Friday, May 31, 2013

[WFRP 2e] The Orbs of Great and Ruinous Power 12



Last night was the twelfth sitting of our WarHammer 2e online campaign.

My PC
Mordrin Skorkinson, Giant Slayer. He is still looking for a giant to slay, as he doesn't feel the last giant was quite giant enough.  He is also the bemoaner of the doom that got away.

His chosen weapon is a magical two handed war-hammer taken from a slain priest of Sigmar, its once faded runes now burn bright due to Mordrin's great deeds.

My companions:
Tibalt - A Brettonian Knight
Udrin - A High Elf Scholar
Gustav - A Human Initiate of Verena (Absent this sitting)
Ato - A Wood Elf Wizard Apprentice (Absent this sitting)

Inside the fraying mind of a Slayer:
Mordrin went to sleep in a small clearing, his head resting on a rock. He awoke in a tent, on a bed, with a wispy piece of cloth draped over the bed. He did not know where he was nor how long he had been out. He reached for his hammer.

Mordrin exited his tent at the same time he companions were coming from theirs. They were in an elven military camp in the middle of the forest. No one in the party knew how they had gotten to this spot. The elf the Knight stopped for answers was less than forthcoming.

The party thought back on their travels from Holthusen to this place. None could remember traveling past the small clearing. Someone pointed out the party had been cleaned. The Slayer's hair smelled of bee's wax rather than pig fat.

Someone suggested the party's memories had been wiped of the remainder of the travel between the small clearing and this military camp.  Mordrin searched his memories desperately to recall the shame that brought him to the Slayer cult. The memory was there. Also there was a memory...dream...nightmare? of being cleansed by a white-haired elf during their recent travels.

Mordrin bristled at the violations the elves had done to him to this point.

Udrin, Ato, and Gustav pleaded caution from Mordrin in the midst of the elven camp. They had come willingly, after all, and they were surrounded by an overwhelming number of elves that would rain an ignoble doom down on dwarf if he attacked.

Mordrin grunted and followed his nose to the mess tent.

The food was slim elven pickings, but Mordrin was able to find something resembling meat: thinly sliced venison. As he set his mighty hammer against the chair to free his hands, the knight jokingly grabbed the slayer's food out from under him. Mordrin roared and set to strike the human thief, but the scared and pitiful look on the knight's face caused the dwarf to pull his punch at the last moment. Naturally the human was frightened by current events, and Mordin should be seeking to help his traveling companion rather than lash out at him. More venison was brought by the obsequious elf Farnoth, and Mordrin thought no more on the matter.

Now rested and fed, the group consented to be led to the camp's general. Before entering, Udrin practically begged the rest of the party to be on their best behavior in front of this supposedly powerful elf. Mordrin figured the only way to not get in an argument would be to not pay attention and let Udrin do all the talking.

The elf general displayed the noble bearing of a warrior, initially impressing Mordrin. However, the general's obvious haughty tone, the insults that Udrin couldn't neutralize though he was the one translating, and the tiresome questioning of unrelated, inconsequential events by the general soon tried Mordrin's patience. When questioned directly, Mordrin gave flippant half-answers and referred the general back to the fawning Udrin for clarifications.

Though Mordrin was trying not to pay too much attention, lest the insults of the elf overwhelm his tenuous self control, Mordin did hear Atosass translate one part of the conversation between Udrin and the general. Apparently the High Elf Scholar had secreted a piece of dawi zharr (dark dwarf) black plate armor upon his person.  Udrin made some glib promises of his intentions for destruction and repurposing of the armor, but Mordrin was already ignoring the elf again. He thought, not for the first time, how foolish he was to allow an elgi to be his Remembrancer.  Even the Initiate (Interrogator?). a fickle human, would not stoop to such vagaries.

In the end, the elves told us of a nearby druchii camp, in an abandoned elf village called Cairnmere, the creatures holed up therein, and their plans to attack once scouts returned with more news. The elf general promised Mordrin could slay wyvern, daemons, and druchii to his heart content if the party agreed to join forces with him. Mordrin needed someplace to vent his overwhelming frustrations, as soon, so he immediately agreed to join.

Mordrin would slay these so-called dark elves, and he would picture one of the elves of this camp for every druchii he slayed.

Meta:
I would like to present a case that the slayer should have gained an insanity point due to the following conditions: Being kidnapped by elves (though arguably "willingly"), having his memories taken from him (had he found the memory of his shame missing, he would have gone berserk), having been violated (cleansed) by elves, having his mohawk stripped of it's pig fat and having bee's wax added instead (sweet smelling garbage), being surrounded by an encampment of elves, being routinely taunted by them regarding his hair, the revelation that his traveling companion had been secreting dawi zharr (dark dwarf) contraband, and Mordrin keeping this all internalized relatively well (other than a small breakdown in the mess hall). I believe the break down could be attributed to the oncoming insanity, and I should like to officially add a point to Mordrin's character sheet.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

PortConMaine 2013

It looks like I'm a bit late in trying to sign up to run games at PortConMaine 2013. My school schedule keeps me out of the loop, and I didn't plan well enough ahead (though I've been thinking about it and talking about it).

I'm actually OK with this, though I desperately wanted to run some games after last year. My free time these days doesn't allow for as much game prep as I would like. I'm also OK because the friend I usually go with is unable to attend this year. It's dampening my spirits a bit.

All in all, I don't mind a calmer PortConMaine this year. I might spend some extra time with my wife in between games instead. This should give me more time to relax and, hopefully, more time to eat better. Maybe I'll be more alert and active during the games I play.

Either way, I still expect to have a lot of fun!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

[WFRP 1e] Monster: Tiger Squirrel



Tiger Squirrel

M 5 WS 41 BS 0 S 1 T 1 W 5 I 40 A 1 Dex 12 Ld 10 Int 10 Cl 15 WP 10 Fel 0

Tiger squirrels are vicious, fearless cousins of regular squirrels. They live in wooded areas and prey mainly on small rodents or birds. They can also supplement this diet with nuts and acorns. They are deceptively fast. They can jump up to 6 yards from tree to tree, with a drop of 1 yard. They can climb sheer surfaces easily.

Tiger squirrels have little to do with humanoids, except when they are used as familiars or animal companions. Also, beware of the giant variety of this creature.

Alignment: Neutral

Special Rules: The bite of a tiger squirrel has a 15% chance of causing infected wounds via the bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes


Psychological Traits: Immune to Fear tests.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

DodecaheDRONE Play Report

[Begin Transmission] 
DodecaheDRONE scouting mission report #3478 as uploaded by [DRONE12].

[DRONE12] = "Peeping" Tom HUNTER, re-purposed scout drone using SOLDIER chassis. Modifications include Enhanced Sensors and Solar Powered. Limited wi-fi connections to other DRONES within 100 ft.

Also on this mission:
[DRONE1] = "Sword" SOLDIER DRONE
[DRONE2] = "Speaker" COMM DRONE

Mission notes:
Resources located 2 hours outside of STAF. DRONES sent to explore and retrieve, if possible. At site TOM scouted ahead. TOM identified a mass of shadows lurking in an open doorway. TOM also identified a group of 5 humans scavenging resources. Four of the humans worked while the fifth kept lookout. Logic circuits dictated attempting to avoid the shadowy figure while attempting to engage the humans in peaceful talks.

SWORD caught the attention of the shadowy figure on the way by, and the DRONES were attacked by a giant insect. SOLDIER knocked the insect out with one punch.

SPEAKER utilized a Linguistics program to greet the humans in multiple languages. One of the languages was comprehensible, and the humans responded peacefully. SPEAKER negotiated trade with the humans, contingent on the DRONES gathering resources from further in the insect dwelling. The humans termed this an "ant hill."

SWORD led the foray into the ant hill, timed the coming and going of the insects, and planned an ambush to neutralize the one large insect in the DRONES' way. SPEAKER jammed the insect's auditory pathways, while SWORD felled the creature with two punches.

The DRONES loaded up on half the available ant hill resources and returned to the humans to complete the trade. Upon completion of the trade, the DRONES returned to the STAF with the required resources.
[End Transmission]

Monday, May 27, 2013

[Cascade Failure] Stasis Mine

Technology/Trap

This is a land mine that, instead of blowing up, mechanically/electronically/neuroelectronically holds the victim in stasis and sends an electronic alarm (radio frequency) to a receiver.

The receiver alerts when something/someone is held in the trap. You can touch the receiver's alert and a hologram/control panel opens up. The hologram shows which direction the activated trap is in, a picture of what's being held, and a few different options. The options are [Release], [Lock] (which holds the trapped person more permanently and can only be released/unlocked by using the receiver...or a Slider making a skill check), and...[Ignore] (meaning someone else is patrolling in that area and you are confident they will take care of it soon).

You might want to be alerted without making it known to everyone around that the trap is set off (that is, not wanting the big boom). These traps would also be highly reusable.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

WFRP Career: Cellar Man (1e)


Cellar Man

Career Class: Rogue

Cellars in the Old World hold many valuable commodities. Some of these commodities need the expertise of a specialist to keep them in pristine condition. All the commodities need a protector or guardian.  The prevalence and expertise of a particular Cellar Man depends on the commodity one wishes to protect. A village’s tavern is not likely to have a Cellar Man to protect the swill they dare to call beer, however a city tavern may have a Cellar Man to guard his elven wine or dwarven ale.  Often there are even more valuable things to guard than a taverns alcohol. There are jewels, magicks, people’s lives, and other secrets. A  Cellar Man may turn adventurer when he gets tired of his confines. In the wider world, their guardian skills are very valuable to those with which they align.

Advance Scheme
WS +10
BS +10
T +1
W +2
I +10
Dex +10
Cl +10
WP +10

Skills
Acute Hearing
Concealment Urban
Immunity to Disease
Immunity of Poison
Set Trap
Silent Move Urban
Spot Trap
Very Resilient
10% Chance of Carpentry
10% Chance of Chemistry
10% Chance of Consume Alcohol
10% Chance of Evaluate
10% Chance of Haggle
10% Chance of Lightening Reflexes
10% Chance of Luck
10% Chance of Night Vision
10% Chance of Read/Write
10% Chance of Sixth Sense

Trappings
Crossbow and ammunition
Crowbar
Lantern
Leather Jack
Rope

Career Exits

Bodyguard
Coachman
Fence
Footpad
Jailor
Merchant
Pedlar
Slaver
Smuggler
Tomb Robber

Friday, May 24, 2013

3e Session Upcoming?

I have been asked about possibly playing in a Warhammer 3rd edition game this summer.  I would love to give it a try. Now I'm trying to figure out what type of character would be good for just a one-summer knock off. I really want to save my character of intrigue as a back up character for the 2e game I play on Google+. The odds really are in favor of my slayer dying sooner rather than later.  Usually I play a fighter class when I'm first learning a system, but I've been playing my slayer for quite a while now. I'd like to branch out a bit. I'm leaning toward a Grave Robber.  I'm not even sure that's in third edition.

This could be exciting!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Gaming Inspiration: More Visuals!

I think I've said it before, but the GI Joe cartoon has some of the neatest locations. There always seems to be a Cobra hideout in some tropical jungle or idyllic island. The cartoon takes us to deserts and polar ice caps. I really like the inspiration of those settings.

I want to use more visuals in my RPGs. By now, computers have probably made visuals more commonplace is a good number of games. However, I still play at conventions where DMs ignore the opportunity. I think a laptop and/or a tablet gives the DM a perfect opportunity to share a visual and get the player immersed even further into the game. This is my goal from now on.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Warhammer Wednesday: Doomstones It Is


I've decided that if I get a chance to run anything at PortCon this year, it will be the beginning of the Doomstones campaign. I'm down to one month (or less) to prepare, and this is the latest game I have read. I have also run it before (many, many moons ago).

Now I need to double check with the convention and see if it's too late to sign up as Staff so I can run a few games. They don't allow rogue walk-on or part-time GMs.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Gaming Inspiration :The Diseased

This idea didn't come from a cartoon like most of my other Gaming Inspirations do. However, I think our settings, our flavor text, need to include more sick and diseased townsfolk. Most games have healers, clerics, physicians, etc. who can cure those who are sick, but not every NPC could afford the cost. Not every healer  could have the time to cure all the diseased. When townsfolk see your cleric want into town, they need to crowd around him/her asking for mercy. There's a way to add flavor!

Monday, May 20, 2013

WFRP: Groz Zorn (11th Sitting)

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

My PC
Mordrin Skorkinson, Giant Slayer. The giant he slayed was a 12 foot tall troglodyte. It counts.  He is also the bemoaner of the doom that got away. And, he is starting his hand in secrets and duplicity.

His chosen weapon is a magical two handed war-hammer taken from a slain priest of Sigmar. Don't fret; the priest deserved it.

My companions:
Tibalt - A Brettonian Knight
Udrin - A High Elf Scholar
Gustav - A Human Initiate of Verena
Ato - A Wood Elf Wizard Apprentice

Encounters and notes:
We began in a tavern called the Northern Pony. The town is 150 miles or so from where we should be. We were teleported here by advanced druchii magics.

The elf scholar may be bleeding to death, but all the knight and the dwarf care about are getting some drinks. 

We are joined in the Pony by a couple of High Elves pretending to be Wood Elves. Seriously, it makes no sense, but these are elves we're talking about. All elves look the same anyway, even the men and the women. 

The new elves wanted to go somewhere where the conversation would not be overheard. We went to a secure room in the back of the inn. The knight didn't come with us. Later, when we heard someone eavesdropping on our conversation through the wall, Mordrin used his hammer to see who it was. It was our party knight. The dwarf will not pay to have the wall fixed.

The elves offer to take us to their camp if we will share what we know about the powerful druchii magics/goings on. Usually this is not an offer that would interest Mordrin, but they did mention something about it being a perilous part of the forest. Oh, and they also slipped in something about daemons. Mordrin agreed to go immediately.

Before we left, Mordrin went to the temple of Verena with the Initiate, where he overheard that the initiate was actually an Investigator of Verena. Mordrin is keeping this little tidbit under his hat until it is of use to him. 

Mordrin is sent with a tome that the human says belongs to the druchii. Mordrin is to guard the tome while an acolyte brings it to a learned scholar in the building for translation. Mordrin tried to get the acolyte to read it, but she wouldn't bite. 

Upon arrival at the quarters of the learned scholar, Mordrin deftly avoided his inquisitions and brought the man to Gustav for details.  Mordrin is really getting the hang of this intrigue that his travel companions seem to like so well.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Warhammer in Star Trek TNG

Recently I watched an episode of TNG entitled The Drumhead. The title referred to an ad-hoc judge sitting on a drumhead dispensing summary justice. Unfortunately, these judges knew very little of the case involved and were just overanxious to find some guilt, any guilt, they could punish.

The way that the investigators came onto the ship and tried to uncover conspiracy, whether there was one or not, reminded me of the Witch Hunter career in Warhammer. Since the investigators were convinced there was a conspiracy, they kept digging into anyone and everyone's past to find something they could punish. The investigation went far off its original intended course.  In the end, things were just made up.

In Warhammer, the Witch Hunter is the ultimate authority. They have the backing of the church. They uncover the evils of chaos everywhere they go...even if there isn't any to uncover. The guilty run and the innocents hope to go unnoticed. The guilty must be punished, and everyone is guilty of something. This is the attitude that was displayed in the Star Trek TNG episode. It was rather exciting to watch and tie in with my favorite RPG.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Gaming Inspiration: Predator Loose

The X-Men cartoon from the 90s was one of my favorites. The voice actors who played the X-Men were forever set in my mind as the way Wolverine, Xavier, Beast, and Rogue should sound. Naturally, nothing produced since has been able to live up.

There is one area where I think the cartoon dropped the ball, and I think it would be a very interesting addition to an RPG. At the beginning of the third season, they add an extremely dangerous predator whose ship crashed thousands of years ago. Wolverine inadvertently looses the predator, and the X-Men have to deal with a creature they can't really touch.  I was disappointed when I saw the "ultimate predator" was just some sort of incorporeal spirit drinker.



For my game's predator, I want to release a dangerous killer into lands the party cares about. It may be based off the creature from the movie Predator, or it may be based of...say...the Terrasque. Either way, it needs to be an indiscriminate killing machine and not just some psionic squiggly. It needs to ravage the land. It needs to be stronger than the party. People will die, and alliances will have to be made to kill the creature. It will be like the spirit drinker scenario, but to a greater degree.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Warhammer Wednesday: The Various Snake Peoples of the South Lands

While I plan on using Spears of the Dawn for my basis of the South Lands, I was also looking for a locale to place some snake-themed creatures. Lustria has its lizardmen, skinks, and sauruses. The Old World has lizardmen and troglodyes. The South Lands are ripe for the addition of other snake creatures.  Here are some I plan to use, as well as some description of how they may fit in:

Amphisbaena

These creatures are large, two-headed snakes (one head on either end of the body...I don't know how that works physiologically, but the creature is in the book).  These would be the most normal of the snake creatures, found on a hill or hiding in the grass.

Naga

These will have to be carried over from D&D. There they are described as "snake-like creatures with human heads. They prefer warmer climates and tend not to wander far from their lairs." The Monstrous Manual has them listed as highly intelligent, with magical abilities. I run Warhammer as more of a low-magic setting, so I'd have to back off or alter some of the magical abilities.

Spirit Naga are evil and seek to harm any creature passing through their domains. They have a poisonous bite, which I would make a little less deadly that the Warhammer manual. It would take multiple bites to kill a person. They also have a gaze that charms, which could be run as a Hypnotism test against willpower. Finally, in D&D they can use wizard's spells at 5th level and priest spells at 4th level. I would grab a few 1st and 2nd level Warhammer spells for the naga.

Dark Naga are a little more intimidating, with an ESP ability that they use constantly. I can see using it in Warhammer for the Naga to know if the party is being deceitful or what the party's tactics would be in battle. Their bite is not poisonous, but the tail has a barbed stinger that does extra damage and may put an opponent to sleep. I'd likely call for a Toughness test.  These Naga use magic as well, so they would get some 1st and 2nd level battle magic to use as well.

Umthali, the Snakemen

These creatures fit in perfectly because they are straight from the Spears of the Dawn bestiary.  They are much like D&D's Yuan-ti, and I would combine the Spears of the Dawn description (below) with that in the Monstrous Manual. These are the creatures that PCs would have to fear the most. They are highly intelligent, vindictive, and believe they have the blessings of powerful deities.

"In the first days, before even the Old Kings, there were certain tribes who listened to the blandishments of serpents and their promises of hidden lore. These snakes had burrowed deep in the earth and discovered the Gods Below there, and had come to worship them in their cold-blooded and heartless way. They offered favors and strength if the humans would worship them too, and some among the new-made men agreed. Their blood was mingled with that of the snakes, and they build great cities that were terrible in their magnificence and awful in their wonders.
"The altars of the Gods Below smoked with the flames of grim sacrifice, and it was only with the help of the angered gods that other humans were able to break these cities and drive these “Umthali” into the darkness. In the days of recorded history only one city of the serpent-people remained, the city called Umthalu, which was purged with fire by the ancestors of the Sokone and made their capital Chakari in the days of the Old Kings. Even then, men feared to go into the old passages below the streets, and they covered with plaster and lime the signs that the Umthali had scribed on their stone walls. Now the Eternal rule in Chakari, and men call it the Silent City where no good thing lives.
"The snakemen are found in many shapes, from those with such strong serpentine blood that they seem no more than giant vipers to those who seem entirely human save for strange-colored eyes, or hairless bodies, or subtle scale-patterns on hidden skin. Many Umthali of the weakest blood are not even aware of their true nature, and die ignorant of their true lineage. Yet some of these unfortunates awake to terrible urges and dark cravings when first exposed to the relics of their ancestors. The strong-willed among them can defy their tainted blood and resist the whispers of the Gods Below, but others fall as helpless prey to these needs. All find it well to hide it, especially in Sokone they are viewed with especial horror and blamed for many sudden disasters. Some snakemen are gifted with the special favor of the Gods Below, or are possessed by the restless spirits of their long-dead ancestors. These “serpent priests” have all the abilities of a marabout of 5th to 9th level.
"Secret cells of Umthali dwell in hidden places, worshiping the Gods Below and scheming to restore their rightful rule over the world. Most are wretched and degenerate, little more than beasts, but a few still preserve the forbidden arts taught them by their ancestors, and have devices of awful wonder to scourge their foes. Their leaders often have the arts of a nganga or marabout. Those who are most cunning and passable as humans sometimes seek to beguile a lord with their counsel, and manipulate human communities into worship of their sinister gods."

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Comic Review: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #1 (2013)



I saw a link to this comic on Google+ the other day and figured I'd pop down to the local comic book shop to check it out. The cover was extremely evocative, and the art inside was pretty good, so I decided to grab it. $2.99 isn't overly much for a comic and there were other things I also wanted while I was at the store.

For $2.99 it wasn't too shabby. The interior art was well done. Teela definitely gets the "T&A treatment", to quote a concern from Google+. She is walking around in her underwear at one point in the comic.

One of my original concerns during the comic shop flip-through was that there wasn't enough text, so I assumed that would mean dragging out multiple issues to get a basic premise for the first story arc. That's not the case. The story is set up well.

The story references some events that I'm not familiar with but the writers seem to expect the audience knows. I would have liked to see more of the other characters besides just Duncan, Teela, and Adam/He-Man. It wasn't too bad. I'll probably buy the next one...and keep catching up on the cartoon.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Trapped Chest: An Alternative to Poison

On Thursday Gothridge Manor posted a whole 'last minute game setup' post. What caught my eye was an alternative trap to put on a chest. Tim's idea was, instead of having a needle trap or a fireball trap, to use a teleport trap on the chest. I want use the idea and expand it a bit

1-A thief can use Find/Remove traps to find the trap, but there is a penalty due to the magical instead of mechanical nature of the trap.
2-The opener of the chest gets a saving throw vs spells. If the opener fails, they are teleported to a cell deeper in the dungeon/structure.
3-The spell is a proximity spell, so it is going to effect whoever opens the chest. It doesn't matter which direction the chest is facing, for instance.
4-The opener needs to make a second saving throw vs spells or they will also succumb to a sleep spell.
5-The cell to which they are transported has a permanent Silence spell cast on it.  The imprisoned PC is potentially asleep and is silence and cannot, therefore, attempt to get the party's attention.  The party has no idea where the PC is or if the PC is still alive.

The party then has an important decision. Is the chest opener dead? Transported to some faraway land? Polymorphed into a dust mite? Do they start a search? Where do they look? What does the player do with the character incapacitated? I suggest not telling the character what happened, at least for a bit (the rest of the sitting, if possible), especially if they were put to sleep. For the rest of the time, maybe that player can play one of the hirelings or become a co-DM, tracking things and roleplaying monsters.

That's outside of the scope of this post.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Hobbly Citizens: Damien

Damien is a layabout lout who wants everything in life handed to him without him having to work for it.

As the apothecary's son, a relatively prosperous future has been set out for him, but he's not interested in the work that it's going to take to achieve.  His father is busy every hour of the day, and Damien has no interest in following in those footsteps.

However, his does expect to inherit the business' modest fortune when his father finally dies. Which is why Damien became suspicious of late when another alchemist (Danica) moved to town and started spending a lot of time working in the shop with his dad. Damien thinks his dad might turn the shop over to her instead.

The opportunity recently arose for Damien to betray his fellow townsfolk for a little shiny coin and some respect (albeit from orcs). During Hobbly Pie Week, Damien let an orc scout party into the town at night through a tunnel in his house's basement.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Goblin Fanatics



I bet your game doesn't have enough goblin fanatics (suicide flailers).

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Gaming Inspiration: Space Bridge

I have been rewatching some of the iconic cartoons of my youth, mostly just for the fun of it and to have a complete viewing of every episode. One lucky side effect from this is the inspiration I get for my RPGs. This time it's an idea I've seen time and time again on Transformers, but it just hit me how cool it would be.

In Transformers, the Decepticons have a space bridge from Earth to Cybertron. Whenever it strikes the writers' fancies, Transformers find themselves transporting through space between planets. I've never been one to want to mix my sci-fi with my fantasy, but certain ideas (like this) have me thinking about changing my tune.



Dwimmermount has a space bridge, of sorts, between the home planet and the planet of the red elves. I know there is theoretically plenty of area to explore on one home planet, but the idea of transporting to another for adventure is growing on me. The new planet doesn't have to be highly technological. The technology that built the space bridge could be long gone.  Instead, it is a great opportunity to use those races from the various monster manuals that don't quite fit in with your home planet but you have always wanted to use.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Spears of the Dawn in the World of WarHammer

Spears of the Dawn is an RPG set in the fertile adventure grounds of Africa. From the book:

Spears of the Dawn is a game that provides classic old-school fantasy adventure in an African-flavored setting. Just as many early role-playing games created compound worlds of mixed medieval European elements, so Spears of the Dawn creates an African pastiche built for accessible fun at the table. This is not a game about historical Africa any more than early fantasy RPGs were games about historical Europe. Instead, like its predecessors, it tries to use elements of history and legend to build a fun and workable setting for flavorful adventure.
I scimmed through the book when I received it, and I really liked what I saw. From the tagline of "Fantastic Adventure in an Untamed Land," to the page long setting summary (I'll link that at the end) to the bestiary, maps, and characters, everything about this game triggered my Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay mind.

When I buy new games, I'm not always looking for a new game itself, but I'm often looking for a setting to catch my attention and feed my imagination,  I found this setting with Spears of the Dawn. I want to use it.  I'm most likely to use a setting if I can find a place for it in my Warhammer world.

I looked around the Warhammer map of the Old World and found a perfect spot for the Spears of the Dawn setting. Lustria, Naggaroth, Brettonia, Estalia, Cathay, Nippon, the desolation of Nagash, these spots are already filled with history and setting. There was one place on the map, though, where I could find no established background. This was the South Lands.

Under the desolation of Nagash is a land unplundered by the evil of the Empire, orcs, skaven, or undead. Adventurers who explore there seldom come back, as none are prepared for the dangers therein. Dwarf scouting parties are decimated, and the few who survive the experience (and the return trip to civilization) are usually delirious with insanity. This is the South Land (sub-Sahara Africa).

I'll leave you with this. Read the first page of Spears of the Dawn and tell me it does not scream Warhammer:

It is a time of suffering. The Three Lands groan under the weight of the past. The scourge of the half-living Eternal and their undying malice was driven back into the east in the time of your grandfathers, but in the forty years since that time the Five Kingdoms have only squabbled, fought, and shunned each other. Some men and women dream of a better day, of a land of peace and abundance as in the days of the Old Kings, but there are many who would rather buy an age of bitterness if it brings them present power. People flee the troubled places in search of safer lands, and the lawless wilderness grows wider each year.

The Eternal and their cursed immortality were broken forty years ago, but their remnants still hide in the gloom beneath the earth and brood patiently in their tomb-houses of slave-carved stone. They wait and they hunger for the flesh of living men, emerging to strike at wretched villages and beleaguered towns in search of blood and fresh converts to their hideous existence. Some men and women worship them, either in hopes of being spared their wrath or in the mad lust for the immortality their undying state offers. Even the greatest heroes can be seized with fear when faced with their final journey to the spirit world, and the Eternal are quick to promise every pleasure of life to those who would share in their frozen eternity.

Yet the half-dead are not the only scourge upon the living. The kings of the Five Kingdoms trust each other but little, and constant border quarrels and deniable “incidents” flicker like sparks of war’s red flames along the edges of their lands. The obas of border towns and the chieftains of remote villages no longer heed the messages from the capital and begin to set themselves up as lords in their own right, answering only to steel. Some do so in desperation as they seek to protect people their kings cannot save. Others do so because it is a pleasant thing to make slaves or corpses of all who dare oppose them. 
Caught between the living and the half-dead, the people of the Three Lands must also endure the scourges of the wilderness and the terrible spirits and monstrous beasts that lair within the bush. Bat-winged sasabonsams swoop to reap a shrieking harvest from the villages, and cruel elokos demand a red and terrible price from all who dare trespass upon their lands. And beneath it all coil the emerald scales of the umthali, the snakemen who ruled at the dawn of the world. Their cold-blooded malice seethes towards those who dared usurp their rule and cast down their ancient cities of stone and strange artifice. Some say that there are more to be found than those in their ruined cities, and that they whisper green words into the ears of human lords.

Yet even in this time of darkness, the people of the Three Lands are proud. The sun still gleams on the blades of the Kirsi lancers and the iron-shod hooves of their steeds. The great cities of Nyala still dream of lost empire amid their palaces of sculpted stone. The markets of Sokone are heavy with goods from every corner of the Three Lands. Lokossa’s brooding sorcererkings still rule a land of mighty magic, and its grim amazons still stand fast against the bestial Night Men of the uttermost south. And in the east, the proud Meru cherish their Sun Faith and the defiance their ancestors hurled into the teeth of the Eternal King. The Five Kingdoms totter, but they have not fallen.

There are still those who fight for something better. Wandering griots sing of the heroes of the Long War and the grudges they set aside to stand as one, and marabouts of both the Sun Faith and the Spirit Way warn their followers that bloody quarrels can only bring ruin to the living. Masked ngangas appear in distant villages to drive out evil spirits and break the power of dark sorcerers before vanishing once more into the bush. And everywhere, brave warriors place their bodies between their people and the spears of bandits and corrupt officials. Some of these courageous souls band together as Spears of the Dawn, heirs to the last emperor’s charge to seek out and destroy the evil remnants of the Long War. They fight in hidden places and often die unmourned, but their sacrifice is a burning brand against the darkening skies.

Yet still, the hour is growing late, and victory remains uncertain. There are so many who profit by the present decay, so many too bitter or selfish or blind to see the danger before the Five Kingdoms. And there are those who are worse than blind. There are those who are not content to let the Sixth Kingdom die with its secrets, and who delve in dark places for lore that should have gone down to damnation long ago. What shall stand against these beasts both men and spirit save the courage of the Spears of the Dawn?
Now I'm thinking about getting a physical copy of the book...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Thinking about Careers

I think WarHammer FRP forever changed the way I think about my characters, especially fighters. I can't just make a character and call him a fighter. I have to know what he did before he decided to become and adventurer.

For thieves and mages, I can hand wave this a little more. A thief may have been living off this slight of hand his whole life. A mage may have gone straight from youth to apprentice. But fighters? Fighters I want a little more back story on.

Monday, May 6, 2013

This Isn't a Warhammer-Only Blog

I have no trouble admitting that Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP) is my favorite RPG. Appropriately, the greatest percentage of my posts will be about WFRP. First edition (1e) was my first love, and I have binders full of homebrew rules for 1e.  Most of the rules have to do with specific adventures or campaigns and really don't look to be interesting enough to share on the internet. I do still get excited when I find something that does seem interesting enough to share.

However, I did want to point out some other topics I'm interested in, lest someone wanders in and decides not to hang around because they are not interested in Warhammer.

I love to read books, and I may post a little note about what makes them interesting, or I may post a little plug for the author hoping you'll check them out.

Cascade Failure is a sci-fi RPG by Greg Christopher. I see it as a Star Wars meets with catastrophic failure. I think it's a perfect place to set a Firefly game into. I'm slowly working on it. I have some characters posted, and I have outlines for multiple adventures that I need to flesh out and post.

I post some different characters for you to take and make your own. These have either been PCs I've played, friends have played, or NPCs I have created. There are Warhammer, D&D, C&C, and even a T&T.

I like to post little tidbits that inspire new and exciting game aspects. Mostly these have come from rewatching some old cartoons like He-Man, GI Joe, and Transformers.

There are "legacy D&D" posts, containing anything relating to 2e or retro-clones. This label is specifically for the RPG Bloggers website.

My various magic items are either posted with Warhammer or D&D stats.

The Verdendrage setting is a D&D 2e specific setting. Not Warhammer at all.

If you're not a Warhammer fan, I still hope you find something else of interest.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Magic Item: Power Cord



This item presents as a finely woven decorative cord, as may be seen around the neck of a priest or academic character. These cords come in various colors and patterns.

When 'empty' the cord radiates a faint magical aura for those detecting magic. The cord can be charged with magical power, however, either by the Meditate skill (Warhammer) or Spellcraft nonweapon proficiency (D&D) or the like (for whatever system you use). The cord is charged as per the Meditate skill (Warhammer) or 1 spell level per hour (D&D). Charging the cord means that the spellcaster's own personal magic stores are not regenerated, so the caster must wisely decide if he needs the power or if it can be stored.

Stored magical energy can be used for casting spells, like a Jewel of Power (Warhammer) or Rod of Spellcasting (D&D). When desired by the caster, the spell energy is utilized from the cord instead and the caster retains all their own spell energies.

Friday, May 3, 2013

WFRP: Groz Zorn (10th Sitting)

Last night was the tenth 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. Apparently there was the potential for a troll in this sitting, but either the fickleness of Roll20 or our actions kept it from appearing. I didn't quite catch which it was.

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

My companions:
Tibalt - A Brettonian Knight
Udrin - A High Elf Scholar
Gustav - A Human Scribe
Ato - A Wood Elf Wizard Apprentice

Encounters and notes:
We began where we left off last week facing an orb of great and ruinous power. There were grey pillars spaced around the orb and an evil elvish voice casting unseen from the other side. I charged the evil elf voice, as the other elves in my party had given me permission to kill an elf. There's something I don't think any Warhammer dwarf could resist. Anyway, as I got closer to the pillar, I noticed it was actually a humanoid form in grey burlap writhing to the casting of the spell. I hit it with my hammer, hoping to disrupt the integrity of the circle and the casting. Later it turns out that the writhing pillar forms were likely captured human sacrifices. I hope I at least put the wretch out of his misery.

The knight reached the dark elf well before I did (curse these short dwarven legs sometimes!) and shield bashed the creature out of his spellcasting. However, it wasn't until the druchii saw me charging that he abandoned all hope and launched himself into the orb. I was preparing to follow, when the room flashed in a white haze and we we all transported elsewhere.

It turns out we were transported more than 120 miles NE from our original location. I was the first to awaken from the magic that knocked us out. My companions were face-down in muddy water, looking like they did not survive the potent elf magic. The elf was several yards away regaining consciousness himself. I redoubled my resolve to kill the creature and continued charging after it, adding vengeance to my fury.

The diagnosis of death was a bit premature. My companions came to as I was charging the elf. They all did the same, and though I was the first to begin the charge, I was the last to arrive at the elf. By the time I got there, everyone else had beaten him down. There was no challenge left, and I was sick of running after the pathetic husk that was attempting to crawl to freedom in the surrounding forest. I let the others have their revenge.

I pointed the way back toward the Grey Mountains, and the knight led the group in that direction. We came upon a small town that was very welcoming to dwarves, luckily for my beaten companions. I don't think Udrin could have walked much farther. He's rambling on about some orc attacking him, but I didn't see such a thing. I think something about the druchii magic scrambled his brain.

Meta:
*The GM has ruled that my hand in killing the two 12-foot troglodyte in the previous sitting was grounds for me to consider myself a Giant Slayer! I have moved up to the next career and can now spend the EP I have been hording. My vengeance will be mighty and my doom epic!

I have decided I need a secondary theme for this character. He is rather out of the mix when there's no battle actually going on. I know it fits the theme of depression that follows Slayers, but it doesn't make for the most interesting roleplaying or social interaction. I either need a secondary theme/goal, something to encourage interaction or I really need to play the depression aspect up.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Physicians are Automatically Trustworthy



I've always had high regard for the medic/physician/healer of the party. This person keeps everyone else healthy, often at the character's own risk. I've pretty much always thought the party healer beyond reproach. Dr McCoy, Dr Crusher, Dr Polaski (yes, those are a lot of Star Trek examples) always put the patient above themselves. The healers and clerics in our RPG games would often be in the thick of the fight, helping to heal others.

Now this Dr Julia in Earth2...she's a mole/informant and possibly a traitor. It's changing my world upside down.

I need to use this scenario in a game.

Think about healers for a moment. Do you automatically trust them, too? If not, why not?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

April A-Z Debriefing

Wow. I just finished queuing up my last April A-Z post (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay themed). It has been an extremely fun experience. I really should have participated before this. I fully realize that my posts were about as basic as possible, but I understood that would be the case going in. I consider it a warm-up year. This whole A-Z thing may be "so 5 years ago," but it was a new experience for me to participate. I found some blogs that I will continue to follow (see below). It was a worthwhile event for me, if for no other reason than that.

Next time it is my intention to delve a little deeper. Unfortunately, I will still be in college during the next two A-Z challenges, so I may not be able to designate as much time as I currently intend. I'm not sure if I want to use the theme of Advanced Careers, Dwarf Terms, or Notable Personalities. The latter two would take a little more time and energy. We'll see. There are 11 months to come up with other themes.

Here are the new blogs that I began following specifically because of the A-Z challenge:

Polar Bear Dream and Stranger Things. This blog ran through a list of gaming concepts, mostly from an old school point of view. What has me excited, though, is that it intends to being a 'Warhammer Wednesday' in May.

ROFL Initiative. While I didn't have me ROFL, this blog posted an original hand-drawn map every day of the challenge! These maps are high quality. I don't know what the rest of the year will bring, but I have an idea it was a valuable addition to the blogroll.

Tower of the Archmage. This blog posted a new creature every day of the challenge. The creatures are very imaginative. The scenario presented at the beginning of the write up was a worthy post in and of itself. I also enjoyed the descriptions after the stat block.

You'll find these 3 in my blogroll to the right.

Also participating, blogs I was already subscribed to:

The Song of Middenheim. This blog details the city-state of Middenheim (WFRP). When I say "details" I mean extremely details. Other world-builders have nothing on this.

Another Caffeinated Day. The A-Z posts were each a specific, fleshed-out NPC for the Warhammer world. Many of them intertwined with each other. This blog also happens to be the personal blog of my GM. :)