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Johannes Bund, Imperial Spy


Here’s an NPC who didn’t make it into The Horned Rat Companion. See what you think. But first:

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It is no secret that the final chapter of The Horned Rat is an affectionate pastiche of all those spy movies that see the resourceful hero infiltrating the villain’s lair to stop an insane weapon from causing unthinkable damage. Therefore, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the PCs might encounter just such a resourceful hero in Karak Skygg.

Johannes Bund is a tall man, of medium build but evidently very fit. His dark hair is worn short in a military style, and his blue eyes hold a gleam of sardonic amusement. He is fairly handsome, his looks marred only by a hint of cruelty about the set of his mouth.

He is daring to the point of recklessness, and has a deep interest in (and an encyclopedic knowledge of) everything connected with good living: the best food and drink, the most fashionable clubs and gambling houses, and the most beautiful women. He has left a long trail of romantic conquests in his wake, and fancies himself a great lover — something which may become an inconvenience to any female Character he encounters.

Bund speaks with a soft Nordland accent, marked by a slight lisp that turns ‘s’ into ‘sh.’ He has a habit of introducing himself as ‘Bund — Johannesh Bund.’

This description, of course, is based on Sean Connery’s portrayal of the character. As GM, you should feel free to make any changes you like, to make the NPC fit another version.

And, of course, like everything else on this blog the following is to be regarded as a fan work and does not constitute any challenge to any trademark or copyright held by Games Workshop, Cubicle 7, Eon Productions, or anyone else. It’s all just for fun.

Johannes Bund — Agent (Gold1)

Former Seaman, former Assassin

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Skills: Animal Care 30, Animal Training (Pigeon) 30, Athletics 45, Bribery 45, Charm 65, Climb 55, Consume Alcohol 30, Cool 65, Dodge 45, Endurance 45, Entertain (Acting) 45, Gamble 45, Gossip 55, Haggle 30, Intimidate 30, Intuition 55, Language (Battle Tongue) 30, Leadership 30, Melee (Basic) 60, Melee (Brawling) 30, Melee (Fencing) 30, Navigation 30, Perception 55, Ranged (Crossbow) 30, Ranged (Thrown) 30, Ride (Horse) 35, Row 30, Sail 30, Secret Signs (Scouts) 30, Sleight of Hand 30, Stealth (Urban) 30, Swim 30

Talents: Accurate Shot, Ambidextrous, Attractive, Blather, Careful Strike, Carouser, Catfall, Cat-Tongued, Combat Reflexes, Dirty Fighting, Disarm, Etiquette (Nobles), Furious Assault, Gregarious, In-Fighter, Lip Reading, Marksman, Menacing, Read/Write, Relentless, Reversal, Seasoned Traveller, Shadow, Strike to Injure, Strike to Stun, Strong Swimmer, Warrior Born.

Trappings: Good quality clothing, hidden sleeve dagger1 (right sleeve), hidden sleeve pistol2 (left sleeve), 12 explosive coat buttons3, 8 gas sleeve buttons4, poison bracelet5, fine quality pistol (Lightweight, Practical), 10 shots of normal powder, 10 shots of silent powder6, 10 normal bullets, 10 alchemical bullets7, belt with hidden wire garrotte, 2 throwing knives (one in each boot), blowpipe hidden in right boot, 10 blowpipe darts disguised in the lapels of brocade jerkin, 10 doses of Black Lotus hidden in boot-heel, license to kill signed by the Emperor himself, sewn into jerkin.

Bund’s Gadgets

Johannes Bund would not be a proper pastiche (or homage, if you prefer) without an array of hidden weapons and other gadgets. Here are brief descriptions of some of them.

1. Hidden Sleeve Dagger: Secured in a spring-loaded arm-sheath, it shoots into his hand at will, without needing to be drawn. Counts as a normal dagger.

2. Hidden Sleeve Pistol: A one-shot weapon strapped to his lower arm, which can be fired even if he is holding something in his left hand. Rang 6, Damage +6, otherwise as normal pistol.

3. Explosive Coat Buttons: Appearing to be normal gold buttons, each one is a small bomb that explodes one round after being pulled from the coat. Blast 2, Damage +6, otherwise as normal bomb.

4. Gas Sleeve Buttons: Appearing to be normal gold buttons, each one is filled with an alchemical gas that is released on a 2–yard radius on the round after being pulled from the coat. Every creature in the cloud must make a Hard (-20) Endurance Test or gain the Unconscious Condition.

5. Poison Bracelet: This bracelet of gold set with gems is fake. Each of the 8 gems is a Heartkill capsule which dissolves in food or drink within one round.

6. Silent Powder: A alchemically modified form of gunpowder that detonates silently and without smoke. Range is reduced by 10% and Damage by 1 point, but otherwise any weapon loaded with silent powder fires normally.

7. Alchemical Bullets: Hollow bullets containing a concentrated explosive. Shots that hit a living target cause double normal damage; those that hit inanimate objects are treated as bombs with Blast 1 and Damage +4.

Wonderful Toys

The array of special weaponry on Bund’s person will probably cause any player’s eyes to light up with envy, but it will be very difficult to get hold of them without Bund noticing. Quite apart from the fact that he is a highly-trained agent with an unforgiving nature and an Imperial license to kill, most of these items are physically attached to him and tricky to remove.

Unscrupulous PCs might be tempted to try and murder Bund for his equipment, but this will not be easy — even in the midst of a horde of Skaven. In the unlikely event that they succeed, the PCs will find themselves hunted throughout the Empire by other agents of Bund’s secretive agency, all similarly skilled and equipped. When the events of Empire in Ruins take them to Altdorf and their success depends on the goodwill of the Imperial authorities, this could be inconvenient to say the least.

Encountering Bund

As one of the Emperor’s most skilled and trusted agents, Johannes Bund is in Middenland on a secret mission to find out what plans are afoot to declare northern independence and plunge the Empire into civil war. He chanced to be in Middenheim when the Skaven attacks took place, and has been conducting his own investigation independent of Graf Boris, Baron Heinrich, and the other northern authorities. Somehow he came to learn of the Skaven presence at Karak Skygg, and he infiltrated the place at more or less the same time as the PCs.

The GM has a couple of different options for having Bund cross the party’s path, depending on events.

A Fellow Prisoner

When the PCs are captured by the Grey Seer and treated to the gloating speech in which he lays out his evil plan, they may find that they are not the only prisoners. Bund may be there, tied up and stripped of all his obvious weapons. When everyone is left to die in the beam of concentrated Morrslieb-light, one of the PCs may be close enough to Bund to reach one of his boot knives, or pull a button from his coat — and perhaps free one or both of them without being badly cut or blown up.

A Rescuing Hero

Just when the PCs are at the point of freeing themselves from their bonds, or getting themselves out of some other tricky situation, Bund may appear and rescue them in a gratuitously spectacular style, whether they want him to or not. Thereafter, he will treat them as his lackeys, issuing orders and setting out plans as though he were the hero of the adventure — which, of course, he is in his own opinion.

He will not listen to the PCs about anything, and will take the most reckless and dangerous approach to any situation. His recklessness might even be instrumental in getting the PCs captured by the Grey Seer, with or without the help of some other NPC betraying them. In that case, he might free himself with irritating ease, heading back into the hold with the intention of destroying the device and assassinating the Grey Seer — and promising to come back for the PCs but conveniently forgetting to do so.


And while you’re here…

Since 2020, I’ve been a director of Rookery Publications, a new indie TTRPG studio that I co-founded with some names that WFRP fans are sure to recognize: Andrew Law, Lindsay Law, Andy Leask, and Mark Gibbons. Our first product is available from DriveThru, and has garnered some good reviews so far. There is much, much more to follow.

If you like the idea of new, system-agnostic roleplaying products (which means that they have been designed to be used with any edition of WFRP, and indeed with any other ruleset) from our merry band, check the Rookery out on any of these platforms.

Discord is the the hub of a vibrant and growing Rookery community.

YouTube and Twitch each have a Rookery channel where you can find our weekly Inside the Rookery streams, where we chat with big-name guests from across the industry about all manner of things.

Inside the Rookery, along with the occasional Beside the Rookery streams, are supported by our Patreon campaign. If you like what the Rookery has to offer and would like to be part of our story, you can support us for a very low monthly commitment (and if you can afford more, we have higher tiers, too!), and get access to exclusive content like the Rookery masterclasses on game design and development and special publications like the just-released Mother Hoarfrost PDF.

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  1. Gaël Masrour
    May 11, 2022 at 8:16 am

    Love this Graeme! Thanks a lot.
    Side note, the wounds are not correct, but that’s just a detail. 👍🏽

    • May 11, 2022 at 8:29 am

      Can anyone help me out and let me know what the Wounds should be? NPC stats aren’t my strongest point, as you’ve seen.

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