Category Archives: Games

Rothgogen’s Tower – Blanca Rothgogen and Franke Kauffman

This post adds some more background depth to my post about the NPC Victor von Ferlangen, and his interest in Rothgogen’s Tower.

Blanca Rothgogen

Blanca Rothgogen is a demonologist and previous owner of the tower. Rothgogen’s Tower.  

Blanca was born over a hundred years ago. She was a wealthy heiress who murdered all of the suitors her father selected for, and eventually killed him, so inheriting a fortune. As she kept trying to run away from her family, she was imprisoned in a tower on a remote family estate. Suitors visited her there. But none ever returned. The father lost contact with the estate – no one came back so visited himself. Blanca had discovered a small warpstone jewel and the tower’s library contained tomes on how to use it. The servants and guards had been mutated by her and turned to her will. Her father was appalled, but did not have time to do anything about it. 

A few weeks later, Blanca made her last trip down from the Howling Hills, visiting Delberz to claim her father’s fortune. With his wealth safely secured, she and her strange adherents retreated to the Tower.  

Rothgogen is a merchant family with the main house in Delberz. It was sold by Blanca as were all of the family’s assets.  

The story got around to avoid the Tower and Blanca Rothgogen in general. Suitors lost interest, but it is said that some bounty hunters and witch hunters ventured into the hills to investigate. None ever returned.  

Blanca continued her studies uninterrupted. She had her freedom at last, but did not know what to do with it. She was perhaps insane—abuse from her father and the proximity to Warpstone had driven her to seek revenge over mankind—men in particular being anathema to her. One of her first acts was to kill all the male servants. She made it seem like an accident—a Beastman and Mutant Gang were invited by her to the estate and did the deed, sparing the women. She recruited them to be her new guards secretly. They and their descendants prowl the hills nearby and intercept any who come near the Tower. Blanca promised the women who remained a sanctuary from men, and when required sent trusted agents to recruit new servants from villages and towns – tempting away women who were downtrodden and abused by their menfolk. In return her favoured agents became initiated into her chaos cults. Those who followed her, treated her almost like a demi-god. All her servants were treated fairly under her rule, and were free from the abuses of men. Those who missed male company were allowed to take men prisoner for a short term to satisfy their lusts in Slaanesh-inspired orgies, or to take pleasure from each other. Blanca had no such yearnings herself, but tolerated those who did.  

But things could not last. Blanca was getting older, and even her pacts with demons could not sustain her. In her dying wish she passed rulership of the Tower and her secrets to a young apprentice, Franke Kauffman. Franke had arrived ten years ago, fleeing an unhappy marriage to a noble from Ostland (Victor von Ferlangen).  Franke knew what she wanted to do—she didn’t want to wait around in the Tower for ever. She had business to attend to in the outside world—a score to settle with her husband.  

Franke fell in love with the handsome Victor when she first met him, but his pleasant and dashing personality was all an illusion to win a pretty bride, and her fat dowry from her merchant father. Through further tricks, Victor conned her family out of all their wealth in order to sustain his own extravagant and curiously expensive lifestyle. This drove Franke’s father to drink and early grave. When she took issue with Victor, he verbally abused her and told her to be quiet. Eventually she had enough and fled. Her only regret being that she could not take her sons with her.  

Franke knew that Victor dabbled in magic and decided to use that as a way of tempting him to the Tower. He didn’t care anymore about getting her back, but when he received her letter he was interested. However, Franke did not reckon with her husband’s powers. He came and soon defeated her in a magical duel, leaving her suspended between death and life (her body is sustained only by a powerful warpstone force—Victor thinks she is dead). Victor left the area when he realised a chaos creature was in the tower –doubting even his own powers, which had been sapped by the duel. Instead, he decided to send a company of mercenaries back to the Tower to salvage what they could—hopefully avoiding the creature. However, if they can defeat it that would be even better as it means he could take ownership of the place.

Victor von Ferlangen – a Wizardly NPC for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay

I have been working on an NPC for a homebrew WFRP adventure. He is a major patron for a party – especially if that party has a wizard’s apprentice or scholar in need of a tutor. I will provide some more details about the adventure on this site soon!

Background

Victor von Ferlangen originates from Ostland, a scion of a baronial family with holdings near the town of Ferlangen in Ostland. 

Victor is young for a Wizard. He learnt quickly from a powerful master when only a young teenager. He had an uncle, Berat von Ferlangen, who was an Illusionist of great power. This uncle took him under his wing after seeing Victor’s natural aptitude. Victor is grateful for what his uncle did for him and feels the same desire to take on his own pupils. 

Yet, his uncle also tried to teach him to use his gifts wisely and to hide his powers – that’s why his uncle chose to be an illusionist.  Victor resented this restriction as a boy – why should he not use his powers? To become rich for example? His family is poor by noble standards – their estate being inadequate to support them. 

He argued with his uncle and went his own way. His uncle retired – some think he is dead – but he’d had enough of his precocious student. He’s hidden away in the Middle Mountains. His older sister, Magritta, inherited the family’s holdings, but control of it went to her husband, Hermann von Blödhofen—an arrogant knight. Victor hated him and used magical powers to do away with him—his sister has never spoken of it but she knows that he did it for her. As a widow she runs the estate and looks after Victor’s sons. 

Victor’s wife, Franke Kauffmann—a fellow student (and Noble) he met in Altdorf—died of a chaos plague – her death lead Victor to have an interest in the forces of chaos and how they might be harnessed. He wishes he could have saved her–perhaps he can bring her back even? Does she still live in some afterlife? These mysteries interest him and he’s obsessed with finding out the workings of magic and the gods. So much so, that he’s willing to use any means to get to that knowledge and holds others’ lives in low regard. After all chaos will take us all eventually, so what does it matter? But some people (his close family for instance) are more important than that—they can transcend the forces of chaos. He knows that magic is a powerful thing and believes that the chosen can resist chaos—maybe even bend it to their will. 

But to do this he needs to get out of the mainstream of Empire life – somewhere like Rothgogen’s Tower could be an ideal place. He knows that it holds a repository of books and also, he hopes, magical items. It might be just a tad dangerous though, so if someone else can clear it out and do the dirty work, that would be ideal. If there are any scholars amongst the PCs he encounters, then he would consider taking them as pupils, if they seem pliable enough, and talented enough. His hunger for knowledge is so insatiable, he will take whatever scraps he can, however small.  

Personality 

Young and handsome, and appearing like a rich Imperial noble, at first glance Victor might appear to be a spoilt, vain young man. But there is a deeply serious side to him. He cultivates a flippant personality on purpose so that he’s not taken too seriously or perceived as a danger—his sister’s husband just thought he was a vain idiot, and look what happened to him!  

In reality he is very sharp-witted and focused on what he wants, and it excites him to come up with intricate plots to lure others in and to get his way.   

For WFRP 1st edition, Victor is a Level 3 Wizard and Level 4 Illusionist. I will add stats and spells at a later date – probably as a download, and also work out his stats for 4th edition as well!

Not One but Two New Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP) adventures!

And even better they are both free!!

The wonderful bods at Cubicle 7 have released two free adventures for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th edition – an effort to keep the baying masses at bay! Cubicle 7 have produced a wonderful new edition of the WFRP rules, which fans seem to like. The only problem is that we can’t get enough of it, and things have been a little slow getting the Starter Set out. The Starter Set we now hear has as many as 11 new adventures – that’s what the ad for it says in the back of “If Looks Could Kill”. The Starer Set starts PCs off in the city of Ubersreik, and its interesting to see that Cubicle 7 are branding their adventures with different settings – so for instance If Looks Could Kill is an Ubersreik Adventure, while Night of Blood (a classic from White Dwarf that I actually recently for WFRP 1e), is branded as an Old World Adventure. I assume that the forthcoming Rough Days from Graeme Davis will be branded the same as its a remix of old material? It looks like Cubicle 7 are pleasing us old grognards with updates of old material for WFRP 4e, but also producing new material. A great approach in my opinion.

Both of these are available for free via DriveThruRPG. Here’s more info about each one and links etc!

Night of Blood is one of the most played WFRP scenarios of all time. It was originally written over thirty years ago by Jim Bambra for WFRP 1stedition, and was published in White Dwarf 87 in March 1987. Later, it was republished in the WFRP 1st edition supplement, The Restless Dead, and has been a firm fan favourite ever since.

It’s a dark, stormy night, and the forest creaks as foul creatures howl through the undergrowth. As freezing rain slices from the roiling sky and attack threatens from all sides, the desperate adventurers stumble upon the warm glow of a fortified inn. But everything isn’t as it seems, and soon the unwitting heroes face deceit, betrayal, and horror as they strive to survive a terrifying Night of Blood.

 

 

Legends claim the Beast of Ortschlamm stalked the marshes near Ubersreik for centuries. But few believe it…

When the adventurers agree to help Rutger Reuter, a charismatic, young merchant from Ubersreik, little do they realise what’s in store. What starts as a simple job guarding building supplies, soon turns to tragedy, horror, and murder. The Characters will not only need their wits about them to negotiate the double-dealing camp of Reuter and his business partners, but also the Beast they have unwittingly stirred…

Ubersreik Adventures: If Looks Could Kill is an adventure for Warhamer Fantasy Roleplay Fourth Edition, written by WFRP veteran Dave Allen. It is designed with beginner Characters in mind, and concludes in the fortress-town Ubersreik, where the Characters’ adventures can continue with the WFRP Starter Set.

How to Paint Miniatures: Storing Miniatures During Painting

This post is part of a series of tips and tricks that I use when painting miniature figures. I don’t profess to be an expert, but I always find it useful to find out how other people do things, so I thought I would share what works for me as well.

What is this post about?

I’m not writing here about how to store your miniatures once you have painted them – that’s a whole different thing, but rather the best way to keep your miniatures dust free and safe between painting sessions. I usually paint a miniature over a period of several days – one day I will prime, the next basecoat, the next shade, then do layers or drybrushing and finally basing, which can take a few days in itself.

I don’t have a dedicated place where I can leave my miniatures and painting equipment in between sessions. And even if I did I don’t think I’d want to leave partly finished figures open to the elements – dust for instance, and even worse the ravages of small children and pets!

How I protect my miniatures in between sessions

After just leaving miniatures on a bookshelf, I soon decided I needed a better solution to storage between painting sessions. First off I put an upturned water pot over the figure I was painting. This was Ok but not great when painting more than one figure. The next solution I tried was very small cardboard boxes – some had previously held watches, iPhones, jewelry and other unimportant items. None of these really did the job – especially with regards to height when miniatures were mounted on wine bottle tops for painting (more of that another time!)

I released that I would a proper solution, and I came across the amazing Really Useful Storage Box company and their great range. They do secure and sturdy see-through plastic boxes in pretty much any size you want. They are also sold in several outlets now in the UK, such as WH Smiths, Rymans and others, so quite easy to get hold of.

I chose the 0.7 litre box for what I needed, but if you were painting smaller or bigger miniatures then you could probably find something suitable. So far it’s worked pretty well. The main issue I have though is stopping the miniatures bouncing around. At the moment I am using blocks of Lego to brace the figures in place. If you have other solutions then let me know!

I am now on Patreon

Just to let regular readers of my blog know that I am now on Patreon! You’ll see a link in the sidebar and at the bottom of this post if you would like to support me. Here’s some explanation of what I am hoping to achieve:

I’m a part-time writer and tabletop gamer – I have a passion for writing fantasy and historical fiction and also dabble in science fiction too. Also I am really into tabletop gaming – so RPGs, miniature wargames and PC games as well and love writing about those as well – even creating some of my own content such as RPG adventures for instance.

Your help will keep me motivated to achieve my writing goals and also producing more content about tabletop games as well – for instance blog posts and other content. I don’t have a firm plan of what you’ll get as a patreon of my work, so I’m starting with a modest tier scheme at the moment – whatever you can contribute will help me on my journey to get my work out there to more people. In the future I might introduce higher tiers and for those I’ll include specific rewards – exclusive short stories or gaming content for instance.

The Best RPG and Wargames Podcasts (IMO!)

I enjoy listening to podcasts – they’re like a more interesting version of radio – and ideal if you’re doing something else that doesn’t take too much thought – for instance walking, commuting or working on fairly mundane task.

There’s quite a few podcasts out there that cover tabletop gaming in general and specifically for RPGs and Wargames – my main gaming interests. I’ve tried quite a few out over the last few years. I have found I am not that keen on the most common type of RPG podcasts – the actual play session. These are recordings of people playing RPGs. Much like watching someone playing Fortnite, I don’t really see the point – I’d rather be playing as well! I also find that they can be difficult to follow unless you’re concentrating on them. Having said that I have found The Enemy Within podcast from GM Noely to be quite good – partly because the campaign is so well-known to me. So I would recommend that one if you like Warhammer Fantasy Role Play. But I’m not going to suggest any others.

The type of podcast that works better for me tends to be where people talk about stuff to do with games. This can be in the form of an interview – e.g. someone interviewing Rick Priestley is always worth listening to – or just people talking about what interests them – the wonderful Grognard Files be a great example of that, but I also really enjoy Save for Half (a US Old School equivalent) and also the house podcast for the Wargames, Strategy and Soldiers magazine – the presenters of these are down to earth and have interesting things to say.

On the corporate side of things the Dragon Talk podcast is OK depending on the subject – there tends to be too much filler for me, and too many live streamer interviews, but the hosts are quite funny and it has great music – the Bing Bongs!

Also a new one is Stormcast – the official Warhammer Age of Sigmar podcast set-up to promote the launch of the new edition (but hopefully sticking around). As well as going over the new rules in a succinct way, it also offers some great tips on gaming and painting, and isn’t too cringily promotional.

One of my favourites though is Improvised Radio Theatre with Dice – two charming English gents chatting about RPGs in their garden somewhere in the home counties – RPGs are taken to a new cerebral level.

I’m not going to review each podcast I listen to, but here’s a list of my current favourites in no particular order:

Improvised Radio Theatre with Dice
Stormcast Podcast
Grognard Files
Save for Half
Warmaster Podcast
The Veteran Wargamer
Meeples and Miniatures
Cast Dice Podcast
Dragon Talk
The Enemy Within
Wargames, Strategy and Soldiers

Let me know what your favourite podcasts are!

Warhammer Fantasy Role Play – 4th Edition – Preorders to be open Thursday 3rd May 2018!

So obviously my last post was great timing!

Here’s the announcement from Cubicle 7:

The Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Fourth Edition pre-order opens later this week! To whet your appetite, here are 4 things you can expect from the new edition of this beloved game.

Your Warhammer for You!
Something that is really core to *our* WFRP is that we’ve created tools for you to play *your* Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. We recognise and support that everyone plays their own version of the rules and the setting, and we fully embrace and encourage that. It’s your game! With 30 years of history under its belt, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay means a lot of things to a huge number of players.

Ideal starting point
Not much experience with RPGs? The Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Starter Set is designed to be the ideal introduction, with a structured adventure to help you learn how to play. Also containing a guide to Ubersreik, there’s loads of gaming material for more experienced GMs too!

System matters
WFRP4 uses ten-sided dice, and a tuned-up version of the familiar d100 system. You can tailor the rules to your preferences or different in-game situations, choosing from a menu of fast ‘roll under’ Simple Tests, Dramatic Tests giving success levels where you need more than a ‘yes or no’ result, and even barely rolling at all, if that’s your style.

Passion for Warhammer
Our creative team are lifelong players of the three previous editions of the game, and between us we’ve worked on all these editions too! We bloomin’ love Warhammer, and we think it shows.

We’ll be bringing you more on WFRP4 regularly, so watch this space! And, very excitingly, pre-orders go live on Thursday…

Warhammer Fantasy Role Play 4th Edition – What We Know So Far and Release Date

Before Grimdark, George R R Martin et all was a thing, there was …

Warhammer – and specifically Warhammer Fantasy Role Play (WFRP) that fleshed out the Old World which was the setting for Games Workshop’s Fantasy battle game. WFRP portrayed a world much like late medieval Europe which was dirty, deadly and dark – with the corruption of chaos lurking hidden within the normal society – evoking an atmosphere similar to the paranoia of the witch crazes of the 15th/16th centuries in Europe.

Adventures such as Shadows over Bogenhafen cemented the reputation of WFRP as something more sophisticated and “realistic” than the dungeon bash D&D fare available during the 1980s. It was more a mish-mash of a Fantasy RPG and Call of Cthulhu.

And it was bloody brilliant!

Soon to be released is a 4th edition of this great RPG – and the new publishers, Cubicle 7 have promised to take the game back to its roots.

I can’t wait!

Here I’m going to collate and summarise the sketchy information we have so far about the new edition of WFRP.

Setting

A lot of assumptions have been made about this, but I don’t think anything concrete has been announced yet – it will be the Old World, we know that, but I don’t think they have given any indication what the chronology will be with vis a vis events such as Storm of Chaos or the End Times.

Most people are assuming before End Times, or at least flexible.

Design Philosophy

We have had some hints about this – Dominic McDowall, Cubicle 7 CEO has said that they are huge fans of 1e and 2e, so that should please older fans of WFRP who would like to see it go back to its roots. They have also indicated that they have given the system more of an overhaul than first planned:

“The initial plan was to make some small updates to the awesome second edition, and that would mean we would be able to release the game in 2017. We’re all huge fans of the first and second editions of WFRP, and we wanted to take the game back to those roots.

“When I got into the guts of the game I started seeing more opportunities to add in some of the things we’ve learned over the years. This more creative direction meant a longer development phase. Games Workshop are extremely supportive of us taking the time we need to make WFRP Fourth Edition the very best game it can be, and so that’s what we did. I’m very excited about the way things have come together!”

We also know that one of the old writers for WFRP, Graeme Davis, has been brought back on board to do a new version of the Enemy Within campaign for 4th edition – a kind of director’s cut.

But they have also promised there will be new material as well.

Products

Initial products will be a Starter Set and a Rulebook – cover art has been release for both, and they have also appeared in a distributor’s catalogue – with USD pricing (image from Lance Anderson on the WFRP 4e Facebook group):

Plus we know there is a new version of the Enemy Within campaign being worked on as well for all the nostalgic old timers (me included!) No more details though on that.

Covers

The two cover images released so far are for the Starter Set and the Rulebook. The rulebook image is certainly an homage to 1st edition, whereas the Starter Set strikes me as something that might appeal to fans of games such as Vermintide, so perhaps they’re trying to appeal to a new market of Warhammer Fantasy fans here? That can only be a good thing. I’m not sure if I love the artwork yet – it looks a bit too bright and cartoony for me. I also wonder if the archetypal hero characters displayed will give players the wrong idea about WFRP – where are the rat-catchers and artisan apprentices? Although having said that those mundane characters never appeared on the WFRP 1e cover either! WFRP 1e ended up having more of a pathetic aesthetic than perhaps the cover artwork indicated.

Rulebook Cover
Starter Set Cover

Release Date

Very possibly at UK Games Expo between 1st and 3rd June 2018 – the organisers have announced that it will be launched – see this video about the show.

Although there’s not much information, I’m excited to see what the game will look like and also to read people’s opinions as well over at the Warhammer Role Play 4th Edition Facebook Group.

UPDATE

New Teaser image published today (2nd May 2018) so including that as well as the Featured image at the top – previous image below. Looks like other careers are getting a mention!

Death on the Reik – Similarities with The Shadow over Innsmouth

WARNING MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR A 1936 NOVELLA AND 1987 RPG ADVENTURE!

I’m a big fan of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP for short) having played it extensively as a teenager in the 80s – I GMed the Enemy Within campaign and several other adventures too. WFRP is going through a bit of a revival at the moment with a new fourth edition due out in 2018 from Cubicle7, and I have even started GMing 1st edition WFRP again with some old friends.

For those who don’t know it WFRP has a gritty, realistic feel to it – it’s set in an Old World much like late medieval Europe and was grimdark before grimdark was a thing (I hate the grimdark tag to be honest – to me it just seems an excuse for violence and misogyny, but really should be about realism and the darker side of human nature, but that’s for another day).

Apparently one of the requests from Games Workshop management for their new RPG game when it first published was to make it more like Call of Cthulhu – the RPG set in Lovecraft’s world of dark horror and ancient evils that lay hidden. WFRP’s Enemy Within campaign certainly took on that atmosphere, with chaos cultists hidden within normal human society, ready to conjure daemons into being – much like the dark forces lurking in Lovecraft’s fiction.

I’ve only started reading Lovecraft recently having got hold of a collection of his work. It’s hard going, but also mesmerising in a way, and also very influential on other horror writers who followed.

Death on the Reik is the second main adventure in the Enemy Within campaign – in it the party follow a trial leading them to Castle Wittgenstein overlooking the river Reik. I have listed all the published adventures for WFRP 1st edition on my site – in the future I’m aiming to flesh out a few more details on each – publication history synopsis etc.

The Shadow over Innsmouth involves a traveller interested in the history of New England who makes the journey to the coastal town of Innsmouth, a place that has fallen into decline and has a bad reputation.

So what about Death on the Reik and The Shadow over Innsmouth? You’d expect with that name the influence might be more for the first main adventure in the campaign – Shadows over Bogenhafen? But actually I think there is some conscious or perhaps subconscious borrowing by the authors of Death on the Reik (Graeme Davis, Jim Bambra and Phil Gallagher) from The Shadow over Innsmouth. Here’s what I think the similarities are:

  • The town of Wittgendorf and Innsmouth have fallen into decline – no one visits anymore – in fact people avoid each town
  • The inhabitants drink rotgut
  • The inhabitants are mutated in some way – chaos mutations in Wittgendorf, the Innsmouth look in Innsmouth – i.e. turning into frog creatures
  • The rulers of each place (the Marsh family and the Wittgenstein family) are recluses, undergo mutations themselves and have brought the decline of their towns upon themselves
  • In the past one of the rulers ancestors brought something back – this has resulted in the mutations – warpstone and something unexplained in Innsmouth (as far as I can tell)
  • Both towns are by the water (bit tenuous!)
  • It’s possible to travel to both places – but visitors are made to feel unwelcome. I.e. these aren’t places that are forbidden, but they are shunned by most outsiders.

There are also plenty of differences of course – but I do think the atmosphere and theme are quite alike – have a read of The Shadow over Innsmouth and see what you think – it was my favourite of the Lovecraft stories I read recently. And if you don’t know WFRP and Death on the Reik – get to it immediately – check out the PDFs on DrivethruRPG, get some friends together and start playing – you won’t be disappointed.

Field of Glory 2 – Ancient and Medieval Battle Game

I’m a big fan of Slitherine’s Field of Glory game that allows you to refight ancient and medieval battles – and recreates very nicely the look and feel of a miniatures wargame (I think in the original game the artwork were actual photos of miniatures!). So I was very excited to see that they have now released a Field of Glory 2!

The game follows on from their Battle Academy and Pike and Shotte games engines and replaces hex based movement with squares – and the graphics are 3d animations rather than 2d sprites, so visually it looks great. I also really like how they have changed some of the game dynamics and made things much simpler to control so as a player you can concentrate on strategy and tactics instead.

Field of Glory 2 starts off firmly in the ancients setting, and specifically with the Rise of Rome era, but I am sure they will be adding army as per Field of Glory 1 to add medieval battles and armies and also other areas of the ancient world. Here’s a great trailer from Slitherine for the game: