Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Dakadakadak tsssuu! BOOOM!

Those of you who have been keeping up to date with our website will know that we're currently working on the first of three Warhammer 40,000 roleplaying games.

For those not in the know, we are currently developing a game called 'Dark Heresy' set in the far flung, gothic future of the 41st Millenium. Players take the roles of acolytes, assisting Inquisitors in defending the Imperium of Mankind against the looming threat of Aliens, Heretics, Warp Daemons and worse. It's a dark, brooding game where players form part of a thin line of defence, saving Imperial citizens from horrors they likely don't even know exist. Whatever happens, you will not be missed.

The game has a rules system evolved from Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, which is similar in feel, if different in detail.

Of late, we have been playtesting this new system- in fact, we ran our first scenario this lunch time. Our Acolytes answered the summons of Inquisitor Finial Stern, a rather stony faced individual, who dispatched them to the deepest mines of Sophano Prime, where the workers have been troubled by infestations of Greenskins. This gave us the perfect excuse to run through the combat rules and really go to town on the equipment lists.

Very handy that, as Tim Huckelbery, the man behind the Equipment chapter in the Dark Heresy rule book, popped by our offices today to chat about just what we were going to include. Tim has spent the last three months locked in a basement with just about every 40k book published, cross referencing, indexing and writing up the best of the best guns, ammo, armour and explosives. There are going to be some really old classics in Dark Heresy, as well as some new things you've never seen before.

We spent a long time going through some of the crazy new things we'll have to invent for those odd situations roleplaying groups always seem to get themselves in. From explosive collars to ration catheters, Anesthetic glue and religious relics all manner of curious, specialist and unusual stuff is in the works.

Of course, we did spend quite a long time debating pronnunciation (does 'Lho' rhyme with 'glow' or does it sound like 'willow'? is it 'Las-pistol' or 'Laze-pistol'?) and of course that all important element- sound effects. Just what does a Bolter sound like?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What I think is going on in Bögenhafen

We're now up to our fifth session of The Enemy Within. We're playing with a group of six (though not all of us can make it every time) and whilst the odd session gets postponed we still manage about a session a week. Whilst we do a lot of playtesting and quick run-throughs at BI this is our chance to get right into character and develop a group of PCs over a lengthy period.

The campaign is now well underway and plots are becoming convoluted. From the GM's side of the table it is both a joy and a concern to see the red herrings ardently pursued as the main plot creeps by quietly unnoticed. However, the odd events going on in the town and the strange reactions from many of the people the characters have met (including a near incomprehensible but jolly member of Bögenhafen's bourgeoisie and a group of elf-hating watchmen) are building up to a holistic vista of nastiness that even the PC's are hard-pressed to ignore. In an attempt to further focus their attentions on what's going on I had each of the players write up a short essay entitled "What I think is going on in Bögenhafen".

Some spoilers follow, so if you haven't read The Enemy Within campaign please beware...

What I think is going on in Bögenhafen, by Gideon Funter (Mal Green)
Oh it all got very complicated very quickly. All we were doing was gallumping along and having fun on the way to receiving a huge payout for doing nothing and all of a sudden we find out we've been duped! Trying to work out the plot which brought us gullible idiots to Boganhafen has hurt my head - intelligence of 47 is not helping at all. Anyway I'm keen to blunder on and bust the mysterious den of chaos that we've found - that seems straightforward, how difficult could it be?

What I think is going on in Bögenhafen, by Alexa Drull 18 3/4 (Kate Flack)
Well, I recon Heinrich has an unfortunate resemblance to some sort of criminal mastermind like, what bounty hunters are tryin' to capture - but they're bein' a bit clever like, on account of his extreme dangerousness. So, like idiots, we've come here to Bögenhafen an' started askin' round an' drawin' attention to ourselves. Like as not, we'll be jumped by a pack a mercinary fellas the next time we're drunk. What is probably like to be this evenin'. Meanwhile, we've discovered a dirty little secret about one of the merchant familys what run this place, what kind of means we're on their hit list too. On the other hand, about the best chance we got of making some serious Karls is findin' out if we can blackmail the merchants. Still, I ain't happy about it at all - I mean, I never seen fellow coves so cowed by bean sellers before - that Bögenhafen is a funny place an' no mistake. Still, as my old pa used to say, 'ain't no profit in an easy route' I figure there's clank to be made - we just got to be canny is all.

What I think is going on in Bögenhafen, by Hans Gottried (Owen Barnes)
There is indeed something deeply wrong about this place and with the recent unfolding of events I feel as if I have blundered into some poorly scripted melodrama as one might watch in any of the theatre houses of the Empire. While my good-natured companions are a-cry with it being the taint of Chaos and presence of evil magicks, I personally think the strange behaviour of the inhabitants of Bögenhafen is in fact a side effect of living in the town itself. Possibly it is the result of residue swamp gases or maybe some brain disease that springs from close proximity to the river, whatever the case I have observed its malign influence everywhere, especially in the children, who are far less respectful of their elders than they should be and should know better than to bother a man carrying a blood splattered chicken.

What I think is going on in Bögenhafen, by Kurt Heidel (Ed Morris)
"Just a quick trip down the river," she said. "It’ll be fine," she said, "we’ll be rich beyond our wildest dreams." I tell you this, that’s the last time I listen to Alexa. Oh well, if only all women could be like my mother, and no, I don’t mean dead and rich. I’m too trusting, that’s my problem…and honest, as honest as the day is long. Anyway, I digress, basically, if you ask me, we’ve been stitched up tighter than a Marienburg kipper. The money’s gone, we seem to have walked into a trap and to make matters worse we seem to have stumbled into a den of the Ruinous Powers, praise be to Sigmar, bless his name. I’m not normally a religious man but it pays to keep your options open, especially when you have already had an unfavourable encounter with a Witchhunter, well, we didn’t know he was a Witchhunter now did we. At least in my defence I can say that I didn’t hit him, not with that sucking chest wound of mine. So, a game of cards was it? Slippery Pig I believe you said, of course you’ll have to bear with me, I’m no gambler.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Taking your work home with you

So, over the weekend some of the BI crew got together for a beer and movies evening.

On the viewing list was 'Call of Cthulu' 'Ed Wood' and 'Hudsucker Proxy' but none of these fine films formed the highlight of the evening- no, the peak of our saturday night viewing was the Eurovision song contest.

For our non-European readers, this is a sort of musical equivalent of the Olympics. Each country comes up with a song then we all vote on which was the best. The winner gets to host the following years contest- and of course, gets all the glory. In the past, perhaps the greatest thing to come out of the Eurovision song contest has been Abba.

We were pausing between films, and accidentally spotted Finland's entry. They looked like they had escaped from the pages of Tome of Corruption. Huge seven foot fur clad viking types, with mutated faces and huge axes. So, naturally we had to stop our movie fest and support the guys who looked like Chaos Warriors.

And what do you know? they won.

Europe could have voted for all manner of pop pixies and semi-clad women, but no. Given the choice, we went for armour, axes and songs about demons...

A good omen for Tome of Corruption? We hope so!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Da Horsley Code

Ralph Horsley popped over to our offices today with the cover for Tome of Corruption. Boy, is it a big painting- A3 and then some!

Even though we've been working with the picture for some time now (it has pride of place on the BI art board) it's always great to see the original 'in the flesh' as it were. You get to see so much more detail- the brush strokes, the lines and all the rest of the good stuff.

Those of you who've seen the cover of Realms of Sorcery will definately recognise parts of this picture- we wanted to continue the 'story' of a wizard who witnesses the power of Chaos...and many years later decides to get in on the action.

Also, those of you that are into your Da Vinci Code art message conspiracy stuff might find one or two things to make you smile- be it the 8 stages of the Slaaneshi cultist, or the real identity of the frenzied artist...

Any how, vague claims aside, heres one of our favorite details from the peice:

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Whats in the works

We've been so busy of late, telling you about our nights out and our gaming sessions, that we've not really mentioned any of the stuff we've been getting up to.

So, this week we have mostly been...

Finishing the WFRP Companion.
This has swelled from 96 to 128 pages, and we're just doing the final checks before we send it off to the printers. This book introduces some new WFRP writers to the fold, together with some more experienced hands- chaps like Dan White, Owen Barnes, Andrew Law, Jody Macgregor, Andrew Kenrick, Rob Schwalb and Steve Darlington.

There's a whole heap of different things in this book- social conflict rules to the history of the Imperial gunnery school, but we particularly like it as it's got lots of sailing action in it- from the city of S-ARR!-tosa to riv-ARR! life. Thus we've been in a sort of pirate mood of late. Let's hope you enjoy the nautical notions as much as we do...

Staring at the Tome of Corruption
This big book of Chaos is starting to transform into something like its final state- 256 full colour pages of Chaos Goodness. From it's d1000 mutation tables to its chapters on Norscan, Kurgan and Hung life it's fairly dripping with nastiness. At the moment we're experimenting with meaty skin textures to form the background for side bars and the like- which is a bunch of fun, if you happen to like Quark.

The book is divided into sections- Chaos in the Empire, chaos in the wilderness, chaos in the Frozen North and the Realm of Chaos itself. This picture is 'The Catalogue of Flesh'-one of the forbidden tomes you can find in the Empire section- together with a whole host of other unpleasant objects. Anyway, delicate reader, the less said on that the better...

Playtesting Renegade Crowns

Bit of an unusual book this one- it's about the Border Princes, which is a sort of evershifting badlands where petty Kingdoms rise and fall without the rest of the Old World caring or even noticing. We didn't want to produce a gazetter style book about this region, as it kind of invalidates the whole theme of the area to pin it down to a map and listings. So we tasked David Chart with producing a 'design your own Kingdom' book, which would allow GM's to create their own corner of the Warhammer World and then run campaigns there. We also wanted to cover campaigns where PCs work to either steal or carve out their own Principalities.

Well, David has done us proud by producing some really devious plot hooks and detailed generation charts. Not only that, he's also turned in his work early- meaning we can get some really thorough playtest action in on this. We might even get round to putting our Principalties online... who knows?

Reading historical texts
We've been doing some research for 'Lure of the Lich Lord' This adventure is our take on 'intelligent tomb romp' and also a tie into the Renegade Crowns sourcebook. Its features a dungeon crawl with a twist, plus all the fun of negotiating between some powerful Border Princes. PC's could end up very rich...or very extinct. With that in mind, we've been reading about the Egyptian Book of the Dead and the Assyrian King Sennacherib

Thinking about Hive Cities

Ben Counter has been doing some great work on Warhammer 40,000: Dark Heresy, including some really unusual Hive Cities... but more on that later...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The WFRP birthday Bash!

Some time ago we asked our forum folk to come up with some great ideas on what
we could do to celebrate the first birthday of WFRP2.

We had loads of great suggestions- from launching our office furniture with a trebuchet to 24 hour gaming marathons. Sadly, we could only pick a couple of winners- and they were Thomas Aagaard for inviting us to his Live action Warhammer battle, Kasper Brohus for suggesting giving a little something back and putting up some money off deals on our website, and of course Eric Stone for suggesting an evening of curry, booze and hilarity.

We promised to give you a progress report on how the big party went- so here it is!

Friday night in sunny Nottingham started out inside Bugmans Bar (our on site pub) where the catering Halflings had done us proud with two steaming vats of curry, onion bahjis poppadoms and even little tiny naan bread. You can see from the pics that this was exactly the sort of meal any self respecting Warhammer PC's would be falling over themselves to guzzle.

Of course, curry wasn't the only thing on Eric's list- there was of course lashings of beer, wine and a huge cake- the size of two WFRP books across... Needless to say, with 20 or so folks who had all had a hand in getting WFRP made there, it lasted about as long as a rat in a Rumster's pie factory.

Stomachs lined, we then had speeches. There were lots of people to thank- chaps like Christian Dunn, who got the cover drawn, Darius Hinks, who made the logo, the Sales Guys- here and in the US- who actually got the book into gaming stores, Rowland Cox- master of the schedule, All our Moderators, Simon Butler and Ewan Lamont, Marc Gascgoine, Green Ronin, Alan Merrett, Gav Thorpe, Rick Priestly and John Blanche, the web guys oh... and loads more folk. Needless to say, there was some heckling...but thankfully no bahji fights broke out.

After a few more libations, a few folk started to fail their stinking drunk rolls, and went home, but the rest of us, stout of heart and iron of liver solidered on, moving up the Nottingham canal to The Trip to Jerusalem and Via Fossa. Barges were encountered on the way, but remained safely unsunk.

Ragnar's kilt attracted some attention from a screeching hen party, but he survived the encounter physically unscathed. (though everyone who watched gained an insanity point) Then, just to annoy the GM...ah...reporter the group divided. Some flagging souls headed home, some went off to get changed into best quality clothes and others headed off to hunt the elusive beast known as Kashp'oint.

So, having fended off harpies, outwitted cunning number puzzles, travelled upriver, consumed brown and lumpy food as well as much beer, the party felt the need to head somewhere dark, dank and cavernous. Our sticky floored goal was soon identified as The Cookie Club, and having slipped through a door guarded by a large, threatening Ogre, we made our way inside to enjoy some of the critical hits of the 80's. We got to practice some of our skills and talents- Strike Mighty Pose, Secret Signs (your round) Lip Reading, Blather and even Flee! (if you were there you know what we mean)

By 2am the party was tired, spattered in unspecified dance floor muck, and much reduced in numbers. It was all we could do to trudge home and ponder just how much experience we'd earned, and how it would affect our next career.

Who knows what next years will be like? Get your thinking caps on...

-BI Dev Team

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Shadows Under Bögenhafen

Well the party have reached a crucial point of the campaign now as they embark on the trail of an escaped greenskin and explore an exciting environment. Just to recap the members:

Mal Green – Gideon Funter (Apprentice Grey Wizard). The Shadowmancer in training with a talent for falling into effluent channels.
Kate Flack – Alexa Drull (Smuggler looking to go into Charlatanry). Still haggling over the price of a pie despite about to become stinking rich (or maybe just stinking).
Christian Byrne – Heinrich Klein (Seaman with an eye to learning how to become a mate). The first one to fall in.
George Mann – Alcar (Thief). “I’m not going down there!”

Ed Morris – Kurt Heidel (Gambler). Ed should console himself with the fact that every party needs a member who can’t pass a test.
Owen Barnes – Hans Gottreid (Herbalist). Perhaps the preparation of some aromatic herbs might come in handy now...

George couldn’t make it this week, but it was easy to figure out a way for his character to take a back seat for the session...

Alcar: So, what’s a sewer?

The importance of adequate trappings is expounded on...

Alexa: I thought I had some rope, but I only have string.
Gideon: Get plaiting.

Some Goblin bait is procured from the livestock market...

Gideon: The air smells fouler here.
Alexa: It’s the chicken.
GM: Bok! Bok! B-aaaawk!

Some dark secrets are revealed...

Hans: An Elf covered in cess... now that’s something I’d pay to see.
Gideon: I have paid to see that!

It’s always good to make sure your players are having a good time...

GM: So how are you enjoying the WFRP dungeon bash?
Christian: When do we come across the big see-through cube?
GM: Seeing as you mention it (has amoeba attack Heinrich).

This one's a bit of an in-joke I'm afraid...

GM: Does anyone have Sixth Sense?
Kate: Is that a talent?
Ed: Well you wouldn't believe it, but I'm Lucky!

The eager party are tutored on some of the finer points of etiquette...

GM: Future mega-rich Old Worlders do not visit their lawyers covered in cess.
Ed: When we have our 20,000 Karls we can visit the lawyers in what we like.
Mal: We can make them wear cess!

At the end of play the Gongometer gave the following reading...

Alexa: Fell in once.
Hans: Fell in twice.
Heinrich: Fell in twice.
Kurt: Fell in twice. Splashed once.
Gideon: Fell in four times. Splashed twice.

Monday, May 08, 2006

quote for the day

"That's what I love about the Warhammer World- the good guys are just the bad guys with a symbol of authority"- Mike Ball

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Friday night in Nottingham

We've been preaching it for ages, but finally, it is upon us!

Tomorrow and curry...

The birthday bash is nearly here!

It's taken a while to arrange all the right folks in the same room at once, but it should be worth it.

We've got a fine selection of greasy curried food prepared by the Halflings at Bugmans bar, plus money behind the bar for wine, beer and ale.

Darts games have been promised and there are bound to be plenty of toasts to the continuing good health of WFRP!

More info (and incriminating photos) on Monday.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

All the Fun of the Fair

This session saw the party faffing about in Weissbruck listening to the GM do funny voices for what seemed like forever. When they finally reached the port by the bend in the river they postponed the opportunity to make loads of cash by either visiting the lawyers or fencing off some salvaged firearms, and made straight for the thrills of the Sheep Festival. Some people eh?

The GM’s portrayal of working class women from Weissbruck meets with respect.

Innkeeper’s Wife: Orlwroight Oi’ll just show yew to yer rooms - foller me please. This woiy!
Mal: You sound like Pam Ayres!

Chuck Morrison’s Bladed Weapons Critical Hits got an outing.

Player One: Ooh!
Player Two: Ha ha ha ha ha!
Player Three: Owch!!
Player Four: Urgh!
Player Five: (Deathly Silence).

Bloomin’ penny pinching party members, you’d think they were saving up for some suits of armour or something! Aren’t they about to inherit bucket loads of cash?

Gideon: I cast drop on the scribe so that he drops his quill.
GM: Urrm, OK. He drops it and bends down to pick it up again.
Alcar: While he’s distracted I steal his ink!

More tight-fistery follows!

Fortune Teller: Cross my palm with silver, and I will reveal the secrets of your future!
Alexa: Silver! What a rip off! Grumble grumble. (Haggle test).
Fortune Teller: Cross my palm, with brass…

Soon the GM gets the chance to wow the party with his grasp of foreign languages.

Doctor Malthusias: Return here in one hour to see more astounding zoological freaks, brought to you at great expense from all corners of the known world!
Alexa: Is that the best you’ve got? You better have more on display when we get back.
Heinrich: Yeah! We’ve seen odder than that on the road between Garndorf and Ravenstein.
Gideon: Not very impressive.
Three-Legged Goblin: Razzgh’nn!! Nhaghzz’n fach’h! Grat nak nak!!

Dwarfs eh? They’re all brilliant smiths aren’t they?

Alexa: Maybe if we let him go he’ll make us one of those rune weapons.
Incarcerated Dwarf: Yuhp! Yuhp! Pay silver pis! Lemmego mmhnnnthnn – tink tink tink! Wuun weppon!! Yay! Heh
Hans: What I think he means is that if we set him free he’ll ruin a weapon for us.

- Dave Allen