As my wife shows no signs of going into labour just yet I've decided to plan the beginnings of my epic-to-be WFRP 2nd edition adventure. I'll be running this on regular Thursday evenings with the rest of my enthusiastic gaming group as the PCs. I'll use posts here to record session episodes and chart a few out-of-session goings on so that the PCs have plenty of opportunity to develop along interesting career paths at a reasonable rate.
Rather than run an 'adventure in a box' I'm going to be designing everything as we go along. I have a general narrative in my mind, including where I'd like the PCs to end up once all the adventuring is done (assuming they're not dead), but I want the structure to be reasonably loose. This began with my percolating the beginnings of the adventure from the narrative morsels that could be picked from the bones of the freshly rolled-up characters.
In this prelude-to-the-adventure post I'll introduce these characters, explain where they can be found, and situate the whole business within the history of the Old World. My PCs will be free to read and use the information here 'in game' with their own discretion - this will form part of their 'common knowledge'.
A halfling originally from the Moot, Albert hasn't had the easiest life. At the age of 34 he finds himself with the inauspicious career of Tomb Robber. His diminutive size make him perfect for this role though, and he has the tunnel rat skills you might expect of someone in this line of 'work'. He's also an accomplished cook - not unusual for a halfling! - and with the additional language of Khazalid it's clear that he's spent plenty of time either catering for or detained by the lawbringers of the dwarves. Albert yearns for adventure - especially in search of the hidden knowledge and lore buried within the Old World's many tombs - and even though he is consistently lucky when dodging traps during sorties around barrows and the like, he's never been fortunate enough to find a group of adventurers as keen on his talent at theft as they are for his pies.
Like Albert, Ulrike has found herself making a living on the wrong side of the law. A 23 year old hailing from Ostland she navigates the waterways of the Empire as a Smuggler. Despite her youth and slight build she really knows how to take care of herself in a fight and she's got the pronounced broken nose to prove it. She has adopted the styling and manner of the river folk, usually opting to wear a mixture of silks and hard worn leather, alongside a penchant for showy golden hooped earrings. An only child, Ulrike is fond of looking out for 'number one' and is very likely to be a 'friend' to anyone if she feels she might lighten their purse significantly by the time the night is through. Fond of the oft-repeated maxim that smugglers are the 'champions of the oppressed', she is also keenly aware that a careless smuggler can expect to either spend a long time in gaol, or a short time alive.
Mordrin is a 35 year old dwarf - a mere beardling by dwarf standards - who was born in Fortenhaf in Ostermark on the North-eastern tip of the Empire. Unlike the majority of his mountain dwelling cousins, Mordrin is fast: really fast. Consequently he's made a good living as a Runebearer and dreams of setting the new record for the Kislev to Estalia run. His favourite weapon is the crossbow and his rapid reloading skills make him a deadly adversary, although he will seldom stop for a fight when he has a message to deliver. He is currently returning from Marienburg where delivered a message to an important merchant guild regarding the payment for a shipment of rare ores from the Worlds Edge Mountains.
A tough no-nonsense Nordlander, Gustav is a hard-as-old-boots Watchman currently in the employ of the small Suderberg town watch. A copper with (fittingly) copper coloured hair, he's not entirely pleased to be working in such a sleepy backwater but he needs to send a regular wage home to his four younger siblings who are scratching out a hard living on a farm on the coast of the Sea of Claws. He plans to find better work in Middenheim once the harshest of the winter has passed and eventually make his way back to his family. Gustav's physical training under the tutelage of the priests of Sigmar has been extensive; he's an experienced and coolheaded fighter who, at 30, is the veteran of several campaigns. Although he can dispense justice as he sees fit - he's highly knowledgable in the laws of the land - he will leave the judgment of more serious crimes to the travelling judges or those from the Cult of Verena.
|The State of Middenland|
We begin in the sleepy riverside town of Suderberg at the edge of the Howling Hills in South East Middenland. In terms of the history of the Empire and the Old World more generally, this is just at the beginning of the Storm of Chaos. The major events of the Storm will be the backdrop for our adventurers. However, as they are obviously far too weak to stand up to anything truly Chaotic they'll be spending most of their time (if they have any sense!) running away from the heart of the action as fast and as far as possible. That's not to say, of course, that they won't have the opportunity to rise to fame or infamy - it's just that theirs will be a life of adventuring on the margins of 'big events'. And I like to think that it's in these margins that the truly bizarre and challenging opportunities await our plucky PCs... Although we begin in the back end of beyond, this rag-tag group will have the opportunity to live on through songs of their deeds. Or they might just get horribly murdered, we'll have to wait and see.
The Set Up
Autumn is turning to winter and the harsh winds are rattling the small town of Suderberg. Three unlikely cell mates are huddled together on a flea infested straw mattress. Ulrike and Albert have just worked together bringing in a large haul of furs from Kislev; a fact they failed to declare to the local tax authorities. Ulrike had planned to get Albert drunk and slip away with his share of the rewards, but the halfling proved to be just too hard to drink under the table. They had been joined in the tavern by Mordrin, who, over a few jars of ale, had unwittingly shared some useful information about the mercantile guilds of Marienburg with the ambitious smuggler.
It could have turned into a profitable night for Ulrike if the watch hadn't been tipped off. Suderberg was in the middle of nowhere, but enough of the black uniformed bastards had turned up to catch them unready and outnumbered. They'd dragged Mordrin to the gaol too, despite his protests. Now only a single watchman called Gustav remains on guard as the cold morning stretches through the cracks in the watch house door. He's dozing quietly in his chair, seemingly oblivious to the loud snoring of the ragged old man sprawled out alone in the adjacent cell. Ulrike curses her luck. But a bad night was about to turn a great deal worse...