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Enemy Within - for GM thoughts, prep ideas etc.


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#1 valvorik

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 09:54 AM

To share thoughts on prepping Enemy Within.

For example, something that occurs to me if using Hero's Call racial backgrounds, Averlanders get a bit of use of their horse ability in travel (particularly if GM plays to that) but don't see much value from their goblin ability.  If I was player, I would feel a bit "hard done by" in that my special feature doesn't help very often.  If you have many Averlanders, perhaps at a minimum, more goblins in the travel encounters might be in order and otherwise think if the Conspiracy had some greenskins being manipulated into doing dirty work for it at times.



#2 valvorik

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 02:29 PM

On just that point, lack of greenskins, does anyone see a problem with replacing the bandits who are ambushing at the Black Cowl's behest (Day Six) with Greenskins?  Gertie + Bandits become goblin scout and main force, here in smaller numbers as they come out of mountains to escape dwarfs and such.  Perhaps linked to the goblins contending for Krieglitz family castle (Omens of War Averland entry).

Goblins don't cooperate much with other races from what I can see, but there are occassional references across editions to trading etc.  They have no use for most goods, if they get weapons and food, they would think that a fine deal.  The Swords of the Emperor books (a different take on the Averland crisis) also have goblin mischief and have them being armed by troublemakers - so they can still be found with gear that is clue of something up in Averheim.  The perfidy of an Averlander cooperating with a hated greenskin would be part of the sign of just how corrupt this conspiracy is becoming.

|Another point:

On page 39 it says Mathilda can reveal Luminary Mauer moved to Averheim 18 months ago.  His background page 11/12 says he arrived in 2517, 5 years ago.  I would go with the 11/12 entry.  A bit of confusion about things is fine "for realism" but I find players usually confuse enough on their own.

 

 

 



#3 valvorik

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 03:42 PM


Nice xmas dinner last night (we do it xmas eve) and today mostly puttering around on warhammer prep.


Definitely don't go with Mauer only in town 18 months, the Southlands expedition left "shortly after" the 2520 3rd Battle of Blackfire Pass and he was involved in providing advice so must have been present then etc.


For the Part One investigation, I'm going to borrow ideas from the Winds of Change investigation - which is also checking about in a neighbourhood.  A 'time clock' for the hours of day with my houserules about pressing on through evening and into night if staying up etc.


A scan of the waterfront district map has been annotated with the effects of Wharf District location card and a note that the Piers have risks from Ferry Station location card.  That will be printed off on legal size paper as a table aid.


A pair of cards, also to print off large size, summing up Averheim conditions (mostly the economic modifiers about goods etc.) and the North Shore "grey market".


A table of the NPC descriptions for "dockside regulars" to print off as squares to put out so to degree NPC's don't approach heroes they can decide "chat up the lounging odorous pair of men or the beggar with wild hair?"  Space enough to write in names as they put names to faces.


A sketch of the Plenzerplatz Area (not pretty, have to work on it) will complete the "table layout".


The heroes are mentioned as possibly going to Upright Pig for rooms in the first encounter.  It doesn't really rent out rooms so I will 'stand ready' to give out a brass, silver and gold tier trio of inns as needed once heroes have determined backgrounds etc.  A foreign messenger may be staying as a guest someplace, the gentle born's family may have a townhouse etc.


I think the Black Cowl's consolidation of underworld will be represented by the Criminal Empire group card (after all it is called that on page 37, just in passing).


Reputation and Tactic: Intimidating Presence; Flanking Manoeuvre.


Actions that decrease stability – saving the merchant, saving the gambler (I don't think it's stated but the loan shark she borrowed from will be part of the Black Cowl's crew now), showing connection to mutants]as that's not to liking of many (-2), showing connection to greenskins [I am going to have some greenskins used in addition to bandits, bandits are directing mutants and greenskins] since Averlanders hate them so much (-3), showing responsibility for death of Ute (since she's beloved - that's tough since it's Skaven - have to figure out Skaven killing rival criminals to realize they are allied with criminal network).


The Agenda starts at 3 as the consolidation of the criminal world is nearly complete.  Events that increase Agenda – making examples of merchant, gambler, revealing deaths of Klaus Keller Day 1 (page 36) and Hermann Halheimer Day 3 (page 38), Frederick Gosz leaves town Day 8 (page 55).


At Agenda 7, the Black Cowl’s hold on the criminal class is complete.  No one will speak out against him or share information, criminals will spontaneously act against perceived threats to him in order to curry favour.


If any criminal player actually wants to "become a made man" in this group it will be the Bootstrappers from Lure of Power, though the Space 2 benefit is the Intimidating Presence, because when not terrorizing people into joining the 'man in the black cowl' actually promises advancement, the chance to rise up out of the brass tier and reinvent oneself etc.  Apart from fluff, this fits in with the Conspiracy's general attitudes.


It occurs to me that heroes who get interested in the man in the black hood and the deaths of those who won't knuckle under may ask about those who have kunckled under.  These are all greedy/cowed men and women who won't spill beans really (and don't have much to spill).  Tales of mafia-style intimidation (when I woke up with my horse's head at foot of bed I knew it was time to give in…).  Some throw away names if needed:  there’s Cut Throat Meinhart who runs thieves and thugs, Felix the Smuggler on the North Shore, Rosalie Freuhner who runs the Upright Pig, loan shark Stanislaus Schlussel (the man who Beatrice Knox owes - he mostly specializes in small short term loans due at same time as your next payday).


Comments and suggestions, your own spins on things welcome.


 



#4 Johann Rowlocks

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 06:26 PM

Wow - you get into the finer details! I just kind of get the general picture and improvise. Glad to see you posting about ways to run the adventures in the campaign. There are a couple of player hand-outs that would be great for the community to collaborate on and post (the agitator handbill about the nobility for instance!) Any - full of turkey - off to bed!



#5 valvorik

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 01:54 AM

You are so right.  The agitator hand bill would be a great in-game item!



#6 Ghazi

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 01:26 PM

I've been reading through the book the last couple of days in prep for running it next month.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts in this forum. 



#7 valvorik

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 02:00 PM

Others thoughts, different spins welcome, idea is for exchange of ideas, like the agitator handbill idea.

some other thoughts I have had, trouble-making pcs may get set up for crimes, poisoned with weird root to wake up from dream making an insanity check, next to a dead body etc.  

The adventure's encounters are not put into Acts at times.  The Act-Rally structure is important in rationing use of higher  recharge actions etc. The time clock I use from Winds of Change gives four actions a day  when investigating, eg 4 interviews, (this is using the games flexible time structure) so each night is a rally step.  For these narrative time nights I give wound recovery but not stress/fatigue, that I give end of episode and first night afterwards.

the episode end comes before  day 8 griffon, which is in a three act structure..  This assumes they have not confronted skaven yet, 



#8 thejondifool

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 12:53 AM

I am in doubt that my group would actual keep being interested in that many sessions doing city plots, and as such i am really looking for options to take them out in the wilderness, to the warfront or simellar to break up the city investigation setup x3 that TEW provides. I see that the travells provides plenty of encounters , but I do think my group needs more. As such i am thinking of sidetracking them to "witch song" or something like that after first or second part of TEW. 



#9 Ghazi

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 02:26 AM

You would know your group's appetites better than anyone.   Always good to season published stuff to your group's taste.

Character creation in preparation of the campaign has been a lot of fun, and the background cards and the questions they raise have really got my group jazzed about the campaign proper.   I know that some have done away with the party card altogether, but I like the collaborative and story telling effects it brings.   Anyone else start with character creation, yet?   I'm interested to hear what mix of Backgrounds and Party cards others are considering.



#10 valvorik

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 07:27 AM

We're on slow burn, I've asked folks to select background and race (they connect, if you're a halfling the menial/rogue limit means backgrounds are influenced etc.), and then we'll do "draw 3 pick 1" career choice with (a) assurance any career drawn that does not match at least one background trait is replaced; (b) ability to select one trait and say "at least one career has to have that".

Then I will tinker the questions a bit based on the information those provide and which ones are chosen (since they cross link).

Also some questions allow one player to create facts about another's character and we've had bad experience with that in past so I will re-arrange some of those (instead of academic how was criminal involved in loss of your papers, criminal how where you involved etc.).

So far it's dwarf outcast (shamed at 3rd battle of black fire), battle-scarred (probably Averlander), criminal (uncertain of race), and academic (angling to be wizard).  We may have a 5th player rejoin us when we restart campaign so his choices not not known.

Have to mention, reading I've been spotting connections to books etc.  None that are plot spoilers etc.  A young Chlotilde (just gone from spotty teen to young beauty)  is mentioned in Beasts in Velvet and Tochfel is the steward of Averburg in the Swords of Justice etc. books.  Beasts in Velvet also has another annoying Tuchtenburg (sp)



#11 No:12

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 08:24 AM

Hi,

At last I got it yesterday!!!

Due to start in spring but my players have started making characters so I can do some more detailed backround to tie in with the story. I let them make the character by choosing career, then discussing the concept and offering them the backround card I thought best fit and what they would enjoy most. I also offer them the chance to buy a few exp by paying for them in aquisition of crit/disease/corruption/insanity if they wish to. So far we have:

Human male pistollier (Battle Scarred), young man from a noble family in Averheim who served in battle and saw too many die. Now hangs around in bars drinking to forget, waiting for something to ignite him to action again.

Human male dilletante (Gentle Born), another young nobleman, from a desperate landless family ancestrally tied to Solland. Determined and disillusioned with the class system of the Empire, a rebel without a cause, yet…

Human male Gold Wiz Apprentice (possibly Academic), young man born to a mad philospher who killed himself after driving himself insane, and his mother killed herself soon after from grief and shame. His inheritance invested in study he was spotted as an entrepreneurial survivor by the gold college and whisked to Altdorf. He too is disillusioned by the Empires stagnation and seeks change, the voices in his dreams have started to suggest methods to accomplish this.

Human male Witch/Rat Catcher (Outcast), another young man. Never knew his parents, growing up in the slums of Altdorf. Working a dull life of catching rats and other vermin, he began to notice he could do dark sorcerous things in the gloom of the sewers (player took dark magic talent). dressed in rags and grease. Other than this he is a gregarious and cheerful fellow.

Quite looking forward to this…



#12 Ghazi

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:05 AM

Thanks, guys, for sharing your groups/characters in utero while you prep.  I'll do the same.

My group is:

Criminal: Halfling . . . leaning towards weirdroot/daemon bane cooking Apothecary or Gambler, no stranger to the docks.

Outcast: Ogre Maneater, exiled for minor offense to tribe tyrant. befriended by Criminal halfling.

Gently Born: Human Pistolier, ambitious. landless noble and discharged cadet.

Academic: Wizard's Apprentice of the Celestial Order

Battle-Scarred: Wood Elf Wardancer whose wandering kinsband fought at Third Battle of Black Fire Pass.


 

 



#13 Ghazi

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:10 AM

I let them choose background first, then race.  From there, I offered 3-6 choices of careers that fit and worked with group.

The background structure enabiling one player to devise some elements that need to be woven into another's is a collaborative feature that we really liked.  Then again we are Fiasco players.  By having the group talk about their answers to these questions, it gets them storytelling together and learning to play off one another, give-and-take, etc.  For our group, it's a healthy way for people to realize that characters serve the shared story we're crafting together.

With that said, I have played in enough Fiasco games to see how this good bad (in a way that some might not find fun).

Anyone taking a swing at that handout for the Remprecht treatise?  Aside from Locke and Rousseau, any other anti-aristocracy/monarchy philosophers who might be sourced and butchered to this end?



#14 silentarcher00

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 10:48 AM

Hey.

So my friends bought me this for Christmas and wanted me to start running it the very next day (typical). We did character creation which actually set up the adventure very well with the back grounds. The trouble I sort of foresaw was going to be getting the players to investigate all the aspects of the first chapter, not just focusing on the missing fisherman (who saved the woodelf outcast's life as he was traveling to Averheim). Now I'm not sure how to proceed. The adventure is written not expecting the players to find the scaven until after the party/theft, but doesn't give enough ideas on how to run an investigation to keep the players interested and not feeling like they are being railroaded or distracted by me trying to get them to do other things. Valvorik mentioned a sort of winds of change scenario, which would be great if I hadn't just run that   :S   They also refused to help the dockers look for thier missing man, though I don't think this is a huge problem, but makes me a little concerened about them getting tunnel vision. As it is their plans for day 2 include trying to get an audience with the wizard (introduce the Southlands exhibition) and try and find a place that Jurgen Klinkski may have gone to get fire wood. This is obviously a good place to start an investigation but all I can think of doing is making it a bit of a dead end (which might anoy my players).

Can anyone give me some advice? All I can think now is that I have 2 days to fill before all the coach trip stuff takes them out of town. I do have a side plot with the Witch-hunter character looking for a wizard he blames for his regiment being slaughtered at 3rd Black Fire (an 'accidental' misscast I'm going to tie in with the conspiracy) but the missing people are going to draw my players attention the most. And my player size is 2, so only so many personal quests to distract them.

That said, the rest of the adventure looks like it's going to be awesome!



#15 MaSc

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 12:41 PM

This can really become a problem with starting the campaign. The investigation about the missing people will lead to no clues, because there are no crime scenes to investigate (e.g. Jurgen ist missing, but he can as well have left the city). Keep your players interested in interacting with the NPCs at the docks an do some tweaks to get them involved in everything. The investigation is just a warm up for the political state of the city and the campaign as a whole.



#16 valvorik

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 03:36 PM

Ghazi said:

 

Anyone taking a swing at that handout for the Remprecht treatise?  Aside from Locke and Rousseau, any other anti-aristocracy/monarchy philosophers who might be sourced and butchered to this end?

 

 

Working on it now, using the backgrounds from various warhammer sites for parchments, one page for each section.  Elaborating a bit with back stories etc.  Findng more connections but still pretty much what was in the book (which means for IP reasons I don't think I can share them generally).  Theodosius is head of Tuchtenhagen family because his holder brother Volker was killed in a duel, yes indeed, again in Beasts in Velvet novel (although killed in a duel is the PR version of what happened).

The pamphlet on them will be the tale of Silver into Gold makes Dross - von Tuchtenhagen

Note sure I will do the Kaufman one, rather have that view shared if heros ask him etc.  Elevating Kaufman that way, above other minor nobles, "flags" him too much I think.  I haven't decided who the Cowl is, will wait at least to see what players come up with in backgrounds etc.



#17 valvorik

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 04:34 PM

silentarcher00 said:

Hey.

The trouble I sort of foresaw was going to be getting the players to investigate all the aspects of the first chapter, not just focusing on the missing fisherman (who saved the woodelf outcast's life as he was traveling to Averheim). Now I'm not sure how to proceed. The adventure is written not expecting the players to find the scaven until after the party/theft, but doesn't give enough ideas on how to run an investigation to keep the players interested and not feeling like they are being railroaded or distracted by me trying to get them to do other things. Valvorik mentioned a sort of winds of change scenario, which would be great if I hadn't just run that   :S   They also refused to help the dockers look for thier missing man, though I don't think this is a huge problem, but makes me a little concerened about them getting tunnel vision. As it is their plans for day 2 include trying to get an audience with the wizard (introduce the Southlands exhibition) and try and find a place that Jurgen Klinkski may have gone to get fire wood. This is obviously a good place to start an investigation but all I can think of doing is making it a bit of a dead end (which might anoy my players).

Can anyone give me some advice? All I can think now is that I have 2 days to fill before all the coach trip stuff takes them out of town. I do have a side plot with the Witch-hunter character looking for a wizard he blames for his regiment being slaughtered at 3rd Black Fire (an 'accidental' misscast I'm going to tie in with the conspiracy) but the missing people are going to draw my players attention the most. And my player size is 2, so only so many personal quests to distract them.

That said, the rest of the adventure looks like it's going to be awesome!

I don't think that not looking for missing docker gang boss halts things as long as they are looking for other missing folks.

A few thoughts, admittedly ill organized, steam of consciousness.

First, using the Winds of Change approach I mean use a "time clock" where narrative time means each player gets about 4 chances a day to do something worthwhile.  You poke around, ask people who know nothing, waste time etc. then have one chance etc. I don't mean using the events of that adventure just the time clock appproach which I have used in other adventures without complaints of it being "repeating", it's just a system like initiative etc.  So). trying to get to see Mauer is one of the 4 things to do for example (a delay roll means of course 2).

If it was my game, checking out Jurgen's movements takes them to the mudflat and they learn that high water since the time he vanished would have removed traces, indeed there was high water that night.  Jurgen was last seen leaving the White Horse (it being the taven on the stinky way [if you put the names of the wegs through google translate] it's where a Fisherman gets drinks), but 'it was raining so weather was not fit for man nor beast" so no witnesses to him.  Olga and he don't live in her stall of course, they live in a ramshackle tenement a block further inland.

The real clues to find are the timing of vanishing and rain (high water), the odd report of a strange figure.  There is fun opportunity to confuse "the black cowl" with the mysterious figure on the docks (skaven).

If they don't help the dockers, you can have docker gang fights breaking out and causing trouble.  

They can get the rumours about strange figures on docks at night.  Then they nap in day to stay up at night.  If it's not raining of course, they only run afoul of warring gangs and criminals.

The merchant in trouble on day 2 is also a good way to involve them in an action scene and bring the criminal activity on stage, they might even witness the murder that night of the body found day 3.

On day 2, Mauer won't have more to say than he does on Day 3 when another body found.

On day 2, it didn't rain last night, the Skaven were not dragging victims around (just killing someone whose body is meant to be found as part of intimidating underwold).  The weather gets miserable as day goes on, making it bad time to be out and about anyway.  If you have Gathering Storm you can borrow weather effects (or just note that Heavy Rain means all Observation and vision checks - including ballistic attacks - suffer a misfortune die beyond medium range).

The night of day 2 Ute is taken (it's raining).  A key thing to make sure is that they meet Ute first.  Ute should be lovable and when she goes missing it should tweak them.

If they try to put together rain and vanishings, that takes at least 1 turn of the clock for example to come up with the fact that people have vanished every night it was raining hard and river swollen.  If it was Call of Cthulhu, they would be thinking Deep Ones.  In any event "something coming out the river" might be suspsected and someone seeing a shaggy shape emerge from the water (a skaven of course) could add to that (being rats I consider them good swimmers, it's the only bath they get).

If worst comes to worst and they find the Skaven lair have them "already cleared out" (to a secondary lair).  Leave traces of their presence, or create some "gutter runner" expendibles but make it clear the real ones have left.  Keep Skrabb at least around to steal the artefact.

You can play up the criminal underworld events.  Use it as a red herring even, create some more thugs and cut throats who are part of the Black Cowl's network, in my game this will be "the Brotherhood" a new criminal organization that is a shadowy network.  They may try to scare PC's off as being unwelcome in the docks.  Ultimately this is related of course, as the skaven and criminal network have same master.  Perhaps the wizard if corrupt is part of the criminal network now and even if found turns out was "doing some research work for someone about strange ratmen bells".  This way their interests lead them back to the stirring pot.

Also, I would not feel wed to things happening on the Days given.  Move up or back bodies found, even the coach trip etc.

 



#18 silentarcher00

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 02:26 AM

Thanks, there are some good ideas here. I especially like the 'monster in the water' red hearing, might hint at that a little bit. My players have already done the witch's song and always seem to expect the dark elf to appear around a corner riding a flying giant bog octopus! So this might get them thinking about that. Am going to use the clock too, however have just read through book 3 of the campaign and it fits an awful lot of stuff into one day so a little worried it might clash a litte with them doing less per day at the begining of the adventure. Oh well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

I also didn't think about the dockers constantly brawling with each other after the first day, will have to add that in a bit more.



#19 valvorik

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 05:26 AM

Glad to help.

If you're up to posting reports on your game please do start a thread.  I find reports on things I'm going to play inspiring and often useful to read.

Another three general comments for folks:

1.  More map features

A watch station is mentioned for the docks.  This is not on the map.  I think it's logical to actually use the Toll House location card and put it at the north end of Griffon Bridge.  Given that the North Bank is the "outside city" area (technically Stirland) having a toll station there to ensure goods brough over pay duties would make sense.  It might have a little jetty for a boat or two as the river is likely the real way contraband comes over.

I would mention fishing boats, barges and vessels being docked - even use counters or something.  Otherwise the map makes it look like there are none.  It is a "in game map" of course so it wouldn't show them but players may think "this is what you see".  Emphasize, it's a map not an artist likeness.  It doesn't show the fishwife's stall, the barges (one of which will be on fire shortly) etc.  If the heroes figure out that people are vanishing at river/into it etc. they may want to interview barge owners etc.  If relevant, I would say Adolphus Stark's barge arrived a week ago (day after Rolf disappeared, after Jurgen did) so they are not witnesses or suspects.  They might have seen the barge floating down river on day 6.

2.  Another group to meet if poking around at night.

River smugglers, moving goods late at night, might make another good source of information that is reluctant to talk easily (don't want to admit why they were out on the river and saw a figure in black dragging a man to the river the night someone vanished - assumed at the time it was just dockers settling scores or similar and didn't want to poke nose in).  They can add that they know no other boats were out that night (they were crossing in the bad weather precisely because they figured no one would see them).

3  Agitator broadsheets

Thinking about it, I believe the content of the agitator handouts I've created is all pretty generic warhammer information from various sources, so if someone wants me to shoot them pdf or word version pm me.

Happy Gaming

Rob



#20 valvorik

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 03:46 PM

silentarcher00 said:

 Am going to use the clock too, however have just read through book 3 of the campaign and it fits an awful lot of stuff into one day so a little worried it might clash a litte with them doing less per day at the begining of the adventure. Oh well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

It is narrative time so you can expand or contract actions.  In Interludes I may give only 1-2 notable actions between adventures for example even if it's a couple of weeks.  Conversely you could explain how being such high Rank characters they fit more into a day etc.






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