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Enemy Within - for GM thoughts, prep ideas etc.


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#41 valvorik

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 08:39 AM

On a different point, the image of the black cowl in box and on website:

http://www.fantasyfl...1&esem=1&epmi=s

The mask looks rather "goblinish" to me, the sort of face on some greenskin minis.

The image in the icon on chest (eye with arrows) I'm not sure of, I wonder if it's an established Chaos or Tzeentch image?  I would not play it that way, don't think the Black Cowl would reveal that connection so openly.  More it's the symbol of his criminal network "the brotherhood".

Going with the mask being a goblin face has interesting implications in goblin-hating Averland.  To help explain the involvement of greenskins (earlier in thread I noted lack of them a shame for Averlander racial bonus mattering), the mask grants a magically compelling power over greenskins and is very intimidating to others (granting or enhancing any Fear/Terror effect).

If anyone sees it and researches it, they discover that the actors at the Sun of Solland (Sulky Sun) have been perturbed by the loss of the "Goblin Mask", one of their props, used in plays about the invasion of Gorbad Ironclaw in particular the tragedy, "Sunset of Solland".  It was said that the portrayal of Gorbad by actors wearing the mask was always inspired and terrifying, the theatres had to issue warnings about fainting.  The present actors are very perturbed at the mask's loss, it would be good luck for their new production about the Third Battle of Blackfire Pass (a work in progress, yet to be named).  There were always some rumours about the mask but those are just theatre superstitions of course.

Rob

 



#42 Krisstoff

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:39 AM

Awesome thread Valvorik,

I have just Pm'ed you to see if you you could forward on the extras you have worked on they sound FAB.

Just wondering, I like the govlin tie in to Averland and the black cowl,  I too would include more golbin activity just not sure how but perhaps early on in the docklands have an idea about an infested cargo ship and fungal growths in the basements of the dockside buildings. Themed around piazo goblins/tribbles.

As for the main campaign, I will be running it with 2nd tier characters who have already completed a couple of adventures one of my pc is a preistess of Verena and I see her as being particulary tricky to avoid spoiling the suspense.

Any advice on how to ensure the pc still enjoys their character without nerfing her abilities too much?

 

 



#43 No:12

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 03:46 AM

Hi,

First big thanks to Valvorik, great play aids.

Krisstoff; Yeah priests of verena and grey wizards can be tricky. I'm guessing Percieve Lies is the blessing you're concerned about? My solution would be to offer a nominal difficulty based on the expected difficulty of the challenge, then add some secret crossed swords/banes as appears on many of the "epic" action cards. This way a PC can still use the blessing but shouldnt be able to break the story ahead of schedule, the result will hopefully be close enough for you to assign enough swords to call it a fail. Hopefully your player hasnt munchkined their Fel to 5+?

A quick question to anyone out there…    I was thinking of running Mauer as a member of the Unity secret society, what with his family backround, and shared theories with Oppenheimer and such. I dont think I want him to be the Cowl but I would like to complicate his innocense a little. Are there any obvious slip ups I may have missed???

Cheers 



#44 valvorik

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 04:53 AM

Not sure which Verernan abilities menace here.  At high level there's a Light spell that tells you "the truth someone is hiding", that's a mystery nerfer I just took out of game before anyone took it.  If you can advise on the actions etc. in question can ponder.  "I WIN" button actions for mysteries have no place in the murky Old World.

Per above, one point is to be clear with heroes that this is a campaign that takes you to epic heights.  Actually meeting the BC at Rank1 is a good way to learn about critical wounds and long term care recovery rules (between BC and as many cutthroats and others as needed to make it so).  Expecting to pierce the veil of lies etc. at lower Rank is expecting alot.  Egrimm van Horstmann fooled the entire College of Light for years.

Be clear, as I am at times, that some actions have built in failures and banes on them such as higher level cards do.

The opposed action rules can sometimes make life too easy (Int 6 vs Int 6 strongly favours whoever acts).  I make no bones about sometimes making things competitive checks and sometimes making the NPC be the active party.  I also make no bones about fact that "innocent people roll too", everyone has something to hide even if it's "I think you are such an idiot wasting time looking for a mythical ubervillain".  Don't let people reroll Insight type checks vs major NPC's more than once per Rank or unless major new evidence comes out.

Have them all make a "you meet Baerfast/Mauer/Kaufman/Chlotilde/(any others you want to throw in) initial "reaction check" and give them some real information etc. but be clear "that's what they learn".  They've all got secrets, agendas etc.

A more complicated option, that requries rewriting a bit, is to take the "mask" even further.  The "Black Cowl" is effectively a multiple personality possessed by the Mask and doesn't remember/know all that is done wearing the mask.  Their conscious mind is a supporter of the "Conspiracy" type of thinking and is influenced by their unconscious mind that is being twisted more and more by the Mask.

Rob



#45 valvorik

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:04 AM

No:12 said:

Hi,

First big thanks to Valvorik, great play aids.

…A quick question to anyone out there…    I was thinking of running Mauer as a member of the Unity secret society, what with his family backround, and shared theories with Oppenheimer and such. I dont think I want him to be the Cowl but I would like to complicate his innocense a little. Are there any obvious slip ups I may have missed???

Thanks, enabled by others who created background papers, special fonts and software for cards and inspired by WFRP books and other sources.  I'm a halfing standing on the shoulders of giants.

I've been looking at the organization and secret society cards from GM Toolkit and Lure of Power as well. 

I forget which one (secret society) it is by name but there is one that is essentially "onto a bit of the truth" of the universe (of course it has its own distorted version of the truth).  That one has an interest in Old Ones and gold plaques of their texts etc. - would have been very interested in that part of the Southlands expedition and is a fit for Conspiracy on the front of "less religious and blinkered nobility restraint on natural philosophy and inquiry".  The entire Sun Society could actually be merely the "front easy part" of such a secret society with links throughout the Old World, including Middenheim and Altdorf etc.

I also want all the principals to have secrets, agendas, things they hide.  Any Insight (Intuition?) check against any of them that does really well reveals "there is something they are not saying"…

I don't want to quite make everyone a villain, I don't take my Old World grimness that far, but everyone flawed and many flawed fatally, yes.

Another question (no answers about the Black Cowl's symbol?), who would have made the effigy - manipulating warpstone down in the south?  I can't think of a logical candidate to do that.  My workaround is that perhaps the Slann (not the Old Ones) tried to experiment with ways of negating warpstone by binding it into forms that were inert etc.  It worked - for a 1000 years or so, but eventually the warpstone effect started overcoming the binding.  I've ruled in my game that lead boxes only contain warpstone for a while, eventually the taint progresses through the lead - being a heavy metal just slows it (hmmm, gold another heavy metal).  Part of my own "there's no safe disposal really" rules that I was very happy to see validated by the course of the adventure.

This latent "bound and hidden" effect explains in part why the effigy doesn't send of alarms to everyone who looks at it with magical sight etc etc.  I ask because I will have it found in the "lizard man temple" etc. then.

 



#46 silentarcher00

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 12:40 PM

Krisstoff said:

As for the main campaign, I will be running it with 2nd tier characters who have already completed a couple of adventures one of my pc is a preistess of Verena and I see her as being particulary tricky to avoid spoiling the suspense.

Any advice on how to ensure the pc still enjoys their character without nerfing her abilities too much?

 

 

My players started to try and investigate the criminal underworld conections to the dissapearences. Maybe a sub plot where they try and infiltrate the new criminal empire for information, that will eventually lead them to the name 'Black Cowl'? This will give them something to investigate, but also not everyone knows the full picture. Getting a small amount of info from a part time theif might lead to the Upright Pig, which might lead to a name and rumors, which might lead to the bandits outside town, which will lead to the garison etc. That way the priest can use the abilities and advance the game, but not jump ahead.

One of the things my players did was to pay off Beatrice Knox and then shadow her till she gave the money to someone at the Upright Pig, then followed them. It's initiative like that players will bring to an investigation.



#47 valvorik

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 01:41 PM

Good on your players.  I love it when players take initiative.  Keeps GM on toes but is the reason to be at table as GM.

I could see that leading to a "mid level boss".  Either one that has caved into the Black Cowl or one still holding out (and soon to be found dead).  There's lots of potential to confuse of course, as wearing black hooded cloaks could easily be a 'trademark' of the new criminal network.  The "true but perplexing" thing to discover is that the "vanishing people" overwhelming have nothing to do with the struggle in criminal world, only the "bodies showing up dead" have anything to do with it (the skaven don't use them as part of the ritual process because letting the bodies be found is part of the BC's terror campaign against hold outs). 

Until/unless the heroes realize it's the same force behind both, the "first level of discovery" suggests that the mysterious new crime boss is not the reason fishermen and others are vanishing.  Lower level thugs even in the BC's organization may be legitimately concerned about this trend of vanishings as well and offer to help.  Ironically, once the Skaven have done their work for him (and he wants them out of the way) the Black Cowl would be completely willing to let word of their location reach heroes through his criminal underlings ("that Black Cowl not so bad, he helped us deal with the Skaven after all….")

On other front, I've about done my rewrite/restructure of the Kaufman event at the Menagerie if anyone wants a peak at it.



#48 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 05:38 AM

First, I have to say that this is an awesome thread. Val, your work is wonderful, and it's great that your sharing has inspired others (myself included) to make this campaign their own.

 

 

I'm still just starting to read through it, so someone correct me if this actually exists, but I think there needs to be some thematic clue-in to the BC's corruption by the Ruinous Powers. It seems like the story being sold is one of a great masterminded plan, but the motivation behind it changes from a somewhat understandable one to "I'm coo-coo-bonkers evil." I feel like that needs to be made clearer or foreshadowed early on.

 

My solution is to have (maybe in the first scene) a troupe of actors acting out a passion play-like show in the square. I'm envisioning a narrator describing each event, while the actors pantomime out the parts, dressed in over-the-top grotesque masks and costumes. The play goes on about different people, who dabble with dark powers/artifacts for gain, only to become puppets of the Ruinous Powers. Something along the lines of "they once were the master, now they are slaves" would be the refrain after each segment. 

 

I want to plant the idea very early on that using dark powers as a tool leads to servitude. That way, when it happens with the BC, it will make sense in the greater narrative as well as better explain the change in motivation. It also thematically ties in nicely with the Middenheim witch hunter's story. 

 

By the end, after uncovering all the dark tools the Conspiracy has been wielding, the party should be expecting the turn to a greater evil and worried that things are going to get even worse if they don't act quickly.


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#49 valvorik

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 07:34 AM

Good thoughts.

There is later in adventure reference to fact that "only recently" (at that later point) has the BC really become a full blown mad servant of the Ruinous Powers.  It would be good if that could be seen as a tragedy.

Two potential BCs have a "story line for their fall" (disillusioned soldier, disillusioned wizard - each having personal losses, tragedies, reasons to dislike the Empire's current order) - Graf Kaufman seems the weakest in this regard (though perhaps naturally more inline with the Conspiracy's attitudes and definitely in the category of lesser nobility and merchants doing well from the ongoing crisis).

Perhaps "start to consolidate control over criminal underworld" as part of more mundane plots is the first overtly nasty thing the BC does, for good reasons (getting funds), using tools and a "mask" that has powers but corruptive influence (my Goblin Mask from the theatre).

A play about Sigmar, almost falling prey to the Crown of Nagash, can warn of the dangers of using dark tools (while hinting that at least once it was useful).

I'm toying with the idea that all three are in the Conspiracy to the extent they hold such views and have worked to support them to greater or lesser degrees (they can still dislike each other and not even know each is part of the loose affiliation of "Free Thinkers", what I like to have the Conspiracy call itself), but two lesser and not willing to use Chaos etc. and the BC the one fallling to temptation.  This helps explain the other two always being less than 100% helpful, wanting to settle things privately etc etc.

Pershaps the Conspiracy actually funded the expedition (put another way, FreeThinking sorts did because they agreed with its purpose), though Kaufman, to recover that gold plaque and other "messages from the Great Old Ones" - proofs of the real history of the world that would undermine the official cults etc.  von Daniken etc stuff.  More corrupt elements were looking for "foul magic".  This fits with Kaufman sponsoring the Sun Society and it corresponding with Oppenheimer etc.

- If doing this route the BC "betrays" the conspriacy by using he Gold Plaque for its gold, or perhaps he is actually angry at its theft, another reason to want Skaven disposed of eventually.

As written, the B.C. was 'hunting for warpstone' when the expedition left 18 months ago.  I find that a bit odd, as 6 months into the elector crisis initiating a plan that takes 18 months to exploit it seems a bit "off".  I like a "Tzeentch had a plan 18 months, well 1800 years acually, ago, not the figure who becomes Black Cowl".

The expedition is more "serendipity" (Tzeentch) ensuring the effigy is found and returned to civilized lands, having also ensured that "plans for that Skaven bell" came to the BC's attention.  These two together then, with the corruptive influence having built up a bit more, lead to the clapper plan that is a couple of weeks into being underway when adventure starts.

All just rambling musings.

 



#50 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 05:20 AM

If there are PC nobles in the party, I'm not liking the idea of other nobles hiring them as if they were common folk. I think if there is a noble in the party, they should be approached and asked if they would be willing to lend their "enterage" out for some work ("you will be compensated for your inconvenience, of course"). Then the noble PC is the one who is paid everything, and it's up to them to distribute it (or not). It's not quite fair to the other PCs — especially if he/she/ cheats the group out of pay — but that's the whole point. Maybe next time they walk past the agitator, they may throw in some additional gripes. DOWN WITH THE ARISTOCRACY!

As a side note, I'm a little disappointed that the second skaven adventure is the same as the first (skaven raid a noble's party). 


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#51 valvorik

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 06:41 AM

My rewrite of the Menagerie scene notes that a Noble character/the Gently Born background will be asked to engage in social chat and keep and eye on things "from within the gathering" rather than assigned "don't disturb your betters" perimeter duty.  They are also given a bottle of wine in addition to pay as more suitable recompense.  

Depending on actual background story etc it may vary more - of course Kaufman when hiring the heroes will assume really he is hiring the noble and his underlings…

Similarly the Academic, member of Sun Society known to Kaufman will be offered chance to view artefacts and make intelligent chatter commentary with guests.



#52 No:12

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 06:43 AM

Hi,

I'd been thinking similar thoughts on how to run nobles being hired. Have two noble pcs already. Liked your call on the noble in question being asked to bring his/her enterage and pay being given purely to the lordling, nicely condescending to the commoners ;)

I was planning to run the second job with the red arrow as an opportunity for the nobles to earn the favour of Clothilde rather than for pay. I may even have Lady Clothilde tip the commoners generously at the end of the job, as a sign of her charitable nature. Of course merely her thanks should be sufficient for those wealthy aristocrats.



#53 No:12

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:08 AM

Quick question,

I had one of my players request to play a character who was secretly worshipping Tzeentch. Yet to finalise key personality motivations but he has suggested a concept around someone looking to instigate small events to create large scale changes. Oh yes and hes an apprentice wizard…

I made it clear I wanted a mostly cooperative group but was happy for him to go for this, is there anything anyone can think of that might be a problem, or a fun idea?

 



#54 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:30 AM

No:12 said:

 

Quick question,

I had one of my players request to play a character who was secretly worshipping Tzeentch. Yet to finalise key personality motivations but he has suggested a concept around someone looking to instigate small events to create large scale changes. Oh yes and hes an apprentice wizard…

I made it clear I wanted a mostly cooperative group but was happy for him to go for this, is there anything anyone can think of that might be a problem, or a fun idea?

 

 

 

I would actually make sure the group is cool with something like this. It could be wonderful or it could break the group up, depending on who you are gaming with. You know your players better than anyone on the forum so take any advice with a grain of salt, but I'd be sure that they are ok with something like this before allowing it.

That said, you may consider that character playing an antagonistic role towards other cultists in a form of one-upmanship before Tzeench. The PC ruins those other guys' ritual, only to do their own, proving who is most worthy of Tzeench's favors. You could even give that a mechanical effect. Maybe they have +1 equalibrium when they have proven worthy, and -1 if some other group is in the spotlight (giving the player an extra incentive to muck up other cultists). It would also allow for the player to work within the party rather than against it.


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#55 valvorik

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:53 AM

A group really has to be cool with this and the different ways it could go.  Is the cultist PC's player cool that other PCs should get checks to detect when they are lying and that if they find out he is a cultist they kill him? 

As a cultist of Tzeentch does he get the Mark, does he have Corruption points and does he have a mutation (now or eventually?  Are the rest of us cool that we fail and die or are corrupted because of a PC's actions?  Are others expected to play their PC's as not able to figure something out, not play them to the hilt?

No one player should make choices that force others to change their choices.  Such things should be decided collectively.

-----

On other points about backstory, I've come across the references to Ibn Jellaba's expedition into Southlands in 1150, in which he reached the Old One city of Zlatlan etc (sounds like the Templeman expedition may have reached same city).  It would fit that Templeman/Kaufman had found copies/translations of Ibn Jellaba's travelogue and that's where references to "most foule" things were located - or perhaps these are from a more recent expedition that attempted to follow Ibn Jellaba's foot-steps and found other ruins.

Assuming the gold plaque really is "one of those gold plaques" (the prophecies) it's a potentially important knick knack to have gotten out of the Southlands.  Perhaps it's not being pursued because it's all "prophecies that have already passed".

 



#56 No:12

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 11:33 AM

Thanks for the thoughts, yes the group I play with are all very familiar with having parties of mixed er…  spirituality. The player in question has said he is very much on the pro working together vibe. No cult as yet, just a solitary misguided (?) soul, no mark either. As to the other players being ok with the consequences of the Tzeentchian players actions, I think that all players have to be cool with the consequences of all other players actions. Nobody is recklessly trying to ruin anyone elses fun, we've been playing together for years so i'm pretty certain i can trust them on that. About all I can trust them on though!

I really like the idea of Tzeentch rewarding with equilibrium bonus for outdoing the conspiracy, was thinking of ways to include that ethos within the storyline too. Might not even tell the player why he gets the bonus to start off…?

Val, nice bit of research there! Perhaps there is room in the plot for a rubbing of the gold plaque to preserve the prophecy before the hard copy is broken down for face value? Do you know what these prophecies where concerning?



#57 valvorik

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 01:29 AM

A cauttion that others may have some better sources and more info or better spins on it.

If the gold plaque is "one of THOSE ones" it is potentially older than humanity (depending on whether you go with the Old Ones created races from scratch or modified existing ones).  The Old Ones used gold plaques to record their "great plan" for the world.  This certainly doesn't include anything specific about individual humans etc. (the Old Ones Great Plan is not concerned with petty fates of minor creatures that were probably a mistake anyway)

http://whfb.lexicanu...wiki/Great_Plan

http://whfb.lexicanum.com/wiki/Zlatlan

Lizard man army books for WFB have some background (older edition ones tend to have more fluff of this sort.

In WFRP terms the plaque can be whatever sort of macguffin you want as well.  It can have magical powers, be a source of magic/protection/fortune etc. (in the table top battle game plaques are like magic items for your unit of lizard guys).  The WFRP canon pretty much makes it suitable to have an entire adventure or campaign spin off from it.

More story-wise, it can represent "prophecy as the intent of the Old Ones, which comes to pass because they planned very well and the Slann work to see those plans come to pass" (in circular logic the slann read the plaques, see the prophecy and make it so), it can represent the foresight of the Old Ones (which presumably was not however fool proof where Chaos was concerned otherwise they would not be extinct).  Only High Elves would have a chance of decoding even part of it (and maybe one or two human scholars who managed to get their hands on some elven texts would know enough to produce a comically or tragically botched translation). This is the sort of stuff Ehrwig von Daniken was using to write his wild theories about.

It really fits with one of the Secret Societies in lure of power (I forget name) that is "partially on" to truth of the Old Ones (in a tragical/comical not quite right fashion).

Yes, Kaufman probably already has a rubbing.  However that is only a "surface record" of the plaque and does not record all its potential information by a long shot.  If he "has a clue" then whether or not he is Black Cowl he really would not be pleased at all about the plaque being missing.

If going with this, one thing to consider is that Slann and their servants are very protective of thse plaques and go to extreme lengths to recover any they lose, so the place it was found must have had no real Slann around and fewer lizardmen for the expedition to have managed to get away with it, or else the expedition was very very lucky (or a horde of dinosaur-mounted lizardmen is making its way up from the southlands for Averheim even as I write)

More likely there are all sorts of different plaques and using the computer chip analogy if you make off with one maybe you have the true history of the world on it and maybe you have someone's favourite recipe collection.  The Skaven shaving off bits to use as gold (not understanding either the value of gold or the plaque) becomes a "classical" sort of moment in the march towards the Old World's doom.



#58 Delwyn

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 05:25 PM

I've now had the opportunity to finish reading Book One of TEW and also read through valvorik's supplemental material and just wanted to publicly praise his work.

The cards to represent displays in the menagerie and guests at the party as well as people on the docks are simple yet effective means to let the players see at a glance what's going on around the characters.

The text for Rambrecht the Agitator's political pamphlet is inspired, providing a brief overview of the potential players in the running for the Electorship of Averland along with relevant pieces of local history.  Attempting to do this through GM exposition could easily put players to sleep or come across as heavy handed - the player handout achieves the same goals in a more elegant fashion.

Finally, valorik has overhauled the events of the garden party in part two of Book One.  As published, there doesn't seem to be a great deal for the PCs to do but watch as events happen around them - there are also a few moments (as valorik points out) where the PCs are provided with clues but are prevented by the plot from actually intervening to what the clues are leading to.  Valorik's reworking alleviates these week points and provides more focus to the events and how the PCs can participate rather than simply watch.  I'm very much looking forward to putting this into action.

Many thanks to valorik for his great work!



#59 valvorik

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 06:18 AM

That's very kind of you. I have to give credit others in this thread for inspiring me to write the agitator pamphlet and getting me thinking about the Menagerie scene.

I'm still revising my rewrite of Menagerie (e.g., it's Marktag, the Plenzerplatz is bustling)

Jackdays great Storm of Chaos timeline (see other thread in GM section) is also very handy as he has integrated Storm of Chaos stuff.

Changing year to 2522, Backertag Sigmarzeit 18 = Day 1 will work out well for the published mateiral.

I have plotted out a calendar timeline, Part One lasts at most 4 days more after the Menagerie (Day 8), with "another Backertag" being Day 9, thus potentially to Sigmarzeit 30, page 61, meaning Part Two starts Day 14, this is when the "city transforms" - the date being Sigmarzeit 31 - page 66, and thus when "a week ago von Raurkov's message reached Altdorf", page 64 - a week being 8 days that means the message reached Altdorf on Day 6. Using Jdays timeline, that being Sigmarzeit 23, day 1 would thus be Sigmarzeit 18 - which - ta-dah, is a Backertag!

If you want to give your players a "calendar" handout to write in things on once they start that aspect of investigation, use the series 1 calendar from fan site below and print off the one page calendar for Sigmarzeit. It's 2521 in the pdf but its day of weeks align with the 2522 calendar in back of the published adventure. The first deaths through end of Part One are all in that one month.

http://www.windsofch...r-series-01.pdf



#60 Chimes

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 04:06 AM

My group is gearing up to start Enemy Within soon, last week we did character creation. I have 3 players and enedud up with a human thief with the criminal background, a wood elf envoy with the foreign messenger background, and  a human rat catcher as the battle scarred veteran.

I think the back grounds are really cool, but I am having a bit of difficulty coming up with ways to to tie them all together, and their connections with the big 3 npcs. I think they're going to end up with more connections to clothilde than anyone else, so maybe Kaufmann will have gotten the word about them through her for the coach ride. 

My idea for the wood elf character is to have has his master send him with messages as a pretext to get him out of the forest (laurelorn) because he is no longer safe. There's a real lack of information on wood elves but i took a look through liber fanatica's defenders of teh forest material, and thought it might be interesting to create factions among the elves who are violently opposed concerning what their relations with humans/the empire should be. So his master has sent the PC away to protect them from the actions of these violent anti-humanists. The PC will be unaware of this until he delivers a message to one of the other PCs, asking them to provide protection and guidance for the wood elf envoy, and a letter for him from his master falls out.

This is all just kind of flow of conciousness stuff that I'll be talking through with my players tongiht as we kind of jointly story tell our way through the prologue up to the point where they hit the docks. 






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