All posts by Mark

WFRP Fan Fiction: Time Bomb by Mark Lord

I recently had a go at writing a short story inspired by the Old World setting of Warhammer Fantasy Role Play (WFRP). Please let me know what you think in the Comments.

Time Bomb by Mark Lord

Berta looked down at the note again.

I am not paying for this terrible pile of bricks. Workmanship is poor. The whole thing is crooked. The joints don’t fit. The doors don’t shut properly. The arrow slits face the wrong way. And the murder holes are too narrow.

And then she read the last line. The one that really hurt.

I can’t believe Berta Hadrasdotir claims she is a Dwarf. The Gatehouse looks like it was built by a goblin.

Those words made her angry even now. Even after she had realised that her anger was misplaced. She wished she had misplaced that bomb. She looked up at the sun as she walked briskly down the hill towards the town of Alfensburg. But it was obscured by clouds. Not unusual in this part of the Drakenswald. She couldn’t remember the last time it hadn’t been cloudy or rained. She rummaged in the pouch on her belt. She had a sand timer that would measure an hour. She reckoned that was about how much time she had before the fuse burnt out. If she turned the sand timer now, she could keep track of how long she had left. The trick though was to keep the timer level as she walked down into the town.

She turned it anyway and carried on thinking about that problem as she walked. She carried the timer in front of her looking at the tiny grains of sand as they slipped from the top of the glass to the bottom through a very narrow gap. Already the sand at the bottom seemed to be filling up. She knew that was just her anxiety playing tricks on her. Her legs started walking just that little bit quicker.

As she thought about the problem of the timer, something else sprung to mind. The list of ingredients for Herda’s cake. Her daughter was desperate to make a cake for her dad. Okri had been injured during a cave-in at the mine. His leg had been broken in two places, and although he would heal, he was grouchier than a hill troll. Herda had set her heart on making a carrot cake with icing to cheer him up. But they needed ingredients from town. Berta checked in her pouch again and her pockets. No list in there. She was terrible at cooking herself and left that to others – Okri had passed his cooking skills onto Herda. She couldn’t turn back now. She was already ten minutes away from camp—she would waste another twenty minutes going there and back. Eggs? Flour? Carrots? That would do wouldn’t it.

Berta repeated the words “It will be fine,” to herself under her breath, but there was sweat on her brow. I need to be fitter, she thought, not used to this fast walking.

The trees of the Drakenwald began to open out. There were some fields along the path and some small farms. A boy herding some goats in a field waved to her. She raised her hand to wave back and knocked the sand-timer. The hour-glass nearly slipped from her hands, but she held on. Her heart jumped and began thumping more loudly and her hands felt greasy. By Grimnir, she needed to have a plan for this timer.

She looked down at her coat. She was wearing the work clothes she used when building. There was a leather tie that was used for holding a harness in place when working high up on the scaffold. Human builders thought such safety measures were an extravagance. But Berta and the other dwarfs knew that far more human builders died from accidents than dwarfs. She was more than happy with that extravagance. She could tie the sand timer to the leather tie. If she stayed upright so would the timer.

Good. That was one less thing to worry about. Now she just had the big thing. Oh, and the shopping list. But the big thing was more important. She would sort that out first. And then she could go shopping couldn’t she. She would be so relieved at not blowing up the Graf that she wouldn’t mind buying the whole of the grocer-shop’s supplies if that would keep Herda happy. She might need a mule to carry the stuff as well.

The path became more of a road now. There was a village half a mile from the walls of Alfensburg. A good tavern there as well. Often Berta and her work crew would stop on the way back after a day’s work. You built up a thirst cutting and hauling stone around. The door of the tavern was open. A sign with a picture of a swan towering over a fat little halfling hung outside. A couple of her crew were there. Gromli and Tromli. They had finished the work yesterday and were taking it easy today. They nodded at her.

“Coming in, Berta, for a pint? Ale’s nice and warm,” said Tromli.

She shook her head vigorously. “No, I have to stop a … I have business in town,” she corrected herself.

“We’ll still be here when you’re on your way back,” said Gromli.

“Don’t spend all your coins. We’ve not been paid for the gatehouse yet,” she said as she strode past.

“Eh what?” called Gromli after her. “Wait up Berta. What’s the hurry? They owe us, don’t they?”

Berta didn’t answer that. She would have had to turn around and slow her pace. They certainly did owe her and her crew. A few of the materials like the wood and the iron fittings had been paid for. But the stone had been quarried from the dwarf’s own works in the hills, and their labour hadn’t been charged for yet. They were owed a lot of money by the Graf for building him such a fine new gatehouse for Alfensburg.

But if she blew up the Graf and the gatehouse then there was no way that they were going to get that money.

Above the fir trees of the thinning Drakenwald she could see that gatehouse. She felt pride when she saw it. It was a fine construction. Solid and well-built. They had spent a year building it. That was quite fast—especially considering the special extra features. And then that beastman attack had not helped. They really messed up the scaffolding when they tried to charge into the town that night through the gap in the walls.

That’s probably when it started, the tension with the Graf. She had shouted at him the next morning about not leaving enough guards in place. He had come back with an accusation that the temporary palisade had not been strong enough. But she knew it had. They had spent three weeks just setting the foundations with proper cement for the palisade, and then another two weeks lashing the wooden stakes together. That was a good palisade. And there was a ditch dug by the Graf’s serfs. But a good wall was no good unless it was guarded well.

After that raid there were always complaints. On both sides she had to admit. The Graf would complain about how long the work was taking, even though they had got back onto schedule. Or his steward would come to her and question all the receipts for materials. He was a slimy individual. And she grew irritated with how often her crew were stopped and searched by the guards. Sigmar’s love of dwarven kind did not extend to Alfensburg. They were Ulricans here and had decided that if Ulric’s rival Sigmar loved dwarfs then they would take a dislike to them. She had made her views known to the Graf personally about that.

Then yesterday they had laid down their trowels after putting the finishing touches to the last piece of stonework. All was perfect. Solid and sound. Just how Berta liked it.

She had sent Tromli to let the Graf’s steward know that the construction was complete. She was hoping for him to rush down and tell her what a great job they had done, and that despite all the issues between them all forgotten, and here’s your payment.

Tromli returned and passed on the steward’s message that the Graf was busy and would come another day. She had shrugged and looked at the ground and pushed a bit of dirt around with her boot when she heard that. She knew in her heart that she was sad that the Graf wasn’t excited to see the finished gatehouse. But she didn’t let that show to her crew. “Come on lads, you all deserve a pint. And yes, for once it’s on me!”

They had celebrated that night—not at the Swan and Halfling, but back at the mining camp in the hills. To say it was a mining camp did it a disservice. Dwarfs had mined there for ten years now and the homes and storehouses of the dwarf community were solid stone and timber buildings. Not permanent like a hold (or that gatehouse), but better than any human construction.

Despite having a sore head, the next morning Berta had gone in alone to see the gatehouse again and to enquire if the Graf had seen it yet. The palisade was still being guarded by the Graf’s soldiers—that would need pulling down once the guard had been shown their new quarters. She nodded at them as she passed, as she always did every day. But something felt different that morning. No-one wanted to make eye contact with her.

Her jaw dropped when she saw it. Someone had stuck a dagger into her new gate. The dagger had been used to pin the note to the gate. A double insult to her work. The words just made it worse. The Graf’s crest was stamped in black ink at the top of the paper. Although it was not signed and not pressed in wax with his personal seal.

She had all she needed on the building site still. They hadn’t taken away their tools yet, just in case. She was an alchemist as well as a builder and found the ingredients she needed to make saltpetre quickly enough. At that moment she didn’t know how she was going to deliver her special reply to the Graf. But she certainly wanted him to get the message loud and clear. She always felt a nice big bomb helped to clear up any misunderstandings. She was in the site workshop next to the palisade when the steward came. He announced himself with a cough outside, which was lucky as that avoided him coming in and seeing what she was making. She rushed out, her anger at the note forgotten in her excitement at working on her revenge.

“Yes, well,” he said, as if expecting Berta’s quizzical look to be different. “Ahem. I see you are still busy. Have you actually finished the gatehouse?”

She nodded. “Yes of course.”

“Well the Graf would like to inspect it. He wants to brief his captain of the guard on it and show the burghers what their taxes have been spent on for the last year. He will come this afternoon to view it. Will you be there to show him everything?”

Berta nodded. “Of course. That would be perfect. At what time exactly? I need to return to the camp first.”

“At five o’clock. Is that acceptable?”

“Oh yes quite. That makes it just the right length.”

“Excuse me?”

“Length of time to get to the camp and back again, that’s all.”

The steward nodded and left. His news was perfect. An opportunity to repay her grudge against the Graf. The bomb would damage the gatehouse, but not destroy it. The structure was excellent. And she would place the bomb near the ground underneath the arch. She could even shield the structure of the gatehouse itself and ensure that the blast went outwards to harm people. She had enough fuse for a four-hour timed explosion. That would give her plenty of time to walk back to the camp. She had no intention of coming back again at five. Shortly afterwards to see the results would do well enough. It was important to know that a grudge had been satisfied. Some dwarf holds retained whole books of grudges, but she had plenty of space in her own head to store hers. And besides, she was the type of dwarf who liked to get payment as soon as it was due. In this case it looked like she wouldn’t be collecting on what was owed for finishing the gatehouse.

She was panting hard but felt relieved as the walls and fabulous new gatehouse of Alfensburg came into view. Pennons flew from the towers. Looked like the Graf had sent someone to put the bunting out. There was a large gathering already inside and outside the gate. Townsfolk milled about chatting. Stallholders had set-up to sell food and drink. A small band of musicians were paying and passing round a hat for contributions. The bomb was likely to kill and injure a lot more people than just the Graf and his cronies. And he wasn’t even to blame.

She had realised it only when she got back to the camp. She had gone through the contracts and all the letters and receipts again. She wanted to check what their rights were if the gatehouse was destroyed before payment was made. She knew whoever was left of the Graf’s household would be in little mood to pay out after the explosion. They may even point a finger at her. But even so it was always good to know what your rights were. If there was a chance of still claiming payment, then she would. It would be worth sticking around. If not, then she would suggest to her crew and her family that it might be time to move on.

She didn’t rush to look through the papers. She had lunch with Herda and Okri first. She had noticed that Okri seemed down as well, and afterwards said to Herda quietly that she could make her father one of her cakes that he liked so much. She didn’t think that would result in her being given a shopping list. As she read through it, she was reminded of another list that she had been given a while ago. The list was on the Graf’s letterhead but, like the note pinned to the gate insulting her work, not signed, or sealed by the Graf. And she knew not written by him, because the person who wrote it told her as much.

The Graf’s steward had given her the list. A list of the materials they had bought for the construction. He wanted to have confirmation of what had and hadn’t been used. The implication had been that Berta didn’t need it all and would use it for other projects or sell it. At the time she put it down to the normal tension between both parties. She rushed off to look for it in her files.

Soon she was surrounded by boxes and scroll-boxes. She needed to sort out her filing system. That was something Okri could help her with now that he wasn’t moving around very much. Would give him something to do. She must remember to talk to him about that, but not today.

She found the list finally and drew the note from the gate out of her pocket. She had crumpled it up in anger and had to lay it flat on a table next to the materials list the steward had given her. The handwriting was the same.

The steward had been undermining her. He was obsessed with money. More than likely he was stealing from the Graf and wanted to pin the blame on her. She remembered a conversation they had early on at the start of the project. He took her to one side and suggested she add on twenty percent to the cost of everything. She had refused. She thought he meant to be kind to her in a strange way—to facilitate her making more money, but she had taken it as a minor insult on her honour—not enough for a grudge, but she never liked the man after that.

Whatever his motive the insult against her work was not from the Graf himself. Indeed, it looked like a carnival had been arranged to celebrate the new gatehouse. Alfensburg needed better defences and the gatehouse was supposed to be the first part of that. Berta was hopeful up until yesterday that they would get a contract to do the rest of the walls as well—that would take years, but it would be very lucrative and would give Alfensburg the ability to fend off any beastmen raids—as long as they were guarded well as she kept on reminding the Graf and his captains.

But now she had to stop the bomb killing them and wrecking the gatehouse. But she had time. She looked down at the sand timer. It was still upright. She untied it. About a quarter of the sand left to go. She had plenty of time.

She walked through the crowd. People got in her way. They were idling as if there was nothing to worry about. Did they want to get blown to pieces? Suddenly a man in robes was in front of her. The steward. He smiled. He looked pleased with himself.

“Back just in time, I see.”

She would dearly love to send him flying with a good right hook. But she didn’t have time for distractions. She could deal with him later. She side-stepped past him, but there was a shout as she knocked against a man carrying a tray of drinks through the crowd. She was covered in ale. It was crappy human ale at that. Nasty stuff. She coughed and spluttered as the ale ran down her face and got in her eyes and mouth. She breathed the stench of malt through her nostrils and felt like retching.

The man carrying the tray was shouting at her. She didn’t hold back from thumping him hard in the gut and he bent in half at the waist in pain. She pushed him away and forced her way through the crowd. She was stopped again. Someone put her a hand on her shoulder and pulled her to a halt. She spun around spitting with anger. The next second she was apologising as she saw the Graf looking down on her, with the steward just behind him. The man was tall even for a human, and also aging. His grey hair was long and straggled underneath a fine broad hat. He was wearing his best clothes. Silks and furs. Gold and jewels glittered from around his neck and on his fingers.

The Graf looked stern. His mouth tended to always look cruel. But to her surprise it broke into a smile. “Getting into the party spirit I see! Where are the rest of your work crew? They should all be celebrating with us this afternoon. My steward said you had gone back to get them.”

“Umm, they’re on their way. Some of them just stopped off at a tavern. Could you excuse me for a minute? I need to get something from the gatehouse. Just some last final additions.”

She didn’t wait for a reply. Soon she was inside one of the towers. She unlocked the manhole cover that took her to the tunnel that went under the gate. There was a sally port that opened in the ground on the outside of the gate. That’s where she had placed the bomb. The bomb would be strong enough to blow through the concealed trapdoor and hit anyone underneath the gatehouse. It would have destroyed the tunnel as well. So, while the rest of the gatehouse would have been left standing the gate and the sally tunnel would have been ruined.

But the bomb wasn’t there. But there was another note.

Berta. I was watching you and saw that you placed the bomb. I have it in safekeeping now. You will remit to me half the payment for the gatehouse. You know who I am. Although you have no evidence to frame me, so don’t even try. And I can always use your nice big bomb whenever I choose. So, watch out! Enjoy the carnival!

This note was on plain paper and the handwriting was different. Almost a scrawl as if someone had tried to obscure their handwriting on purpose by using a different hand or writing upside down.

Berta took the piece of paper. Fine. The steward had won that day. But she would take that piece of paper and take it back to the dwarf camp and bind it into a book. Time to create her own book of grudges.

 

THE END

Death on the Reik PDF Published!

Cubicle 7 have just announced the publication of the PDF for the second instalment of the Enemy Within campaign, Death on the Reik.

Death on the ReikAs well as the normal edition there’s also a funky collector’s edition. See the covers of that one below.

Here’s some more information from the publisher’s site:

Welcome to Death on the Reik, part two of the revised and updated Director’s Cut of the Enemy Within, one of the most highly regarded roleplaying campaigns ever written! Created by legendary WFRP writer, Graeme Davis, one of the original writers of the campaign, the Director’s Cut provides additional material to create an enhanced experience that maintains all the mood and paranoia of the original.

Death on the ReikThe adventure carries on from where Enemy in Shadows left off, taking your unlikely heroes on a grand adventure up and down the remarkable Reik, the largest river in the Old World and trade route to the heart of the Empire.

Death on the ReikDeath in the Reik includes a selection of ‘Grognard Boxes’ that add entirely new ways to play through the adventures, ensuring even those who have played the Enemy Within campaign before will find Death on the Reik new and exciting.

The Enemy Within is the campaign all roleplaying game enthusiasts should play at least once in their lives, making Death on the Reik an essential purchase for all gamers.

Available from Cubicle 7 and from DriveThruRPG.

You might also be interested in my post about the influence of Call of Cthulhu on the original adventure.

Wargaming Mindfulness

What is Wargaming Mindfulness you may ask? Surely new age hippy nonsense like meditation, mindfulness and zen have no place in the wargaming hobby?

Well whatever your inclinations to such things and whatever you call it, I think talking about how we approach the wargaming hobby is relevant. I’m not going to suggest a meditation programme for wargaming, that would be a bit weird. But I do want to write about how to approach this hobby in a way that is positive and doesn’t lead to frustration.

What is Mindfulness?

Firstly it’s a good idea to just say what mindfulness is. Mindfulness in its simplest terms is being present in the moment. You can use meditation to help you be mindful, but it’s not essential. If you’re mindful you appreciate the time and place you are in without constantly dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Mindfulness can be beneficial to mental health and help reduce stress and anxiety. And remember mental health doesn’t cover only serious disorders. Everyone goes through times of low moods at some point or another at the very least. Mental health issues are at least as prevalent as physical health issues.

Causes of Wargaming Anxiety

So if mindfulness might help with anxiety and stress, what are the potential causes of those in the Wargaming hobby. Could you be suffering from any of these:

  • Too much lead! The size of your lead or plastic mountain of figures to paint seems never ending. That could be a good thing perhaps, but if it leaves you with despair about ever finishing it then it’s not!
  • Switching between projects. Again that could be good if it helps keep you motivated by bringing variety. But if it’s not intentional then it might mean you’re distracted easily and can’t settle on anything. The result is you get frustrated when you don’t actually finish anything.
  • The new shiny. You see a new product advertised, read an article or listen to a podcast that discusses a certain game or wargaming period  and think “I want to get into that. It sounds great!” So you end up buying it … and then it sits on the shelf for a long time. As well as costing you money it also contributes to the size of the painting mountain never to be finished.

There could well be other causes of wargaming hobby stress – maybe the stress caused by a new Warhammer edition that renders your carefully collected army useless, or concern about what others think about your painting skills. But I guess you probably get the idea.

How to approach the Wargaming Hobby Mindfully

So how might you go about being more mindful in terms of your wargame hobby?

It’s hard to be honest. I often switch between projects – not just because I fancy variety, but because my mental attention gets sparked by something new, and I end up not finishing what I should have been doing. Then several months later I think why didn’t I finish that project, I could be gaming with it by now!

Well actually approaching other parts of your life mindfully can help. I would recommend meditation as a good way of coping with stress.

I think it does help to have a plan as well. Not a plan of how to paint everything you have, but at least a plan of what you are going to paint over the next few months. You can work some variety into that plan as well, so you don’t end up painting 100 of the same figure!

I also keep a Painting Diary to see what I painted each month. When I look back at it I can see what I achieved and perhaps see where I started a project I never finished and then plan to get back on track.

You could avoid news of new products etc to avoid temptation.

But perhaps the main thing is just to take pleasure in the thing you are doing at the moment – don’t be thinking too much about what you want to do after you have finished this project, but enjoy getting done what you are doing. If the hobbying is a bit dull and you start dreaming of a new figure to paint then maybe listen to an audio book at the same time to distract you from planning the next project in your head!

I hope this article has helped. Let me know if you have any other ideas for how to avoid wargaming hobby frustration!

Sacrosanct & Other Stories Review

I just finished listening to Sacrosanct & Other Stories on the Black Library audio app. It was one of the fiction books they were offering for 99p, so it seemed like a good deal. I enjoyed listening to it, so I thought I would write up a brief book review.

Sacrosanct & Other Stories Review

Sacrosanct & Other Stories ReviewSacrosanct & Other Stories is an anthology of short stories all set in the Mortal Realms of the Age of Sigmar Warhammer game,

The stories cover lots of different protagonists, from Stormcast Eternals, to witch-hunters, to Sylvaneth and ending with a longer story featuring Fyreslayers.

The stories are all fun to read/listen to and have a great story. I would say that my favourite ones were the stories that featured more characters and dialogue and less fighting. Long narrative descriptions of combat get a bit boring after a while. Being a Warhammer book you expect quite a bit of fighting, but if it’s constant and the primary focus it’s a bit dull! The story by Gav Thorpe about the Sylvaneth falls into the too much battle category unfortunately and left me a bit cold.

The narration on the audio book was excellent. The narrator, John Banks, really captured the feel of the setting and brought each character to life.

If I had to pick out favourites I think that I would recommend the opening story Sacrosanct and also Callis and Toll – The Old Ways. That story made me want to read more about this pair of witch-hunters.

Here’s the official blurb for the book from the Black Library site:

DESCRIPTION
Within this book you will find Sacrosanct, a fantastic new novella from C L Werner…

A restless menace threatens the town of Wyrmditt. Stirred from his grave by fell magic, Sabrodt, the Shrouded King, seeks dominion over the kingdom he failed to claim in life. So great is the terror inflicted upon the lands by Sabrodt and his nighthaunts that Sigmar, God-King, sends a retinue of his warriors most skilled in the art of Azyrite magic to liberate the town. The Stormcast Eternals of the Sacrosanct Chamber are warrior-wizards, imbued with arcane knowledge and the power to wield the energies of the storm in battle. Leading the retinue is Knight-Incantor Arnhault, a formidable mage who has studied the histories of Sabrodt’s kingdom. But the fight against the Shrouded King will challenge Arnhault’s mettle like none other – especially when he discovers that the Undead knows more about his past than he does.

Also within this book is a host of awesome short stories giving you a flavour of the many warring armies that exist with the worlds of Warhammer Age of Sigmar.

CONTENTS
The Dance of the Skulls by David Annandale
Great Red by David Guymer
The Sands of Grief & The Volturung Road by Guy Haley
Callis & Toll: The Old Ways by Nick Horth
A Dirge of Dust and Steel, Auction of Blood & The Prisoner of the Black Sun by Josh Reynolds
Wrathspring by Andy Clark
Sacrosanct, Shiprats & The Witch Takers by C L Werner
Plus an extract from Blacktalon: First Mark by Andy Clark

I hope you enjoyed this review of Sacrosanct & Other Stories. You can purchase it in various formats from Amazon.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Combat (WFRP) Made Simple

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP) combat rules for 4th edition have got a lot of stick for being overly complicated and crunchy. I think they are to a certain extent. Certainly there’s lots of added complexity if you want to include it. But at their heart the rules are quite simple. I hope that this blog post will make the combat rules a bit easier to understand. I’m going to present the simplest version of the rules – so don’t expect all the ins and outs and options! If you are starting playing WFRP 4e I would recommend not including all the rules as they can slow things down and add complication while you’re learning the system.

Initiative in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Combat

Many Tabletop RPGs use Initiative to determine who goes when during combat. Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th edition is no exception. They give you three choices on how to determine Initiative. To avoid complication Initiative order can be determined by simply ranking in order of Initiative attribute for each PC, NPC or Monster.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Melee Combat

Each participant in combat takes a turn based on their Initiative rank as above.

The heart of the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay combat system in 4th Edition is the Opposed Test. For Melee combat you roll against your opponents skill and whoever does better wins and inflicts damage.

All Tests on skill in WFRP 4e are made using a d100 with the aim to roll lower than your skill. You compare the 10s dice against your skill to determine the number of Success Levels. So if your skill is 45 and you roll 21, that’s a Success Level of +2. If you rolled 61 it would be -2, and if you rolled 46 that would be -0 (44 would be +0).

In combat your opponent rolls and you each compare your Success levels. The one with better Success Level wins. Normally you attack using a Melee skill and your opponent defends using a Melee or Dodge skill. There are other possibilities – but they fall out of the scope of this guide.

For example:

Ulric rolls 21 against the Melee skill of 42. That’s a Success Level of +2. The goblin he faces rolls 65 against her Melee skill of 33. A Success Level of -3.

You then add the Success Levels together – so that would be +5 in favour of Ulric. Ulric wins the combat and the damage inflicted is 5 plus Ulric’s Strength Bonus, plus the Weapon’s Damage. You then deduct the goblin’s Toughness Bonus and Armour Points (if any).

So in this case the calculation might be:

+5 (Success Levels)
+4 (Weapon damage)
+3 (Ulric’s Strength Bonus)
-3 (Goblin’s Toughness Bonus)
Total = 9 Wounds of damage!

The goblin would then get to attack (assuming it has lower Initiative and has not attacked already!) There would be another Opposed Test – but this time Ulric gets +10 if using the Advantage rules.

Probably this calculation is the thing that makes things slowest in combat as you’ve got some maths to do here.

Advantage Rules

One of the most controversial aspects of combat in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th editions is Advantage. I won’t go into all the ins and outs, but in simple terms every time you win a Test you get 1 Advantage that then gives you +10 in your next test. That means your Success Levels will get better, you should win more Tests and do more damage. Advantage is meant to simulate the balance tilting  in one combatants favour. The Advantage system can make things quite swingy, so some gamers have tried to limit it or houserule the effects. I have found it OK as written.

Advantage is lost if you lose a test or take damage – so if someone shoots you with a bow , which you can’t oppose, all that carefully accrued Advantage goes.

Tracking Advantage adds some complication, so to start with you could elect to ignore this rule. But making a note on piece of paper for each combatant or using coins, chits etc is vital to keep track of Advantage.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Ranged Combat

For Ranged Combat things are simpler as you just roll on your skill. It is possible to defend sometimes, but again here’s not the place to go into that.

You add your Success Level in your Ranged skill to your weapons damage and then deduct your opponents Toughness Bonus and Armour Points. They take that many Wounds.

Critical Hits

If you roll a double (e.g. 22) and win the Opposed Test you do a critical. You roll on the Critical Hit tables. If you roll double and fail a  test you fumble instead. If you are defending and roll a double and less than your skill you can inflict a Critical to the attacker as well. There’s also other rules that can influence Critical Hits.

Wounds and Damage

Suffice to say getting to 0 Wounds puts you out of the combat. There’s more complication in various conditions inflicted on you, but for simplicity let’s ignore that for now – the PC or NPC on 0 Wounds is effectively out of play.

Adding Complexity

There’s loads more complexity to add. There are modifiers that can be applied – for instance if outnumbered, or if opponents are bigger or smaller. Many weapons have special rules. There are Conditions to take account of. And also non-combat skills like Intimidate and Leadership can be used instead of Melee or Ranged skills. I would avoid these in your first few sessions. Probably starting off with the Advantage rules is enough for now.

Conclusion

That’s it. There’s loads more on combat you can include. This is really just touching the surface. My plan with this guide was to provide a really simplified version of the rules as written. Check out the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition Rulebook for details of how all the crunch works.

I have some other Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th edition on this site as well, so have a look at that as well.

Holiday with the Orcs – Free on Kindle until Saturday

Holiday with the Orcs will be free on Kindle until Saturday, 13th June. This is likely to be the last free promo I run for this title – so get it now!

Prince Hardlee has arranged a holiday in the Orkranian highlands. The mountains are supposed to be lovely at this time of year. But there is the added attraction of his favourite actress, half-elven Maegana Vulpon, who is vacationing at the temple of eternal youth in Nstaad. But the King, Hardlee’s father, does not approve of the relationship choices of his only son and heir, forcing the Prince to travel in disguise. There are also traitors about—an uncle who with eyes on the throne has learnt of the Prince’s destination and dispatched a band of cutthroats. Other dangers lurk in the Orkranian highlands. Orc raiders covet the wealth of the village of Nstaad. The Dwarf miners who work there have uncovered deposits of gold, and the Orc chief Grim Bearit wants that gold. Can a mixed band of princely retainers, halfling inn-keepers, dwarven miners, elven priests and actors resist the Orc raid?

For lovers of old-style fantasy and Oldhammer everywhere.

Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

Warhammer Fantasy Role Play (WFRP) 4e Character sheets

I have added a page to this site that provides a resource for those looking for character sheets for WFRP 4e. 

I think I might also write a post in the near future about the character generation process as well – it’s a little bit convoluted, so having a checklist of what you need to do might be quite useful!

 

Good Habits for Wargamers (and Writers)

Atomic Habits coverI’m writing about good habits for wargamers today. And also related to that good habits in other areas of life as well.

I think of habits as being something that is fairly unconscious – something you don’t have to write down and plan for. You just do them. A bit like brushing your teeth every morning and evening. That type of thing. I came across the book Atomic Habits by James Clear recently (after listening to an episode of Henry Hyde’s excellent podcast. I’m only part way through the book so far, but it’s certainly resonating with me.

Habits not Motivation

James Clear says that if you want to get things done, motivation isn’t enough. You can aspire to write a novel, or paint a wargames army, get fit, lose weight, etc etc. But unless you have good habits you will never get there. You have to be able to do the work even when you don’t feel like it.

I certainly feel like that about writing and wargame hobbying. I am really bad at getting into a habit of writing every day. Having read the book I’ve realised it’s because I have an aspiration to write lots of books and be a “writer”, but in practical terms I’m not sitting down and doing it enough. I don’t currently have a real habit of writing on a daily basis. I’m trying to correct that at the moment by setting aside time in my daily schedule, but it’s still a bit stop start.

My Wargames Hobby Habits

My habits are now pretty ingrained when it comes to working on my wargames hobby, and in particular painting miniatures. I paint for about an hour every morning, before anyone else gets up. What helps I think is that I set-up the environment to make sure its easy to do it. I don’t have a dedicated painting area – instead using the kitchen table. What I do is bring down all my painting stuff the night before, just before going to bed. I leave my painting box and miniatures case on the table (unpacked though), and then I set it up in the morning while waiting for the kettle to boil for my tea.

As well as making it easy and having the environment right – nice and quiet, and I can listen to an audiobook or podcast at the same time. I think I’m also putting this habit next to another habit I really like – having a cup of tea in the morning. James Clear in Atomic Habits calls this habit stacking. It works really well.

Now I just have to figure out how to get the same good habit for writing everyday as well …

Reopening Alt Hist for business

alt hist issue 10 coverI took the decision last week to get Alt Hist back on the road. I paused publication back in 2017 because it was just stopping me doing anything else.

Alt Hist is a short story magazine I set-up to publish historical fiction, historical fantasy and alternate history fiction. I really enjoyed publishing it and had the pleasure of putting out some great stories over the 10 issues of its initial life.

But at the time I found that I just didn’t have the time to focus on my own writing. Reading and making decisions on submissions took a lot of time, as did actually editing the stories for publication,  I ended up doing little else in my spare time!

Now however, I have had another think. I am pretty sure I can be more efficient about the submission process and also editing.

So if you’re interested in historical fiction and alternate history I encourage you to take a look!

Cubicle 7 announce free adventure for Soulbound

I’m a big fan of WFRP, but not sure yet if I will dip my toe into the world of Age of Sigmar roleplaying with Soulbound. I enjoy the Age of Sigmar miniatures game and the figures are great, but I’m not sure if I can get into the lore and setting as much as with the Old World of WFRP. However, Cubicle 7 have just put out a free adventure. So I may well take a read of that and then decide!

Download Crash and Burn for free from their webstore here or from DrivethruRPG here.

Following the cataclysmic events of the Necroquake, the newly reclaimed city of Brightspear is in desperate need of supplies and support. A huge Kharadron fleet has been assembled to bring provisions, would-be settlers, and enterprising merchants to the new city. Joining the expedition are a group of unlikely heroes — Soulbound, mortal beings chosen by the gods to defend the Mortal Realms. But even they may be no match for the trials that are to come…

Crash and Burn is an exciting introductory adventure that takes a party of Soulbound on an arduous journey across Aqshy — the Realm of Fire. The party set out from the bustling metropolis of Hammerhal Aqsha as part of a massive fleet of Kharadron airships tasked with delivering vital supplies to the newly reclaimed city of Brightspear. But the forces of Chaos will not let them pass so easily, and the party will have to contend with Tzeentchian horrors and other vile creatures if they hope to reach Brightspear alive.