Saturday, 25 August 2012

Heroes Arise

Righto - that's all the fluff you're getting in advance from me, which has hopefully whipped you all into an anticipatory frenzy. If not, you'll have to turn to self-flagellation, my flailing arm is tired.

But with a week to go, if you can spare the time from army list tweaking and last minute painting and purchasing (I'm hoping to fit my entire army on the back of an Arachnarok Spider, for example), perhaps I could ask you to have a think about your characters for the evening sessions?

I've put together a two-part stand alone adventure for us, and I'm looking forward to running it. I'm also planning on writing it up as a short story afterwards, to be presented here for your further entertainment. All you need to do is people it with memorable characters, because I'm too lazy to create everything myself. It's going to be a mix of investigation, exploration and being killed by unfair traps combat.

The angle I'd like is that because this is a stand-alone, your characters are not even heroes in the making yet. This is effectively a prologue for them, the first ever time they might shine or gain a modicum of fame.

It's also a first outing for this particular version of the rules for me, and I'd like to keep it simple for everyone. All you need to do is generate a starting character as described in the core rulebook (which you can find in pdf form in the WoffBoot dropbox folder, the WFRP 2nd Edition one). You can pick your race, but random careers for this outing please.

I've had a think about how you'll be banding together. Obviously, in a darkened tavern over mugs of ale, we can take that as read. But here are three options you could consider when you're coming up with your own background: -

  • The town of Zenres is our starting location; it's a comfortably-well off burg of just under 2000 souls, ruled by independent aristocrat Prince Pierre-Jean Renoir. He started calling the town St Pierre when he captured it, but it hasn't quite caught on yet. Only his hangers-on and the few Bretonnian settlers that came with them use the new name, everyone else is happy with the original. The local economy is based on trade (both local and foreign), agriculture and pig farming. The locals are a practically-minded and rather opportunistic lot, always looking for a way to make a fast buck out of travellers. Usually, they're pretty superstitious - there have been more than the usual number of doomsayers preaching imminent destruction in the town square of late, and the town is a little uneasy. Still, gold is gold. So when several lone merchants turn up, all offering generous rewards for anyone willing to do a little digging around in some of the forbidding local ruins, the more cynical or desperate townies are happy to ignore their usual superstitions for coin.
  • The Border Princes are full of rogues, outlaws and mercenaries looking for ways to kick-start their personal paths to glory. Some are dispossessed nobles, others are men with prices on their heads, others are just murderous scum with nowhere civilised left to go. Wanted in two countries and the rest have met them, kind of thing. Not all are even men - ork clans vie with dwarven prospectors, elven way patrols, chaos cultists, beastmen and worse riddle the landscape. It's not unusual to find small warbands of all these wandering the plains and clashing with one another. Where you find warbands, you find camp followers - those without the money or equipment to actually fight professionally themselves, but able to scratch a living from the warriors by providing a number of services army types can't do for themselves. Recently, several such bands have begun to converge around Zenres, and the trash that skitters in their wake often drifts into the more comfortable environment of the town itself. 
  • There is a semi-secret order dedicated to Szélkirály, the local name for Taal. This forgotten sect have acted as unofficial protectors to Zenres for many years, operating from the nearby wilderness. Known as the Sons of Rain, they're mostly a group of scholars these days, well-informed but lacking much military power. They sometimes hire scouts or rangers for field trips into the wilds. They're also on good terms with the elves, and share their lore with the dwarves of Karaz-a-Karak to the north. They're particularly obsessed with the ancient standing stones that lie to the north of the town, which they say are the work of the ancient and forgotten beings who created the world. They have no proof of this, of course, and nobody takes their beardy waffling very seriously. Their MO is very much to turn up, patronise everyone with their obscure knowledge of folklore, then sit back and say 'I told you so' when terrible things happen; they are well-intentioned, but generally ineffective as far as the public is aware. There are a couple of banished wizards and insane alchemists in the court of Prince Renoir who belong to this group. The Prince can't stand any of them, but they're all he's got in the way of local wizards, so manages to tolerate them most of the time. 
You may want to have a think about which of the other would-be heroes you know, and hurrah if you want to work out pre-existing relationships, but no obligation at all. There is, however, a small experience point bonus for anyone who wants to publish their background fluff on this blog before next weekend!

Remember, I'd like these characters should be desperate or unlikely wannabes. The Border Princes are one of the furthest flung bastions of humanity, outposts on the very edge of the world. No extra starting experience, only your basic starting equipment and finally (you'll hate this): -

No Fate Points!

Well, not no Fate Points at all. Just no big significant ones.

In terms of rules, I'm changing the printed ones a little. Your rolled Fate Point stat, renamed Luck Points for the weekend, can be spent on a per-session basis. They'll give you an expanded number of dice-busting options, as listed here: -

  • Re-roll any dice roll once; the new result stands even if worse
  • Add a degree of success to a test you've passed
  • Give yourself +10 to a test you're about to take
  • Regain d5 wounds immediately
  • Immediately remove all levels of fatigue, stunning, temporary blinding or deafness, fear or terror

What they won't let you do is cheat death in the standard manner. I've got my reasons for this; they are of course unscrupulous. But please be totally prepared to die; if you're unlucky enough that it happens to you, you'll be rolling somebody new up and rejoining in as short an order as the narrative and your dice arm allows!

Any questions, post them below.



  1. Excellent prolonging, and consider me duly titillated by the preceding fluff.

    I am, however, very unlikely to create a character prior to the weekend, as I'm only on the slenderest of internet connections, and I fear using Dropbox would kill it.

  2. Ah! I wasn't expecting dropbox character sheets - I was optimistically hoping people might post a brief character study on the blog. Although I suppose you mean you can't open the rule book without... okay, yes, I'm with the program again. Carry on.