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Johannes Bund, Imperial Spy

April 9, 2022 2 comments

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.

And you can also find us on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RookeryPublications
Twitter: @RookeryP
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rookerypublications/

Doomstones 5 – What might have been

March 28, 2022 3 comments

The covers of Flame’s edition of Doomstones.

Hogshead’s 2001 title Heart of Chaos by Robin D. Laws was not the first attempt to wrap up the Doomstones campaign for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and solve the problem of what to do with the Player Characters now that they have all four Crystals of Power. When the campaign was adventures originally written for D&D, a concluding episode had gone unpublished.

While I was working on the WFRP adaptations at Flame publications, I started working on an outline for a fifth instalment that would tie things up nicely. I left it behind at Flame when I quit Games Workshop in 1990, and I had assumed that, like so many other things, it had vanished in the mists of time. But I was wrong.

A copy of my outline somehow survived in the archives of Marc Gascoigne, and recently made its way to me. I have no idea whether or not Robin Laws saw it while he was working on Heart of Chaos. There are some clear parallels between my outline and Robin’s final work (take that as a spoiler warning, if you will), but the similarities could be put down to the fact that some events and characters are obvious must-haves in a fifth and final Doomstones adventure.

Apart from saving the original Word file as a PDF, I haven’t done anything to it at all. It is just as I wrote it (though someone – probably Mike Brunton – turned it into a Word file from my original ProText file for Amstrad PCW and formatted it using Flame’s style of the time), so its integrity as a historical document is as good as it can be, for those to whom such things matter. Added later: But see the comment below about an earleir version on Gideon’s Awesome Lies blog.

Anyway, take it for what it is, make of it what you will, and I hope you find it interesting. Like everything else WFRP on this blog, this is completely unofficial and no challenge is intended to copyrights held by Games Workshop, Cubicle 7, or anyone else. Anyway, here it is.

Doomstones 5 GD outline – download PDF


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.

And you can also find us on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RookeryPublications
Twitter: @RookeryP
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rookerypublications/

Doomlord – Greater Daemon of Malal

March 24, 2022 4 comments

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Art by Tony Ackland

As I said in my previous post on the Lesser Daemon of Malal, the Renegade God was cut from Warhammer canon before Realm of Chaos was published. Two excellent posts from Awesome Lies and Realm of Chaos 80s give a fuller account. During my time on the project, I developed Lesser and Greater Daemons for him, based on existing art by Tony Ackland.

Before the decision was taken to cut Malal, I worked to include the Renegade God in my draft of Realm of Chaos. This included describing two Daemons for him: one greater and one lesser. By following my blog, Warhammer fans voted for both these creatures to receive stats for WFRP 1st and 4th editions. As always, what follows is to be regarded as a fan work and no challenge is intended to copyrights held by Games Workshop, Cubicle 7, or anyone else.


The mighty Doomlords are the most powerful servants of the Renegade God Malal. Massive creatures with hooves, horns, and tails, they fight the forces of Chaos with massive weapons and soul-sucking magic.

WFRP 4th Edition

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Traits: Armour 4, Belligerent, Bite +10, Champion, Corruption (Major), Daemonic 7+, Frenzy, Hatred (creatures and followers of Chaos), Horns +7, Painless, Size (Monstrous), Soul Drain (new), Tail +6, Terror 3, Unstable, 2 x Weapon +16
Optional: Fast, Elite, Hardy

New Trait: Soul Drain

When the Doomlord’s tail attack scores a critical on any creature without the Undead or Daemonic Traits, do not roll as normal. Instead, the tail-barbs seize the victim and the human-looking head on the tip of the tail bites deeply into the victim’s flesh, draining their soul in an instant and leaving their body a shriveled, dead husk.
Half of the victim’s Wounds (at the time the critical was scored) go to Malal as a soul sacrifice. The other half are added to the Doomlord’s own Wounds score, for the next round of combat only. If the Doomlord is wounded during the round, these additional Wounds points are used first.
This attack counts as magical.

WFRP 1st Edition

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Special Rules: 2 armour points on all locations. Subject to hatred against creatures and followers of Chaos (except Malal). Cause terror in all living creatures under 10 feet tall. Subject to instability. Immune to psychological effects except those caused by gods. Cannot be forced to leave combat except by such beings.

The Monsters so Far:

Zoats
Ambull
Viydagg
Mardagg
Mabrothrax
Jabberwock
Gargoyle
Toad Dragon
The Spectral Claw
The Mud Elemental
Ngaaranh Spawn of Chaos
Leaping Slomm Two-Face
Zygor Snake-Arms
Independent Daemons
Chaos Snakemen
Menfish
Golems
Giant Bats and Fell Bats
Lesser Daemon of Malal


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.

And you can also find us on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RookeryPublications
Twitter: @RookeryP
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rookerypublications/

Oops!

March 14, 2022 Leave a comment

I was embarrassed to discover that I had not set up my Free League Workshop products for Vaesen correctly. Here they are, officially within the Workshop as they should have been from the start. Existing purchases should be unaffected.

There’s a new one as of today, too – the Norwegian brunnmigi or ‘well-pisser’. Honestly – no manners at all…


Do you like monsters? Then check out the collection I’ve done for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th edition, and find out how to persuade me to do more!

Also:

My Complete and Utter Myth and Monsterography

My Top Five Monster Books (that I worked on)

My Top Five RPG Monster Books

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.

And you can also find us on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RookeryPublications
Twitter: @RookeryP
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rookerypublications/

Giant Bats and Fell Bats for WFRP 4

January 31, 2022 5 comments

I just noticed an omission in the adventure “The Return of the Gravelord” in The Horned Rat Companion. Stats were not provided for the Fell Bats in Gräber’s retinue. Fell Bats first appeared in the Vampire Counts army books for Warhammer, and to the best of my knowledge they have never received official stats for any edition of WFRP. Similar, though not as frightening, are the Giant Bats which were first described in the WFRP 1st edition rulebook. So here are stats for both.

As always, everything here is to be regarded as a fan work, and no challenge is intended to any copyrights held by Games Workshop, Cubicle 7, or anyone else.

Oh, and I’ll be adding another monster when the blog hits 350 followers. So if you haven’t followed yet, do it! And if you have, thanks – now, tell your friends!


Giant Bat

A Giant Bat measures almost four feet from nose to tail, and is covered with jet-black fur. The head resembles that of a dog, and the mouth is equipped with long, sharp teeth. These nocturnal creatures are capable of attacking and killing an animal the size of a Human. They are also cunning scavengers, feeding off the carcasses of larger creatures. According to legend, some Sylvanian Vampires have the ability to transform into Giant Bats.

The Move score given on the profile is for ground movement. When flying, a Giant Bat gains a + 10% bonus to Initiative in the first round of combat, unless attacking in illumination equivalent to daylight.
The natural ‘sonar’ of a Giant Bat allows it to ‘see’ up to 20 yards in total darkness. There is a 35% chance that the bite of a Giant Bat may cause Infected wounds.

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Traits: Bestial, Bite+4, Dark Vision (echolocation), Flight 60, Size (Small), Skittish, Wallcrawler
Optional: Fast, Infected, Infestation


Fell Bat

The Giant Bats of Sylvania grow to monstrous proportions, with bodies as long as a human is tall and wingspans of fifteen feet or more.

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Traits: Bestial, Bite+6, Dark Vision (echolocation), Fear 1, Flight 60, Size (Large), Undead, Wallcrawler
Optional: Fast, Infected, Infestation


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.

And you can also find us on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RookeryPublications
Twitter: @RookeryP
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rookerypublications/

A Challenge for WFRP 4 Fans

January 15, 2022 55 comments

1 more follows to unlock the next monster!
Enter your email address over here —>
I promise I won’t spam you!

Total War: WARHAMMER - The Monsters - YouTube

In 2020, shortly after WFRP 4th edition was released, I wrote up a number of creatures from the darker corners of Warhammer’s history with 4th edition rules and stats. The series proved quite popular, with some entries attracting as many as 7,000 views.

Then, as deadlines loomed on the final instalments of The Enemy Within Director’s Cut, the series petered out. The posts are still popular, and I’d like to do more. So I’ll make you a deal:

Simply put, I would like this blog to have more followers. Currently it has 449, which is no real reflection of the traffic it gets. So, here’s what I propose:

In the comments section below this post, tell me about any creatures from any edition of Warhammer or WFRP, or any never-statted Citadel/GW miniatures, that you would like to see for WFRP 4. Whenever WordPress tells me that the blog has 450 followers, I’ll do one. I may run a poll to decide which, or I may just choose. I’ll do another at 500 followers, another at 550, and so on. As well as stats and rules, I’ll throw in any memories or anecdotes that come to me as I’m writing.

Of course, nothing I post on this blog is official – here, I’m just another fan and I’m not challenging any rights held by Games Workshop, or Cubicle 7, or anyone else – so take them for what they’re worth, and feel free to use, modify, adapt, change, and generally play around with anything from the links below, here, and anything I’ll write up in the future.

So go on – tell me about that Warhammer monster you’ve always wanted to see for WFRP 4. Or – heck, why not – tell me about the WFRP 4 monster that you’d like to see adapted for one of the previous editions. And then, follow this blog and tell all your friends to do the same.

I’ve no idea where this will end up going, but let’s find out together!

The Monsters so Far:

Zoats
Ambull
Viydagg
Mardagg
Mabrothrax
Jabberwock
Gargoyle
Toad Dragon
The Spectral Claw
The Mud Elemental
Ngaaranh Spawn of Chaos
Leaping Slomm Two-Face
Zygor Snake-Arms
Independent Daemons
Chaos Snakemen
Menfish
Golems
Giant Bats and Fell Bats
Lesser Daemon of Malal
Greater Daemon of Malal

So vote with your follows, and let me know what you’d like to see!

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.

And you can also find us on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RookeryPublications
Twitter: @RookeryP
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rookerypublications/

We think it’s pretty cool.

Come to our Birthday Party!

November 5, 2021 Leave a comment

May be an image of text that says 'PATREON This week on... inside the Rookery BIRTHDAY, Rooks! HAPPY with ANDY LAW, GRAEME DAVIS, ANDY LEASK, MARK GIBBONS, AND LINDSAY LAW On Hallow Eve, 2020, Rookery Publications born. One year later, time for party! Announcements, party hats, art, cake, and more! JOIN THE CLAMOUR! InsideTheRookery rookerypublications f RookeryPublications TheRookery @RookeryP FRESH RPG CHAT EVERY SATURDAY 7PM UK live'

Rookery Publications was founded one year ago as an indie rpg studio composed of legendary writer and cartographer Andy Law, GW and Blizzard artist Mark Gibbons, indefatigable writer Andy Leask, and laser-sharp editor/proofreader and awesome business brain Lindsay Law. And me, Graeme Davis.

We’ll be celebrating LIVE tomorrow (Saturday Nov. 6th) at 7 pm UK time (3 pm Eastern, noon Pacific). Come and join us! Meet the team, ask questions, and hear the latest news on our upcoming products!

Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/rookerypublications

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheRookery

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RookeryPublications

See you then!

And join our Discord community at https://discord.gg/7uxKJxfW!

Developing WFRP

October 11, 2021 Leave a comment

Ever wondered what the collective noun for a grim and perilous gathering of WFRP developers is?

The answer to that question and more can be yours when, for the first time ever, WFRP developers from all four editions of the game – Graeme Davis, James Wallis, Chris Pramas, Jay Little, and Andy Law – gather to answer your questions.

So, mark this date in your calendars: Wednesday 27th October at 21:30 UK time.

If you want to pre-submit questions, head over to the Rookery Discord: https://discord.gg/KGzxJw7Taw

Or, turn up on the day and comment on Facebook, Twitch, or YouTube. Our host, WFRP writer and editor Lindsay Law, will take your questions live and put them to the panel.

If you want to see our previous streams, head over to YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheRookery

If you want to know more about Inside the Rookery, head over to our Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/InsideTheRookery

May be an image of 5 people and text that says 'PATREON Oct 27th, 9.30pm UK time on... inside the Rookery DEVELOPING WFRP designers and developers Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay discussing the grim and the perilous! A GRAEME DAVIS JAMES VALLIS -founder Wallis orna CHRIS PRAMAS Pramas epublishe JAY LITTLE designed editions Pulhng aaa game. Green Board Games. ANDY LAW Law developed WFRP4. He 2005's InsideTheRookery WFRP2. JOIN THE CLAMOUR! rookerypublications f RookeryPublications RookeryP game design. bl busier. FRESH RPG CHAT EVERY SATURDAY 7PM UK c/TheRookery @RookeryP live'

Wights in D&D 3.5

October 3, 2021 1 comment

In Dragon #348 (October 2006), I wrote “Ecology of the Wight”. A lot of my original material was cut from the published version, so here it is. I hope you find it useful, or at least interesting.
I was hoping to include a link so you could buy the magazine online, but it doesn’t seem to be available on DriveThru or the DMs’ Guild. If anyone knows of a place where non-pirated copies can be obtained, please drop a link in the comments below. Thanks!


Advanced Wights: Non-Core Sources

This article [the one in Dragon] assumes that the DM is only using the three core rulebooks, but DMs who have access to additional rulebooks and supplements will find more options for producing advanced wight characters.

Libris Mortis

In addition to general notes on undead characters and NPCs, this sourcebook contains much that will be useful to a DM planning a wight-centered adventure or campaign. The evolved undead template allows the creation of ancient and powerful individuals with spell-like abilities. Feats like Improved Energy Drain, Spell Drain, and Life Drain increase the power of the energy drain ability that wights share with many other undead creatures. Monstrous prestige classes include the lurking terror with its enhanced stealth abilities, and the tomb warden (only available to a wight who has already advanced by other means) which confers many useful abilities within the confines of a particular tomb complex. New undead creatures include the slaughter wight, which could make a good leader or champion, and several other monsters that might be found alongside wights in a barrow-field or necropolis.

Monster Manual II

Of most interest is the spellstitched template (page 215), which confers spellcasting ability on an undead creature. With their high Wisdom, wights gain access to first through third level spells by spellstitching – and gain some useful save bonuses – while only increasing their CR by one.

Savage Species

The emancipated spawn prestige class (page 75) is available to creatures and characters who became the spawn of an undead creature such as a wight, and who regain their independence after their creator has been destroyed. As they advance in this prestige class, emancipated spawn gradually remember the skills and class features that they had while living. The wight template (page 136) can be used to create variant wights based upon any humanoid creature.


Wight Lairs

Unless they are under the command of a necromancer or some other master, wights normally lair in tombs. As their full name of barrow-wights suggests, they are often found in earthen burial mounds, but they can make their lairs in any kind of tomb complex or necropolis. A wight lair will usually be the original burial-place of the oldest wight in the pack (sometimes called the master wight); younger wights are usually the spawn of that first individual.

Wight lairs are usually cramped, dark places. Narrow passages and low ceilings hamper weapon-using intruders and favor unarmed wights. They use their knowledge of their lair’s layout, along with secret doors and passages, to spring close-quarters attacks without having to advance under fire from spellcasters and ranged weapons. Labyrinths of short passages allow a pack of wights to surround intruders and attack from all sides; their Hide and Move Silently skills give them a good chance of gaining surprise. Shifting walls and other devices are sometimes used to confuse and disorient outsiders.

Wights’ acute senses and stealth skills make them skilled and dangerous ambushers. When faced with a strong party, their usual tactic is to try to pick off enemies one by one, draining their life energy at leisure and turning them against their former comrades as wight spawn.

A Sample Wight Lair

The map shows a typical barrow where wights might be found. Built millennia ago to house the honored dead of a long-forgotten people, it is built of stone, filled in with dirt and rubble between the walls. Its front is dominated by a curved façade of monumental stones.

Inside, a narrow passage leads past a number of empty tombs (which might hold minor encounters such as rat or spider swarms) to an apparent dead end. The rubble is a decoy, though, intended to distract intruders while 4-5 wights use the secret passages to get behind them. They will not attack right away, but will follow stealthily until the adventurers are busy fighting the rest of the wights in the narrow confines of the two pillar rooms. Then they will mount a surprise attack, surrounding the trespassers and using their energy drain and create spawn abilities.

The four rooms at the far end of the barrow belong to the king and queen, who may be more powerful than the others (see Advanced Wights above). The treasury contains a little treasure (note that wights normally have none). The king’s tomb is hidden by a secret door in the back of his stone throne, and may contain some magical treasures or other special items.


Finding Wights

Wights are not only found in dark barrows on lonely, mist-wrapped moors. Here are a few ideas for placing them in other locations.

The Dead Below

From their headquarters in an abandoned catacomb beneath a city’s oldest cemetery, a powerful band of wights can use sewers, thieves’ tunnels, and other underground passages to reach almost anywhere. Moving mainly by night, they remain unseen and unheard as much as possible, ambushing unwary victims returning home from the city’s hostelries and other unfortunates who are outside after dark. Their ultimate goal may simply be to survive undetected, or they may have come to the city in search of an ancient treasure that was stolen from their leader by grave-robbers, and which now rests in the vaults of the thieves’ guild, or the academy of magic.

Fortress of Nightmares

The wights’ stronghold is heavily defended, both above and below ground, with multiple entry and exit points through small tombs and mausolea nearby. In addition, the wights may have control of swarms of vermin, rats, and the like, as well as alliances with other undead creatures – especially lawful evil undead – that make their home in the cemetery. These undead allies may not fight alongside the wights, but they might inform them of adventurers headed their way, or mount surprise hit-and-run attacks on living trespassers who are already engaged in fighting the wights.

The Forbidden Island

A remote island also makes a suitable home for a pack of wights, especially if it is dotted with the remnants of a lost civilization. If no living souls have set foot on the island for a long time, the wights’ hunger for life energy will make them particularly aggressive. Their first act will probably be to disable any watercraft or other means of escape from the island, and then pick off stragglers or scouts to reduce the visitors’ numbers before mounting an all-out attack by night. They may set traps in the thick jungle of the islands, or among the rubble-choked ruins.

Not Just Mummies

Desert tomb complexes – with or without pyramids – also make good homes for wights. Adventurers will probably expect to find mummies in such locations, and wights will take them by surprise, at least initially. If the wights are dressed in scraps of bandage, the confusion over their true nature may last beyond the first encounter – and nothing worries adventurers more than not knowing what they are up against. True mummies can act as leaders or elite fighters, and spellcasting mummy lords can make up for their comrades’ lack of magic.


My Complete and Utter D&D Bibliography

Everything I have published for various editions, starting in 1982. Includes links to some free downloads.
Click Here.

Rookery Publications

Inside the Rookery

September 8, 2021 2 comments

I’m proud to be a part of Rookery Publications along with fellow veterans Andy Law, Lindsay Law, Mark Gibbons, and Andrew Leask. Between us we have over a century of experience developing award-winning tabletop roleplaying products for some of the biggest and best publishers in the business, and now we’ve decided to go out on our own. One commentator called us “a roleplaying supergroup”.

We have some great things planned for our ground-breaking, system-agnostic*, modular** Coiled Crown line of tabletop roleplaying products. But that’s not all we do.

Every week, we do a streaming show called “Inside the Rookery”, which goes out live on Twitch, Facebook, and YouTube. We discuss topics related to gaming in general, we have guests on now and then (and there are some great ones lined up for the rest of September), and we let you know how things are progressing with The Coiled Crown.

The streams are open to all. They are live every Saturday at 7 pm UK (2 pm Eastern, 11 am Pacific), and past shows can be found on our YouTube channel.

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To help support our weekly streams, Rookery Publications just launched a Patreon campaign. Please take a look and support us if you can. Rewards include our undying gratitude, special status and exclusive channels on the Rookery’s clamorous Discord server, patron blogs and more!

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*That’s right, system-agnostic. Whatever your game of choice – even if it’s not even fantasy – we show you ways to incorporate our products into your games.

**We like to think of our approach as like LEGO sets. You can use everything as given, to create an absolutely awesome campaign with a stunning setting, a staggering plot, memorable NPCs, some terrifying original monsters, and an array of optional adventures. Or, you can pick and choose what works in your games, change the order, mix it up with other things to make something completely new that no one even thought of before. It’s yours to do with as you please – well, that’s true of every roleplaying product you’ve ever bought – but the difference is that we know it, and we’ve planned to support you in however you choose to use it!