Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chamber of Horrors

Setup

Since the group is currently in Altdorf, an emissary from the Temple of Sigmar tracks them down.  The frail, robed priest beckons the Warriors to the Temple.  There, the Warriors are brought into the ornate office of one of the Temple Patriarchs.  Motes of dust float in the air, illuminated from the sun shining through the majestic stained glass windows behind the Patriarch.  As the Warriors expect, the Patriarch demands that the Warriors return the Decanter of Purity.  When they do, he sees it is empty, and briefly whispers a conversation with some acolytes, brow furrowed.  He says that he might need the Warriors to undertake a quest to refill the Decanter ... but first there is something more urgent at hand.

In the town of Garndorf, some two days march away, the residents live in fear.  The Lord of the region, Count Niklas Rathskeller, has been acting strangely of late, leaving his residence only at night.  Peasants have gone missing.  Some divination from the Celestial College has confirmed the Priesthood's gravest fear ... Rathskeller is a Vampire!  With the Witch Hunters largely focused on a crusade in the Badlands, the Patriarch asks the Warriors for help.  They must enter the dungeons below Rathskellar Castle, locate the Vampire's resting place, and put him to death before sundown.

Holy Water

To aid them in this Quest, the Temple provides the Warriors 1D6 vials of Holy Water.  This can be thrown like a Missile Weapon.  A vial has a range of 2 squares, and the Ballistic Skill roll suffers a -1 for every square thrown beyond that range.  If the Vial hits an Undead, it does 1D6 Wounds damage with no deductions.  These Wounds cannot be Regenerated!

In Garndorf

The Warriors make their way to the castle, arriving a few hours after sunrise.  What staff that is currently operating there seems quite afraid, and they meekly direct the Warriors to the cellar and dungeon entrance when asked to do so.  It seems they are as anxious to have this evil uprooted as the Priesthood is.

Dungeon Deck

Reserve the Dungeon Cell and the Torture Chamber.  Then, build a Dungeon Deck normally using the Charnel Caverns as the Objective Room.  Do not include any other Objective Rooms in this Dungeon.  After the Dungeon Deck is completed, shuffle the Dungeon Cell and Torture Chamber into the first 6 cards of the Deck.

Events

If a Monster Event Card is drawn, roll up a Monster from the Level 1 Undead Monster Table.  Should any Special Characters appear, weave them into the story, possibly as servants of Count Rathskellar.

Torture Chamber

A horrific scene awaits the Warriors in this room.  Gruesome implements of torture fill the room, an iron maiden, rack, bed of nails.  A prisoner is bound to a large metal gear and a group of Ghouls slowly twist an iron wheel which causes the gear to slowly turn.  Place 1D6+2 Ghouls in the room, as far away from the Warriors as possible.  A Ghoul in the corner is twisting the wheel.  Each turn during the Power Phase the wheel advances 1D6 inches.  As soon as the wheel reaches 24 inches, the victim's head is crushed and he perishes in an agonizing scream.  If the Warriors defeat the Ghouls in time, they can release the victim, who gives them a clue as to the location of the Objective Room.  The Warriors can use this information to discard one Dungeon Card that they reveal in subsequent exploration.

Dungeon Cell

The room contains the drained corpses of several of the Count's victims.  Grisly white corpses hang from the ceiling on meat looks like slabs of beef.  Each Warrior must pass a Willpower check or they are psychologically scarred by the sight and suffer a -1 to hit for the remainder of the adventure.

After any Monsters in the room are defeated, if the Warriors spend a turn removing the corpses and laying them respectfully on the ground, each one gains 1 Luck token.

Charnel Caverns

Although the Charnel Caverns was placed as the Objective Room, it is actually an obstacle that the Warriors must overcome before they reach the actual Objective Room, which is the Sarcophagus Chamber.

Sarcophagus Chamber Objective Room

There are 4 Tomb Guardians in the room guarding the resting Vampire.  The Warriors cannot attempt to open a Sarcophagus until all Monsters in the room are slain.  The Warriors must act quickly because the sun is setting soon!  The Warriors should roll 3D6 to determine how many Turns before the sun sets and the Count rises.  They can re-roll as many of the dice as they wish, one time only.  If they do not defeat the Tomb Guardians in time, the Count rises and the Vampire joins the battle!

Use the rules as written for the sarcophagi in the room, except for the following modification.  Take 3 tokens, 2 blank and one with a symbol on it, mix them up, and place them face down on the three closed sarcophagi.  When a Warrior opens one of them, turn over the token.  If it is the token with the symbol on it, this is the Count's resting place.  Do not roll for this sarcophagus.  Instead, the Warriors can at this point stake the sleeping Count through the heart, slaying the Vampire and ending the adventure.

Reward

The Warriors return to the Temple of Sigmar, showing Count Rathskellar's signet ring as proof of their deed.  They are rewarded 1D6x50 Gold each for ridding the Empire of this dangerous servant of Chaos.  Of course - how an Empire noble became a Vampire in the first place is something that raises even more questions and concerns!

Exterminators!

Setup

Baron Von Keingelt summons the Warriors hastily to his manor at the outskirts of Altdorf.  His demeanor is both irritated and stressed.  After further review of the documents the Warriors procured from the Cult of Nurgle in the sewers below, the Baron has learned some very alarming news.  It seems that the Cult was summoning a Beast of Nurgle to leash upon the rising tide of Skaven swelling up from below the sewers.  Now that this plan has been thwarted, the Skaven are unchecked.  The Cult's documents relate the story of a captured Skaven Clanrat who divulges that the Clan's Breeder is about to birth a new litter.  A Breeder so close to the surface of Altdorf is unacceptable!  The Warriors must venture through the mysterious boarded up door they encountered in the Summoning Room, penetrate the Skaven tunnels under the sewers, and locate and exterminate the Breeder.

The Baron explains that the Warriors must take care of this problem immediately, and there will be no further payment.  The City is already getting the sense that the Warriors botched the last job, leaving Altdorf vulnerable to the menace that many in Empire society still refuse to acknowledge the existence of.  If the Warriors don't rectify the situation, their reception on Altdorf will be impacted.  To represent this, each Settlement Event roll must be rolled twice, and the least favorable outcome selected.

Dungeon Deck

Create a standard Dungeon Deck using the Fighting Pit to represent the Breeder's Pit.  Don't include any other Objective Rooms in this Dungeon Deck, keep the level simple.

Events

Whenever a Monster Event Card is drawn, roll on the Skaven Level 1 Monster Table.

Objective Room

The Warriors enter a room containing a filthy, fetid pit, within which is the bloated, barely mobile, Skaven female Breeder of the Clan.  Place the Breeder somewhere within the Pit itself.  She is attended and guarded by 2D6 Clanrats, 1D6 Stormvermin, and Festid Stormvermin Champion (assuming he has not been killed).  Place as many of these as possible on the upper level of the room, and any remaining within the Pit.

In order the descend into the Breeding Pit a Warrior needs to either climb down or jump.  Use the Climbing and Jumping rules for Multi-Level rooms documented here.

The commotion of battle in the Breeding Pit, and the calls of the embattled rat-men, has a chance of alerting Clanrat reinforcements to come to Breeder's defense.  At the end of each Monster Phase, roll a number of dice equal to the quantity of Skaven still alive.  For each die that comes up a 1, place another Clanrat at the entryway to the room.

Once the Skaven are killed, the Warriors can easily exterminate the defenseless Breeder.  In the chamber the Warriors locate a horde that the semi-intelligent but vain Breeder was accumulating, composed of coins, jewelry and various trinkets.  Each Warrior can roll as many dice as they wish and multiply the result by 10 to determine how much Gold they locate.

Reward

With the Skaven Breeder put down, City officials have some breathing room to plan further action against the lingering menace.  The Warriors are thanked for their efforts and their standing in the City is restored to normal.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Prep for Session Three

Littlemonk, that prolific scribe of all things WHQ, is producing a MASSIVE tome of Warhammer Quest adventures.  He has graciously made available a preview of this work in "in progress" form.  Since my next session is two days away, it is time to think about a new Quest to introduce to the group.  So far, the party has one uncompleted Quest to an ancient Dwarf Tomb as a possibility.  Additionally, they've discovered a mysterious Skaven-marked, boarded shut, door in a room deep in the sewers under Altdorf.

The first adventure is already written and waiting in the wings (Scribe of the Fallen Clan).

The second adventure needs some fleshing out from my end.  I am thinking that the Cult of Nurgle that the Warriors decimated last session was actually summoning a Beast of Nurgle to unleash upon the rat-men below.  Now that the effort has been thwarted, the Skaven are unchecked, and the Warriors must venture into their lair to take out the Breeder.

For a third option (always good to give the players choices) I am rolling on Littlemonk's adventure tome.  Let's see, the first roll is a 2 - which means it will be a "A Dangerous Search".  Second roll is a 63 - bringing us to the "Chamber of Horrors!"  To quote:

"A well-known noble has been acting strangely as of late and only leaves his residence during the night. The Warriors discover a chamber of horrors deep below his residence."

Cool - a Quest to slay the Vampire in his tomb before the sun rises.  I see this as requiring some kind of time deadline to keep the pressure on.  Maybe the players will roll 6D6 at the beginning of the adventure, and they have this many turns to get to the Objective Room before the sun sets and the Vampire rises.  The dungeon will use a special undead Monster table, and the Objective Room will contain Tomb Guardians and Skeletons.

But where to set the location of this noble's residence?  Since they're in Altdorf now, it makes sense to introduce a rumor about this Quest and have it located close by.  Over to the Super Huge, Detailed Map of the Warhammer Old World to see what kind of villages we have close to Altdorf.  Garndorf is about a two day trek from Altdorf according to the measuring tools that the Map provides.  A quick lookup on Wikipedia doesn't divulge too much detail about Garndorf, so it strikes me as a good place to set this Quest.












Time to flesh out a few Special Events, the Monster Table, Objective Room, and the Setup.  A very big thanks to Littlemonk for providing so many new Quest options to keep our games interesting!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Session Two

Our session began with only one player bringing back a surviving Warrior – his lone and battered Barbarian.  The other three players had been decimated by Goblin Fanatics last game, so we would have three new Warriors this session.  We wound up with another Wizard, a Dwarf, and an Elf Wardancer to join the surviving Barbarian.
The new party had a choice of pursuing their original failed Quest, or to take a new mission offered by a mid-level noble to investigate a plague in the Altdorf slums that was centered around a particular sewer entrance.  So, looking for something different, the band of Warriors decided to take the noble’s offer.  None of the players spoke any Reikspiel, otherwise they may have had second thoughts accepting a Quest from one Baron Lieder von Keingelt.
We got right into the action with the Warriors descending into the twisted maze of partially flooded tunnels deep under the city, fighting off a group of Giant Frogs, swimming through flooded sections, and discovering a shanty town that was home to impoverished sewer dwellers.   These wretched folk sold the Warriors a few helpful items, and let them know about strange robed figures they’d seen roaming around the tunnels.
The first sign of trouble came when the haughty Wardancer pranced alone into an abandoned Smuggler’s Den.  He was immediately ambushed by seven Nurglings who ganged up and quickly reduced the brazen Elf to zero wounds before he could even strike back.  The Wizard, still one board section away, had to use reserve Power to cast Lifebringer and heal the Wardancer.  But the Nurglings’ Plague resulted in a permanent loss of 1 Toughness for the Elf.
Before venturing into the sewers, the Warriors had been given an item by the Temple of Sigmar to aid them in this Quest – The Decanter of Purity.  A drink from this holy relic would cure any disease or poison (including the Nurglings’ Plague effect.)  I created this custom item to introduce another tough decision for the players.  Each time a Warrior drank from the Decanter, they would roll 1D6.  On a 1, 2, or 3 they would have consumed the last drop.  The players would need to choose carefully which affliction they would heal.  With the sewers able to deliver a variety of disease effects of varying severity, a bad choice could see one of the Warriors end up with Nurgle’s Rot!  The Wardancer took little time to weigh this decision however, and hastily drained the Decanter down to its last drop.  His Plague was cured, and Toughness restored, but only time would tell if it was the right decision.
An amusing moment came with the Wizard found a Short Bow in the Smugglers’ Den.   Earlier in their explorations, the Wizard had succumbed to a Sewer Fever Event, where he had to choose two of his Stats to reduce by 1 for the remainder of the Quest.  Thinking himself clever, he chose to have the Fever afflict his Initiative and his Ballistic Skill Stats.  This brought his Ballistic Skill to 7+, making it impossible for him to fire any ranged weapons successfully during this Quest!  His joy at finding the Short Bow quickly dematerialized when this realization sunk in.
Next, the Warriors faced their first serious battle.  In a partially flooded sewer section they were beset upon by 10 Giant Spiders.  Soon afterward, about a dozen Chaos Cultists appeared from the other end of the room.  Surrounded by two groups of enemies, the Warriors fought a brutal and grim battle.  The Dwarf had earlier bought a Corrugated Metal Shield from the shanty town, which increased his Toughness.  He was feeling quite confident as a result.  However, he had forgotten about the Giant Spiders’ ability to Web their opponents!  Any webbed Warrior suffers automatic damage from future Giant Spider bites, with no regard to Toughness.  Sadly, the struggling Dwarf could not break free from the sticky webbing, and was quickly bitten to death by a swarm of Giant Spiders.
After the surviving three Warriors finally managed to clear the room, they beat a hasty retreat back up to the surface.  There, the Barbarian trained and reached Battle Level 2, gaining an Ignore Wounds ability that meant he had a chance of surviving a fatal blow.  The group also recruited the son of their fallen Dwarf companion.  The young Dwarf would enter the game with a Hatred of Giant Spiders, granting him an additional Attack against these creatures, albeit at -1 to hit in his fury.
During the second expedition into the sewers the Warriors had to double back after reaching a dead end, but then came upon the bulk of the Cult of Nurgle.  A Chaos Warlock was chanting a ritual in a Summoning Room, surrounded by Cultists and Demagogues who spewed hate-filled rhetoric at the heroes.  Here I rolled the minimum number of Chaos Cultists, so the Warriors were lucky.  The Wizard also managed to swallow the Warlock in a Pit of Despair in the first turn of the battle.  This prevented him from summoning who knows what kind of atrocity, and resulted in a final battle much easier than it could have been!
After mopping up the final few Cultists, the Warriors located both a steel ladder leading to the surface, and a large iron-bound door with Skaven markings that was barricaded shut from the inside.  The players speculated that a treasure room might lie beyond.   Or, was the door was barricaded to keep something out?  Skipping the chance for a quick exit, the Warriors decided to investigate the door, but Nurgle had other ideas.  A large group of Nurglings swarmed the Warriors, and at this very moment the Wardancer was hit with a severe bout of dysentery with left him squatting in a corner unable to fight for a couple of turns!  After this setback, the ashen-faced Elf waded back into battle, executing his Dance of Death ability perfectly, and slaying one foul Nurgling after another, leaving a trail of blood and slime.
Not wanting to push fate any longer, the Warriors ascended the ladder.  They cleaned themselves off, and presented their findings to Baron von Keingelt.  The distracted noble had to be reminded about the Gold payment he had promised, but as it turns out he did pay the Warriors in full, and seemed quite pleased that the operations of the Cult of Nurgle were so severely disrupted.  In the shopping spree that followed the Barbarian spent his last wealth on a 1,000 Gold Warhelm that would increase his Toughness by 2!
Having finally succeeded in a Quest, the Warriors are ready for whatever adventures present themselves next time.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Reckless Dice Podcast

Just a quick recommendation to listen to the Reckless Dice Podcast.  This show is quite well produced and well organized.  The hosts deliver interesting and useful information dedicated to WHRP 3rd Edition, but also on the Warhammer World in general.  This in particular can spark many good ideas that can transfer easily into WHQ campaigns.  The Actual Play episodes of this Podcast are also very well done, and have cleared up many of the questions I had about WFRP 3E.

One tidbit that the hosts mentioned was a huge map of the Warhammer World that one of them put together, complete with tools that can automatically calculate the travel time between various locations.  This labor of love took over 400 hours to produce, and includes all of the official published maps of the Old World as well as integrating content from the novels and WFRP 3E.  As soon as I find myself with a few free hours I intent to track this down and dive into it - I think it can be very handy for WHQ travel between adventures!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Baron Lieder Von Keingelt

In most other RPGs they're called NPCs.  In WHQ Roleplay flavor they're called "Character Encounters".  Page 153 of the Roleplay Book begins a useful section on how to introduce NPCs into the game, and gives some imaginative examples of Character Encounters.

In our next session, should things move in a certain direction, I have the following Character Encounter ready for the players ...

Baron Lieder Von Keingelt

Von Keingelt is a mid-level noble whose holdings border the outskirts of Altdorf.  His ancestors have the dubious honor of having been principal patrons of the sewer projects in Altdorf.  His great-grandfather, Willhelm Keingelt actually produced the "design" of the twisting maze of sewer tunnels under the city - a design that was grudgingly adopted by the College of Engineers.

Because of this history, Lieder Von Keingelt is forever associated with the sewers.  Whenever there is a problem in the sewers (and this happens with surprising frequency) the City leaders invariably pressure him to find a solution.  Due to this constant stress, the Baron is a nervous wreck, and is also in financial ruins.

If the Warriors have been commissioned by Baron Leider Von Keingelt, roll below when they complete their mission:

1. The Baron discounts any evidence that the Warriors produce, refusing to pay and claiming that the job was never completed!
2-3. The Baron tells the Warriors that his funds are tied up in some civil works projects at the moment, but that he is expecting a payout "any day now".  The Warriors can wait in the Settlement hoping to get paid.  At the end of each day, roll 1D6.  On a 6, the Baron's funding has indeed arrived and he pays the Warriors as promised.
4. The Baron hems and haws about how the Warriors fixed the symptoms but not the root cause of whatever problem they were sent to alleviate.  He finally, after much argument, agrees to pay them 30-70% of the originally promised sum.
5. The Baron seems unusually distracted, but he pays the Warriors promptly the agreed upon amount.
6. The Warriors have done such an impressive job that Von Keingelt was awarded a reward by Karl Franz himself, and passes along to the Warriors twice the agreed upon payment!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Stench from Below

The first concrete Quest based on the slew of Sewer Rules I've been publishing on the blog for the past week or so.

Quest Background

A pox is spreading through the slums of Altdorf.  Dozens have fallen victim to this plague, and the city is nearing a state of panic.  The cases are most highly concentrated in an area of the slums known simply as "The Muck".  Here, the sewage pools out of incessantly clogged sewers.  A foul odor of decay has been seeping out of the area, vile even by the standards of the slums.  Futhermore, mysterious cloaked figures have been spotted emerging from below.

A mid-level noble (Baron Lieder Von Keingelt) has been delegated to get to the bottom of this dirty mess.  With the College of Engineers staging a strike, he has commissioned the Warriors to venture into the neglected sewers of Altforf to discover the source of this plague.  He promises each Warrior 2D6x50 Gold for completing the assignment.

Special Rules

The Warriors are provided a couple of items to help them survive this difficult undertaking.  To offer some protection against the pox, the Temple of Sigmar provides the Decanter of Purity.  This holy relic contains anointed water that can cure disease.  The Warriors are told to use this precious resource only if absolutely necessary, and return any unused portion back to the Temple (see Reward).  After drinking from the Decanter (which indeed cures one disease inflicted upon the drinker), roll 1D6.  On a 1-3, the last drop is consumed, discard the Decanter.

Secondly, the College of Engineers has graciously provided the Warriors what maps they have of this section of the sewers, although the accuracy is dubious.  The Warriors can choose to use the Sewer Maps when they come to any kind of junction in the sewers.  When used, roll 1D6.  On a 1-2, the Maps provide misleading information - add 1 Sewer Dungeon Card to the top of each stack leading off from the current room.  Any other roll indicates that the Maps are somewhat helpful - the players can choose to benefit in one of two ways:

1. Pick the top card from one of the Dungeon Card stacks in the current room, and discard it if desired (unless it is the Objective Room).
2. Examine the backs of ALL of the Dungeon Cards leading off from the current junction room.  This will tell the Warriors where the Dungeon Rooms are located as opposed to the Sewer Tunnels, since the Sewer Tunnel Cards have differend card backs.

Dungeon Deck

The sewers of Altdorf are a lengthy and twisted maze of tunnels.  Use 13 Sewer Dungeon Cards instead of the 11 as stated in the Sewer Adventure rules.  The Objective Room for this Quest is the Summoning Room.

Event Cards

Use all of the Event Cards specified in the Sewer Events post, and add the following Special Event Cards to this deck:

1D6+2 Nurglings (x2)

1D3+1 Plaguebearers

1D6+1 Chaos Cultists and 1 Demagogue

2D6 Chaos Cultists

He Who Offends Nurgle
The misshapen form of a robed man staggers toward you, his flesh peeling, rotting, and falling off in pus-infused clumps.  One eyeball dangles from its socket.  "I can lead you to what you seek," he claims.
The Warriors can follow the figure if they choose, in which case he leads them to the Objective Room (the next time a Dungeon Room Card appears, it is the Objective Room).  However, each turn that they follow the plague-stricken individual, each Warrior must pass a Toughness Check, or they contract Nurgle's Rot (see RP Book).

Sacrificial Victims
You notice a pile of corpses lying alongside one of the walls in this chamber, a cloud of flies buzzing around them and dozens of rats scampering around.  You discover the Mark of Nurgle on the bodies, and note that all of them have been ritualistically murdered.
The Warriors know now that the Ruinous Power Nurgle is what they must contend with here.  This knowledge allows them to steel themselves up psychologically, increasing their Toughness by 1 for purposes of Toughness Checks against any kind of disease for the rest of the adventure.

Afflictions of Nurgle (White Dwarf)

Nurgle's Rot (RP Book)

Objective Room

In the Summoning Room, the Warriors interrupt a foul ritual.  A Chaos Warlock is busy reciting incantations next the the Summoning Circle!  Already, an amorphous form begins to materialize from wisps of swirling fog.  Unless the Warriors take him out quickly, the Summoning will be completed!

The bulk of the Cult of Nurgle that has been operating out of these sewers.  Place the following figures on the platform:


1D6+3 Chaos Cultists
3 Demagogues
1 Chaos Warlock

The Warlock does not attack or cast Spells, as he is busy trying to complete his incantations.  If he completes the Summoning, he needs to concentrate on controlling the summoned Monster.  He is, however, in possession of the Scintillant Cloak, which manifests as a shimmering multi-colored and flowing cloak.  Whenever the Warlock is hit by missile fire, roll 1D6.  On a 5+ the attack does not cause any damage, and in fact increases the Warlock's Wounds by 1.

During the first Power Phase after the Warriors enter, roll 1D6.  On subsequent Power Phases in which the Chaos Warlock still lives, add another die to the roll.  In any of the dice come up a 1, the Warlock has finished the ritual and a Beast of Nurgle materializes on the platform!

As long as the Chaos Warlock lives, the Beast will not attack any of the Cultists, and they are immune to its Slime Trail.  However, if the Warlock is killed, the Beast of Nurgle is freed, and will attack the closest figure, Warrior or Cultist, and the Cultists are subject to its Slime Trail.

If the Warriors defeat the Cult and its summoned Beast, they collect evidence of the Cult's operations: plans, logs, and other documents.  Locating a well-maintained ladder, they make the long climb back up to daylight, and the streets of Altdorf.

The Sealed Door

In the room the Warriors also discover a heavy, iron-bound wooden door that has been sealed shut from this side of the room.  Inscriptions on the door are clearly of Skaven origin!  Use this as a hook for a possible future adventure.

Reward

The Warriors have dealt a severe blow to the Cult of Nurgle in the City.  Returning to the surface with evidence of their ordeal, Vol Keingelt awards them official Writs of Honor allowing them to re-roll any Settlement Event sub-table rolls during this stay in the Settlement.  He will not offer any Gold until the Warriors bring up the subject of the promised payment.  At this point, roll on the table at the end of Von Keingelt's post to resolve the Gold payment.

Note that since the Warriors were under Altdorf in this Quest, they need not roll on the Travel Hazard table.  If the Warriors return the Decanter of Purity (having not consumed all of the contents) they are each awarded an additional 100 Gold by the Temple of Sigmar (one of the Warriors must visit the Temple to return the Decanter).