valvorik

Enemy Within - for GM thoughts, prep ideas etc.

203 posts in this topic

Thanks for keeping this thread up to date, been reading the book and it is nice to see people had the same reservations I did - and nicer that people have already put some thought into good work arounds!

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I'm interested at having a peek at Valvorik's agitator pamphlet. Valvorik could you please send it to dieterdemey@hotmail.com?

 

Basically ANY extra's and props would help…  as I find TEW2 (just) a bit lacking…. This thread though has been most inspirational in 'pimping' the long awaited campaign (e.g. Valvorik's winds of change initiative clock).

 I've only read through the Intro and Book1. I do like a lot of what I've read but I am missing some fundamentals:

-Averheim gazetteer/citymap: would there be a 1ed or 2ed scenario with more details on the city or a published citymap? 

-the PC backgrounds are nicely done but the presented pc's motivations for investigating the docks disappearances are a bit meager ('Getting started' pg 29):

why would a gently-born (i.e. affluent) pc or a foreign messenger bother with 30shillings for info on Rolf Haller? ok it's quiet a bit of money (5 days of pay for a skilled artisan) but come one, why all the fuss over a missing docker.

Alsoo: Graf Friederich, Lum Mauer or Cpt Baerfaust asking the PC's to look into the matter basically rules them out as the BC. For why would they ever attract attention to their own shadowy business?

By that same logic the PC's commission with the Red Arrow rules Graf Friederich out as the BC, as well as any engagement in the plot of silver or gold tier PC's

… and excluding wealthier PC's from TEW result in a new problem: why would the noble Clothilde ever bother to intimately interact with low born characters -as proposed during the coach ride and at the menagerie… 

A more organic introduction of the PC's into the noble's circles would work much better in my opinion. E.g. the scenario's set around Ubersreik hinted at just such an approach (PC's getting a noble patron). As it is presented in TEW it seems a bit artificial/brusque. Perhaps integrating elements of Edge of Night, Eye for an Eye and Mirror of Desire into TEW might be worthwhile. 

 

 

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Veteres said:

I'm interested at having a peek at Valvorik's agitator pamphlet. Valvorik could you please send it to dieterdemey@hotmail.com?

I will send it off tonight (that's 12 hours from now local time).

Veteres said:

-the PC backgrounds are nicely done but the presented pc's motivations for investigating the docks disappearances are a bit meager ('Getting started' pg 29):

why would a gently-born (i.e. affluent) pc or a foreign messenger bother with 30shillings for info on Rolf Haller? ok it's quiet a bit of money (5 days of pay for a skilled artisan) but come one, why all the fuss over a missing docker.

I'm not showing Players the "flip side" questions and doing versions tailored more to their race, actual career etc.  The gently born will not have access to ready funds nor the foreign messenger.  Both will be "ahem" somewhat embarassed by their lack of funds to maintain standing.  Each will have a reason to look around docks and all may in fact have fought at Black Fire thus be comrades etc. (wars make great backgrounds for unlikely comrades).

This also allows me to only do them once we've established "so are you a gang of lowlife thugs and outcasts, including down on luck noble etc. scrabbling for shillings." or are you "well-dressed socialites slumming down in the docks on a lark for a friend".

The Jurgen and "missing friend" links are important.  I intend to have one of the better off NPC's have a positive link to Amalie Steiner (from the Hedge Maze etc.) to give some extra urgency to finding her in the hedge maze when monster gets loose (if they save her and take off blindfold she smiles, "I was hoping it would be you….")

BTW, in my version Amalie plugs her hears with some handy beeswas as part of her game - so no one will accuse her of modulating her singing or otherwise hinting in response to shouts.  Otherwise once it goes to pieces and people are screaming, she would hear it all and stop singing.

Veteres said:

Graf Friederich, Lum Mauer or Cpt Baerfaust asking the PC's to look into the matter basically rules them out as the BC. For why would they ever attract attention to their own shadowy business?

By that same logic the PC's commission with the Red Arrow rules Graf Friederich out as the BC, as well as any engagement in the plot of silver or gold tier PC's

I think there are some notes about that in text.  GM likely has to do a bit work whoever is BC.  The official reason is the BC wants the Skaven eliminated after they make the bell for him.  He likes "using and then tidying up afterwards" as a theme (e.g., what he does with the Red Crown) and sees the heroes as useful fools to do his clean up work..

If Graf Freidrich is the BC, another reason he might use them with coach job is to slow down their investigation.

Overall, however, I think it works better if the heroes are (as you say below) organically motivated to get involved at first due to personal connections, desire to avoid a docker gang war etc.  You don't want it to have been the classic "we should just have killed the first person who made us a job offer, that would have solved all of this up front" reaction at the end to a "evil patron".

Veteres said:

… and excluding wealthier PC's from TEW result in a new problem: why would the noble Clothilde ever bother to intimately interact with low born characters -as proposed during the coach ride and at the menagerie… 

Chlotilde is on a "slow burn" campaign for Elector (as it turns out later) so chatting up the common folks is part of her public image (and she is genuinely concerned for the little people, even if they do get silly ideas about Free Towns and such at times - which is why she thinks she will make the best Elector).  Similar to Countess Marlene riding along on goblin hunts.  Oh those down to earh Alptraum women.  

Veteres said:

A more organic introduction of the PC's into the noble's circles would work much better in my opinion. E.g. the scenario's set around Ubersreik hinted at just such an approach (PC's getting a noble patron). As it is presented in TEW it seems a bit artificial/brusque. Perhaps integrating elements of Edge of Night, Eye for an Eye and Mirror of Desire into TEW might be worthwhile. 

Neat ideas.  I always like slow build ups if they can be worked into campaign.  Meet in advanture 2 the NPC who figures in adventure 4 etc.  I plan to try running the dock investigation as if it is the "regular getting to know each other adventure" and encourage heroes not to imagine it's all tied together as much as it really is (if I could hide fact it's all coming from one book I would but they aleady know that).

 

 

 

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It was all going so well… and then I tried to run the garden party with hardly any preparation as my friends refused to go home and it was our third day straight of gaming without me having a chance to really plan anything and I was tired so I ended up just talking for most of it and boring my players so they didn't really want to interfere with stuff happening between NPCs or investigating and seemed to get a little frustrated when the scaven just ran past them!

So my first point is don't do that!

However the adventure had gone pretty well up to this point, this being our 4th session. The PCs were suspicious at the amount of disappearances that were going on. They had also seen a cloaked figure late one night, and thinking it might be the Black Cowl had tried to follow it, but lost it on the river's banks. They paid off Beatrice Knox's debts at the last minute, and followed her to the Upright Pig, where she handed the money over to an individual who then slipped through a door into the cellar of the inn. However when they tried to follow they were met by several thugs at the door, and after a long  stand off decided they didn't have any evidence that the disappearances were to do with them and they would probably get murdered if they tried to fight their way inside.

But then we came to the part I hadn't been expecting to reach until next week!

So in hindsight, this is what I think I should have been trying to include during the party:

Information about the current political climate. With all the nobles around this has to be the main topic of chat. The reason the Black Cowl may consider Clothilde Von Alptraum a threat could be worked into this part. This could either contrast with the power struggle in the docks or reflect it, in a more civilised way.

Rumours about Kislev having to fend off more marauder raids than usual and that they might be assembling an army for an invasion would be good to fit in here, otherwise the war that breaks out a few days later might seem like it's come out of the blue.

More ways for the PCs to be involved. I've not done a scene like this before and it ended up with the players just listening to me as I waffled on about what they saw. Maybe writing out a few events that can happen, like at the ball in 'Edge of Night' would help anyone planning on running this part. I know this might not be much of a problem for some GMs, I've been in games where all the players just make any scene their own, which can be a great time for mischief and mayhem. However my party consists of two players that I lost the attentions of early on in the session.   :(

So the action for this bit is designed to be confusing to the PCs. They don't know exactly what is going on. Screams are coming from the hedge maze which one of them may have seen a large creature shamble into. Anyone who stays within the tent may have to deal with panicked nobles as well as the smoke bomb going off. (This was what happened to the Witch Hunter, who was expecting someone to try and steal the jade face, so stayed in the tent and tried to clear everyone out of it by firing his pistol. Chaos star caused the crowd to panic and rush past him, forcing him outside.)

The trouble is it can get very confusing for the GM and the players too! So here are a few tips of things I would do different next time.

1) MAKE A LARGE PRINT OF THE HEDGE MAZE THAT YOU CAN DRAW ON!! Can't stress how useful this would have been.

2) A sketch of the grounds layout would be good. Struggled to picture how it was supposed to be layed out, and how far things were apart (i.e. the tent from the demigryph cage and the cage to the maze, the distance from the front of the tent to the back and maybe even how many manoeuvers it takes to circumvent the tent. The distance from the tent to the hedge the scaven makes a bolt for). These would be very handy to have written down for quick reference. Also think about how many entrances the tent has, and what you can see from looking out of them. In my opinion the PCs shouldn't be able to see the demigryph cage or the entrance to the hedge maze just from the tent entrance, and would need to move closer to discover what is happening.

3) Moving around in the tent after the smoke bomb has gone off should be very difficult. No only can you not see but there are probably plenty of other people who are trying to escape, tables and chairs and other hazards that need to be taken into account. Either a location card like the 'Bandit camp' or a skill check needs to be used to find the PCs way to the exhibits. The sudden sound of breaking glass or the groans of the bodyguard that gets stabbed could help.

4) Any characters who do succeed in passing the Toughness test to stay in the tent, or do what one of my players did and run around the outside, discovering the hole in the canvas as they go should be given the chance to 'stop' the theft. I was thinking of adding an accomplice to Skrabb, just a normal gutter runner. The 'Smoke bomb' action card will help Skrabb escape and it doesn't matter if the gutter runner is killed and the PCs recover whatever unimportant item it was trying to steal at the time. Of course it's body dissolves before any of the NPCs in the area get a chance to see it, and it just occurred to me that this could implement the PC in the theft of the item! Ha-ha!

5) The Demigryph is a tough opponent. Without the whole part there it would be hard to take down. If the Party happens to be combat orientated then this could turn into a fun monster hunt. If the party is not all there, or not particularly combat orientated then it would be interesting to watch the PC's trying to distract it from eating people while not getting disembowlled in the process until the Greatsword guards arrive to help out. (I like the suggestion of Amalie using wax ear plugs, might make the PCs realise she is in danger and try and find her before the demigryph does).

6) If players don't feel like charging into the maze after a large beast then this could partly turn into a social encounter as they try and calm down the crowd and organise runners to be sent to fetch a healer and the Greatsword guards… atleast until the scaven strike. As I mentioned the Witch Hunter attempted to make everyone leave, slightly disastrously (if he'd failed the check someone would probably have tackled him.)

Anyway, those are my sugestions. I don't know if anyone else has run this bit yet but if not this seems to be the first bit of the campaign that really needs a little more extra work from the GM (unless your players have done something off the rails, like mine almost did trying to demand entry to the Upright Pig cellar). Am interested in anyone else's thoughs to running this bit.

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Thanks for sharing those thoughs.  In my own prep working through things the Garden Party etc. has struck me as likely the trickiest thing to run.  I like your suggestions about it.  In part my concern is that the PC's don't seem to really "win" or "earn" much till the last bit (fight etc.)  - they are not expected to stop the theft (indeed should be encouraged to go save Amalie).

I have scanned the maze card and will print off blown up and have sketched the layout of the grounds etc (will put display backing onto the surrounding general hedge to help skaven plans) but your suggestions are good ones for topics of conversation etc.  The sense perhaps of Kaufman angling for Chlotilde's hand, she being a key player etc., good to develop.  Overall I want the events before then to give heroes a chance to earn favour or show their alignment (Leitdorf, Alptraum) etc.  Something more than the one clue about an odour that doesn't definitelfy lead to tannery (and isn't supposed to just yet).

I've done little cards for each cage and the marquee to help with layout.

Rob

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Hi,

Very nice thread.

Valvorick, I'd love to get a copy of your pamphlet too if thats possible. You can mail me at luke.rose77@gmail.com, I've been doing a little sheet of NPCs for Averheim to throw in during TEW1 if youre interested.

Was thinking about the "earn" factor, I have two wealthy noble player characters to deal with. The things I think are most useful are to play up to are 1) getting the PCs buy in through sympathy for the poorer folk. 2) The desire to win favour of the higher ranking nobility featured in the story.

I can see my players sniffing at a random guard duty for a handful of shillings….   and then doing a quick about face when they realise they'll be guarding Clothilde von Alptraum! ;)

Loving the adventure so far though…

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Emailed and looking forward to seeing your stuff.

Just a caution, posting your email in the open may result in crawler bots picking it up and increasing your spam quotient.  It's actually easier for me thatn if you pm me but avoiding exposing to spam was reason I suggested pming.

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Thank you silentarcher00 for your insights. I will make a copy of the hedge maze, on which I can move character standups. My thought about getting the PCs involved early in the garden party: The bored nobles will talk to them, because they have heard about the incident with Clothilde, or they want to know from the better-off PCs why they do all the foot work at the docks. Essentially I will use the ladies-in-waiting for a minor sub-plot with my PC-Noble-Diletante. On another thought I will involve Wanda Grunenwald and Theodosius von Tuchtenhagen in a subplot with the Gourmand-Society early on. All starts with an invitation to diner :-)

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thanks soo much or the props Valvorik!

great quality. 

the npc card deck is awesome. a great tool for an immersing description to give te pc's -brief, but to the point: one line to typecast a npc -I think I will standardise this approach in future games (btw where would I find the warhammeresque templates you used on the menagerie npc's? -would like to use it on the dock npcs)

time track: I do like the idea of four 'storytime' actions a day but…

 -would a rallyphase not be appropriate after each and not only at night?

 -would darkness rules also not be appropriately placed on the track?

 -aren't 'tiring effects' not a bit harsh? as a person with a regular 6hrs night sleep I would tend to move all effects up 1 step (but then again that's personal preference -the mechanism is quiet genial and give the pc's a neat time framework -something that in my opinion will enhance the rpg experience and make for a more real world)

Rambrecht's pamphlets: great stuff -how would you part them to the pc's? you wouldn't happen to know how pamphlet distribution was organised in late 15th cent? I guess Rambrecht stuffing all four pamphlets in their hands for a silver wouldn't work for me. Perhaps let the players find some of the documents whilst searching through npc houses or just laying (between a stack of old magazines) in an inn etc. Again I would opt for a slow built up.

Averheim table aid: again very usefull -giving the pc's a concise framework to play in and helping GM and PC's to focus on more relevant interactions -I am wondering if perhaps a little culling of some information might improve the table aid (a lot of PC's tend to give up when they have to read to much…)

It would be sooo great if the Averheim table aid would feature a map of the city -anybody happens to know if such a map was ever produced in earlier editions?

 

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Thanks for feedback.

The stuff I sent is either Word of PDF's for most part - so copy and revise to your taste for your table of course.

For the background etc. for the menagerie NPC's, these were created with the fan-created "strange eons" program using the Liber Fanatica plug-in.

http://cgjennings.ca/eons/

http://www.liberfanatica.net/Addenda.html

Warning, once you save you can't edit (find a typo, recreate, sigh).  Earlier versons of strange eons allowed editing after saving so hopefully this version will as it is updated.

Time Track

I do not give a rally step till the night (unless a fight or something breaks out as you get one just as it looms then).  My view is "your dice hit the table about 4 times, unless you choose not to something when you could, then rally" represents a decent ratio of "chances to act, incur fatigue/stress etc. before rallying".  If it's "rally after each roll" then stress/fatigue become "phfft".  It may help explain that I also use "let it ride" principle of not making people "roll same check twice in a row" in simple encounters.  Your Insight perceives his lie, that means you see through his lies for the encounter, only one roll.  That does not apply in "social engagements" with initiative etc. (social combat in essence).

I should add, perhaps ironically given your concern it was harsh, I realized that I had no "you were up all night" effect and have added one (the negative effects of previous space last all day, and the Resilience check is to avoid becoming Intoxicated - in real world sleep deprivation has been found to produce effects similar to intoxication).

Darkness rules - you're right that would be a good addition for anyone just using my handout.  It would likely require making font smaller though to be on one page and I like "table top handouts" to be large font.  For my own table, I have a separate generic "lighting conditions" generic "table aid/reference" card to put out whenever relevant (during the day in poorly lit room, in sewers etc.).

Tiring Effects - essentially it says that after you have been going for 12 hours straight (didn't take a seista nap), you get a misfortune die for hours 13-15, then still going you get two and have to make a check to avoid a Fatigue and Stress.  I think that's reasonable (then again I am someone who tries to get 8 hours sleep).  Misfortune dice aren't too harsh in my view.  The fact actions gain a Chaos Star - become Sluggish is the hardest thing.  That's a generic chaos star (like a location card).  I admit one area I deviate from the core rules a bit is that I like Chaos Star effects to be nasteier than many location card ones.  I also aim to make Fatigue/Stress count (it is after all really Call of Cthulhu disguised as D&D).  This is very much a "your table may vary" thing.

Agitator Pamphlet Distribution - this is tricky as the Old World is mostly illiterate so "written only" distribution is not a good way to spread ideas.  I currently plan to have Rambrecht holding forth, giving away some contents for free as teasers.  Any Silver or Gold tier PC is latched onto and harangued to buy the pamplet for a shilling - perhaps a single page is given for free as sample.  Anyone who is successful in social check with him gets him going and he gives out the content orally just out of enthusiasm (he's not a good negotiator really).  It's only if Players really want a written record they need to buy it.  A good enough roll and he will sell below cost (again he's a believer)…. MY CAMPAIGN IDEA … since he's badmouthing all nobles vying to be elector he's really doing the Conspiracy's work, he doesn't know who, but some benefactor is paying his costs…

Table Aid - again, modify for your table, these things are very much "geared for my table no warranty for world at large".  My players are fairly interested in reading anything on the table so it works in my case (well at least half of them, who then remind others of relevant things).

Map of Averheim - as far as I know Averheim has not been mapped officially or by a fan.  Googlefu has failed me on that count and the various fan sites with all the maps ever produced etc. don't have one.

 Generally Re PART TWO - the Menagerie and Silentarcheroo's experience.

That has me thinking a more fundamental rewrite of that Part, keeping the Act Two highpoint but changing/shifting stuff in the Act One and Three to make them less "tons of GM exposition and Player rolls that don't matter".

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I downloaded SE 3 (I had v2 on an old computer but not my new one), and then just downloaded the plug in and it worked fine.  In SE used a "all options" choice for what to use.  WFRP then appears on the main menu as choice of "what do you want to make" showing the various types of cards.  That said SE3 is still 'newer" and may be a bit buggy (e.g., I tried changing default language setting and it didn't like running at all after that, had to reinstall).

-- added -- oh i see you must have fixed issue, folks can ignore this too except the caution about taking care with SE3

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I am working on rewriting/improving the Menagerie episode.

The written text is very GM exposition heavy and it's not a good instance of the 3 Act structure in my view.

Silentarcheroo's ideas are a good part of that (e.g., reveal that Chlotilde is becoming more and more a contender, reveal more of the politics going on and spread suspicions around), any other suggestions? 

My basic ideas (building on silentarcheroo's) are:

(a) let the Academic PC have a potential role as Sun Society member "in the Marquee" as conversationalist for NPC's and let a Gentleborn PC have a role dealing more personally with NPC's (though it seems I won't have a Gentleborn in my group, I may still have a noble).  In short, not every PC is forced to do perimeter duthy and not talk to guests if their backgrounds specficially justify them behaving otherwise.

(b) let PC's have more rolls to gain or lose in the scenario, let more things be on stage with them - they will arrive with the soldiers and be present when soldiers are told to wait outside and they come in.  This is the "show don't tell" principle.

© move the scents/observation hints of skaven/thief to be Act 3, investigation after the theft (otherwise Act 3 is pretty thin).  Find useful information leading you on to the menaces on the docks but not before the theft and feel you were supposed to stop it.  I'm writing up the physical layout to explain more how a thief got in and out, and let a witness be found after fact of a 'black caped and hooded figure making away through the rain" (it raining at end of day).

(d) make the various events into things like the Edge of Night that can affect a "success track" for the Graf's event, with how successful it is being his satisfaction with PC's (bonus), also respect that others may have for PCs, as well as for him personally his social success and how well he drums up interest in buying exotic finds from the expedition (recovering his investment). 

For example, it's up to PC's to stop Waldemarius leaving when insulted either by mollifying him or putting the jester in his place. If he leaves, that's a step back for the Graf etc. If anyone dies that's a step back so first aid checks and saving Amalie etc really matter. Exciting events (things that get people talking) what don't result in fatalities actually add to the buzz. Assuming the Graf is not the B.C. he is really upset though at the thefts of the gold plaque and effigy.

(e) when demigryff is lose, PC's are directed by the Graf into the hedge maze to protect guests, to avoid as much as possible any being present for the theft attempt so no "fudging" needed to explain they don't stop the theft.

(f) If PC's aren't there to save the skaven victim, Chlotilde is there to hear his last words, but doesn't share his last words without a successful check.  She fears the faithful retainer was delusional in the end and doesn't want to dishonour him.  If Chlotilde's beloved footman is slain, she is stricken.  She will be stinging in her critique of Baerfast and Kaufman, and announce a reward to whoever brings justice for the death.

(g) Just for fun, the skaven smoke bomb has a bit of weirdroot in it.  Causing hallucinations helps ensure witnesses who do see them are dismissed.  I think that would be a pretty standard skaven tactic in my version of Old World.

When I have this written up I would appreciate feedback, don't know if posting it all (lots of text) best - I think emailing it to interested folks for review may work better?

PS - my earlier critique of menagerie for having creatures not found in Southlands were misplaced - it is an ongoing feature of the grounds and so would have other creatures.  Apologies to any authors/editors of the adventure reading this on that point.

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Funny, I see that there is a Demigryph in the scenario. That's what my submission to their writer's stuff was.

 

 

Demigryph NNNNN
S T A I W F Stn DR Sk Def A/C/E WT
6 ? 6 ? 4 ? 2 ? 6 ? 1 ? C2 5 3 2 5/4/3 18
Actions  Tooth and Claw, Vicious Bite
Special  Instinctive: Beasts may use Willpower instead of Intelligence when attempting Observation checks.
Frightening:  Demigryphs causes Terror 2.
Swift:  Demigryphs may perform one free manoeuvre per turn.
* Mount: When trained and mounted, any wound that would cause the demigryph to lose their wind instead inflicts 1 wound on the rider. While mounted, the rider gains ?  to Melee Attacks  and opponents add � to Melee Attacks unless armed with a spear, lance, or similar. Riders are also Swift while mounted. Demigryphs have a wind of 6. 
TACTICS
Demigryps prefer a straigth up fight to all this sneaking around
TRAPPINGS
none
DESCRIPTION
There exists a wingless species of griffons called demigryphs. Like their cousins, have the head and forequarter claws of a giant eagle, and the hindquarters and tail of a lion. Demigryphs tend to be somewhat stouter than their flying relatives and their plumage more drab. They are well-suited to hunting large mammals in the forests and hills of the Old World and are a dangerous nuisance to hunters and herdsmen alike.
These ferocious creatures are sometimes tamed from birth and used as steeds in battle by the wealthiest nobles. Due to their grounding and stout build, they can be barded much heavier than griffons and are also highly prized for their almost fearless disposition. Demigryphs recently gained fame accompanying the Emperor and his griffon in the rescue of the Tsarina of Kislev and Castle Vorghaus during an attack by greenskins.

 

Birds-and-rats.png

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Interesting, it's a "juvenile demigryph" in adventure, physical stats lower than above, R2 not C2 etc.

I've finished my first draft restructuring of the Menagerie scene, will sleep on it and edit it Monday.  Again thanks to silentarcheroo for drawing attention to this, I was "hmm" about it but didn't really delve into it until his post.

I noticed that in lead up heroes are offered 30 shillings @ (page 46) but in aftermath they are paid their fee of 20 shillings (page 55).  I've gone with 20 shillings as the offer up front with actual pay ranging from 10 to 30 depending on how well they do (where the "Ah What A Lovely Afternoon" progress track I"ve created ends up). 

Heroes can be further enticed to take the job (if money not a motivator) by the chance to see the expedition finds close up (academic) and to make an impression (though doing a good job, that progress track is their success not just Kaufman's) on representatives of all sorts that may be key to future commissions or just "who to rob and scam" if lowlives (the two contending families, the 2nd tier movers and shakers etc.).

Rob

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

http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_npm_sec.asp?eidm=131&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

 

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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?

 

 

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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 

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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

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

 

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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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