Tag Archives: Warhammer Fantasy

Stuff I'm up to

Since I’ve not had a chance to get another post this week so I thought I’d go over the things that have been occupying my time.

Warhammer module writing has been a bit part of it. This week The Rats Below was edited and is now ready to run at the KC Game fair. I’m very happy with it, having brought it down to 9 pages from 11 without losing a single inch of plot. It flows better, it reads easier, and hopefully it should be easier to run. Not that I’ve put it out there for anyone else to grab just yet, but that will be happening soon enough.

The other big thing I’ve been working on this week is a fourth WFRP module. The original idea I had been writing just was not working. Then on Monday I had a sudden inspiration. In writing these, I’ve been trying to introduce different themes of the WFRP world I find interesting. Where I had been going for some steampunk and greenskins, I kept hitting a wall.  The plot was just not working, it felt too contrived. I ended up taking the  “What will you do” moment from the first, placed it in the rewrite and away it went. Shoving the pcs out into an isolated forest village is a much better and more natural fit. That rewrite is half way written and I’m going to try to get the major plot points finished this week so that the details and editing is all that’s left to do.

I like this new plot for several reasons. It got me out of the writing funk that had settled in. And has me thinking about the overall plot for this campaign. There are a few stories I want to follow up with that stem from events in The Rats Below that I think are especially fun in Warhammer. Those should be written up quickly since I have a good feel for what I want to do. However, it may mean missing NanoWriMo because of it.

Which leaves editing and fleshing out of the introduction module, The Faire. This is a behemoth of a module and not something I’ve been looking forward to. It currently sits at 15 pages and just under 11k words. Not the biggest one out there but it’s big enough. That also needs to be done and have pregen characters ready, for KC Game Fair.

Hopefully the events submitted will be accepted. I put in three, one session of The Faire and two of The Rats Below. That way people can catch up who haven’t been able to come over and get ready for the next one currently being written.

I’ve also been thinking about my follow up to last week’s expansion of the rpg market article. I’m thinking of trying to get an interview with some marketing departments. Right now I’m looking at Steve Jackson Games and White Wolf. The two of these seem to be a good place to start. But first, I need to come up with questions to ask them. Since this is still mostly a vanity site, I’ll have to be much more prepared to show that this isn’t just for my own edification. Once I have them written, we’ll see what happen.

Beer wise, I wish I could say that more was happening, but there isn’t anything at all. I have two bottles left in the fridge from the ‘make your own six pack’ that netted the beers used in other reviews. I will eventually be getting to them in a future review.

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Progress on the living campaign front

Part of what makes Warhammer an interesting RPG to play is the Career system of character advancement. Instead of gaining “levels” characters instead go through “careers”. Each career has a number of places where the player can spend experience to increase their character’s stats or gain skills and talents. What makes this even more interesting for a GM is the question of how to manage the direction your players decide to take their characters in.

Through the course of a normal campaign the player can decide to some target career as a goal to achieve. This could be something like the Witch Hunter or Wizard Lord or one of the various knighted orders. And in the normal course of the campaign the GM can write the story to fit those circumstances to allow for that progression. In a living campaign, this gets much harder as your target audience is going to be far more general than specific. My solution for this is to create “Opportunities” as part of many of the adventure modules to serve as entries points for these and other careers.

This makes more work for me as I have to make sure I write mods that create these opportunities for all of the characters and not just some of them. At some point I will have to write a module where the characters can be recognized in the peerage of some noble or have the chance to gather a number of grimoires so that they can advance to that career goal. But to be precise in this matter, I would rather have this extra work than to run a campaign where a few people are ruining the fun of everyone else.

For the Opportunities that are presented to the players at the end of The Faire, I have been crafting several careers to start the campaign off with a bonus instead of picking all of the careers from the standard book. I hope to use a couple of my custom careers in story lines in the future. I also want give my players a look into different aspects of the Empire (as I imagine it) through these careers.

Here are two the basic careers I have been working on.

Apprentice Brewmeister — Basic – This is someone who has begun their training in the arts of how to brew beers, ales, and other fermented alcoholic beverages. The knowledge of this individual has been trained in include the basics of brewing and much of the daily chores. They have yet to earn the right to know the Brewmeister’s secret recipes and are forever the subject for the Brewmeister’s many test batches that get made on a daily basis. Though still very much in the peasant, even Apprentices of Brewmeisters are held in some honor for if they are able to complete their training and achieve recognition by the Brew Guild then their talent for turning water into something drinkable are very much be in demand across the Empire and beyond.


WS BS S T Ag Int WP Fel
+5% +5% +10% +10% +10%

Skills: Haggle, Evaluate, Read/Write, Perception, Trade (Brewer (Int)), Consume Alcohol, Gossip or Charm
Talents: Dealmaker or Savvy, Super Numerate or Streetwise, Etiquette or Schemer
Trappings: Notebook, Good quality writing set, Bung Hammer
Career Entries: None, the character must be invited to join.
Career Exits: Brewmiester, Tradesman (other than brewer), Student, Smuggler, Burgher

Apprentice Chef — Basic – Someone who has had basic training in culinary arts. This is someone who is a lackey in the kitchen doing whatever tasks the head chef has decided they don’t want to dirty themselves doing. In exchange for this constant, demeaning work the apprentice gets exposure to the workings of a kitchen and some cooking. Thanks to the chance to observe the character has gained some experience in how to judge the quality of butchered meats, select and identify eatable herbs and vegetables, and prepare some simple meals.

WS BS S T Ag Int WP Fel
+5% +5% +10% +10% +10%

Talents: Dealmaker or Savvy, Resistance to Poison, Streetwise, Luck or Flee!
Skills: Trade (Cook (Int)), Haggle or Evaluate, Perception, Charm or Gossip, Read/Write,
Trappings: Good quality set of pots and pans
Career Entries: None, the character must be invited to join this.
Career Exits: Chef, Student, Valet, Tradesman (other than Chef), Servant

A few things to note. I did some research, going over the career section of the main WFRP book in the hopes of finding a pattern to how the careers were constructed. And at least with the Basic careers there are some. For instance, every basic career has a +2 Wounds advance. Most Basic careers have an average of 20 advances total, 7 of which are primary attribute advances, the previously mentioned 2 wounds, leaving the rest to be split the skills and talents. As for the skills and talents portion, the number of skills varies between 6 and 9, depending on what sort of career it is. Talents usually have a lot of either/or choices presented so in theory a character could get all six talents before exiting the career instead of the proscribed three.

Advanced careers do not seem to have much of a pattern to them. There is a few constants however, and I have one quick observation. Except for two careers, there is always a +4 wound advance in these careers. I could not tell you why the Artisan and Journeyman Wizard got the shaft on this, except to say that they could. Everything else is up for grabs in those careers. As far as I can tell there is no rhyme or reason to their construction. Some careers have over twenty primary stat advancements, while one of them has a mere 14. Skills and talents likewise have no real relation in number between the various careers. It seems that whatever rule system was used to create the Basic careers was abandoned when it came to the Advanced ones. Perhaps it became too burdensome and restricted their creative vision for the game. I really don’t know.

In any case, this analysis I did made it look like at some point there were going to a set of Middle careers to bridge the gap between the current two. There is a certain set that only get 4 wounds and no Action advancements while another set get 5 to 8 wounds and 2 actions. Maybe there is something in the entries/exits that can be shown to form a pattern. Something to look at later, I guess.

First post!

There are a lot of things to do but I wanted to start the site off with a bit of homebrew gaming content.

The beer will be coming along later.

To begin this site I want to talk about a campaign. Not just any campaign. No, this is the ground work I am trying to lay for a living campaign. A Warhammer Fantasy living campaign.

For a few years now one of the groups my wife and I play in has been doing the Heroes of Rokugan living campaign. I have to admit that it has been a great way for those who own the system to get people invovled and keep up to date with their books and sundry. It has also been a good way to get involved with a comunity of players that has been one of the most fun and unbelievably mature comunities of games I have ever found.

So I was inspired to do the same for one of the systems I love most. Warhammer Fantasy.

Not unsurprisingly, I was unable to find one already in existance. This being doubly true as not too long ago, Games Workshop decided to shut down the publisher and yank the license from the current holder. Fantasy Flight games soon ended up with it, and while they seem to be doing a bit better of a job in keeping WFRP and its brother system, Dark Heresy, going I couldn’t find the sort of grass-roots active comunity that HoR has. I found that a vast majority of the sites are dedicated to the minis wargame than the actual RPG.

The first module I have written up takes place a few years before the events of The Storm of Chaos, the event which kicked off the 2005 relaunch of the rpg. It takes place during a fair being held in Altdorf, capital of the Empire. It has several events that the players can take part in. There is an eating contest, a drinking contest, tests of archery and gladiatorial pit fights. There is also a taste of chaos cults and how the empire deals with such threats. It does a lot to set the tone of the setting as well as leave open a number of avenues to take stories from.

I got to run it this past Sunday for a few people. After the initial hiccup of needing to create some more characters, we got started. And it was fun. I like the system as it gives me, as a GM, the tools necesary to allow the players shape the story of their characters. For instace, in the pit fighting, I got the chance to give the lone character a bit of a boost from the crowd since one of my other players was able to get the crowd to cheer along for them. There were several other instances of this thoughout our session and yesterday I wrote up some notes so I can go back in and make  changes to the module. Eventually, I hope to be able to release it and start up such a thing. This means having a few more modules to go along with it, but that is hudle to jump soon enough.

I did want to make one more note about living campaigns and supporting them.

Find one that has some quickstart rules. GURPS probably has one of the best sets of quickstart rules out there. D&D recently released their own for Fourth. Oddly enough, they put it out their as a pdf but I guess this would be something they want you to download. HoR also has one as well as several premade characters to start out with if you don’t have the core book. Warhammer sadly does not which left me the option of having to create one. At a very concise 2 pages, I had to rely upon the core book getting passed around to copy out all of the career information. Fantasy Flight Games recently put out a Career Compendium for WFRP but no quickstart rules. Which is really too bad as this would help those of us who like the system a bit of an easier time evangelicising it.

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