Xathrodox86 reviews: “A Walk in the Drakwald” by author unknown

There are times when you come upon a completely obscure and previously unknown scenario, made for a game which you’ve been playing for 13+ years now.

“A Walk in the Drakwald” is exactly this kind of product. It was made for the 2nd edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and published in 2007. I couldn’t find the author to credit but if any of you, my fine readers, know his or hers identity then please let me know.

First of all I wanted to thank Paco’s Miscelaneous Stuff and IGARol for helping me with acquiring this module. It was released for free, back in the day, but since then it completely dropped off the face of the internet. Now I have it in my collection and I am very happy about that, being a WFRP completionist that I am. Thanks for the help guys!

As is the case with all of my scenario reviews: slight spoilers ahead. Not that they matter a lot in this case, but still – it’s better to be safe than sorry.

The cover, if you can even call it that, is the epitome of basic design…

Now this adventure is… weird. Written for 2-4 characters in mind (even though there are only 3 ready-to-play PCs), it came out some time after the premiere of 2e but I can’t really call it an introductory scenario, not really. It doesn’t showcase any of the complex mechanisms of the system, opting instead for a very simple rundown of the most basic rules. For example every encounter has a set initiative for all combatants. There are no opposed tests. There are no modifiers to any of the tests. There are no skills and traits (even though one of the 3 pregenerated PCs supposedly knows how to swim, there’s no info about this in his character summary). To say that “A Walk in the Drakwald” is light on rules would be an understatement.

Finally there are no Fate and Luck Points. What devilry is this?

So what about the plot of the scenario? There’s practically none. The PCs are travelling on a lonely road in the Drakwald forest. They encounter some beastmen and learn about a prisoner held in the ruins of an old inn, guarded by a bigger beastman. They come to his rescue and, maybe, agree to escort him to Middenheim. The End.

The whole PDF only has 12 pages, and two of them are dedicated to the characters and promotional stuff for Black Industries. The author even states that the whole adventure should take a maximum of half an hour to accomplish. While I didn’t personally GMed it (and I don’t intend to, if I am to be honest), I think that 30 minutes might even be too long to complete “A Walk in the Drakwald”. There are 2 laughably easy combat encounters and 3 possible NPC interactions. The whole thing is, naturally, railroaded to hell and back and the PCs don’t really have much to say in the matter. Go to point A, kill two wimpy beastmen, collect a clue note, go to point B… Needless to say there’s very little tension and both the heroes and GM won’t really feel like they’re playing for the high stakes.

So I’m not gonna lie – the crunch system for this adventure is a low point for me. But what about the atmosphere and worldbuilding? Does this scenario presents the realities of WFRP in a right way? Not really. While there are some properly Warhammery descriptions of the Drakwald forest and its grim environs, the whole thing is… kinda lazy to be honest. It follows the incredibly irritating trope of “your players encounter a completely random stranger in the worst place on earth”, which WFRP is sadly known for. There’s literally nothing about the history, culture and religion of the Empire, no lore snippets, nothing. If you’d remove the WFRP logo, “A Walk in the Drakwald” could be used in almost any D&D-like TTRPG system. Warhammer Fantasy, for all its flaws, is an incredibly reach and unique setting and this scenario doesn’t show that at all. For me this is its biggest flaw.

That said I love the fact that there’s a completely ordinary Bone Picker NPC who’s willing to sell the PCs a coil of rope for 10 Gold Crowns and a BARREL OF ALE FOR 5 GOLD CROWNS! By Sigmar’s Holy Hammer, how did she got her hands on Bugman’s XXXXX?!

Oh, and the spelling errors… Look, I know I make quite a few of these myself with English not being my native language. But “A Walk in the Drakwald” is, supposedly, a promotional, introductory scenario (it even says so on the cover). The ammount of errors inside really shows that there was little to no quality control here. This is simply unnaceptable, in my humble opinion.

So what do I think about this strange and unusual module? I don’t really know. It kinda reads like one of those “choose your own adventure” books, but… there’s really no choice here. It won’t teach the players proper game mechanics and it won’t really showcase the world of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. The few pieces of art are very basic and incredibly pixelated. There are no maps and only a single handout which is also kinda hard to read, beacuse of the terrible font used in it. Not good, not good at all.

While it’s a rare and kinda interesting product, “A Walk in the Drakwald” is, at the end of the day, completely unnecessary. Perhaps it should’ve stayed forgotten and unremembered.

Until next time!

Xathrodox86

Xathrodox86 reviews: “Through the Drakwald” by Chris Pramas

I’m back from a relaxing trip to the real-world Tilea, full of energy and the will to write. So here’s another WFRP scenario review for y’all.

“Through the Drakwald” is a very important adventure for me. It was the second Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay scenario which I ran as a GM, back in the murky days of 2009. Written by the legendary Chris Pramas and set right after the apocalyptic events of the Storm of Chaos, this is a perfect introductory product for those who are just getting started.

Slight spoilers ahead, but you probably know that by now.

“Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here”

The premise is quite simple. Our heroes (ideally still in their first careers) arrive in the small town of Untergard, located in the middle of the sinister Drakwald forest, which managed to survive the horrors of the war and whose inhabitants bravely fought for the Empire. Boris Todbringer, the Elector Count of Middenlad, sent some gifts to the courageous men and women of the small hamlet, but the celebrations are soon interrupted by a small group of mutans who decided to attack Untergard and cause as much chaos as possible. The adventurers will have to help the people of the small town in repelling the vile monstrosities and then assist in the evacuation. The changed weren’t the only danger lurking in the depths of the Drakwald forest. The Beastmen are coming and they won’t stop until Untergard becomes a pile of corpse-strewn rubble…

Along the way to Middenheim the PCs will discover many secrets of refugees, become keepers of a holy icon of Sigmar and (hopefully) thwart a chaotic ritual fuelled by vengeance and loss. The journey to the City of the White Wolf won’t be easy and not everyone will reach Middenheim alive…


“Through the Drakwald” is a very short scenario, clocking at 10 pages (not including the handouts section). The few fights it includes are relatively simple and even a very basic, inexperienced party should deal with them without too much fuss. It’s short, sweet and goes straight to the point – a perfect choice for both GMs and players who are just starting their adventure with WFRP.

This combat encounter map is very handy as well!

It also ties nicely with “Pretty Things” from Game Master’s Pack, as well as “Ashes of Middenheim” – the first part of the epic “Paths of the Damned” campaign. There’s even a small, cool easter egg related to it in the legendary “The Thousand Thrones”, something that I always enjoyed. That said I can’t say anything more beacuse… spoilers. Too many spoilers are never a good thing.

Look, it’s not a world-changing adventure, but it does the job of getting everyone involved into the fascinating world of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. For me that’s more than enough.

Oh, and you can find it in the 2e’s rulebook. I should’ve mentioned that earlier. Probably. Maybe.

So there you have it, another WFRP scenario review. I still have a few official ones from the 2nd edition to write about, so expect more in the future. I still don’t know what I’ll write about in 2 weeks, but you can be sure that it will be something Warhammer related.

Until next time!

Xathrodox86

The Araby Chronicles 05: Meeting the ambassador!

I know, I know – this was supposed to be a WFRP scenario review. Alas I checked my old Araby campaign notes, and I just couldn’t stop myself from writing another chronicle entry.

The “Inglorious Basterds” mercenary company finally arrived in Lashiek and made their way towards the Imperial embassy, located in one of the city’s poorer districts – the infamous Haql Eunb, the Wine District. Along the way they witnessed many incredible sights – from the strange horse-like creatures with strange humps on their backs, to almost constant presence of slave traders, offering their flesh wares to anyone interested. Some in the party noted (with slight discomfort) that quite a few of the slaves looked eerily Imperial… or at least they looked like they came from the Old World.

Arriving at the seedy street, they discovered that the embassy itself was located within a series of dilapidated and poorly constructed buildings, each a couple storeys high. Their condition was questionable, as was the neighborhood – Haql Eunb was notorious for its high crime rate, thugs and many other, less than stellar “amusements”. Clearly the Sultan didn’t cared much for the relations with the foreign Empire… or maybe he intended to test the newly appointed ambassador and see what his reactions will be like.

Prime real estate right here! (art by Kyungsup Sin)

Within the dusty and sand-filled hallway, our heroes met Marla Otwenkraust, a young girl who worked as a “secretary” of sorts. She introduced our heroes to lieutenant Wilburg Hacke, the commanding officer of the embassy’s meager security contingent, as well as Dhaakir al-Salman, local medic and healer. Hacke ordered his men to take all of the “Inglorious Basterds” to their new barracks, located at the bottom floor of the embassy. Meanwhile he took Uriel, Wilhelm and Luther, the de-facto leaders of the mercenary company to see the ambassador.

Martin Geheimschnapps, the young and ambitious Imperial envoy to Lashiek, met our heroes within his opulent offices. Compared to the rest of the complex, his private quarters were beyond luxurious. However before the trio of commanders were allowed to enter them, they had to get through four grim-faced (as much as a mask can be grim) janissaries. Initially the Arabyan warriors seemed like they wouldn’t allow the men to enter Geheimschanpps’ quarters, making the whole thing escalate dangerously close to outright violence. Fortunately for everyone involved, the young ambassador defused the situation.

Within Martin’s offices, the three PCs met Klaus Reinholdt, Geheimschnapps’ right hand man, and Ulrich – a priest of Sigmar, sent here to track down a particulary dangerous witch (he was Frederich Flößer’s player new PC). The ambassador informed Uriel and the rest of the company commanders about a set of very strict rules, which they had to abide to, if they wished to remain employed. Mainly: no unnecessary fights, no harassing locals and no pillaging/burning/maiming etc.

You know, generally no fun allowed!

In return the party told Martin, Klaus and Ulrich about Frederich Flößer’s corruption (omitting the part about letting him go, although only Uriel knew the truth about this particular fact) and that the local law enforcement should be on the lookout for the man.

To make sure that the mercenaries (now called the “Raven Company”) continue to behave, Ulrich, the priest of Sigmar, had been appointed as their chaplain. This did not sit well with Uriel, who immediately came to blows with the priest… fortunately only verbal. The ambassador had to use every ounce of his diplomatic skills to avoid an outright brawl within his quarters!

Talk about a good start, eh?

After Uriel and his subordinates left Martin’s office, the ambassador informed Ulrich and Klaus about the need of keeping a close eye on the troublesome elf. Ulrich agreed that it would be best if someone more competent replaced the current commander of the “Raven Company”…

Meanwhile young Ripertus, the resident scoundrel of the company, informed Ollo Svarnsonn, the best friend of Wilhelm Al-Asmai, about a shady meeting between the missing Frederich Flößer and Uriel, which took place on “Bella Luca Canto”, shortly before the dissapearance of the now infamous marksman…

Later that day, somewhere within the labyrinthine maze of Imperial embassy’s corridors, Wilhelm, Ollo and Luther met in secret, and decided that Uriel became too unhinged to further lead the “Raven Company”. Something had to be done about the troublesome elf. Something decisive and terminal.

Oh, and Dhalia Frazetta was appointed the official chronicler of the mercenary company, as well as a combat trainer, owing to her extensive knowledge and experience in classic fencing. The young woman certainly did not expected that to happen!

Finally the entire company, including the leaders, finally started to feel the effects of the oppressive, Arabyan heat…

The plot thickens. I’m just having too much fun with recapping the events of our fantastic Araby camapign. Next time I’ll write something different, I promise. I already have a certain scenario review in mind. Stay tuned…

Until next time!

Xathrodox86

The Araby Chronicles 04: Finally arriving in Lashiek (for real this time!)

Whoa boy, that trip was quite something. Stowaways, pirates, mutiny, undead krakens and Nurgle rituals – it’s a miracle that the “Inglorious Basterds” mercenary company managed to reach the shores of Araby!

As the “Bella Luca Canto” entered the port of Lashiek, the City of Corsairs, everyone on the vessel could not wait to feel solid ground under their feet again. The journey, while relatively short, was full of dangers and not all of the passengers reched their destination alive. The famous Arabyan port city finally greeted them with all of its myriad sights, sounds and smells. Street vendors offered their wares to anyone walking near their stalls. Grim Arabyan spearmen and their Janissary unit leaders marched through the streets, keeping a close eye for any suspicious activity. Slave traders loudly proclaimed the high quality of their “goods”, all the while making sure that the men and women in shackles would not try to escape or turn on their owners.

And despite all that, despite all the incredible sights of the City of Corsairs, the most stunning element of its vista was the Sultan’s of All Araby incredible, golden-domed palace. It was said that the precious metal slabs, covering its grand minaret, were metres-thick. Truly here was a city full of wonders and opportunities for those, brave enough to claim them.

Before the company made it to the shore, their vessel faced a sudden inspection from the harbor guards, led by a squad of elite Janissaries, their faces obscured by silver masks, their demeanor grim and resolute. While they didn’t found anything suspicious, they still took their sweet time rummaging through the vessel’s interior. Because of this, Frederich Flößer, the newly converted cultist of the Plague God, decided to act quickly and leave the ship without letting anyone know about his intended actions. Anyone, but Uriel – his oldest companion and the nominal leader of the mercenary company.

Not to mention, one tough bastard… (art by Sungryun Park)

Frederich gambled a lot by telling the elf the whole truth about the chaos ritual. Even though Uriel was one of the elder race, he was also a bastard and a scoundrel, much more akin to the vile Druchii than a noble Asur, or even a neutral Asrai. Forces of Ruin disgusted him but he wasn’t a zealous witch finder. He and Flößer had a history together. They bled together, drank together and achieved much together. They both started out as scum, the lowest of the low, and only through determination, hard work and mutual respect and trus, did they managed to achieve their shared dream – to run a mercenary company of their own.

So Uriel let Frederich go with a final farewell and a promise that if he’d ever see him again, he would kill him. Although to this day I’m not sure if his decision wasn’t influenced by the “bomb vest” that Flößer was wearing. I guess we’ll never discover the real truth behind his final reasoning. As a parting gift, Frederich told Uriel to destroy the tainted food that was supposed to reach the Imperial embassy in the city. Then he dissapeared forever. Only the commander’s closest confidants learned about the truth of what happened to Frederich Flößer, and none of them would divulge it to anyone, on the pain of excruciating death.

After exchanging chilly farewells with Rafael Strosa, the disgruntled captain of “Bella Luca Canto”, the “Inglorious Basterds” mercenary company loaded their gear and began marching through the scorching-hot streets of Lashiek towards Haql Eunb, the Wine District, one of the shadiest parts of the city. There lay the recently opened Imperial Embassy, which the mercenaries were supposed to protect for a fair coin. As Uriel and his companions led their men towards their destination, they had no idea about the myriad horrors awaiting them in this strange and foreign land…

So there you have it, another part of my Araby campaign recap. As fun as it is to write these short stories, next time I’ll change things up a bit. I will review a certain 2nd edition scenario which is perfect for newcomers and veterans of WFRP alike.

Until next time!

Xathrodox86

The Araby Chronicles 03: Nurgle shenanigans!

Last time the party and their men just barely managed to repel a mutiny. Now it should be smooth sailing to Lashiek, the capital of Araby, right?

Wrong!

The evil never sleeps and so Umberto Pavoni, the rich and sickly looking merchant from Tilea, bid his time until “Bella Luca Canto” was only 7 days away from Lashiek. He was preparing an eldritch ritual to summon a powerful exalted daemon of the Plague God – Loghu’arax the Joyful. He just needed some help…

What a swell guy, not to mention totally trustworthy looking! (art by Pond)

Frederich Flößer, the party’s crack marksman, was easy to convince. He lusted for ever more power, wealth and influence, being born poor and generally never achieving much in his life. Still, I was kinda surprised when my player agreed to aid Pavoni, even though the cultist painted the whole deal in a pretty “daemonic” way. He didn’t want to go full Nurgle just yet, only to witness the summoning and then, maybe, make his mind whether to pledge his soul to the Grandfather. Oh how naive he was…

Pavoni came to “Bella Luca Canto” with a very precise goal in mind. He was to summon Loghu’arax who in turn would taint the food stores with Neiglish Rot. The Tilean ship was carrying provision for the Imperial embassy in Lashiek, and due to the ambassador’s brother being a high-profile witch hunter, who aided in destroying a cell of Nurglites in Nuln… Well, you get the idea. Revenge is a dish best served cold.

However when it comes to chaos, nothing is at it seems. Umberto Pavoni learned that the hard way, when, in the middle of the night, the summoned exalted daemon entered his body and turned him into his meat suit. Needless to say, Frederich was terrified and decided that he has enough… The daemon, being a sneaky bugger that he was, offered him a deal.

Come on, would you not trust a face like that? (art by yigitkoroglu)

That’s why I love to RP the creatures of the aether. I can just unleash my inner corrupting seductor.

My player listened to Loghu’arax’s offer, considered it and then agreed to serve him. He decided to leave the party after they’ll arrive in Lashiek, and dissapear into the crowds. The daemon was satisfied. He secured a living vessel for itself, tainted the food stores with Neiglish Rot and found a new convert who will spread his disgusting gospel. All in all, it was a very fruitful evening for good old Loghu’arax.

Next morning “Bella Luca Canto” finally arrived in Lashiek’s harbour, much to the relief of all who travelled on the seemingly unlucky ship. Frederich Flößer knew that he needed to dissapear quickly, but first he tried to convince Dhalia Frazetta to join him. Naturally he decided to omit the whole “I am a cultist in progress” stuff! The woman declined his offer, even though she kinda liked him. After all, he was the only man on this ship who treated her well.

Frederich knew that he needed to do one more thing before leaving his comrades. He didn’t want to have their deaths on his conscience and so, even though this would mightily displease his newfound patron, Flößer decided to tell Uriel about everything – Pavoni, the ritual, his part in it, and the fact that he decided to leave the “Inglorious Basterds” mercenary company. After all, he knew the elf for quite some time now, and they had many adventures together. He hoped that Uriel would understand his decisions and the reasons behind them.

However, just in case, he prepared a chest rig filled with explosives. If Uriel decided to stop him or try to kill him on the spot, Frederich would make sure that he wasn’t the only one dying that day…

How well did this conversation went? Tune in next time to find out! The party and their men will finally reach the Imperial embassy in Lashiek, where new buisness opportunities await them… as well as new dangers!

Until next time!

Xathrodox86

The Araby Chronicles 02: (Almost) arriving in Lashiek, the City of Corsairs!

The party just managed to avoid 3 Tilean war galleys, but it’s not over yet. Seems like captain Strosa should’ve made a better background check on his crew…

We return to the recap of my “Araby or Bust! – Or Let’s Take A Road Trip To Nehekhara!”campaign. A day after the whole incident with Alfredo LaCosta’s mercenaries (not to mention the giant rotting tentacle), “Bella Luca Canto” got into a completely different kind of trouble.

It’s mutiny time!

I can tell you right now – my players did not expect to suddendly fight almost half of the crew, at dawn’s first light. Especially after a very stressful previous day. Three of them got completely surprised in their quarters, with Uriel the elf getting completely owned by a bunch of Sartosan double agents. Frederich Flößer, using a good combination of firearms (blunderbusses are nasty!) and some wicked close combat skills, managed to dispatch all of his assailants, and save Dhalia Frazzetta. Sadly Luther Durrbein, the party’s resident Academic character, got completely mauled while trying to reach the upper deck, where captain Strosa and his few loyal men were fighting for their lives. It was a Ranald-sent miracle that Durrbein avoided losing one of his wrists, after taking a particularly nasty blow to it.

This was one of the most intense battles in WFRP that I ever ran as a GM! (artist info needed)

Meanhwile in the main hold of the ship the Inglorious Basterds were locked in mortal combat with the traitorous crew, who suddendly rose against them, proclaiming their allegiance to the dreaded Sartosan pirate El Lupo! During the fight the company lost many good men, including their Myrmidian priest, Father Paolo Coelho (yes, I know that this was a lowbrow joke). Ripertus “Dunkel” Totengraber, the resident scoundrel of the company, surprised everyone with his martial skill, by fighting off a bunch of traitorous crewmen, almost simultaneously. With the lower decks under their control, the company rushed to the main deck, in order to aid the ships’ captain and the rest of their comrades.

Fighting under the scorching sun and with salty breeze mixing with the stench of spilled blood and entrails, the mercenaries and their leaders gave their best… and emerged victorious. The title of the biggest badass definitely went to Frederich Flößer who rushed the enemy completely naked (he was fast asleep when the mutiny begun) except for his pistol holsters and scabbard. Thanks to his keen eye and fast hands, captain Strosa and his few remaining loyal men managed to survive.

However this is Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay we are talking about. There are no heroes here, no black & white morality, just varying shades of grey. That’s why I wasn’t especially surprised when the victorious party put their blades against the captain’s neck, berating him for being a fool who couldn’t deduce that half of his Estalian and Tilean crew members were working for El Lupo!

Since “Inglorious Basterds” suffered much lower casualties than those crewmen still loyal to Strosa, they were able to dictate some pretty harsh terms to Strosa. Both parties “agreed” that the mercenaries won’t have to pay for their trip at all. While the captain of “Bella Luca Canto” wasn’t happy about this outcome, it was still preferably better than having his throat slit (as Wilhelm Al-Asmai suggested to the nominal commander of the company – Uriel).

All in all, the battle was costly for everyone involved but in the end the “Inglorious Basterds” have triumphed over their enemies. Unbestknown to them, one of their number would do something monstrous in the near future. Something so horrifying, that it could threaten the souls of everyone on the ship…

You’ll have to wait for the next post to learn more. I know that this article was supposed to cover the rest of the trip to Lashiek, but I decided that for the sake of building the tension and suspense, I’ll keep y’all in the dark, at least for a few more days. I hope that you understand.

Once again, if you’d like to check out the campaign in question, you can visit Jackdays’ excellent Kalevala Hammer website. There’s plenty of Warhammer Fantasy goodness there, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Until next time!

Xathrodox86

Role-playing Rants: Why I’ll never get tired of Henry Cavill

Yeah, I know: I was supposed to write more about my Araby campaign today. Alas fate had other plans. Let’s talk about the man who’s doing a lot of good for the entire geek community worldwide.

Look, this is going to be a quick post. I know that a lot of folks out there are fed up with the constant “Henry Cavill is the king of the nerds” schtick. They think that it’s overused, dumb, childish and probably a scam from some big game company, like Games Workshop. Some might even hold a grudge after watching “The Witcher”, which is, sadly, a very poor adaptation of its source material. Whatever the cause, a lot of people hate on Cavill and his, seemingly fake, “geek cred” for one reason or another.

I am not one of those people.

This man has my upmost respect. Also – this outfit is hella cool! (photo by: Jay Maidment/Netflix)

Now I don’t simp for Cavill. I think that he is a solid actor, a friendly chap (or so he seems anyway) and a good looking bloke who also happens to enjoy things, which are usually assosciated with a more nerdy audience. Plus he plays Custodes – clearly the man has a good taste! All jokes aside, Cavills’ geeky semi-crusade in the popular media is actually really important, at least to me. You see, I am a middle aged guy who got into tabletop gaming, RPGs etc. in a relatively young age. Back then (early 90’s) this hobby was viewed in a rather specific way by the common people. Here in Poland we didn’t had the whole “RPGs are the tools of Satan” craze, but they were still considered a dumb entertainment, a waste of time, a childish escape from reality and other such nonsense.

Of course I don’t have to mention that people who honestly believe that should never be taken seriously, nor engaged in any form of debate or thoughtful conversation. Simply put – they’re not worth your fucking time.

With tabletop strategy games like Warhammer Fantasy and its younger sibling it was even worse, because of the large ammount of money needed to enter the hobby and further expanding your army. Granted back then very few people in Poland could afford regular purchase of plastic (and metal!) crack, since the country was on the poorer side of the economy, but still – the stigma of tabletop gaming being “needlessly expensive” was kept alive for many, many years. Only now it begins to slowly dissolve into the abyss, and thankfuly so.

It’s hard to listen to this kind of dumb shit about your favorite hobby, when you are growing up and just trying to enjoy things. I know a lot of people who got turned off from role-playing games and tabletop hobby in general, by a few assholes who thought that they held the recipe for the “proper and responsible” way of life. I personally think that this kind of behavior, telling others what they should and should not enjoy, is a testament of a very poor, very vitriolic character.

That’s why I will always support the actions of people like Henry Cavill. People who, using their fame and influence, show the entire world that moving small plastic soldiers on a board or rolling funny-shaped dice is normal. That it’s not “uncool”, “lame”, “childish” or “a waste of time”. I don’t care if Henry does it for his own PR image, or if it’s some kind of publicity stunt. The final effect matters, and his actions help all of us, geeks, across the entire world.

For that he has my honest gratitude.

Until next time! See you in Araby!

Xathrodox86

The Araby Chronicles 01: Here’s Part 1 of my Araby campaign summary!

I’v been running Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay almost constantly from the late 2015 to January of 2022. It’s finally time to take a long break from this system, but I wanted to tell you about my final campaign, set in its rich, dark world.

Some of you know that I am generally really tired of the Old World. I think the Games Workshop’s obsession with sticking to faux-reneissance Germany, France and Russia is tiresome and boring, and I desperately hope that Cubicle 7 will create at least one module, which will allow players to discover other parts of the world of Warhammer Fantasy. That said, until they do that, the only way in which exploring other countries, nations and cultures of Warhammer Fantasy, is to create a campaign of your own. That’s exactly what I did with “Araby or Bust! – Or Let’s Take A Road Trip To Nehekhara!”, a campaign template set in the far, hot South of the Warhammer World.

Just a quick FYI, in case this needs to be said – I wrote this module with the upmost respect for other races, cultures and beliefs. Stating the obvious really, but this is the world in which we live nowadays.

I wanted to summarize the playthrough of my homemade Araby campaign with you, fine readers. My players were absolutely wonderful and they’ve met the change of our usual environment with enthusiasm and open-mindedness. We used 4th edition of WFRP and our weekly sessions took place via the fantastic Roll20 website.

All in all it was a damn fine game. I will divide this summary by the chapter titles of my campaign. Next part of the first chapter will be described in two weeks from now. Have fun!

Oh and there are spoilers ahead, obviously!

Chapter 1: On the Waves of Manann. Part 1.

The party, leading the “Inglorious Basterds” Imperial mercenary company from Nuln, boarded a ship in Luccini, Tilea. They wanted to reach the far away city of Lashiek in Araby, where they were supposed to provide security for the Imperial embassy which was seriously understaffed and underfunded. The “Bella Luca Canto” was a solid ship, captained by a famous explorer Rafael Strosa. He had approximately 50 Tilean and Arabyan mercenaries under his command, seasoned warriors all. Alongside the adventurers, a few other, eccentric individuals took the trip to distant lands of Araby. Dhalia Frazzetta was a young girl from a rich aristocratic family, who desperately wanted to avoid an arranged marriage to her younger, volatile cousin.

Valeria von Toliph was a mysterious arcane adept from the Amethyst College who wished to reach the Sultans’ palace and offer him her power and skills in exchange of forbidden knowledge.

Finally there was Umberto Pavoni, a rich Tilean merchant, who hid a dark and deadly secret…

The entire journey was supposed to take around a week of sea travel. Throughout the first day of the travel the party busied themselves with learning the lay of the ship, its crew and other passengers. They also discovered Dhalia Frazzeta hiding in one of their cabins. The girl took some convincing to speak about herself and the reason why she snuck into the ship in Luccini. Uriel, the de-facto leader of the party and the company, wanted to throw her overboard, but the rest of the adventurers convinced him to let her stay, albeit far from the rest of the crew.

Day two brought a nasty surprise in the form of a trio of Tilean war galleys, commandeered by Alfredo Lacosta, Dhalia’s husband-to-be. Each of the ships carried around 60 Tilean and Estalian mercenaries, well paid and even better trained. Their job was to secure “Bella Luca Canto” and retrieve the girl. The party prepared themselves for battle. Even as Rafael Strosa tried desperately to outrun the chasing ships, Frederich Flößer, the party’s river warden marksman, damaged one of the galleys by blowing a gunpowder keg with his trusty Hochland Long Rifle, forcing the ship to limp back to Tilea.

It was not enough.

Everyone on “Bella Luca Canto” prepared to sell their lives dearly, readying their weapons and quietly speaking prayers to their gods, when something completely unexpected happened. Suddendly a huge, decaying tentacle emerged from under the waves and crushed one of the ships in its deathly grasp. The entire Tilean war galley got snapped in two, its entire crew (the ones who did not get pulverized) falling into the shark-infested waters of the Great Ocean.

It kinda looked like this, but with only a single tentacle (vastly more rotten) and the ship was of a different type. (picture taken from the Sea of Thieves game)

The party witnessed Valeria von Toliph, her arms wreathed in purple and black fire, aiming at the remains of a dead sea leviathan, forcing it to obey her whims. Seeing the fate that befell their comrades, the remaining mercenaries ordered their ship to return to Tilea. It was unknown if Alfredo Lacosta, Dhalia Frazzetta’s mad cousin-almost-turned-husband, perished during this encounter. If he did not then surely he’d try to get his vengenace on her would-be wife and the intrepid heroes who aided her in escaping from his clutches.

Only Uriel remained reserved and had not cheered the deparutre of the last war galley, watching Valeria von Tolpih in utter silence, his keen eyes squinting…

So here it is, the first part of my “Araby or Bust! – Or Let’s Take A Road Trip To Nehekhara!” campaign template. I hope that you liked it. Next time I’ll conclude the first chapter of the campaign so stay tuned for more intrigue, desperate naval battles, mutiny and… daemonic rituals!

You can find the campaign in question on Jackdays’ excellent Kalevala Hammer website. He has some incredible WFRP material there, be sure to check it out.

Until next time!

Xathrodox86

Something to sate your bloodlust: a surprise interview with Steven Darlington from Tin*Star Games!

It’s been a long, long time since I did one of these. Here’s a real treat for all you vampire lovers out there.

I consider “Night’s Dark Masters” to be one of the best WFRP 2nd edition books ever written. It’s a literal gold mine of vampiric (and undead in general) lore when it comes to Warhammer Fantasy world, and I love the fact that it includes bits and pieces from Steven Savile’s “Von Carstein Trilogy”. This series of books is one of my all-time favorites when it comes to Black Library, so I was very happy to see that it got incorporated into “Night’s Dark Masters”.

One of the best WFRP covers of all time!

Anyway, thanks to Twitter I was very lucky to be able to interview Steven Darlington from Tin*Star Games, who co-wrote this book with Jody Macgregor. Steven is a fantastic, approachable person, full of passion for his work, who agreed to answer a few of my questions. Without further ado here they are. Enjoy!

Xathrodox86: What was your role in the creation of this book?

Steven Darlington: The book was written by me and Jody Macgregor. Rob Schwalb was the line editor at the time and he helped fix some of the rules but it was really exciting to do something with me and my great friend.


Xathrodox86: How did “Night’s Dark Masters” came to be? Who gave the idea to create this book?

Steven Darlington: So we were given the assignment by Rob and Chris Pramas, who is the head of Green Ronin. I don’t know who originally had the idea to do a vampire book because green Ronin were working with Black Library who were working for games workshop. The vampire counts were having a big year that year with the novels coming out and the new rules and new minis they year after. So I imagine it was important to GW to cover their big brands.

Jody and I pitched a lizardmen book but it never happened. But now I hear it may happen for 4e.


Xathrodox86: WFRP 2nd edition takes a lot from the 6th iteration of Warhammer Fantasy Battle. How much did this book took from the battle game?

Steven Darlington: That was our primary source. But we also had access to heaps of old stuff – GW sent us a bunch of old PDFs and books. We wanted to make sure everything in the most recent lore was kept true in our book. That includes the novels I mentioned and the Genevieve books. But we also studied heaps of vampire things as well. If it happened in a vampire movie we wanted to include it.


Xathrodox86: Which vampiric Bloodline is your favorite and why?

Steven Darlington: I love them all but i put so much into the Von Carsteins they’re my favourite. Manfred is my boy.


Xathrodox86: How much did you enhanced the existing vampire lore? I always found the story of Vashanesh particularly interesting, and I don’t recall it being used in any other Warhammer product, except maybe for Steven Savile’s “The Von Carstein Trilogy”.

Steven Darlington: We worked with so much stuff (including Savile’s books) that it’s always hard to remember what you added and what was already there. Like I said, we wanted to provide all the options. We wanted you to to go “I saw this in a movie I want it in Warhammer”.


Xathrodox86: The blood drinkers are hard enemies in the battle game, and doubly so in WFRP. Was it hard to balance their rules for the roleplaying version of Warhammer Fantasy?

Steven Darlington: It was very hard to balance them. The percentage system means you have this absolute cap. But it was also important to us that vampirism be attractive. If you can be as tough as a vampire by just being a daemon slayer or a high level Bretonnian knight then there’s no reason you’d let yourself get bitten. So we had to make them just a bit better than human maximum without running into giants and daemons. It was a lot of work and Rob helped a lot here.


Xathrodox86: Vampires are cool but vampire hunters are even cooler (at least in my opinion)! There are awesome new rules for the mortal persecutors of the undead, in this book. How did you came up with the idea for the “silver in the wound” and other tools of the trade for the hunters?

Steven Darlington: A lot of the vampire hunter lore we got from movies. Hammer horror films were a big inspiration here. But of course so was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The grim halfling was one of my PCs in a Warhammer game. I think Jody wrote most of this though!


Xathrodox86: Sylvania is one of the most iconic places in the world of Warhammer Fantasy. It is often described in a very basic way. Did you invented new lore for this cursed province?

Steven Darlington: It was really important to beef up Sylvania, yes. Andy Law’s map is outstanding here. This chapter was all Jody. He’s amazing. It was a joy to see the things he was sending in.


Xathrodox86: Many WFRP players dream of playing a immortal vampire, being able to take on whole armies by themselves. Naturally this sort of thing is kinda in opposition to the “soul” of WFRP. Were there any concerns about giving the players this kind of power?

Steven Darlington: Like in the skaven book we never wanted to judge our players, or tell them “no”. An RPG is a toy box and we want to give you lots of toys. Obviously there’s a risk of vampires over powering other characters so you wouldn’t want someone to take that into a campaign that unbalanced play. Some of that we left to the GM to say no. We also made it clear that these guys were the bad guys and also that they were snobs. They only embrace people they can control. I think it would be hilarious to have a character who wants to get bitten get turned down.

That was a really important guiding principle for me the whole way through: vampires are sure they are better than you. You don’t get to be one just became you want to.


Xathrodox86: Finally the new monsters – how did they came to be and which one is your favorite?

Steven Darlington: Some came from real folklore. Some from movies. Some from the war game. I think Jody did most of these! I did monsters in other books so I was tired by the time I got to the vampires.

Xathrodox86: Thank you for your answers and for your time!

Wow, that was insanely cool. I’m always incredibly grateful for the chance to interview people from the TTRPG industry, and Steven was one of the nicest people I ever had the pleasure to chat with. Lately I’ve started collecting Vampire Counts for Warhammer Fantasy Battle 6th and 8th editions, and it inspired me to reach out to Steven and ask him to do an interview with me. I am very grateful that he agreed to do so.

If you want to check out his work, visit his company’s website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Discord. The man has talent and passion, and in my book these things matter a lot!

Until next time!

Xathrodox86

Xathrodox86 reviews: “The Pig, the Witch and her Lover” by author unknown

Look what finally managed to arrive to my blog: a review of a certain scenario that I promised for some time now.

“The Pig, the Witch and her Lover”, an introductory adventure for the 2nd edition of the game, might be one of my favorite WFRP products ever written. I am dead serious. I love easy scenarios which are perfect for newbie GMs and players alike, and this is exactly a product like that. But let me tell you more…

The whole booklet (which was damn hard to get, by the way) is only 14 pages long. Only 8 of those pages have been dedicated to the actual scenario. The rest contain ready to play characters, advice for fresh GMs and their players, as well as advertisements.

The cover is friggin’ swett too (taken from the 2e’s “Realms of Sorcery” book).

“The Pig, the Witch and her Lover” is all about that tasty, tasty pork! In a small village of Krote (province unspecified), a woman named Ilsa Mohr is suspected of vile witchcraft and murder of her lover, Konrad Lankdorf. She is held captive by the town’s mayor, Otto Oppenkrote, who wishes to pass a harsh judgement on her, as to calm Krote’s nervous inhabitants and satiate their bloodlust. Is Ilsa guilty? Did she really turned Konrad into a pig? Or maybe there’s something more sinister going on in the small village of Krote? Maybe the beastmen, hiding in nearby woods, have something to do with this whole mess?

It’s up to the unlikely, underpaid bunch of misfits, hired by a aging priest of Taal, to find out the truth, before it’s too late.

Look, I won’t lie – it’s practically impossible to run this scenario for longer than your average game session (for me it’s about 3-3,5 hours). It’s short, sweet and heavily on the rails. It teaches a lot of 2e core mechanics as well as having useful references to certain parts of 2e rulebook. While it can be played with maximum of 7 characters (!), I would definitely try to keep this one in the lower levels when it comes to PC count. I think 3-4 would be perfect. There’s not really any real danger present in this scenario and even total RPG newbies won’t have any problems with solving the main plot, but you know what? It’s ok. It’s ok, because we need adventures like that. Easy to read through, quick to master and being generally in the “for beginners” category. Way too often people forget that easy, unpretentious scenarios also have their place at the gaming tables.

Come on, we all started with something easy and basic. There’s no shame in admitting that.

“The Pig, the Witch and her Lover” is a great little intro adventure. I also like the fact that Black Industries reused the NPC portraits from “Through the Drakwald” scenario, from the 2nd edition’s rulebook. I always liked them, so witnessing their appearance in this little gem of a adventure was a nice surprise.

All of the ready to play characters are quite colorful, being your slightly above typical Old Worlders who are just taking their first steps in the world of adventuring. Oh how wonderfully naive they are, as well as completely unprepared for what the world has in store for them…

Oh and there’s a “soon to be released” ad for Dark Heresy 1st edition at the back of this booklet. It’s a cool little thing and nice piece of TTRPG history. I particularly liked the fact that it showed the original cover of the rulebook. I got my copy from Fantasy Flight Games, back in 2012, and it looks slightly different.

All in all I can 100% recommend trying out “The Pig, the Witch and her Lover”. It’s a great introductory scenario, both for gamemasters and players alike. It’s really hard to get “in the flesh”, mind you. I got lucky but still had to part with quite a lot of cash to add it to my collection. It was worth it, though. I now have all of the 2e products on my bookshelf. Took me only 12 years to accomplish that task.

I only regret not knowing its authors’ name. If anyone knows who wrote this little gem, let me know in the comments below.

First post of 2022 and I’m already feeling great and energized! I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for me.

Until next time!

Xathrodox86

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