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Enemy Within - for GM thoughts, prep ideas etc.

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#161 MaSc



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Posted 28 August 2013 - 06:34 AM

On #1, the southland trip lore essentially hinted only at a concentrated source of warpstone, not explicitly but in descriptions that a knowledgeable reader might realize "that could be....". The Old Ones had high science/great magic and could do all sorts of things - Professor Schott Mandelbrot decoded that stuff (he's inside an inner lair of the conspiracy moving towards black cowliness). So beyond treasures and lore of the ages generally (public reasons and Kaufman-if-innocent reason) there is 'get of that concentrated warpstone stuff'', also with Mandelbrot's extra interest in Old One writings and science.

I'm totally gonna steal this. In my campaign the golden plate looked very weird with many undecipherable script on it. As we know the plate won't stay intact. But somehow (red crown?) Mandelbrot got his hands on a page of paper with the printed cipher on it (think Indy 3 here).

#162 valvorik



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Posted 28 August 2013 - 06:06 PM

A bit more then,


Mandelbrot learned enough of how the Old Ones did this to direct the Middenland Project of Professor von Oppenheim to use a similar "contain the corruption in a shiny coating of purity" effect - through a combination of covert input through the forged book and overt input as an advisor/correspondent with Oppenheim. 


What I don't think my Player suspect at all is that the clapper is now a different version of "what the effigy used to be"!


If PC's were really bright (mine have not been), they might realize:


- some of the inscriptions Professor Oppenheim made as part of ritual (which were all obliterated in the flash at end) incorporate elements of Old Ones runes (the way M includes V, sort of thing);


- getting Mandelbrot's papers would see all sorts of these things, lots of runes, some "coded runes", the big trove of these are in Streissen (not easily nipped off to) but he has some with him - in my campaign he came to Altdorf to give a lecture.


It has been established in my campaign, when the PC's tried to have Mandelbrot communicate with a captive lizard man "exhibit" by writing, that he has some ability to read/write "Old One" (in fact, he's the only person they have ever met or heard of with the ability to do that).


Mandelbrot is really the "key" to some stuff - which it one reason he's about to be "taken off the board" with his own theories having attracted attention from witch hunters interested in proof all magic derives from Chaos and wizards determined to suppress this radicalism - and seize/examine/suppress/destroy his work.


Looking at Mandelbrot in terms of "chaos theory" so to speak, stirring the pot of whether magic should be legal, pushing witch hunters and colleges into collision course are all good "divide and conquer" ruinous power stuff.  It's not just Sigmarites and Ulricans that should be set at each other.


It's a little funny that my Players have not (after Oppenheim and Max's unique poisoning and the burning of Oppenheim's records) made any move to secure any of the correspondents/ce from other Sun Society members that worked with him. 

#163 r_b_bergstrom



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Posted 13 December 2013 - 03:05 PM

Please forgive the major thread necromancy, but I needed a place to put this stuff, now that real-world impediments are resolved and my campaign is running again. My group is just now arriving in Middenheim.


The non-linear multi-threaded nature of the Middenheim chapter seems a bit of a pain to me. Great scenario design, but poorly organized text. So I made myself an index to the topics and locations.  I think it might be useful to other GMs.


Also, I included page references (marked AOM# below) for the Ashes of Middenheim sourcebook from 2nd Ed. This is useful if you have Dwarves in the party, or any characters interested in anything local other than Inns and Ulric. I have a Dwarf, a Ranaldite, a Wizard, and a Knight of Myrmidia at my table, so having ready info on their local peer groups was pretty important.


For the Ranald stuff, I chose to use the Templar’s Downfall and the Last Drop. Readers of Ashes of Middenheim will see there’s a lot of talk of the criminal activity in the city, but little mention of Ranald, so I picked two locations that would fit my needs for the PC Initiate-of-Ranald/Gambler in my group. You could just as easily choose entirely different locations from AoM if you wanted to separate Ranaldite cults more clearly from other less savory cult activities.



Index to Middenheim section:


What Do We Know about Middenheim?”    TEW 77
Arriving in Middenheim:             TEW 87
Wizard’s Task: Prof R v Oppenheim     TEW 87-93
Captain’s Task: Adele Ketzenblum        TEW 93 - 97
Noble’s Task: Wolfgang v Ashenback    TEW 97-102

Hotel Reccomendation: The Scholar’s    TEW 81    

Locations and People in Middenheim:
Adele Ketzenblum    Prospect (Brown, Half)    TEW93-102
Aschenbeck Bravos    Nord-Graft, Freiburg    TEW86, TEW100-101
Aschenback Manor    Nord-Grafsmund    TEW78-79
Aschenbeck Warehouse    Freiburg        TEW81
The Cockerel     Freiburg    TEW81, TEW94
Dwarf Stuff        The Wynd        TEW24-25
Elf Stuff        The Harvest Goose    AOM15
Black Plague Memorial    Ulricsmund        AOM15-16
Brenner            Freiburg / Draken    TEW99-102
The Brown Owl     Ulricsmund            TEW 80, TEW95-96   
Castle Rock Coaches    Freiburg        TEW81-82, TEW87

The Cockerel     Freiburg    TEW81, TEW94
Collegium Theologica    Frieburg        TEW80-81, AOM24
The Draken         Freiburg            TEW 99-100   
Graf Wulfgang        *info gathering*        TEW98
Graf Wulfgang        *trial at Verena*        TEW99-100
The Graf’s Repose     Nordgarten-Grafsmund        TEW 79
Gregor Helstrum    The Graf’s Repose    TEW79
Guild of Dwarf Engineers    The Wynd        AOM25
Guild of Physicians    Ulricsmund        AOM17
Guild of Wizards & Alchemists    Freiburg        AOM23-24
Halfway House     Freiburg    TEW81, TEW94
Hot Springs, Medicinal    Begierbaden (Ulricsmund)    AOM17
Jade Scepter        (Koch’s, or Templar’s Downfall)    TEW84-85, Aesthetes
Koch’s         Ulricsmund        TEW 80
Merchant District    Merchant District    AOM27
The Prospect         Nordgarten-Grafsmund        TEW 78, TEW 93-94
Purple Hand        (Draken)        TEW84-85, TEW102, AOM61-63
Ranald Stuff*        (Templar’s Downfall*, and Last Drop*)    AOM21-22, AOM18
Red Crown        ?            TEW84-85
The Scholars             Freiburg    TEW 81, AOM
Sewers            Sewers            AOM28-31
Templar’s Downfall    Eastgate, near Freiburg        AOM21-22, Aesthetes
Temple of Grungni    The Wynd        AOM24
Temple of Myrmidia    Westgate-Sudgarten    AOM26
Temple of Shallya    Westgate-Sudgarten    AOM26
Temple of Sigmar    Freiburg        TEW81
Temple of Ulric        Ulricsmund        TEW79-80, TEW89-93, AOM16
Temple of Verena    Ulricsmund        TEW80, AOM17
von Oppenheim    Frieburg (Collegium)    TEW87-88

Wizard stuff    Freiburg        AOM23-24
Wolf Hunt    outside the city    TEW72, TEW77, TEW90

Hope that's helpful to somebody!

Edited by r_b_bergstrom, 13 December 2013 - 03:28 PM.

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#164 valvorik



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Posted 30 December 2013 - 06:36 PM

Ashes of Middenheim is indeed a great resource and very much recommended.


I have a question - putting in this thread since it was revived and to keep EW discussion in one place.


The Bell finale - 4 manoeuvres to get down side aisle, 6 to get up tower to the final encounter according to the text.  Plus however many to get to "starting gate".  That's several rounds of just moving/spending action as manoeuvre.  Spending Fatigue to move faster is risky as those Terror checks keep coming on stronger and stronger (since they threaten more).


This looks like it starts Round 5 as that's when PC's can "move freely".


Overall, even a powerful set of PC's are making 8-11 Terror checks of 1,2,3, 4 on, then a rally step and major fight.  That seems like "quite a few Terror checks and doing nothing but moving" - a combination of not many choices to make for those rounds.  Both daunting and not very fun.  The couple of fortune dice for stopping up ears (which then adds time to trip) not that much help.


I've run a group over Rank 5 and they couldn't have survived that!


I have a few ideas about spicing things up and toning down the Terror (what, my players would never believe it, Rob is softening something up on us - Rob who loves this game since it allows him to break our legs, gouge out our eyes and give us hallucinations?)


Also am sketching the Great Temple, can't find a decent map of it (one or two not bad tries but scales off etc.)

Edited by valvorik, 30 December 2013 - 07:49 PM.

#165 No:12



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Posted 31 December 2013 - 10:48 AM



I adjusted the bell to ring every other round for my group. It worked quite well I think, they always got the feeling of something doomfull about to strike but also got the feeling of being able to get stuff done too. I also had them bump into the Shallyan Priestess at the stairwell, who uttered a quick blessing too. Everyone got at least one insanity or mutation, many crits, some pcs passed out and got up again for another piece of dramatic action, one character managed to pass all his terror checks even!

#166 valvorik



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Posted 31 December 2013 - 02:14 PM

Thanks for the response, every 2nd round ring is something I was thinking of too (been creating a time tracking sheet for it), with the reverberations in the between rounds being when GM rolls the dice for other consequences.  Since it's Sigmar's Temple I am also going to give a bonus fatigue/stress recovery on comets "while doing Sigmar's work".


Hadn't though of blessings from NPC clergy but yes both Blessing of Health and Minor Blessing would be available from one or two NPC's in the hall or just the priests in attendance (not all priests can work blessings but those chosen to be at Sigmar's Temple likely more often than others) - at least while they can be close/engaged.


What Rank were your PC's when they met this encounter?

#167 No:12



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Posted 01 January 2014 - 08:46 AM

My pc's were early rank three during the big bad bell finale, nobody had trained a third skill dice but they were all good at their chosen strengths, and poor at their weaker areas.


Both combat pcs had wp stat of 2, so suffered heavily on the terror tests. One of them had a few talents that helped with fatigue and stress so the extra round between the bell strikes allowed him to cycle the recharge on these faster relative to the tests. I have long been using a kinda house rule whereby if a pc has succumbed to unconsciousness through fatigue or stress then they may make an Assess the Situation as their action each round till they get the stress/fatigue counters below the threshold. This allowed for a satisfying scene where the duellist staggered to his feet and ran the black cowls lieutenant through, before collapsing to the floor again. Most cinematic ;)


I also had the finale run with Clothilde helping the pc's at the bell tower, so one or two of the cowls cronies were sometimes engaged with restraining her, and the suggestion of an impending sexual assault if our heroes were to fail or flee! 

#168 valvorik



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Posted 01 January 2014 - 11:26 AM

Thanks, sounds like my PC's are in similar state, every PC in my campaign has WP 3.


I like that "Assess the Situation when down from Fatigue or Stress" option - though there would be several misfortune dice on it (I find Players forget about A the S until they have penalty dice doing it). 


That does sound like a nice finale - though my Clothilde is actually the Black Cowl, not sure if Graf von Kaufman can be used in quite the same way....

#169 Emirikol


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Posted 12 January 2014 - 10:00 PM

BOOK 3 - delberz map.



#170 r_b_bergstrom



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Posted 29 December 2014 - 06:08 PM

Here I go again, performing a vile act of Necromantic heresy. This thread shall rise from the grave!


Finished the campaign about a week ago. We ran 58 sessions averaging 4.5 hours each, nearly 2 years of play with short breaks for vacations and out-of-character surgery recovery. Definitely got my money's worth.


Overall, I felt that Books One and Three were great, but Books Two and Four were a little under-developed.

  • The biggest trouble in Book One was making the initial contact with Curd Weiss feel organic. The background cards imply a connection through the Inn and Sun Society but it would have been nice if those links were more direct and obvious. My PCs were really suspicious of him at first.
  • The plot in Book Two was a bit underhanded (the PCs are guaranteed to fail but will think they've won regardless of how it plays out), and some of the subplots there were too easy to ignore or avoid. I added a ton of content from or implied by Ashes of Middenheim and my own imagination, and that kept it engaging. 
  • Book Three is a riot. I have only glowing praise for it.
  • Book Four is a lot of fun, but feels like maybe it was written for 2nd Ed then hastily converted. There's not a lot of play-balance from scene to scene, and a few use some weird mechanics that stand out as different from the norm for 3rd Ed. Some of the monster stats are incomplete, and there's a lot of binary rolls with no listed effects for boon/bane/chaos/comet.


If I had it all to do over again, I would dial up the comedic elements starting in session one of Book One. I ran it very dark and gritty early on, but various parts (the Day 8 party, the chaos stars when fighting a fire on the docks, the bureaucratic hassles in Middenheim, the room in the castle with all the Disney references, and of course entirety of The Farce In The Fog) are best run as-slapstick-as-you-can-stomach. Looking for the funny bits and showcasing them from the beginning can make the scenario more even in tone. Humor also helps with suspension of disbelief when the authorities are too corrupt or inept to help, or when Clothilde is hatching a brave scheme for which she woefully underskilled. "Dumbest NPC ever" should look like a punchline, not a plothole.


Here's a few toys I made for various parts:


For use with Book Two: A tracking card for if the PCs are brave/foolish enough to intervene in the trial.



Also for Book Two: All the "missing" NPC stat cards at http://transitivegam...-npc-cards.html   I've got cards there for von Oppenheim, the three Ulrican Priests, the Bravos, the Graf and his daughter, Werner, etc. If you prefer to GM from cards than out of the book, they're all there (but a few of them are missing artwork).



Stuffed Croc from Book Four: The stats in the book are incomplete, so I filled in the holes with bits of Beast and Undead.





Much more available at my blog (including at least one more post scheduled to go up in a few days about Book Four) --  http://transitivegaming.blogspot.com

Edited by r_b_bergstrom, 29 December 2014 - 06:45 PM.

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#171 valvorik



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Posted 29 December 2014 - 08:42 PM

Good stuff and since folks keep getting and starting the campaign no harm in continuing thread.  I keep getting requests for my material for the campaign etc.


I agree that Middenheim needs expansion and that can all be fun, with more activity and plots etc.  Don't force plots along to the point NPC's "end" but rather let them all roll around however play dictates and use the indie/story game approach of having factions with goals and then improvising how they are pursued.  The old City of the White Wolf supplement also adds lots of stuff you can use in Middenheim.


I like the cards.  Am doing a crocodile for my Southlands work and may "resurrect" yours as a template, adding its ability to drag victims underwater to drown if it gets a good grip on them with jaws etc.


Though I would make Oppenheim smarter at Int 5 but Will 2 and just give him a trait/insanity about being a bit fixated on his own theories etc.


Yes I too like Paizo's face cards and other visual aids.

Edited by valvorik, 29 December 2014 - 08:46 PM.

#172 valvorik



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Posted 06 January 2015 - 09:35 AM

For those creature/NPC cards, was Strange Eons used?


I'm running version 3 and don't see any plug in for it to create creature cards.



#173 r_b_bergstrom



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Posted 13 January 2015 - 05:50 PM

For those creature/NPC cards, was Strange Eons used?


I'm running version 3 and don't see any plug in for it to create creature cards.


I used Strange Eons version 2. I think there were 3 different 3rd Ed plug-ins released at various times for version 2. The plug-in is called "Warhammer 3-rd Edition Add-Ons", and the component template is called "Monsters on Cards (FFG like)".

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