CSI: Novigrad

(Polska wersja tekstu)

(A scenario of this session)

Soon after my first Witcher session, I learned that Michał Dzidt was inspired by several earlier Role-Playing Games while creating OHET. One of them is Fate. After a brief introduction to the simplified version of this system, Fate Accelerated Edition (abbreviated FAE), I wanted to test it in practice. I also craved more Witcher adventures, which was intensified by the fact that I was playing “Witcher III: The Wild Hunt” at the time. However, players roleplaying Casimir, Nat and Mar live quite far away from me, so we meet rarely and more than year have passed before the second session with them. Fortunately, two other friends of mine have expressed interest in playing FAE in the Witcher universe. They created the following characters:

Godfrey, an inquisitor and ardent follower of Eternal Fire

G_SS_Duchowny_Zakonu_Płonącej_Róży
Source: https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/wiedzmin/images/a/a8/G_SS_Duchowny_Zakonu_P%C5%82on%C4%85cej_R%C3%B3%C5%BCy.png/revision/latest?cb=20180131191109

Catherine, witchress from School of Bear

7817d2ce49a652b9f203941185083a47
Source: https://pin.it/ogvti4lznxp4ma

And here is the report from the session, which took place on August 13, 2017:

December 1226. Freezing cold of winter prompts more and more people to repeat Ithlinne’s prophecy, especially the words about White Frost. “The time of the sword and axe” is interpreted as the foretelling of the next war between Nordlings and Nilfgaard, a war so disastrous that it would mean Tedd Deireádh – the Final Age. And the bloody fights against Scoia’tael and pogroms of nonhumans remind of the words ” first the earth will run with the blood of the Aen Seidhe, the Blood of the Elves…“.

In the Free City of Novigrad, young lowborn women have been disappearing for some time.

The City Guard received denunciations that the sorceress Anabelle Radfind belongs to the Cult of the Lionheaded Spider.

They searched her home and found the statuette of the Lionheaded Spider. They arrested Anabelle, put her in dimeritium manacles (in which she cannot use magic) and sent word to the Inquisitor Godfrey.

When the Inquisitor interrogated her, Anabelle firmly denied any relationship with this cult and claimed that someone had framed her. Asked whether she suspects anyone, she mentioned Reynold, the wizard with whom she had a conflict and who visited her the day before the arrest and behaved unnaturally friendly. The Inquisitor had a feeling that she was innocent.

Nienna_by_edarlein — kopia
Source: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-PNhWEIPV1hk/UjzCqRH8aeI/AAAAAAAABZQ/AuboM-PWcq4/s1600/Nienna_by_edarlein.jpg

Godfrey left the dungeon and carried an investigation. He asked various people about Anabelle, searched her house from the roof to the basement, and found nothing more to indicate her guilt. He also asked about Reynold, and learned that in fact his animosity with Anabelle was known, and in addition the wizard (known gynecologist) is a friend of Gerhard, the captain of the Guard.

piero-vianello-lightylight — kopia
Source: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/yqw1J

When Godfrey returned to the dungeon and went to talk to Gerhard, the agitated man was ordering the arrest of the Witchress Catherine, who allegedly tried to free Anabelle by force. He pointed to bruises of his men. Godfrey immediately saw its absurd had the Witchress really tried to break through by force, the effect would have been dead men all over the area and just not bruises. In fact Gerhard told his men to throw the woman out the door when she came to him to convince him about innocence of her friend Anabelle, and she got into brawl with guardsmen. Godfrey ordered guardsmen to release the Witchress.

She approached the Inquisitor and whispered to him that she heard distant sounds of struggling and muffled screams (from the direction of Anabelle’s cell, as Godfrey knew). The Inquisitor did not hear these screams himself, but he knew that witchers had superhuman senses. When asked about these sounds, Gerhard evidently got confused. The Inquisitor trusted the Witchress (or perhaps his premonition?). They ran to the Anabelle’s cell and saw that she was gagged and four guardsmen were trying to hang her on her own shawl. At the sight of the heroes, they dropped her and grabbed swords.

Godfrey spoke to the guards and convinced them to follow his orders. Seeing this, Gerhard fled. Pursuit through the streets of Novigrad ensued.

gilles-beloeil-acu-sc-medieval-chase-gbeloeil
Source: https://www.gillesbeloeil.com/projects/3dvOm

Eventually Catherine overthrew Gerhard with the Aard Sign and captured him.

Godfrey released Anabelle and let her go home, asked Catherine to search Gerhard’s rooms, and took all the guardsmen to interrogate them. The interrogation revealed that the four guardsmen who tried to hang Anabelle were Gerhard’s men of dirty work, and the rest were innocent. Godfrey, after writing the testimonies, ordered the latter to return to their barracks and appointed one of them for the temporary new captain.

Gerhard, knowing that Godfrey already had a lot of evidence against him, decided to confess everything in exchange for the promise of a quick death. He said from whom, when and for which he had been taking bribes. He took a lot of them from City Council member named Alonso Willey, who was also a gangster and controlled casinos, fighting arenas and brothels. In the case of Anabelle, however, Gerhard acted in collusion with Reynold.

In the meantime, Catherine secured numerous material evidence of Gerhard’s corruption (expensive wines, ornate dagger, jewels, and even a casket of fisstech). When the temporary captain, appointed by Godfrey, returned to the post, she went to the city to look for the witchers’ contracts. It turned out that several sewer workers had disappeared recently, so their Guild set a reward for identifying and getting rid of the cause. The Witchress searched the canals, where she tracked down the Zeugl.

ZeuglGW
Source: https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/wiedzmin/images/6/60/ZeuglGW.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20060903135115

After defeating the monster, in its guts she noticed skeletons that could have been sewer workers, but also the others, apparently of some young women. As she looked up, thanks to the superhuman eyes she noticed the trapdoor in the ceiling of the sewer, directly over the lair of the Zeugl. She returned to inform Godfrey, who in the meanwhile ended the interrogation. Together they went to the sewers to recover the bodies. Godfrey ordered guardsmen to find out what is over the mysterious trapdoor.

The next day, they went to Reynold’s house and arrested him.

Hieronymus_Schuster — kopia
Source: http://middenlandwplomieniach.obsidianportal.com/characters/hieronymus-schuster

Godfrey and Catherine took the wizard to the interrogation. He denied everything and only numerous tortures broke his resistance. He then admitted not only to tossing the statuette to Anabelle, but also to carrying out medical experiments on women who had been kidnapped by Alonso Willey’s gangsters. Reynold pointed out the location of the house where he carried out the experiments. Godfrey’s men confirmed that this house is located, over the Zeugl’s lair.

Godfrey, Catherine, Anabelle and an armed detachment entered this house. It was apparently empty, but they found a trapdoor in the floor. After descending the ladder, they were attacked by a golem.

Golem
Source: https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/wiedzmin/images/2/20/W3_SS_Golem.png/revision/latest?cb=20180216211322

After defeating it, they searched the underground laboratory, where they found another trapdoor over the Zeugl’s lair, three of the abducted women still alive, a lot of mysterious alchemical equipment, and a rumpled piece of paper with the inscription “Sky, not stars reflected on the surface of the pond at night“.

Gerhard and Reynold were burned on stakes in the city’s main square. Gerhard received grace as promised – his stake was of very dry wood, so he burned immediately. Reynold suffered much longer before he died.

Tw3_pyres_of_novigrad — kopia
Źródło: https://witcher.fandom.com/wiki/File:Tw3_pyres_of_novigrad.jpg

Sometime later, Godfrey escorted Catherine to the city gates. The Witchress was returning to her Trail. The Inquisitor watched her disappear on the horizon. A ballad by master Dandelion came to him from a nearby inn…

Autumn’s scents have pervaded the air,

the wind stole the word from our lips.

That’s the way it must be, please don’t shed

those diamonds that run down your cheeks.

Your home all surrounded by snow,

glassy frost covers rivers and lakes.

That’s the way it must be, please don’t show

this yearning and grief on your face.

When the spring comes along with the rain

the sun will warm us both.

That’s the way it must be, for we burn

with Fire Eternal like hope.

***

Game Master’s comments:

Both Player Characters got new Aspects after the session:

Catherine – “Favor of the Novigrad’s sewer workers”. Potentially useful if she or any of her allies needed to travel around Novigrad unnoticed by anyone on the streets. This Aspect also enables to enter some buildings through their latrines.

Godfrey – “Compromising evidence”. After interrogating Gerhard, the Inquisitor knows who, when and for what bribed the former Captain. He has Gerhard’s testimony as well as material evidence. By spending a Fate Point, he will be able to use it against chosen characters.

I have very mixed feelings about this session. It had a lot of positives. The players created expressive, competent characters that complemented and interacted well, even though both players and their characters did not know each other before. Although the session was quite short, they both managed to make good use of most of their Aspects and Stunts. Overall, the players enjoyed the adventure, and they found my description of Reynold’s laboratory climatic.

Unfortunately, FAE mechanics (especially the lengthy interpretation of rolls results, partly due to the fact that we did not have dedicated Fate dice and used ordinary d6) discouraged the player leading Catherine so much that she refused to continue using this mechanics.

I tried to reanimate this campaign by inviting another player, but the results were not very satisfying. Shortly afterwards, I took a closer look at another game that inspired OHET, namely Freeform Universal RPG

I also published the scenario of this session, so you can run it yourselves!

I also invite you to my fanpage! In addition to information about new posts, I plan to share curiosities about games, books and of course, castles.

My other posts about RPG:

8 thoughts on “CSI: Novigrad

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