valvorik

Enemy Within - for GM thoughts, prep ideas etc.

204 posts in this topic

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

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

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

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Hi,

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

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

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Quick question,

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

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

 

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No:12 said:

 

Quick question,

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

-----

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many thanks to valorik for his great work!

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.windsofchaos.com/wp-content/uploads/encroachment/calendar-series-01.pdf

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

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

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

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

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Cool.

I'm tailoring the questions to my PC's race/careers etc. to make them fit.  No wood elf this time around (so far).

The anti-human etc. politics sounds reasonable.  The 'supremisist/isolationist' theme is strong in elves.

Another thing to mix in perhaps is that for a wood elf, the stock reason they are "out and about" is that Naeith the Prophetess has foreseen great danger and only by destroying Chaos beyond Athel Loren will Athel Loren be safe (in another variation of the elf strategy, Asur and Asrai of 'defeat Chaos on human territory/using human fodder, before it reaches out lands').  The Prophetess could have foreseen a shadow threat (Tzeentch being hard to pin down), "a danger to the strength of the humans that shield our northern frontier - it wears a mask and it reaches throughout the Empire under many names, but in Averheim it will be revealed….".  Only one of many dangers that may or may not manifest so one wood elf sent as many are sent elsewhere (or perhaps the PC is the sole survivor of a band of a dozen who met strange misfortunes, as if some power did not want them to reach Averheim).

Baerfast as a military man might have fought beastmen and goblins on frontiers closer to Athel Loren and have a connection to call upon.

 

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Apologies if the has already been discussed, but I find the difficulties for a lot of the investigation stuff to be very high - a lot of 3d and 4d difficulties. This seems inappropriate to me, or at least not they way I prefer to run investigations. Has anyone else had this same experience?

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I looked through Book One and there are a sprinking of 3D and 4D checks but I don't think they dominate.

They're most noticeable to me in the Menagerie scene (which I rewrote in part due to this) where they arise about the smell etc - that part is bad design to me, heroes aren't supposed to get anywhere with success on that check at that point so rather than make it hard (a small chance of frustrating outcome) I would move it later.  It is important information but it is not important to that Episode so I put it in the last Act of Episode as it leads to the next one.

I don't mind harder checks on things that aren't required to move main plot ahead (discerning Knakk's intentions, catching arsonists, not suffering ill effects from smoke, bargaining up what you get selling off loot, finding extra clues not what the Trail system calls "core clues", the minimum required to keep moving along in story).  E.G., on page 45 it takes a Hard Success to find the robber camp and get the loot and stuff there.  All the plot-information needed is really gotten from the robbers/bodies on page 44 so this is "gravy" in terms of getting more money - in the camp the Hard check re box is difference of 25 or 50 shillings in gain.

A key investigative check is Page 61, Average 2D to connect smell from menagerie with tanneries.  In the menagerie scene there is a 4D and 2D set of checks to have smelled it there (this actually connects theft to tanneries not abductions but it does "all come together").  Those are the ones I would fiddle a bit, I would make smelling something bad automatic (core clue concept) but in my version I have that "post the theft investigation" not "pre the theft" stuff.

I haven't played through it so maybe there are other "d'oh" issues with some checks - I didn't really see all the issues with menagerie scene until silentarcheroo's post of his experience running it made be look harder.

The classic for this sort of "wonky difficulty" in game theory was an adventure in another system where the entire adventure required making a spot check to see some riders, if you didn't make the check the whole adventure would not happen.  Classic example of "what should not be a check".

 

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Any suggestions on making a certain countess from Averheim into you-know-who, just for the added bit of what-the-holy-f*ck-is-going-on-here?

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I've found that giving them a clue later to go back can be handy if they miss something, but you have to have a group that doesn't think in limited style. 

 

jh

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Crazy Aido said:

Any suggestions on making a certain countess from Averheim into you-know-who, just for the added bit of what-the-holy-f*ck-is-going-on-here?

I assume you mean Iron Countess Marlene von Alptraum (age 57 or so is using Realm of Sorcery material, which works generally as daughter of Ludmilla etc.) as the Black Cowl?

To keep same structure, she would need to "become a 4th" or "displace" one of the recurring patrons from with the PC's get tasks and to which, as time goes on, they may go for help etc. 

So I suggest looking over the roles the 3 play over course of adventure and consider which most easily swaps with her.  Von Kaufman would make sense.  Do the von Alptraums own interest in coaching line, fund expedition or example?  However, I find a problem in that it makess more sense for lower tier folks like Kaufman or Baerfast to engage indendent help (the PCs) than an estabished "major player" who presumably already has more official and back-channel "aides, step and fetch it lads and thugs if need be" than you can shake a nurling at.  To "square that circle", perhaps she has been frozen out of the von Alptraum family as a political liability due to her mother with shinier younger generation like Chlotilde coming forward and that explains her need for "unusual resources".

 

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Sorry for some typos above, auto correct guessing.

Here's the list of stuff I've done that folks can pm me their email address for:

- Agitator Handout (sidebar references and outlines content, this puts it more 'in game/at table')

- Crude wharfrat note (text references)

- Averheim Table aid - summarizes the shopping modifiers and some other information about Averheim and in another section the North Bank slum, the idea is to gather it togehter in one place for GM and players alike (that is what I mean as a 'table aid')

- Dockside Regulars - suitable to cut up and use as markers with descriptions so intead of "do you talk to Ute" it's "do you talk to busking teenage girl" etc. and allows players to choose who they approach more organically etc., also includes where they are (some are in taverns, some about and about etc.), this works best with a blow up of the dockside map card as a "table map".

- Time Track - adapted Change of Winds timeclock to use to allocate actions during the days on dock to ensure social actions, recharge etc. can all be used as rules intend.

- Strange Eons-made cards for the Menagerie scene for the NPC's, cages, a Marquee location card, couple of others like a card for blackpowder charges (combining Witch's Song rules about using blackpowder, costs/weights from core rules etc., then a bit my own thinking)

- Timeline of events in years leading up to the adventure working back from ages given for NPC's etc.

- Timeline of the events in adventure putting them into days of month for 2522 using the calendar in the Enemy Within and coordinating with jackdays Storm of Chaos material (e.g., Sigmarzeit 18 is day 1).

- A revised Part Two Menagerie scene that puts the heroes more "in the action" not as "observers to it" etc. (silentarcheroo's experience inspires)

- Mostly drafty, my own working notes for adventure including the "Brotherhood of the Black Cowl" as a "criminal empire" (group card) and how adventure events can fit into the group card rules for advancing agenda/destabilizing group if Players end up pursuing that as an interest, the wider conspiracy as "free thinkers" etc.

Love to see others' material and also hope people post their play reports so we can all learn from each other etc.

 

Nnesk likes this

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Today I start my campaign and I'm thrilled already. On thing I find lacking in the adventure is a good description of the expedition into the southlands. Especially about the participants returning to Averheim.

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Yup, more about the expedition survivors can be fleshed out.

My notes include a few things.

- All of the Southlands expedition members got a Dolphin tattoo in a show of camaraderie at one point (so they can be id'd).

- menagerie scene rewrite includes the expedition artist (no photographers so you bring an artist).

- fleshing out of Black Cowl's organization includes Bischoff, the new enforcer who is a veteran soldier and was on expedition (and is the only surviving one of the two mercenaries last seen with Templemann).  A cultist of Tzeentch moved to eliminate those the Changer of the Ways needs to see vanish from the chessboard, when not being imaginative about tormenting and killing people for the fun of it.

- the von Kragsburg guard mercenaries (Imperial Heraldry book) provided expedition security and some of them are met at start of my menagerie scene.

- the map they used is actually a copy of the Arabyan explorer's who penetrated the Southlands over 1000 years ago (Lizardman army book).

Rob

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I have been thinking about doing a dropbox account but not getting around to it.  I think "general sharing" may wait until I have actually run sessions and have used stuff as that may change it a bit.  We do character creation Feb 28 and start play thereafter, which I will post in new thread. 

I will also have to do an "IP" review to make sure everything is shareable.  For the things really not shareable others can  do same thing (scan the small maps and print them off large size to use as table-top maps - put your stand-up at the Upright Pig if you're there etc.).

I'm still mulling "who is the BC", thinking "we will see as play evolves and PC's develop attitudes to NPCs" but I can see Graf K and Luminary K before Captain Baerfast just because I see the BC as getting involved in the underworld for grey not evil reasons (Graf K needs money and needs to influence rackets away from targeting his business, Luminary K is ever alert to signs of Chaos to be hunted and the underside of society needs policing ~ and of course he looks for his sister…).  Whether or not Luminary K is BC, his sister is too "nice" a figure to not include so she will be in the mix regardless. 

That said, I can see Captain B. starting to try to control underworld in an attempt to get the out of control criminal world under some control (since policing is underfunded) as the Elector-vacancy drags on and needing the money because the political undercertainty means many lesser nobles aren't remitting taxes as they should and the coffers are running low in the Averburg.  Captain Baerfast's troops must be paid.  His anger at the noble corruption and shenanigans that cost so many good men their lives, including his brother, and then won't even make sure they are consistently paid and have boots to wear runs very deep (about as deep as mine does as a civil servant who sees stupidity every day) so I can actually see him turning to the dark side very easily (it's just a little close to home to think it through….)

Rob

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valvorik said:

Sorry for some typos above, auto correct guessing.

Here's the list of stuff I've done that folks can pm me their email address for:

- Agitator Handout (sidebar references and outlines content, this puts it more 'in game/at table')

- Crude wharfrat note (text references)

- Averheim Table aid - summarizes the shopping modifiers and some other information about Averheim and in another section the North Bank slum, the idea is to gather it togehter in one place for GM and players alike (that is what I mean as a 'table aid')

- Dockside Regulars - suitable to cut up and use as markers with descriptions so intead of "do you talk to Ute" it's "do you talk to busking teenage girl" etc. and allows players to choose who they approach more organically etc., also includes where they are (some are in taverns, some about and about etc.), this works best with a blow up of the dockside map card as a "table map".

- Time Track - adapted Change of Winds timeclock to use to allocate actions during the days on dock to ensure social actions, recharge etc. can all be used as rules intend.

- Strange Eons-made cards for the Menagerie scene for the NPC's, cages, a Marquee location card, couple of others like a card for blackpowder charges (combining Witch's Song rules about using blackpowder, costs/weights from core rules etc., then a bit my own thinking)

- Timeline of events in years leading up to the adventure working back from ages given for NPC's etc.

- Timeline of the events in adventure putting them into days of month for 2522 using the calendar in the Enemy Within and coordinating with jackdays Storm of Chaos material (e.g., Sigmarzeit 18 is day 1).

- A revised Part Two Menagerie scene that puts the heroes more "in the action" not as "observers to it" etc. (silentarcheroo's experience inspires)

- Mostly drafty, my own working notes for adventure including the "Brotherhood of the Black Cowl" as a "criminal empire" (group card) and how adventure events can fit into the group card rules for advancing agenda/destabilizing group if Players end up pursuing that as an interest, the wider conspiracy as "free thinkers" etc.

Love to see others' material and also hope people post their play reports so we can all learn from each other etc.

 

 

Hey Val, I'd love copies of that stuff but can't send a PM for some reason. My email address is thecolumbiabeet@gmail.com. Thanks in advance!

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Started this campaign on Friday with 4 players (the criminal, battle-scarred, gently born, and academic), Thought I would give some general impressions:

  • Love the Character cards. Began the game with a go-round where we worked out the connections between the characters, NPCs, and their different class and racial perspectives ( like the Halfling criminal who knows the noble character has a taste for "moot lovin'", and has previously had a fight with the battle-scarred for his role in putting down the Halfling rebellion). We had a blast working that all out then were up and running in such a rooted way. I have never seen a commercial adventure create such a sense of place and interconnectedness  - even though the characters are a bit at odds, I loved this conflict between those united in common cause, which  leads to lots of " we ain't brothers, we ain't partners, and we aint' friends and if Gross get's away with my money you're gonna be sorry you ever met me!" type interactions.
  • As long as you can remember the dramatis personae and their motivations, the oppurtunities to go "off book" and completely improvise scenes and alter the plot and character introductions is pretty incredible and pretty fun. I thought the first chapter intro might play flat, but it was classic.  I already have so many open ways to introduce major characters that are much  more natural than the flow of the book. And that is because the adventure is wriiten to start with character motivations and interconnections as the place to build from.

 - Thanks for the handy handouts and other material Valorick - dead handy!

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Lot of great ideas here. The one I really dig was some hints of theater showing how people who do slightly evil things, eventually falls completely from grace.

I decided to have each book start with the party wieving a theater troup entertain the crowd with a play which relates to what the BC is doing in the book.

So as a "prelude" to Book One, the party (who have just arrived to the town) will all be watching the theater troup perform "Lucious Favre, the Greedy Farmer".

Will portray Lucious being unhappy with his Liege. Lucious really leads a happy life, with a loving wife and 5 strong kids, and a large glass flask which portrays his soul (being a good man).

Lucious then get the idea that if he amazes enough wealth he can be rid of the control his liege has, due to high taxes and all (this mirrors the BC being unhappy of how the Emperor can control all by levying taxes or troops).

Lucious quickly finds, that the fastest way to accumulate wealth is by becomming master of others, and have them pay him. So he forces out other farmers, by bribing officials, threats etc… and then lets them rent their old land, now paying tithe to him.

In the play, each time a farmer pays Lucious gold, we see Lucious give a animal faced horned figure a small glass flask which portrays part of his soul, each time making the water level of the large flask smaller.

The play ends with Lucious being rich, sitting in a gold throne. Next to him is the now empty flask. Opposite stands the horned figure, with his family in chains (indicating Lucious lost them to greed as well). The curtain falls as a farmer approaches Lucious to beg for his taxes being delayed.

 

Now the play does come near what is really happening, but shows the three main themes:

1) BC is unhappy with the Goverment, and sees them as oppressive.

2) BC goes about gathering powet to overthrow said goverment.

3) In the process BC becomes what he despises, both oppressive and, if he succeeds, his own form of goverment.

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I am going to use the backgrounds, with each of my 4 players picking one background.

After this they keep drawing cards till they have 3 matching. Quite simple.

I've now run 2 (or is it 3?) campaigns where they had free choice, I'd like to shake them about a bit, and have them play something they might not inititally have prefered. So I think I'm entitled to be a bit old-fashion GM.

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