Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Barony of the Damned: Playtest session 6

Session six of the Barony of the Damned playtest took place last night- and a dank and bloody affair it was!

For those not in the know, ‘Playtesting’ is a stage in developing an RPG adventure- where people sit down and play through the adventure to see how the plot flows, if there are any missing sections and if anything else is needed to make the adventure more complete.

We’ve rounded up folk who have enough spare time (and very understanding partners) for a twice a week roleplay marathon- we had hoped to finish things off in six sessions, but looks like it’ll be seven... Anyhow, our obliging playtesters are:

Ed Morris- Urrel Two-Axe, a Dwarf slayer ready to meet his end in battle- “It’s a good day to die”

Rowland Cox- Otto Embarr, Pyromancer of the Bright Order, learned wizard and purveyor of flaming death

Chris Lucas- Kera of Ostermark. A noble lady, stout of sword and shield arm.

Chad Mierswa, Gorge von Ostwald- Bounty hunter, marksman and ‘Butcher of Middenheim’

Owen Barnes- Jurgen Heim, Priest of Sigmar, devout of purpose and mindful of Morr.

What happened this session? Well, as we are right at the end of the action, we’ll have to keep the plot under wraps…this transcript of play will have to do you until our final session on Tuesday…

Beggar: Have mercy sir- I’ve only got one leg
Gorge: And if you want to keep it you’ll sod off!


Dying man: Have them spread my ashes in the well near the Grail chapel…I don’t want to rise again from the grave
Jurgen: There, there, you’ll be fine. We’ll have you up in no time
Gorge: (in Reikspiel) I don’t know Jurgen, that’s a nasty gut wound…
Jurgen: (also in Reikspiel) Oh, we always say that. Part of the training.
Gorge: This is definitely the last time I trust a Priest.

The Whims of Tzeentch- an out of character interlude

Rowland: I’ve been trying to cast this damn fireball for four rounds now!
Owen: Use more dice- there’s nothing to loose
Ed: Hey Owen, you working for Tzeentch now?
Owen: No, Sigmar just wants him to reach his true potential. And maybe flambé the bad guys…
Rowland: Ah stuff it, I’m using all three dice!
(Chad shakes his head)
Ed: He’s always wanted tentacles.
(Rowland makes his casting roll)
Rowland (fists in the air): YEEEEEEAAH!
Ed: 10, 9 and 8- that’s the best roll you could have possibly made
Rowland: Gah! Why didn’t I cast ‘Breathe Fire’? Tzeentch mocks me!
Owen: That’s the way of the Ruinous Powers my friend.
Rowland: What? You told me to do it, Priest
Owen: Yeah, I’m feeling a bit guilty about the whole priest thing. I was thinking of making my next career ‘Charlatan’…
Chad: That settles it- that's definitely the last time I trust a Priest.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Realms of Sorcery trivia

They say 'genius is hiding your sources'

And sometimes they'd be right.

But this isn't one of those times.

Meet Cat Wizard. He's sort of an office mascot. He arrived after the sales guys brought him home from Essen game fair in Germany. Every time we go to a convention we try to bring him home a friend or two in the form of cat related fantasy artwork- cat dragons, fairy cats- that sort of thing. One day we hope to have quite a collection...but that's another tail.

This story is about how cat wizard brought a little of his magic to Realms of Sorcery.

We started work on the book way back in Spring. Obviously, the first stage in a sourcebook's life is deciding what's going to be in it. For ROS it was pretty clear what we'd be covering- new spells, background on magic, day in the life of a Wizard, rune magic- that sort of thing.

Still, there were a couple of things we weren't too sure about, so we held a brainstorming meeting. Ewan read out a list of things we'd agreed to cover...but we wanted to add more. "Oozing with options" was the exact phrase. A book about Wizards had to cover as much about them as we could think of. We mooted some more ideas- expanded Tzeentch's curse tables, rules for making up rituals, potions with horrible side effects, a discussion on Witch Hunters and so on.

Then someone looked up. And what did they see? You guessed it...

"We should add familars! just like catwizard!"

Simon paused, and looked at the picture.

"I'm not putting that in any book with my name on it. I'd rather lick sick off a nettle"

The room paused for a moment

"Unless..." he continued, idea dawning "unless we can make it explode. If we can do that it's fine by me"

"Well" said Kate "I'm sure we can make that happen"

So we spoke to Green Ronin and lo! a mechanic was created. They were pretty good about it really, considering the bizarreness of the request- "Hi, we'd like to add rules on familiars- but they have to explode..."

So, when you get your hands on Realms of Sorcery you'll see that under certain conditions familiars can indeed explode in showers of gristle and flesh.

If you're playing a wizard with a yen for a familiar, just make sure you don't screw up those casting rolls- otherwise it could be 'bye bye catwizard', and 'hello drycleaning bill'

And no one wants that sort of stain on their conscience.

-The Black Industries Dev team

Friday, October 21, 2005

Barony of the Damned- 5th playtest session

The fifth ale soaked session of ‘Barony of the Damned: An Adventure in Mousillon’ was played last night, in a session oozing projectile comedy.

For those not in the know, ‘Playtesting’ is a stage in developing an RPG adventure- where people sit down and play through the adventure to see how the plot flows, if there are any missing sections and if anything else is needed to make the adventure more complete.

We’ve rounded up some of our office mates who foolishly said they had time to take part, and we’re aiming to race through the adventure in six or seven sessions. The aforementioned volunteers are:

Ed Morris- Urrel Two-Axe, a Dwarf slayer longing for a glorious death, or another keg of ale.

Rowland Cox- Otto Embarr, Pyromancer of the Bright Order, self appointed saviour and avatar of the twin tailed comet. (Or so he believes)

Chris Lucas- Kera of Ostermark. Of noble birth and common sense. Someone has to be.

Darren Bowley, Gorge von Ostwald- ‘The Butcher of Middenheim’ “When you’re talking to scum, you need to talk their language. And I speak scum”

Owen Barnes- Jurgen Heim, Dutiful Priest of Sigmar and man of easy faith.

How did our intrepid team do? Well, without giving away any plot secrets, we’ll do what we can to describe the indescribable.

Disorders gained: 1 (Delirious saviour)
Dwarf Ale drunk: 24 pints
Bribes offered: 3
Spell miscasts: 0
Halflings pummelled: 1 (bet you’re really proud of that one, Urrel)

Kera: “Well, Priest, did you find out anything useful at the Bawdy theatre?”
Jurgen: “Ah, I saw many wonders!”
Kera: (raising eyebrow) “and were these wonders wearing any clothes?”
Jurgen: “there were no women there…no, I saw something far greater!”
(Kera raises the other eyebrow. The drunken trollslayer starts spoiling for a fight in the background)
Jurgen: “There was a man, a bulbous sort of a fellow- and he had this cat- and, it could do such things as I have never seen in all my live long days! Why, it appeared from his sleeve, and then from his other sleeve he pulled a wondrous magical wand!
(The wizard begins to preach that he is the avatar of the Twin Tailed comet. Kera places her head in her hands)
Jurgen: Yes, and then he made some mystic passes over the head of the cat, and it began to dance! Yes, Dance in time with the music- I tell you, this cat could dance better than many a fellow I have seen in the Empire. It is a most marvellous animal. Perhaps I should buy it.”
(Kera looks around)
Kera: Barman! Bring Wine. And plenty of it.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Unluckiest Wizard Alive...

The BI playtest team are currently running through ‘Barony of the Damned: An adventure in Mousillon’

We’re running through the adventure to test how the plot flows, how the characters fare and so on. One of the curious side effects of play however (apart from all our blog posts) is how damned unlucky our Wizard character, Otto Embar of the Bright Order, has been.

For those not in the know, in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay magic is very dangerous. Wizards roll to cast spells, and if they mess up- by rolling doubles, triples or quadruples- they invoke Tzeentch’s curse. Tzeentch’s curse can cause a variety of horrid effects- from shivers all the way up to sudden horrific death. To find out what foul side effect Tzeentch’s curse causes you roll on the ‘Chaos Manifestation’ tables.

Just about every time Otto has cast a spell, he’s invoked Tzeentch’s curse.

Here’s a break down:

Session 1:
Spell cast- Marsh Lights.
Tzeentch’s curse effect: Horripilation

Session 2:
Spells cast: Fireball, Drop
Tzeentch’s curse effect: Rupture! Mental Block

Session 3:
No spells cast- he daren’t!

Session 4:
Spells cast: Cauterise, Sleep, Sleep
Tzeentch’s curse effect: Trick of Fate, Daemonic contract

So, in the space of 5 days, Otto’s nose has ruptured, spurting blood everywhere, he’s lost the ability to do magic for a bit, his hair has stood on end and the first rune of a Daemonic contract signing his soul away to Chaos has burnt itself onto the flesh of his hand. Mal Green- who has been playing Otto is thoroughly freaked out. So much so that when he went to the Essen Game fair in Germany, he specifically bought some new, lucky dice to make his magic rolls. What happened as a result of this? Just look at session 4…

So tonight, as we’ve finally got our hands on the new magic supplement ‘Realms of Sorcery’ we’re going to add on some extra magic rules that cause permanent effects if you invoke Tzeentch’s curse.

More on that in our next playtest report!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Barony of the Damned- 4th playtest report

The fourth breakneck session of ‘Barony of the Damned: An Adventure in Mousillon’ was played last night, with spectacular results.

what's playtest?

Our ‘fearless’ group were:

Ed Morris- Urrel Two-Axe, a Dwarf slayer devoted to his twin Axes ‘Pride’ and ‘Fury’

Mal Green- Otto Embarr, Pyromancer of the Bright Order, recently purged and disease free

Chris Lucas- Kera of Ostermark. ‘The Lady of the Flashing Eyes’ known for her deadly stares
Darren Bowley, Gorge von Ostwald- ‘The Butcher of Middenheim’ bounty hunter with an eye for detail. Well, one eye anyway.

Owen Barnes- Jurgen Heim, Priest of Sigmar, spreading the flame of faith where ever he goes.

What happened last night? Well, much of it was integral to the Plot of ‘Barony of the Damned’ so we can’t give it away, suffice to say this:

Total insanity points gained: 4
Disorders gained: 1
Things slaughtered: 2
Poets gravely wounded: 1

Other than that, we did manage to track down this testimony from a Mousillon city miracle worker:

“Whassat? You ‘eard about the miracle ‘orse did yer? Why she’s ‘ere behind me! Aye, look upon ‘er white flanks an’ tell me you don’t feel better eh? So whatchoo ‘eard then? Yeah yeah, the fact as ‘ow it aint been et yet is a miracle- due, in no small part t’meself- an’ o course the magical properties of this ‘ere mare!

Step close now- don’t mind the lepers- they’s just hopin’ fer some of the Lady’s mercy- step close now an’ I’ll tell you as ‘ow the strangers appeared, a from the mornin’ mists- clean as if they’d a just stepped down from the ‘eavens themselfs Aye, they did that! An’ they ‘ad with ‘em a most beauteous Maid, aye, a very vision of Mercy ‘an Grace. Ah, ‘ow ‘er eyes Flashed with ‘eavenly power! I shall never forget it in all me live long!

Now I knew at once it were me civic duty ter offer ‘em assistance- and bless the maid if she dint force a penny into me ‘and an’ say “Ost, we is ‘ere to bring ‘ope to this ‘ere city” Well, sir, you knows what the folk o’ this place is sayin’- aye, that she’s an Avatar of Shallya ‘erself, come ter ‘eal Mousillon! Well, now, I’s do’t know nothin’ about that- not bein’ a religious sort, but I can testify as to ‘ow not one of her bodyguards ‘ad so much as a wart on ‘em, an’ more than that- ole Baud ‘ere but touched ‘er horse, an’ it cured ‘is blindness!

Aye, an’ it made food appear for forty beggars or more!

Now sir, It falls ter me an’ my staff ‘ere to guard this wondr’ous beast- but seein’ as ‘ow you looks like yer sufferin’ I could see me way ter letting you sit upon the ‘ealing ‘orse fer just two pennies- I tell yer, Shallya’s blessin’s never came so cheap!” –Ost, Mousillon urchin

Friday, October 14, 2005

Barony of the Damned: Playtest session 3

The third playtest session of ‘Barony of the Damned: An adventure in Mousillon’ took place last night- and what an explosive adventure it was!

what's playtest?

Our fine players were:

Ed Morris- Urrel Two-Axe, Dwarf slayer seeking his death against the beasts of Bretonnia- the muscle of the group.
Ben Misenar- Otto Embarr, Pyromancer and amateur apothecary- the smart guy and heavy artillery of the group.
Chris Lucas- Kera of Ostermark. A noble woman in search of her lost love, the front woman and voice of sanity in the party.
Chad Mierswa, Gorge von Ostwald- ‘The Butcher of Middenheim’ expert bounty hunter in search of his lost son- the sneaker and tracker of the party.
Owen Barnes- Jurgen Heim, Priest of Sigmar seeking converts- the healer and spiritual guide of the party.

Well, what impressions did our party leave behind them this time out? Read on for a spoiler free description…

“The guests said they was a-on a quest from the Duke of Lyonesse ‘imself-They said they was off ter the city ‘o Mousillon in a couple a’days. I tole ‘em they couldn’t take no ‘orses there- fer the city folk eat ‘orse on account o’ how they can’t get frog –Thule, Chateau Stable boy

“Visitors? Don’t talk to me about visitors! I’ve a mind to give up workin’ at the Chateau- there is some things a maid should never have to see!

They walks up to the Chateau bold as brass an’ they a’ask fer hospitality from m’lord- an’ what with ‘im being such a generous soul an’ all, he say’s ‘aye’-dispite the fact they was a poor lookin’ lot o’ foreigners- with their funny talk an’ their shameless manners! Any’ow, they’s a’all thick wi’ disease from the swamps an’ their immoral a’livin- so we feeds them- greedy lot they were too! - an’ puts ‘em up for the night.

Next day a couple of ‘em creep round the grounds, whilst the so called ‘lady’ lounges by the fire a’ reading, meanwhile Mr Scholar gets a Bright Idea outta one of the books about how he can rid ‘imself from the fever he’s carrying. Silly old fool- who believes what books ‘as ter say? Anyhow, ‘e thinks a spot of the old purgatives might force sickness out. Aye, you a’ heard right- he decides to do a purge! Any’ow muggings here ends up takin’ ‘im some toadstool- I mean I made up some rubbish about ‘ow it was some spice or other from far Araby, but it were just some redcaps the stable boy found on muckpile.

An’ after that, well, I got sick of a’runnin’ up and down the stairs wi’ chamber pots an’ towels. After the fifth time- I made the other maid go. Mr Scholar used just about every clean towel in the Chateau- I shall have a sow of a wash day next week!” –Isold the Chambermaid

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Barony of the Damned- playtest session 2

We ran the second session of ‘Barony of the Damned’ last night, and a damn fine time we had. Braving zombies, peasants and pound a pint night, our party is loving Mousillon so much, they may never leave…

what's playtest?

Our worthy cast of players included:

Ed Morris- Urrel Two-Axe, the Dwarf slayer with a cunning plan.
Mal Green-‘Lucky’ Otto Embarr, Pyromancer of the Bright Order, and expert miscaster
Chris Lucas- Kera of Ostermark. A noble woman in search of her lost love, and some where clean to sit.
Rowland Cox, Gorge von Ostwald- ‘The Butcher of Middenheim’ bounty hunter and beloved of inbred hags everywhere
Owen Barnes- Jurgen Heim, Priest of Sigmar “I believe I can see through any deception a pig can lay before me”

What happened this week? Well, check out our spoiler free write up…

“I was hidin’ in woods near cordon sanitaire, waitin’ fer me moment to escape Mousillon when I sees the strangest bunch of travellers as I ever even heard of! Of course, they was Empire folk- which explained muchly. Anyhow, I followed ‘em- after all, one ‘ad horse an’ way they was walking, the undead were sure’n find an’ kill ‘em fore long.

An’ sure enough, they found the flesh eaters. The runty freak hacked a plenty of ‘em, an’ the Lady set her horse to stovin’ in their heads. The priest got in there with his ‘ammer, an the beardy one was free with ‘is crossbow- but the scribe…well…I never seen nothin’ like it! Fire flew outta his fingers and into the last flesh eater…stank like a hog roast it did! Still, it got the last laugh. Scratched him good it did. There’s another spellcaster as’ gonna catch the Red Pox…” -Pardue, Mousillon escapee

“Out, out! We’ll have no strangers here! Not after the last lot came through! Strange folk with their matching eyes and straight backs! Murdering scum! They a tried to lure us with their shinys too! They killed my son and stole my love! They fled upon the river road. You should do the same!” Blug the venerable, Elder of Puanteur

“I was thinking of converting these peasants, but I don’t think Sigmar wants them” –Jurgen Heim

Floupe the Frogwife: “Have you come to steal our maidens?”
Jurgen Heim: “No, oh! Gods, No!”-, (pushing Gorge forward)
Floupe (batting her ears at Gorge): “What a hansome eye this one has! Aye and whiskers too!”
Gorge von Ostwald: “Sweet maid…perhaps you can help…”
(Urrel and Otto vomit)
Kera: “Careful Gorge, it wants to breed"

Friday, October 07, 2005

Barony of the Damned- 1st playtest report!

The first playtest session of ‘Barony of the Damned: An Adventure in Mousillon’ was played last night- and a fine time had by all!

what's playtest?

Our intrepid victims, ah…volunteers were:

Ed Morris- Urrel Two-Axe, a Dwarf slayer in Bretonnia to hunt down some of the bizarre creatures said to lurk in that Kingdom

Mal Green- Otto Embarr, Pyromancer of the Bright Order, travelling at the request of his Magical Order…

Chris Lucas- Kera of Ostermark. An uprooted noble woman searching for her lost love, Sir Pierre the Intrepid.

Darren Bowley, Gorge von Ostwald- ‘The Butcher of Middenheim’ bounty hunter and tracker extraordinaire.

Owen Barnes- Jurgen Heim, Priest of Sigmar committed to spreading the word of Sigmar to the ignorant and inbred of Bretonnia.

“They say five strangers came by the Golden Spur the other night- aye, and a right odd lot they were! I hear they spread tales of revolution an’ change to the folk they found in that fair tavern…aye, talking about some Sigmar God or something, and telling folk how they could prosper in the Empire- rise above their birth and all that! Pah, what folly! The Dwarf thing even punched someone out- just fer askin’ him why he had all that blue scribbling on ‘im

Anyhow, the Duke’s men soon came for ‘em- an’ took ‘em off to the Castle Lyonesse.” –Old Groubert, Lyonesse peasant

“Yes, the Duke did hold conference with the mercenaries. I don’t know what they discussed- he cleared the Great Hall for privacy. I did speak with the Orange clad Troubadour the Lady Ostermark kept about for amusement though. I must say, they didn’t seem the type to spring a convicted criminal from the Dukes Dungeons, but that just goes to show these Empire folk can’t be trusted” – Seneschal Doubert

“The Priest promised me if I were to pray to Sigmar, help would come” –Guy, peasant revolutionary

“The strangers travelled to the Cordon Sanitare as instructed my Lord. They handed the criminal Guy to my care and proceeded into the cursed Duchy without a care in the world. One would think they knew nothing of what lays within Mousillon… They learnt nothing of use to their mission from the peasant- who would be back here in the Castle my Lord- but the things of the borderlands caught and ate him” –Sir Besson

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Starting Playtest

So, the Black Industries team are mustering for our playtest of 'Barony of the Damned: An Adventure in Mousillon'

For those not aquainted with playtesting, this is where we sit down with a couple of office mates and play through the adventure. Feedback from the GM's helps us tweak stats, add details and spot potential problems with the adventure. Typically several groups will take part in playtesting so we can get several points of view on how the senario went.

We're kicking off the action tomorrow night and hope to rattle through the whole senario in three weeks... It's a bold plan, but we're feeling confident.

Our illustrious players will be using the characters from the front of the rule book
(front to back that's Trollslayer Urrel Two-Axe, Priest of Sigmar Jurgen Heim, Noble Squire Kera of Ostermark, Pyromancer Otto Embarr and Bounty Hunter Gorge von Ostwald)

We totted up all the xp you're likely to earn playing 'through the Drakwald' and the entire Paths of the Damned trilogy- 'Ashes of Middenheim' 'Spires of Altdorf' and 'Forges of Nuln' which came to...well, an awful lot. We then applied a player stupidity modifier (-25%) and came out with about 2,500 xp each- which we duely applied to our characters, bringing them nicely into their second careers.

We then threw in a couple of insanity points and oddities for good measure, thus creating what we hope is a seasoned party that might just survive the horrors of Mousillon.

We will be doing regular spoiler free write ups of the playtest sessions from 'alpha team' (all the people from BI's office that we could convince to give up several evenings a week!)- These write ups will all be from the point of view of the NPC's the players have been interacting with (it's our homage to the Old World Bestiary)

We'll be using basic rules for armour and combat throughout- mostly so we can focus on the flow of the adventure rather than the rules. Maybe we've overcooked the power levels- or maybe not- we'll only know once we've faced the undead, the inbred and the deadly Black Pig of the Woods.

More tomorrow after the first fateful die is cast!

-The BI dev team