Riekspiel, but Marienburger accents.
  • Roses are fleshy.
  • Moss is mildly psychoactive.
  • Sounds in the darkness include sounds of pleasure.
  • Children of the sphinx are now Slaaneshi beastmen.
Slaangor

The Great Chamber

Resurrection of Nienke

  • The Pillars (same)
  • Stairs to the Underworld (same)
  • Leech Pit (same, but being attacked feels pleasurable)
  • Altar: site of ritual, including items of Nienke and her body.
  • Throne: Same, but more excess.
  • The Processional Bridge:  Same.
  • The Stele: Same.
  • The Enormous Hole: Same, except transportation to Nathrenkar’s hidden tomb is within the same complex.

Cult’s Rites

  • Monthly: essentially the same.
  • Nienke’s resurrection:
    • In attendance are:
      • 12 priests
      • Schaake
      • Klein and Winand. The other members of their expedition are for sacrificing.
      • 200 cultists
      • 20 Slaaneshi beastmen
    • Bredemeyer forced to contact the spirit of Nienke before her, Gärtner and Sprecht’s throats are cut to spill blood over the corpse of Nienke.
    • Nienke and the priests summon the Beast of Slaanesh that is then unleashed on the cultists and beastmen. They then summon the Peacock Prince who coalesces from the gore ascends the dais and confirms Nienke as his earthly consort.
  • Foiling Nienke’s Resurrection
    • Destroy the body – Normal fire works.
    • Deus Ex – A priest has a chance of being gifted with the dagger and told to destroy the body by stabbing it through the left eye.
    • Kill or rescue Bredemeyer: Believes her role is to banish Nienke’s spirit so stubbornly wants to remain.
    • Steal or destroy the items of power:
      • Crown: burned with magical fire.
      • Necklace: cut to pieces with a magical blade.
      • Girdle: dissolved with alchemical acid.
  • If Nienke is resurrected she adopts the pseudonym Saskia Raas and starts opening chapters of the Brotherhood throughout the Old World, all financially supported by Marius Schaake.

INTO THE SANCTUM

The Peacock Prince’s tomb is only accessed through the Enormous Hole.

Essentially the same, except far more colourful and the map is of the Old World and the three points are southern Bretonnia, southern Estalia and Sartosa, with a central point in the Tilean Sea.

The arcane symbols read: The Ruinous Ones Shall Come Hence. All Shall Tremble Before Their Awful Might.

Nethrenkar Arrives

Essentially the same.

Next week, I’ll do the same format for Bretonnia/Kenya.

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