Dread Domain Detectives Illustrated, Session 1 – Motives Were Mingled

Ludendorf is a port city built around 3 hills upon which are built the university, the baron’s vacated castle – now used by city bureaucrats and constables and the cemetery, a fortress to keep out grave-robbers with a police force all its own.

PRELUDE: A whaling ship bringing in a strange haul, some kind of gargantuan humanoid with something almost squid-like for a head. “Seemed to just be waking up when our harpoons found it,” one sailor said. “Strange aeons, indeed,” another agrees, “Not sure if we are going to get much oil out of this chtonic beast.” Newspaper headlines in the Ludendorf Gazette note that the civil strife in Neufurchtenburg is escalating. The Anarchist Slayer has claimed another victim in Ludendorf.

Link to Session 0

Dread Domain Detectives Illustrated

With Art by Storn A. Cook

Dungeons & Dragons

Weird Science,


& Gothic fantasy!

Ripped from the 
pages of
Van Richten’s Guide to

Viktor von aubreker. 17th in line for the throne. Rogue & Artificer. 

Talis Arsalan. Bard. Newly arrived immigrant.

Ludendorf. Bastion of Weird Science. Frigid. Cruel. 

This is their third case with the Kranev Investigative Guild.

Their first two cases are unsolved  when the next case walks in. 

“I believe my husband is cheating on me,”
- Baroness Maja von aubreker.

Getting together with old gaming friends like Jeff and Storn is just lovely. Their partner banter was amazing.

I’ve got vague ideas about how to use Perception and Investigation and Insight in ways that will make the rolls more meaningful. More on that as it marinates.

Storn has an etsy shop that is well worth checking out and book-marking if you think you might like some character-art for yourself or as a gift to a friend.

We described the office being a bit of a mess with diagrams on the walls from the other 2 unsolved cases – one concerning a theft of university property and another concerning their missing mentor. Storn suggested a bamboo screen to put over this evidence when visitors are in office.

Private Eye but the eye is an eye.

Case #0003L2 Baroness Maja von Aubrecker believes her husband, Killian Furchten, is carrying on an indiscretion. The client is hiring the Arkev Investigative Guild to find out the nature of this dalliance as the 5 year anniversary of the betrothal nears, the time when, according to Lamordian betrothal law, the couple’s holdings become fully entwined.

The tension between Baroness Mara and her cousin, Inspector Viktor, was palpable but there was also some trust that family business would be dealt with in a discreet manner.

The case’s contract was filed by Chapterhouse Ludendorf’s chamberlain, Arek Avakian.

The guild’s Ludendorf Chapterhouse is located above a sailor’s bar on the docks, owned by sailor’s wife, Rosaly, with squid-tentacle tattoos of her husband’s rare prosperous voyages. One such voyage is crossed out.

Lamordian Nobles have taken to slumming it in Ludendorf – the latest style is to done Dementlieu-style masks and stagger from one working class pub to another. This is called a Dementlieuax Pub Crawl.

The Baroness’ manservant, interviewed by Inspector Talis, taken aside under false pretenses. Niklas, said servant, suggested they look deeper into betrothal laws and rites.

Killian has been frequenting university science presentations. The moneyed classes often look to these presentations to find investment opportunities. Viktor’s social status was used to gain entry, as suggested by his sister, a university student.

The investigators made their way to the university, looking at presentations. A list of past presentations was easy enough to find. Storn asked if he noticed anything strange about the list. Good question.

If I’d had a list, I could’ve just unveiled it and left it to him but I didn’t and didn’t feel like creating one on the spot was a good use of our time or my effort. Roll Investigation. It was a solid roll. Yes, you notice that Valentia Doss is the only woman’s name on the list; she presented on Ambulatory Balance in Constructs. The university has some patriarchal bullshit at hand.

Talis and Viktor attended a presentation about the science of where skills and attributes are stored in the body. A pair of corpse-arms, acquired legally through a flesh contract, was inspired to play a haunting violin tune through electric stimulation. Does this show the fiddle-skills of the arm’s former owner or the skill to inspire such a tune through electric manipulation?

NOTE: This led to a productive discussion about the type of weird science tech that is common, getting us on the same page.

Talis followed Killian leaving a presentation with a promising post-doctoral student, Valentia Doss, who has won the esteemed honor of serving as Viktra Mordenheim’s lab assistent last semester. A Tiefling with dark blue skin and black horns under a custom stove-pipe hat was also following the couple to an apartment in an expensive part of the city. Talis paid a young lad, Peter from Oil Street, to notify his partner of his whereabouts and his wife that he’d be home late. His wife was not notified. The horned man has not noticed Talis yet.

That is where we begin next week – a cold Ludendorf street as the sun sets. A well-married noble in an apartment with a bright science academic and a devil-folk in a dark suit standing outside this apartment, staking it out as our investigators meet up down the block to discuss their next moves.

The Dread lore gathered in this session concerns a distant Domain called Dementlieu, where masquerades are the fashion.

“The circumstance on which my story rests was suggested in casual conversation. It was commenced partly as a source of amusement, and partly as an expedient for exercising any untried resources of mind. Other motives were mingled with these as the work proceeded.”
― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

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