Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Enemy Within: Session 1

Two weeks ago we had our first WFRP session. We are playing Warhammer Fantasy Role Play Second edition. While I am using the second edition rules, I typically ignore the Storm of Chaos element that is embedded within the edition.

For those that do not know, when the second edition was released, it was done so with an advancement in the time line of approximatively 12 years later then that provided in the first edition. During those 12 years, the Old World was nearly overrun by a Chaos Hoard from the north. Accept for my first time running second edition, I typically ignore this timeline advancement and have chosen to do so with this campaign as well.

This will be the classic WFRP Enemy Within Campaign. Almost all of my WFRP campaigns are set within the EW, or at least in some hybrid form. Three of the current members of the group have experienced elements from Death on the Reik , but have never played Shadows over Bogenhafen. We may have one more player Skype in for the game, and he has played SoB before, but I can trust him not to ruin it for the others. We have a fourth player that has never played WFRP in any fashion as well. With this in mind, I will be playing them through SoB, and an abbreviated version of DotR before launching into The Power Behind the Throne and beyond. I did choose however, not to start them with SoB, but something else. If all follows my nefarious plan, the characters should be in their third careerer, or close to it, by the time we play tPBtT.

We had one missing player of our typical four, but that was okay as I was expecting a slow start. We spent half the session making characters. When characters were completed, I started the characters out on a river barge destined for Nuln. I had considered before hand playing out the river barge journey, utilizing part of DotR along the way, but decided against it and brought them straight into Nuln.

I gave them a bit of flavor text so they could get a sense of what Nuln is like. To the best of my memory, I don't think I've ever portrayed Nuln to this particular group. I tried to give them a sense of how important the Gunnery School is to the populace. Also, Nuln was one time the capital of the Empire. With this sense of past pride, the nobles and noble-wanna-bees of the city are very fashion sensitive. The latest fad in Nuln to date are exaggerated and extravagant cod pieces.

By the time they made their way off the river barge, it was late and drizzling rain. The characters were seeking shelter and not having much success. A beggar offered to lead them to an inn where he was sure he could find lodging for them if "the g'zz 'im a couple shillins". They were not surprised when he led them into an ambush.

Since we had one player who has never played WFRP in any form before, and for the benefit of all as it's been a while for the old guard in the group, I had decided to have a combat early in the session to warm up the dice. I placed them against four thugs and didn't expect them to have too much trouble with them. Also, a TPK (Total Party Kill) had abruptly ended our Tunnels & Trolls campaign, so I was not inclined to make it difficult. I did decide to keep my dice rolls in the open though, as I still believe in letting the dice fall where they may.

They did win the combat, but I was a bit surprised that one player ended the combat with 1 wound point left and another with only 4. In WFRP terms, this meant that the player with only 1 wound remaining was heavily wounded and could only heal one wound point per week without the benefit of a physician. With a physician, she can earn one wound point per day maximum. When she reaches four wound points, she can then either heal one wound point per day, or visit a physician and heal 1d10 per healing session. In short, she was not in good shape.

After the combat, they did not have any more luck finding an inn. They did find one with lodging available; however, a mishap with the door and the an extortionist inn keep convinced them to not stay there. They were lucky enough to have a town watchman take pity upon them. He allowed them to stay the night in a cell and even fed them a meager prison breakfast of gruel in the morning. He suggested to them that they may be able to find work at the Reik Platz. At the Reik Platz, there is a tree where job notices are posted. They would, he warned them, have to find different lodging for the night.

They thanked him and set out on their way. The first found lodging, then after asking directions, found a physician. There visit to the physician went well for them. Only the heavily wounded character is still injured. After paying the physician, the still wounded character, a female hobbit, went back to the room to rest. The other two players, a male human Protagonist and a male human Marine went to the Reik Platz to seek work. They found four possible leads for jobs posted at the tree.

That is where we ended the session. Not much was accomplished and most of the night was spent with me spouting flavor description to them to illustrate Nuln and the Old World to them. I was surprised by the level of carnage reached during the combat, but in the end I was pleased as it showed very well, especially to our new player, just how deadly combat can be in WFRP.

I'm handling experience very ad-hoc. I am simply awarding 25 xp per each hour of real time played. Our average session length is 3 hours. I'm offering a 25 xp bonus for a short session report, which if I get any, will be posted here.

We didn't play this past week, but hope to next week.

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