When Ruprecht died in dat puddle of ‘is own barf, the Raven priest told us, we ‘ad to bury ‘im in a keg of “Goldmanns Best” or ‘e wudd cum back to ‘aunt us. Aye we bought de ale, but then decided to drink it ourself. It wudd be a waste, I tell ya and Ruprecht wudd ‘ad ‘ated dat.«:
Hauke Hartlander, King of bar flies (deceased)
»It ain’t natural, beer I mean.«
Henrietta Schulze, Peasant
»The fermented juice of wheat is of the ruinous powers, I tell you. Empty that keg and repent, sinner!«
Adelbert Fassner, disgraced Priest and Flagellant
»One can’t live without it…«
Rinsgar Groinstabber, dwarfen merchant and philospher
In our own words
Ruprecht Uberhugel, suspected Ale Wraith
Ale doesn’t have a good reputation in the Empire, especially since an old treaty (forced by the dwarfs) forbid any taxation of beer. Nobles and the middle class prefer wine, for it is a much finer drink (or so they claim) and therefore beer (or ale or lager or whatever you want to call it) is left for the downtrodden and dwarfs(who very aggressively dispute the ill reputation of their finest product since the eight-cleaved orcslaugher-machine). Furthermore, ale is associated with extensive alcohol intake and the higher classes don’t intoxicate themselves (if you care to believe their own testimony).
One of the main reasons for the ill repute of extensive alcohol consumption is an old superstition that anyone who dies drunk has to be buried in a keg of ale or the deceased will come back to haunt the living. Although the belief itself might sound ridiculous to the more sophisticated souls of the empire, it is common practice to strictly follow the burial rites. There are some variations to the ritual itself, for example in Averland (and Bretonia) a barrel of wine is used instead of beer and it seems to work as long the cask itself contains alcohol (and not the kind that is used by apothecaries or alchemists).
Indeed, those unfortunate souls that are buried without the proper burial rite come back to haunt the living (drunk). The so-called ale wraiths (or Biergeister) often stalk the dark alleys behind pubs in search of victims. These undead are consumed by agony if they aren’t able to sustain themselves with the breath of drunkards, which seems to quell their thirst and ease their pain.
Biergeister differ in their appearance, but the most common features are either bloated forms with grotesquely large mouths or distorted schemes with countles mouths all of their ethereal bodies. Strangely enough, both forms seem to move not quite unlike the vision of a drunk person.
Ale Wraith Characteristics
Skills: Concealment +20%, Consume Alcohol +20%, Gossip, Perception, Speak Language (Reikspiel)
Talents: Ethereal, Frightening, Night Vision, Undead
Sobering Hug: After the Ale Wraith makes a successful melee attack, it does not inflict any damage to non-ethereal creatures but instead drains 1d10 % Fellowship if the target is intoxicated. When the Fellowship reaches 0, the victim must pass a hard (-20%) Willpower Test. When successful, the target receives 1d10 Insanity Points but survives and is instantly sober with the side-effects of a serious hangover. If unsuccessful, the target will die screaming, leaving nothing more behind than a completely dehydrated husk. If the target is not intoxicated, the Hug has the same effect as the Fearful Touch ability of the ghost.
»‘xcuse me, squire«: The Wraith can vomit a stinking cloud of ectoplasm on a melee opponent as a full action, forcing the victim to pass a normal (+0%) Toughness Test or lose his next action. To regain Fellowship absorbed by an Ale Wraith, the victim has to drink excessively. Every time the Character becomes stinking drunk (as per WFRP Core Rules, pg. 115), he may roll a d10 and add the result to his Fellowship characteristic. It is impossible to regain more Fel that the character previously had.
Bernie and the Beer factory
Although death is a constant companion in the Old World, the passing of a loved one is always hard on the family. Granted, Carl Berg never was a productive member of society and also not always nice to his wife and children. But when he didn’t come home after one of his shifts at Berngarts Brewery, his wife began to worry after her bruises healed. And when the first factory workers turned up dead and dehydrated, Berngart also began to worry and hires the adventurers to look into the nature of the incidents and more importantly, stop his workers from drinking his beer without paying for it!
The source of all trouble is good ol’ Carl, who fell drunk in one of the beer vats and was cooked alive. His earthly remains then went into different barrels and were shipped all over the Empire where »Berngart Finest Crisdal« is consumed. Oddly enough, although the burial rites were observed in a fashion, it didn’t stop Carl from becoming an Ale Wraith. So the adventurers have several tasks: locate and retrieve the shipped barrels, explain to enraged customers why it would be a bad idea to drink this particular shipment of beer and stop the brewery workers from stealing. Not to mention, what one might think about the quality of a beer where no one notices body parts in it.
Nasty GM’s could also introduce a new type of monster, the “Crisdal Corpse”, zombie-like beings who drank the tainted beer…
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