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Posts Tagged ‘Carl Sargent’

Alphonse Hercules de Gascoigne, Gnome Detective – by Andy Law

August 13, 2021 7 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

MWSBSSTIAgDexIntWPFelW
35442373276686277716713

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

The Ambull: From 40K to WFRP (again)

March 14, 2020 21 comments

The Ambull is a beast that originally comes from the Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader rulebook. It was adapted for WFRP in an adventure called “Terror in the Darkness,” which appeared in White Dwarf 108 (December 1988). Back in 2014 I posted about this adventure, and the series which it was intended to kick off.

Ambull 1

The Ambull from 1988. Art by Tony Ackland from the Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader rulebook. Miniature by Citadel Miniatures.

That was the Ambull’s one and only appearance in WFRP to date, although the beast has made a comeback in a Warhammer Quest product titled The Dreaded Ambull. There’s a new and terrifying miniature to go with it, and now seems like a good time to update the Ambull for WFRP 4th edition.

The Ambull in 2019 (Games Workshop)

The Ambull

The Ambull is a large, barrel-chested creature with an ape-like stance. Both arms and legs end in iron-hard claws used for tunnelling through stone. It spends most of its time underground, preying on other subterranean creatures. As it moves, it creates vast tunnel systems·of remarkable complexity. Ambulls are uncomfortable in large, open spaces and do not enter them willingly. Stalking and ambush are their favourite tactics, closing rapidly with prey in order to minimize exposure to spells and ranged attacks.

The Ambull attacks with two claws and one bite. It can divide these attacks between two Average sized opponents if it wishes, attacking one target with one claw and using its other two attacks against a second target.

M WS BS S T I Ag Dex Int WP Fel W
6 50 50 50 50 20 20 14 43 20 38

Traits: Armour 2, Bestial, 2 Claws +8, Dark Vision, Enclosed Fighter (as Talent), Jaws +8, Size (Large), Tunneller (see below), Tunnel Rat (as Talent)

Optional: Armour 3, Belligerent, Brute, Hardy, Immunity to Psychology, Size (Enormous)

New Trait: Tunneller

The creature can dig through soil at 2/3 its normal M score, and rock at 1/3 normal M.

In “Terror in the Darkness,” the lone Ambull was said to have come to the Warhammer world from its 40K home on the Deathworld of Luther MacIntyre IX by some unknown means. At that time there was a strand of Games Workshop lore, never fully explored, which posited that the Warhammer world might be a remote feral world in the 40K universe. You can use that explanation if you like, or you might decide that Ambulls are native to the underground parts of the Old World, and the existence of their species is well known to the Dwarves, the Skaven, and other underground peoples.


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The Restless Dead: The Forgotten WFRP Campaign

January 9, 2015 19 comments

Wfrp_logo

A lot has been written about the Enemy Within campaign for WFRP, and rather less has been written about the Doomstones campaign. But the Restless Dead campaign is almost forgotten.

Restless Dead

This modest, 104-page hardback is not a common find on Ebay or elsewhere. It was never reprinted, although a good deal of its content wound up in Hogshead’s Apocrypha Now and Apocrypha 2. And much of that content was reprinted from White Dwarf.

Edited by Carl Sargent, the book falls into three parts. First is the Restless Dead campaign proper, which consists of seven adventures from WD. Carl expands my own On the Road (mentioned in an earlier post) to provide the campaign’s overarching storyline, and I think he did a pretty good job pulling together a bunch of unrelated adventures to make a reasonably coherent campaign.

Night of Blood and A Rough Night at the Three Feathers can also be found in Hogshead’s Apocrypha Now, and The Ritual and The Affair of the Hidden Jewel are reprinted in Apocrypha 2. The other two adventures, Eureka! and The Haunting Horror, have not been reprinted for 1st edition, although Plundered Vaults has a 2nd edition version of The Haunting Horror as well as A Rough Night at the Three Feathers. and can only be found in this book. The Haunting Horror has been widely criticized as too deadly even for WFRP, while Eureka! features an array of wacky inventions, including hang-gliders and a submarine, which Hogshead chief James Wallis thought were a step too far. Each adventure is accompanied by a page of campaign notes from Carl, giving advice on how it can be used in either the Restless Dead campaign or the Enemy Within campaign.

Altogether, the Restless Dead campaign takes up 58 pages, or a little over half the book.

The second part of The Restless Dead consists of a single adventure for the Enemy Within campaign, specially written by Carl (with Derrick Norton) and found nowhere else reprinted from WD98. Titled Grapes of Wrath (and known in the Studio as “Flying Death Skulls” for its defining encounter), it runs to 16 pages and features a crazed wizard terrorizing a peaceful village. It is reprinted with 2nd edition stats in Plundered Vaults.

Finally, there are 24 pages of optional rules. Jim and Phil’s Practice Makes Perfect takes a detailed look at career progression, while Hack and Slay! introduces some optional combat rules. New spells and magic items round out the rest of the book.

The Restless Dead is a curious little volume. It was put together in a hurry in 1989 with the intention of getting more WFRP material out at the lowest possible cost. The John Blanche cover art was re-used from the Skeleton Horde boxed set, a move that would be repeated in later WFRP books. But Carl’s editing and development of the Restless Dead campaign saves it from being just another miscellany like the Warhammer Companion and the two Apocryphas. First edition completists will probably want it for the bits and pieces that were never reprinted elsewhere, and while it doesn’t approach the heights of Power Behind the Throne, Grapes of Wrath is definitely one of Carl’s better adventures. There are some typically silly NPC names like Isolde Guderian, Seel Baldurich, and Knud Gropenfrotteur, and Carl claimed to have based Wuder Lechart, the village idiot, on GW’s lead graphic designer, Charlie Elliott.

While it is definitely a little brother to The Enemy Within and Doomstones, The Restless Dead doesn’t deserve to be entirely forgotten.