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Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

I AM A DEEPLY DECENT PERSON, WITH THE LOVE OF HUMANITY IN MY HEART


Night10194 posted:

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Karak Azgal

The End

That was amazing, and spectacularly well done Night.

Really appreciated and great fun to read!

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


I'm glad people enjoyed it. I really had a good time writing it and it helped a lot with the stress of being locked up thanks to hell plague.

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.

Night10194 posted:

The Warlock entry in Career Compendium is the best thing in the book and I should have covered it.

I feel the follow-up question that needs to be asked is...do the game mechanics actually support the idea that the class is a bumbling moron in a way that is fun to play? Or are we about to have a Games Workshop Moment?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Loxbourne posted:

I feel the follow-up question that needs to be asked is...do the game mechanics actually support the idea that the class is a bumbling moron in a way that is fun to play? Or are we about to have a Games Workshop Moment?

Absolutely. If you got into it through Witch, you'll have your grab-bag of witchery and it teaches you an Arcane Language (somewhat stabilizing your magic) and a bunch of chicanery (it goes into Charlatan), plus an actual Dark Lore. You're still Mag 2, but good at faking it and seeming more powerful than you are, plus with a Familiar you can be powerful enough to get into real trouble anyway.

They're mostly meant as enemies, but their class skills are about being a modestly powerful wizard but having a ton of ability to convince yourself and others you're more powerful than you are (through the social and deception skills) until you get into horrible trouble. Which could be hilarious on a PC.

E: Heck, my main objection is ONLY Witch goes into Warlock. I think Apprentice Wizard should be able to, too, to reflect a young wizard making Very Bad Decisions. Also, Dark Lores are very powerful. Look at Chaos, for instance. The general Chaos lore has some nasty summoning spells (though those take time and should be done before a fight), an insanely nasty AoE capstone that does Damage 8 ignores armor all around the caster and potentially stuns, a cheap one-round stun, an excellent general buff spell, a kickass weapon summon that turns your fists into power fists (Damage 7 AP, +10% WS, counts as magical), and a nasty single-target magic missile that hits harder than Fireball, the premier normal magic missile. It's a great Lore! You just need to be careful using it because being caught using obvious Chaos Magic without being able to lie about it (which a Warlock might, since they're good at social and deception skills, being a social rogue/wizard hybrid) is real bad for you.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 15:02 on May 17, 2020

Pakxos
Mar 21, 2020


Night10194 posted:

. Years and years later, he wandered into the Forest of Arden, and there met a strange elven maiden with a magnificent pair of horns, who took away the curse placed upon his eyes by Queen Ariel and let him see the world both in and out of the forest as it really was, rather than as the Queen had wished him to see it. But that's another story. A very long story.


This whole Warhams cycle has been awesome! Thanks for going through all of that. I did have a questions, is the elf maiden quoted here an original creation or is she part of the lore somewhere?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Pakxos posted:

This whole Warhams cycle has been awesome! Thanks for going through all of that. I did have a questions, is the elf maiden quoted here an original creation or is she part of the lore somewhere?

She's from a personal campaign; my players/GM read this thread so I can't resist a few reference. It's part of what happens after Ariel is killed in the Bretonnian revolution and the resistance to her control over the wood elfs. The Horned Woman is one of the elfs leading the resistance in the Arden, who can break the spell Ariel put on their eyes and who leads other liberated Asrai in trying to free their kin from the chains of the forest.

Similarly the stuff with Eydis, Sif's descendant, was a reference to the liberation of Norsca campaign. Which was actually a Lahmian vamp campaign, about Jodis Svensdottir, an enormously strong Norscan reaver turned loyal Lahmian agent, who was sent to 'manage' operations in Norsca and accidentally stumbled on and aided a queen who drove back Chaos from southern Norsca.

E: I've also used a bunch of characters from these reviews in other games. Or references to their descendants and families. They've actually been really helpful for getting ideas in general. Heck, even Taurial the Bright, the example Chaos Lord I made to show off making them with Tome of Corruption, has shown up in multiple games.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 16:04 on May 17, 2020

DigitalRaven
Oct 9, 2012

When I kill you with a motor-car, you should have the common decency to stay dead, you horrid little object




Thanks for all you've one with Hams, Night! I still go back to some of your reviews on inklesspen's archive when I'm after something to read, and I always find something new to chuckle about even in your reviews of the worst books.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



What a ride. :allears:

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!

If you're up for it Night, I wouldn't mind reading a summary of your campaigns. (what's a campaign if not a fan-made adventure module?)

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012

Truly Cursed


Always enjoyed your writeups Night. Thanks a tons for all the enjoyment.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





SirPhoebos posted:

If you're up for it Night, I wouldn't mind reading a summary of your campaigns. (what's a campaign if not a fan-made adventure module?)

I second this, the Hams have been wonderful.

Aoi
Sep 12, 2017

Perpetually a Pain.


Thank you very much for your hard work. I've been enjoying your Hams content for around a year now, but these 'personalized' adventure reviews have been incredibly above and beyond, and a bright light in these dark days.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


SirPhoebos posted:

If you're up for it Night, I wouldn't mind reading a summary of your campaigns. (what's a campaign if not a fan-made adventure module?)

I'm afraid that's just not something I feel comfortable doing in this specific thread; it's a little beyond its scope and I already feel like I was stretching things with what was basically an LP of the adventure modules rather than a strict review.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012

Truly Cursed


Night10194 posted:

I'm afraid that's just not something I feel comfortable doing in this specific thread; it's a little beyond its scope and I already feel like I was stretching things with what was basically an LP of the adventure modules rather than a strict review.

Well we have a thread for Campaign stuff. You could do it there.

mllaneza
Apr 28, 2007


Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952





Night10194 posted:

I'm afraid that's just not something I feel comfortable doing in this specific thread; it's a little beyond its scope and I already feel like I was stretching things with what was basically an LP of the adventure modules rather than a strict review.

It turns out that a well-written LP of adventure modules can be amazing, and I hope more people handle reviews of adventures with the same skill and creativity.

OvermanXAN
Nov 14, 2014


Thanks so much for the Warhammer reviews, Night. Before them I'd, well, I'd been largely dismissive of Fantasy. I'd been slowly coming around because of Total Warhammer being pretty good, but my general disillusionment with 40k had absolutely started spilling over into Fantasy. This really got me to look at it and give it more serious consideration, and I've just fallen in love with it. Thank you very much for talking about actual good stuff and putting so much love into it.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Your WFRP reviews were awesome, Night, thanks for doing them.

Just Dan Again
Dec 16, 2012

Adventure!


Thank you, Night! Your posts have really turned me around on WFRP, which I used to see as a randomized misery simulator. Your descriptions of the system's successes and foibles have been insightful, and the stories you've told have been inspiring.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


I had kind of felt the same until I got to play in it rather than flailing around trying to GM it. The campaign a friend of mine ran for a trans Bretonnian knight, a failed med student who accidentally became a vampire hunter, and my sad Kislevite marksman was a lot of fun (we stopped a crazy Magister Vigilant from bringing back Konrad Von Carstein on the principle that she thought she could point him at Manfred and run away) and things kind of went from there.

I only started these reviews because I was really, really enjoying things when my GM sprang the Old One plot on me (The Old Ones had created the world to be harvested and enslaved, as they designed and then farmed sentient species to run their empire beyond the stars. The equivalent of an Old One animal rights fanatic had triggered the whole Chaos infection to try to protect the creations while other parts of the War In Heaven/rebellion had much worse motives, things got out of hand, cut forward to where things are now) and one of the big surprises of the close reading is how much said GM took directly from the books. All stuff that was taken from hinted at stuff rather than firmly established stuff, but I can point to the exact spot in Realm of Sorcery, Children of the Horned Rat, etc that created that entire plot thread.

What's interesting is all that contrasted with Chapter 7 of Thousand Thrones. Those little hinted at possibilities for the Old Ones and their mysteries led to a coherent, fun plot for OUR GROUP, but I would never want it to be the established backstory/canon of the setting, so to speak. Hornburg's whole 'X than Y' and his long, silly backstory about a tree of hope and Sigmar being kinda like Nagash and all in that Chapter really drove home how much of a blessing it is that the 'big mysteries' were only ever hinted at and mostly left for you to fill in if you wanted or not bother if you preferred just trying not to die in the sewers as a rat catcher. The open possibilities and suggestions of the sourcebooks and how they left hooks for your specific group were some of my favorite parts of covering the books.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





I am still not at all interested in giving Games Workshop Group PLC another nickel but your reviews were very well written, Night.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Soulbound
Economics and Agriculture When Your Homeland Is On Fire

The ash deserts and volcanos aren't the only habitats in Aqshy. There are hot, humid deserts in the Charrwind Coast and Cupricon Range, and the pyrewood Kindling Forests of Vitrolia never go out. Magma rivers flow out of the Adamantine Chain mountains into the Searing Sea, but heat's also not all there is - not when frozen Cotha exists. Still, the Parch itself is dry and full of dust storms and heat lightning that burns the sands. The volcanic activity can cover thousands of miles in smoke and ash. Of all those who live in Aqshy, only the Fyreslayers travel anywhere without masks or cloth wrappings to protect themselves.

We also get a sidebar on the Azyrheim Calendar, which is the premier timekeeping tool of most of the Free Peoples. It has a seven-day week and twelve months of approximately 30 days each. Each day varies between 26 and 30 hours long, depending on where you are and the relative movements of Hysh and Ulgu in your location. The Dance of the Spheres, as it is called, can extend or shorten days based on their relative motion. Cometsday starts the week, followed by Moonday, Zenithus, Sunwane, Starsday, Horizonday and Voidsday, in order. The first day of the last week of each month is the holday of Sigmarsday, celebrating the Tempest, and it is a festival day in most cities. Year's Beginning is the festival day that marks the start of the year, followed by the months of Coldbane, Shiverblight, Hope's Renewal, Rainstay, Highspright, Azyr's Gleaming, Meadowswell, Golden Harvests, Thresh, Wyndscal, Darkening and Evenswinter.

Nightfall in the Parch, incidentally, doesn't much change the heat. The night isn't even much darker than the days, compared to most of the realms, thanks to the three moons of Aqshy - Thaquia the Fireheart, Evigaine the First Spark, and the Orb Infernia. Thaquia and Evigaine move erratically at the outer edge of the realmsphere, leaving a wake of red flame that makes the sky generally shades of warm reds and oranges. The Orb Infernia is a daemon-infested cloud of dead lands and broken worlds that keep in a roughly spherical shape. It appears only low on the horizon, and when it does, it stains the sky blood red. The sky also contains the Flameheart, an immense realmgate that burns bright and keeps the darkness of night at bay. The far north of the realm is home to the Unreachable Mountain, a volcano in a constant state of eruption. Its fiery blasts flow upwards and feed the Flameheart, creating a strange northern aurora of burning waves. Eruptions from Vostargi Mont and the Adamantines are commonly seen, bringing oranges, reds and even blues to the sky due to sulphorous deposits in the mountains. The thousand-mile Kindling Forests of the west ensure a constant glow, along with the white-hot volcanos of the Bright Mountains beyond. Between them all, you get used to light.

Water, on the other hand, is rare. Even in the Age of Myth, most water was imported to the Parch from other parts of Aqshy or other realms. The seas that surround the Parch are either boiling hot or acidic, and none are safe to consume for most people. Smaller towns and villages are able to survive by careful care for the water, with tools such as wind-stills or cactus farms. Most build stone cisterns to stock up water for droughts, and cities will have huge cistern networks under constant guard against the Grots and Skaven or other burrowing dangers. Aqua Ghyranis is highly prized and relatively rare despite growing trade, with most communities still needing to import water and crops from larger cities or local patrons with Ghyranic or Azyrite ties. The luckiest towns, however, have deep wells that burrow into the bedrock of Aqshy, constructed by the Ironweld. The mineral waters in the valleys of the Flamescar Plateau flow into these wells, making them very valuable. Rain is rare, but when it comes, it comes in floods. Torrential downpours come through the plains, raising vast steam clouds over the mountains that fuel them even further. Unfortunately, this rain is sometimes sulfuric and will ruin crops and render water supplies undrinkable for weeks on end.

Most of the arable land of the Parch was corrupted during the Age of Chaos. Capilaria's once great irrigation networks used to be boosted with regular supplies of Aqua Ghyranis, while Aridian and the Flamescar Plateau were kept lively by Agloraxi magic and tended to by constructs and slaves. However, the Goretide of Korghos Khul ruined both, choking the irrigation networks with blood and saturating Khul's Ravage so thoroughly that the land itself cracked and turned a deep brown thanks to the drying gore. The earth must be cleansed before it can be used again. This and the difficulty of defending large fields has led to much innovation in agriculture. Horticulture is common, and Tempest's Eye maintains extensive hanging gardens along porous pillars that bring water up from the cisterns under the city.

Many Azyrite towns rely on underground drip-irrigation systems, cunningly designed to funnel exact quantities of water and nutrients onto plant roots. Ironweld engineers have worked with Aqshyan and Ayzrite seers to develop these, using their foretellings to predict placements and minimize water loss while maximizing crop growth. It is because of this that farming is even really possible in the Parch right now. As long as the water is provided, plants grow well in Aqshy due to the light and heat. The dry weather prevents fungi from ruining the crops, and succulents do well there. The fever cactus is the staple crop of the region, so named for its spicy flavor. Citrus is also frequently grown near Hallowheart, particularly the churl, a sweet fruit that remains cold even in Aqshy due to a very thick peel.

While the Cities of Sigmar were founded by battle against Chaos, it is peace that lets them thrive, and trade that brings peace. It's a dangerous and risky task, to be sure - long-distance travel in the Parch is never safe, and air or ocean shipping is favored when possible...not that air or ocean monsters are less dangerous, mind, but ships can mount rather larger guns, and there's far less in the way of Chaos marauders. Airships travel between the Parch cities regularly, as the Kharadron captains and even a few full military fleets do well providing armed escorts. Overland shipping favors armored caravans under heavy mercenary guard. Relmgates may be used to speed travel, and many Trade Pioneers seek better routes via unexplored realmgates, especially after the rising tide of undead from the Necroquake.

Food is the primary trade within Aqshy, but each city also has specialty products for sale outside their realm. Anvilgard is known for its trade in captive animals, while Tempest's Eye is famous for its information brokers and scholars, along with the best lenses anywhere in the Mortal Realms. Hammerhal Aqsha and the Floating City of Bataar both have extensive markets where nearly anything can be purchased - though when it comes to magic, even they are second to the shops of Lumnos. Bataar's surviving Far Trader dynasties seek out goods anywhere they can, and are famously the main source of firesilk and Aspirian Coldfire.

While the coming of Azyrite settlers and explorers to help colonize the Parch has helped many of the locals, there's a lot of tension between the natives and the settlers. The 'civilized' ways of Azyr are at odds with many Aqshyan traditions, and the Azyrites are often condescending and act as though they are superior to the native tribes. Tribal identity is deeply important to Parch natives, but the majority of Azyrites identify first as Sigmarite before anything else, and tend to distrust anyone that doesn't. Azyrites refer to the natives as Reclaimed, which often comes with a derogatory tone. Fortunately for the locals, tribal pride has ended up being the dominant culture even in the cities. Anyone not lately from Azyr tends to identify as a resident of their city or settlement first, rather than as Sigmarite above all. The most bigoted Azyrites see Aqshyans as barbarians without true culture, and accuse them of being descended from cannibals - sometimes true, but not nearly as often as these assholes would have you believe.

For their part, many Aqshyans see the Azyrites as the children of cowards who hid behind gates while everyone else fought and suffered against Chaos. This has made many tribes wary of Stormcast, especially because they don't properly burn to ash in death. Some tribes also dislike the tendency of Aqshyans to assimilate into cities over their tribal identities. Tribes are usually led by chieftains, holy leaders or seers, though they rarely have much more hierarchy than that. Members are judged by deed and what they have to offer a tribe, not birth or social rank. Azyrite cities, on the other hand, have brought noble and commoner class divides, and to Aqshyan eyes, many nobles have rather more wealth and power than their competence deserves. Further, rank and status are the chief prejudices in the cities, and made worse by the fact that most Aqshyans have little time for politics, which is heavily dominated by Azyrites.

The split between native and colonist is visible in their fashion as well. Azyrites and those that want to belong in their communities favor white, blue and silver clothing, with gold accessories and fancy jewelry. They are much more likely to wear heavy outfits or armor enchanted to resist the heat. Aqshyan natives are much more commonly tattooed or bear ritual scars to mark their tribal membership, and favor reds, oranges and yellows. If they accessorize, it is kept light and simple, and wealth is shown instead by quality weapons or ostentatious sharing of water. Natives prefer to avoid heavier armor as impractical in the heat and reminescent of the forces of Khorne, though they rarely mention that last bit around Stormcast.

The surviving Aspirians and Bataari, in particular, tend to find the Azyrites presumptious and self-centered. They are survivors of cultures that predate the Age of Chaos, after all, and like to joke that it is the Azyrites who are the true Returned. Azyrite currency favors carefully cut and weighted gemstones and crystals, as well, which doesn't sit well with the Bataari Traders, who sometimes use metal coins but vastly prefer barter. The Far Traders are famously able to negotiate complex deals between multiple parties that benefit everyone, and they often find Azyrite merchants to be crude and unskilled in beneficial barter negotiations. The tribesfolk, meanwhile, deal primarily in Aqua Ghyranis as currency and are usually extremely careful with it, so that not even a drop is spilled.

Next time: Aridian and Aspiria

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Warhammer talk is good.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012

Truly Cursed


Mors Rattus posted:

Azyrite currency favors carefully cut and weighted gemstones and crystals, as well.


Ah there is where I saw the Azyr Currency. Which as mentioned just did not catch on outside of it's home realm.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



Thank you for the good hamtimes, Night.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


I'm glad people enjoyed it.

Now I have to think of something else to write about. I might cover what it was like trying to run Pathfinder with just the SRD and a group that wasn't steeped in d20 (it was not good). 13th Age has already been covered and the writer for that review said basically everything I would about it.

E: I could also cover Only War. God how I hate Only War, the game that helped me realize how much I had come to despise 40kRP's system.

Yeah, gently caress it, since I'm covering stuff I initially wasn't going to cover like the Adventure Books for 2e WHFRP, here comes Only War.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 20:51 on May 17, 2020

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Huh, I had completely missed that you hadn't covered Only War yet. Somewhat surprised to hear you hate it, since it's one of the ones I've heard good things about.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


PurpleXVI posted:

Huh, I had completely missed that you hadn't covered Only War yet. Somewhat surprised to hear you hate it, since it's one of the ones I've heard good things about.

It's a completely loving miserable game full of terrible design decisions, system mastery traps, and a heightened sense of everything I hate in 40kRP. I suspect some of the love it gets is because if you've been playing the system a goddamn long time and buy into its assumptions, it's also kind of an optimizer's paradise.

I was thinking about it because I was going through my old logs of 'Fantasy Sci-Fi Norwegian Mining Town vs. The Death Robots' (which was very X-COM ish, with its own research and gear subsystem) which was also a highly combat focused military game using 40kRP as a base, and I noticed how much better it had worked for me vs. OW solely because I rewrote the entire gear system. I think doing that will do more to fix the underlying issues of 40kRP more than any other single action you can take.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee


Warhammer Fantasy Role Playing 4th Edition Starter Set
Adventures in Ubersreik II - Red Moon Burning
Quality: 5
Guidance: 5


Franz Lohner is the publican of the Red Moon Inn, one of the Ubersreik locations detailed in the guidebook. It's a pretty nondescript tavern, but Franz Lohner is a "Mercenary-made-good" who retired and started running the place. He's basically an Ex-adventurer, having lived a life of danger and gold before retiring. Unfortunately, he senses that his old life is coming back to haunt him, and that old enemies are looking to kill him. So his plan is to buy a load of explosives, loudly announce he's going to close the inn for his birthday, and that's going to be quietly praying to Shallya ALL ALONE. When somebody shows up to kill him, he's going to blow everyone up and fake his own death.

I like Franz Lohner, he's great.

His enemies are also great. First is Thikad Urgolsson, a dwarf slayer. Urgolsson took the Slayer's Oath after he gambled away his runeblade, Grudgebringer, to Lohner. Runeblades are priceless family heirlooms to dwarves. He's now convinced that Lohner somehow must have cheated, so his honor demands blood. It couldnít possibly be his own fault that he ruined his own life with his gambling problem, no.

Shrinq Shaderipper is a Skaven Assassin sent to GET-GET REVENGE for the work Lohner did in Tilea against the ratmen. He has the least backstory and personality out of all the villains, and he's a rat ninja.

Carmello's Crew are a group of seven thugs sent by the Marchesa Generosa Caramanici of the Border Princes to murder Lohner for introducing the Grudgebringers to Lord Carl Svennson, the Marchesa's rival. Don't get involved with the Border Princes, it never ends well. Theyíre potentially the most dangerous of the enemies, as they can notice the PCs buying up lots of explosives and timers, and theyíre very numerous.

Finally, Tah-Ra Mentuhr is a Nehekharan Wraith sent to possess Lohner's body, so it can infiltrate the Grudgebringers, so it can murder the Commander before the Grudgebringers can ruin its master's future plans. This is a ridiculously convoluted plan that will probably bring about your plan being foiled, Skeletor..

Here's why I think this adventure is so good. First, the adventure doesn't shirk on the weirdness. It could have just used normal gang members and angry dock workers, but no, they go for rat ninja and ancient Egyptian ghosts. For a campaign that's been set firmly in an Imperial context, these elements of the wider Warhammer Fantasy world are great. If your campaign has been fairly typical Fantasy Germany, this is a great way to introduce a lot of the fun elements lurking at the edges.

Second, the structure of adventure is both a lot of fun, and great for a new GM. Adventures like these are the tabletop version of a Bottle Episode - a simple, constricted location with interesting characters and minimum prep. This is the sort of adventure that a GM could use if they didn't have any time to prepare for that session. Everything will be improvised, happening in reaction to what the players do and how they stumble into the enemies. Even a new GM who isn't comfortable with winging it should be able to handle 5 (groups of) NPCs at once. My only complaint is that there isn't a picture of the layout of the tavern, but the guidebook provides a detailed enough description that you could map it out.

Third and finally, players love a comedy of errors. Even when played with deadly seriousness, most players love getting into a clusterfuck of misunderstandings and bloody violence. Typically the players are the befuddled flies in the ointment who have wandered into the delicate situation. But this time, they know exactly whatís going to happen at the end of the night, and itís the rat ninjas and Egyptian ghosts who are stumbling into a trap. Worst case scenario, they jump out the window and run away before the whole thing blows up behind them.

Unlike the Hassle of Johann Hoffman, the scenario format works for this adventure. Backstories, plots, and timelines are kept to a minimum - only the first 30 minutes of the night are detailed, and itís just enough to get at least two conflicts going on different floors. The adventure book doesnít get bogged down in details that wonít be relevant or arenít easier to work into the adventure. Overall, itís just great.

Next time: A pretty good Greenskin Adventure

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Oh, hey, it's Lohner. Rats would potentially have a tremendous amount of reason to want revenge on him, given the five utter badasses he recruited and pointed at them that killed tens of thousands of them.

Good work, Ratfight crew. Vermintide was fun.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




He also met Genevieve at one point if I remember right, which was a nice callback I did not expect to see.
As I recall Fatshark also gets a mention in the game as Wahlund's Rat Catchers.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Soulbound
Deserts of Flame



The tribes of Aridian have always been known for their fractiousness. In the Age of Myth, they were a group of nomadic tribes led by Prophet-Monarchs, with no permanent cities. They were known for being easily offended and quick to fight, and the region was plagued by tribal wars and long feuds. They wielded obsidian weapons made from the lava flows of Vostargi Mont. Sigmar has not been able to reclaim Aridian. When the forces of Order reached the region, they found that all of the ancient tribes were either killed or converted to the worship of Chaos. Many joined the Goretide, as Korghos Khul was originally from an Aridian tribe, and most of those that remained in the region swore fealty to the Scavenge Kings, a collection of Chaos warlords that still rule much of the land. The few tribes that managed to survive the Age of Chaos uncorrupted were, without exception, those that were allied to and aided by the Fyreslayers of Vostargi Mont or Grimnir's Foothold. Almost all of them remain close friends of the lodges that aided them in the past.

Vostargi Mont is an active volcano, but one so tall that its peak is higher than what few clouds appear in the skies of Aqshy. It is one of the ancestral homelands of the Fyreslayers, the site they name as the place where Grimnir died. His heart, they say, remains in the volcano's basin, the only piece left whole after Vulcatrix exploded. Her ashes and his formed the core of the burning mountain, which rose around them as the land settled from their battle. It is the Fatherspire, the House of Fury. It has only grown larger since its creation, with each eruption expanding the obsidian slopes of the mountain. There are countless tunnels under it, and not even the Runemasters know what may be buried in some of them, lost to the ages.

The most powerful of the mountain lodges is Vostarg Lodge, but there are over a dozen smaller ones that also live on or around the mountain, and there were even more in the past. Those seeking to hire the lodges to fight can meet with their Runefathers at the High Temple up on the slopes, where their offering of gold can be made in front of the Firewell of Grimnir. However, traders more often visit the city of Brimstone, built at the mountain foot a long time ago to serve as a trade city for non-Fyreslayer visitors. Their smith work is considered some of the best in the realms, after all. Some also come to use the realmgates controlled by the Fyreslayer lodges - but the price to do so is high, and must be paid in gold.

The Adamantine Chain, meanwhile, is home to the first mention I can find of Chaos Dwarves in Age of Sigmar. Not explicitly, but...well, they're based out of the Forge Anathema, a fortress of iron and bone, guarded by living metal automata that are animated by daemons. The Duardin that rule the Forge will work for anyone that will pay them, creating weapons of great and unique power. However, they will serve no one but their own secret god, the Father of Darkness, whose true name must not be spoken before the uninitiated. The Fyreslayers say they are lost and corrupted, making cursed weapons of sentient metal, despair and Duardin bones, quenched in the blood of prisoners. Unfortunately, The Forge Anathema is too well-fortified, and no effort to dislodge them has thus far succeeded.

The western part of Aridian is now known as the Reaver Wastes, for it is a constant battleground of nomadic tribes. Some worship Khorne, others Sigmar, others neither, but their wars on each other never cease. Despite this, explorers sometimes travel into the Wastes, for they were once the home of the Agloraxi city Ahramentia. Ruins dot the wasteland, and some may well hold powerful secrets or sorcerous weaponry. Unfortunately, they also definitely hold some functional war-constructs, most of which are operating independently and erratically since the long-ago deaths of their controllers. Archaon is also aware of the potential lore hidden in the wastes. Khornites aren't especially good at finding or understanding that kind of thing, though, so he has settled for getting some of the ones that are actually loyal to him - specifically, the Doom Lords of Ahramentia - to take control of a large part of the western wastes. They have been told that they own anything from the ruins, and so they consider all intruders to be thieves and prey for their altars.



Aspiria is an ancient nation, home to some of the most potent Bright Mages in the Realms. They are often held to be the calmest and most eloquent of all Aqshyans - though that, according to some Azyrites, is not a high bar. Aspiria was never actually a united kingdom, but instead a coalition of mage-ruled fortress-cities. Each city sent a member of their ruling mages' council to the Council Pyre, an overcouncil that directed Aspiria as a whole. Now, all Aspirian cities but Lumnos have fallen, and the Council Pyre instead serves as the war-leaders of Aspiria, working with the Stormcast and other allies to fight Tzeentch. It is held that the founders of Aspiria were a cabal of Bright Wizards that left the Agloraxi empire, saved from being crushed by the magical power of their leaders...or, perhaps, allowed to leave because the Agloraxi had ceased to care about rule.

Whatever the case, centuries later the AGloraxi gave a series of mysterious citadels to the Aspirians to watch over, though they explained how to use only a small number; the rest were intended as a challenge for their fellow mages to master. Even today, some remain unsolved. Most of Aspiria is cut off from the rest of the Parch by land. The Beastbridge once linked them with Vitrolia, but a Waaagh of orruks forced the Aspirians to summon fire spirits into the woods, creating the Kindling Forests that now cover much of the Beastbridge, everburning. This is a great defense and protects the caravans of Bataari traders from attack, but it means only the Bataari had frequent contact with the Aspirians, and both were cut off from the eastern lands. Many Aspirians blame themselves for the easy collapse of the east to Chaos, and thus take it as their duty to help fix the eastern lands. Aspirian mages frequently volunteer to burn out Chaos taint or support allied armies, and they rely on their Bataari allies to spread the artifacts they develop, which range from fiery weapons to tools meant to improve daily life.

Lumnos is the city that never fell, the seat of the Council Pyre and home to the House of Rising Embers, the most famous of the Aspirian magical schools. The Aspirians have always value art and scholarship, magical or otherwise, and the House of Rising Embers is one of the greatest schools and archives in the Mortal Realms, not least because it contains a shocking number of intact books from the Age of Myth. The headmistress of the House is Pyros Thura, a small but immensely powerful Bright Mage who is believed to have helped invent Coldfire, an alchemical concoction that radiates cold when it burns rather than heat. She has also revived and expanded the House's undead-hunting curriculum, sending out graduates to roam the Parch and serve the people with their skills. Lumnos is home to the greatest trade of magical goods in Aqshy, perhaps only tied by Hammerhal or the Floating City. The sellers, however, rarely have much use for conventional money or goods. Rather, what they seek is generally lost lore or the labor of those buying from them to secure what they need to make more artifacts.

Steel Spike is technically an Aspirian city that never fell, but that's because it wasn't a city in the Age of Myth. It was a fortress that guarded the Bridge of Brine, the short sea crossing that is the main land route to access Aspiria now that the Kindling Forests exist. The Aspirians fortified it over the centuries, creating the fortress now called the Steel Spike. Its defenses were so strong that the Goretide and Khorne's daemons chose not to ever directly attack it, instead assaulting Aspiria from the ocean. Refugees swelled the population of the Spike, turning it into a fortress-city in the Age of Chaos. Due to the extensive use of fire magic by the war mages of the city, the soldiers of the Spike prefer to avoid using gunpwoder weapons, instead relying on enchanted ballistae and magical flamethrower cannons. They are called the Searing Guard, and frequently travel to aid the rest of the Grand Alliance of Order in battle.

Steel Spike is cut off from Lumnos and, indeed, the entirety of what is left of Aspiria, however. The Timestolen Empire stands in their way - a twisted land broken by the magic of Tzeentch. Within the Timestolen Empire, linear time doesn't really exist. Paradox is possible, and the flow of time can speed up or reverse, and things can be recalled that were never experienced in the past, but will be in the future. Most mortals cannot remain sane long within it, and its inhabitants tend to worship Tzeentch in an effort to end the madness that is their daily existence. However, some explorers travel there in search of lost secrets of the Age of Myth or for glimpses of the future, both of which can be found if you're lucky.

The Bright Mountains are the main reason it's so hard to enter Aspiria by land. They are the largest range in the western Parch, and are named for the quartz deposits that frequently break their surfaces, causing them to shine with many colors when the light hits. The range was never fully explored even in the Age of Myth, and it is hugely dangerous without a proper guide, thanks to the many dangerous animals, some of which are tainted by Chaos. A fire-worshipping Chaos cult, the Scions of the Flame, was founded in the caves under the mountains, and they happily raid anyone that passes their caverns. An Ogroid Thaumaturge (read: Chaos Ogre spellcaster) that calls himself the Storm-That-Walks also has a cult in the region and controls several major mountain passes. On the other hand, the mountains are home to the House of Ash, the monastery and dfortress of the Flickering Fists. It lies in a small valley, and the mountains around it have some new residents - several clans of Dispossessed Duardin from Azyrheim who were invited to settle by the Aspirians some decades ago.

Tzeentch also left his mark on the Disintegrated Shore, a coastline that frequently had parts crumble and flow into the Realm of Chaos. The aid of the Stormcast has ended that, but guerrilla conflict between the Aspirians and the local Tzaangor beastmen continues. The Tzaangor are hard to catch, thanks to their Discs of Tzeentch and strange, flying crystal-ships. The Council Pyre believes that Tzeentch is seeking something in the region, not least because the disintegration of the coast always stopped less than a mile from the old Agloraxi citadels in the region. The mages are extremely annoyed that they've been unable to figure out what Tzeentch wants from there, or even what most of the citadels do. Some, like the Great Observatory, seem obvious, but others are total mysteries. Some of the citadels appear to be broken, while others won't even open up and haven't since the Agloraxi left them.

The greatest of the open citadels became the core of the city Brightspear, protected by the Stormhost of the Celestial Warbringers. Sigmar chose them to guard the city because of their unique and shared gift: each member of the Warbringers can foresee the manner of their death. This endlessly frustrats Tzeentch, for all of his plotting shifts fate...and with it, the deaths of the Stormcast, allowing them to see the changes and use them to help track the Changer's plots. Even with this gift of prophecy, however, Brightspear is frequently endangered by Tzeentch's servants, and is always in need of allies.

We are also told Brightspear and its war with Tzeentch will be the focus of the Soulbound Starter Set, which is to include pregens, an adventure and a booklet on Brightspear in more detail.

Next time: Bataar and Capilaria

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee


Night10194 posted:

Oh, hey, it's Lohner. Rats would potentially have a tremendous amount of reason to want revenge on him, given the five utter badasses he recruited and pointed at them that killed tens of thousands of them.

Good work, Ratfight crew. Vermintide was fun.
Oh hey! I figured he had some history in another edition or some other adventure, he seems like a really fun character.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Tibalt posted:

Oh hey! I figured he had some history in another edition or some other adventure, he seems like a really fun character.

He's pretty great. He's the mission control in the Vermintide games, where he's the curiously well connected innkeeper who sends the 5 badasses out to kill huge numbers of rats.

mllaneza
Apr 28, 2007


Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952





Night10194 posted:

It's a completely loving miserable game full of terrible design decisions, system mastery traps, and a heightened sense of everything I hate in 40kRP. I suspect some of the love it gets is because if you've been playing the system a goddamn long time and buy into its assumptions, it's also kind of an optimizer's paradise.

Let's hack this into 40K Imperial Guard Astra Militarum.

http://www.onesevendesign.com/regiment/the_regiment_2_5_colonial_marines.pdf

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Weren't the Grudgebringers the player merc company from the old strategy vidjagames?

Comstar
Apr 20, 2007

But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Princess Celestia


Night10194 posted:


I only started these reviews because I was really, really enjoying things when my GM sprang the Old One plot on me (The Old Ones had created the world to be harvested and enslaved, as they designed and then farmed sentient species to run their empire beyond the stars. The equivalent of an Old One animal rights fanatic had triggered the whole Chaos infection to try to protect the creations while other parts of the War In Heaven/rebellion had much worse motives, things got out of hand, cut forward to where things are now) and one of the big surprises of the close reading is how much said GM took directly from the books. All stuff that was taken from hinted at stuff rather than firmly established stuff, but I can point to the exact spot in Realm of Sorcery, Children of the Horned Rat, etc that created that entire plot

WHAT.

I have never seen an explanation of why the gates blew up! Can you provide some more details?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Comstar posted:

WHAT.

I have never seen an explanation of why the gates blew up! Can you provide some more details?

This is only our group's thing. There's no canon explanation. For us (and again, this is all non-canon and just our writing), it happened because one of the species designers really didn't feel comfortable with what she was doing; it was only her second deployment, she was 'only' 40,000 years old, and watching the cycles of harvesting kill everyone she'd made on the first planet she did engineering for really upset her. The Governor of this world was trying to build a sustainable colony that wouldn't eventually suffer societal collapse and extinction, she signed on to it, office politics led to the creation of multiple competing species proposals (the plan being elfs for small batch extremely valuable souls, humans for mass production, dwarfs for maintenance work instead of sacrifice), she panicked at the thought the elfs would be destroyed in the design competition, and she and a bunch of others who wanted to jack the colony brought Chaos in to turn the incomplete humans on their masters.

For our thing, Chaos is a new thing on the Hams world. An infection. Something the Old Ones never saw before. They evacuated from the gates and blew them up themselves to prevent it spreading. If it consumes this planet and manages to get to others, it will become the terrifying cosmic horror it claims to be. Thankfully for the Old Ones, the people of the world have kept it contained so far. The old Governor also left his servant creatures (Lizardmen, Slaan) on to try to help the creations after his own death, after witnessing them building the Vortex and realizing the creations had thought of a plan his kind never would have that gave them a chance. He left behind the order to mend the world and what support he could.

This was all based on the bit in Realm of Sorcery where a sorcerer talks about his theory that the Old Ones intended to enslave the world and that their slaves dreamed of freedom and it brought Chaos here (it's just a theory, and by a Chaos Sorcerer, so take that as you will). And the bits in Children of the Horned Rat where it talks about the man who came to build the bell being 'of an older kind', called the Shaper, and bringing down a rain of meteors to create the Skaven.

Also, all of this should be attributed to my GM, not me; I wrote the Governor bit as part of making a Lustria campaign but the framework is all my GM's.

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.

Mors Rattus posted:

The mages are extremely annoyed that they've been unable to figure out what Tzeentch wants from there, or even what most of the citadels do. Some, like the Great Observatory, seem obvious, but others are total mysteries. Some of the citadels appear to be broken, while others won't even open up and haven't since the Agloraxi left them.

Getting a firm "Mote in God's Eye" vibe here. Not necessarily a bad thing (when stealing, steal from the greats). Otherwise though, this level of Capitalised Proper Nouns and incredible epic backstory(TM) is mostly giving me flashbacks to Exalted.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Loxbourne posted:

Getting a firm "Mote in God's Eye" vibe here. Not necessarily a bad thing (when stealing, steal from the greats). Otherwise though, this level of Capitalised Proper Nouns and incredible epic backstory(TM) is mostly giving me flashbacks to Exalted.
Hmm-- like the Museums, or are you thinking more of Slaver stasis boxes?

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Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




Mors Rattus posted:

The Adamantine Chain, meanwhile, is home to the first mention I can find of Chaos Dwarves in Age of Sigmar. Not explicitly, but...well, they're based out of the Forge Anathema, a fortress of iron and bone, guarded by living metal automata that are animated by daemons. The Duardin that rule the Forge will work for anyone that will pay them, creating weapons of great and unique power. However, they will serve no one but their own secret god, the Father of Darkness, whose true name must not be spoken before the uninitiated. The Fyreslayers say they are lost and corrupted, making cursed weapons of sentient metal, despair and Duardin bones, quenched in the blood of prisoners. Unfortunately, The Forge Anathema is too well-fortified, and no effort to dislodge them has thus far succeeded.

Chorfs got a minor mention in the 2nd edition core rulebook for AoS as well. Might even have been for this place but can't remember for sure.

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