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A Challenge for WFRP 4 Fans

January 15, 2022 38 comments

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 262 286, 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 300 followers, I’ll do one. I may run a poll to decide which, or I may just choose. I’ll do another at 350 followers, another at 400, 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

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.

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.

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 as 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 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

Even Rougher Nights


My WFRP 4 adventure collection Rough Nights and Hard Days uses a multi-plot format that I first developed at Games Workshop more than 30 years ago. It’s been widely discussed online, though to my surprise I never heard of anyone using the same style in their own adventures – until quite recently.

A little while ago, I got a very complimentary email from Arjen Poutsma in the Netherlands, thanking me for all the enjoyment that WFRP had given him and sharing a copy of a multi-plot Call of Cthulhu adventure he had written called Night of the Rising Sun. It is now available on DriveThruRPG.

As the title suggests, the adventure is set in Japan – 1830s Japan, to be exact, which makes it something of a niche product. Still, I think it is worth your time. It was designed to be run as a one-off, and would make a different and interesting con adventure. With a little work, it can be adapted to be run with 80s-era games like Bushido, GURPS Japan, AD&D Oriental Adventures, or Land of the Rising Sun, which will shortly be available in a new 5th edition. With a little more work and a little imagination, it can be set in any version of Japan from the 1920s of Call of Cthulhu to that of cyberpunk settings.


Thinking of Night of the Rising Sun reminded me that I had written one other multi-plot adventure beside those in Rough Nights and Hard Days. Called ‘The Last Resort’, it was written for the d20/3.5 rules and appeared in Green Ronin’s 2003 adventure collection Tales of Freeport.

The adventure has eight plots, which I won’t spoil by describing them here. It is set in a grand hotel and features a wide and diverse cast of characters, and while it fits right into the Freeport setting, it could easily be moved to Altdorf or another large city in WFRP’s Old World, or to 1920s New York, London, Paris, Berlin, San Francisco or somewhere similar for Call of Cthulhu.


‘The Last Resort’ completes the catalogue of multi-plot adventures that I have currently in print, but I’ll add a little teaser: there’s another one coming from Rookery Publications. If you don’t already know about this new indie publisher (which consists of WFRP veterans Andy Law, Lindsay Law, Andy Leask, and Mark Gibbons as well as me, and was described by one poster as ‘a roleplaying supergroup’), you can find out more here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1044080065964332/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RookeryP

Discord: https://discord.gg/mMeRpPgY

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxVxRCPYv–_w9xFjW5fdOA


So are there any other multi-plot adventures on the market? Has anyone tried to create one for their own campaign? How did it go? Let me know in the comments section!

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.

Monday Maps #13: A Quick Tutorial on Caves

May 18, 2020 1 comment

Happy Monday! I hope you and yours are all staying safe.

 

I haven’t posted a Monday Map in a little while, but I came across this YouTube tutorial that is worth seeing. If you’re like me and the only things you can draw are a breath, a bath, and a conclusion, invest 1 minute and 14 seconds of your time and take a look.

 

 

Hammers and Dragons has a Facebook page here with links to a free downloadable maps, including this one. Of interest to Warhammer and WFRP fans will be the Skaven temple posted on May 7th. Here’s a small-scale preview:

 

Skaven Temple Small

 

One of the things I especially like about Hammers and Dragons is that artist Tomasz Ratajczak is teaching himself to draw, so he’s not presenting some lofty masterclass that makes the rest of us feel like idiots. And yet, his simple techniques produce results that would not look out of place in a professional publication. He’s only just getting started, but I’m looking forward to seeing more from him.

 

Links

Hammers and Dragons YouTube Channel
Hammers and Dragons Facebook page

 

Jabberwock: A Forgotten WFRP Monster

May 16, 2020 45 comments

Well, it’s not original to WFRP, of course. The beast was born in Lewis Carroll’s poem Jabberwockyand its image was established for all time by Sir John Tenniel’s illustration from 1897.

Nick Bibby’s Jabberwock miniature was advertised in the first Citadel Journal, which was published in Spring 1985. Following my policy of covering every Citadel miniature I could find, I wrote it up for the Bestiary chapter of the WFRP first edition rulebook.

Journal 1

Nick Bibby’s Jabberwock (right), with a Ral Partha Jabberwock mini of similar vintage.

I don’t think the Jabberwock appeared in any official Warhammer publication outside of the WFRP 1st edition rulebook, the Warhammer 3rd edition rulebook, and a handful of miniatures ads – but if you know better, drop me a comment!

Here is my re-imagining of the beast for WFRP 4th edition. Needless to say, what follows is extremely unofficial, completely optional, and does not constitute any challenge to copyrights held by Games Workshop, Cubicle 7, or anyone else.


The Jabberwock

WFRP Jabberwock

The Incursions of Chaos have produced thousands of strange creatures. Living in the deepest forests, the Jabberwock is little seen – at least, by those who live to tell of it – and it is known mainly through local rumours and the distant sound of its burbling cry.
The Jabberwock stands over 12 feet high, and can move by running on all fours or walking on its hind legs. All four limbs are equipped with sharp claws, and its mouth is armed with long, chisel-like teeth. They are very aggressive, but rather stupid.
The Jabberwock’s wings are too small to allow it to fly. It can only bounce along or jump a few feet into the air. Their flapping makes a thrumming, whiffling sound which can be disconcerting.

M WS BS S T I Ag Dex Int WP Fel W
6 79 0 55 65 20 40 15 15 85 100

Traits: Arboreal, Belligerent, Bite +9, Bounce, Claws (2) +10, Distracting (Noise), Hungry, Night Vision, Size (Enormous), Stride, Stupid, Tail +8

Optional: Corruption (Minor), Fear 1, Horns +6, Mutation, Regenerate, Stomp, Territorial, Venom (Challenging)


More Like This

Zoats: From Warhammer to 40K (and back again)
The Ambull: From 40K to WFRP (again)
Viydagg: A Forgotten WFRP Monster
Mardagg: A Forgotten WFRP Monster
Mabrothrax: A Forgotten WFRP Monster
Devil Eel: A New Monster for WFRP4
Gargoyle: A Forgotten WFRP Monster
The Toad Dragon: An Old Citadel Miniature Described for WFRP4
The Spectral Claw: An Old Citadel Miniature Described for WFRP4
The Mud Elemental: Two Old Monsters Combined for WFRP4
Ngaaranh Spawn of Chaos: A Very Old Citadel Miniature for WFRP4
Leaping Slomm Two-Face, Another Old Citadel Miniature
Zygor Snake-Arms, Another Old Citadel Miniature
Independent Daemons for WFRP 4th Edition
Chaos Snakemen – A Forgotten Warhammer Race
Menfish – Another Lost Warhammer Race
Golems in Warhammer

Monday Gun Day, Part 2: Combi-Weapons

May 11, 2020 4 comments

There’s an old saying about bringing a knife to a gunfight, but the painfully slow reload rates of black-powder firearms made it advisable to have a backup weapon. Some attempts were made to combine the two: bayonets became the most popular solution, but there were quite a few attempts to build pistols into melee weapons of various kinds.

These included swords:

Sword Gun

Daggers:

Dagger Gun

Axes:

Axe Gun

And warhammers.

Hammer Gun

In a roleplaying game, a combi-weapon is a one-shot firearm. Most would be pistols, though some, attached to two-handed weapons, might count as larger firearms. They reduce the time needed to switch weapons, perhaps to no time at all. However, they have some significant drawbacks:

In the first place, they are not generally available. Almost all will have to be made to order, which takes both time and money. The cost will be at least twice the sum of the cost of the two base weapons, and the same is true of the time needed.

An artisan charged with making a combi-weapon must be skilled as a gunsmith as well as a bladesmith. All skill rolls involved in making a combi-weapon carry a significant penalty.

The finished article represents the worst of both worlds. It is heavy and awkward to aim, and ill-balanced for close combat. In game terms, the very best combi-weapons, made by master artificers (even Dwarves!) can never be better than average quality. Most are inferior, and if your game system has a way to rate quality, a combi-weapon is at least two quality steps below the normal level of quality produced by the artisan who made it. There are attack penalties, an increased chance of misfires, and the weapon is weaker overall, meaning that it is more easily damaged in combat if your rules set covers damage to weapons.

That said, though, it can give a wielder the advantage of surprise. An unexpected gunshot at the start of a fight can unnerve the enemy, who will be left wondering what other tricks the character might have up his or her sleeve. Enemies will be warier, even if they don’t mean to be, adopting a more defensive, cautious stance. How this is handled in a game’s rules is a matter for the GM to decide. Especially skittish foes may have to make Fear checks to get over the surprise of a combi-weapon firing, running away if they fail.

So there you have it – and you can see why they didn’t really catch on. Still, I can imagine some players’ eyes lighting up at the thought of a sword that is also a gun, and you can have a lot of fun if the party decides to track down an artisan capable of making such a weapon and persuade them to try.

More Like This

Multi-Barrel Weapons: What’s better than a gun? Lots of guns.
Hidden Weapons: Pay attention, 007!