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25 August 2015 @ 01:10 pm
A Grim World of Perilous Adventure  
I wrapped up another RPG game!

There's a couple blog posts about it in the Warhammer RPG tag, but I haven't written that much about. I took softlykarou's wood elf treesinger, oddsboy's Arabyan [note spell] warrior-poet, and another friend's innkeeper-turned-berserker from a prison underneath an apple-farming village filled with cultists, to a small Imperial town under siege by goblin bands, to a roadside inn under attack by bizarre creatures in the swamp mists, to glorious Middenheim, where the PCs went through the original WFRP 1e corebook adventure and then through a modified-to-unrecognizability version of Ashes of Middenheim, foiling a cult's attempt to taint Middenheim's water and mutate large parts of the city and then skipping town in search of the wood elf's sister and hoping that the remaining conspiratorial factions didn't burn the city down while they were gone.

The Warhammer tagline is up there in the subject, but there wasn't really that much that was grim about this game. I did play up the uneasiness that the humans of the Empire treated wood elves, especially ones with tattoos on all visible skin and feathers braided into their hair, but I didn't have the nobility or cops harass the PCs, I didn't get them thrown out of anywhere for being miscreants, and I didn't play up the disadvantages of a wandering lifestyle. Part of that is because the game took place after the Storm of Chaos, so the roads and Middenheim were packed with refugees and heavily-armed vagabonds were more the norm rather than something that the nobility would want to stamp on right quick, but the other part is that the PCs were very lucky.

The dice favored them in nearly all circumstances, and when they weren't getting good rolls, their opponents were failing too so it didn't matter. WFRP is famous for the critical hit tables, but the PCs suffered two critical hits over the whole game--both of them hit the innkeeper, and one of them was a critical to the head that stunned him for one round. The other was a critical to the leg that cost him half his next action. No flying limbs to be seen, at least on the PCs' side, and this despite the fact that I'm not sure the innkeeper ever rolled a defense during the whole game.

And while one of the oft-discussed problems with nonhumans in RPGs is that it's nearly impossible to maintain their mystique when humans have to play them, the dice were so good to the treesinger that the other PCs started introducing her as "Tallana Deathdealer" for her skill with a bow. She repeatedly succeeded in Ride rolls to do horse tricks with her horse familiar despite not possessing the Ride skill, and as for her treesinger skills, she won the final cultist battle almost singlehandedly with a casting of A Murder of Crows that did maximum damage.

I've said I learn something from every game I run to completion, and what I learned from this Warhammer game was--don't force a mood. I bet you'd find a lot of people online who would say I'm playing Warhammer wrong, that we should go back to D&D, blah blah blah, but we had a ton of fun with our Comedic Game of Reluctant Adventure. I've seen it said that there's no point in a GM adding humor to a game, because the players will provide plenty of it no matter what the tone is, but here I think it improved things. It turned out a lot better than if I had artificially tried to make the game more grimdark.

There's another of the games I've wanted to run for years down. Next up, I do an actual short playtest adventure of Warlords of the Mushroom Kingdom!
 
 
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