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[Gaming blog] The Winter of Warlords

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#1 doc_cthulhu



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Posted 13 September 2011 - 02:22 AM

Foreword - I'll write this blog mainly on here for conversations sake but I will copy/paste it also on my Warhammer Blog called the Daily Empire. Even though we're playing a house-brew campaign I will be including and discussing official products also. This means that this blog WILL INCLUDE SPOILERS though I try to keep them at minimum. Should any of my players wander here I would recommend them to avert their eyes from this as read this will certainly ruin the game from them/YOU!


This campaign is actually a direct continuation of our previous CAMPAIGN - you could call it season 2. All players wanted to create new characters though as they are now more familiar with the system. And I had no reason to tell them not to. 

We followed the normal character generation rules from core set but I also included character background from Savage World Fantasy Companion and Expanded Character Module by Dave Graffam for WFRP2. This allowed us to add some more randomization to the characters and enhance their background. We have such a mixed group of people that I did not trust them to write the backgrounds from the start.

Another thing that I added was giving the characters "Veteran of the Old World-edge" in style of Deadlands. This meant that they gained 10exp. to start with (and later I added that they all would have just moved to their second career no matter the exp. cost). This was not free however as I made them all to draw a card from the "weird past"-table of the Wasted West.

I like to mix things up and try different things while gaming and at least from the players's point of view I struck gold as they were all more than exited to start gaming with characters who had all something mysterious in their past. 



The group consists of five characters that were all created with a style described above. Players had the chance to choose their starting careers and to progress them so that they are now on the beginning of their second career.

"The Sergeant" (still lacking a name) - He had the most interesting background. Stolen by beastmen when he was a young boy he spent a little time in proximity of Dhar that tainted him so that he cannot enter a sacred ground. He was rescued by a knight that took him as his squire and later made him a vital member of his war party. As the character Party was put together he was chosen to lead it.

Kurt von Fleischer, the Pistolier (ex-coachman) - As a cousin of a witch hunter NPC from our previous games he is a devote Sigmarite that cannot sustain himself without eating raw meat... He is myopic and very Judgemental on his actions. Excellent marksman with his two poor quality pistols.

Sayr Zapfen, Gambler (ex-entertainer) - Blessed with an enchanting voice this bard decided to join the party with his winning smile to give it the much needed social edge. And to get away from his eight children.

Wilhelm, Assassin (ex-thief) - Wilhelm is so conspicuous that no-one would ever dream of him being an assassin. It is hard to forget tall and muscular man covered with red hair and ridiculous amount of jewelry. His player draw the shortest straw when coming up with his mysterious past. At the beginning of each session I will draw a card from a regular gaming deck. If it is a joker he dies during that session.

Rothirsch von Saponatheim, Duelist (ex-soldier) - a cousin of the new ruler of Ubersreik Rothirsch has always just wanted to create name for himself with his sword. He even dueled against a stone troll once and won. 



The Winter of Warlords is a campaign that will take the characters to the Grey Mountains and further in the middle of Brettonia-Empire war. During the half year that follow the previous campaign that ended with von Saponatheim becoming the leader of Ubersreik skaven have taken over Talabheim (giving me a chance to run *** some day) and caused the Empire to fall into a outright war. I should add that Storm of Chaos happened in our Old World a little over two years ago and the End Times are certainly here. 

The main idea behind the campaign is the Fall of the Cult of the Lady of the Lake (I just love English and "of the"s) that created a void of belief. What this means that in the borders of Bretonnia (and certainly in Bretonnia too) believing in something will quite possibly make it happen. I told all players to come up with minor household gods, patron saints etc. but did not tell them why. But during the campaign they have the chance to "give birth" to these new gods. Or they actually might even become gods themselves. Should they force enough people to believe them.

So this will most certainly NOT be a regular Warhammer campaign. Which is ok as this "season" (about ten sessions) will be the penultimate campaign the next ending in the destruction or salvation of the Old World...



That's enough about the campaign. I'll post our prelude later today. If I remember....





The Daily Empire - An inspirational & resource site for all games of Warhammer

The Guild Blog - A blog about RPGs, games (and apparently comics) by my gaming group

#2 doc_cthulhu



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Posted 13 September 2011 - 07:03 AM

Disclaimer: I don't have the cards or the books with me so I have to refer to things by my memory.


So we started our new campaign yesterday by finishing the characters and playing through a small combat to familiarize ourselves with the characters and to remember how all things worked. (Trust me. You can't do this enough.)

Everybody was excited to try out characters with more varied skill set than your average starting heroes. And we noticed that his kind of prelude let us (well... mainly the players) to fix the characters where there had gone wrong. I'm more than happy to allow this in a early stage of the game as it at least should make playing the characters more enjoyable.

The "adventure" we had was not much. It was just as plain as "you're travelling from one place to another when a band of greenskins attack you".

Personally I haven't used greenskins actually ever in my games. I find them a bit too simple to be actually interesting as you can always guess the motivations and sources of beastmen and mutants. But I was happily surprised to find out that they were actually perfect for what they were designed - for fighting.

I had two henchmen groups of goblins shooting arrows from an outcrop, four orcs attacking the characters (well two of them kept beating a dwarf slayer that I stole from the dwarf supplement one-sheet) and a black orc leader.

The battle was more interesting than any of us had anticipated mainly because I combined two location cards: steep river running next a rocky outcrop. 

The fight started with Kurt missing with his pistol shot and Rothirsch challenging the black orc into a duel. The black orc made instant game session history. It called out a WAAAGH (using Greenskin sheet from GM's Toolkit) and charging towards Rothirsch killing goblins on its way. With a mighty blow it almost struck the duelist down (leaving him with only two wounds) but managed to roll two chaos stars!

Now I don't remember that the particular actions said about chaos stars but the location card told it would cause the fighter to fall into the river!

So gone was the might boss with a one nearly insta-kill strike!

The rest of the battle was pretty much your basic fighting but Sayr managed to shine. He was convinced he could confuse the goblins with his winning smile and even though I added four difficulty and three misfortune dices into his dice pool he came out winning! He threw the goblins a smile that made them to hold their attack (well the other group of henchmen goblins at least) and started to climb towards them.

When he reached the goblins one of the henchmen groups tried to swarm him but only managed to cause a few bite marks on his calf. Sayr was quickly up again and again against nearly impossible odds managed to convince the goblins to run away!

So the characters had successfully averted a large greenskin attack almost without a scratch only to find an immensely pissed off troll slayer calling them by foul names for interrupting his quest for glorius death.


So ended our prelude session (which run only little over one hour) and I think we will be having a lot more fun when adventuring in the Grey Mountains!

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#3 HopefulHammerer



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Posted 13 September 2011 - 04:10 PM

I'm looking forward to reading more about this campaign.  I hope you keep the blog updated.


Best of luck in running it all.  Sounds very involved.

#4 Crazy Aido

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 11:26 AM

Looking forward to seeing where this goes aswell. All very epic I must say...

#5 Emirikol


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Posted 24 September 2011 - 05:36 AM

I think that's a cool idea that one of the characters has the same last name as a canon npc.  That might be an interesting thing to add to characters that choose the affluent initial starting wealth.  I'll probably hold off on that house rule however until after I get the slaanesh box.


- NEW OPTION FOR AFFLUENT CHARACTERS: you can start with the same last name as a noble in Sigmar’s heirs. If you start broke, you don’t even have a last name.



#6 Doublehex



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Posted 24 September 2011 - 08:29 AM

Emirikol said:

I think that's a cool idea that one of the characters has the same last name as a canon npc.  That might be an interesting thing to add to characters that choose the affluent initial starting wealth.  I'll probably hold off on that house rule however until after I get the slaanesh box.

I find it interesting how RPGers find that to be a cool idea, while post by post Roleplayers and MMO RPers would cringe at the thought. I guess it is because RPgs are a more down to earth, friendly environment (and smaller groups!) while RPers often have to deal with hundreds of other RPers so they need to set up rules to regulate it all.

#7 doc_cthulhu



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Posted 25 September 2011 - 02:30 AM

I did actually have more concerns about one the players being von Fleischer (and thus related to an infamous witch hunter family of our campaigns) than von Saponatheim.

In the end of "last season" von Saponatheims won "the edge of night" and so it is only fair that one of them is going to the front line to battle against Bretonnian scum. He has made it clear though that he will not use his last name if not absolutely necessary. I trust my players (a healthy amount of trust anyway) to treat their characters and their relatives with respect. The player of von Saponatheim only wanted to play one of the known houses and we decided together that von Saponatheims would make the most sense.

As of the willingness to use canon NPC names I think that in small groups there is absolutely no harm in such if it is a decision made by the player and GM together. Then again I wouldn't have cringed if I've encountered von Saponatheim's in Warhammer Online. In fact I would have liked it much more than most of the names I saw there. 

Nevertheless we'll be gaming next Tuesday and I can only hope that certain itsybitsy spider is not going to do to total party kill.

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#8 doc_cthulhu



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Posted 29 September 2011 - 02:37 AM

Second gaming session

Château Sanglac

Last Tuesday we got around to play through the first adventure of our current campaign. It's a single piece from a bigger campaign I'm writing (I really doubt it will ever see the light of the day so I think I'll try to publish it in pieces/adventures). And it ran perfectly. However this means that following could be one big spoiler for players whose GMs visit these forums. Consider yourselves warned. 

First thing first - I'd like to thank Crazy Aido, Amehdaus, JasonRR and Brottok for valuable ideas concerning the ending of this adventure! 


So the characters were kind of "special forces" of an Imperial Army stationed in the Grey Lady Pass to protect the Empire against Bretonnian scum that had been destroying the villages on the mountains (naturally this had all started by skavens but it was the topic of our previous campaign). Baron von Holzenauer (from EoN) had been appointed as the general of the army and he send the Party to the Bretonnian territory to confirm if the rumors of Bretonnians reinforcing the Château Sanglac were true or not.

This might be the time to point out that two of the players in my group are pretty much younger than the rest of the group and come mainly from D&D background. This raised some alarm flags for me in the previous "season" so I decided to write a bit more direct campaign this time as it seems that they haven't even grasped the rulesystem yet... Don't get me wrong though! I like to have them around but it's sometimes hard to get them focused on the STORY of what we are playing as they are remembering their previous encounter in D&D where a minotaur came after them dragging an enormous gelatinous cuve behind him on wheels...

Soooo the party set on to the trip over the snowy Grey Mountains. 

I'm not big on the "journey parts" of the adventure (one of the reasons I find LotR boring if you don't mind me saying) so we just skipped over the week where they traveled through crooked and icy mountain paths until they encountered a slaughtered trading party. It quickly became apparent that they were actually smugglers and that while the characters could not determine who or what had killed them (as they found no foot prints) they managed to notice that some of them were missing.

The party considered about finding a smugglers' base of operations for a while but came into conclusion that they had been sent on a mission for a reason. And thus they reached the Vale of Sanglac without much effort.

After a hard climb down to the vale the characters noticed it to be completely empty. All of the houses were abandoned and not a single creature were there to be seen. The castle loomed over the Sanglac Lake decaying and completely ready to take one last final dive into it. So naturally the party decided to check out the castle while they were at the spot.

Getting closer to the castle the party found ancient corpses of greenskins and Bretonnians that the hard and cold climate of the mountains had preserved quite well. They studied a couple of the corpses and find out that while they had died for natural reasons some of them had been drained from their fluids after that.

I had not even considered of creating the amount of paranoia that followed. The "sucked dry from fluids" come from the top of the hat at the moment and suddenly I had a party of experienced warriors cringing about the idea that there lived an ancient vampire that fed on the dead in the castle. As I had previously stated that the sun was going down in a couple of hours they were quite vary while they entered the castle.

Having not drawn any unnecessary maps about the castle I just let them wander around and mainly told them what they wanted to find. They found a laboratory that had interested a gold wizards that had joined their party (NPC who will start the campaign plot soonish enough by telling what he found out from the notes) and visited a Grail Chapel where certain prince von Tassenick had had his last stand over ten years ago against a foe that the party could not find.

At this time the players started to discuss about their plans for the night and one of them wondered aloud that what would they do to their horse and mules that had been left on the courtyard.

Naturally this was the time for me to strike.

The party had been following the "never split the party"-principle until now. As they heard the cries of their animal companions from outside each of them had a different route to get to the courtyard or stay out from it. (And behind my screen I placed the first tracking token on my special sheets...)

Three goblins riding with rock spiders were ridiciously easy to kill. It did not matter though as one the characters heard  loud booming sounds from under the castle during the fight. He left the "battle" with the NPC trollslayer Varnak and managed to find the source of the sounds.

Tens of goblins trying to release an arachnorok spider from the caves below the castle.

Rothirsch was on the peak of his reckless stance so his player decided he would charge the cyclopean spider in a mortal duel (as he's a excellent duelist after all). While charging he made sure that he would reach the spider before Varnak did. What he did not make sure of was if Varnak was even following him.

With a grace of an elf Rothirch ran up one of the legs of the spider god and struck a critical blow to Her. Which did not actually do almost anything to this monster. Only after that he noticed that the "I want to meet a cruesome death!"-Varnak was running away in terror.

Noticing that the goblins had almost released the spider queen Rothirsch attacked the shaman leading the goblins and killed it with a single blow. 

After which it was time for the "run for your lives"-scenario.

At the courtyard Kurt von Fleischer had managed to kill all the spiders and the goblins riding them he had ridden down after they tried to escape. He was returning to the castle when he felt the ground shake. As he entered the through the gate he saw his friend running out from the castle one by one in utter terror. Only Rothirsch and Assassin-Whose-Name-I-Can't-Remember were missing.

The whole castle was coming down and it was certain that it would not take long before there was not one rock left on another when the two missing party members stumbled to the doorway of the castle. Both were one Fatigue away from passing out in the castle and dying. It was an escape to remember! I haven't seen such a debate of who should make the one final roll that decided the fate of TWO PCs in while!

As they entered the courtyard Kurt and other PCs saw the spider god climbing her way through the castle. It was about to attack the characters one final time... 

...but the castle crumbled beneath the beast.

After some hot blooded debate of the usefulness of certain trollslayer we left the characters to get back to their base camp in non-gaming time.


I have to say it was one of the most exciting scenarios I've run in ages. And it was all due a couple of progress trackers and players playing the best they could. It came quite near that almost all of them perished in this first adventure and all players thanked me after the game (which happens really really rarely). The sheets I made worked perfectly and it was certainly an epic way to start a campaign. We all had a blast!


The Daily Empire - An inspirational & resource site for all games of Warhammer

The Guild Blog - A blog about RPGs, games (and apparently comics) by my gaming group

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