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I.O.U. 1 WFRP Monster


Monster? What’s this about? Click here to find out!

I’m a little busy right now starting a new job, but I hope to get to it over the weekend. If there’s something particular you’d like to see, drop its name in the comments along with the edition(s) of WFRP for which you’d like stats. No promises, but I’ll see what I can do.

While you’re here, though, I’d like to tell you about Rookery Publications, a new rpg studio that I’ve founded along with four other WFRP veterans: Writer, cartographer, and developer extraordinaire Andy Law; art legend Mark Gibbons; editor, proofreader, and business expert Lindsay Law, and prolific writer Andy Leask.

We are working on a dark fantasy setting with a series of sourcebooks and a campaign. Everything is designed to be modular so you can take it as written or kitbash it to fit your own campaign. It is system-agnostic, and the first few products have tested well with WFRP as well as an array of other games. Our first two titles are five-star products on DriveThruRPG, and you can find them here.

We also produce weekly “Inside the Rookery” live streams with guests from across the games industry. Past guests have included Bob Naismith, who ran the GEW miniatures department in the late 80s and created the first Space Marines, WFRP artist Ralph Horsley, ex-GW designer and novelist Gav Thorpe, former Hogshead Publishing chief James Wallis, Marc Gascoigne of Black Library and now Aconyte Books, and many more. The live streams go out on Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook, and are archived on our YouTube channel. Inside the Rookery is supported by our Patreon campaign (https://www.patreon.com/InsideTheRookery).

You can find Rookery Publications at:

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

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

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

Twitter: @RookeryP

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rookerypublications/

and we have a very active community on Discord.

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:

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/

Doombringer – Lesser Daemon of Malal

February 26, 2022 13 comments

Art by Tony Ackland

The history of Malal is well known. Created for the Kaleb Daark comic, he was cut from Warhammer canon over ownership issues. Two excellent posts from Awesome Lies and Realm of Chaos 80s give a fuller account.

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.

No one had drawn or sculpted and Daemons for Malal, so I turned to the vast body of art that had been created for Realm of Chaos since the project was first begun several years earlier. The image above, with its birdlike skull, reminded me of Kaleb Daark’s weapon Dreadaxe, so I chose it for the Lesser Daemon.

Malal was cut, Mike Brunton wrestled Realm of Chaos over the finish line where so many others had failed, and this image was never used, so far as I know. The Daemons for each of the Ruinous Powers were set in particular forms, leaving this and many other Daemon images redundant and forgotten. So it was for more than 30 years.

Then last week, some Polish WFRP fans started to lobby for a treatment of this little beauty. As part of their fan project to bring the Old World to the Genesys system, they added Malal back into the lore and created a new treatment of the Lesser Daemon, naming it the Malignancy after the title of the Awesome Lies post. They asked me for stats, and provided enough blog follows and comments to unlock a new monster according to my promise of a little while ago – so here it is. I prefer the name Doombringer, but you can call it whatever you like in your own games. Trevor, for example.

As always, this post 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.

Art by Barbara Szymańska

After the warriors known as the Doomed Ones, Doombringers are the most numerous servants of the renegade Chaos God Malal. They may be summoned by his followers to help fight the creatures and servants of the Ruinous Powers.

Doombringers are a semi-skeletal mixture of bird and beast, with hoofed legs, a head something like a bird’s skull, and arms that end in long, curving blades of razor-sharp bone. Their beaks are armed with sharp teeth. Their skin is pitch-black, contrasting with the gleaming white of their hooves, skulls, and blades in the favored colors of Malal: black and white.

They are fast and agile fighters, leaping and slashing with uncanny speed.

WFRP 4th Edition

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Traits: Armour 4, Belligerent, Bite 5+, Champion, Corruption (Moderate), Daemonic 8+, Fear 3, Frenzy, Hatred (creatures and followers of Chaos), Painless, Unstable, 2 x Weapon +9
Optional: Fast, Elite, Hardy

WFRP 1st Edition

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* For agility-based tests only. Manual Dexterity is 0

Special Rules: 1 armour point on all locations. Subject to hatred against creatures and followers of Chaos (except Malal). Cause fear in all living creatures under 10 feet tall. Subject to instability. Immune to psychological effects except those caused by Greater Daemons or 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
Greater 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/

All I Want for Christmas

December 24, 2021 1 comment

Compliments of the season, whatever you celebrate at this time of year.

It’s been a good year for me: the final volumes in The Enemy Within Director’s Cut have been published, at least in electronic form, and just a few days ago the Kickstarter campaign for the Vaesen Britain and Ireland Sourcebook topped $700,000, making almost 65 times its funding goal.

Another thing I’m proud of this year is my involvement with Rookery Publications. For those who haven’t heard, this is a new indie tabletop RPG studio that I have co-founded along with Andy Law, Mark Gibbons, Lindsay Law, and Andy Leask. We are completely self-funded so this is a spare-time venture for most of us, but we confidently expect to release the first few system-agnostic* fantasy roleplaying supplements in our Coiled Crown product line early in 2022.

*That’s right. We are designing everything so that it can be used with any rules system. It sounds like a tall order, but playtest results have been very positive. In fact, some testers successfully adapted our first adventure for various SF and horror games, as well as a wide range of fantasy roleplaying games.

While we were working on those plans, we also started doing a regular weekly stream called Inside the Rookery, where we chat with guests from all across the industry about all manner of things. We’ve had a fantastic array of guests so far, and we plan to keep on going in 2022. We also have an occasional series called Beside the Rookery, which takes a deeper look at a specific topic. You can find past streams on our YouTube channel.

May be a black-and-white image of 12 people, beard and text that says 'Special thanks to. PATREON ...all of our marvellous guests in 2021'

The streams are supported by a Patreon campaign, which you can find here. Starting at just GBP 1.50 (USD 2.00 or EUR 1.77 at the time of posting), you can become a Rook and enjoy Patreon-exclusive blog posts as well as monthly masterclasses on various aspects of RPG design. So far I’ve shown how to create multi-plot adventures like those in the Rough Nights and Hard Days collection for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, and Andy Law has shared some of the secrets of his multiple award-winning cartography.

So if you want to give us a gift this holiday season, please check out the Rookery’s Patreon page. It’s a gift to yourself, as well.

Grimvember 2021 continues. Let’s spend “A Day at the Trials”.

November 8, 2021 1 comment

SPOILERS!
But a very nice review of the second adventure in Rough Nights and Hard Days.

It always rains in Nuln

Another Monday, another review. This time I’m tackling chapter 2 of “Rough Nights & Hard Days” for the WFRP 4th edition.

This is one of my favorite scenarions in the whole book. It details a trial by combat in the city of Kemperbad, fought between the champions of two noble families. The dastardly Baron Von Dammenblatz accuses Gravin Maria-Ulrike von Liebwitz of killing one of his relatives. As is customary for people of high status, this dispute will be settled by a honorable duel. The party will be thrown right into middle of this whole mess, with one of the heroes even taking the role of Gravin’s champion and making sure that her honor remains intact!

Yes, this scene actually takes place during the course of the scenario!(artwork belongs to Cubicle 7)

The whole scenario is written similarly to the previous one, with timetables playing a huge part in…

View original post 337 more words

Categories: Uncategorized

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.

Patreon Logo transparent PNG - StickPNG

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!

Want to know more? Watch as Andy Law and Lindsay Law give you a tour of the Rookery’s Patreon offering, along with a peek at our vibrant Discord community!



*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!

Alphonse Hercules de Gascoigne, Gnome Detective – by Andy Law

August 13, 2021 8 comments

The WFRP4 fan community has been in an uproar lately over a recent reprinting of a beloved NPC.

Clearly based on Agatha Christie’s fictional detective Hercule Poirot, the Bretonnian Gnome Alphonse Hercules de Gascoigne appeared in Carl Sargent’s adventure “With a Little Help from my Friends,” which was published in White Dwarf 105 (September 1988).

While he is not the only Gnome NPC to appear in a WFRP adventure, he is by far the best-loved. So when he appeared as a Halfling in that adventure’s 4th edition update in The Horned Rat Companion, there was a storm of protest from Gnome fans. The hashtag #SaveAlphonse was used in passionate appeals on Twitter and elsewhere.

While the effect of these appeals remains to be seen, I asked Andy Law, the creator of the Gnome rules from Rough Nights and Hard Days, to give us his version of the great Gnome detective. Here it is, along with some notes from Andy explaining his reasoning behind some key decisions.

Like everything WFRP on this blog, what follows is in no way official and should be considered a fan work. No challenge is intended to copyrights or trademarks held by Games Workshop, Cubicle 7, or anyone else.

Kev Walker’s portrait of Alphonse, from the original adventure.

Alphonse Hercules de Gascoigne

Background

A background for Alphonse is given in The Horned Rat Companion (p. 93), but here are a few extra details:

Originally born in the burrows of Cardinselles in the Massif Orcal to the Skues Clan, Alphonse has not used his given-name of ‘Albros’ since he left home at the tender age of 26. Cardinselles was sacked by Beastmen in 2463IC, so Alphonse has never had the heart to return to the shadowy halls of his birth. He has one surviving sister who lives in Montluc, Quenelles. He occasionally sends goods and coin her way.

Albros Skues – Detective – Silver 5

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Skills: Athletics 73, Bribery 87, Charm 102, Climb 72, Cool 106, Consume Alcohol 42, Dodge 98, Drive 73, Endurance 52, Entertain (Act 72, Jest 70), Evaluate 92, Gamble 87, Gossip 102, Haggle 77, Intuition 111, Language (Bretonnian – 102, Classical 87, Ghassily – Native, Guilder 82, Mootish 92, Reikspiel 92, Thieves’ Tongue 87, Wastelander 80), Leadership 77, Lore (Bretonnia 92, Empire 87, Engineer 87, Heraldry 82, History 87, Metallurgy 82, Law 82, Wasteland 82), Melee (Basic 59, Brawling 64), Navigation 82, Perception 116, Pick Lock 82, Ranged (Blackpowder 52, Engineering 47), Secret Signs (Thief) 97, Sleight of Hand 106, Stealth (Rural 78, Urban 103), Track 96, Trade (Engineer) 87

Talents: Acute Sense (Hearing, Sight, Smell 2, Taste 3), Alley Cat 2, Artistic, Beneath Notice 2, Blather 3, Break and Enter 2, Carouser, Craftsman (Engineer), Etiquette (Criminals 2, Guilder, Nobles 2, Scholars, Servants 3), Fast Hands 3, Flee!, Gregarious, Lip Reading, Mimic, Night Vision, Read/Write, Savvy, Sixth Sense 2, Shadow 3, Sharp, Speedreader, Suave, Tenacious, Tinker, Tower of Memories

Traits: Armour (Leathers) 1, Size (Small), Weapon (Dagger) +5
Trappings: 3 doses of Black Lotus, Engineering Gizmos (GM’s choice), Journal, Lockpicks, Magnifying Glass, Playing Cards (Marked), Quill and Ink, Ring of Belstaff, Ring of Subduction (tHRC, p93), Spyglass

Career Path: Prowler, Thief, Student Engineer, Engineer, Informer, Sleuth, Investigator, Master Investigator, Spy, Detective

The Ring of Belstaff

Created by the Bretonnian Wizard Marie-Celestine de Belstaff in thanks for some service (which Alphonse absolutely refuses to discuss), this ring gathers the wind of Chamon around its wearer, creating a field of dense energy that gives protection equal to 2 APs on all locations.

This protection is only effective if the ring’s wearer avoids metal armour, because a significant amount of metal in contact with the field interferes with the flow of Chamon.

Notes

Rather than go with Watchman to match Hercule Poirot (whose backstory made him a former Belgian policeman), I went with Thief to match the character presented in With A Little Help From My Friends. I also put him through some Engineer to match his 1E description, and some Spy to match the 1E career. It suggests he’s had quite the life! I mentioned the little sister in Montluc as a light reference to Poirot, whose younger sister is mentioned in passing.


Thanks, Andy!

If you don’t already know about it, you should check out Andy’s Lawhammer blog for more WFRP goodness.

Also, I gave a brief history of Gnomes in WFRP (before 4th edition was published) in this post from a while ago

…and another blogger makes some interesting observations here.

Rookery Publications

Andy and I are two-fifths of Rookery Publications, a new indie TTRPG studio producing system-agnostic adventures and supplements designed to be usable with any game and setting. You can find out more about the Rookery here:

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

Twitter: @RookeryP

Discord: https://discord.gg/awjDfSpH

Return of the Bling

April 3, 2021 8 comments

Here are a few more images that Pinterest threw my way. Apart from Jewish bridal rings, I did not know that rings in the shape of buildings were a thing, but here is an interesting selection.

I’ve thrown in a few thoughts about what these shapes might mean for magical rings in a fantasy game.

Note: All images are copyright their original owners, at the urls indicated.

The Castle

Castelli 15
Image from https://www.alessandrodari.com/en/opera/castelli-15/

The castle is a symbol of safety and protection, so this ring might give its wearer a significant boost to armor protection, or protect in some more subtle way.

The Palace

VICKY AMBERY-SMITHGOLDSMITHS’ FAIRThis week I’ll be sharing some of the designers I’d love to see at the Goldsmiths’s fair in London. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to go, but if you have a chance, the fair will be going from Sept 27th to Oct 9th.For...
https://athousandfacets.tumblr.com/post/151161004052

The palace is a place of power and authority, so a ring in that form might give its wearer a boost to their social status and accompanying skills, making others treat them as powerful nobles even if they are not.

The Temple

http://www.alaintruong.com/archives/2010/02/27/17061074.html

Like the portable shrine ring from an earlier post, this ring might give the wearer the same protection as being on consecrated ground, or it might give their prayers greater efficacy, perhaps even granting limited clerical powers to a non-cleric.

The Tower

https://www.alessandrodari.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Untitled_Panorama8.jpg

Towers are usually associated with wizards, so this ring might enhance a wearer’s magical abilities, possibly allowing them to cast spells at a higher level than normal or making their spells harder for targets to resist.

So there are a few ideas to play around with. For more buildings, search for ‘architectural rings’.

It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got That Bling

If you like this kind of post, you’ll also want to see these:

Armillary Rings: Handy for astronomers, astrologers, and navigators.

Compartment Rings: Hide your true allegiance, or carry a secret message.

Poison Rings: An old classic.

Gun Rings: Add more punch to your punch.

Eye Rings: Protection, divination, gaze weapons, and more.

Miscellany: No theme, but lots of possibilities.

Let us Bling: A Ring for Clerics that unfolds into a portable shrine.

Day-After-Monday Gun Day

December 29, 2020 3 comments

Yes, I missed it by a day, but I have an excuse.

Jake Blues Quotes

Well, none of those, but still. It’s the holidays, it’s 2020, I’ve had a lot on – and most important of all, I only just saw this, like, five minutes ago. So there.

Anyway, I’m sure there are player characters everywhere who would love a little toy like this:

It’s a gun made for Francesco Morozini, Duke of Venice (1619-1694). You pull the silk bookmark to shoot while the book is closed.

It’s clearly a flintlock, and it looks to be a good enough size to count as a standard pistol in most rulesets. The barrel is on the short side so it won’t be terribly accurate over longer ranges, but within a few feet it should be just fine. And that, after all, is why it’s hidden in a book: so you can get close without arousing suspicion.

More Like This

Hidden Weapons: Pay attention, 007!
Multi-Barrel Weapons: What’s better than a gun? Lots of guns.
Combi-Weapons: Now you can bring a knife to a gunfight.