Monday, 30 April 2012

Z is for Zombies

Zombies1 are by far the most well known undead creature of the Old World. War, plague, and just day-to-day death leave the raw materials for necromancers of all stripes to raise and master mere slaves to crushing armies.

From the vampire counts of Sylvania to upstart wizards of a Ruinous Power in Bretonnia the chance of the common Old World citizen to have not experienced an encounter with these creatures is almost none. More often the masters of the walking dead meet their deaths at the hand of brave individuals and mighty heroes in the service of the Emperor. Depending on the power mustered over the zombie by the necromancer, the zombie may simply collapse or begin to aimlessly wander. It is not unknown to find bands of 10 or a 100 zombies roaming the fields, hills or forgotten graveyard after the death of a necromancer. These are the easiest to destroy and farmers can make short work of them.

It is the zombie hoard that is controlled by the necromantic magic of a vampire count that is most feared. Often quick and seemingly endowed with an intelligence to react to changing battlefield conditions, these hoards instill terror in villages and towns facing them. 

  1. [1] Apologies for the empty post this morning. I had two versions in the queue and failed to delete the empty post.

Posted by caffeinated at 12:01 AM in d10

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Y is for The Yellow Fang

The agents of the Ruinous Powers hide everywhere. They hide in the shadows cast in alleys from pyres built to cleanse the souls of their confederates.

It is expected that these agents form cults serving their dark masters and The Yellow Fang is quite typical of these cults. Dedicated to the Skaven's god The Horned Rat, the Yellow Fang operates out of Carroburg, Middenland. Members often tattoo themselves with a yellow fang or pull an eye tooth to hang from a necklace hidden under a shirt or collar--so common are missing teeth in the Old World this act goes unnoticed by almost everyone.

The cult works closely with their masters, the foul rat men, but harbor a secret at the very top of the cult that amounts to betrayal. Working to bring decay and despair to the Empire and hasten its collapse for the Skaven, The Yellow Fang plots to master and overthrow the Skaven should the end game occur. The conflict is a natural one considering the betrayal found within the Skaven's own ranks.

The Yellow Fang has worked its way into moderate positions of political power in Carroburg and have expanded to Altdorf and other cities. These new cults are expected to pay tribute to their Carroburg sponsors in providing both slaves for the Skaven's Under Empire and as sacrifices to the Horned Rat. This ring of kidnapping removes the attention generated by such acts from Carroburg to the other cities and the new members eager to please.
Posted by caffeinated at 12:01 AM in d10

Friday, 27 April 2012

X is for Xnen'Ledh, Lesser Daemon of Slaanesh

It is said that every being has a True Name. Knowing the true name of any beast, man, elf, dwarf, or halfling is said to grant complete power over of that being. In matters of magic and the Aethyr this knowledge is sought after often at great expense and great punishment.

Xnen'Ledh1 is the true name of a Lesser Daemon of Slaanesh, the Chaos Lord--or Lady--of Pleasure, patron of all things beautiful and seductive. Xnen'Ledh is actually two beings, Xnen and Ledh, that go by the more common name of The Blonde Sisters. The name belies an insidious ensorcelling power to enthrall those that should cross Xnen'Ledh's path.

Xnen'Ledh presents a powerful illusion of normality that begins to fall as their thralls become more entwined in their seductive games. When the illusions fail, Xnen'Ledh's dark leathery wings are said to be first revealed. The thrall may now begin to understand that the dark angels have fully entwined them in a dark plot of which there is no escape but death. In the final form their opposite bone white pincers are revealed. It is often that the thralls find themselves at the end of their usefulness as the pincers cut deeply in a blood feast to Xnen'Ledh. A particularly useful and beautiful thrall might very well experience this death embraced by The Blonde Sisters in carnal finality that leaves the body a drained husk.

The Blonde Sisters are inseparable and readily identifiable by those knowing what to watch for. Xnen'Ledh travels to the great cities of the Old World using their tempting and seductive appearance to weave plots of such complexity no mortal could ever perceive the end game, all in service of Slaanesh.

  1. [1] 'X' seems to be the most difficult letter for WFRP A-to-Z. For me at least. Last year I created a Lustrian blood daemon. This year I went to the sourcebooks and created a "lesser daemon" using tools for game masters in the Tome of Corruption. Enjoy this additional piece of creativity.

Posted by caffeinated at 12:01 AM in d10

Thursday, 26 April 2012

WFRP Genre Fiction

It's hard to believe but my last campaign game for WFRP was nearly 3 years ago.

At the end of that campaign the daughter of one of the players joined the group playing a Dilettante name Siassa Jean-Aubry of Bretonnia. I loved the idea of the character so much I started some fiction based on her introduction to the group. I completed a "first chapter" of about 1500 words.

Here's a teaser. Tell me if you think you would want read some more.

A disjointed chorus of screams carried on the warm, humid wind reached the battlements of Castle Bordeleaux. The purple sunset in the west cast a long shadow below Saissa, over the long knoll upon which the castle set. In Bordeleaux proper the streets and alleys were pitch from the shadows and made darker still by the thick columns of black smoke that hung over the city. The tallest buildings seemed to clutch at the sky hoping to keep the sun from setting, the spires beacons of orange light against a rolling black curtain.

Saissa scanned the rooftops of the city looking for the more affluent merchant quarters of Bordeleaux. A merlon and arrow loop blocked her view to the south. She thought better of leaning out over the embrasure, then looked to her right where the wall made a graceful turn to look over the city and its southern reaches. If not for the battlements, she would then be able to see parts of the warehouse and docks.

Saissa turned and made a quick crouching dash to the right hoping for that better view. A door burst open ahead of her and more than a dozen men spilled onto the wall-walk. She stood upright and whispered, “Manann protect me.” 

“TAKE YOUR STATIONS YOU HONORLESS MAGGOTS! THE TREE LINE IS A DEAD LINE! YOUR TASK IS SIMPLE! NO MAN, WOMAN, CHILD, OR BEAST APPROACHES THIS WALL!” the landed sergeant-at-arms screamed as each conscripted peasant archer ran in file past Saissa. Each archer ignored her, or at least only glanced in her direction for the briefest of moments. Was that one’s eyes swollen red with tears? Yes, but he was behind her before she could get a better look. She turned quickly to see the next man push Red Eyes forward as he stumbled. 

She turned back to look into the tabard of the sergeant. He was a full head taller than Saissa. 

“Deylaud! remove this WOMAN from MY wall!” The sergeant was a very strong man and his order was not to be questioned. The sergeant’s hand, callused from training, grasped Saissa’s shoulder. In a sweep to his left, he pressed forward and she was pushed into the two handed grasp of Deylaud. Deylaud was equally strong and Saissa felt as if she fell into brick wall. The sergeant was now shouting at each archer taking positions in the merlons and loops, stacking quivers and stringing their longbows.
Posted by caffeinated at 8:45 PM in d10

W is for Warpstone

Known more commonly in the Empire as wyrdstone, warpstone is an extremely dangerous mutagenic substance. It is an extremely rare ore said to be solid magic.

Its appearance in raw form is said to be varied, even shifting, in shape, but all accounts state that it possesses an inner glow of a sickly yellow-green. Scholars suggest that raw warpstone is the manifestation of all winds, or colors, of magic, constantly absorbing and radiating magic back into the environment. The property of absorbing magic appears to be its most dangerous aspect. Left to absorb, undisturbed, it becomes solid Dhar, or Dark Magic, and thus conveying its reputation as a mutagen.

While rare, it is highly sought after by magical scholars in study, often heretical study, alchemists in the transmutation of mundane elements to gold, and by the Skaven whom use it both as a drug and a tool in dark experiments biological and martial. The rarity, legend, and demand, make even small amounts highly valuable.

Whatever the origin--or availability--of wyrdstone, one only needs to know that it is highly toxic to all things, save the Skaven. No one curious about wyrdstone need look very far for written stories of those that have encountered the substance growing an eye in the palm of the hand touching it, or new mouths, or simply becoming a shifting mass of boneless flesh, sinew, and fluid. Fates all but possibly the last soon find their body and soul cleansed in fire, often tied to a stake.
Posted by caffeinated at 12:01 AM in d10

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

X-Y-Z and something funny

The Blogging A-to-Z 2012 Challenge is wrapping up this week. ACD is ready with X, Y, and Z drafted or written and queued for GMT (and you were wondering why my daily posts seemed to drop a day ahead!).

Thanks again to Ben Scerri of versamus; we roll for helping out! He not only posted in my absence, but he suggested quite a few of the topics as we wind the challenge down. Visit his blog and encourage his muse. He's got some great gaming ideas for WFRP.

One thing that I love doing is looking at the query referrals from Google in my analytics. I always see a traffic spike in April in anticipation of the A-to-Z challenge. The traffic is nothing to trumpet, WFRP is a niche demographic after all, but the fiction can be compelling. Let's look at the top ten queries for April to date shall we:

  1. (not set)
  2. rpg whorehouse names
  3. brothel name generator
  4. pathfinder characters
  5. another caffinated day
  6. fantasy empire name generator
  7. free animal sex stories
  8. pathfinder ranger
  9. wfrp blog
  10. inns of the empire

So ACD is famous for brothels, whorehouses, and bestiality fanfic. Huh? #10 actual tells the larger story about all the brothels and whorehouses, it's my JavaScript WFRP coaching inn, tavern, hostel name generator (linked in the list for your ready use). I've highlighted other items that I find important to the success of ACD.

But the bestiality fanfic...odd. Is there a demand? Can I get paid instead of giving it away? I mean, if there's a demand...


It seems sometime in 2008 I had trackbacks unmoderated. A quick search of Google found the offending post. Over 40 bestiality links in the form of trackback spam! Corrected. Now to get Google to recrawl the entry. Wish I could have got a cut of what ever referrals those folks were getting!
Posted by caffeinated at 2:20 PM in d10

V is for Van Hal

More than a millennia has passed since the Great Plague swept across the Empire in 1111. Millions perished and were buried across the land in great pits. Geheimnisnacht, the night of mysteries, would reveal however that the dead did not rest. Following a great meteor storm that grave night the dead begin to walk in the County of Sylvania. Clawing out of the loose ground and over each other to soullessly return to the streets, temples, and homes across the land; many naked, all rotting, and each murderously determined.

It was this night that Count Frederik van Hal (some spell it Hel), a secretive necromancer, saw opportunity and seized it. Binding the listless dead to his command he started a campaign that sought to purge Sylvania of Skaven that had invaded in the wake of the plague. The campaign a success evolved into one of terror. Refugees poured across the borders of neighboring duchies and diplomatic efforts to send Empire troops to deal with the undead and Vanhal, as the necromancer came to be known, fell on deaf ears. Sylvania was ceded to Van Hal's reign.

Vanhal, following his "civil war," used his undead army to build Vanhaldenschlosse, or Castle of Vanhal. He ruled from Vanhalenschlosse and built large rooms and studies dedicated to necromancy. Van Hal was assassinated by his greatest apprentice, Lothar van Diehl. Van Diehl controlled the armies of undead for a short time, but Vanhal's spirit haunted the land and soon led a band of Sylvanian Knight's to Vanhaldenschlosse driving Van Diehl to exile. The armies of undead, leaderless--Vanhal's spirit was too weak to bind them--dispersed across the land in witless bands. The people found them easy targets and soon retook the land from the undead, if for a short time.

Scholars, some courting the heresy of not accepting official historical accounts, speculate that Vanhal was a pawn of a mysterious and manipulative Prince Vladimir. These heretical scholars say that Vlad von Carstein, first Count of Sylvania, is the same Prince. Vanhal lived over 700 years before Count Vlad is first mentioned in historical tomes in 1797. It is not a stretch to see the heresy, at the very least a libel. These same scholars suggest the truth lies in tomes hidden in the ruins of Vanhaldenschlosse near the Grim Wood in the heart of Sylvania.

Posted by caffeinated at 12:01 AM in d10

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

U is for the Under-Empire

Under the feet of man, dwarves, halflings, vampires, necromancers, and those few elves that walk the lands of the Old World, exists a foul enemy spreading decay and pestilence across the world: the Skaven.

If you were to visit the sanatoriums the Empire it would not be hard to find someone to tell you of the "rats that walk upright." Of course these men and women are in the sanatorium for a reason and the authorities that put them there are quite happy to keep them there.

However, the Under-Empire is real. Only the dwarves can speak to its scope and many will tell you that its web of tunnels cross under deserts, mountains, and great oceans. The dwarves fight a constant battle with the Skaven in their mountain homes. Many holds have been lost to the Skaven, becoming part of the Under Empire. Even now the Dwarven capital, Karaz-a-Karak, guards against the Skaven invasion.

Only the elves can speak to how they guard against the Skaven in Ulthuan, but they do not share. The insane will tell you that High Magic prevents the Under Empire from bringing decay to the High Elves and Wood Elves. Maybe they are not so insane after all.

The Under Empire and its network serves the Skaven in many ways. It provides access to the halls of kings, the cellars of brothels or just access to the great sewers of human settlements where plots of pestilence and poison are seeded. It serves as a network to move slaves and armies to new tunnels or battlefields. Often the tunnels serve as simple mining shafts in search of new sources of warpstone, a mutagenic ore highly prized by the Skaven. Its largest of burrows provide temples to the Skaven's foul god the Horned Rat or to nests for raising their next generation.

Whatever the end game of the Skaven, its Under Empire provides a nigh impenetrable edge shared by members of the Council of Thirteen, the loose collection of Skaven clans that attempts rule through paranoia, but more often rife with infighting and outright assassination.
Posted by caffeinated at 12:01 AM in d10

Monday, 23 April 2012

T is for Teufelfeuer

Devil's Fire. Odd name for a settlement. Ironic that the settlement's name would be its fate as well.

In 2511, by the Imperial Calendar, Fabergus Heinzdork, witch hunter, templar for the Cult of Sigmar, burned Teufelfeuer to the ground and its settlers at the stake, to a dog, with it. The crime as summarily adjudicated by Herr Heinzdork? The village was rumored to have taken up the practice of eating raw meat. Heinzdork benignly questioned the settlers, but discreetly dispatched a rider officially requesting the settlement to be surrounded and quarantined. While waiting for his instructions to be carried out, Heinzdork also purchased much of the village's wine stores as Teufelfeuer was renown in the Empire for great wines--some might argue exceptional wines rivaling Bretonnia!

The settlement remained a charred and overgrown distraction on the road to Altdorf for several years. In 2215, the plot was resettled, some by relatives of the former settlers and new indentured families enlisted by entrepreneurs hoping to rebuild the vineyards that had fallen to neglect. Today, a full seven years later, the settlement is at best able to support subsistence farming and the vineyards still largely unproductive.

Whatever truth of the reasons for burning Teufelfeuer, the witch hunter's speculation on the wine made him rich for a short time and opened doors to politically connected priests in the Cult of Sigmar. Until the wine ran out. Then following a rather public paranoid ranting about corruption in the court of the Grand Theologist for the cult, Fabergus Heinzdork, was found crushed to death by his coach in the stables on his modest, but in great disrepair, estate. It was ruled an accident. Herr Heinzdork's estate was sold off to his numerous creditors.
Posted by caffeinated at 12:01 AM in d10

Saturday, 21 April 2012

S is for Shallya

Shallya is the Goddess of Healing, Mercy and Childbirth. Often depicted as a young, beautiful, and crying maiden, Shallya is the daughter of Verena, Goddess of Learning and Justice and Morr, God of Death and Dreams.

Shallya is served in the Old World by a clergy of all women. The priestesses are hosts, caretakers, and healers in nearly all the shelters, orphanages and hospices of the Empire and beyond. These places serve and honor Shallya though the strict quiet and peace maintained in the service of those in need. Many priestesses are also midwives and hear prayers during childbirth or the planning of families. 

In the capacity as healers, the temples often see the injured in hospices and prayer rooms. For a small donation, many cuts, scrapes and broken bones receive care. For a more modest donation, intercession on behalf of Shallya may be provided in healing rites.

The Old World's armies recognize Shallya's importance in caring for soldiers and muster priestesses in field hospitals. Her priestesses know that while Shallya may not heal all from battle, they provide what comfort they can to the injured. They consider their most important task on the field of battle one of witnessing for peace through the goddess' symbol of the pure white dove.
Posted by caffeinated at 3:13 PM in d10

Friday, 20 April 2012

R is for Rune Magic

Of all the races throughout the Old World, no one seems more beset by decline than the Dwarves (or Dwarfs if you prefer the alternate spelling). The High Elves and their kin the Druchii war endlessly over gods. The Wood Elves are beset by Man encroaching on the great forests, and the Halflings are crowded in their idyllic, and ever, shrinking reservation.

And yet the dwarves, stalwart allies of man and ever bitter toward elves of any stripe, are driven from their mountain homes by enemies too numerous to mention. And magic remains both a boon and bane to them. As a boon, dwarves are highly resistant to magical winds and energy, yet this boon is their bane as they cannot wield magic as other races can. However, in ages past the master craftsman of the great dwarven clans found that they could bind magical energies into runes. Thus was born Rune Magic.

Only dwarven craftsmen appear to be capable of this magic, not even elves appear to have the same talents, though it is known that High Elves have a similar runic magic (whether it behaves the same way is unknown, or if whether it was stolen from the dwarves is another matter).

The secrets of rune magic are closely guarded by the craftsmen that work the forges. Apprentices are chosen at a young age if they are recognized to possess the affinity for magical winds (though not the same affinity found in man and other races as dwarves are incapable of the "witch sight," the direct perception of the magic winds constantly flowing through all things).

Objects such as rings, shields, talismans, and weapons can be bound with terrifying power of the magical winds in runes that can be invoked by the words represented in the runes. The martial tools of rune magic are highly sought throughout the Old World.

Rune Magic is very time consuming, especially given the dwarven craftsmen tendency toward perfection. But having a sword or hammer engraved with runes of power can be the balance in your favor. Sigmar Heldenhammer's great warhammer Ghal-Maraz, or Skull Splitter, was such a weapon.
Posted by caffeinated at 3:21 PM in d10

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Q is for Quaysh

Quaysh is known by common names such as True Magic and High Magic. It is the weaving of all colors of magic into powerful spells that only the High Elves of Ulthuan are able to wield.

It is speculated that when Magnus the Pious consented and chartered the magical colleges of the Empire the High Elf teachers recognized that man was not capable of wielding High Magic. Instead the teacher's choose to identify in man individual attunement to the eight winds. Mastering a single wind of magic was seen as the easy path and less likely to fry the brain in the primitives (as the High Elfs saw mankind). The newly ordained magic users aided in defeating the Chaos armies for Magnus.

The High Elfs returned to Ulthuan and continued to weave Quaysh for their own purposes, whether benign, great or martial. And no purpose is more important than understanding and maintaining the Vortex on the Isle of the Dead in Ulthuan.

Little is known of the magic origins of the Vortex save that the High Elf Masters that crafted it still reside within it in a suspended animation. What is known is that it serves a singular purpose of draining the excess magical energies that threaten to destroy all the world. The High Elves acknowledge a time before man, dwarf, and Chaos where a great star faring race known only as the Old Ones ruled. The Old Ones maintained powerful magical gates in the polar regions of the world. The Old Ones were defeated a great war, or so it is thought, and the gates collapsed, releasing the magical energies in great floods of energy. The High Elves of old understood that the magical energies would destroy the world and learned quickly how to weave it, but the great excesses could not be managed, save drained from the world.

So the Vortex may represent the greatest example of Quaysh and its power. As only the High Elves wield the magical winds in harmony through Quaysh some might say saving the world at the same time. Whether selflessly or not is another debate.
Posted by caffeinated at 1:46 PM in d10

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

P is for Praag

If you had to say one thing about Praag, it is that it is cursed. Utterly, utterly cursed.

The city sits on the River Lynsk, bordering to the north the Troll Country, and to the south Kislev. Due to this location, it is often the first stop for the Kurgan hordes invading the Empire. As such, Praag suffers every time.

P is for Praag on versamus; we roll.

Posted by caffeinated at 1:35 PM in d10

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

O is for Ostland

Ostland is nigh synonymous in the Empire with the Forest of Shadows. Lying on the northern borders of the Empire beyond Middenheim, Ostland cradles the Middle Mountains in forest and wind swept grasslands before the borders of Kislev.

One approaching Ostland from passes over the Middle Mountains will often be struck by the awesome forests stretched out before them. Whether green in the spring and summer or bursting with colors in autumn, even the rich browns and grays of bare hardwoods in winter, are strikingly beautiful, especially to charcoal-burners. Unfortunately, Ostland's beauty from a distance hides the ugliness of war.

As Chaos hordes sweep down from the north, through Kislev, into the Empire in great campaigns of conquest--and then often in brutal retreat--Ostland suffers. Archaon's great campaign of 2522 IC ended in defeat at Middenheim and left Wolfenburg, the great capital of Ostland, in ruins. It is said over 90% of the population of Wolfenburg died in the siege. Camps of refugees still cling to the walls of the once great city. Archaon's armies in retreat left large number of stragglers in the ruins of Wolfenburg and new camps of both Empire sanctioned privateers as well as foolhardy treasure hunters seek to reclaim Wolfenburg for Emperor and Elector (or only part of it for riches).

Ostland's Elector has moved the government to the port city of Salkalten on the Sea of Claws where he pleads with Emperor for real troops to secure Wolfenburg. Unfortunately, the Emperor cannot spare more troops. Already several companies garrison the border with Kislev having followed the retreating Chaos armies to the border. More troops would only raise alarm in Kislev, already sensitive from previous Ostland claims on border territory.
Posted by caffeinated at 12:01 AM in d10

Monday, 16 April 2012

N is for Nagash

If one were to ask: Who is the villain of the Old World? Many would reply with Archaon. This is, however, an incorrect answer. Archaon is merely a vessel for the Chaos Gods, primordial and elemental forces that are opposed to Order and common conceptions of civilisation. They are not evil, and the Empire is not good. They are merely polar opposites on a Lawful-Chaotic spectrum. Therefore, one might point to the Orks or the Skaven and their respective leaders. Again, they are merely opposing ideals.

The answer would be: Nagash, first and greatest of Necromancers.

N is for Nagash at versamus; we roll.

Posted by caffeinated at 11:02 AM in d10

Saturday, 14 April 2012

M is for The Moot

It is not uncommon for the races of the known Old World to know tolerance and prejudice in equal measure. Sometimes however the prejudices are just the tempered expressions of outright hatred for long standing real and perceived grievances for the race in question.

Halflings bear these prejudices in great measure, second only to Elves, for The Mootland, or just "The Moot." The Moot is an idyllic land of rolling hills, verdant pastures, and bountiful fruit orchards and vegetable gardens. It all makes for an untroubled lifestyle for Halflings and the harvests are enjoyed by the Empire at large during Pie Week, where the food and culture of the Halflings are celebrated.

Yet how the Mootland was given to the Halflings--and the Electoral seat too--sets unwell with Stirland and Averland Electors and natives. The Mootland was carved from best farmlands of the two provinces by the Emperor Ludwig the Fat over 1500 years ago. To listen to any Averlander or Stirlander trace property rights in family genealogy tell the hidden story: should the time come to reclaim the lands from the Halflings in some unfortunate calamity, papers can be produced to properly restore "rightful ownerships."

And the Halflings are well aware of the festering sores of the Averland and Stirland Electors and are on vigilant guard, politically, martially, and culturally. However, one threat seems to ever be encroaching on The Moot, more difficult to stand against each year: Sylvania to the North and the World's Edge Mountains on the East.

The vampire counts of Sylvania muster armies of undead for various campaigns against enemies in the Empire and for terrifying wars with the greenskins of the mountains. The conflicts spill over into The Moot. And while the vampire counts do not pay much attention to the Halflings of The Moot, greenskins often find themselves seeking more opportunities to pillage and burn in retreat from some lost battle if for the sake of pillaging and burning, nothing more. And with each conflict, while the map borders never change, the real borders tighten as Halflings refuse to return to lost villages.
Posted by caffeinated at 12:01 AM in d10

Friday, 13 April 2012

Blogging A to Z heads into the downhill run

Thanks for all the comments. I'm catching up on a few and will reply! Ben and I are having a great time with the fiction of WFRP and presenting it to you in the A-to-Z challenge.

Some have asked about the source material. Without diving into defining a role-playing game--the most common reference for most people is Dungeons & Dragons, or D&D--I find it is best to just point people to Wikipedia's entry on Warhammer Fantasy. However, others might know of Warhammer from PC and MMORPG properties like Mark of Chaos and Age of Reckoning, respectively. However, I do not point readers to these games, but to the tabletop pen, pencil and paper game.

For many in this digital age, pens, pencils, and paper are anathema. And yet, I would beg readers to reconsider. Today, these elements find digital augmentation. iPads, iPhones, and "apps" on whatever platform provide dice rollers, character tracking, and gamemaster aids. Digital enhancements even extend to map and game tools for remote gaming. All of this however never takes away from what is probably a greater social experience than any MMORPG can offer: physical presence of friends at a table creating a story and overcoming challenges in game.

In the near two decades of Warhammer setting authorship by too many to mention (some NYT Best Sellers) a deep setting fiction of "grim and perilous" adventure has grown and evolved, nay, mutated. A-to-Z can barely scratch the surface. Ben and I hope you will be intrigued enough to investigate further.

This year, Ben and I have started to realize an wholly unintended theme rising around the magical fiction (and game mechanics) of WFRP. For Harry Potter fans, the colleges of magic, magic lore, magic rules (and there is a highly detailed magic system in WFRP), and winds of magic may be especially intriguing for writers...maybe writers of a grim and perilous nature especially.

Oh... don't forget to comment at versamus; we roll as well as here. Ben would love to hear from you!
Posted by caffeinated at 5:36 PM in d10

L is for Lucky Charms

The peasants (and in many cases, the nobility) of the Old World are a superstitious lot. Given the nature of the Warp and the uncertainty of the existence of material gods, however, this is perhaps the wisest of stances. As such, the culture of the Empire, and indeed beyond, has breed a massive economy dealing in Lucky Charms.

A very apropos entry on this Friday the 13th!

L is for Lucky Charms at versamus; we roll.
Posted by caffeinated at 12:01 AM in d10

Thursday, 12 April 2012

K is for Knights of the Blazing Sun

Few Knightly Orders capture the imaginations of the Old World like the Knights of the Blazing Sun. Whether it is their fantastically ornate armour, their dazzling mirror shields, or their newcomer god, it is anyone’s guess. The simple fact is, during a siege or attack on a coaching in or parish, the Knights of the Blazing Sun always seem to pop up and settle the score.

K is for Knights of the Blazing Sun at versamus; we roll
Posted by caffeinated at 12:01 AM in d10

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

J is for Journeyman Wizard

Earning the status of Journeyman Wizard in one's Order is both freedom from and fealty to the Order.

As an apprentice, a wizard is assigned to a Master Wizard, dealing with burdensome course work and in constant study (as well as just running errands of the Master's choosing). When deemed by the Master to be ready for the level of Journeyman, wizards are licensed by the Order to practice its magic and instructed by the Master to study in "journey," bound by oath to remain more than fifty leagues from Master at all times.

In this capacity, the Journeyman Wizard remains a representative to the wider world of his Order. Transgressions of the Journeyman are reported directly to the Order and the wizard's Master can be held liable by law should the wizard find his or her self of interest to authorities, or worse, Witch Hunters.

Journeyman Wizards learn a trade, offer magical services, or seek adventure--often of a grim and perilous kind; for in great risk can be greater reward--and are eager savers of earnings. These savings are necessary, for at the end of a Journeyman Wizard's journey is re-admittance to the Order's College in Altdorf. This re-admittance is expensive, sometimes arbitrarily so based on the Master's assessment of the wizard, personal or family wealth, the journey, even the journey's length and its reward. Before becoming a Master Wizard themselves, Journeymen Wizards will be tested, both in mastery of the Order's wind and his mettle for the Order's politics.

Posted by caffeinated at 12:01 AM in d10

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

I is for Isha

Isha, the Elven Mother Goddess, is considered by all Elves to be the creator of their race. However, due to the unique methods of divine interpretation and reverence, they also consider all other female "Mother Goddesses" as being a part of Isha, or perhaps Isha as a part of a greater representation of the concept of the "Mother."

I is for Isha at versamus; we roll.
Posted by caffeinated at 12:01 AM in d10

Monday, 9 April 2012

H is for The Handmaidens

The eight winds of magic can be in harmony or discord. In harmony, the winds unlock High Magic, rumored to only wielded by the High Elf Masters. In discord the winds are unpredictable and known as Dhar or Dark Magic, but also easier to wield by man. In between exists the magic practiced by wizards of all orders and capabilities. Across this spectrum of magic it is easy for spells to go wrong.

A spell that goes wrong can have lasting impacts on the psyche of a wizard. Maybe subtle at first, but it is said that by releasing magical energies a wizard's lapsed training or concentration brought on by cracks in the psyche can conjure daemons that feed on a particular wizard's wind.

The Handmaidens are such a poltergeist of the Celestial and Gold wizards, masters of Azyr or Chamon winds. It is rumored The Handmaidens are the souls of burned witches. The sane, relative to how long the wizard has been visited by The Handmaidens, say they first hear The Handmaidens as wings flapping or talons tapping or scraping. Soon, The Handmaidens begin appearing in doorways, windows and portals as feathered and blind shades. Wizards haunted by The Handmaidens soon fear the sound and appearances as The Handmaidens eventually begin merciless attacks. Wizards that have been haunted, some finally insane from attacks, or driven to their deaths, have been found bleeding, or bled, from hundreds of black iron nails embedded in their flesh.

Posted by caffeinated at 5:01 AM in d10

Saturday, 7 April 2012

G is for Geheimnisnacht

Every year, on a particular night, citizens of the Old World shut their doors and windows, snuff out their hearths and quiver in fear, huddled together, and pray for the dawn. This night is Geheimnisnacht--Night of Mysteries--when the dreaded Chaos Moon, Morrslieb, is full and closer than ever to the world whilst Mannslieb also reigns in the sky.

G is for Geheimnisnacht at versamus; we roll.
Posted by caffeinated at 12:00 AM in d10

Friday, 6 April 2012

F is for Flaming Sword of Rhuin

High born or commoner alike, walking the streets of a major metropolis the size of Altdorf, Nuln, Middenheim or Marienburg will have seen the Flaming Sword of Rhuin. Moreover, any former conscript, even old grognard or lifer of the Emperor's armies, asked on the dirt road—or what passes for a road of the smallest hamlet—will tell you of seeing a Bright Wizard conjure the Flaming Sword of Rhuin.

Bright Wizards, masters of the Red Wind of Magic, Aqshy, more commonly known as pyromancers, study the Lore of Fire. Bright Wizards are highly trained, and highly sought after, wielders of the martial magics of fire. While spells known by masters can destroy armies in conflagrations sourced from pure Aqshy, no spell is more personal as the Flaming Sword of Rhuin.

Only Journeyman and Master Wizards of the Bright Order are powerful enough to conjure the sword of flame. When the spell is cast, a fiery sword materializes in the grasp of the wizard. Like the mundane steel swords of soldiers, the Flaming Sword of Rhuin requires the wizard to engage in close, personal, bloody, mortal combat. For the brief moments the Flaming Sword of Rhuin is manifest, Bright Wizards can cut through enemies of the Empire, mobs of zombies, or even just a group of common street toughs. Many of the latter flee in urine soaked breeches at the appearance of the Flaming Sword of Rhuin, and rightly so. In battle, great and small, Bright Wizards have been known to draw energies from within from the pure adrenaline rush of cutting down attackers in close martial combat to wield the Flaming Sword of Rhuin for hours, leaving in their wakes ruined foes; each to a man, beast, or mutant bearing maiming or mortal cauterized wounds.

Posted by caffeinated at 12:01 AM in d10

Thursday, 5 April 2012

E is for Elector Countess Emmanuelle von Leibwitz

Few personalities in the Old World truly encapsulate an entire social class. Elector Countess Emmanuelle von Liebwitz, however, truly represents the ‘spoiled rake’ stereotype.

E is for Elector Countess Emmanuelle von Leibwitz
Posted by caffeinated at 1:27 PM in d10

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

D is for Daemon Slayer

If Blather is an iconic skill in WFRP, few careers paths in WFRP are more iconic than the Slayer career path taken by dwarfs of the Old World.

Slayers from the outside—the outside being merely anyone not seeking to charge a troll, giant, or daemon—are insane and impossible to miss in even the most crowded street of Altdorf. Typically, a slayer is seen only wearing a leather jerkin (or often bare chested) and sporting a stiff mohawk dyed in a flaming hue of orange. The Daemon Slayer represents the nigh failure of a lifetime seeking honor in death following a personal, even clan, shaming event.

Among dwarfs made a cuckold, displaying cowardice, breaking an oath, producing or showing poor craftsmanship or just being unable to clear one’s name of a crime, taking the Slayer's Oath is a path to redeeming one's honor. This is a sure route to death for the Oath has only one resolution: death in slaying the enemies of the dwarf race. These enemies include Trolls, Giants, and Daemons, the agents of the Ruinous Powers. Lesser enemies the likes of the rat race Skaven or allies of such enemies will meet the edge of a slayer's axe without consideration of ranking in the oath.

To be sure trolls get first attention. The massive greenskin creatures are aggressive terrors, above ground and moreso below ground in the dwarven holds of the Old World. Failing to find closure to his—even her—Slayer's Oath, a slayer often takes a new suicidal path seeking greater enemies, whether greater honor may be in debate, to satisfying the Slayer's Oath. The dwarf at the end of the path, surviving seemingly insurmountable odds, is the Daemon Slayer.

No manifestation of the Ruinous Powers embodies more terror in man. Yet the Slayers relish the chance to face them, seeking the corrupted wizards, necromancers, and Chaos' chosen warriors that daemons favor, or more likely manipulate for greater ends of destruction. On the battlefield, slayers will congregate, forming bare-chested assault platoons often charging directly at trolls, giants and daemon hoardes without command.

But while branded insane and found drunk, or on the way to drunk, and rightly so, a slayer's honor is without peer. A Daemon Slayer at your side in a venture fraught with the worse of peril is to know that 20 of the Empire's bravest could not match in bravery, if suicidal, or axe and sword.

Posted by caffeinated at 5:00 AM in d10

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

C is for Crime

WFRP blogging A-to-Z continues at versamus; we roll by Ben Scerri. 

C is for Crime

As previously mentioned, the WFRP Blogging A-to-Z Challenge this year will joined by two other WFRP bloggers: JohnPaul Temple and Ben Scerri of Our Thousand Thrones and versamus; we roll, respectively. This takes the WFRP A-to-Z international, down under and back to its roots our own "old world." It may seem that some letters get ahead of themselves, but all times are GMT... so jump in your TARDIS to tomorrow, if only for few a few hours!

Posted by caffeinated at 1:00 AM in d10

Working out some international kinks

This year I'm working with two international bloggers for Blogging A-to-Z. Time zones and date lines make one wish for a TARDIS.

If you saw "C is for ..." prematurely, apologies. I timed my entry posting earlier than our entry host planned (even though it is "tomorrow" for him).

That corrected, I think we worked out the kinks.

Back to the regularly scheduled programming and what-not.
Posted by caffeinated at 12:24 AM in d10

Monday, 2 April 2012

B is for Blather

As a blogger often musing about role playing games, I have recounted at least once that, just shy of 11 years ago, I decided to sell my game collection. Yet, I held aside one collection of titles: WFRP 1e. WFRP is the game that captured my imagination promising "a grim world of perilous adventure." Moreso, WFRP did not take itself seriously. The tone of the game in 1986 was irreverent and fun.

Many things about the game mechanics of first edition embody this tone, but when I pause, run down the set of 'B' possibilities, the skill of Blather is ever present.

Blathering can be used in almost any situation in order to gain time. Blatherers simply invent a complete string of nonsense, ranting on and on whilst their victims stand dumbfounded, wondering whether the blathering character is insane, intoxicated or possibly dangerous.

WFRP 2e, released in 2006, does not change this wonderful skill, but appropriately adjudicates the actions of the player within the skill test mechanics.

The skill of Blathering in context of WFRP game rules, and very often many others if by a different name, is set firmly in the collection of social skills.

Social skills, the accompanying mechanics and the adjudication vary in games. WFRP takes the traditional stance in the "rules as written" to boil it down to an abstract dice roll versus the Non-Player Character (NPC) subject the verbal assault. The argument for the abstract is a balancing one: if the player is not quick on his or her feet, maybe not even possessing real world social skills—whether timid or just uncomfortable taking the stage—then the dice roll absolves the player of "role-playing it out." A sort of jump cut where the rest of the table is screaming "Get on with it!" Yet, I have often found myself seeking the desire to roleplay it out and ask for bonuses, or penalties, to my dice roll based on my performance. One then is provided the best of both worlds.

And lest I blather further…

Posted by caffeinated at 12:00 PM in d10

Sunday, 1 April 2012

A is for Azyr

Scholars are drawn to the words: Astrometeorological Thaumaturgy, the magic of the stars. Masters of the Blue Wind of Magic, Azyr, are the Astromancers, or as the commoner might say, white knuckled and sweating in fear of a darker future glimpsed in a black irises of a passing master of the blue wind, Celestial Wizards.

Astromancers or Celestial Wizards are adept star readers, weather manipulators, and tellers of the future (to insult them is to toss them in lot with Strigany charlatans called "fortune tellers"). They are most often seen in Altdorf in clean and, often of the finest cloth, tailored midnight blue robes; such are the rewards to apprentice, journeyman and master astromancer alike in the employ of the rich seeking knowledge of the future. Both a boon and curse, astromancers are duty bound to honesty and complete transparency. To learn the hour and circumstance of your sponsor's death must be told, if asked.

Astromancers look for signs in all things around, above and below. The Celestial College's most public of tomes, if only for the magics most common use, describe Elemental, Mystical and Cardinal schools.

A practitioner of the Elemental school is known to conjure storms of electrical energies from the very Aethyr, fierce winds, even curse and doom persons. Mystics are masters of precognition, even minor abilities have been witnessed in speaking with birds or causing the sun to break on a rainy day. Cardinal astromancers mix the mystical practices with the elemental, striking a fearful balance often sought on the battlefields of the Old World.

The Celestial College in Altdorf is known for its stringent admission exam, though rarely are those with the Aethyric abilities outright dismissed, remedial education may be in order. However, strong relations with the Order of Light will often find wanting applicants with a letter of introduction to the Order. Astromancers also enjoy excellent relations with the Cult of Verena, many Celestial Wizards being faithful adherents to the cult.

Posted by caffeinated at 12:00 PM in d10