Posts

Showing posts from April, 2013

Z is for Zoat

Image
The Warhammer world has a few defining creatures, like the beastman, the skaven, and the warriors of chaos. They also have unique creatures, or at least creatures I had not seen in my gaming experience. Some of these include the fimir, amphisbaena, and the zoat.



A zoat is a reptilian centaurish creature with the upper body of lizardman (but with more of a turtle-shaped head) and the lower body of what can probably be best described as an ankylosaurus. The rule book describes them as rare, even more so than elves, creatures mostly of legend. They are quite, reclusive, yet powerful, forest-dwelling magicians.

I have no idea what the basis is for this creature, but they are incredibly tough. They can move silently through dense undergrowth, they use magic, and they are stronger and tougher than an ogre. They cause fear in goblinoids and lizardmen. Their weapons alone sound like items of adventure:
Their characteristic weapon is a long wooden staff tipped with a metal-bound cylinder of bl…

Z is for Zoomorph

Zoomorphic familiars, elementals and plants Wizards are always looking for way to increase their power or reduce the logistic of running a laboratory. Some solutions involve dark magic or apprentices, but the most common one is to have a familiar. These can be an animal bound to the wizard’s psyche. Or constructs and homunculi replicating a living form. Experts in the domain explain that constructs replicating shape and partial functions of an animal are the best choice. They don’t age, don’t eat, don’t sleep and are robust given that they can be partially repaired. The process is complex but can be eased by observing and even dissecting specimen of the targeted animal. Such zoomorphic familiars are usually owned by members of the College of the Golden Order or of the College of Amethyst Order. When wizards grow in power, they have the option to enhance their familiar. Rumors tell that the mechanical monkey of the master of the golden college is now completely made of gold and even m…

Y is for Yellow Mold

Yellow mold is a projectile weapon used by the smallest form of goblinoid, the Snotling.  Much like Tucker's Kobolds, Snotlings have to use deceit, trickery, traps, and cunning to overcome foes. This cunning includes throwing dangerous items at the enemy. Since Snotlings are so small, about the most dangerous thing they can throw is Yellow Mold.

Yellow mold is found on decaying matter, and is a fungi that releases spores on contact. The spores fill a 10 yard diameter sphere and last for d6 rounds. Any creature caught in the sphere must make a toughness check or fall unconscious. Also, any creature caught in the sphere takes d3 points of damage per round, whether unconscious or not.

And the best part is? Snotlings are immune to the effects of mold.

Unfortunately there were appropriate careers to write about for the letter S, or you would have heard much more about the Snotling and it's ingenious ways.

Y is for Yak

Yaks, chamois and alpine cows - domesticated mountain animals  The Empire is mainly about rivers crossing large forests. Hence most of the entries were related to that. This time we concentrate on the mountain ranges defining eastern and southern borders. These areas are the ancestral home of the dwarfs and lately of the greenskin tribes and clans. How do humans, dwarves and orcs interact with the chamois, mountain goats and mountain cows living at different altitudes?

Mountains can sustain a lot of life, more than what you can see and imagine. But this environment enforces survival strategies. We can define two main ones: mountainsides and cold winter. Living on mountain slopes, Yaks and mountain cows need to have a strong balance, low gravity point and strong legs. They also need to survive the winter by storing a lot of excess energy during the summer, grow protective fur, hibernate during the cold seasons, have feet allowing safe movement on the snow or migrate to lower altitud…

X is for Xenophobia

With a complete dearth of Xs in the career, skills, bestiary, or locales section of the first edition book, I deviate to a term that is very appropriate for the WarHammer world. Xenophobia is ubiquitous in the Empire...and beyond.

Chaos is rampant in the Warhammer world. The forces of chaos are responsible for war, mutations, and cults. The person next door to you, the one you've lived beside your entire life, could be a cultist or a mutant. It's difficult enough to trust your neighbors...there's no way you can trust people you don't know. And there are plenty of people in the wide world you don't know.

For the most part town and cities are insular. Expansive travel is only for the rich and/or the daring. Those you don't know are considered 'other'. Others can be hiding any number of secrets, most likely ones that will get you killed.

And that's just other humans. Surely the other races are out to get you, too. Dwarves are about as violent a race as…

X is for Xylophage

Xylophage - the beaver case The old world is covered by dark and huge forests. These places are dangerous but they are the main source of heating to survive long winters. They also contribute to the food and furs supply required during the cold season. Any animal disrupting or helping collecting these resources from the forests is to be considered with great caution and care. Beavers and coypus are a very special case as they are both destructor and benefactor to Imperial woodmen.

Beavers are very common in the Empire. Abundance of rivers and forests supports a very large population. They are a great source of troubles but also of wealth. Their furs used for winter clothes, their meat even if not tasty is better than nothing. They can deforest or lighten large area, making them easier for forestry or to convert in farming land. On the other hand they are aggressive, sometime deadly and their huge structures change rivers flow or flood fields. The timbers they produce can escape into t…

W is for Watchman

(Remember, I'm trying to keep to starting careers this time through, which means I can't just on W for Witch Hunter like I really want to.)

A watchman is almost like a beat cop, patrolling the cities of the Old World and keeping the peace. Theoretically. Realistically, watchmen can be drafted from the seedier citizen of the city in order to keep the peace against other seedy citizens. While it may work to recruit the Hatfields to protect against the McCoys, innocents may also be caught in the cross fire.

Watchmen are also perfect racketeers (which is actually one of their career exits). As they patrol the city, they could stop shop-to-shop demanding protection money to "guarantee nothing happens to the place." The violence, brutality, and crookedness of these types of watchmen drive honest ones from the job and into a life of adventure.

To an honest watchman character, I'd probably throw in the Law skill, too, or at least a percent chance of the character knowin…

W is for Were garous

Were garous - diverge from the cliché Warhammer and the Old World setting uses werewolves and other wolf based shapeshifters a lot. As already mentioned this is related to the overrepresented wolf in the Empire. So let’s focus on more various and rare were animals, beast garous and shapeshifters.

The moot have a very old legend about an halfling farmer. He cared so much about his giant rabbits that during an orc raid he gave his life to protect them. Or that’s what neighbours say as his body was never found. The field was filled with the eviscerated bodies of two orc bands. Since that day, when the area is attacked by orcs or bandits, an hooded halfling always warns the invaders to leave or die. All laugh at him before being killed by a giant were rabbit of doom laughing back.

The imperial regions bordering Kislev have tales of bear based shapeshifters. They are sometimes good or evil beings. Either as Ursun blessed or cursed. They are omens from the father of bears and a reminder of t…

V is for Vermin

Technically the rule book lists them as a Swarm, but I'm going to use the term vermin*.

The vermin in today's post are small, swarming creatures such as ants, bats, beetles, frogs, lizards, rats, scorpions, snakes, spiders, or ticks. Of these, I have only really used a swarm of rats, and then only when called for by The Oldenhaller Contract, an adventure from the 1e rule book.

Really, though, a swarm is something that should scare the crap out of most characters. When hundreds of scorpions rush at you, things can look pretty grim. You know you can stomp a handful or two at a time, but many are going to get past your defenses, through your armor like it's not even there, and into your unprotected skin.

A large group of bats can distract a party who is trying to track or trying to fight. A swarm of spiders is even more uncanny, because the creatures don't usually behave with such a hive-mind. There must be something controlling them. And, you never know which ones are po…

V is for Vulture

Vulture, black cat and other animal omens The Old World is grim, perilous and highly superstitious. Omens, signs are everywhere for people skilled in divination crafts. They are everywhere for people living in fear. They are everywhere for the fanatics looking for justification to burn someone. Animals are much represented in these omens or sayings. True and wrong, here are some example to set a tone of darkness and ignorance.

Vulture, crow and raptors are typical sign of bad omens. Usually death is near or incoming. This is obviously right as these birds can be seen from far away circling above dead bodies. Their presence is always sign that somebody is going to die. If not that death magic or evil eye was watching and someone will die sooner or later. Later being always true, given enough time.

Magic practitioners have familiars like black cat or anything else. Anyway the relation between animals acting unnatural and use of magic is a fact for common folk. Given how much hate and fea…

U is for Unicorn

In a game as deadly, grim, and perilous as WarHammer Fantasy Roleplay, why is the world is there a unicorn in the rule book? Specifically, a creature that "may permit itself to be ridden by a character who is absolutely pure in thought and deed?" That describes few, if any, characters I have ever encountered in the WarHammer world.

The creature is definitely very powerful, being almost completely immune to magical spells and having the ability to destroy an undead within 20 yards. However, I can't say I've ever had the opportunity to use a unicorn in any game I've ever played or run.

It seems like a creature that would be at home in the nearby country of Brettonia, likely somewhere in an elven forest.  I'd really be interested to hear how anyone else has ever used a unicorn in their game.

U is for Undead animals

Undead animals - more than flesh and bones
Most of the time, undead are humanoids or mighty monsters. There are only few animals presented as undead or as only the skeleton of their former self. Let’s have a look why necromancers must invest more time on animals and why players should be worried to find an animated dog skeleton, a ghoulish cat or zombified goose.

Necromancers focus more on the animals rather than humanoids. Because that is what a truly evil and smart one would do, at the beginning.

Common animals are, well, common to find. Losing one is not an issue as they are so easy to replace.Few people will look for missing duck. Unless they are low level, so worse case that a proper source of still required humanoid victims.Animal have natural instinct that are easier to control and trigger. Their mind is less likely to resist and kickbacks are less damaging. When increasing in power, the tasks to unload on apprentices to keep them from plotting too much against self.  Then the ne…

T is for Troll Slayer

(Seriously, what else would T be for, since I'm playing a Troll Slayer in an online game?)

Dwarf culture is very...honorable. A dwarf will keep his oath even to the loss of his life. Sometimes something happens to a dwarf, or the dwarf makes a horrible choice in life, that will cause him shame. If the shame is great, the dwarf feels there is no way to redeem himself except a glorious death battling horrible racial enemies.  Enter the Troll Slayer.

The Troll Slayer is all about battle, death, and doom. The Slayer is doomed to die an epic death, fighting such creatures as trolls, giants, dragons, or daemons. A Slayer who does not find a death worthy of his shame will live the afterlife in ignominy.

Elite fighting units made up of nothing but dwarf slayers can wreak absolute havoc on an invading force. However, this unit of dwarves is about as controllable as a herd of cats. Each is stubborn, with narrow vision, focusing only on whatever they consider their own great doom. They will …

T is for Tarasque

Tarasque - a legendary river monster of the Old World Here we will see how one legend of our world history can fit the Old World. Let’s use the tale of the tarasque as an example. Dungeon and dragon used the same legend to create the famous and deadly Tarrasque that appeared already in the first edition in 1977.

The real legend describes the tarasque as a river dragon with six short legs like bear, the body of an ox, the carapace of a turtle, the tail like a serpent ending with a scorpion’s sting. The head was like a lion with horse ears and a human face. The animal lair was in a swamp not far away from Avignon, south of France. The monster attacked anyone and anything traveling near to the river. The legend say that Saint Marthe tamed it but villagers slayed it after decades of suffering.

Now let’s adapt it to the Old World. I think nothing should be changed about the look and behavior. The first part because it means that plenty of illustration can be used. The second part because th…

S is for Smuggler

All that is certain in the Warhammer world are death (with the possibility of going insane first) and taxes. Toll houses along the road tax you. There is a tax for entering the city. A tax for being allowed to sell in the city, and a tax for the goods you sold in the city.  (I wouldn't be surprised if Marc's T post contains pages upon pages of way he can screw the players over with taxes.) Goods could be had at a much more reasonable cost to the common man if there was a way around the taxes.

Enter the smuggler.  The smuggler is the little entrepreneur who is tired of getting taxed out of business. Though a rogue class with some sneaky abilities, the smuggler is not necessarily a thief. He's just working outside the law in this particular venture.

The smuggler can skillfully drive across country or row into lesser-patrolled ports with his goods. He has skills to move quietly through the city or through the country. He has contacts to sell his goods to. He's a handy per…

S is for Serpent folk

Serpent folk - how to include them in the old world Dungeons and Dragons, Legend of the Five Rings, Call of Cthulhu and many other role playing game settings have serpent folk in some way. However Warhammer fantasy setting doesn't  Let’s see how game masters can include them in the background.

Given that serpent men aren't part of the official settings we could infer several information:

They don’t live in the Old WorldThey aren't related to the lizardmenThey aren't related to the chaos coming from the north pole. From this we could create following pieces of an alternative background:

Some have the torso of a human, other have the body of a snake with human arms and legs. The serpent trait could also be the one from a cobra, viper, boa and any other snakes. Pick the form and lineage you like and the illustration from previous mentioned sources.Serpent folk are a civilization of serpent-like people. Serpent folk lay eggs, and they have a rather low body temperature with…

WFRP: Back to Groz Zorn (9th Sitting)

Thursday night was the ninth sitting of our WarHammer 2e online campaign.

My PC
Mordrin Skorkinson, Troll Slayer. Though he hasn't actually slain a troll. At least not since I've been running him. He could have done it before, after all he is 75 years old.

He now wields a two handed war-hammer taken from a slain priest of Sigmar. Don't fret; the priest deserved it.

My companions:
A Brettonian Knight Errant
A High Elf Scholar
A Human Scribe (He was unable to make the sitting.) A Wood Elf Wizard Apprentice

Encounters and notes
We began the sitting with Mordrin charging the defaced shrine. He hopped up on the base and swung his magical warhammer directly for the head of the statue. The resulting impact apparently caused a wave of psychic power that negatively effected the wood elf and the knight. Mordrin was oblivious as he continued pounding the statue to bits.

We chased a cowardly goblin from last sitting down the ruin's stairs and into the second level. It was having a bi…

R is for Ratcatcher

I write about starting in the lowest, most pathetic careers as a sort of challenge for the experience roleplayer. WarHammer's Ratcatcher seems to epitomize the bottom of the totem pole, the lowest of the working class. I have played into this stereotype myself, but I think I was wrong.

It is this character's job to catch rats. This often sees him slinking through filthy sewers and cornering starving vermin. He has nothing to protect himself but a sling and a small but vicious dog (unless you are lucky and have one of JMT's companions, a ferret).  This character is never out of work, and he is tough!

A ratcatcher has immunity to disease and poison (which, oddly enough, doesn't make you immune but give a bonus to save vs). They can hide, move silently, and set traps. Additionally, as mentioned, they come with a companion animal. Very few other careers have that bonus (I actually can't think of any right now besides the noble with his hangers-on :wink:).

A ratcatcher …

R is for Rabbit

Rabbits, rams, fowls- Mascots of the Moot Halflings have a calendar filled with special days. Being related to the gods, the ancestors or more likely food. Two of these are the pretext of festin and parade. The first one occurs at the beginning of spring, on the 14th Plufgzeit (3rd month), it is simple pie day. Not to be mixed with pie week occurring in the first week of Erntezeit (8th month). Simple pie day symbolized a poor pie when winter reserve are all gone. It’s a moment of sadness, a ritual to eat a small and very light pie before feasting without limits about that tradition. The second day occurs on 28th Vorgeheim (6th month) and is called double pie day or tau day. On that day double decked pie are eaten as a reminder of what happen during the pie week. On both days, halfling family, clan or guild parade in the street of the city they are living in. Festivities involve singing, parade, jousting and animal contest. Of course halfling aren’t doing those as any imperials would…

Q is for Quennells

The quest for a heading for the letter Q led me to a city I'm not overly familiar with in a country I don't interact with too often.

Quennelles is a Brettonian city, located due west from the intersection of the Grey and Black Mountains. To get there from the Empire, one must cross the mountains, facing the dangers inherent therein, and then cross the Loren forest. It's a toss up which is more dangerous.

The city itself is one of disrepair, with "generations of poor maintenance, and widespread disinterest..." The city has become a den of thieves, with the Governor and his crew being the chief thieves. The populace is poor, underfed, and unhygienic. The city is crumbling down around itself. It makes one wonder why anyone stays, and where people would go if they chose to leave.

It also makes one wonder what has the attention of the aristocracy that keeps them from fixing these problems. I smell Slaanesh.

Q is for Quetzal

Quetzal and parrots - valuable speaking birds Commerce with Araby and Lustria colonies bring new species of birds into the Old World. All these specimens are full of color and purchased by rich merchants or nobles. Some of those birds, like parrots and quetzal, have a special and amazing ability: imitating sound and voice. Speaking parrot on the shoulder of a Sartosan pirate is cliché. Let’s see how we can use these in the Old World. The Empire climate isn't hospitable for quetzal and parrots. Therefore they must be protected by staying in building or by magical means.

Member of the Grey College are keen to choose speaking birds as familiars. Their mimicking and imitating voice and sound is a great feature, especially for wizards that specialize in sound illusion. Having what we could define as a living remote voice repeater is a must have. Few grey wizards survive magical duels or encounters thanks to their familiar. For instance when afflicted by a mute spell, they let their o…

P is for Pit Fighter

Pit fighters are people who fight others for fun and sport.  The fights normally occur in a ring, or pit, with a lot of gambling and carousing in the background. Pit fighters could be considered cheap, dirty, poorly trained gladiators.

However, pit fighters who actually survive a few fights may find themselves quite skilled with a variety of weapons, fist-fighting skills, and overall survival skills. These are the kind of characters that make for great adventurers. They have been in a fight or two, know how to fight to win (as opposed to fighting for show like the dandy duelist), and know when to retreat from a superior combatant.

Pit fighters are used to battling other muscle-bound fighters, medium sized animals, or even half orcs. They know how to keep their cool, and always seem to come out on top.

P is for Platypus

Platypus show - exotic or heretic? Travelling circus is an old tradition in the Old World. Oldest ones are century old institutions, still roaming the routes and rivers of the Empire. Circus origin is almost as ancient as Empire itself. It started in the rich city states of Tilea and moved north. Usually forced by disgrace, debts and other artistic issues.

Spectacles offered matche several categories like satirical plays, illusion, animal performance, acrobatics and so on. Animal performance include riding horses while juggling or having trained dogs racing around. But there is a sub category monstrous and freak animals performing or being exposed for curious visitors to observe. From exotic animals to mutated ones. Witch hunters tried to burns mutant animals but they are so easy to replace, that they change tactics. They force circus showing mutated animals to use them educational shows to warn about the mutant threat. Only the most innocuous animals and mutations are allowed. Like …

O is for Outlaw

In WarHammer, Outlaws are the characters that are driven from society for some fell deed or dangerous accident. They take up their homes in forests or hills away from civilization. It is often convenient for these outlaws to come together in bands, for more power but also for survival.

Outlaws survive by raiding and robbing the rich, which is just about anyone compared to the outlaw. Outlaws make rural roads and paths dangerous locations, necessitating the need for Roadwardens. Travelers would do well to have a roadwarden or two around, if they have not hired mercenaries to protect them along the trail.

However, who protects the outlaw? Forests, fields, and hills aren't just dangerous for travelers, but they are dangerous to any human. The forest-based outlaw needs to be wary of beastmen or elves. Beastmen will kill, enslave, or eat any creature in their path. Elves are very secretive and territorial, and they may not treat you much better than a beastman in the end.

In the hills,…

O is for Octopus

Octopus - Tentacles are handy Octopus, squids and other tentacled enemies are always giants and mostly water based. They are so big that character will only face and fight their appendices, maybe their beak if they are lucky. The Old World is so huge, so corrupted and dangerous that more tentacular challenges exist. Let’s see how game masters can use cephalopods with style to entertain players. We already see how to achieve that for other animals, most of these tricks are valid. So we will focus on how having eight tentacles is handy.

Moving. A quadruped is faster than a biped. Eight legged animal like insects and arachnids are lighting fast. Especially when you face a horse sized specimen. So make octopod very fast. Portray land based octopus locomotion as very slow at start but when all eights pods start to work in sync, it’s already almost too late.

Climbing, falling and Jumping. So octopus can move fast in water and on land. But they can also climb using their eight arms equipped s…

N is for Noble

It seems half the Old World is a bloody noble of one sort or another! Too many of the cities' nobles are procreating indiscriminately, and too many people are allowed to buy the title of nobility. Various city supplements speak of noble houses, noble schools, noble sponsored businesses, armies, and magic schools. Too many nobles are thinning the stock.

Which is why it is good to see the Noble as an adventuring career. The family's fortune is only going to the firstborn son, so the rest of these dandies need to do something with their lives. Some may be found joining the church. Others may become learned scholars, helping their families become even more successful. Fewer join the ranks of Empire knights and become famous warriors, stupendous leaders of armies.  Then there are the rest.

The rest are pretty much cut off from their families, but they still see life as a game. They wish to go adventuring, making grand names for themselves...but they don't want to have to work t…

N is for Newt

Newt, frog, slug and snail - amphibians and slimy relatives for trade Mousillon hosts large and numerous swamps and ponds. Natural home of amphibians like newt, frog or other slimy relatives like slug and snail, this area is inhabited by people living a harsh and dankly life. They must adapt to their environment and eat whatever is available to stay alive and healthy. Swampaires and frogwives are a common sight in Moussillion and have a true social status. These positions also exist in the other part of the Old World like in the Wasteland but without the same aura of importance.

Swampaires are hunters, gatherers and collectors of amphibians living in his area. It is an official job including a professional training and a nice badge to show around. Swampaires work under the authority of a local noble and only on his land. That’s the theory, as in reality almost everyone does it at various level. Conflicts and hunting swamp are managed through an informal guild. The job can be a dange…

M is for Mercenary

Let's be honest: most PCs could probably be considered mercenaries. They all work for gold, quite often for the highest bidder. The WarHammer Mercenary career isn't much different.

The book describes a mercenary as one who "fights for money, the spoils of war and the taste for blood." It is a fighter class career, able to advance martial and melee skills. The Old World constantly has a battle (or two) going on, and mercenaries are the lifeblood of the battle.

However, wise mercenaries realize that the fate they are most likely to see is death. These ones leave off hiring out to generals and seek to make their fortunes in other ways. This is where the PC comes in. A battle hardened veteran who is seeking a bit of a different life.

But in WarHammer, living means fighting. The only questions are where and who/what.

M is for Mastiff

Mastiff - Dog is man's best friend Warhammer world is a grim and perilous. Characters can get killed easily if they aren’t cautious or lucky. Players want the best for their characters: good equipment, good characteristics, good career, good skills and so on. Most players will maximize their armor and weapon damage but very few will look beyond that. Game master must encourage their players to tap into another dimension: henchmen and animals. These resources offer a lot of role playing and gaming materiel. Let’s use the mastiff and typical utility dogs as a sample.

If players are looking only for combat, then they should purchase war dogs. They are cheap even if not commonly trade. They could make the difference between life and death. Firstly they are sold trained so not much skills are required to handle them. Upkeep costs is not worse than the one of a horse or armor. Mastiffs fight efficiently and are expendable resources. Same as with dog, they offer all the advantages of the…

L is for Laborer

When I first played WarHammer Fantasy Roleplay and it was time for me to choose a career, I wanted the weakest looking career on the list. I wasn't new to roleplaying, and I was looking for a challenge as I started this new game. When I looked through the careers, one stood out. Laborer. The poor slob only had two advances in his advance scheme.  He came with one skill and had to roll to see if he started with any other. His starting trappings were just food, drink, and a leather vest. There is nothing in this career to attract a player.

So I created my Laborer. I called him Lothar (of the hill people) after a Saturday Night Live sketch, and I sent him out into the perilous world to make a name for himself.
Lothar the Laborer has done quite well for himself over the years, and is enjoying semi-retirement. It's not what you start with, but it's what you do with what you start with. Grab some dice, roll up any character, and have fun!

L is for Lynx

Lynx - a feline touch in a wolf world Warhammer world highlights wolves over all. From its relation to Ulric and as a basic animals of Empire forests. Let’s face it, we have too much wolf and that’s not good. Some would even say that’s bad wolf. We already mentioned boars so this time we focus on the Lynx, bobcat, and wild cats.

Lynx are a rare sight in Empire forests because they are mostly active during the night and are solitary. They avoid humans as much as possible. However they live in all forests and are known as efficient and stealthy predators. They are very poor runners so they are master in ambush, sprinting from a hidden spot or jumping from a tree directly on their preys. The most common species is the forest lynx that can be found in most provinces of the Empire. But there are several subspecies of lynx in the Empire. The red lynx is found in the southern provinces hills and open scrubs. The marsh lynx is found in the dryer part of the Wastelands. Finally the white lynx …

K is for Kislev

WarHammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st edition does not have anything in the way of careers or creatures that begin with K. Though some of the supplements I have read make mention of orders of Knights, they aren't found in the core rule book. The one place where the letter K abounds in this rule book is in the locales. Most of the dwarf holds are Karak something-or-other. However, since I'm very likely to talk about dwarves once this A-Z month is over (I just finished a great book that every WarHammer fan should read...), I will instead talk about Kislev.

Kislev is the northernmost city-state of the Empire. They are the bastion between Troll Country (the beginning of the Chaos Waste) and civilization. The capitol of the city-state is the city of Kislev. The city is well defended with walls and river gates. However, since the city is so close to the chaos wastes, it is not without the corrupting influence of chaos. Stone walls bear the blisters and marks of chaos taint held at bay for …

K is for Königlich Krabben

Königlich krabben - Sea of Claws crustaceans Islands hanging along the costs of Nordland host a very special event. Every five to six years they are invaded by a myriad of crabs of all sizes. Their colors range is orange-yellowish and they all bear several spiky overgrowths circling their head as a crown. Their body is also covered by scratches, teeth marks, their spikes harpooning fishes never seen in fishermen nets. Locals have given them the name of Königlish krabben. They are rather passive and innocuous as they don’t defend themselves or attack anything. This event is referred as the orange wave or crabs great walk. It lasts a couple of weeks and occurs in fall. It is always a time of excess, tensions, question and superstition.

As crabs don't fight back, locals collect them as an easy source of food. Whole families travel to an island, install a boiling marmit and a processing bench. Within a day, dozens of foot wide crabs are captured, boiled and their meat removed from the…

J is for Jailer

A jailer is an ideal companion to have when exploring dungeon. Jailers work in jails or dungeons. They spend most of their waking day there. They know regular noises from irregular noises, normal smells from abnormal smells. Not only that, but they are likely already immune to any disease or poison the party happens upon.

Personality-wise, jailers tend to be rather apathetic to the whining plights of the accused, which they have to listen to daily. Jailers may be a bit sadistic, being able to treat prisoners in pretty much any way they desire. They may also acquire a bit of a god complex, since they essentially control the lives of the scum of the Empire. It is no wonder many jailers seek to advance their careers as Slavers or Torturers.

Until then, give them a club and bring them to the dungeon crawl with you. You may be surprised at how helpful the Jailer is.

Character: Liam the Jailer. (Warrior class)
Past experience: "Keeping the peace" in the Emperor's dungeon.
Person…

J is for Jellyfish

Jellyfish - itchy waters The Empire rivers and lakes have very few jellyfish. Fact is there are some but they are difficult to spot and catch due to their tiny to small size. The cost of the Wasteland, Nordland and Ostland and the Sea of Claws host a lot of gelatinous tentacles. Few are edible, all look very alien but some have powerful effect on the human body.

One species named Botuxlia Frigidiarus is the new hype in Marienburg and Altdorf high society. Women of the high society are becoming avid consumers of Botux. This new product is an invention of Nordlander physician Dr. Justinus Kramer. He offers his miracle cure to the unpleasant signs of passing of time. In simpler words they are wrinkles making all noble lady looking older than they are. Dr. Kramer miracle is based on the localized application of trailing tentacles of the Botuxlia Frigidiarus on the face of his patient. First the skin react with reddish dots where the jellyfish stings. This cause a freezing sensation but af…

I is for Initiate

An initiate is one who strives to enter the priesthood, to become a cleric, or a senior priest. Because “the period spent as an Initiate is often regarded as a test of the individual’s spiritual resolve and fitness for progression into the priesthood,” this is an optimal adventuring career. Having only the ability to read, speak the Classical language, and their faith, these (usually) young people are sent into deadly situations to test said faith. This is an optimal career for players who like to start with relatively low characters and work their way up.

For those who think clerical progression in D&D is too slow, this career is not for you. The initiate/apprentice/student careers are almost like a DCC zero-level funnel, attempting to see which characters are worthy of progressing into a real career. However, once onto their second careers, inequalities balance out quickly, and these characters can become some of the most powerful ones in the game.

I is for Insects

Insects - underestimated and neglected Insects are poorly represented in the Old World books beyond the giant beetles, chaos ants and the like. Game masters are encouraged to fill the blanks and surprise veteran player with new kind of insects. One easy way is to create a new subtype of beastmen or demons with the subset of mutations fitting with an insect lineage. In this entry, we will focus on even more twisted insects.

Frankinsect is a tall and bulky humanoid formed by the aggregation of thousands of insects bound together by powerful force being magical, druidic or shamanic. Sometimes also named crawlers elemental they are very rare, always unique and very powerful. The first reported Frankinsect was cast centuries ago by a powerful druid named Frankus The Creeper. He successfully defended a sacred grove attacked by beastmen but at the cost of its own life. Each Frankinsect is one of a kind as its composition depends on the insects available in the surroundings: grasshoppers, co…

H is for Herbalist

Physicians and their students are few and far between in the WarHammer world, especially in rural areas. Also, there are not clerics healing wounds on a daily basis. Luckily, many rural areas have an Herbalist, probably living near where her precious herbs are found.

Herbalists have many of the skills usually sought after in physicians or clerics. They have Cure Disease and Heal Wounds skills. Some can even prepare poisons. In a game as deadly as WarHammer Fantasy Roleplay, these skills are invaluable.

The curings and healings are not magical in nature, so healed characters can’t necessarily jump right back into the midst of battle. Time is needed to heal all wounds, as the saying goes. However, healing is accelerated. Also, any healing is better than no healing…which is the fate of many characters.

H is for Hedgehog

Hedgehog and porcupine - little ball of spines Hedgehog and porcupine were the collateral victims of Rotzball in Wissenland. This traditional sport is pulling in more and more spectators and fans. Betting has never been so popular and lucrative therefore cheating is becoming a real nuisance . Severe sanctions have been taken against the poor referees and coaches that have been caught. They were sanctioned by huge fines and even few case of public humiliation. All these scandals result in an increased popularity of this noble sport.

Rotzball rules are simple, two teams of eleven players try the ball between two poles on other team side by all means possible. Snotball is a variant played in Middenheim, the most obvious difference is that the ball is replaced by a snotling. But other rules differ and cause a lot of discussion in tavern of that great city. Regional variant also change few rules making professional referee a necessity.

One of these rules is that only head, elbows and knee…

G is for Grave Robber

A Grave Robber can be an invaluable travelling companion when adventuring out of the city, or handy if your travels take you into the city's cemeteries. These professionals are skilled at moving silently in town our outside of town. Also, they always seem to have a spade handy.

According to the book, "The medical and magical professions create a constant demand for fresh corpses...." These guys don't shy away from a few dead bodies on a battlefield...which is a very good thing in WarHammer.

G is for Genet

Genet, civet, ferret, marten and mink - small, vicious and stubborn
Those small animals are member of mustelidae and all have something in common: they would dare anything to reach food or shelter. Any character traveling the countryside will meet some specimen at one point.

Amber and Jade wizards choose these animals as a familiar more often than any other colleges’ members. The genet and the marten are very inventive and stubborn. They have feline agility with canine ferocity packed in a small size animal. Their diet is simple as they will try anything new. As wizards improve their magical link with the animal, all these qualities become a great advantage. Spellcasters are able to partially control, trigger or enhance those capacities and use them.

Few ratcatchers replace their iconic vicious dogs for a civet, ferret or a marten. These professionals are using natural rat predator with all the quality previously explained. Mustelidae anatomy is far superior to dog’s one. They have…

Day Off: Swords & Wizardry Musings

My first day off from the April A-Z WarHammer postings has me thinking about the Swords & Wizardry (S&W) Appreciation Day, spearheaded by Tenkar's Tavern. I don't really know anything about S&W at this point, but it seems an extremely popular OSR clone. If I have a chance to look into it a bit, I just might have something ready for the 17th. With all the neat appreciation gifts (prizes) for participating, one can only hope.

F is for Fimir

I had to take my second diversion from career-related posts to post another creature from the WarHammer bestiary. It is a creature that, as far as my experience can tell, is also unique to this game.

The book relates, "Rumored to be part Human and part Demon, the Fimir haunt bogs, fens and desolate moorlands...." They are humanoid in appearance, almost built like orcs, with one eye set low in their head and a long pointed snout like a mole. They have tails, often with mace-like
growths at the end. Some Fimir can cast wizard and demonologist spells.

These creatures are great for ambushes in marshy areas, appearing and disappearing with the mist.

They make an appearance in the 1e adventure The Dying of the Light, chapter 5: The Place of Testing. The encounter involves demon-possessed Fimir and a Meargh (Fimir wizard) of great power.

F is for Fungi

Fungi, lichen and molds - immobile friends and foes

Fungi, lichen, mushrooms and molds are a special case. They are their own domain, neither animal nor vegetable. They focus all fears and dreams about special properties ranging from deadly to healthy.

Apothecaries and pharmacists are using various kind of fungi in their preparations. Depending of the effect required, the options are usually within two or three different specimens. Effectiveness, unwanted side effects and availability define the market price. Tradesmen are looking to hire people going directly at the source to collect those. These journeys are of course risky. Skilled characters might collect some specimens during their journeys.

The game master should take this into account when players are looking for healing. That’s an easy way to add some flavor so that players aren't just shopping for health points or goods. Characters can resell their harvest or exchange it. Some fungi and molds are powerful poison or drugs. T…

E is for Entertainer

The reason I chose Entertainer for the letter E was all the interesting types of entertainer a person can play. There are a few careers that have multiple sub-types  another one being Thief (which I won't cover during the letter T for a couple reasons).

WarHammer allows you to start out as either an acrobat, actor, animal act, bunko artist, comic, escapologist, fire eater, fortune teller, hypnotist, impressionist, jester, juggler, knife thrower, pavement artist, poet, singer, strongman, tight rope walker, troubadour, ventriloquist, or wrestler. Each of these specialties has their own associated skills, trappings, and career exits.

Each of these sub-types is a completely different type of character, changing the play of the game. Have you ever adventured with a fire eater or a hypnotist? How could they interact, both in fights and in espionage? These are the kind of options that draw me to the game.

E is for Eel

Eels, angler and other dangerous fishes of the Reik

The Reik is the main river of the Empire. It is the most used route for travel and commerce. The river offers a great source of fishes of all sorts. Fishermen are a common sight on the river or on its shores. But very few children are fishing on their own on the Reik. And that’s for very good reason: the Reik is hiding dangerous fishes. Most of them are left alone because they aren't worth catching given the risks of dying. However few are wanted because they are very valuable.

Eels of the Reik are known to every citizens. Large and fierce they can kill a fisherman with ease. Few knows that eels have some valuable relatives: morays eels. Zoographers from Nuln university claim that morays are new specie in the Empire. Morays are natives of seas and rivers bordering the south costs of Estalia and Tilea. They were likely introduced by ship travelling to Marienburg or barge cruising to Kreutzhofen. Compared to eels, morays are smalle…

D is for Duelist

Duelists are advanced* characters who are experts at fighting, either hand-to-hand with items like fencing swords or with missile weapons such as dueling pistols. Duelist follow a specific dueling code of honor...which doesn't always translate well into the chaos of actual battle.  Duelists are great to have in a fight, though, because of their advanced training and specialty with weapons.

*Not a career you start out in, but one you work your way up to, like leveling.

D is for Duck

Ducks and other farmyard animals
Duck pond, hen house, rabbit hutch, pig den, cow barn or other dedicated place to raise animals are common addition to Old World buildings. Inhabitants produce themselves most of the food they eat. Even when production isn't required, few animals are to eat the left-overs or produce some fresh product like eggs and milk. This entry isn't about architecture but about how these animals add some color, sound and smell to the daily life in the Empire. Game master are encouraged to use these animals in their description of place visited by characters. 

Use them to hint about meal quality, in any direction you need. For instance, let’s visit a coaching inn in the middle of nowhere having a hen house and chicken running in the inner yard. How would you players react if the innkeeper offer some fresh rabbit that his wife fatten for weeks?

Players are used to dealing with humanoid, dogs, traps and even magic but will often forget about everything else. …

Comment Oops

I tried to delete the last 50 spam comments on the blog, and I mistakenly deleted the last 50 legit comments. I am very sorry to everyone who left those comments. I will endeavor to make sure it never happens again.

C is for Career

Before your character decided to go adventuring, he had a day job. That job supplied him with pay (hopefully) and skills...some of which can translate into other lines of work, like adventuring and intrigue. This job is called the character's career.  Enterprising characters may still be active in their career, adventuring on the nights and weekends, so to speak. Once a character has improved withing that career as much as possible, WarHammer lists other careers that are natural progressions. Some, called advanced careers, are much more talented than mere beginners and can have a much greater effect on the world around them.

When I first read about careers I thought they were pretty ingenious. They gave a background to characters that other early roleplaying games don't really give. I knew more about my character, how he was raised, and what his everyday skills were. This can also lead to interesting points like who, or what kind of people, the character has for contacts. Is h…

C is for Clams

Clams, oysters and other mollusks of the Empire

Rivers and lake of the Old World are full of life. Monsters or fishes are cliché. A game master can easily add some diversity by describing and using all the clams, oyster and other mollusks that live in fresh or salty, flowing or backwater. Those animals aren’t found only in the seas. Here are some ideas to use as encounters or plot hooks.



1 Precious shell. One specie is famous to produce shell of great beauty. Those shells are used by jewelers for ornating necklace or furniture. How easy to find and catch the animal is of course factored in the pricing. 2 Gourmet delicacy: The animal is used as ingredient in recipe for preparing meals for nobles and riches of the Empire. Might be a new trend related to alleged virtues like being an aphrodisiac. 3 Food resource: The animal is just a local food resource. Nothing special about it or make it appear like being special by it size or color. 4 Aggressive specie: those animals aren't passive or harm…

April A-Z Guest Blogger

While talking about the April A-Z blogging in our WarHammer G+ community, it came up that another member would like to participate. He doesn't have a website, or doesn't have one he wants to use for this purpose, so I have volunteered to post his entries.  My posts will be at 0900 USA EDT. His posts will be at 0000 GMT (maybe 0001 to make sure I don't mess something up). I'll be retro-posting his first two entries  so be sure to check the links below.

He's from Europe, so he requests that you bear with any imperfect grammar/terminology. Here's his intro:


Revisiting the Fauna of the Old World 2013 A-Z WFRP challenge EditoAn humble attempt to merge a writing challenge and new ways to present and use some classical and iconic Warhammer fauna. Cats, dogs, horses, fish and mushrooms are part of the Old World and can be used in atypical way for challenging even veteran players. Here are entries for helping game masters in their presentation of this setting. Players aren…