Friday, October 8, 2010

The Story Thus Far and Cunning Plans

Hello! There has been a great deal of goings on in the real world the last month of so, starting a new job, being very sick, and of course miniatures getting in the way. However as of last week my WHFRP 3rd Ed campaign has officially begun on a weekly basis with three of my demo game players returning with their characters Odwin, Adel, and Burgrin as well as a newcomer as of tonight playing Gerner Bieber, a Reiklander Hunter from Auerswald on his way south to Stromdorf to inform his half-brother Franz of their father's death after months of battling with the red pox.

As for the Eye for an Eye adventure the characters managed to foil Gregor Pierson's plans to summon the deamon from the painting and managed to keep Lord Aschafenberg and a few key members of his staff alive. After the horrifying events that took place at the climax of An Eye for an Eye the characters decided to stay on at Grunwald Lodge for a number of weeks with Odwin taking over the training of Lord Aschafenberg's newly hired guards out of Ubersreik while Burgrin picked up the slack left by Korden, the Lodge's former dwarf smith falling into the embrace of madness, and Adel helping the servants put the place back into order.

Three weeks later, on Aubentag Vern Hendrick returned to the Lodge with some newly hired servants and supplies as well as an unexpected guest who met up with them in the Reikwald, a grim and battle worn warrior priest of Sigmar, none other than the infamous Luthor Huss who had urgent buisness with Lord Aschafenberg.

Huss had discovered a mutant on the road while traveling toward Altdorf who bore Lord Aschafenberg's signet and the warrior priest decided to bring the beast's severed head to Grunwald Lodge to get some answers as to why a spawn of chaos had seemingly been one of Aschafenberg's servants. After a curt and truly terrifying encounter with an enraged Huss, which Adel might have eavesdropped on, Aschafenberg summoned the PC's to his chambers where he offered them 20 silver shillings to hunt down the other unaccounted member of his staff, the former physician Stefan Sieger.

The next morning the PC's left Grunwald Lodge with a small cart laden with basic provisions and traveled westward toward where Huss had discovered the mutated form of the Lodge's former gardener. The days travel went uneventfully and they arrived at a coaching inn located where the road to the lodge intersects the road connecting Ubersreik to Stromdorf, a small affair protected by a low stone wall known as the Thrice-Felled-Troll.

The PC's settled into the Inn quickly enough, taking some time over some steins of watered down ale and a meal of soup and bratwurst to figure out how to go about locating Sieger. After the meal Adel approached a traveling minstrel who had been performing at the Inn while staying the night to see what he might have heard. The minstrel took her up on a few free drinks, chatted away about this and that, filled the PC's in on some of the back story of Gregor Pierson and Andreas Von Bruener that the PC's hadn't uncovered during An Eye for an Eye, but had little to offer in regards to uncovering Sieger's location.

Not about to give up Adel and Odwin decided it was time to speak with the Troll's proprietor, the motherly and rather homely Helga who quickly warmed up to Adel's winning smile and natural social ease. Helga had remembered Sieger coming through a few weeks back but hadn't seen him since, apparently Sieger used to come to the Troll often enough in the years he was the Lodge's physician when he would travel to Stromdorf or Ubersreik for supplies or to visit friends. Though Helga wasnt able to help more, fortune was smiling on Odwin and Adel (a comet on an expertise die to be precise) and an old and grizzled bounty hunter who had been sitting at the bar happened to over hear their conversation with Helga and he knew of a young back alley  surgeon from Altdorf by the name of Sieger who he had been hired to hunt down years ago after a number of young nobles were found dead in alleyways after his "ministrations". The bounty hunter, called Otto, hadn't heard much of the charlatan's whereabouts for years and no longer really cared but he did impart the name of one of Sieger's closest acquaintances during his years in Altdorf, an eccentric noble from Stromdorf called Lazerous Mourn....

Anyway that's the short and rather hastily written account of what has happened in our story since my last posting. It has been fun to see what my player's are enjoying about the system and the kind of play style that is  developing among us. One of the biggest things my players have commented on his how much they enjoy interpreting their dice pools themselves and then describing the action.

What I have been doing is basically having the players roll their pool we go through quickly and pick out the results and what factors caused their actions success of failure and then the player will describe the action and its results for better or worse. Its been a great deal of fun as a GM to establish the setting and the characters involved and let the dice and my players tell me how things work out and my players claim that its dramatically improving their roleplaying skills as well.

One lesson that I have learned as a GM of WHFRP 3rd Ed is that the system is a lot easier to simply "wing it" where necessary than I first thought it would be, the dice pool is a real blessing with the wealth of information a simple roll provides. For example our last session was kinda thrown at me last minute, I had the beginnings of what became bronchitis, and started work at a new job and simply had no time whatsoever to prep for the game. I came up with a rough idea how to transition the PC's from An Eye for an Eye to The Gathering Storm via the suggestion in TGS adventure hooks (finding cultists that might have escaped) and when we started the players told me what their characters had been up to for a few weeks at Grunwald Lodge and I looked down at The Tome of Blessings and kinda decided that well why not? From there the players actions and their descriptions of the dice pool results really shaped the story entirely all I had to do was have a few names ready and improv a few NPC personalities here and there. So basically if you are new to this system and concerned about having to "wing it" just breath and react the system itself works impressively for providing inspiration along the way.

Now tonight I have to address a very difficult situation, after this session the Odwin's player is changing to second shift and will be an hourish late to every session from here on in. There are obviously a few ways to deal with absent players, simply having them be in the background being the easiest but not necessarily the most creative or compelling work around so I have decided to do something drawn from the archives of the 1980's era fantasy films .... more details to come after the session just in case he decides to read this before the session, I don't want to ruin the surprise for him.