Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Idiom, Sir

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay is full of colourful phrases.

We purposely put in a load of common sayings and slang to help roleplayers get into playing their characters. In the rule book we put in some basic, universal stuff- slang for money, ways to invoke the Gods, star sign nonsense and so on.

Some of them are based on real phrases, others are completely made up. We didn’t want to just lift real turns of phrase and put them in. Instead we tried to twist and turn things on their head.

So, terms like ‘Brass’ ‘muck’ and ‘Where there’s muck there’s Halflings’ all come from a phrase from the North of England- ‘Where there’s muck there’s brass’ (Where there is hard, dirty work there is money to be made) ‘Shrapnel’ was originally an army term for the coins left over in your pockets after a night out on the town- so we co-opted it to mean a handful of brass pennies.

We continued this in ‘Sigmar’s Heirs’ where we gave provincial sayings based along the same grounds. Thus phrases like ‘A right little scrumper’ are based on a real word from the West of England- ‘Scrumping’ (the act of stealing apples from someone else’s orchard) ‘Sliced him from withers to brisket’ mixed two terms from Ostlery and Butchery- ‘Withers’ being between the shoulder blades of a horse, whilst ‘Brisket’ is rib meat.

Our Bretonnian book, ‘Knights of the Grail’ will continue this- with phrases like ‘A whirlpool in a wine glass’- based on ‘Storm in a teacup’ (a great fuss about nothing) and ‘Born with a sword in his hand’ from ‘Born with a silver spoon in his mouth’ (born into riches) and many more, which no doubt you’ll see when we do some previews of the book next year.

Some fans have written to us already, asking us to collate them all and put them out in a dictionary. We’re not likely to do that for a while- we’d need to cover a lot more of the old world first!

Honestly…some people…they want the moon on a stick…

-The BI Team

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Three Reasons to roleplay with workmates

1) More interesting water cooler conversations:

"You know, I'm beginning to think Fred might be a mutant. We should shop him to the witch hunters" vs. "So... saw your MDOP report... Yeah...Great stuff..."

2) Getting to know your colleagues...

It's much easier to go over and talk to Fred from accounts if you spent last night hewing Goblins with him.

3) ...and never take them seriously again

Fred's in a meeting coming on all irate? It's know last night he was pretending to be an Elf . You saw the man ranting about Key Performance Indicators running around the room shouting 'YEAH! GETSOME!" because his ten sided lump of plastic happened to roll a 10.

So what are you waiting for? Get a group together today!

-The BI dev Team

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Yep, our website is down

We blame Chaos for disrupting our website...

Many apologies to WFRP fans everywhere- especially our fine forum folk. We should be back up and running soon!

The Witch Hunters have been dispatched and assure us that the heresy should be purged from our servers by the end of the week.

-The BI Dev Team

Monday, November 21, 2005

Forges of Nuln- some details

The final part of the 'Paths of the Damned' trilogy- Forges of Nuln- is pretty much finished now (all bar the proofing) so there's a bit more time for the Black Industries dev team to do some write ups for this blog.

For those of you not acquainted with 'Paths of the Damned' this is a series of three adventures that lead the party across the Empire in a bid to rid themselves of an immortal enemy. The first two books in the series- Ashes of Middenheim and Spires of Altdorf- are already out. The final part -'Forges of Nuln'- will be out next year.

We had alot of fun with this book. It's a tough thing to wrap up an epic campaign in a satisfying way- especially as the first thing players always do is the last thing you expect- but writer Rob Schwalb has done his damnedest to keep things covered from all angles.

Plot aside (as we don't want to spoil things for you) the setting really comes alive with all the little details about Nuln life that litter the city description. Coffee and coffee shops get a passing mention (and at 33gc a pound a fleeting mention is about all the average Joe can afford) as do two new careers- the chimneysweep as an urban alternative to the charcoal burner and of course the Dung collector- for when Rat Catcher just isn't foul enough.

Our favorite thing though is the customs and parades that litter Nuln life- from the revelry everytime a seige train leaves town to the naming of freshly forged Guns. They're fun, evocative and have that slightly skewed bizarreness that Warhammer should have. hopefully GM's will have as much fun running them as we did writing them!

-The BI Dev team

Friday, November 18, 2005

We’re having a productive day here at Black Industries. There’s a bake sale in the office to raise money for Children in Need, and all the cake and biscuits has put us in a good mood. As we’re feeling talkative we thought we’d tell you a little bit about the books we’re currently reading

Marc Gascoigne (Head of Black Industries)

I just finished reading The Etched City, the first novel by Australian writer KJ Bishop. It's an exotic fantasy about a pair of renegade warriors who wash up in the crumbling city of Ashamoil, and find themselves caught up in a struggle for power. Its mix of dirty, gang-controlled streets and hallucinatory fever-dreams reminded me of M John Harrison's Viriconium books, with a tinge of China Mieville perhaps. Now I just started The Dumas Club by Arthur Perez-Revert, an Umberto Eco-esque twisted conspiracy murder mystery set in the world of old books. Nice mix of genre stylings and very fine writing so far.

Chris Beaumont (customer service)

I have just finished reading the Ambassador Chronicles by Graham McNeill, which I thoroughly enjoyed and I have to say it's now by favourite fantasy series. It's also inspired me to start a Kislev Army for Warmaster. Well I was looking for a new army to collect as my existing army of undead was up to 12,000 point's. Maybe I need to get out a bit more. I've just started to read "At All Costs" by David Weber, the latest in the Honor Harrington series of books. I've been waiting ages for this book to be released to find out what happens as the 'good guys' couldn't be in a worst situation!

Dave Allen (all things web)

I’m just over half way through “The Mysterious Mr I” by Harry Steven Keeler at the moment. He usually writes pulpy pot boiler detective stories that subvert the genre (I became interested in his work after reading an article which talked about one of his murder mysteries that, on the last page, revealed the killer to be a character who had yet to be introduced to the plot). The story seems to be about a man who takes bald chances at any unlikely cash making opportunities that cross his path, but he jeopardises those opportunities by adopting rather mediocre alter-egos that his contacts tend to see through with ease. It’s made me laugh out loud once so far, which I always find the sign of a good book.

Kate Flack (Development Manager)

I’ve been on a ‘book to movie’ kick of late, so I’ve just finished reading ‘In the Name of the Rose’ by Umberto Eco and ‘Empire of the Sun’ by J.G Ballard. I’m definitely going to have to read them both again at some time in the future as they’re both very good and have a lot going on. ‘In the Name of the Rose’ is a nominally a medieval detective story, but this seems to be an excuse for Umberto to write about the mindset and life of a medieval monk. Lots of heresy and Latin- and a very demanding read. Empire of the Sun is a semi autobiographical story about a lad growing up in the Singapore detention centres of the Second World War. Poetical and grimly survivalist all at once. Sort of like Warhammer then…

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Cool new stuff

So, after a week out with Green Ronin we're getting back up to speed with all the new books that are coming in.

Forges of Nuln- the third part of the 'Paths of the Damned' trilogy- is purring along at the printers, whilst the first layout drafts of 'Knights of the Grail: A guide to Bretonnia' have come in- and what a great sight they are!

The first draft stage of a book is always exciting, as you get the first taste of what the final thing is going to look like. Typically, the first draft has a rough idea of layout, some of the finished art and the right colours on the page. It's not a work of beauty- but it's a start.

We took a chance on some new artists in this book, - a couple of French guys with a good bunch of credits to their name- as well as some tried and tested artists. It may seem odd, but these guys have really made the book for us. David Chart has done some excellent writing- from Truffle Hounds to Herrimaults to matters of honour- and the illustrations really set the text off. They've just got the right 'feel' to them.

We were definitely aiming for a book with a similar layout and level of detail as 'Sigmar's Heirs' but with that indefinable Bretonnian feel. Different, yet still intriguing. Useful for GM's, but also handy for players with Bretonnian PC's. It still has the sections on religion, sayings, justice, careers, provinces and such but they're all sufficiently different from the Empire setting to make a real contrast. Hopefully people will have alot of fun with it.

Debate in the office about the best picture so far is currently split between a picture
of a questing Knight and a Pat Loboyko piece showing a Shepherd with his flock
("surely the greatest depiction of sheep anywhere in Warhammer") There's still a couple of pieces yet to come in, so maybe another picture will start to vie for our affections...

No doubt if any of it proves particularly popular with fans, we'll make some wallpapers up for folks to download.

Anyway, more on this book as further versions come in...

-The BI Dev team

Monday, November 14, 2005

Green Ronin visit

If you've been looking at our official website, you'll know that the guys from
Green Ronin have been over to see us at our Nottingham offices.

Normally we see each other at conventions like GenCon Indy, Origins and so on. The hectic atmosphere of conventions doesn't really lend itself to planning and discussing the nuances of a game, so we like to get together once or twice a year to really chew the fat.

So, we've spent a week looking over what we've done, what we did well, what we could improve and what we want to do next. Everything from thickness of paper to high concept strategy gets put on the table, prodded poked and questioned. Feedback from shop owners, players, sales guys, our forums, playtesters and the like all get taken into account. So, if you're wondering why this blog hasn't been updated- it's because we've been going over every square inch of what Black Industries does with a fine tooth comb.

its tiring work- jetlag notwithstanding- but we still managed to get some after hours fun into the ram packed schedule.

Kate and Rob managed to find time to run round some of the caves that riddle the city of Nottingham- all in the name of research. 'Terror in Talabheim' will certainly see the benefits! An evening in Revolution vodka bar may well yield similar results for a sourcebook we'll no doubt be announcing soon.

Chris, Nicole and Rob also got to roam around Warhammer world, the GW studio and the new figure museum as well as sink a pint in Bugmans- our company pub (and playtest venue) We managed to laden all of Green Ronin down with all manner of novels, art books and army guides. As you can see from the photo Rob Schwalb did particularly well out of this- but then, he is writing the big chaos book (Tome of Corruption) so we figure he could use all the heretical inspiration he can get...

-The Black Industries Team

Friday, November 04, 2005

New books in the office

It's been a hectic year for us.

We've made an awful lot of books so far.

Some have been great to work on- others have not been so fun- but either way, we're still excited by the things we do. Some industry folk advised us that we'd get pretty jaded about new books arriving at the office 'by the time you're up to product four or five' Well, that's not happened to us yet.

Realms of Sorcery is book eleven for us (if you count the GM screen and Character Pack) and we still stopped everything to huddle round the new shiny book the moment the shipment came in.

To be honest, even at the proofing stage on ROS we were doing the same thing- you can see the well thumbed printing proofs in the picture below. The cover for the book- a wrap round piece by Ralph Horsley- was so detailed we decided to reprint it in full between the introduction and the start of the book. Usually we arrange things so that the back cover of a wrap round piece has blankish space for the blurb text- but Ralph did such a good job we couldn't bring ourselves to let his work go unseen.

The scene should be familiar to anyone who has ever rolled 'Uninvited Company' on the Tzeentch's curse table. We figured any rule that allows daemons to rip their way through the fabric of reality to devour foolish wizards should be celebrated. This is Warhammer after all...

Sharp eyed fans, of course, might notice some of the characters from this picture in next year's chaos book 'The Tome of Corruption' Magic- as we all know- is a dangerous thing...but more on that later...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Barony of the Damned:Final playtest session

“All things end: A book, songs, loves, lives; all we can do is treasure what we have, until the transience of life catches up upon us all…”

So, the final playtest session of Ben Counter’s ‘Barony of the Damned: An adventure in Mousillon’ took place last night…

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 aimed to race through the adventure in six sessions- we ended up doing it in seven- but still, a good time was had by all. Many thanks go to the understanding WFRP widows who put up with Black Industries stealing their loved ones away from them for twice weekly roleplaying sessions!

Our adventure in Mousillon finished with the same folk who started it:

Ed Morris- Urrel Two-Axe, a Dwarf slayer seeking death and glory- and nearly finding it!

Mal Green- Otto Embarr, Insane Pyromancer - “It’s all going to end in tears…and fire…”

Chris Lucas- Kera of Ostermark. A lady of noble birth and nobler intentions.

Darren Bowley, Gorge von Ostwald- ‘Deadeye Gorge’ ‘The Butcher of Middenheim’ ‘Speaker with scum’

Owen Barnes- Jurgen Heim, Priest of Sigmar and spiritual guide of the party- at last…

Also watching was:

Chad Mierswa as Devil’s advocate “Hey guys, you’re looking at this all wrong”
Rowland Cox as The voice of Otto’s insanity “We should burn them…burn them precious…”

So what happened? Well, fierce foes were faced, glorious (but futile) deaths were avoided, terrible choices made, and binding oaths were sworn.

Our ‘heroes’ risked their very souls in a foul deal with unclean forces…but, were victorious. This being Warhammer of course, the promised payment was not forthcoming- and an incident with a fire in a tavern did some serious property damage- but at least they were able to escape Mousillon with most of their body parts attached.

Jurgen: Though we are as varied in our motivations as we are in our hairstyles…
(The group studies their five characters as depicted on the cover of the rule book)
Jurgen: I feel I must say…the easy option is the path to Damnation
Urrel: No, the easy option is attacking now! As glorious death’s go, this is as good as it gets!

Gorge: My conscience is catching up with me after a long absence. We must do the right thing
Jurgen: Indeed, I feel I would be a Charlatan if I do not do the proper deed
Kera: Well, you’ve been a great Charlatan so far! Why change now!

Gorge: From this Quest I have gained more than Gold…
Kera: Yeah, the Red Pox

Owen: Jurgen is going to leave five gold crowns with Orion the Bulbous to ensure the care of his dancing cat
Kate (as GM) for that price, you can have the cat
Owen: Oh no, Mousillon needs that animal.
Chris: It’s a ray of hope…
Chad: In a place with none!

Owen: We have one question about the adventure…
Kate: Yes?
Owen: Is the Black Pig real?
Kate: Ah…that, you will never know…