Tuesday, November 29, 2011


From The Memoirs of The Reverend Kurt von Schilling, Bishop of Holstein

We come now to the end of that strangest of all the adventures my companions and I experienced in our youth. I, who was called Nestor, my friends Hector, Agamemnon and Phoenix, and doctor Plummer were gathered in the monster’s lair awaiting his return. Earlier in the day we had stormed the house and killed his human slave and two of his gypsy retainers, but two gypsies had escaped. We knew not where the vampire lurked or if they had gone to warn him. The time passed very slowly and our nerves were stretched to the limit.

 There were but two hours until dawn when, at last, we heard the front door open slowly. We had dragged the bodies out of sight but the smell of death and gunpowder hung in the air, alerting the monster to the danger. He saw us moving toward the entrance to the foyer and what we saw next defies description. It was Lang, but his face was a mask of horror and his very presence radiated menace. Phoenix and Agamemnon, who had proven themselves fearless on many occasions, were momentarily stunned into inaction by the sight. The doctor, Hector and I fired our pistols at the same instant at point blank range. For a moment, time stood still. The smoke stung my eyes and my head was ringing from the discharge of three pistols in that confined space. My eyes focused on a bit of smoldering wadding that was embedded in Lang’s waistcoat and then the desperate engagement began in earnest.

All three pistol balls had struck the monster and had done fearful damage to his body, and yet he fell on us as if he had felt nothing. He seemed more beast than man as he snarled and snapped at us with his teeth and slashed with his claw-like hands. I was struck down and bloodied by his claws. As I tried to fight back the dizziness and nausea and regain my feet I saw Phoenix and Agamemnon, who must have left the sitting room by the back hallway, come around behind the monster slashing and stabbing furiously with their swords. The wounds I saw them inflict would have killed a normal man instantly, and indeed the monster seemed to be flagging from the accumulated damage to his physical form.
                            The monster was trapped and the battle raged
Taking advantage of the brief respite thus gained, the doctor and Hector drew the wooden crosses from their coats and thrust them forward toward Lang. With a savage backhand stroke the monster knocked both men to the floor, sending their crosses skidding away. He advanced on them hoping to finish them and break through our circle. I pulled myself up on one knee and imposed my own cross between Lang and his intended victims. He stopped, uncertain at first, and then recoiled in fear and confusion. At this Phoenix and Agamemnon renewed their assault. I can’t explain what happened next, except to say that we all saw it. The monster, trapped and assailed on all sides, changed before our eyes into a column of grey mist and slipped through a broken window like water down a drain.

Our party was in no condition to pursue and we wouldn’t have known how to do so in any case. We stayed in the house until dawn binding our wounds and keeping watch in case Lang came back. Thanks to the doctor’s vigilance we were sure we had accounted for all of the monster’s sanctuaries in our town and rendered them useless to him. We did not know if he had established similar places of refuge in Ardoberg or elsewhere, but as the weeks passed and no more attacks occurred we came to understand that we had at least driven him out of this region. The doctor, who was becoming something of an expert on such matters through the knowledge gained from Artorius’ book, believes the vampire made it’s way back to the remote regions of Holstein much weakened and unable to sustain a physical form for years to come.

The doctor returned to the practice of medicine in his little country town. He decided not to make his story public. After all, who would believe it. The town magistrate had disappeared during the troubles, and no one knows to this day what happened to him. Another magistrate was appointed by the authorities in Ardoberg, and he was directed to attribute the battle at Artorius house to a robbery attempt by the gypsies.

My friends and I had many adventures in the years to come, but nothing so bizarre as this affair. Agamemnon eventually returned home to manage the great estate he had inherited. He is a generous, if indiscriminate, patron of the Arts, funding the musical style galant and other innovations that have no future. I think he does it just to irritate me. Phoenix rose through the ranks of the Ardoberg-Holstein army and is now Inhaber of the Ardozollern Kuriasser regiment. Hector could never settle down. Last year an English Colonel told me he had met him while fighting red Indians in a place called Ohio. I eventually joined the priesthood. It had been my faith that had given power to the cross I held to drive the vampire back on that terrible night. My friends, brave hearts all, had never been men of faith, and the cross in their hands was useless against the monster.

As for the vampire, I wish I could say he was never heard from again but it was not to be. It took him years to regain his power but in time his shadow grew in the Holstein border country. But that is a tale for another day.

Note: This was an actual wargame ‘mini campaign’ that Mike and I played using the Chaos in Carpathia rules supplemented by simple campaign rules that we made up between us. The Chaos rules are good at depicting combat between assorted monsters and humans, but we felt something was missing. We wanted the game to ‘feel’ like a Gothic horror movie. The campaign rules simply laid out a set of objectives for the monster and a ‘bar of disbelief’ that had to be crossed before the humans could gather their forces and fight back. The monster’s greatest weapon is the fact that nobody believes in monsters. His goal was to achieve as many objectives as possible while “staying below the radar”. His objectives included establishing alternate sanctuaries, collecting ‘brides’ and routine non lethal feeding. He was also required to rest periodically. Support for the idea that a vampire was afoot waxed and waned according to how aggressively the monster pursued his goals. There were two phases per day, daylight and darkness, and multiple locations where elements of the two factions might be deployed in a given phase. If opposing elements found themselves in the same location we went to the tabletop to fight the encounter with miniatures. The final battle occurred when the vampire returned to his lair from an unsuccessful attempt to collect a second bride. There are opportunities to refine the campaign system but overall it did give us the monster movie feel we were after.  


  1. Excellent!
    Thanks for demonstrating that -as I was almost sure was the case- 'Chaos in Carpathia' can perfectly be played with 18th C. miniatures.

    Hope you'll play another 'Lacepulp' campaign...

  2. Well done Gary. This was indeed an excellent campaign that would have done Hammer Films proud. - Mike