WAR: Heresy Mill, part 2

I’ve returned from making my information-gathering rounds for Inquisitrix Lady Stern and the Heresy Mill. The news is not as epic as the previous warning of a server-wide Armagaddon, but it’s still brand-new to the WAR community.

First, it seems that all the races in WAR are preparing for the upcoming holidays. Each race welcomes the winter solstice in their own unique manner, and it should be interesting to see how different cultures celebrate. I’ll wager a gold piece that the dwarven festivities include a lot of Winter Ale, and I have another gold piece that says I’ll be out drinking with them most of the night.

Second, I found out that the business of the Empire is…business. When we think about WAR, we think about battles, bloodshed, and mayhem. And we like it that way! But behind the scenes, little-noticed by swaggering adventurers, live the people who make the war effort possible. The Emperor’s accountants, the bankers, the tradespeople who supply the war effort, all of them crunching numbers day after day…I spent a long evening at the pub hearing about the price of metals that get turned into armor, the cost-benefits and qualitative differences of scavenged tradeskill materials versus what you can buy from a vendor, and the dye shortage, which is driving dye prices through the roof. I had to keep drinking through a lot of the discussion, but my ears perked up when they started talking about battles.

The bean-counters ran the numbers on the fights that occurred at Reikland Factory over the past couple weeks. From my notes on an alehouse napkin, I got these statistics out of the accountants:

The special event Reikland Factory Scenario launched over 150 times an hour. It was a close-run fight, but on overall points, Destruction just managed to beat Order. Reluctant to ever admit to the enemy they had been bested, both sides fell back when a tie was reached only 196 times…

I forget exactly how many days the fighting went on at Reikland Factory, but 3600 scenarios a day, times the number of days the scenario was available, is a pretty impressive number. I suspect, though, that we had been drinking in the pub quite a while by the time the accountant reported that Destruction was the overall winner on points….he was quite likely so drunk that he got confused. I’m sure he meant to say that ORDER was the overall winner.

Or maybe it was me who had one too many glasses of ale, causing some confusion 🙂


WAR: Keg End – Server-wide Thunderdome Armageddon

There’s a rumor afoot, about happenings on December 17th, a “server-wide Thunderdome Armageddon”.  While the story below is mostly in-character, the communication from the Inquisitrix Lady Stern is real, revealing information about upcoming events in WAR. This is the second time Lady Stern has passed on information about upcoming events in Warhammer that I know of; the first person contacted by the Inquisitrix to pass on information was Jobildo. Note: I edited this a bit after reading my email a bit more carefully, to conform with the requests from the Lady and the Heresy Mill…it’s important not to completely reveal your sources! Read on for the story of how I found this as-yet unrevealed information…

One of the things I enjoy about Warhammer is wandering the streets of Altdorf. There are a lot of hidden places to discover, and Altdorf citizens involved in a variety of activities; working, playing, fighting, scheming, living and dying.

I was running errands earlier today, traveling from the guild hall at Sigmar’s Hammer, north past the bank, when I noticed a figure I hadn’t seen before. A woman, cloaked, almost blending into the shadow at the edge of the alley in which she stood. In fact, I think I only noticed her because she wanted to be noticed. After our brief conversation, I was convinced that if she wanted to remain hidden, I would have walked right by her, never noticing a thing.

She caught my attention, though, and gave me a nod like she knew me, and like she had something to say. I started to ask her who she was, and what her business was, but she waved me off with a slight gesture of her hand. She inclined her head toward a nearby doorway – a door I also hadn’t noticed before – and indicated I should follow her.

Given that this is the setup in every scary theatrical show produced in Altdorf, leading to a quick and violent death for an unwary adventurer, I was on my guard as I followed her through the threshold. I needn’t have worried, though. Entering into the building, I realized it was a pub, and my caution turned to confusion. I mean, I’m good friends with dwarves, and I thought we had explored pretty much every pub in Altdorf together, but I never knew there was one on this street.

The clientele was different as well. Instead of rowdy soldiers back from the wars, and hard-working Altdorf citizens blowing off steam, the crowd gave the impression of being…professional. No one stared directly at me as I entered, but I got the feeling they were all weighing my potential threat level. To my chagrin, no one seemed unduly worried by my appearance; I was being sized up by experienced adventurers, cool and confident men and women who, I noticed belatedly, all seemed very well armed.

As my companion and I sat in a small booth at the rear of the pub, I wondered what I was getting myself into. I wasn’t sure who’s attention I had managed to attract during my last couple months in Altdorf, making war upon the forces of Destruction, but I was hoping these folks were on my side.

Drinks were brought without being ordered. Great, she’s a regular. That means the rest of ’em in the pub must be her friends.

She raised her glass to me, and I responded in kind. We drank, she put her mug back on the table, and she leaned back against the cushions of the booth. Pulling the hood back from her cloak, she looked me in the eye and said “Let me introduce myself. I am Inquisitrix Lady Stern.”

Oh shit.

This could go one of two ways. When you get noticed by the Emperor’s Witch Huntress, you’ve either already been tried and convicted of heresy (without even being aware that you were on trial, and no chance at appeal), or…well, hell, I didn’t know what the “or” might be. Most stories including Lady Stern ended with “And she finished him off with pistol shot to the head after pinning him to the wall with her rapier…ran him straight through and stuck’m right to the wall”.

I had a moment of wild panic, thinking about making a run for it, but I knew I’d never even make the door…and the tiny remaining rational part of my brain reminded me that there were never stories about Lady Stern buying someone a drink before the Stab/Bang finishing move.

“You’re right,” she said, “I’m not here to kill you.” I think I sighed out loud in relief, because a whisper of a smile passed over her face.

“I need you to pass on some information for me,” she continued. And thus began my involvement in the Heresy Mill.

The Heresy Mill searches out information for the Emperor. Spies, smugglers, traders, thieves, politicians, priests…they all have information the Emperor is interested in, and Lady Stern has direct responsibility for gathering and disseminating that information. I’ve heard stories about the gathering portion of the operation; sometimes the Mill pays for information, sometimes they “convince” people to tell what they know. Blackmail, threats, or outright torture…they’ll use whatever gets information for the Emperor.

And the information the Lady had for me today? The information she wanted me to pass on to everyone else at war? Beware the night of Keg End, all of you. All of us! We thought we’ve seen battles before…it seems that the greatest night of fighting is being planned for the 17th, during the Keg End celebration. It’s a devious time for an attack, likely hoping to catch everyone drunk and unprepared…although fighting alongside a drunk dwarf on the 17th will be pretty much like the other 364 nights of the year…and the attacks are expected to occur in massive fashion. Her exact quote to me was ” server wide thunderdome Armageddon”.

How does she know, you ask? It appears the Mill kidnapped the Boss Nurgling in charge of Events, and stretched him on the rack until he spilled the plans for the event. By the time they got that bit of information out of him, he was too far gone to get further details, but the attack seems epic. Prepare for epic adventure on the night of the 17th!

That was the major story she wanted me to pass along, but there are other bits of information coming as well. I have to do a bit of investigation, more tramping about the streets of Altdorf (hopefully more time in pubs!), tracking down some leads and verifying some information. I’ll be back soon with news!