New GM starting campaign

By morgath32, in WFRP Gamemasters

So I didn't like EfaE so decided to write a similar story with a fair few alternatives, less NPC's the manage, different chaos god and so forth. My current group composition is:

Dwarf gambler, High Elf thief, Human Mercenary, Human Initiate of Sigmar, with an Apprentice Wizard if the Grey Order joining next session. Overall the group has a nice balance, with a theme of being sneaky, shadow wizard, a theif and a gambler that have both trained stealth, ambush and skulduggery (how fun for me). They've all got a fair amount of RPing experience, I have less so but still a little, yet as a group they have a very gamist attitude apart from one of maybe two they like to discover the objective quickly, go in all gung ho and get the job done. The kind of group that would rock up to the manor in EfaE and openly start interrogating people. As such I have decided to create a bit of an Epic Quest to get them almost entirely out of social situations and large numbers of interactable NPC's.

The Campaign Idea

So at this point the first 4 members after one session have made good friends with an arms/armour dealer in Bogenhafen, decided to help another merchant recover stolen goods, come across a bandit gang whose leader has a pretty reward on his head, defeated the bandits and have the leader severely wounded shortly before an interrogation session begins.

The introduction of the wizard is as follows; he recieves a letter from the head of his order, informing him of a rogue wizard that has gone mad in search of power to destroy the world. There are 8 scrolls, one for each colour of magic hidden across the Empire, the scrolls of cataclysm (I've just bought the new Storm of Magic book for WFB, it's the main source of inspiration for this campaign). He has two in his possession and a third is locked safely in possession of the grey order. The head of the order has used his power and influence to find a party up to the task of helping this apprentice wizard, a suitably sneaky and skilled party of adventurers currently on the road to Ubersreik. The nature of the quest at this point remains annonymous, 3 of them can be persuaded by gold and the initiate could be persuaded by some clever use of the words "divine, purpose, gods".

To try and tie things in this bandit leader is working for the rogue wizard, and during the interrogation he gives away several important pieces information about the plot, how many depends on the effective of the groups persuasion. This will lead them (hopefully) to the imperial library in altdorf to an ancient tome (I'm a big fan of props and I have the limited edition 8th WFB rulebook which looks fantastic). The head of the grey order provides the apprentice with a code to find clues as to the location of each scroll, perhaps a series of numbers representing page, line, word or something like that.

When they reach the various location in order to get the scroll they must pass a trial which is suited to the order of magic the scroll belongs. Life is a test of will and character, Metal a test of strength and so on. Each test is convieniently suited to each member of the group. For every trial that is failed the rogue wizard is assumed to have recovered them.

Once the trials have been completed (or not) they must go and confront the rogue wizard himself to recover the remaining scrolls, now for every trial they failed the wizard is slightly more powerful, making the encounter more difficult.


Here's the fun bit, towards the end of the encounter the head of the order (I will find his name somewhere) shows up and gives a long speech about using pawns, ultimate power and how long that cursed Balthazar Gelt has been supreme patriarch and so on and so forth. This will close the campaign, in our group we all play tabletop as well as RP so we'll be having a big campaign including others using the new storm of magic expansion based around the traitor head of the grey order trying to take over the world. The next campaign can then pick up 6 or 12 months after, the characters fate as prisoners of the megalomaniacal wizard being decided by the result of the campaign itself.

That was very very long but for anyone that read it all, opinions? comments? criticisms? All appreciated.

Should have proof readed that, I'm half awake so I do apologise for the grammatical errors.

Also, is there an edit button for posts? If so I couldn't find it.

I noticed no one had replied to you which ... urked me. I hate it when you ask for feedback and get none so I thought I would take a crack at it.

You know the only thing that jumped out at me is that this is a very ... D&D approach to a campaign. Which there is nothing wrong with but I didn't really get a sense of "warhammer" in that story. Obviously Im not at the session so perhaps some elaboration might clear that up, but that was my first impression as I read it.

One thing about An Eye for an Eye is that its a very warhammer driven adventure, everything about that adventures screams "this is how you run warhammer". There really is only one or two main combats in what is roughly a 2-3 session adventure and most of the adventure is all about character interaction and essentially role-playing. How the characters handle the situation because of their careers and story backgrounds is kind of the part that personally I find so intriguing. I mean you could run this adventure for the same group twice with different characters and get very different results.

Im just curious what aspect of the adventure you didn't like, it actually caught my interest more than anything because personally this adventure is what sold me on the whole system. Coming out of 4th edition where everything is so combat driven it was so refreshing to see someone actually take the time to flesh out NPC's, give us personalities, imagry and motivations for every person in the story .. its just such a great and really fresh approach to role-playing games that I personally just fell in love with it.

My suggestion when it comes to running warhammer fantasy is as a GM, don't worry about what the characters can do. Present them with the challenges and the story and let it unfold naturally. If its not challenging because they make wise decesions, so be it. Its better that the players have a sense of truth to the game, that, ya we are great in combat, or we are a great stealth team and let them apply it wherever they can rather than creating adventures that intentionally focus on exposing their weaknesses or catering to their strengths. Thats kind of why I personally prefer to run published adventures because it prevents me from being biast in my creation process and thinking about "how might these players/characters handle this situation". I rather be suprised, put them in the situation and let them unravel it anyway they see fit. Ya sometimes it means they easily overcome challenges and other times things will seem impossibel to them, but to me thats really part of the fun.

Anyway, it sounds like you have a great group, definitly come back here and give us some more details, I love reading session reports and seeing how other player groups handle the game.

First of all, thank very much for the comments. Well, the only thing I can think of is that we all come from a tabletop stock of gamers so we're all pretty objective based people, I created a pretty linear story to follow with a clear objective. We all play another RP system created by one of our friends and the second campaign has been very open so the players get to take charge of the narrative and it's really turned into a shrugging contest with noone thinking of anything to do and I'm trying to avoid that. I also have a very bad habit of hugifying things that don't need to be, I'm forever making large campaigns for tabletop systems and coming up with bigger and more impressive characters and missions and whatnot.

Though we're all familiar with the warhammer world I feel like an open ended character driven story would consist of them becoming scam artists and living the rest of their lives in the comfortable beds of a brothel surrounded by ladies of the night, the usual requirement of any trip into town for this lot I can assure you.

As for the Eye for an Eye scenario, it didn't have enough fighting to keep my group interested, though they aren't all bloodthirsty 5 year olds their attention spans have much to be desired, especially with so many different systems and games going on to vie for participants. I also got kind of overwhelmed by the number of NPC's and intricacies of the story, I didn't want to be so involved in remembering the details that I couldn't make the game engaging and fun.

Overall I think being a gamer is hindering my ability to GM a roleplay game appropriately, though I'm trying and is one of the reasons I'm asking on here. Thanks again, I hope other people have something to say too.

I have a few thoughts for you; hopefully at least one will be helpful!

If your group really is about accomplishing goals and getting straighforward rewards, there may be better better systems and worlds out there for you than WFRP3e. Most of its neatest mechanics are about pushing the group forward in less predictable ways than you might find in other systems, so you might end up finding yourself struggling against the dice or ignoring the nuances of the system, in which case, you might as well go with a more straightforward system.

If, however, you really think a change of pace might be nice, my first suggestion is to go see a way MORE open-ended system than WFRP run by an expert GM at a local convention or on YouTube or somesuch. You can learn tons from watching a skilled GM work people through a high-RP, low-rules system, and watching someone keep a story without obvious goals moving will make it seem like a piece of cake when you return to the much less open-ended world of WFRP.

I was having trouble with my own players eschewing RP for the sake of "getting all the info out of the module"; they'd back away from doing what their character would have done and would instead try to figure out what was in the scenario writer's pocket. I'm trying to untrain that, so I'm actually lifting the idea of character goals from Burning Wheel. In BW, each player writes and shares his/her character's goals for the mission and beliefs about the mission before the session, and character rewards are based on how well you played according to those beliefs instead of how well you accomplished the mission. Sometimes heading in the "character navelgazing" direction can be a nightmare if you have a group that isn't goal-oriented; they'll stand in the town square all day emoting instead of doing anything. But if you already have a very goals-oriented team, rewarding them for thinking as their characters would think instead of for getting through the scenario might really help, and having them focus on a character's personal goals will almost always help them figure out a direction to go if they get stuck. They can just do what their character would do if it were really his life, and you can usually just move the encounter they were supposed to have to wherever they are headed. ;)

Finally, talk to them straightforwardly about the house/brothel thing. If they just want to sit around and RP sex, there are all kinds of internet chat rooms for that. :) If, on the other hand, they want to play a game about adventure, they need to agree that they will actively try to engage in the world you create in the ways you want them to engage, including, perhaps, being creative about finding their own paths to the overarching plot goal. If the stall because they're not sure how to do it, set up an example encounter and demo for them how they might think about those issues as a party.

It's a tricky one but you need to develope a split personality in games of that level of complexity and NPC's. I've run a few council meetings and the like, where players have put forth their point and asked for a decision which has required a response from the council members.

I've then had to ask questions based on the council members view points. It gets a bit tricky but you need to jump between one person and another and answer from their views. It occasionally even involves arguing with yourself( as such) as two counter views come to light.

In the scenario that I ran with the council, one group who supported an aggressive action and who started to storm out, the PC stopped them and demanded that they respect the council accordingly (this earned her cudos with the council).

In the case where one council member talks over the other, it ran something like:-

Council member 1 "Unfortunately, I do not believe that we shou..." with that the other coucillor cuts him off "I however agree with the learned lady that if no action is taken, we will eventually be facing the threat on our own if we do not support the people of the Vale now. Due to this I am wholeheartedly supporting the aggressive support being proposed", this broke the council into a drove of discussion as the councillers began an animated discussion on the subject. This was finally ended abruptly as one senior councillor shouted over the hubub "ENOUGH OF THIS, I am making preparation immediately to deal with this threat and discuss with the leaders of the Vale, I urge anyone of sense to follow me" with that he turned and made for the exit, a number of councillors following him.

You can do an "objective-driven" based Eye for an Eye run.

Make up a list of "objectives" that involve "delving into story" more than "bashing on head" and let players pick them,

Off hand, perhaps:

"You hope to see the dwarf Korden and repay a debt of honour to him." (dward would suit)

"You understand that Lord Aschaffenberg may be a candidate for high office in near future and [if self-interested] want to ingratiate self [if noble] want to make sure he has the right stuff" (preluding Edge of Night)

"A year ago that wastrel [i forget his name] von Bruner vanished from Grunwald Lodge, owing Big Lukas 20 Large/having despoiled your sister (whatever) - you need confirmation he's dead or a lead on him."

"There's a book in the von Bruner library your patron would pay well to obtain."

"Lord Heissman von Bruner is worried Lord Rickard will be bad for family reputation, make sure nothing happens to despoil the good name of von Bruner, which has been instrumental in destroying chaos cults and otherwise stood for virtue." (complete this you can become an Agent of von Bruners with 1 less cost for career transition)

Indicate to them that there's a gamist bennie for directly following your "goal" (fortune point in party pool, to reinforce we all should do this, don't begrudge a bit of screen time to someone doing it), and another for meeting it (refresh all actions OR eliminate all Stress OR refresh your Fortune Pool).

Give out these things in future/let Players script them but make clear - they are never "kill somone" etc. goals and they are going to involve roleplaying (which may still involve checks, stress/fatigue etc.)

- an aside, to Llanwyre congrats for using BW style approach.