This time we want to show you Wolsung in action. We’ve prepared a one-shot pulp scenario in which Extraordinary Ladies and Gentlemen will face a mad scientist and unwilling victims of his immoral experiment!
City in Flames
A mad scientist has kidnapped a group of trolls and used them to power a doomsday device: an emitter that magnifies his prisoners’ fiery nature and corrupts everybody with it, filling the city with violence!
Duration: 2-3 hours
Best for: Daredevils, Investigators
Setting: any large city, by default Heimburg, the capital of Votania.
Our Ladies and Gentlemen are having a leisure walk in the old, picturesque part of Heimburg port. Suddenly something strange happens: they begin to feel irritated for no obvious reason. Ask them to make a TN 15 spot test. Success allows them to see that other people on the coast also became nervous while a raise allows to notice something more important: a gigantic crane is trying to pick up one of the PCs!
If they notice it, they can easily evade the attack. If not, the character is picked up. There are many possible ways to save them, for example:
- they can wrestle free (athletics TN 20, failure: loss of one Constitution point);
- a technomage can take control of the crane with his Control Machines power (technics TN 15, failure: the crane puts the PC down – and picks up the technomage!);
- one of other PCs can climb up the crane (athletics TN 10) and chase off a teenage troll worker operating it (intimidate or expression TN 15, failure: the troll sets PC’s clothes on fire, loss of one Reputation point).
If the PCs catch the young troll he’ll tell them that it was just a harmless prank. He’ll even be irritated that they don’t get the joke! Which would be perfectly normal if he was ten years younger, teen trolls usually aren’t so mischievous.
After this scene our Ladies and Gentlemen notice that unrest is spreading through Heimburg. Everybody is irritated, everybody argues with everybody about everything and all the old enmities come into play: the rich versus the poor, autonomists vs centralists, Dualists vs Reformists, sailors vs landsmen and so on. Trolls are the worst problem, shouting on the streets, fist-fighting and even treating others with firearms.
Our Ladies and Gentlemen aren’t free of this sinister influence, but they are too strong-willed to give in as easily as others do. However, trolls among them roll one die less on academics, bluff, empathy and stealth – they’re definitely not in the mood to be wise or subtle. In return, they temporarily get an additional racial trait chosen among those they don’t have yet.
What is Happening?
Dieter Kaltherz – a mad scientist – has taken control over the radio station of Heimburg and connected two dozens of captive trolls to the radio emitter. By doing so he created Dr Kaltherz’s Fantastic Furyfier: a doomsday device that makes everybody behave like trolls – and makes trolls behave even worse than ever! Young trolls go naughty, adult trolls go berserk and the ones already growing old are suddenly transforming into complete monsters…
The workers of the radio are held captive, but Widold has prepared lots of recordings from their earlier auditions and now he is airing them to evade suspicion. Of course he couldn’t record any news of the turmoil, so they are improvised by Doris Grummstein, his right hand.
There are many ways to find out that the radio is the source of the trouble. Below are some hints that your players may find:
- If they listen to the radio in search of the news about the riots a TN 15 empathy test allows them to notice that the speaker (in fact, Doris Grummstein) is not a reporter – she speaks very monotonously and sometimes she stutters a bit.
- Furthermore, if they pay attention to what is said on the radio a TN 20 technics test will tell them that other programs are not broadcasted live despite claiming to be so.
- A mage with the Second Sight power may make a TN 20 spot roll (TN 15 for technomages) to see the Furyfier’s broadcast as a wave of ethereal flames in the air. They’re very erratic but analysing the direction in which they flow (research TN 15) allows to find out that their source must be the radio tower.
- At a police station or an another place that gathers data of the turmoil the PCs may analyze the distribution of crimes (research TN 20) and notice that atmosphere is hottest around the radio station.
Of course your players may invent a different way of investigation – then you’ll have to improvise the TN of appropriate rolls. However, if they don’t know what to do, show them one of above methods – say, for example, that a safe police station is nearby.
During the investigation the PCs won’t be left in peace by the furious people of Heimburg. When they travel the city streets they see robberies, fist-fights and heated arguments – and, of course, they can interfere. Solving one problem requires a TN 15 test of an appropriate skill and is rewarded with a token – but remind Our Ladies and Gentlemen that they should learn the truth about the unrest, not just help with small problems.
Besides, Our Ladies and Gentlemen are not safe themselves! Some troubles they can run into include:
- An aging troll turned into a monster! Use him when the PCs are inside a vehicle: he suddenly charges out of a small street, picks their vehicle up and climbs with them up a eight-floor building like King Kong! If your PCs are travelling by foot only, he may instead appear from the sewers and pick up a fragment of the street on which they are. Use the stats for a troll right after the transformation (Wolsung p. 464).
- Fabian Ortling, a troll priest praying for self-control! He kneels before the door to Heimburg cathedral and fights with his fiery instincts. Rules-wise, he rolled 8 on a “self-control roll” but the TN is 20. If the players help him reach this TN by playing cards or backup rolls, he’ll regain full control of himself. Once he is in full control of himself he’ll help by calming others. If the PCs won’t manage to help him, he’ll go mad and begin to desecrate his own church (-1 Reputation for the PCs).
- Heinrich Feuerbach, an alvar poet reciting epic sagas of the far North! His stanzas makes everybody around even more furious, so he has to be stopped. Attacking him would only make him more passionate, so the PCs have to discuss with him. In the case of failure they will also be affected and lose a point of Reputation due to their behaviour. Use the stats for Dick P. Kindred (Wolsung p. 499).
Use this encounters as you see fit, moderating the pace of the adventure and not allowing the players to forget that their Ladies and Gentlemen are in a city gone mad.
The Grand Finale!
The moment it becomes clear that the radio station is the centre of the trouble the park around it begins to burn! When Our Ladies and Gentlemen arrive there they see a troll woman with steam-powered arms setting trees on fire with her Wild Talent.
The woman – Doris Grummstein – mocks them to attack her. However, one of the PC notices that one of Doris’s hands contains a self-destruction device that would blast them if they attack without careful aiming. But how can she forbid them from aiming carefully at her?
She can’t, but Dieter can. The mad scientist knows that the PCs are outside the station and focuses his Fantastic Furyfier on this area. Our Ladies and Gentlemen begin to feel extraordinary angry on Doris and wish to beat her – hand to hand! – despite the consequences. It’s a discussion in which their opponents are both Doris and Dieter, but only she has to be defeated (and only she can be attacked) – Dieter attacks using the Furyfier, but cannot be attacked. He simply doesn’t hear what the PCs are saying and once Doris is defeated they can run from the area affected by his mad invention.
If the PCs lose the discussion, they attack and Doris’s arm explodes, making everybody badly hurt (-1 Constitution) and unconscious. The troll villain is largely fireproof and was prepared for the explosion, so she recovers quickly and takes the PCs captive. They awaken, bound, in a storage room below the radio station. Dieter and Doris are nowhere to be seen – they have fled Heimburg.
However if the PCs win, the troubles are still not over. They resist the power of the Furyfier and Doris flees inside the station. There Dieter begins to flee on his spider-legged platform while his troll right hand attacks the captive trolls to divert Ladies and Gentlemen’ attention from him. If the players want to gain absolute victory over the villains, they’ll have to split up – part of them will be fighting Doris while the rest chases Dieter. Of course Doris’s arm is still explosive, but this time Dieter isn’t here to focus the Furyfier on them so they can avoid the explosion by careful aiming.
The fight with Doris is a combat while pursuing Dieter is a chase, but play this out as a single confrontation. Deal initiative cards to everybody at once and jump between the combat and the chase, but remember who is after who – those who decided to fight Doris can only attack her and vice versa. If one of the villains is captured sooner than the other, the PCs fighting him need one round to get to the rest and assist them in their part of the task.
If the PCs succeeded at the radio station, the Furyfier was turned off before anything really terrible happened. Some buildings are destroyed and a few people will spend some time in hospital, but nobody was killed.
If Doris won the combat, she badly injured all the trolls in the radio station and escaped. Her victims were still connected to the Furyfier, so their agony sent a final wave of fury through Heimburg, making some trolls kill their enemies, set fire to their houses or perform other horrific deeds. If Dieter fled, he would soon be recruited by the Order of the Iron Maiden or a different organisation willing to use his Furyfier for even more nefarious ends.
All these bad things happen also if the PCs were defeated during the discussion in front of the station. What’s more, then the Furyfier worked longer and the city is really devastated, making it an ideal target for an invasion.
Below are the stats for Doris and Dieter. Their motivations aren’t important to this scenario – they did what villains do in pulp stories – but they may become important if you wish them to return in the future. To make this easier for you we’ve prepared a few ideas for their motives so thay you may choose the one that most suits your plot.
Dieter Kaltherz, a mad scientist
There are two most probable reasons for which Dieter attacked Heimburg. The first is that he was working for some organization, most probably the Monastic Order of Torburg Knights. The Knights may be willing to take the city by force or help to rebuild it and thus gain influence over its’ politics and technology.
Alternatively Dieter may not work for anyone – yet. His action was aimed at showing the Furyfier to the world so that all the villainous organizations on Urda will do anything for him in exchange for the plans of this doomsday device.
Default conflict: Chase
Opponent, human, dice pool 3d10, Challenge 5
Dr Kaltherz’s Fantastic Furyfier: this apparatus is so powerful that it either attacks all opponents during a discussion or takes an extra challenge marker for every raise if it attacks a single person.
Gadget – spider-legged platform: brawl +3*, drive +3*, raise on a drive test takes two challenge markers.
Technomage: powers: Control Machines and Telekinesis (Remote Glove).
Skills: technics 9/8+.
Combat: brawl 9*/10+; Defense 14.
Chase: drive 12*/9+; Endurance 14. Spider-legged platform, technomage.
Discussion: Furyfication 12/8+, intimidate 9/10+; Confidence 16.
Doris surely is or was a Knight of the Monastic Order – that’s the only possible way she got her artificial arms. So if Dieter worked for the Order she was probably assigned as his bodyguard, but if not? She might be a gift from the Order or she may be a renegade, willing to enhance her own battle fury through Dieter’s inventions.
And finally she may owe her sanity to him – she might be already aging and still be a normal troll only thanks to his inventions. Why should a villain fear being a troll witch? Well, a really proud villain sees a huge difference between being evil on one’s own will and being a member of an evil race!
Default conflict: Combat
Opponent, troll, dice pool 3d10, Challenge 4
An explosive lady: in combat any attack aimed at Doris that isn’t a called shot activates the self-destruction mechanism on her arm, hitting anybody on close and medium ranges with a 15/8+ attack (dice pool 3d10) that takes an additional challenge marker for every raise. Doris loses only one challenge marker and the ability to trip enemies with two raises.
Racial traits: fireproof, flame of passion
Steel fists: takes an extra challenge marker with a raise, trips with two raises.
Wild talent: Smite (fiery fists).
Combat: brawl 9/8+; defense 16. All abilities.
Chase: athletics 6/8+; endurance 16. Flame of passion.
Discussion: expression (mocking) 3(9)/9+, intimidate 6/9+; confidence 16. Flame of passion.
If you use this scenario, please let us know how do you like it!