Saturday, February 28, 2009

Florey

(Sung to the tune of Jessie by Joshua Kadison <--click for audio/video.)

From a payphone at SnoCon, Florey calls collect again
To tell me how he's slaughtered 10 beastmen

He says, "Hey, man, I've been thinking 'bout 4E D&D
We could start a party...you, and Deb, and me.
We'll buy the handbook and roll up some test stats
Now, doesn't that sound sweet?"

Oh, Florey, you always do this every time I get back on my feet.

Florey paint your pictures 'bout how it's gonna be.
By now I should know better, your dreams are never free.
But tell me all about out little adventures in 4E;
Florey you can always sell any game to me.
Oh, Florey, you can always sell any game to me.

He asks about my half-orc. I say, "Ke'lan he's just fine
But I really want to run him one more time.
I finally took his stat sheet down off the wall
Oh, Florey, how do you always seem to know just when to call?"

He says, "Get you dice together. Bring your characters and drive real fast."
And I listen to his promise, "I swear to God this party's gonna last."

Florey paint your pictures 'bout how it's gonna be.
By now I should know better, your dreams are never free.
But tell me all about out little adventures in 4E;
Florey you can always sell any game to me.
Oh, Florey, you can always sell any game to me.

We'll game until sunrise, take a nap and then play again.
And who knows, maybe this time, we'll make it all the way through Desert Sands.

Florey paint your pictures 'bout how it's gonna be.
By now I should know better, your dreams are never free.
But tell me all about out little adventures in 4E;
Florey you can always sell any game to me.
Oh, Florey, you can always sell any game to me.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

WarHammer's Top Baddies

Top Ten creature lists seem to be going around. To be different, and mostly to match my playing style, I have decided to try to list the most popular creatures in the WarHammer world.

I have been playing WarHammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP) since some time in high school. That's at least 15 years. Within the last few years, the Black Library has released a slew of WarHammer Fantasy novels, and it seems I have spent more hours reading recently than I ever did playing or prepping a game of WFRP.

Through my years of experience playing and reading, here's my list of WFRP's top "monsters".

Snotlings Snotlings are the smallest of the goblinoid races. They are not the same as D&D's kobolds. They have only 1 strength, 1 toughness, and 3 wounds. You can pretty much sneeze and kill them. They are, however, humorous and fun to use against the party!

Snotlings only attack if they outnumber their opponent ten to one. For weapons they use nets, clubs, axes, and, best of all, they throw poisonous fungi and molds. These molds can cause delirium, drowsiness, insanity, or death. How fun is that?!

Dark Elves Unlike D&D, WFRP dark elves are not dark skinned. Instead, the darkness is entirely represented in their psyche. They are a torturous, cruel, murderous race. They prey on any and every other race out there, including themselves. Appearance-wise, they can be rather like normal elves, excepting some tattoos or ritualistic scarring. If this can be covered up, dark elves can roam around relatively unmolested until they decide to start their havoc. What fun!

Chaos Warriors and Chaos Bands Chaos Warriors head small bands of beastmen who all follow the same chaos deity. Beastmen have such things as tentacles, multiple arms, horns, goat's legs, etc. These bands roam through the Old World slaughtering in the name of their chaos lord.

At the head of these bands are massive, armored warriors who have traded their humanity for mutinous powers. Their armor may be welded to their body, they may have a skull for a face, or they might be growing horns our of their otherwise human heads. They are warriors that you can make as powerful as the party needs for a challenge.

Skaven The most popular type of beastman is the Skaven. This race is a mixture of rat and man, giant rats who are man-height, walk on their hind legs, can speak common languages, and are highly intelligent. Skaven have a complex system of tunnels underneath the entire world, so you never know when they'll show up and how strong the party will be.

The WarHammer world seems to love these beasts above all others, and they can show up in just about any WarHammer novel. There are assassin clans, pestilence clans, engineer clans, and clans that experiment on making newer, stronger creatures. There's also a subset of magic users, called Grey Seers. They are normally the leaders and instigators of any interaction with characters.

Cultists/Mutants Skaven may be the most popular creature, but fellow human beings are the most popular enemy. People looking for power from one of the ruinous chaos deities, people who are doing bad deeds because of blackmail, people who only want to get ahead in life and don't care how they do it. These are the enemies you really have to look out for. At least you know an evil looking creature is your enemy. You can never be sure, though, if the book-worm looking weakling who is walking down a dark alley alone might be a high wizard of a chaos god who has superhuman strength and a mutant, ravenous maw hiding under his lacy shirt.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sigmarzeit 5 - 7

We are staring at a battle field of carnage and death. You know that battle is going on around you when you're in the midst of the fight, but you don't realize what is actually happening - people are really dying - until the battle is over. The Skaven ran, and we are left with the aftermath.

All I could do was stare. I was ready to shoot another arrow, but there were no ratmen in sight. Beside me, I heard Starlana throw up her last meal. Suddenly I was tired. Starlana was sick, Gunther was injured, and Arty was dead. What, exactly, had I gotten myself into?

I tried to comfort Starlana, while Randy came to Gunther and patched up some of his wounds. Apparently the man has some field medic experience. All the experience in the world won't bring Arty back, though.

Lord Erik offered us the use of his tent while things were cleaned up outside. The remaining men spent the night digging a mass grave for their peers and stacking the rat men up to burn in a pile. Lady, help me...I don't ever want to see another Skaven again.

Inside the tent I had some strange, orange-colored fruit. Then I set to work picking up the mess that had become of Lord Erik's things. There wasn't much fighting in the actual tent, and soon we laid down on his bed to rest.

Gunther and Lord Erik were able to salvage some clothing for me and Starlana. Gunther also brought back a normal sized bow. I tried it out, but I'm not strong enough to be able to use it. If we live through any more fights, I might have built up enough strength to give it another try.

Lord Erik then gave us some lavender sniff to place on our upper lip while he burnt the bodies of the rat men. He seems like a really great Lord.

When Starlana mentioned that we hadn't heard from the barges, Lord Erik allowed us to go look for them...with Gunther's help, of course. Randy decided he's like to come with us as well, while Todd rested up from the battle, digging, and stacking.

On our way to the river, we passed some kind of moving bush, which had trapped one of the peasants from Lord Erik's party. The guy must have run off, maybe looking to see if the people on the barge could come help us.

The tree was almost as deadly as the rat men! Gunther went in to try to rescue the peasant and was smacked around by the tree's branches, plus caught up in some vines. He had to cut his way out, with some help from Randy.

Starlana tried to stab the tree with her spear, but all she ended up doing was getting the weapon stuck on the truck, which was then protected by all the flailing branches. It took her, with my axe, and Randy with some fire to get in there and take care of the tree for good. The peasant died before we could save him. This area grows ever more deadly.

We found the river, but couldn't see the barge, so we headed upriver. AFter a few minutes, the barge came into sight. We were welcomed by the Captain, Darryl, and their scout, Allan. They offered to let us stay the night on the ship where it was safe. The captain was very hospitable, giving us some wine. I'm not used to strong drink, though, and couldn't tolerate it. Such excess is for the rich, only, I guess.

The next morning one of the boatmen, Henry, bragged of shooting a huge river rat with his bow. He offered me some lessons as we finally got everything settled and headed up river. I seem to have some kind of natural aptitude with this bow that Sir Doyle left me. Henry kept missing the trees he was shooting at on the shore, but I hit every one.

Early the following morning, 6 of Lord Erik's people, plus our sheep herder Lorr, abandoned ship. I guess one man had been talking about the futility of the job since so many others had died. His cowardly talk infected others, and they decided to leave right then. I seem to have some kind of curse on me, because Lorr was carrying my bag since Arty died. Now I have no one to carry the heavy thing for me. I swear, I can barely move with it on my back. I don't know how these people do it day in and day out.

We stopped on the river at a town called Bovi for half a day to resupply. Gunther talked Lord Erik into equipping is a little better, since he was suddenly indebted to less peasant-adventurers. I got 30 more arrows and some leather protection for my forearm while I'm shooting the bow.

Starlana and I also went into the tavern to try to recruit for Lord Erik. There were a few able-bodied young me who were willing to take us up on the offer. One of them even bought my meal and offered to carry my backpack for me as we traveled! Lord Erik seemed a little impressed when we returned with four more party members. I introduced Carl and Jesse to the others and we were ready to leave.

I don't remember the name of the two boys Starlana brought back.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Character Profiles: Gairloch Ironheart

Life underground was rough, with all the creatures that wanted to eat you. One never knew when a perfectly peaceful mining operation would turn into a fight for your life. Ambushes were easier to handle if you simply used one of your tools as a weapon.

In his plate armor, carrying his maul, he looked pretty tough…for a gnome. He had heard about this land above. He wanted to look tough. He wanted to look menacing. He wanted people to skirt around him. He didn’t want people getting close to him. He didn’t want them to know he was scared.

Gairloch stepped out of the cave entrance and into the brisk night air. The sensation of not having a roof over his head was disconcerting at best. Subliminally, he clung to the earth even more tenaciously than before. How did people keep from falling up?

Gairloch Ironheart is a Gnome Cleric of Grumbar. He uses a maul for a weapon, and wears full plate armor.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Character Profiles: Harlgrim Strongaxe

Harlgrim Strongaxe had the potential to be the clan's next great engineer. As soon as his talent was realized, he was taken into the guild and apprenticed. Unfortunately, this was only months before the Ripclaw invasion.

For the next two years, Harlgrim was assigned to a tunnel fighter guerrilla warfare team. Fighting came naturally to young Harlgrim, just as naturally as engineering. He stood his ground beside the veterans, attacking the treacherous Ripclaws and melting back into the tunnels to come at them again from another angle. Until one day, when the Ripclaws dropped a tunnel onto the steely fighters.

Harlgrim was the only survivor of the tunnel collapse that day. He had happened to be on rear-guard duty. Nevertheless, the falling stone left Harlgrim battered and injured. He was unconscious for two days, alone in the tunnel.

Harlgrim circled about through other interconnecting underground passages until he came back upon his stronghold's main chambers. It was at that time he found out that the tunnel collapse had been part of the Ripclaw's main thrust in the war. All of Harlgrim's people were dead.

If there had been anyone, a single survivor he could have seen, Harlgrim would have charged into the cavern, axes swinging. All he saw, however, was complete devastation of all the friends, family, and life he had ever known. He felt his entire livelihood slip from him that day. He was clanless and honorless. Worst of all, though, was that there was nothing he could do to avenge his people. A senseless death never helped anyone.

Harlgrim left the mountains that day. He took off for the nearest city, Seablue. Luckily for them, no one challenged the lone figure as he walked, defeated and fuming, the many miles to Seablue.

When he entered the city, Harlgrim promptly found the first tavern he could and spent all the money he had on him, not much considering coin wasn't needed when attacking the enemy through passageways. At the end of the night, he was deposited unconscious into the side alley.

The next morning Harlgrim awoke and figured he had better get a job to support himself and his slow climb toward vengeance. Having no honor or pride left, he searched for employment that would suit his current position. He ended up at the docks where none of his race had any place being. Figuring it would serve himself about right, he found employment as a wharf rat catcher. His employer set him up in a filthy bunkhouse used for the poorest and most pathetic of his workers. Harlgrim felt right at home.

This is where we currently find our intrepid character, ready and waiting to embrace the rest of his story. Harlgrim Strongaxe is a dwarven fighter with engineering skills. He uses a battle axe in each hand.