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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



The Lone Badger posted:

Does that mean that without the Abyss everyone would be a Mage? Because that sounds... bad.

The Silver Ladder disagrees, and believes that every man should be a god, and every man should be free.

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Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Mors Rattus posted:

The Silver Ladder disagrees, and believes that every man should be a god, and every man should be free.

Oh yeah to be clear I’m on board with Magic For All, it’s just also not what would happen.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Oh, sure, yes.

I just never waste a chance to paraphrase Vadinho.

Gatto Grigio
Feb 9, 2020



Everyone posted:

If I recall correctly, Raistlin lost or drove away everyone he ever cared about and ended up getting torn to pieces in the Abyss by the Queen of Darkness, so... not really.

:thejoke:

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Dave Brookshaw posted:

Everyone would be a Sleepwalker.

For those without a degree in Awakening lingo: the difference between a Sleepwalker and a full Sleeper is the difference between merely being unable to cast spells, and experiencing a traumatic psychic break when exposed to spells because a tiny wick of the Abyss wriggles inside you.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




Mors Rattus posted:

Oh, sure, yes.

I just never waste a chance to paraphrase Vadinho.

Nor should you. Vadinho is one of those characters who's immeasurably cooler than the trashfire they're stuck in, and begging to be someone's character inspiration in a game.

Gatto Grigio
Feb 9, 2020



Vadinhowns

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

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


Mors Rattus posted:

Oh, sure, yes.

I just never waste a chance to paraphrase Vadinho.

Is he an onion?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Terror in Talabheim

Rich and Poor

So, I'm not going to go into all of Talabheim; we'd be here for ages. Following will be a selection of the places and people I find interesting, but there's plenty more. The general Talabheim writeup (and its thorough city map) are about on par with the Middenheim one in Ashes, making this one of the better city books compared to Nuln and Altdorf. Again, my issue is less that Talabheim isn't good or interesting but rather that the adventure doesn't really use this good material. If you want adventures other than Blasted With Rats for Talabheim, this book will do you. It's even got a nice central theme to it. Talabheim is a legalistic culture that is convinced that the legalism makes it much more equitable and fair, but in reality produces a situation where the rich and powerful can hire the best lawyers and get around inconvenient laws and taxes while the poor and the burghers live in a situation where they live under the full brunt. Similarly, the sheer number of laws and taxes enable corruption; you can find something illegal in almost anything anyone does. Officials can find all kinds of excuses to demand bribes, property can be seized and confiscated, and the general cultural acceptance of 'well it's just the law' keeps people compliant with this state of affairs. Talabheim would be a great place to play a Verenan or Ranaldan (or both, they're practically made for buddy cop adventures), a lawyer, a swindler, or anyone else navigating this weird legalistic city.

Also notable: Ranald is despised in Talabheim. They might honor Verena (and then ignore her priesthood if they say anything's wrong) but Ranald is outright forbidden places of worship or a priesthood. Not that this ever stops Ranaldans, they're used to it. If anything, it probably encourages them. Being legal would be boring.

Talabheim is written with an eye towards the injustice of the divide between its rich and its poor, and this is nowhere more apparent than in the city's Shallyan Sanitarium. Unlike most Shallyan facilities, the Sanitarium is cordial with the Guild of Physicians and works closely with them. In the upper levels of the Sanitarium, the best doctors in the city work with blessed priests to ensure anyone who comes in is healed. The administrator of the facility, however, demands that such priority treatment should cost money. A lot of money. Money that ostensibly goes to support other charitable works in the city, but much of it goes instead to the physicians. Henrich Saltzmann is known as a talented businessman and administrator, but also a man lacking in empathy; the poor are directed to await free treatment by medical students and junior initiates in the crowded public clinic, where the simple fact of crowded conditions and the inexperienced doctors lead to issues of infection or medical error. The Charity Wing is good enough for minor ailments or simple injuries, and does offer its services free to all citizens, but all the resources supposedly being gathered by the upper levels never seem to find their way down to the poor charity patients.

I'm sure every American in my audience can empathize.

Meanwhile, the actual Temple of Shallya is what you'd expect, standing out for its attempts to serve the lower classes of the city. They are famous for their missionaries, who go into the worst and most crime-ridden parts of the city to offer food, comfort, healing, and charity. These men and women are led by an ex-prostitute named Karin Weber, who knows the streets and the people well enough to keep her brothers and sisters out of trouble and to get needed relief where it can do the most good. Her work has brought in so many new Initiates and converts that she's considered a strong candidate to become the city's next High Priestess. Maybe she can fix Saltzmann's cruel mess over in the Sanitarium; you could have a fun game about missionarying and running relief supplies in the worst parts of town as a Shallyan and their buddies.

Notably, while Talabheim has temples of all the Gods, it's fairly cool on Sigmar. Most of the Sigmarite clergy in Talabheim are from the Order of the Torch, the parish/preaching order. The Silver Hammers and other, more militant sects aren't as welcome in the city unless they're specifically keeping to watching over Sigmarite ranks. The Sigmarite temple and the quarters of the higher clergy are opulent and expensive as hell, in hopes that the wealth and grandeur will win over converts (and because the local High Priest comes off as something of a Sigmarite prosperity gospel rear end in a top hat, happily enjoying the 'needed' purchases that let him live the high life while claiming it's a work expense).

Rhya doesn't have grand temples here. Her worship is centered over in nearby Hochland, or out in the villages farming and lumbering the crater. Rhya takes a back seat in Taal's city, letting her husband be honored in the crater he powerslammed a giant dragon into. Which is just how a healthy relationship works sometimes; you need to let your partner be proud of any mythic wrestling feats they may have achieved. Taal naturally has the largest temple in the city, seemingly built of the trees and park that surround it, with only a few menhirs standing to Rhya behind the place around a natural spring. Taal's (and Rhya's) temple is one of the most sacred places in the city, and one of the most obviously magical. The 'carpets' are entirely grass and flowers, which seem to thrive no matter the season. Rumors persist that the doors and structures of the temple simply grow at the God's will out of the living trees surrounding it.

Another notable bit about the city are the extensive gardens and lodges. The Sea of Roses is the city's main conservatory, open to the public and full of every flowering thing that can possibly be made to grow within. It is alternately tended by Magisters of the Jade Order and Priests of Taal and Rhya, and it has become a 500 year tradition and one of the prides of the city. It's only one of several large public parks, which flourish despite the dirty city around them. Talabheimers are also fond of sweat lodges and saunas, because these are used in the rites of Taal. This means they're exempt from taxes, especially taxes on alcohol, since powerful drink is often a part of Taalite celebratory rites. An entire sacred entertainment industry exists around these lodges, letting people come in, sweat until they have visions of God, and then celebrate and get hammered together while a priest stands by to make sure it's all tax-free.

Also amusing is the Knoll of Doctrines, where Talabheim's street preachers and agitators go to yell at the clouds and each other. Religious agitators are preferred, because they make for the most passionate theater. The Sigmarites are very fond of trying to control the Knoll, bullying and abusing other speakers and practicing shouting them down, and fights aren't uncommon. Talabheimers like to bet on the performance of the street preachers, both in proselytizing and in the inevitable fistfights.

A curious thing is Talabheim's poor reputation for education. The Royal Academy in Talabheim is considered the worst major university in the Empire. Unlike other major cities, if you move outside of obscure legal procedure, accounting, and agricultural science, Talabheim is not noted for its scholars or educational facilities.

I also like the one blacksmith shop run by a wood elf. Yavandir is a little unusual: He's replaced elven arrogance with traditional blacksmith's gruffness and bulging biceps, because he's earnestly trying to learn non-elven techniques and culture to add to his repertoire. So he's an elf that acts more like a dwarf, because he's trying to figure out how dwarfs and humans do so well with blacksmithing. He's known to be a skilled smith and his weapons command good prices, and he has a little adventure seed where he pays high prices for PCs to go out and get him some of the meteoric iron that can be found in parts of the crater. It takes enchantment well and makes excellent swords if you treat it properly; I wonder if the elf is trying to figure out dwarven Gromril? That could be a fun story.

The whole city is full of little adventure seeds and personalities like that, much like Middenheim, Erengard, Kislev, and Praag. I really enjoy the range of stuff you get in the better done city write-ups. There's stuff for adventurers of all experience levels (and campaigns of all scopes) to do, lots of it feels lived in, and I adore that many of the writeups take the time to talk about things like public parks, theaters, local entertainment, etc. It's always helped the Old World that you have some sense of what people do for fun, or how Yon Peasant actually lives. Hams is a setting that gives a poo poo about Yon Peasant; what happens to Yon Peasant matters, and Yon Peasant can always be the next PC. The city is full of pawn shops, potential patrons, diversions, taverns, resorts, businesses, temples, and all manner of bureaucrats and quirks of government. Talabheim's writeup manages to feel like a place people live, and that's my standard for Hams city writing.

Outside the city and the crater lies the city's main river port on the Talabec, Taalagad. It's completely essential to the city (remember that the rivers are by far the most important transit and freight shipment system in the Empire) but it's a dirty, neglected place. You know how 'down by the docks' is usually a crime-filled and dirty place in most settings? Taalagad is an entire town of Down By The Docks. The place is full of refugees trying to get into the city, which isn't helping, but even in the best of times Taalagad seems overcrowded and under served. Also home to a considerable Kislevite population. Taalagad is important to the adventure since it starts there, but its writeup doesn't matter at all if you're playing Terror in Talabheim; it'll shortly be annihilated by a mixture of plague and rat nazis, and will need to be rebuilt entirely.

Next Time: The Adventure, and a look at its default party, begins!

Mr. Sunshine
May 15, 2008

This is a scrunt that has been in space too long and become a Lunt (Long Scrunt)



Fun Shoe



Mutant Chronicles
Part 2 – A product emerges



Cover of Mutant Chronicles 1st edition. Ain't no rainbows here

In 1992, Äventyrsspel release Mutant Chronicles. It is 10% Mutant R.Y.M.D., and 90% coke-fueled marketing madness. No more boxed game bullshit - Mutant Chronicles releases as a single beast of a book, clocking in at 206 pages. It is hard to overstate just how much of a commercial product Mutant Chronicles is compared to all of Äventyrsspel’s previous releases. While the writing might only have improved marginally over that of Mutant R.Y.M.D., there’s a fuckton more of it. More importantly, the book is just drowning in illustrations. Where Mutant R.Y.M.D. had maybe one measly black-and-white illustration every five pages, there’s not a single page in the Mutant Chronicles core book without an illustration, and most pages have multiple. Dozens of high quality colour illustrations are scattered throughout the book. There’s been honest-to-god graphic designers involved in the layout of the book. There’s graphical sidebars and dividers and symbols, turning the mind-numbing, endless three columns of black text on white background of previous Äventyrsspel games into a smooth, professionally designed product.



Just look at this poo poo. More illustrations than actual text

If you’re just leafing through the book, what will pop out like a punch to the face is Paul Bonner’s colour illustrations of megacorporate soldiers and Dark Legion monsters. While these are the most extravagant examples, the illustrations throughout are overwhelmingly of war, weapons, soldiers and supernatural monstrosities. The last 25 pages of the book are just a long list of weapons, each meticulously illustrated.


The Battle of Pauldron Hill, by Paul Bonner Esq.


Guns guns guns guns

Looking back at Mutant Chronicles now, with almost 30 years of hindsight, it’s pretty obvious that most of this was just Äventyrsspel throwing everything they had at the wall. The setting was largely nonsensical and incoherent. The layout of the text is disorganized. The rules are clumsy and quite obviously not playtested at all. The majority of the illustrations are just incomplete sketches or have no connection to the text on the page. Some are straight up lifted from Mutant R.Y.M.D. or New Mutant, showing stuff like hover cars and computers in a setting that very explicitly does not have neither hover cars nor computers.

It is also obvious that Äventyrsspel was aiming to build a franchise out of this, The Siege of the Citadel board game, for example, was very obviously in development prior to the release of Mutant Chronicles. Many of the colour illustrations in the Mutant Chronicles core book were of the characters and equipment that would later show up in the not-yet-released board game, while some black-and-white illustrations from the board game’s rule book are found scattered throughout Mutant Chronicle’s rules section – showing stuff like personal teleporters, hackable security systems and medic robots, things that clearly did not exist in the Mutant Chronicles setting but might have in the previous Mutant R.Y.M.D.

Somewhere between hatching the idea for Noll G and the release of Mutant R.Y.M.D., someone at Äventyrsspel had sat down, thought long and hard about how the gently caress Games Workshop was making such a killing selling nerd stuff, and arrived at the answer “Style over substance, every day of the week”. The Mutant Chronicles core book was tailor made for hijacking the minds of 13-year-old boys.

Speaking as one of those 13-year-old boys, encountering Mutant Chronicles back in the early 90s was wild. I had seen role playing games before, boxes or booklets with nonsensical covers and filled with boring text, lurking in the back shelves of the local toy store. Then one day there was this huge book crowding out everything else on the shelf, and to a young impressionable Mr. Sunshine opening it up was an acid trip of guns and giant pauldrons. I nagged my parents to get me Mutant Chronicles for Christmas. They hosed up and got me New Mutant instead.

Next – What is this game about, actually?

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!


Night10194 posted:

I also like the one blacksmith shop run by a wood elf. Yavandir is a little unusual: He's replaced elven arrogance with traditional blacksmith's gruffness and bulging biceps, because he's earnestly trying to learn non-elven techniques and culture to add to his repertoire. So he's an elf that acts more like a dwarf, because he's trying to figure out how dwarfs and humans do so well with blacksmithing. He's known to be a skilled smith and his weapons command good prices, and he has a little adventure seed where he pays high prices for PCs to go out and get him some of the meteoric iron that can be found in parts of the crater. It takes enchantment well and makes excellent swords if you treat it properly; I wonder if the elf is trying to figure out dwarven Gromril? That could be a fun story.

"Hmmm, well, I've figured out the swearing, the sweating and the hitting things with a hammer, but something seems to be missing. What do the dwarves and the humans have that I don't? Hmmm...." The elf rubs his chin thoughtfully, then suddenly perks up with realization. A day later he serves his customers wearing an elaborate fake moustache, because the facial hair must be what makes the difference.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Beer! You're not drinking enough beer!

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


It's funny. I run/play the setting reasonably straight, but the more I look at it, the more all my favorite writers for 2e tend to lean on the comedic side of Hams.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



That bit speaks to one of my favorite parts of WHF as well: people are actively trying to innovate and understand their world in this setting. Here's an elf blacksmith who's evidently not satisfied with the elves' ancient knowledge and practices of metallurgy and craftsmanship and is setting out to determine what other races do better and learn how they do that - and as an elf, he's perfectly suited to the task with his long lifespan. And if he is trying to figure out Gromril, he's not simply satisfied with one race having access to this mysterious super metal, he's trying to crack that mystery through experimentation and research because hey, that would be nice to have and know how to do.

Same with the Old World Bestiary, people are actually dissecting things like pegasi and griffins to do anatomical studies and figure out how they work, even if it means admitting they might be Chaos mutants that breed true.

Fivemarks
Feb 21, 2015


To be fair, the Dwarfiest Elf to ever Dwarf was Feanor... and he was a gruff rear end in a top hat.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Didn't he cause immense problems? I've never read the Simarillion but his name sounds familiar.

Fivemarks
Feb 21, 2015


Night10194 posted:

Didn't he cause immense problems? I've never read the Simarillion but his name sounds familiar.

Yes but that's besides the point of Feanor being elven doomguy.

Just Dan Again
Dec 16, 2012

Adventure!


The Silmarillion is a true slog but it's also full of some extremely metal concepts. It's worth mining for content if you want larger than life, age-of-wonder kinds of adventure ideas.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

DigitalRaven posted:



The Dishonored Roleplaying Game

Conclusion

Despite my gripes, I want to play this game. Let me be very clear about that. This isn't a hate-read, this is what stood out to me as I went through it. If someone proposed running it straight from the book, I'd happily sit down and enjoy it. Dishonored TRG has enough potential that I want to run it, and I have friends who are familiar enough with the video games to want to play. That's why I've noted what I'd change throughout, along with my gripes.

As I said near the start, it feels like a hybrid of FAE, 2d20, and Blades in the Dark. and that's a good thing. I really enjoy it as a system! But someone who really should have known better has glued in some of the worse bits of Shadowrun: Anarchy, and that's gonna have to be excised before I can run the game.

Is it disappointing? Yeah, kinda. I'm sad that it isn't better, but that's because there's so much potential. I pretty much want to turn what's in the book into a finished product.

It's that or I go back and write a not-Dishonored supplement for BLACK SEVEN.

I wrote and ran my own Dishonored-based game last year using a heavily modified set of Qin rules from 7th Circle as a base. A lot heavier than you'd probably like, but I did get a bunch of great maps out of it...











Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Terror in Talabheim

Our Heroes

So, surprisingly, the pre-gens for this adventure are both a good guideline on where it expects you to be EXP wise and are actually all mechanically well suited to the adventure. Two of them are first tier to first tier promotions, but both of those are in actually decent directions. The other two are both in pretty strong 2nd tiers. All but one of them can fight well enough to contribute in a combat situation, and most of them know something about subtlety and stealth. All they're really missing is something like an academic, doctor, wizard, or priest, and they'd have pretty much every role covered. You could definitely ask for worse and the focus on a mixture of combat and skullduggery is really well set up for Terror in Talabheim's primary gameplay challenges. I very much appreciate the team actually being suited to the adventure. It is a little dull that they're all humans, though.

Adalham 'Chuckles' Niederlitz is an Ex-Rogue, now a Thief. A poor boy who lost his single mother at 5 and grew up in the worst parts of Talabheim, he's always run with one gang or another; his one talent in life seems to be making people like and trust him. His Fel is actually quite average (32 base) but he has a ton of diplomatic and conniving skills from being a Rogue, and he's very lucky (Fate 3, plus the Luck talent; Ranald is with him). His old gang was wiped out recently and now he needs a new bunch of tough people to run with to search for his fortune. His only really bad stat is his Agi (and base 27 isn't *terrible), but his skills as a Thief have given him enough advances there that he's still competent. Plus the kid is ready-made to go into Fence as soon as he finishes Thief, which isn't too far off. It'd really compliment his criminal and business skills while making him okay in a fight; he doesn't have terrible natural talents (WS 30 base, S 31, T 36) he's just never been in classes that develop them much. Still, between being able to broker a deal, lie his rear end off, sneak, pick locks, and do rogue stuff while being lucky as hell, Adalham's a solid roguish character for the team.

Mienholf Liess is the kind of bigger boy Adalham always liked to run with. He grew up poor, with no siblings and a mother who died in childbirth, but his Stevedore father tried to take care of him and set him straight in the port of Taalgad. Mienholf was having none of that, dreaming of a bigger life and getting into organized crime as a Thug and footsoldier for a local boss. When he was caught, he was abandoned and thrown into a career of pitfighting to make up his debt to the city's underworld. Two years of brutal violence made him kind of a badass but also knocked some compassion and empathy back into him; he wants to do more than be some brutal killer or thug and hopes to start a family and live an honest life. As you might guess, Mienholf is the party's primary fighter. Thug isn't a great first career, but sometimes it's what the dice get you, and honestly Pit Fighter isn't a bad exit for it; together the two classes teach a character everything they need to know to be a solid warrior. Plus Pit Fighter has exits like Veteran, and like Adalham, Mienholf isn't that far off promoting. He comes with a great spread of stat talents from his classes and human Talents, but he also has the painful bad luck to have a 29 base Toughness; that 1% is one of the cruelest 1%s to miss out on in all of Hams (and pretty much confirms to me these characters are actually randomly rolled). Still, he's got an excellent-for-level WS (48% ain't bad), he's SB 4, and most critically, he has a base WP of 40 and two advances for 50; Mienholf is brave as hell and likely to resist fear, magic, and compulsion. He's also pretty smart and quite quick on his feet, and generally he's pretty decent. I like his backstory, too.

Lavinia Neumann thought of herself as an archeologist. A Stirlander, she loved the fanciful stories of the Von Carsteins and used to spend her time with pick and shovel, looking for loot and history as a Tomb Robber. Until she accidentally woke up an actual Vampire, slumbering in an ancient tomb, which ended up decimating her town and easily driving her off when she tried to do the right thing and stake the bastard. She's gone to travel and study, becoming a real Vampire Hunter until the day she can go home and get revenge. I'd have probably used her early EXP a little differently, but as it is, she's only 200 away from getting Dodge and Strike Mighty and being about as good a fighter as Mienholf. She definitely rolled the best of any of the PCs, having stuff like a massive 44 base BS (and her Career can get Mighty Shot and Rapid Reload; that'll let her put in some real work even if she's stuck with a shortbow or repeater crossbow) and in general all her stats are average or above average except for a 29 base Fel. As a former Tomb Robber, she can do thief/rogue stuff and is surprisingly the best educated member of the team (and the only one who's literate). She also comes with a full suit of Chain armor thanks to the Trappings system, as well as a repeating crossbow (they might be bad, but it's better than nothing). While there are no vampires in the adventure, there IS a Necromancer, and her knowledge skills and training will probably come in handy in assassinating the bastard. Outside that, she's like any other Vampire Hunter: Basically an assassin, plus her Tomb Robber base class is a real winner of a first career. Lavinia is here to kick rear end and read books.

Igor Scherer was a simple charcoal burner from Talabecland. He was recruited into the army to go forth and fight in the Storm of Chaos, and he went, leaving his family behind to do his duty to the Empire. He wasn't a great soldier, and was put to work doing woodworking and scouting duties instead of fighting on the front lines, eventually becoming a Scout. During one of the battles against the Kurgan, he realized he was near his home again, and slipped away for a short time to visit his wife and two children. He found his home razed and his family missing, and could not bear to return to the army. He's spent the last few months looking for them, despite knowing in his heart they must be dead. He's come to Taalgad and signed up with the others in hopes of hearing anything about the fate of his family, and making a little money so he can keep looking for them and dodge anyone looking for deserters. Igor is odd; he's got relatively poor stats (though not terrible) except that he's got fantastic base Str (43% with Very Strong) and decent WS (33 base). Everything else is average or slightly below. He's in Scout, which is mostly a ranger/Ranged class, but his 28 base BS hurts a little. Except he can get +20 BS in Scout, and every ranged talent, and the best ranged weapon in the game (Longbow). He's also no slouch with his shield and axe, meaning 3 of the 4 PCs have 2 attacks and actual decent WS and gear. He's also able to do stealth, like 3 of the 4 PCs. He'll grow into a formidable commando and still be able to pitch in well at range, and his significant wilderness skills will be really helpful during the latter half of the campaign.

So yeah, all four of the characters are actually useful, decently built, and they're all balanced against one another by their number of advances/spent EXP, not their number of Careers. All of the premades are actually tailored to the adventure at hand, and they would probably have little trouble completing it. TiT is unusual in that it doesn't actually dictate how much EXP you should earn during it, but depending on some of the variable length parts of the game it should be 1000 to 2000, especially if you give out bonus EXP at major milestones like a lot of campaign books normally tell you to do. If they live, these 4 will be very capable heroes by the end of the adventure, and they have enough Fate and talent that they probably could survive. They even all have decent enough backstories; Lavania's is a little odd but I appreciate that she at least gave it a shot before realizing you need to be damned serious to take out a vamp. A sad deserter, a regretful bruiser trying to find a moral use for his talents and a new life, a hardscrabble but social little rogue, and a vampire hunteress who is trying to learn to be the kind of badass that can actually ash vamps makes for a good WFRP party.

But they really missed out by not making ONE of them a Rat Catcher. For the Ratfight adventure. Seriously.

Next Time: The Path To Ratfight

90s Cringe Rock
Nov 29, 2006
:gay:


Night10194 posted:

Didn't he cause immense problems? I've never read the Simarillion but his name sounds familiar.
People say he "caused immense problems," but all he did was try to get his shiny rocks back. The War of Teleri Aggression wasn't his fault, just because literally everyone up to and including the Valar told him not to swear his oath doesn't mean that he was wrong, and Amrod wasn't an important Fëanorian.

I have have spent too long in silmarillionmemes.

Fivemarks posted:

Yes but that's besides the point of Feanor being elven doomguy.
People always ask if the Arkenstone was a Silmaril, but if it was, why wasn't there an extremely angry elf tearing his way out of the Halls of Mandos to take it back, huh?

ChaseSP
Mar 25, 2013



Night10194 posted:

But they really missed out by not making ONE of them a Rat Catcher. For the Ratfight adventure. Seriously.


0/10 Adventure, Would Not Play.

Seriously don't see how you could gently caress up the most obvious choice for a premade npc, although maybe it's so obvious they figure SOMEONE at the table would jump at the chance to make their own rat catcher and not need to bother making a npc.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


The party fighter should have been Ratcatcher to Shieldbreaker is my general take.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Terror in Talabheim

A (not actually) treasureful sidequest

The adventure begins in scenic Taalagad. The adventure also begins predicated on the PCs wanting to get the hell out of Taalagad and into Talabheim ASAP, because Taalagad is a shithole. Thankfully for them, there's an easy bit of employment offered for a rough looking little mercenary company: The city is trying to clear the refugees from Taalagad and get them back to villages so they can rebuild Hochland. Asking around will tell the PCs the cover story ('Thugs stole a shipment of furs intended for the Countess herself and she's had enough of this!') while an actual Gossip test tells them the truth: There's rumors of a new disease that might be spreading in Taalagad and the city is trying to step up refugee repatriation to reduce the overcrowding and make a full scale plague less likely. Another indication of why the Empire can struggle with Nurgle and Pestilens; if the plague is already here, sending refugees everywhere might just spread it further rather than halting it. The Empire generally thinks crowding is what causes plague to spread (which is a reasonable assessment with what they can observe, and with how often it hits cities) and thinks spreading people out before it gets bad will help avoid a need for a full quarantine.

The plague itself is said to be a slow killer, where the sufferer develops a severe cough and terrible shivers that get worse and worse until they become fatal. The slow pace of the disease was a deliberate choice by its creator, who apparently has some understanding of epidemiology. Nelrich the Supperator planned for the disease to stay asymptomatic but infectious for long periods, originally hoping he could infect considerable amounts of traffic from Talabheim before it was detected, but our main villain Asorak Steeleye (Grey Seer Extraordinaire, which is how every Grey Seer would describe themselves) decided he had a better plan and hosed with the disease to make it more apparent and more easily cured or re-introduced, as I mentioned in the adventure summary at the beginning.

Still, the rumors of plague are also meant to give the PCs even more reason to want to get into Talabheim. The city has sent an expert lawyer and assessor named Magistrate Hohenlohe to recruit PC types to escort refugees; the city doesn't want them to all die on their way home and actually does intend to repatriate them to Hochland. Hohenlohe was picked for the job because he's a big guy who's good at blustering at mercenaries and looking impressive, but he's also quietly known among his colleagues for being kind, devoted to his duty, good at picking up on lies, and only very mildly corrupt. The old lawyer isn't actually happy with the decision to send refugees off into the woods with random groups of 3-5 murder-hobos, and his bosses know that, because it will make him much more likely to pick out actual good murder-hobos since he wants to minimize the chances he hands people over to slavers, chaos cultists, or brigands. Hohenlohe can be bribed in the PCs' dealing with him, but it takes a Charm test and in general, you want to do the peasant escort sidequest. The game allows for you to skip it if you have money to bribe your way into the city, but for reasons that will come up, it's not a good idea and is honestly kind of unfair. This campaign's first chapters are significantly more railroaded than the later ones, because the players are reacting to events long-since underway while the second half puts them in the driver's seat.

Once they talk through things with Hohenlohe, the old magistrate sees the PCs as trustworthy and offers 2 GC in advance, 8 GC on completion, paid to each man and woman of the party, for a short trip to a village on the border. It's only a three and a half day walk, a week to go there and back, and that's not bad pay at all. Plus the magistrate implies doing the city a service will speed entry into Talabheim, maybe even make it free, as well; this would save time and money while making some decent pay when you consider a GC is a month's living expenses in most places.

The little side-adventure is quite a bit more eventful than you'd expect, and it's all side-quest stuff. There's a bit of decent flavor about the Hochlander refugees and their scars from losing their homes, enough to make kinder-hearted PCs try to lend a hand or to get across how devastating the war has been to people in its path. Sure, the Empire won and much of the Empire's south and west are fine, but that doesn't really help the Hochlanders, Ostlanders, and others whose homes were razed to the ground by random Chaos Lords and Champions and their warbands. Most of this group of refugees are actually Talabeclanders, but there are some Hochlanders mixed in, and perceptive PCs can note that the two groups are staying apart. The books suggests each PC doing a short montage of how they behave while guiding the villagers, to establish the tone of the PCs' escort; are they playing friendly guides and escorts, or are they an armed band making sure these people don't flee back to Taalagad? It's a good chance to see what kind of PCs people feel like playing. Another note: The Hochlanders have seen enough poo poo that any attempt to Intimidate them is at -20%, because the PCs sure as hell aren't a swarm of 8 foot hellvikings backed up by demons.

The most significant event is noticing that (if you've separated who is Hochlander and who is Talabeclander) the Talabeclanders have a high incidence of coughs of various severity. Luckily for these people, the version of the plague they have is actually pretty survivable and less spreadable; they haven't been given the 'boosters' yet and since one of the main vectors is the water supply in Taalagad and Talabheim (though it will transmit person to person) they aren't being continually re-exposed and will actually get better in about 10 days (less with treatment). The Hochlanders' social isolation has kept any of them from catching the disease. The Grey Ague causes nothing but a cough for 3 days, then subtracts -5% from all stats from the shivering. Every day, the character rolls Toughness or suffers an extra -5% to Toughness, and if Toughness hits 0 they die. The average Imperial adult has poor-ish odds of surviving by disease standards (They'll be at 26 T when they start making checks, and every failed check makes it worse, and they need to make 2 of the 7 checks or they'll die), much better ones with any sort of treatment (remember, Heal can reduce disease duration), and this thing is just plain going to slaughter the elderly and children. But the mild form is stoppable with mundane treatment and the characters who have it outside of the Talabheim area won't be continually re-exposed, and once the body defeats this stupid thing it won't come back, ever.

But to distract the PCs from the possibility of plague, the group is set upon by 3 demobbed Ogre mercenaries in outrageous hats and slashed sleeves, since they were recently fighting for Imperial regiments. Their leader (he has the biggest hat) implies the PCs don't really need to get ALL the refugees to safety, right? His lads are hungry, there's no food around here, etc etc. He wants to be bribed, and figures a group of 4 like the premade party can't fight him and his boys off and is likely to talk. He's affable and happy to prattle for a bit, and a +10% Charm test will convince him to accept one of the draft animals and cheerfully wave the PCs on. Any other reasonable idea that will result in the ogres getting a lot of food will skip the upcoming fight. The PCs could also hand over some of the refugees, but the game seems kind of disgusted to account for this and points out that word will get out that the PCs forced a couple helpless people or their children to get eaten by ogres to avoid a fight, and the authorities will not be happy. The ogres have no interest in money, since they have plenty of that and they're interested in food. If things break down, it's a fight; 3 standard Ogres with great weapons against the PCs, though the ogres will try to break past them into the peasants to make a few kills and drag the bodies away. The fight stops after the PCs kill an ogre (at which point the other two take their buddy's corpse for breakfast and back off) or they manage to kill six people (peasants included) and have enough for breakfast. The ogres are tough bastards, 3 attacks each, 24 wounds, but poor WS and 'only' SB 4 and TB 4, plus a mishmash of light and medium armor. The real danger is Fear; if the PCs freeze up they can break through to the peasants easily. Focusing fire and taking one of them out is quite possible for the pre-mades, though.

Whatever happens, if the PCs fought, they're regarded as heroes by the refugees, even if they lost and six people died. The fact that the mercs escorting them took on ogres they didn't really outnumber still convinces people that they're brave and honest folk. If the PCs talked out of the fight by giving away an animal or some other clever plan, the peasants are equally impressed and relieved. If the PCs actually won they can do no wrong for the rest of the journey and people talk about the 'heroes' they were lucky enough to be escorted by, which might spread beyond this adventure. I might toss in the dead ogre's purse or something as a bonus reward.

The next event is a murder mystery: Someone has murdered one of the Hochlander families, and it's too clean to be the work of a beast, despite fake wolf tracks leading into the woods. The PCs get the option to play detective here, and if they do, they discover the Hochlander's distinct and excellent longbow is missing. The killer, a crazy Talabeclander racist who hates Hochlanders because his deadbeat dad was from Hochland, couldn't bear to throw away the valuable high-quality bow. If he's detected, the PCs can prove it's him by finding the bow, at which point he fights to the death rather than go to the gallows but a single Woodsman-to-Hunter human with poor gear is no match for a PC party, especially after the goddamn ogres. Catching him again raises the PCs' estimation with the refugees. Failing to investigate or not finding the killer has no consequences for the PCs, but the guy will go on to become a Khornate eventually as his racism and murder-lust are preyed on by the Blood God. Not their problem, but still better if they catch him. I'd throw in the high craftsmanship bow as an extra reward if they catch him; the whole family that owned it is dead, I don't think too many would object to the PCs taking it.

The respect from the peasants comes into play now, if the PCs have been heroes. The peasants will fess up about the plague infections and one family will beg the PCs if there's anything they can do for their son. If the PCs have Heal, despite it not being an option here, they could probably actually save the boy's life by the normal mechanics with a good enough check. Either way, this is here to show what a near-terminal case looks like, and that this plague means business. The PCs will also note that it's a new plague, if they succeed a Science check. Science and Heal come up a fair bit in the early adventure and are the main place the premades are lacking. My own party was lacking in them too, so we repurposed a flavor NPC into a hireling later on and got them someone to help with the medical side of the adventure. Once they get the peasants to their new town, there's a brief celebration (if the PCs aren't hated) and then the heroes head on home.

Not realizing some of them have the plague already. Who has the plague is up to the GM, as is how many of them, and really the whole 'the PCs have the plague' part of this adventure is handled fairly arbitrarily. Also, because they catch it before it becomes apparent (and don't know about the 10 day duration) they're very likely to be back in Taalagad and drinking tainted water (and getting reinfected) rather than recovering. Effectively, it puts a time-limit on the early parts of the adventure as you try to find a way around the plague. The bit where who has it is completely GM fiat just feels a bit off. Also on the way home, the PCs potentially find evidence upriver of Taalagad, where they find rat-like footprints and evidence something was dropped into the Talabec to flow down towards the port. Collecting the odd residue and powder found in some of the discarded parcels will really help later on if the PCs find them.

If the PCs skip all this and stay in Taalagad while trying to get into the city, they all get the plague, and they get the worse version, which doubles the Toughness and stat loss, and will very likely kill PCs in a few days after symptoms start to show. If they can bribe into the city quickly, they may actually enter without catching the plague; they don't know how badly they want to spend as little time as possible in Taalagad, but they really don't want to be sticking around.

Aside from the PCs getting the railroading plague, the intro is actually a pretty decent little mini-adventure. It'd be kind of funny if the PCs hang around a few extra days or look for sidequests and accidentally short-circuit part of the adventure by getting over their sniffles, though. The game doesn't really account for the possibility of the PCs riding out the 10 day course of the disease at this juncture (the 3 day journey back is designed to get them into Taalagad before major symptoms arrive, where the infection can become continuous and indefinite.)

Next Time: Taalagad Gets hosed

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!


The Railroading Plague sounds like the most terrifying disease Clan Pestilens could invent.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


The thing is, it's mostly there to make the PCs hurry up with the early part of the adventure, just it has a chance of killing a player very quickly if you're unlucky (or if you got the 'hung around in Taalagad' version that does double the effect). And if it doesn't, I'm not sure I'd really like to go into any of the early combats down 10-20 points of toughness and 5-10 points of absolutely everything else.

E: It's also there to ensure the players don't just leave, but there are better ways. Hell, just the suspicion of plague should be enough to keep them here, plus they were doing that whole sidequest to get into Talabheim in the first place. The adventure has a weird amount of 'here's how to make sure the players play the adventure' moments. I'm guessing a lot of WHFRP groups, used to not getting paid at all for adventures like Paths of the Damned, just skip out on any main plot that doesn't offer immediate rewards. Also unusually, you usually get paid whatever you were promised during the course of Terror in Talabheim.

Further E: Also, I was misremembering, because the entire Plague situation is extremely complicated and has a ton of caveats: The version the PCs get on the road will only last 10 days (less with Heal tests to take care of them, though the adventure seems to forget that rule exists) despite them coming into contact with the worse strains later. If they survive 10 days of symptoms, they're clear the whole campaign. Again, if you remember the disease rules fully and have a decent doctor in your party, this actually isn't that hard, and some other stuff exists to help PCs treat the plague symptoms more easily. It's fairly unlikely to kill a PC and the minute it wears off, they recover all stats.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 23:35 on Mar 30, 2020

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

PurpleXVI posted:

The Railroading Plague sounds like the most terrifying disease Clan Pestilens could invent.

"Chew-chew!"

Battle Mad Ronin
Aug 26, 2017


PurpleXVI posted:

The Railroading Plague sounds like the most terrifying disease Clan Pestilens could invent.

This isn’t railroading. Not proper Warhammer railroading. Proper Warhams railroading is to put the PCs on trial for a crime they didn’t commit. Bonus points if there’s a note in the GM section that if the PCs seem about to be convicted just have the actual culprit suddenly confess.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Battle Mad Ronin posted:

This isn’t railroading. Not proper Warhammer railroading. Proper Warhams railroading is to put the PCs on trial for a crime they didn’t commit. Bonus points if there’s a note in the GM section that if the PCs seem about to be convicted just have the actual culprit suddenly confess.

The upcoming section spends more pages on how to force the players to play the next part of the plot instead of running away than it does on the actual plot. Mind, this is partly because the actual plot section is fairly open-ended and up to the GM and group which sub-adventures they want to do, but it's still weird to me. The group I play in/GM for has never needed excessive motivation or a crossbow to their backs to actually get into plots. I think it's a side effect of stuff like Path of the Damned never paying the PCs for a drat thing; some players probably start thinking 'oh gently caress, that's a Main Plot, there's no pay in those and they're crazy dangerous, let's scarper.'

Battle Mad Ronin
Aug 26, 2017


Night10194 posted:

The upcoming section spends more pages on how to force the players to play the next part of the plot instead of running away than it does on the actual plot. Mind, this is partly because the actual plot section is fairly open-ended and up to the GM and group which sub-adventures they want to do, but it's still weird to me. The group I play in/GM for has never needed excessive motivation or a crossbow to their backs to actually get into plots. I think it's a side effect of stuff like Path of the Damned never paying the PCs for a drat thing; some players probably start thinking 'oh gently caress, that's a Main Plot, there's no pay in those and they're crazy dangerous, let's scarper.'

I've played with groups like what you describe as well as the opposite. I've found it's all about having a good Session Zero to establish how we do things in this group. It's really been a revalation for me how much can be solved just by talking things over before the game. It's a shame it's not a more widespread practice. Proper communication between player/GM expectations could solve a lot of these plot involvement issues before they even appear.

EDIT: The thing about falsely accused was meant as a joke. It's insane how many old Warhammer adventures had the players be accused of something at some point, only for the accusation to not really matter in the end. I don't think 2nd edition was too bad about it, but the new 4th edition has it in the starter example adventure :bang:

Battle Mad Ronin fucked around with this message at 16:31 on Mar 31, 2020

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Reminds me of an old AD&D adventure, where one chapter opened with the stipulation that the PCs must be sent to jail for something.

Think the same book had a hook where a pixie NPC took a liking to a PC, and it actually suggested the party go looking for a potion of diminution or growth to make a presupposed dalliance work.

...now I'm wondering if Ed Greenwood rattled that one off.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Agreed, though I think some of it also comes from the author just trying to make sure the GM can use the book and being a little too heavy handed about it, when a better method would be 'we're going to play Terror in Talabheim, an adventure about stopping a terrible plague in Talabheim and other crazy bullshit, do you all feel like it' is more effective than any in-game punishment or whatever. Amusingly, later on they actually have a proper section discussing reasonable character motives for all sorts of allies (and PCs) to stay in a terrible situation, and that would have been better to lead with than all the other stuff. The front half of TiT is generally weaker than the back half; that's where all the crazy rat explosions and fun nazi stabbing lives.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 16:44 on Mar 31, 2020

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Bieeanshee posted:

Reminds me of an old AD&D adventure, where one chapter opened with the stipulation that the PCs must be sent to jail for something.

Think the same book had a hook where a pixie NPC took a liking to a PC, and it actually suggested the party go looking for a potion of diminution or growth to make a presupposed dalliance work.

...now I'm wondering if Ed Greenwood rattled that one off.

Really? Gross.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Yeah. If I were at home, I'd dig it out.

Jerik
Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.

Bieeanshee posted:

Reminds me of an old AD&D adventure, where one chapter opened with the stipulation that the PCs must be sent to jail for something.

Heck, at least two 2E Ravenloft adventures actually required all the PCs to die during the course of the adventure.

Obviously, they didn't stay dead... in one case, they were brought back as intelligent flesh golems, and in the other they became assorted varieties of undead. And in both cases they eventually had a chance to return to their former, living state. But still.

Overall I have a great deal of fondness for the Ravenloft setting, but it had its issues, and major railroading in many of its adventures was one of them. The PC deaths may have been particularly egregious examples, but they weren't necessarily all that far from par for the course.

(By the way, sorry for leaving my Deities & Demigods 1E review unfinished for so long... kind of took some time off from the forums to finish up a project I really had to get done, and then that ended up taking a lot longer than I expected, and then I guess I sort of put off coming back and trying to catch up. But I'll try to finally have the next part to the review up sometime today. The former parts are of course up on inklesspen's site if you want to refresh your memory. And I note to my surprise the review is still listed there as "ongoing" rather than "abandoned" despite my being gone so long. Huh. And unfortunately I also note that two parts of the review to which I made significant edits shortly after posting to make corrections or additions—Part 2 ("Gods and Monsters") and especially Part 9 ("It's Like The Office, But With Gods")—appear on inklesspen's site in their original, unedited forms. Well, dang. I thought I'd edited them quickly enough that inklesspen wouldn't have copied the posts yet, but apparently she was quicker on the draw than I expected. I guess next time I'll put any corrections in a later post rather than editing a post for them. No disrespect intended toward inklesspen, of course—I realize archiving all the reviews is a lot of work, and it's much appreciated; it's my own fault for how I edited the posts.)

Ithle01
May 28, 2013


Jerik posted:

Heck, at least two 2E Ravenloft adventures actually required all the PCs to die during the course of the adventure.

Obviously, they didn't stay dead... in one case, they were brought back as intelligent flesh golems, and in the other they became assorted varieties of undead. And in both cases they eventually had a chance to return to their former, living state. But still.

Overall I have a great deal of fondness for the Ravenloft setting, but it had its issues, and major railroading in many of its adventures was one of them. The PC deaths may have been particularly egregious examples, but they weren't necessarily all that far from par for the course.

It's gotta be more than two. I know the doppelganger one (Hour of the Knife) and the mindflayer one (Thoughts of Darkness, probably one of the worst adventures ever) both kill you. I can't remember the Frankenstein one so I'll assume that one kills you too, then there's the evil puppet one where you get bodyjacked and then there's probably one or two more in there.

Jerik
Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.

Ithle01 posted:

It's gotta be more than two. I know the doppelganger one (Hour of the Knife) and the mindflayer one (Thoughts of Darkness, probably one of the worst adventures ever) both kill you. I can't remember the Frankenstein one so I'll assume that one kills you too, then there's the evil puppet one where you get bodyjacked and then there's probably one or two more in there.

The two adventures I was referring to were Adam's Wrath (flesh golems) and Requiem (undead). Both adventures explicitly mandate that there has to be a TPK; all of the PCs have to be killed for the adventure to progress. Hour of the Knife doesn't go quite that far... it does suggest that any PCs left alone with a doppelganger are automatically killed, and has a section for what happens if all the PCs are killed—but that doesn't have to happen, and in fact if the PCs stick together it's possible (if unlikely) to complete the adventure with no fatalities. Same for The Created (the one with the evil puppets)—while it does have an eventuality for what happens if all the PCs are defeated by the puppets, it also says that this doesn't have to happen and that the adventure still works if the PCs win the fight. But I'll give you Thoughts of Darkness. I admit I'd never read it all the way through, but glancing over it now... yep, you're right; it also has a mandatory TPK. So that's at least three.

Edit: Make that at least four! I forgot From the Shadows, where the PCs all get decapitated and then brought back by Azalin as disembodied heads. Yeah, Ravenloft was pretty bad about this...

Jerik fucked around with this message at 10:30 on Apr 1, 2020

Nanomashoes
Aug 18, 2012



I remember when I ran Terror in Talabheim the party immediately started fighting the Ogres without trying to negotiate, I chuckled thinking "this should teach them," then the party's grey wizard opened the fight by casting Befuddle on one of them. He got the "attack the closest target" result from being Befuddled and crit the Ogre next to him, shrugged, and the two remaining ogres walked off with his corpse.

Everyone treated the wizard like she was the grand patriarch from that point of the campaign.

LazyAngel
Mar 17, 2009



So... Heart's backet PDF dropped today, and I'm put in mind of doing a long-read review of it, similar to how I treated Spire, albeit hopefully with a bit more of an opinion as I've actually been running the latter for a while. But it's still in PDF for now (although a quickstart is available) - should I wait until it's on general release, or just try to go through slowly enough that it'll be available before I finish?

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That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




LazyAngel posted:

So... Heart's backet PDF dropped today, and I'm put in mind of doing a long-read review of it, similar to how I treated Spire, albeit hopefully with a bit more of an opinion as I've actually been running the latter for a while. But it's still in PDF for now (although a quickstart is available) - should I wait until it's on general release, or just try to go through slowly enough that it'll be available before I finish?

Since they're already selling the PDF and are pushing a discount on print books if you buy the PDF, I'd suggest now's the perfect time to start.

That Old Tree fucked around with this message at 11:08 on Apr 1, 2020

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