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Posts Tagged ‘roleplaying’

Monday Gun Day Part 3: Hidden Weapons

May 25, 2020 2 comments

Any roleplayer who has seen any of Robert Rodriguez’s “Mexico trilogy” (El Mariachi, Desperado, and Once Upon a Time in Mexico) has probably longed for a character who carries an arsenal of hidden weapons. They are not the first. Just as much ingenuity has been devoted to finding ways of concealing and disguising firearms as went into the development of the combination weapons covered in the last instalment of this series. Here are a few examples:

It seems that key guns were quite popular with jailers for a while. In addition to unlocking a cell door – for the key was quite functional – they gave one-shot protection against any prisoner who tried to overpower the guard and break out.

Here is a 19th-century gun disguised as a pocket watch.

These small-caliber weapons are designed for use at very close range and their damage ratings are lower than those of the smallest pistols in the average rules set.

Larger guns can be built into walking sticks, like these:

These weapons can be larger caliber – say, up to .50″ without looking unusually thick for a walking stick. They are reasonably effective at short range, but lacking sights and shoulder stocks their performance drops off sharply as distance increases. And before the late 19th century, they are all single-shot weapons, awkward to reload. For these reasons, most gentlemen preferred a sword-cane or a simple “loaded stick” with a lead-weighted pommel that turned it into a light mace. I may post about weapons like these some time in the future.

The spies of the Cold War, both real and fictional, were equipped with guns disguised as a wide range of everyday items. Pens were popular, and so were cigarette packets, lighters, and purses – like the Frankenau purse revolver from the 1880s, for example:

These later weapons were usually .22 caliber, sometimes .22 magnum, and again they were for use at very short range.

There’s one more hidden gun that I saw in a book, years ago, but try as I might I have been unable to find a picture of it online. That’s a shame, because it would be perfect for a game like WFRP, or any other game set in a world with a 17th-century level of technology. On the outside, it looks exactly like a Bible or any other heavy tome. But each cover has a pistol fixed to the inside, so you can just open the book and fire. I can only imagine the pithy lines a badass preacher or scholar character might deliver as they fire such a weapon.


More Like This

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 43 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

Making Monsters: Cinco de Mayo Edition

May 5, 2020 2 comments

I’m still pushing ahead with my monster-related #secretproject, despite several delays. In honor of the day, here’s a creature from Aztec folklore.

For first-time readers, this post is part of a series in which I am trying to develop a system-agnostic format for describing monsters, relying on your suggestions and feedback to get it just right before I launch this particular #secretproject formally. The Comments section is at the bottom of the page, so let me know what you think.

 

 

The Ahuizotl

 

The Ahuizotl is a medium-sized predator, about the size of a dog and combining the physical appearance of a dog and a monkey. It has black fur and four limbs ending in dextrous hands and a long, flexible tail ending in a fifth hand.

It lives in rivers and watery caves, hiding beneath the water and using its prehensile tail to grab victims and drag them to their deaths. Sometimes it will mimic the crying of a lost child to lure victims close enough to be grappled.

It eats the corpses of its victims, especially relishing the digits, the teeth, and the eyes. If prey is plentiful it will leave the rest of its victims uneaten. An Ahuiztol lair is usually an underwater cave, strewn with bones and uneaten corpses.

The name ahuizotl translates from the Aztec Nahuatl language as “spiny aquatic thing.” Although reports of the creature do not normally mention spines, optional rules for spines have been added under “Special Abilities” below.

 

 

RANGE

ArtStation - Ahuizotl, Jean Vervelle

Image by Jean Vervelle, borrowed from his ArtStation page (https://www.artstation.com/doctorchevlong).

Real World: Mexico

Fantasy World: Tropical rivers. Lone or pack (2d4).

 

TYPE: Animal

 

SIZE: Medium (4ft/1.25m long)

 

MOVEMENT

Run: 50 feet (15m) per round

Swim: 30 feet (10m) per round

 

ATTRIBUTES

Strength: Animal, medium (e.g. wolf)

Dexterity/Agility: Animal, medium, dextrous (e.g. monkey)

Constitution: Animal, medium (e.g. wolf)

Intelligence: Animal, intelligent (e.g. wolf)

Willpower: Animal, intelligent (e.g. wolf)

Hit Points/Health: Animal, medium (e.g. wolf)

Armor/Defense: Fur + Agility (e.g. wolf)

 

ATTACKS

Bite: Animal, small to medium (e.g. medium dog, wolf)

Grapple: High skill (65%)

Stealth: Moderate skill (35%), underwater only

 

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Aquatic: The Ahuizotl is fully aquatic and capable of breathing underwater.

Spines (Optional): Sharp spines, up to 1 foot/30 cm long, erupt from the creature’s vertebrae. They confer a slight armor advantage against attacks from that direction. Any character trying to grapple the creature must make an appropriate skill or attribute test (wrestling, dexterity/agility, or similar) each round: failure means the character suffers damage as from a successful dagger or short sword attack.

 


 

Links
If you would like to know more, here are a few links. Any search engine will find many more.

A 5th edition SRD version

Wikipedia

YouTube

 


 

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Mabrothrax: A Forgotten WFRP Monster

May 2, 2020 18 comments

This post completes my re-imagining of the three odd Elementals that appeared in the Third Citadel Compendium in 1985: the Life Elemental, the Death Elemental, and the Plague Elemental. In the WFRP 1st edition rulebook, I gave them different names and backstories, making them Demons (the “Daemon” spelling did not appear until Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness in 1988) affiliated with the yet-to-be-organized gods of Law and Chaos.

Plague Elemental - Compendium 3

Plague Elemental Write-up

Oddly, the Plague Elemental was put in the C29 Large Monsters range, while the other two were in C34 Elementals and Demons. However, it was written up alongside the Life and Death Elementals in that issue’s “Bellicose Bestiary” column.

For WFRP 1st edition, I invented the name Mabrothrax and gave the beast to Nurgle, the Chaos God of plagues and pestilence. It made sense at the time, but when Realms of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned defined the Daemons and followers of Nurgle in 1990, the Mabrothrax was not among them.

The Mabrothrax reappeared in 2005’s Tome of Corruption for WFRP 2nd edition as an Apparition linked to Nurgle. Visions rather than monsters, Apparitions could not be fought or stopped, existing only to warn spellcasters that they are being too reckless in their use of magic.

So that is the history of the Mabrothrax in a nutshell (apart from this metal track that turned up in the Google search). Here is my suggestion for using the creature in 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 MabrothraxWFRP Mabrothrax

Also known as the Steward of Filth and Nurgle’s Handmaiden, the Mabrothrax is a favoured servant of the Plaguefather, and stands outside the normal hierarchy of his Daemons.

Its origins are obscure. According to some scholars it was once a Plaguebearer, raised up by Nurgle’s favour in the same way as the Masque of Slaanesh was elevated from the ranks of the Daemonettes. Others have suggested that it was a mortal Cult Magus who was elevated for his or her devotion.

The Mabrothrax is a large, hulking humanoid with thin, spindly arms and legs equipped with razor-sharp claws. Its body is a thin bag of skin filled with a soupy mess of entrails, excrement, and decay. Its head is dominated by a massive maw filled with sharp, jutting teeth.

M WS BS S T I Ag Dex Int WP Fel W
6 90 93 100 120 100 105 90 90 120 100 92

Traits: Bite +11, Claws (2) +9, Corruption (Major), Daemonic 7+, Dark Vision, Distracting (Stench), Disease (All), Fetid Blast (see below), Infected, Size (Large), Spellcaster (Nurgle), Terror 2, Unstable

Traits

Disease (All)

As a favored one of Nurgle, the Mabrothrax carries all diseases. Whenever a victim must Test for Contraction (WFRP, page 186), roll a D100 to choose a disease randomly:

01-10 – Black Plague
11-30 – Blood Rot
31-50 – Bloody Flux
51-70 – Packer’s Pox
71-80 – Ratte Fever
81-00 – Other or roll again (GM’s choice)

Fetid Blast

Once per round, the creature can unleash a blast of pestilential air (Range 10 yards, Damage +10, Blast 5, Distract, Ignores Armour). This attack is Infected. All living creatures affected by the blast must make a Hard (-20) Willpower Test or gain one Broken Condition – two if the victim has the Acute Sense (Smell) Trait.


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
Jabberwock: 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

Mardagg: A Forgotten WFRP Monster

April 25, 2020 21 comments

Last week I posted about an obscure Warhammer monster called the Viydagg, also known as the Life Elemental. When the miniature was first released in 1985, it was packaged with its counterpart, the Death Elemental. Rules and stats for Warhammer 2nd edition were published in the Third Citadel Compendium, and I adapted them for WFRP in the 1st edition rulebook.

Mardagg - Compendium 3

I was writing at a time before the Warhammer mythos had become really coherent, with specific Daemons serving the four Ruinous Powers of Chaos. Like its companions, the Life Elemental and the Plague Elemental, the Death Elemental clearly couldn’t be an Elemental in the classical sense, so I renamed it the Mardagg and gave it as backstory as a servant of Khorne the Blood God. At the time, he seemed like the most logical patron.

Just two years later, though, Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness began the process of developing and organizing the lore of Chaos in Warhammer, and the Mardagg did not find a place alongside the Bloodthirsters, Bloodletters, and other servants of brass-throned Khorne. Like the Viydagg, the Mardagg spent the next thirty years in obscurity. True, there was an Incarnate Elemental of Death in the 2012 Monstrous Arcanum from Warhammer Forge, but it was a quite different beast from the Mardagg.

People seemed to like my re-imagining of the Viydagg for WRFP 4th edition, and quite a few asked if I would do the same for Mardagg as well. So here it is. 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 Mardagg

Mardagg - Warhammer - The Old World - Lexicanum

The theologians of the Old World argue over the status of the being known as Nagash. It is no secret that he has spent millennia gathering power and trying to ascend to godhood, but the question of whether he has succeeded is a contentious issue.

Those who argue for his divinity often cite the existence of the Mardagg as proof, claiming that it is a an avatar  of Nagash just as the Viydagg is an avatar of the nature goddess Rhya. Others argue that it serves another, such as murderous Khaine or dread Morai-Heg, or some unnamed and ancient god of the Khemrian Liche-Priests.

The Mardagg appears as a hooded, skeletal figure, standing some ten feet tall and armed with a great scythe. Few have seen it at close quarters, though it has been sighted from a distance stalking across battlefields or striding through the night on some enigmatic business. Wherever it goes, death follows.

M WS BS S T I Ag Dex Int WP Fel W
6 90 93 100 120 100 105 90 90 120 100 92

Traits: Armour 2, Chill Grasp, Daemonic 7+, Immunity (Magic: Lore of Death, Lore of Necromancy), Night Vision, Size (Large), Spellcaster (Lore of Death, Lore of Necromancy), Squeeze of Death (see below), Terror 2, Tracker, Zone of Death (see below), Weapon +14

Optional: Blessed (Nagash or Khaine or Morai-Heg), Invoke (Nagash or Khaine or Morai-Heg). (There are no officially published Blessings or Miracles for these deities at the time of posting, so the GM should feel free to improvise.)

New Traits

Squeeze of Death

This is a ranged version of the Chill Grasp Trait. The creature points at a single living target within line of sight, then turns the hand over and closes the fist. Perform an Opposed Willpower Test. If the creature wins, the icy force of death crushes the target’s heart, causing 1d10+SL Wounds with no modification for Toughness Bonus or Armour Points. This attack is Magical.

Zone of Death

The creature is wreathed in an aura of death and decay that extends in a radius of 12 yards. Any living creature must make a Hard (-20) Willpower Test each round while within the zone, gaining one Fatigued Condition for each failure.

In addition, the wind of Shyish blows so strongly within the zone that all spells and magical effects powered by Shyish gain a +30 bonus to all relevant Tests, while all  spells and effects powered by Ghyran or Hyish suffer a -30 penalty.


More Like This

Zoats: From Warhammer to 40K (and back again)
The Ambull: From 40K to WFRP (again)
Viydagg: A Forgotten WFRP Monster
Mabrothrax: A Forgotten WFRP Monster
Jabberwock: 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

A Load of the Blings

April 23, 2020 6 comments

This time, there’s no theme – it’s just a few bits and pieces that have caught my eye.

This delicate memento mori ring would look good on the hand of a gothic lady, or even a female necromancer. In the latter case, it might be enchanted – giving a bonus to dice rolls when casting necromantic spells, perhaps, or protecting the wearer from necromancy or the undead.

This ring and bracelet combination is a lot less subtle, and could have some serious necromantic properties. It might give the wearer’s touch the same effects as a touch-range necromantic spell, for example. Or the wearer might gain the touch ability of some undead monster, like the Chill Grasp of a WFRP4 Cairn Wraith or the paralysis of a D&D ghoul.

Not magical, but still quite useful, is this ring with a concealed pin. No well-dressed assassin should be without one: just a dab of blade venom, and you’re good to go. A targeted strike to the bare neck of an unsuspecting mark might even merit a small bonus to hit if your GM is in a good mood. Damage will be poison only.

This one made me think of Ranald, the god of thieves and gamblers in the Warhammer Old World setting. Appropriately, its effects depend on the dice that are handily built in: a 12 might win you a full-blown miracle, while a 2. . . well, it was nice knowing you.

Clocks are large, cumbersome devices in most medieval fantasy settings, but a sundial like this one tells the time more or less accurately – provided you understand the seasonal shifts in the sun’s path.

Here’s one that every Dwarf engineer will want. The telescope function is useful by itself, of course, but add a compass and you’ve got a primitive theodolite for making maps.

That’s all for this time. Stay in, stay well, and stay safe!

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.

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

Monday Maps #12: Castles

April 20, 2020 4 comments

 

Castles are a huge and complex subject. The European castles that inspire those of the Old World developed over a thousand years or more. They vary widely in size and shape, according to the time and place when they were built. They have a dizzying array of parts and features with strange-sounding names (this article is an excellent introduction) – but don’t panic.

 

Don't Panic, May 25th is Towel Day | WIRED

 

All castles, whenever and wherever they were built, share a number of key characteristics, and when you understand those, you can design a castle of any size, in any place.

Concentric defense is the watchword. All castles are built around a fortified tower called a keep, which houses the family. The keep is an island, able to hold out against attackers even if the rest of the castle falls. In early medieval castles of the motte and bailey type, the keep stood on an artificial mount called the motte (not to be confused with “moat”).

 

Photographic Print: Keep of Rochester Castle Built in 1127 by William De Corbeil : 24x16in

The keep of Rochester Castle in England.

 

The keep is surrounded by a curtain wall, which is fortified with several towers. The area within is called the bailey, or ward. In the center is an open courtyard that can act as a killing zone, with attackers exposed to fire from multiple towers as well as from the keep. Around the edge of the bailey are non-essential buildings like the chapel (there is normally a private family chapel in the keep), the kitchens (even in stone castles, these were separate to minimize the risk of accidental fires spreading), as well as stables, a smithy, kennels, and the like. There may also be a postern gate, a small and sometimes hidden rear exit.

The bailey was entered through the gatehouse, which was the most heavily fortified part of the castle. Town and city gates, which were covered in an earlier post, had a similar design and function. A heavily-fortified gatehouse, or barbican, could become a small castle in its own right.

Goodrich Castle, England. Borrowed from British History Online; click for link.                            The keep is against one side to take advantage of the cliff. The barbican was built to create a killing zone by the adjacent cliffs

 

Larger castles may have two or more sets of curtain walls, creating an outer bailey which acted as a first killing zone where enemies assaulting the inner curtain wall would come under fire.

 

fantasy castle 3d model https://static.turbosquid.com/Preview/000266/491/G1/fantasy-castle-3d-model_D.jpg

This castle is large, but has a simple design. It would probably have at least one more ring of fortifications. Notice the steps leading to the keep entrance: as well as looking impressive, they make it harder to use a battering ram and they limit the number of attackers who can approach the door. Image borrowed from TurboSquid. Click for link.

 

Neuschwanstein Castle in the fall | Autumn in Germany

High ground is a good place for a castle, as Schloss Neuschwanstein in Germany demonstrates.

 

Olavinlinna Castle, Savonlinna

Water also provides a useful defense, whether it is natural, as at Olavinlinna Castle in Finland. . .

 

. . .or artificial, as at Bodiam Castle in England. Note the lack of a keep: the wide moat takes the place of a bailey and curtain walls, so the whole castle is effectively a keep.

 

Moats around castles were less common than movies would have us believe, and comparatively few were routinely filled with water. Instead, they were broad, steep-sided ditches intended to hamper attackers’s attempts to bring up heavy equipment to attack the walls and trap them in yet another crossfire zone as they tried to approach.

 

Château de Vincennes is a 14th century French royal castle located in the town of Vincennes, now a suburb of Paris.  This castle constructed during 1340 - 1410 A.D.  The castle is surrounded by a 7-meter dry moat and accessed over stone bridges.  During the 18th century, after the castle was abandoned by the royal family, it was used for a time as a porcelain factory, then as a prison, and later as a military fortress and arsenal.

The dry moat at the Château de Vincennes in France has been lined with a vertical stone wall, making it even more challenging.

 

Castles are large building complexes, and a GM may feel intimidated when setting out to design one for the first time – but there’s no need. Once you understand the basic principles of how they work, a castle of any size is easy to lay out.


 

If you’ve enjoyed this, click here to check out the other #MondayMaps.

 

Have a good week, and next Monday I’ll be back with another map, or possibly something else.

 

Oh, and if you’d like a re-usable castle plan for WFRP, the 4th edition adventure collection Rough Nights and Hard Days includes a chapter set in Castle Grauenberg, overlooking the mighty River Reik.

Viydagg: A Forgotten WFRP Monster

April 18, 2020 24 comments

The Viydagg is an artefact of a time before the Warhammer mythos had truly come together. It (or rather, she) has appeared in an official WFRP publication only once, in the Bestiary chapter of the WFRP 1st edition rulebook. I think it’s safe to say that neither Games Workshop nor Cubicle 7 has any plans to use her in the future.

The Life Elemental, Death Elemental, and Plague Elemental were Citadel miniatures dating back to before the publication of WFRP, and I gave them WFRP stats and backstories, along with new names since they clearly were not Elementals. The Death Elemental became a the Mardagg, a Greater Demon of Khorne (the ‘Daemon’ spelling came later), the Plague Elemental became the Mabrothrax, a Greater Daemon of Nurgle – and the Life Elemental became the Viydagg, a Greater Demon of Law who upheld the laws of life and nature.

The original miniatures ad, from the Third Citadel Compendium (1985). The same issue presented game stats for the Life, Death, and Plague Elementals in Warhammer 2nd edition.

The Life and Death Elementals. Image borrowed from the Stuff of Legends web site.

These three were left behind as the Warhammer mythos coalesced and developed. The Greater Daemons of the Ruinous Powers became standardized with the publication of Realm of Chaos, and the Gods of Law dropped out, replaced for the most part by Sigmar and his witch hunters. And that’s no bad thing.

Still, I decided that it would be a nice intellectual exercise to reimagine the Viydagg for WFRP 4th edition, adapting her backstory to fit the present state of the Warhammer mythos. See what you think – and let me have your comments, corrections, and suggestions in the comments below.

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 Viydagg

The Viydagg is an avatar of the goddess Rhya, and appears in the Old World only in exceptional circumstances. Her name means “life-giver” in the ancient tongue of the Taleutens, among whom her worship was most widespread. Several Talabecland folk-tales tell of her appearing in the aftermath of the Great War against Chaos, restoring the land’s fertility and healing the blights left behind by the forces of Chaos. On a handful of occasions, she even entered combat against a Greater Daemon.

The Viydagg has the appearance of a beautiful woman more than ten feet tall. Flowers grow on her garments and twine through her hair. She normally goes about her work silently, ignoring the mortals around her, though devout followers of Rhya or Taal have sometimes been favoured with a word or two.

M WS BS S T I Ag Dex Int WP Fel W
6 90 93 100 120 100 105 90 90 120 100 92

Traits: Blessed (Rhya), Distracting (Beauty), Divine 7+ (see below), Invoke (Rhya), Night Vision, Size (Large), Terror 2, Tracker, Zone of Life (see below)

New Traits

Divine (Target)

The creature’s essence is divine power, which sustains it completely. It does not require food, water, air, rest, or anything else that a living creature might need.

All its attacks are Magical. Roll 1d10 after any blow is received: if the creature rolls the Target number or higher, the blow is ignored even if it is a critical. Should the creature be reduced to 0 Wounds, its essence returns to the realm of Rhya immediately, removing it from play.

Aura of Life

The creature is wreathed in an aura of life and fertility which extends in a radius of 12 yards. No creature with the Undead Trait may enter this zone, and any creature with the Corruption Trait must make a Hard (-20) Willpower Test each round while within the zone, gaining one Fatigued Condition for each failure.

In addition, the wind of Ghyran blows so strongly within the zone that all spells and magical effects powered by Ghyran gain a +30 bonus to all relevant Tests, while all  spells and effects powered by Dhar or Shyish suffer a -30 penalty.


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Bling V: I’ve Got My Eye On You

April 16, 2020 7 comments

The eye has been a symbol of protection since ancient Egyptian times, and quite possibly longer. To this day, fishermen in many parts of the Mediterranean paint eyes on the bows of their boats, and all over the world, stylized eyes made of glass are worn as pendants or hung from rear-view mirrors.

Trad

A few antique and traditional designs.

And then, of course, there’s the Eye of Sauron. The Egyptian goddess Sekhmet was called the Eye of Ra when she nearly destroyed the world at his behest. And when you think about it, doesn’t the Death Star look a lot like an eye, shooting a deadly glance at the unfortunate planet Alderaan like an angry god?

Evil

You’ve heard the expression “looking daggers”? That’s nothing.

In the course of looking at other interesting bits of bling, I came across a lot of rings set with eyes. The eye is a potent motif with a number of possible interpretations and functions, and I started thinking about what such these rings might do, if they were found by characters in a fantasy roleplaying campaign. Feel free to take, use, and adapt any ideas that appeal to you – and if you have any ideas of your own, please share them in the comments section.

Protection

Most game rules include rings or amulets of protection, and some of them might incorporate an eye motif.

Vision

The wearer gains some form of enhanced vision. This might be night vision or dark vision, or immunity to visual illusions, or a bonus to spotting secret doors, traps, and other hidden things, or a bonus to general perception skills, or even an all-of-the-above option like D&D’s true seeing. 

Alternatively, the ring might simply function as a third eye, allowing the wearer to peek around a corner or over a wall without risking their whole head.

Gaze Weapon

From the petrifying gaze of Medusa and the basilisk to the death glance of the catoblepas to the D&D beholder’s terrifying array of attacks, gaze weapons are well known in fantasy games, and a ring with an eye might be capable of using one of them – especially if the eye is from the creature in question, and not simply made of glass.

Beast

If those were real monster eyes, what might they do?

Divination

The eye might be capable of seeing through time, showing the scene as it was in the past – or possibly the future. The wearer would be well advised to close their own eyes while using this ability: otherwise they may see past and present overlaid upon one another in a very disorienting way.

Alternatively, the ring might see through space rather than time, allowing the wearer to see a distant place to which the ring is bonded. This might be a specific place, or it might be the location of another ring with which this one is paired. Or the ring might function like a crystal ball, showing visions in the wearer’s mind rather than in its own depths.

Detection

The eye sees into hearts and souls, showing it wearer the subject’s alignment or intentions in the form of a colored aura. Most fantasy games include spells and items that detect good and evil, and any necessary rules can be adapted from them.

Or perhaps the eye sees magical auras, allowing the wearer to detect magical items and residues of magical energy. Magical energies of different types might show up as different colored auras.

Unspeakable Evil

Instead of helping its wearer, the ring might be working for a distant evil, like an evil deity or a demon prince. This being might give rings to cult leaders and other favored servants, watching over them through the magical eye. If things look particularly grim for the cultists, and their role in the Big Evil Plan is critical, perhaps the deity or demon can possess the ring’s wearer – or manifest through their body in a suitably spectacular and disturbing way – and join the fight in person.

Eyelid

With some powers, it’s good to be able to shut them off.

Pictures borrowed from around the Internet. All images copyright their original owners.

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.

Miscellany: No theme, but lots of possibilities.

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