After three year hiatus we finally returned to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd edition. We played a memorable campaign with the WFRP 3rd edition and a couple of failed tryouts in those three years. And while I still think it is an excellent system opening the corebook of 2nd edition was like seeing a good friend in a long time.
This time we have a one of my original WFPR2 players alongside with a WFRP3 player and a couple of new ones. The Old World is not as familiar to them (excluding the vet from 2nd edition) but that does not hinder us. In fact it might prove to be a good thing since we are decided to go with a different approach than your regular WFRP campaigns.
We decided to go with dungeon bashing.
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay is not designed for dungeon crawls. No matter the edition. Combat is lethal, healing is much more gruesome and diseases, mutations and tempting-yet-possibly-horrible potions make it much more dangerous for adventurers. Still we wanted to try it this way.
The first reason of this approach is me. I have never GMed dungeon crawls and even the times I have played one can be counted with my fingers. I have never played a long dungeon campaign or had the pleasure of hunt experience with D&D back in the day.
Second reason is the background of our group. Half of the players are much more familiar with D&D and Pathfinder than more “story driven” rpgs. This way we all get the joy of dungeoneering with the spice of story driven campaign.
Third reason is to challenge ourselves (or at least me) to make the system work. While toying with the Wayward Sons hack and my own gaming system I have yearned for hard written rules to follow. Restricting the action into dungeons (or dungeon-like surroundings) allows me to justify the hard rulings and setting me free of “being the fan of the characters”. Rules and dice let me to set thing upon characters that they can either deal with or succumb under.
(This yearning was actually inspired by Ville’s adventures with the OSR. I have been bugging him to write more about it but have not succeeded in this quest thus far.)
Other major influences for me while I began to think this campaign were RodeoGames’ Warhammer Quest app and the fact that I knew I wanted to use the battle map as often as possible. Since I have been collection Warhammer minis for over a decade I have a vast collection of adversaries to throw against my players’ characters.
So how did the first session go? I think it was a success. All players had created their characters in advance (wood elf thief, wood elf kithband warrior, human initiate of Sigmar and an Estalian diestro) so we managed to get the game going relatively quickly.
After a couple of successful experiences with starting with the action I just told the players their characters woke up in a complete darkness. They started to poke around and presented their heroes in a characterful way. Soon they found their way out of the cell they were locked in, got a single candle to light their way and set out to explore their first dungeon.
I really liked this approach. To me it set the tone for the whole campaign from the start. Unknown dungeons with dangers that are not always horrible monsters. The fact that we used the battle map and the corebook was browsed for several unnecessary rules get us into a right mind set. This game is not about social interaction with merchants in the busy streets of Altdorf. It is the adventure at the backland of the Empire were strange beings lurk behind every corner.
Hopefully we can keep this candle burning for long enough time to have another memorable campaign in the Old World. I know I’m working my ass of for it – this first adventure will be published as a completely written (and hopefully somewhat illustrated) pdf as soon as I we have played it through and I have made the necessary corrections.
Stay tuned for more information about our new campaign of Warhammer Quest.