Category Archives: News and Articles

THE NEW LAB

After three years, we have learned a lot about RPG.LAB and the folks that enjoy it. So, as with many actual RPGs, we are offering a “new edition” of the program.

RPG.LAB will continue to serve its purpose as an experience where GMs and experienced players can not only play the game, but ask questions about and discuss the actual rules of the game so that new, excellent games that otherwise lack supported organized play can get their day in the sun so as to potentially become new favorites for home or in-store playgroups.

Although RPG.LAB has been great in the past, after review, we’ve given the program a bit more structure with standardized session use and more scenario preparation. In addition, players will also be able to ask rules and story questions of the GM via email throughout the month. This will help maximize playtime so that we all get as much as possible out of the experience.

We will also be introducing a new registration fee of $20 (covers the cost of all four sessions for the month). This fee is to reinforce the importance of full participation throughout the month in hopes of reducing cancellations and disruptive absences. That being said, you get a bunch of stuff.

Here’s what you get:

-Four sessions. The first session will cover rules basics as well as character and party design. The three sessions after that will contain a full mini-arc campaign often written from scratch by the event’s organizer.

-Character sheets, cheat sheets, and player handouts.

-A quiet, private play area.

-Snacks!

So please keep an eye out for our new flyers and announcements. This year’s RPG.LAB offerings are not to be missed.

UPCOMING RPG.LABS in 2017:

JANUARY – MUTANT: GENLAB ALPHA

FEBRUARY – FEAR ITSELF

MARCH – MUTANT: YEAR ZERO

APRIL – PUPPETLAND

RPG.LAB REPORT: URBAN SHADOWS

RPG.LAB REPORT: URBAN SHADOWS

It goes without saying that previous iterations of the Powered by the Apocalypse system is a favorite among RPG.LAB participants. Between Dungeon World and Monster of the Week, we’ve had a lot of fun. This time around we snatched up a copy of URBAN SHADOWS from Magpie Games and, as one would expect, we had a blast.

Although the book doesn’t come right out and say it, it implies an urban fantasy world that is ‘very similar to our own – only darker’, and by that I mean it is a paired down version of something that VERY closely resembles the territory covered in early World of Darkness material. Some of the art is even reminiscent of that old 90s period piece that made White Wolf an RPG juggernaut of that decade. That being said, it is not at all like the World of Darkness in a very important way – it is a single, two-hundred and ninety seven page book that gets to the point and focuses in on why we like playing monsters and why we like entangling these creatures of the night in all variety of intrigue and catastrophe.

 

CHARACTER GENERATION

Like the vast majority of Apocalypse Engine games, character generation is simplified by the selection of the playbook (called an archetype in Urban Shadows). In this case, the books are separated into four factions (I will talk more about this in the setting and mechanics subsections) and each has two or three types to choose from. The factions and playbooks are:

MORTALITY speaks for three archetypes – the Aware, the Hunter and the Veteran. This faction speaks for human affairs and interests and the three playbooks are for players for whom the supernatural is still something external.

NIGHT is the faction of those things that primarily go bump in the night. The Spectre, the Vamp, and the Wolf are the stock character types for most dark urban fantasy. These are monsters to be sure (If you want a more sympathetic treatment of these types of characters try the Apocalypse game Monsterhearts) and when playing them you will deal with their weaknesses and politics.

POWER is the faction of those mortals who dare to seize supernatural power and insight for themselves. The two archetypes are the Wizard and the Oracle.

WILD is the faction of the truly weird shit with experiences and desires far from mortal. The two archetypes are the Tainted (which is a human possessed by a demon or other sketchy supernatural being) or the Fae which might as well be space aliens insofar as their ability to seamlessly integrate into mortal culture and society.

Like all playbooks, these are checklists that make character generation extremely quick and easy to deal with lending to the one-shot or short notice readiness of Urban Shadows.

“Character generation was great. Fast. Easy. By the time we linked all the characters together we had a likeable cast of weirdoes.”

“Like other Apocalypse Engine games, the character creation is nice and easy.  The character description options are flavorful, the architypes are cool.”

“I don’t think I did a good job in playing the character I initially created (she was not very serene!) Having said that, I like the simplicity that created unique characters with reasons to interact.” 

 

THE SETTING

In true Powered by the Apocalypse fashion, the setting for our game was cooperatively conceived. We decided on a fictional city situated in the real world. As the Master of Ceremonies, I decided I wanted to tell a moody story that didn’t necessarily put trenchcoat/katana at the fore. The characters (a degenerate Vamp, a disinherited Wolf, an ancient Tainted, and a very patient Aware) seemed pretty real and flawed and we wanted a world where their stories could be reasonably explored.

So Kingshore, Massachusetts came to be. Kingshore is a coastal resort city like Atlantic City, and like Atlantic City, it is in a state of terrible decline. It also enjoys the disdain of New England in general as it is considered a monstrous, neon horror that blights the provincial and idyllic route to Cape Cod and Nantucket. Off season, it is a gray and empty place where mobsters and monsters have made their moves since the late 19th century.

Behind the scenes, I gave interests and holdings to each of the four factions (making sure that PCs had a strong interest in these limited resources and opportunities) so that moving around the city would disturb these plans and create story and conflict. So once these drama traps were properly installed in four corners of the setting map, we were off to the races.

“The setting just sort of grew out of the cracks between the characters.”

“The setting really fit the feel of the game. An East Coast/New England, drizzly version of Sunnydale. I still have images from the game in my head.”

 

THE MECHANICS

In quick summary, games that are Powered by the Apocalypse use a very easy 2d6 task resolution mechanic. You roll the 2d6 and add the relevant attribute bonus (generally between a -3 and a +3). Results of 6 or lower result in failure and the granting of an experience point or other benefit. Results of a 7-9 are successful but with a cost, consequences or plain old urgency. A score of 10 is usually a total success whereby the PC is given the opportunity to narrate his or her awesomeness as seen fit.

Beyond the basics, Urban Shadows also adds a political element that is invoked at the beginning of each game. Each PC has a relationship with each of the four factions represented by a simple modifier. That modifier can be tested or otherwise strained to determine further engagement with that faction.

Did you succeed fantastically when checking the Night faction? Then you enjoy the envied seat right next to the Vampire Prince at the very important council meeting later that evening. Did you fail horribly when consulting a roll with the Power faction? Then the sociopathic necromancer that once devoured the souls of your ancestors has discovered you at last.

“Very easy to grasp. Having played other versions of the Powered by the Apocalypse engine I had very few questions and play was easy.”

“Again, the simplicity allows for an easy back and forth where everyone can focus on their parts without being confused by mechanics.”

 

IN CONCLUSION

Although we probably could have leaned on some of the game specific systems a bit more than we did, we had a blast. The story got fairly complex and nuanced rather quickly. To be honest, I thought this was going to feel like really hand-waved and hollow experience of dated tropes and brooding clichés. It was anything but! In fact, I would say that the experience of this particular RPG lab was largely unsatisfying because, after three short sessions, we had to abandon the Kingshore despite there being so much more story to tell.

“George runs a great game. His take on horror helps a lot with this one.”

“I quite enjoyed Urban Shadows – perhaps the most of all the PotA games I’ve played so far.  I think I’ll be running some US sessions after the current game I’m playing in concludes.”

 

George is the full-time assistant manager here at Games & Stuff.  He is an obsessive collector of RPGs both common and obscure. It is likely that this habit will become the subject of a horror game sometime in the imminent future.

The Weekly Multiverse: October 20th, 2016

The Weekly Multiverse is weekly publication featuring all new related to Magic: the Gathering at Games & Stuff. If you have any questions not answered by this article or our event listings, please email Parker@gamesandstuffonline.com.

Kaladesh Game Days

Join us on the weekend of October 22 and 23 for Kaladesh Game days! We’re hosting two Standard events, one each day, exclusive opportunities to receive special promotional cards or a champion play mat!

Tuesday Sealed League: KALADESH!

Join us every Tuesday from 6:30 to 9:00 for our Tuesday Night Sealed League! You can start any week of the month!

Uncharted Realms: A Grateful Consulate

The metal-mage Tezzeret intended to make an example of Pia Nalaar by facing her in a public contest. But the Planeswalkers of the Gatewatch, drawn to Kaladesh by Tezzeret’s presence here, interrupted the contest and freed Pia Nalaar from Consulate custody. But Tezzeret’s schemes are never straightforward, and even the public spectacle had another purpose—as Dovin Baan is learning now.cardart_KLD_Dramatic-Reversal

 

Friday Night Magic Cumulative Rankings

The current standings, just two weeks into the Kaladesh season, are here.

Every week, earn points equal to the number of packs you win and win the season to earn free entry to FNM for the duration of the Aether Revolt season!

Breaking Up – GW and FFG

As many have already heard, the Games Workshop licensing deal with Fantasy Flight Games has come to end. On February 27, 2017 no GW-themed products will be sold to distributors or direct from FFG any longer. Most of the stock at distribution has already begun to dry up. That means ridiculous secondary market prices and panic from people who have always wanted a particular game and haven’t bought it in the years it has been available.

Games and Stuff has stocked up and we can get you those games you always wanted! We have very good stock on TALISMAN (including expansions), FURY OF DRACULA, 40K RPGS, FORBIDDEN STARS, CONQUEST LCG, and WARHAMMER QUEST, and solid stock on many other titles.
We’re committed to selling these to you at regular price while supplies last! But that won’t be forever!

People are already starting to scramble for copies and some people are likely buying up stock just to try and gouge players later! All of our stock is AT MSRP! So if you are after a favorite game before it is gone, be sure to come by soon!

gw_productfan

What games does this spell the end of? – Well here is a list:

• Black Crusade
• Blood Bowl: Team Manager
• Chaos in the Old World
• Chaos Marauders
• Dark Heresy
• Dark Heresy Second Edition
• Deathwatch
• Forbidden Stars
• Fury of Dracula
• Only War
• Relic
• Rogue Trader
• Space Hulk: Death Angel
• Talisman
• Warhammer: Diskwars
• Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay
• Warhammer: Invasion The Card Game
• Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game
• Warhammer 40,000: Conquest
• All Fantasy Flight Supply products showing imagery licensed to Games Workshop

 

Age of Sigmar League – The Final Results!

The Age of Sigmar League came to an end this past weekend and we have a champion to crown! Congrats to Brian Benson and his forces of Chaos for winning the League.

In second place is Rob Bowers and his Death hosts and in third place, Dale Youngquist and his Stormcast Eternals. Congrats to the winners!

The top three players should swing by the store to claim their prizes.

We will be back with some new Age of Sigmar events in October! Until then, keep gaming and battling for the Mortal Realms!

X-Wing and Armada Regional Information

So FFG has announced the next wave of Regional Events and Games and Stuff is hosting X-Wing (November 19) and Armada (February 18). These are sure to be very big events so here are the details you are all after!

X-WING
Saturday November 19 – Swiss Rounds
Sunday November 20 – Top 16
108 player spots
$25 per person
REGISTRATION OPEN FRIDAY, AUG 26 AT NOON

LINK TO X-WING REGISTRATION

ARMADA
Saturday February 18 – Complete event
60 player spots
$25 per person
REGISTRATION OPEN FRIDAY, AUG 26 AT NOON

LINK TO ARMADA REGISTRATION

So there you have it! Get ready for Friday and secure your spot! Links will be added here on Friday to the event/PayPal button.

RPG Lab Report – Shadow of the Demon Lord

I first heard about this game at a trade show when a friend brought it up and, upon detecting my ignorance, followed up with an awesome explanation of why I couldn’t remain unscarred by Rob Schwalb’s Shadow of the Demon Lord. Shadow of the Demon Lord certainly walks in the shadow of both D&D and Warhammer Fantasy, but it is here that it thrives and adds its own twist to the paradigm that makes it feel fresh and crazy metal. It has apocalyptic elements, splatterpunk moments, high fantasy nods, and steampunk aesthetics galore, but the synthesis is smart and polished while being animated by a system that is both light and intricate with theme and detail.

One thing of note: This lab report rotates around a game that was exceedingly gory and grotesque. The characters, the story, the events, are probably not safe for work. As a result, some of the actual play description will become inexplicably vague at points. Trust me, you want it this way.

NOTE: The words appearing in italics are the anonymous opinions and ideas of folks that participated in the Lab rather than my own.

THE SETTING
Before I launch into a description, let me say that the Shadow of the Demon Lord game is still unfolding. New content and scenarios are still being released and there is no sign of it stopping anytime soon.
There is a substantial yet digestible amount of setting material in the Shadow of the Demon Lord core book. It gives you cosmology with a great heap of weird gods spread out over multiple belief systems as well as general view of the game’s evocative map. After establishing all the important contextual stuff, we zoom in to the Northern Reach which is delivered in helpful detail. Exactly what you would expect and want.

Beyond this, however, are extremely fun rules for implementing the signs and effects of the looming doomsday when the Shadow of the Void – the Demon Lord itself – makes contact with our world and purges it from the manifest universe. Until that day, the world is cluttered with adventure hooks and interesting NPCs and serves as an optimal stomping ground for the player characters.

“The first thing that must be said regarding this setting is this: don’t expect lollipops and unicorns.  The very existence of the great being known as the Demon Lord causes the deterioration of reality and ultimately results in the end of the worlds that it sets its eye(s?) upon.  Campaigns for Shadow of the Demon Lord begins amidst the onset of this Apocalypse and the planet of Urth (that’s right, Urth) is ticking towards its doom.  The grim and horrible darkness that the adventurers may face our terrible in natural.  We encountered a demonic painting that spawned a hideous and gruesome demon child that exploded in a shower of viscera upon death.  Needless to say, the goblin and the orc fled willingly before the brunt of the fighting began.  Oh and did I mention that the orcs rose up against their human overlords recently, beheaded the emperor and turned the imperial capital into a city of bloodshed almost overnight?… because that just happened.”

“I frigging LOVE the setting. It’s dark and weird. Magic can be frightening and have HORRIBLE consequences. It’s a setting with scarcity, reminiscent of OSR games, but somehow without the obnoxious record-keeping. It had the best of REH’s Conan/Solomon Kane, with a ton of 80’s fantasy mixed in (Sword and the Sorceror, Beastmaster, Fire and Ice, Deathstalker, The Barbarians, Gor, Yor, Sorceress, etc). It licks the pleasure center of my brain with a scaly wet tongue.”

CHARACTER GENERATION
Character generation is fast and random. You choose a culture an Ancestry and the rest is rolled on a series of baroque tables that absolutely weep story hooks and character background material. There are six or so races that are detailed in the Core Book and the character’s initial career is some menial or disturbing task which constitutes the petty beginning from which your soon-to-be hero will arise. Once you reach first level after the intro scenario, you choose from four very familiar class archetypes that, in contrast with your starting career, creates a really fun creation process. Two tiers follow in which the character gets two additional paths added to the mix which really makes for a vast feast of character options.
For our particular game we ended up with:

  • A clockwork warrior/former soldier with terrible taste in friends.
  • A lecherous, gluttonous orc magician that specialized in manipulation and curse magic.
  • A changeling sorcerer that dabbled in magic dark beyond its own reckoning.
  • A goblin huckster with a penchant for the collection of spoons.
  • A square-jawed human agent of righteousness in the employee of the new religions.

“Character generation was very cool. Randomized Ancestry, Profession, Quirks, Personality, Age, Build, Wealth, Appearance, and an Interesting Thing makes for an incredibly fun and weird character generation process. Everyone at the table had an awesome, playable, weird character with a lot of potential for weird roleplaying. This might be my favorite character creation process in a modern game.“

“The Character Creation System of Shadow of the Demon Lord allows the players to create class-less level 0 characters and features a quick, easy, and fun method for creating low-powered characters who are interesting and unique in their ways.  The process allows the players to either select or randomly roll from many long lists of character traits, including the character’s height, her quirks, and, of course, their background.  These traits are largely irrelevant mechanically, but when your goblin thief owns a collection of fifty unique spoons, there is always something to blame when that stealth roll doesn’t go as planned.  The system really forces the players to recognize who their characters are and understand their characters in many ways, fleshing them out as the character progression progresses.  It also makes the character unique in their traits, not their mechanics.  The base character creation system basically gives the players minimal control over their characters’ mechanical benefits, which are largely dictated by their racial features, while maximizing their characters’ story, and, for that, I think it’s one of my favorites.”

THE SYSTEM
The system for Shadow of the Demon Lord has excellent economy of theme and mechanics. The simplicity invokes the feel of many of the best OSR games but it does not shy away from fast, fluid mechanics informed by newer rule sets.

The required dice are a d20 and three d6s. With skills, you target a difficulty of 10 and with attacks you target the opponent’s defense. Oddly, this scales really well and has held up for me, personally, in a way that conveys improvement without taking it to some berserk anime magnitude. Characters advance through three tiers of play and monsters are presented with something akin to a challenge rating.

The magic system is fun with schools of spells with a few ultra-detailed, flavorful effects each. Some are forbidden and accrue corruption which is a whole fun set of rules as well. Stack on some mean-spirited insanity mechanics and it all sings like a devil choir.
In combat, a fast/slow initiated system is handled cinematically rather than as a succession of unimportant rolls.

“[The rules are] Awesome. Easy to understand: D20 and add or remove extra dice for advantage/disadvantage. Roll for damage. Run away! Character sheet was awesomely tiny and easy to understand. I personally don’t like weird artsy character sheets (13 Age, Numenera, etc), but this one worked better for me than most. The backgrounds and flavor text organically make sense within the rules, and are easy to invoke. Themagic system is great, flavorful (and punishing, if you decide to cast nasty spells).”

 “Shadow of the Demon Lord features a simple d20 system that uses the addition of up to three six-sided dice to simulate the modifiers that may be involved in the roll, called banes and boons by the game, such as related professions, advanced equipment, clouded vision, unnaturally strong and putrid stench, etc.  This simple system limits the dice needed for the game to one twenty-sided and three six-sided and is great for players that wish to avoid having to perform many different steps of simple math.  The basic system is very enjoyable because it doesn’t clog the session and resolves itself quickly.  All skills are set at a fixed difficulty and made more difficult with the addition of banes to the roll.   This basic system is very enjoyable because it doesn’t clog the session and resolves itself quickly.  The character advancement system employed by the game is probably the most interesting part of the game, aside from the horror that comes naturally with the setting.  As the characters finish an adventure, the characters level up and at certain levels, gain the benefits of different paths.  These paths range from the simple warriors and magicians to the powerful duelists and exorcists.  This allows for crazy combinations asthe characters progress, such as a changeling who is a magician, an oracle, and a diplomat with abilities reflecting all three paths the character has entered.  This gives the characters of the game an amazing amount of versatility in their advancement.”

IN CONCLUSION
It is hard for me to remain objective when evaluating this game as it hits like thirty-six of my forty pet RPG buttons. With that taken into account, I think Shadow of the Demon Lord is a rock solid contribution to the fantasy RPG arsenal. It handles some difficult adult material in a way that is simultaneously reckless and puerile yet completely inclusive and fun.

The rules are a vital system that vanish behind the speedy, blood-splattered narrative and the setting lets you rampage across a cursed and demon-befouled land that crumbles all the more beneath the PCs triumphant steps.

“This game was excellent. After a session of character creation, we just got down to it. The system is light and fast, combats were exciting, and the scenario was appropriately horrifying and creepy. Fun all around!”

“This RPG.LAB took us, the players, through one of the MANY published adventures for Shadow of the Demon Lord.  The plot was extremely well entertaining, featuring a corrupt church official and his disdain with a new and bizarre group of ooze-worshipping cultists.  The story was filled with unimaginably disgusting and vile events, some of which were the results of our party members.  The end result was largely entertaining for everyone in the party and left us wondering a great deal of things, including when and how Gathik would be getting his spoon back from that greedy info-broker.  Even though the length of this RPG.LAB was short compared to the others, it was, nonetheless, a great and enjoyable experience.”

George is the full-time assistant manager of Games & Stuff. He is a fan of way, way too many RPGs.

RPG LAB Report – Feng Shui 2

Long ago, in a land called Daedalus Entertainment, a legendary game designer named Robin Laws created a game called Feng Shui. Feng Shui (which was often described in terms of other famous licensed properties like “The Big Trouble in Little China RPG”) was based on the created world for the CCG called SHADOWFIST which pitted several eccentric factions against one another in a battle for the control of various time junctures. Daedalus spit a few great supplements and then Atlas Games took the wheel and delivered several more. Sporting a stable of writers that might these days be unaffordable to all but the most successful of publishing companies, Feng Shui captured the imaginations of action- loving gamers with its simple 2d6 mechanic and array of evocative stunts and powers.

NOTE: The bits in italic quotations at the end of each section are player comments and not the expressed views of the RPG Lab coordinator.

SETTING

Oh the setting…

*deep breath*

Throughout time there has been a secret war – a Chi War – in which forces both positive and negative have played a pivotal role. The politics of magic and control are its heart and the players are the agents of heaven, hell and earth. Shaolin monks, cyborg apes, eunuch sorcerers, thousand tongued demons, magically transformed dragons, post-apocalyptic warlords, the immortal rulers of the netherworld and the Hong Kong Police Department have all played their part in this non-linear mess of a battle. Faction agendas, petty whims and good old fashioned heroism are the motivations and the winner’s definition of reality is the prize. The method is entirely based on control of concentrations of geomantic power that take the form of Feng Shui Sites.

“The setting is kind of deep, and rightly so: it’s a revised, slightly advanced edition of the setting that was used in the first edition RPG, inspired by the card game. Which is still being produced, by the way. It has to cover four distinct eras, ranging from feudal China through the British occupation, modern-day, and well into a self-inflicted apocalypse waste. And it has tips for covering other possible eras too.”

SUPPLEMENTS AND MATERIALS USED

Currently Feng Shui 2 only has two game specific supplements in hard copy – the core book and the screen (which also comes with a handy guide to fight locations and a few other bits). So, in addition to the character sheet, we only used these things.

CHARACTER GENERATION

Character Generation in Feng Shui largely makes DungeonWorld’s character generation seem lengthy and cumbersome by comparison. You simply pick an archetype (like Highway Ronin, Exorcist Monk, or Scrappy Kid) strap on some dramatic hooks and motivations, and boom, you are in. That’s it. You just pick the character that resembles your favorite movie hero and go for it.

Since you asked, we had:

  • A Drifter Swordswoman in flight from the terrifying affections of the Queen of the Darkness Pagoda…
  • A roof-hopping Masked Avenger who uses stealth and fear to punish the wicked of Hong Kong…
  • A seemingly bumbling cop with a knack for magical demon management that could end up saving the world…

“Character generation is minimal, basically a matter of filling out details to customize your chosen archetype. That said, the number of choices for archetypes fit the Hong Kong Action theater (HKAT) genre conventions quite nicely, so it doesn’t feel like you’re forced into builds.”

“What character generation system? At its simplest, character creation is a matter of picking a template and copying everything over, unless you printed from the PDF. Any customization beyond that is not only optional, but a matter of negotiation between player and GM. They get around this shortfall by having character templates so robust and iconic that they’re all pretty much playable right off the printer. This may seem to direct your efforts”

RULES

Outside of the unique powers (which are summarized in appropriate detail on the archetype sheets for ease of use), the rules are simple:

Postive 1d6 + Negative 1d6 + modifier vs. difficulty modifier (with degrees of success) With this simple mechanic, adjustable with special abilities and stunts, and exploding 6s, you are off to the races. Read over the combat section thoroughly is my advice. Although there is no one right way to enjoy an RPG, Feng Shui without ample action and violence is like ordering salad and ice water at Five Guys.

“People who like “crunchy” games won’t be able to wrap their heads around this one. It’s almost frightfully simple in places, but it has to be a little simple in order to keep play moving fast. This encourages players to come up with wilder, more descriptive actions more befitting a Hong Kong action movie, and benignly shrugs at GMs who hear all that scenery-chewing and say “Eh, why not.”

The laxness also provides a degree of freedom, for example, to play the Magic Cop as either a black-ops modern-day sorceror or as semi-bumbling comic relief. And don’t underestimate the fun of doing the latter.”

CONCLUSION

Needless to say, we had a blast. Gangsters were cut down, demons were defeated, cocktails were served and weeping guitar laments were played as the bullets flew.

Feng Shui has been one of my favorite gaming properties since its inception and the most recent edition is the best yet. Incredibly easy to prepare for and inspired by stuff we all know and love, this was a rewarding RPG.lab experience.

“This is my third (or fourth, if you count the one I ran) experience with RPG.Lab, and I’ve yet to walk away disappointed. This is a great idea and I hope you guys keep doing it, especially as new games keep appearing.”

George is the full-time assistant manager of Games & Stuff and the de facto GM of RPG.Lab. He is a big fan of way too many RPGs

RPG LAB Report – Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay

Much like the Old World setting itself, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (especially this current edition) has seen a lot of turmoil and chaos, in and out of print, it still stands as one of the coolest systems and settings on the market today. Effectively forming the mechanical foundation for the extremely successful line of FFG’s Star Wars RPGs, this is the first RPG iteration of those funky dice mechanics many have come to know and love.

NOTE: The bits in italic quotations at the end of each section are player comments and not the expressed views of the RPG Lab coordinator.

SETTING

Despite its annihilation with the coming of the Age of Sigmar, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay preserves our fond memories of the Old World setting in all its whimsical and nightmarish glory. The Empire stands and its allies stand as the final barrier to the incursions of chaos and the impending terrors of the necromancer-god Nagash. Beastmen, Greenskins, and Skaven (there are no Skaven!) feed at the crumbling edges and fairly ordinary folk must find their courage and combat them if humanity is to stand a chance. The Empire boasts powerful wizards, warrior-knights, and champions of the Emperor Karl-Franz but such lofty achievements are far from where the game starts. Rat catchers, boatmen, and halfling cooks are more the order of the day and even the small things can be deadly and infectious.

“The setting is grim, but not necessarily depressing. Things can look bad at one moment, and still offer hope for improvement later. Also, while technically a fantasy setting, it offers numerous opportunities for horror of various sorts—virtually implacable foes, conditions terrible in multiple senses of the word.”

SUPPLEMENTS AND MATERIALS USED

For this game we mostly relied on basic careers from the core set. Insofar as races, we used the human variants from Hero’s Call as well as the halfling. Beyond that, the adventure was a custom scenario that takes place in the wealthy port of Marienberg.

CHARACTER GENERATION

So rather than using the recommended random rolling for character race, we decided to randomly select career cards. Once a career was selected, we agreed that characters would be human unless the career was exclusively for a specific race. The characters we ended up with were:

  • A Human Boatman
  • A Human Hunter
  • A Dwarf Troll-Slayer
  • A Halfling Chef

Once this was done we progressed through the point allocation that determined stats (along with racial adjustments), equipment and all of the other options specific to each character.

We also determined the party’s character. Yes. Warhammer has a party card that allows the Game Master to motivate the party with stress but also provides a special ability useable by the party. This party was a gang of “Brash Young Fools”. As the adventure unfolded, it quickly became obvious that this was the perfect choice.

“The greatest potential pitfall in character creation is selecting character class; you have to work with your other players to make sure that the group you ultimately form is diverse enough to handle much of the little stuff, but still competent enough in key areas like combat to continue moving forward.”

RULES

Despite the baroque appearance of the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay dice, the mechanics are pretty elegant. Much like the Star Wars games, you have dice that are flat successes and failures. Beyond that, you also have results that determine a sort of atmospheric benefit or detriment. That way a character can fail, but still manipulate the situation so that they offer some benefit that the party can take advantage of. In addition to these basic results, you also have the Star of Chaos and the Twin-Tailed Comet of Sigmar which translate into extraordinary triumph and dismal, hell-stained failure.

Because the plot of the adventure was hinged on the remedying of a terrible chaos-tweaked disease, we also used the disease cards to model the onset of this awful pox (which was, luckily, only contracted by a single PC).

“As I mentioned above , this is not a stripped down system……But it is a cool one! The options that are available for social or combat encounters are broad and thought-provoking. The dice system is a dice- pool style with specialized dice. These dice allow for success within every situation….You could hit a Chaos-demon with a farmer’s shovel….but will it hurt it…?…Possibly. The dice pool system is a favorite of mine because it allows for many situations to be more exciting than a rolling of 1 d20 in other system’s.

Not only can you get injured but you can also become fatigued, or stressed out or corrupted…..All of which are story and mechanic driven so that your fight’s will be tougher and your social interactions will be more troublesome. The system helps pull you into the role-playing I think.”

CONCLUSION

It has to be said that the Warhammer Fantasy setting of the Old World has been largely eradicated through the lens of the miniatures game, it is still alive and well as far as the RPG is concerned. Having not run the thing for ages, I experienced a recurring joy brought about for both mechanical and narrative reasons. For those who long for the days of the Empire, the Vampire Counts and a never-ending deluge of chaos-tainted halfling baked goods, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay is just the place to enjoy and re-enjoy them.

“You can’t say George was unenthusiastic about the game. He knew the material (both rules and components), had it organized for play (and so did at least one of the players), and wasn’t afraid to use them both. The situation was fairly straightforward, but not without its perils, as it should be for either a multi-session adventure or a very short-run campaign.”

George is the full-time assistant manager of Games & Stuff and the de facto GM of RPG.Lab. He is a big fan of way too many RPGs

July is Age of Sigmar Month!

It has been nearly 1 year since the Age of Sigmar began and we are celebrating in style all through July! The month long celebration kicks off on July 9th with the Rise of the Everchosen Campaign Day here at the store and will be followed by an Escalation League to battle for the mortal realms! Let’s look at what we have planned:

RISE OF THE EVERCHOSEN
This event is on Saturday, July 9th from 11 AM until 6 PM. Archaon’s most powerful warlords are waging a campaign of destruction across the Mortal Realms, all in search of pieces of an artifact that will grant the Grand Marshal of the Apocalypse an upper hand in his war to conquer all. The forces of Sigmar, Nagash, GorkaMorka, and more have all set out to stop this from happening!

This event is a story driven day of gaming where each battle impacts the overall event. Come and play on some fantastic new terrain that will be unveiled that day representing key locations throughout the nine realms. Bring your own models or play with models provided – This event is all about getting people involved!

If you wish to bring your own models, we ask that you bring fully painted and based figures to keep the event to a very high standard. Bring whatever warscrolls you like, we will make it work!

ACROSS THE REALMS – ESCALATION LEAGUE
Starting on July 12th (Tuesday) we are kicking off a 6 week Escalation League to get people working on their armies for Age of Sigmar! Each week we will add more to the forces so we can play bigger battles!

Week one kicks off with 1 Hero and up to 10 additional models. Full details on the League can be found on its event page under Miniatures. There is a one time $10 fee to participate and that money will go toward prize support for the end of the League.

From there Tuesdays will be Age of Sigmar Night starting in July! We will have open gaming, special scenario games, and much more! Keep an eye on the event listings for details.

We hope everyone is as excited as we are to kick things into high gear for Age of Sigmar!