[WFRP Actual Play] - Don’t ask me, I’m just a Rat Catcher
I noticed that we didn’t have any actual play threads at the moment and (inspired in part by Ginafae’s excellent Sojourn in Middle Earth) decided to get the ball rolling.
If anyone’s interested, I’ll be posting a play log of my tabletop group’s weekly Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying Game.
We’ll be rolling up characters tomorrow (along with playing a Traveller one-shot) and running through the first session on the Sunday.
A Few Words About the System:
It’s nasty, brutish and anything but short.
In a D&D game the assumption might be that the characters will triumph over adversity, slowly gaining in rank, power and renown until they rank among the world’s foremost heroes or even ascend to the status of demigods.
In WFRP characters might also become more proficient over time - but they can also expect to lose limbs, contract the plague and be driven slowly insane by the supernatural horrors their world is exposed to. Combat’s deadly, and generally something best avoided, and there are no piles of gold conveniently situated on every floor of a dungeon. In fact, they’re more likely to lose money adventuring. They won’t be saving the world, but they can certainly do a lot of good in their own little corner of it.
It’s almost entirely random.
In fact, the only real input that you get into it is choosing a race for your character. A character’s career (class) and ability scores are determined by rolling dice.
If you’re lucky then you might roll up a Norse Berserker or Apprentice Wizard, if not then you might end up with a Fisherman or Rat Catcher. The idea’s less that these people have decided to go out and become adventurers, and more that something unpleasant happened to them, forcing them out onto the road.
A character’s career determines their starting equipment, their abilities at character creation and the abilities they can spend experience to increase in play. The assumption is that characters will switch professions several times in play, but this requires a decent in-character reason, along with the expenditure of roughly two sessions’ experience.
I for one would love to see this, but don't know if Surveys is the right place. Might move this...but to where?! I know not. Please let me know if you have a suggestion. - Grugg
Posted on 2009-01-09 at 23:09:27.
Edited on 2009-01-11 at 03:54:27 by Grugg
It turns out that the GM’s been doing some advertising online and found four new players… all of whom actually turned up.
Which is probably just as well since one of our regulars has been signed up to a weekend gourmet cooking course by his wife. I get the feeling we might not be seeing him for a while…
Anyhow, we ended up with…
1. A Human Student (me). I managed to roll… myself. Down to height, build and hair and eye colour. Wow.
Apparently he’s also ambidextrous, and exceptionally lucky, which is just as well since he’s got no other worthwhile combat abilities whatsoever. I made him an ecclesiastical law student, a skill which has come in surprisingly useful in play.
2. A Dwarven Protagonist. The description for this Career was that he’s someone who gets paid to start fights in pubs. Drunk and violent. In other words, perfect Player Character material.
3. A Human Barber Surgeon. Surprisingly competent healer, with a strong streak of Sweeny Todd. In fact, the Career even had an “assassinate” type ability to help him slit throats. No way we’re going to this guy for a “close shave”.
4. A Human Agitator. His starting equipment (rolled randomly) included 2d10 political leaflets, advertising various subversive causes. Should make for an interesting game.
5. A Human Outlaw. Our group visited a watch house in play and saw wanted posters up for this guy… (un)fortunately they weren’t offering enough to make it worth turning him in.
6. An Elven Envoy. Noble diplomat from one of the elven cities. Somehow got stuck with the rest of the group.
7. A Dwarven Woodsman. Somehow uses a longbow twice his height, the joke at the table was that he stands on a stool to fire it.
In the words of one of the players, “so, we’re basically half an outlaw gang and half the Young Conservatives?” Such are the pitfalls of random character generation.
Posted on 2009-01-12 at 12:02:42.
Edited on 2009-01-12 at 12:06:08 by Vorrioch
Finally got round to writing the first session up. Sorry it took so long, I’ve had quite a hectic week.
The game started with a flashback. Our characters all served together in the last war, and one night over drinks our sergeant let us know about the little racket he had going in peacetime. It turns out some very rich merchant families were willing to pay him a great deal of money to do as little as possible as a sewer watchman and occasionally run errands for them. He offers to pass the job on to us if he dies, and even gets the regimental scribe (a one-armed halfling named Ham - I’m not making this stuff up!) to draw up a will in our favour.
Cut to two years forwards. Our characters are informed that Sergeant Jameson’s died, and that we stand to inherit his entire worldly estate in the town of Bogenhafen.
En route to the town we stumble across the site of an ambush - two stage coaches lie empty in the road, the guards murdered, and a blood-spattered trail leads away to the north. After a lively debate (remember, combat’s deadly) we decide to investigate.
The tracks lead to a camp currently occupied by six bandits, after a brief, bloody fight we kill three and subdue the rest. Our Elven Envoy comes perilously close to death himself in the process, and is forced to spend a Fate Point to survive. The Agitator’s sword breaks in his hand, but he’s fortunately unharmed. The Dwarven Protagonist also suffers a nasty cut, which he shrugs off as a mere “flesh wound” before going on to brutally dismember the unfortunate bandit who’d inflicted it on him.
Quick word of explanation here: Since combat’s so unpredictable and characters can potentially be killed or maimed for life in a single hit the system introduces a resource called Fate Points which can spent to avoid this. Once you’ve spent them, they’re gone for good. To the best of my knowledge, the Envoy had two at character creation.
Turns out the bandits had a couple of hostages: our old friend Ham the halfling and a girl who turns out to be the daughter of one of the local merchant houses. The only cargo the two stagecoaches were carrying was a single lead-lined box. Ham’s also working for the merchant house, and he offers the party 10 gold crowns a head to escort the box back unopened. The surviving bandits, when questioned, admit to having been hired by a man named Leon Jager to bring him the box (again, unopened) and that they were offered 40 crowns each for the job. Hmm…. We take a vote on whether to see what’s in the box but decide against by a majority of 4-3.
We head back to town, turn the bandits over to the watch and are told to return later to find out if there’s a reward. Later in the session it’s revealed that human corpses fetch a black market value of 12 crowns a head in this town (presumably to represent body-snatchers being hired by doctors and scientists). We’ll bear that one in mind in the future…
The group goes about its business in town. We take over the sergeant’s house, and split his money between us. We also agree to take over the sewer contract. While the rest of us are out running errands two of the players decide to search the house and find … something … in a priest hole hidden in the cellar. The GM takes the two of them outside to discuss it, and they decide not to tell the rest of us about whatever they’ve found. Ah well, I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough. Unless it’s anything even remotely valuable. It also turns out that the local halfling population are running a mafia with a thriving side line in fresh “meat” pies. They’ll make you a dinner you can’t refuse?
Sergeant Jameson’s body is still being held in a local temple and we head over to make sure he’s really dead pay our last respects. There are two poisoned daggers sticking out of his back - Skaven workmanship - coated with a venom that must have cost several thousand gold crowns to buy. The assassin apparently left the sergeant’s rifle (worth a small fortune itself) with the body, but his other hand’s still splayed open as though something had been pried out of it after he died. I ask, but it turns out to be the wrong shape to match the mystery box we recovered earlier.
As the group makes it’s way about town it soon becomes obvious that we’re being shadowed by a man in black robes. We confront him and he produces documentation revealing him to be the aforementioned Leon Jager - a witch-hunter authorised by the local church to investigate rumours of a cult to the dark gods. He explains, with some frustration, that the local people he’s arrested as cultists can’t remember a single thing about this cult’s existence, even under torture. We form the obvious conclusion - namely that he must be stark raving crazy. He draws a gun on us and demands that we hand the box over, we start threatening him back and the negotiation begins.
The conversation’s interrupted at this point when Jager spots a man whom he claims to be a cultist and half the group drop everything to give chase. The rest of us agree to sell him the box (for rather more than he’d been offering the bandits). Jager hands over the cash, takes the box, and promptly disappears… leaving my character still holding his identification scroll. (Which, as far as a couple of Academic Knowledge skill ranks can tell me appears to be totally bona fide, even down to the local temple’s seal.) Perhaps a quick spot of identity theft might be in order? While this negotiation’s taking place the
suspected cultist is duly apprehended and, indeed, can’t remember a single thing about who he is or what he’s been doing.
We head over to the temple, who explain that Jager’s no longer in their employ (having been released on the grounds of insanity), that he must have forged the scroll and they’ve no idea where he’d have got the money from. It’s now revealed that the box he was so desperate to acquire contained a few pounds of warpstone (think enriched uranium). We head back over to the town jail, Jager’s had the bandits we apprehended earlier released and they’ve taken off with him to an unknown destination. I suggest that we track Jager down, with the intention of retrieving our box and his kneecaps. And the session wraps up, cue end credits.
Posted on 2009-01-17 at 20:52:20.
Edited on 2009-01-17 at 20:53:10 by Vorrioch
We’ll be gaming again this weekend, and I’ll aim to have the next chapter up sometime before the end of next week.
Oh, and here’s a link to a collection of folk tales that someone’s written for the Old World. They’ve absolutely nothing to do with the game, but I found them an interesting read so I thought I’d pass the link on.