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Doh!  I was just reading through the Tome of Adventure again, and I spotted a significant error in the way I handled Theda’s ‘dream’ encounter.

Instead of playing the goblins as Henchmen NPCs, I played them as Standard NPCs.  This made them a much tougher proposition than they actually could and should have been.  Of course, the orc would still have made for a strong opponent, but Theda and the other human could have played things a lot differently, even in the space of the few rounds the combat lasted.

Another lesson learned – it never hurts to go back through the rules, even when it seems like you have them mastered!

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One re-read of the Warhammer FRP rules later, here’s the conclusion to my first combat narrative:

Motivated  by her hatred of the greenskins, Theda quickened her pace as she ran on towards the combat, uttering a prayer to Sigmar beseeching his aid in what would certainly be a tough test of her skills.

Meanwhile, as Theda approached, the goblin that had come crashing through the undergrowth to join the fight launched himself at the embattled human.   It seemed destined to impale him but just as the goblin thrust forward, the warrior stepped to one side in what was obviously a well-practised move and deflected most of the force of the attack so that he took only a glancing blow to his wrist.  

The warrior looked down at the shallow and seemed to shrug it off.  At that moment the goblins outflanking him both stabbed forward with their spears and, with nowhere to go now, the man grunted as took three quick blows to his abdomen. Fortunately none pierced his chainmail jerkin, but he’d carry the bruises for a few days if he did live past the next few minutes.  

Rushing forward, Theda screamed an invocation to Sigmar and lifted her hammer.  Her eyes suddenly lit up with a golden light, and the air behind her seemed to shimmer.  She launched herself at the orc closing in on the warrior, putting herself between them.  As she did so, the man eyed the nearest goblin and swung his great sword in a wide arc, opening a deep wound in the creature’s thigh.

Seeing the Sigmar initiate in it’s path the orc charged at Theda, slashing repeatedly with it’s huge, axe-like weapon.  The ferocity of the repeated blows was unlike anything she’d encountered in training in the temple, and Theda suffered a number of brutal gashes to her body as the attack overwhelmed her defences.  Striking back she swung her hammer down and and caught the orc with a hefty blow to the shoulder.  His scraps of armour helped him little and he stumbled backwards.  Looking Theda in the eye he regained his footing and renewed his onslaught.  This time his axe batted away her shield and, quickly striking again, struck her a massive blow to the head.  With her world falling about her, the initiate fell to the ground.  Looking up, dazed and defenceless, she saw the orc standing over her about to deliver the killing blow.  Then just as it was delivered she felt a terrifying, cold blackness closing in…

Theda awoke with start.  She was still in her room in the tavern, and the first grey light of dawn was showing through the room’s one small skylight.  The nightmare she’d just gone through was like nothing else she’d ever experienced.  It could only be a vision, a warning from Sigmar.  She had no need to consult with any servant of Morr to confirm that.  The lesson was clearly never to underestimate an enemy, and to use cunning as well as brute strength before rushing to dispatch His enemies.   Still shaking, Theda rose from the straw mattress and started to strap her equipment on.

Okay, I know what you’re probably thinking.  A bit of a cop-out, and I’d have to agree.  However, I didn’t want to kill Theda off in her first encounter and it was really a quickly put-together test of my understanding of the rules, more than a carefully constructed adventure.

The combat work-through played well, and was relatively straightforward from a rules perspective.  I’m now confident I have a basic understanding of Warhammer RFP combat.  Clearly I’d badly underestimated the strength of the opposition I’d created though, particularly the orc.  For two newly-created adventurers this was a big ask.  Also, Theda played the encounter poorly.  She really wasn’t protected enough to go head to head with an uninjured orc, and she paid the price.   Better to support the other character against the goblins first.  Hans Drechsler by the way, my other character in this scenario, managed rather better although the drip, drip effect of the goblin attacks was eating into his resistance too.

An interesting start to Warhammer RFP 3rd Edition though.  And it wasn’t only Theda who learnt a few lessons!

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Having read through three of the four tomes contained in the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay boxed set (the exception of the Tome Of Mysteries which I’m still working through), I was eager to play out a mini scenario to test my understanding of the basic rules before taking on something more meaty.

I therefore put together a very basic encounter for Theda, my female Sigmar initiate, and Hans, my Reikland mercenary.  For now I decided my scout Dieter would stay out of the picture – I didn’t want too many things to look after for my first run-through of combat.   Here’s the beginning of my narrative of the scenario:-

A lone figure trudged along the road to Ubersreik, or at least what passed for a road this far south of the Empire.  Overhead, leaden clouds scudded across the darkening skies – a storm was coming.  The howling wind blew bitterly cold into the face of the traveller.  Skirting the large water-filled potholes and avoiding the deeper patches of glutinous mud, Theda Hartmann, initiate of Sigmar, pondered what lay ahead of her. 

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay

The Ubersreik Road, Southern Reikland

For the two weeks since she left the temple in Kellersborn, she had been been heading south.  Her objective was the borderland of the Empire where the foothills of southern Reikland met the mighty peaks of the Grey Mountains.  Father Anselm, her priest and mentor these past twenty years, had tasked her to use the abilities she had learnt in his temple in the service of Sigmar.  Merchants passing through her village had talked of greenskin incursions from the Grey Mountains, attacking the more remote communities that eked out a meagre living in the Empire’s southern borderlands.  Theda believed it possible that here her skill with her hammer could best be used, and where the consoling and inspiring words of Sigmar would be most appreciated.  

Any noble thoughts of this kind were fighting against the more mundane concerns of the present though.  Her boots were fast wearing out, as the blisters on her feet would testify, and the weather for the past three days had been foul – cold and wet.  Even now, although the rain had relented since early morning, more threatened in a darkening sky.  Pulling the cowl of her sodden and dirty cloak over her tonsured head, she moved onward towards the relative comfort of the next roadside inn, at least two to three hours walk distant.

The Ubersreik Road in these parts cut a path through ancient and largely untamed forest.  The dense trees on either side pressed against the road so closely that overhead they often met and created an arching canopy of sickly green.  Although wary, Theda had seen nothing in the woods.  In fact, she had seen no-one for the past hour or so, the last sign of life being a caravan of three heavily guarded merchant carts heading north.  Now though, some second sense made her look closely to her left.  There she saw a flash of movement some fifty yards distant, then more ahead of it.  Dropping down to a crouch she looked more closely – Greenskins!  There seemed to be a small group of them moving parallel to the road, which curved sharply to the left a small distance ahead.  Pulling her hammer from her belt and her shield from her back, Theda ran down the road in the direction the greenskins were moving.

As she approached the bend in the road Theda heard the familiar clang of metal against metal.  Quickening her pace, she rounded the bend and about 30 yards ahead in the road she saw a lone human warrior backed up against a small cart, facing two goblins.  Two more goblins and a human were lying motionless nearby.  As she approached, another three greenskins including a much larger figure, crashed through the undergrowth at the side of the road and looked set to join the fight.  These were clearly the creatures she had seen in the woodland.  So far, all were too preoccupied to have seen her.

And there it stopped!  After laying out all the relevant cards, counters etc, and starting the combat by going into initiative, I realised (of course) that things were still very sketchy after just one reading of the rules…  ‘How does initiative work again?’, ‘What stat does I use when a creature attacks?’ and ‘So where do I find that darned Defence stat?’ were just a few of the questions I was asking myself.  

Rather than just stumble on, looking in the various rulebooks every couple of minutes and probably still getting it wrong, I decided to go back to basics.  So, it’s a re-read of all the books again, this time making more notes!

 

 

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I’m now nearing the end of the first book in the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay boxed set, the Roleplay Rulebook.  One rule I’m really liking the look of (although I’m not sure my characters will appreciate it!) is the Insanity rule.

I’m loving the way that characters in the Warhammer world don’t just have to worry about death or injury, they have to consider the effects of all the terrible creatures, horrors and grisly scenes they come across too.   Not surprising when they can come across creatures like this when they wander into the local forest:

I’m not sure how this will actually play out in the scenarios and campaigns to come, but it takes the game further away from the simplistic ‘hack and slay’ methodology that most games of Dungeons and Dragons I’ve participated in seem to dissolve into.

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