Wednesday, January 25, 2006

In the Mood

Last night we got geared up for our 'Slaves of Destiny' gaming with a couple of rounds of 'Paranoia mandatory !bonus fun! card game'

This, combined with coffee and lots of sugary cookies, soon had us backstabbing, betraying, whining and plotting like any good Skaven party should.

'Slaves of Destiny' might be a very short game indeed.

-BI Dev Team.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A playtest is born!

Today, we decided it was time to do some more playtest.

We're developing a new character sheet at the moment (as forum folk will no doubt know) and it needs a good hard run out to see if it can cut the mustard.

So, we've decided to run 'Slaves of Destiny'- the adventure from 'Children of the Horned Rat'

It's been modified a little to allow us to run two groups on the same adventure- one side are the human investigators, whilst the other are Skaven infiltrators.

The humans get their 'turn' during the day, whilst the Skaven go at night.

Should be good- but more on that later!

-The BI Dev Team

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Food for thought

When it really comes down to it, games are about the people that play them.

If you're going to make games, you need to know about the motivations of the people you want to play them.

We've got lots of ways of doing this, but perhaps one of the best (and simplest) is a system called hearts, clubs, diamonds, and spades.

Anyone who has been part of the MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) community- or happens to know the works of Richard Bartle- is probably already aware of this theory- it's been around for a while.

It's a useful tool for thinking about gamers and their motivations.

Essentially the theory breaks gamers into four core types:

It's all about the Roleplay for these people. They like the talking, the interaction, the social occasion and the feel of Roleplay. They'll roleplay their character's moods, talk to all sorts of NPC's and are often the driving force behind getting the gaming group together.

Hack and slash! These guys like the thud and splash of combat, the conquering of foes. They'll slaughter a thousand Orcs and not think it too many. A good session for these chaps often revolves around combat- or the preparation for it. They might have spell casting characters, but these are likely heavy artillery types with combat spells a go-go

Points and cash! These folk are collectors of wealth and power. They'll know exactly how many experience points they've got, are about to get and need to advance. They'll have their careers and skills all plotted out, as well as what weapon they want. They are the arch-acquirers, probably with the best gear, most money and holdings.

These guys like to dig into a game. They like feeling immersed in a world- and get a kick from knowing all sorts of information about the game. Be it knowledge of the complete history of the world, or total rules mastery they absorb the detail like a happy sponge. They likely have most of the books about the game and enjoy game sessions that either reveals or confirms some fact about the world.

Most people are combinations of these types- so for example, a Hearts/Spades
gamer would be really into the background and love exploring new locations,
NPC backgrounds and investigative adventures.

So now you've read the theory- how do you come out? Clubs or Hearts? Spades or Diamonds?

It's an interesting thought...

-The BI Dev team

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

New book, old customs

So, sample copies of 'Forges of Nuln' have arrived in our office.

For those not in the know, this book is the final part of the 'Paths of the Damned' adventure trilogy. The campaign sees the party battle all manner of evil against the backdrop of the three major cities of the Empire- Middenheim, Altdorf and Nuln.
The first instalment was 'Ashes of Middenheim', closely followed by 'Spires of Altdorf'

Anyway, catch ups aside, the arrival of 'Forges of Nuln' (or FON as we affectionately call it) has caused much activity and shenanigans, as you can imagine. Each time we get a new book up from the warehouse, the guys all gather round muttering 'woot!' and 'shiny'- and this one is no exception.

There’s a sort of time honoured ritual about it all now. Maybe you get the same thing in the place where you work- maybe not- but here's how it goes:

9:56 heralding of the newness
Ominous rumbling from the lift causes someone to shout ‘incoming!’ People in the office suddenly become much more alert. Suspiciously large amounts of people start to take ‘monitor breaks’

9:57 Ceremony of Arrival
Rik arrives with a huge pallet of books. Everyone looks nonchalant whilst the boxes are opened. Eventually someone snaps and rushes over to look.

9:57 ½ Lustration of the shiny
Pupils dilate, books are stroked and round mouthed mutterings of ‘oooh’ and ‘check out the cover’ are the traditional beginnings of this ritual. Everyone looks at the pictures- despite claiming they’re ‘really interested in the writing on this one’. Some one invariably smells the book- causing a rash of sniffing, snorting and ‘mmm, glue’ type noises. Someone will then try to raise the tone by looking at the print quality and talking about the paper. Everyone looks very studious and earnest.

10:03 Dispersal of the faithful
People sidle away from the pallet, clutching their copies of the book. The production guys then try to round up all the copies that have wandered off to folks not on the samples lists. Theoretically, if you get your name written on the inside front cover before they get to you, you can keep it.

11:00 Promissory of gaming
Morning break comes, and people arrange their gaming evenings in light of the new book.

17:00 Transition of the opinions
By the end of the day, someone will have read the new book cover to cover and will pointing out the best bits to everyone else. (That is, everyone except the folks who helped proof and develop the book- they’re already using it as reference)

Particular highlights (side from the FON-a-friend gags) have been Kev B finally buckling and agreeing to run the Paths of the Damned campaign after months of promising the sales guys he'd 'get round to it'

The 'nice map, but does it photo-copy?' gauntlet has been thrown down and successfully met- many thanks to all those who obliged!

Now all that remains is to get the previews up, and the book on sale!

Watch out Febuary- here we come!

-The BI Dev Team

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

If Dolphins were Monkeys...

Sometimes folk accuse us of putting silly things into Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Rumster’s pies, Wurstfest, Greased Goats and so on.

Well, let us assure you, most of the time- truth is stranger than any fiction we could come up with.

You’ve only got to look at history to find all manner of bizarre, absurd and nonsensical happenings.

All the recent talk about King Kong (boy, has that film had some money spent on marketing- from burgers to bog roll, the big Gorilla is everywhere at the moment) has put us in mind of a charming incident in Hartlepool, England.

One dark and stormy night during the Napoleonic wars, the fisher folk of costal Hartlepool spotted lights out to sea. Sure enough a vessel was in trouble- sinking in fact. The following day many people went down to the beach to scavenge anything washed up from the wreck.

Many and varied were the things that were found- including a curious fellow. Got up in a suspicious uniform and jabbering a strange language, the townsfolk decided this man might be trouble. They locked him up and sent for the local magistrate at once. The official being away in London- and local curiosity being what it was, the odd foreigner was exhibited to the people of Hartlepool.

It didn’t take long for people to work out what was going on. The man was clearly one of the hated French- for he was ugly to look upon, weirdly clad and scratched himself with no care for the ladies present in the room. Yes, he gibbered a foolish language, was covered in hair and had a primitive, savage look to him. He was a spy- a French spy who had attempted to land under the cover of darkness to pry into English business!

No time could be wasted. The Frenchman had to be tried.

A court was convened, but the trial quickly descended into farce. No one could speak French and no amount of torture could induce him to write or sign his dastardly intentions. Tired of the trial- and unwilling to wait for the magistrate- the people gathered together and hung the French Spy.

Two days later the magistrate arrived and had the terrible affair explained to him. The principles of the trial took him to see the corpse and the magistrate finally discovered what had happened.

Hanging outside the Town Hall was a dead chimp.

The hairiness, the strange face, the uniform- it was no Frenchman- rather, a mascot-the ship’s ape- at the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Neighbouring towns, of course, didn't find this funny at all. In fact, even to this day, shouts of 'Monkey 'anger' follow Hartlepoolites where ever they go.

Given that, Sigmar's Sizzling sausage seems positively normal...

-The BI Dev Team

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Pretty pictures in your head

So, we've been trying to upload a picture so we could write about it for your blogging edification and delight- sadly, there seems to be some problem putting pictures up at the moment.

Thusly we've stripped out some of the old pics from the Blog (hope you don't mind) and decided to have another crack at it later.

That doesn't mean you have to go without your weekly dose of WFRP trivia however- it just means we'll have to be a little DIY about it.

So stop reading this and go and get your WFRP rule book. If you haven't got one, then what are you doing reading this? You've obviously surfed in here at random and haven't got a clue what we're talking about. That or your simply haven't got round to ordering one from our marvellous webstore (plug plug)

Anyway, got your paws on the book? Good, so see the characters on the front cover? See the bald headed guy with the hammer? That's Jurgen Heim. We were going to talk about him because we feel guilty.

Yeah, guilty- see if you look at all the WFRP books you'll notice these characters turn up quite alot. Except for Jurgen. It breaks down like this:

Old World Bestiary- Urrel Two axe (the Dwarf)and Otto Enbarr (the Wizard) vs a Wyvern
Ashes of Middenheim- Urrel and Gorge von Ostwald (bearded guy) vs Skaven, with Kera of Ostermark and Jurgen in the background (and even then Jurgen's on the spine)
Spires of Altdorf- Otto solo against Crimson skull cultists
Forges of Nuln- Urrel and Kera against an undead thing
Barony of the Damned- Kera vs swamp creatures- or possibly Mousillon peasantry (it's a blurry line between the two)

So we were thinking maybe Jurgen should get some more coverage somewhere- question is, on what? He's an interesting character- and we've got a heap of backstory for him-the thing is, where do we best use his talents? hmmm. Take a read and join us in the pondering.

-BI Dev Team

Jurgen was dedicated to Sigmar upon the day he was born. A shrivelled bundle upon a doorstep he was found, and taken in by an Abbess of a Learned Order. He was soon taught to copy scripture, but over time it became clear no matter how patient the teacher, Jurgen could not read. He could draw the shapes, yet they meant nothing to him. In this small community, folk who should have known better began to whisper- what sort of being authored this fatherless child? Why was he unable to read holy text?

Soon Jurgen left. He fled to the army, and the tutelage of the Warrior Priests. His prodigious memory made him excellent at learning the blessings of battle and rites of the fallen. Rough soldiers did not care if he signed for his pay with an ‘X’. He grew strong and skilled, fighting for Sigmar and Empire. When the Storm of Chaos came, he did his part upon the field of battle, yet his heart turned from this bloody work. When all he knew had fallen, he fled to the Catacombs of Middenheim to shelter from the war.

Jurgen wears armour typical of his priestly sect. His bronze hammer is of Dwarf make, with the sigil of the holy comet etched upon its sides. Clasped to his belt are several prayer inscriptions, which he has copied out from memory. These are written in ink blessed by the Grand Theoginist himself. When times are hard, Jurgen sells these scrolls as protective charms. He also possesses a book gifted to him upon his initiation. He has no idea what secrets this holds.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Back in the Saddle

Well, we've returned from Christmas and New Year mostly intact- probably minus some brain cells and added some pounds- and we're back slaving away over a hot computor.

More posts later- when we've dug through the backlog of email!

-The BI dev team