Tag Archives: Salzenmund

WFRP: Temperamental XP

four-humors-granger

Back when, I started running a game set during the Thirty Years War using WFRP 2E. I love WFRP 2E: it’s such a straightforward system, and I figured it’d be negligible to pull stuff in from any of the 40K RPG books to help make things Weird without any real effort.

The one place where it’s emphatically not held up is the career system. I mean, clearly it works great for what it’s supposed to do, but for a band of misfits on the run, it doesn’t offer much past “Okay, you can transition into the Vagabond career; don’t expect many opportunities to get out of it.”

I took a run at removing it without breaking the system too much a while back, messing around with Aptitudes, a la Only War (and now Dark Heresy), but it felt like a whole lot of mess for not enough payoff.  A couple of weeks ago, I took another stab at it: working off of Black Crusade this time.

Black Crusade (if’n you don’t know), is a precursor to the OW/DH Aptitude-based system: each advance is associated with one of the Chaos Gods: load up on too many in one category and similar advances get cheaper and dissimilar advances get more expensive.  So: a Veteran of the Long War who’s loaded up on talents related to stabbing will end up dedicated to Khorne… and will have a hard time buying talents favored by Slaanesh.

I’m doing a similar thing here, with the four temperaments.

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Salzenmund Apophaſiſ – Prologue Part I

The first session of the Salzenmund Apophaſiſ went down about a month ago.  This writeup’s a couple of weeks late, but c’est la vie.

Dramatis Personae

Amina Wegner – Boat(wo)man
Rosaria Gorman – Smuggler
Mannfried Orben – Noble
Nicholas Schlender – Burgher
Konrad Osterwald – Protagonist
Alberto Adriano Timoteo Raffaele – Camp Follower

Henchpeople

Bözsi – Messenger
Dalibor – Outrider
Heiko – Tomb Robber
Helfried – Scribe
Herman – Miner
Humbert – Camp Follower
Irmuska – Bodyguard
Körbl – Bone Picker
Magdolna – Militiaman
Melker – Rogue
Sven – Mercenary
Viktor – Protagonist

I gave each of the PC’s d4 Henchbros to support them and, in cases of dire lethality, eat a would-be killing blow in place of the associated PC.  My DM dice have proven themselves to be downright spiteful, so a safety valve seemed prudent.  How little did I know…

I actually had a lot of fun rolling these up.  I gave each of them a skill, and rolled once on the Henchman Traits table.  They were 45% male, 45% female and two of them… hard to tell.  This gave us things like Viktor, the Protagonist with beautiful, lustrous hair, and Körbl the Bone and nose picker.

As promised, the PCs were all soldiers in service to Johann Tserclaes during the Sack of Magdeburg, serving under Graf Luboš Winther.  Winther, hits the limit for the depravity he’s willing to participate in and suggested to the troops he’s with that they desert, tag out of the war, and flee too someplace safe, like the Swiss cantons.  They agreed; finished loading up their loot wagon, and rolled out of town.

Along the way, they encountered some other looters who decided that a wagon full of loot’s far more convenient than a city full of unbewagoned loot and decided to take it from the party.  This went down almost entirely as an exercise to run the players through a WFRP combat.  As a result, the three unnamed looters (this is a lie: they were each named “Dieter”) were butchered and Nicholoas knocked into critical range.

Besides a bloody fight on the way out of town, their escape was uneventful.  That is, until a week or so after they’d left town.  Several of the party went foraging and hunting to supplement their rations… including Alberto, who shot, killed, and brought back a baby bear to cook.

The party was awoken in the middle of the night: Graf Winther was gone.  So was his horse and a sizable portion of the party’s rations.  Before they could investigate further…

Bears!  The completely botched Outdoor Survial hunting roll was incredibly convenient, as part of the initial arc I’ve had planned very much called for bears.  True story, no joke.

Unfortunately, as it turns out, bears in WFRP are very much not something to fuck around with.  At all.  Battling bears (2 Bears, 1 Bear w/ the Brute advance scheme) took quite a bit longer to resolve than I’d expected or would like.  It was also deeply, profoundly lethal.

The sacrifice-a-henchment-to-avoid-a-critical-roll rule effectively made the fight an exercise in feeding henchpeople into a woodchipper.

I’ll let the list of remaining henchpeople speak for itself.  Look at the list above, and now look at the list below:

Surviving Henchpersons

Bözsi – Messenger
Helfried – Scribe
Herman – Miner
Magdolna – Militiaman

So, yeah.  The math speaks for itself.  I hope next session’s not nearly as bloody.  This thing I’m doing right now?  Just a prologue.  Setting the stage for worse things to come.  Hard to do that if everyone involved is being transformed to bear feces.

d10Commandments

While ordering some square-edged dice I stumbled across a d10Commandments; it had to be purchased.

I’m definitely going to use this thing in the game. I think I’ll use it for NPC’s motivations and secret guilts. Or maybe for things that religious zealots can assume about PCs.  “YOU!  YOU OVER THERE! YOU DON’T HONOR THE SABBATH!  I CAN TELL!  GET ‘EM!”

I dunno: I like weird dice.  Give me a break!

Hunger During the Thirty Years War

Dame Wedgwood thinks I let my PCs spend too much money on rations…

“The fugitives who fled from the south after Nördlingen died of plague, hunger and exhaustion in the refugee camp at Frankfort or the overcrowded hospitals of Saxony; seven thousand were expelled fom the canon of Zürich because there was neither food nor room for them; at Hanau the gates were closed against them; at Strasbourg they lay thick in the streets through the frosts of winter, so that by day the citizens stepped over their bodies, and by night lay awake listening to the groans of the sick and starving until the magistrates forcibly drove them out, thirty thousand of them. The Jesuits here and there fought manfully against the overwhelming distress; after the burning and desertion of Eichstätt they sought out the children who were hiding the cellars, killing and eating the rats, and carried them off to care for and educate them; at Hagenau they managed to feed the poor out of their stores until the French troops raided their granary and took charge of the grain for the army.”

“At Calw the pastor saw a woman gnawing the raw flesh of a dead horse on which a hungry dog and some ravens were also feeding. In Alasace the bodies of criminals were torn from the gallows and devoured; in the whole Rhineland they watched the gravyards against marauders who sold the flesh of the newly buried for food; at Zweibrücken a woman confessed to having eaten her child. Acorns, goats’ skins, grass were all cooked in Alsace; cats, dogs, and rats were sold in the market at Worms. In Fulda and Coburg and near Frankfort and the great refugee camp, men wnt in terror of being killed and eaten by those maddened by hunger. Near Worms hands and feed were found half cooked in a gipsies’ cauldron. Not far from Wertheim human bones were discovered in a pit, fresh, fleshless, sucked to the marrow.”

“By November rich burghers’ wives were seen in the market bartering their jewellery for a little flour. Horses, cats, dogs, mice were all sold for human food, and the skins of cattle and sheep were soaked and cooked. On November 24th one of Bernard’s soldiers, a prisoner, died in the castle; before the body could be taken away for burial his comrades had torn it in pieces and devoured the flesh. In the ensuing weeks six other prisoners died and were eaten. On a single morning ten bodies were found in the center square of the town, citizens who had dropped dead of hunger, and by December it was being whispered that poor and orphan children had disappeared.”

The Thirty Years War, CV Wedgwood

Salzenmund Character Creation Notes

Characters will be built per the character creation rules in WFRP, with the following differences/notes:

  • Humans only.
    • Shallaya’s Mercy may be chosen once.
    • Depending on your nationality (see below), you may choose a different nation for your Common Knowledge and a different language for your Speak Language. I just hope you plan to be able to communicate with the rest of the party,
  • Careers. Roll once on the table (none of this mollycoddling “two rolls and choose” nonsense*). I’m too lazy to rewrite the career table, so if you roll one of the following “special” careers:
    • Apprentice Wizard – Make a note of it, then reroll on the Career Table.
    • Etstalian Disestro – You may reroll. If you don’t, you’re stuck being Spanish, Italian or French.
    • Hedge Wizard – Make a note of it, then reroll on the Career Table.
    • Kislevite Kossar – You may reroll. If you don’t, you’re stuck being Polish.
    • Norse Berserker – You may reroll. If you don’t, you’re stuck being a Lapp or Swedish or something.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics – Roll twice on a Distinguishing Characteristic table. There are two
    • WFRP 2E – Distinguishing Marks table. These have no mechanical effects.
    • WFRP 1E – Distinguishing Characteristicstable. These have mechanical effects (some positive, some negative, most no effect).
  • At any point if you see something referring to d10g/s/p, replace it with d4g/s/p.

  • Languages & regions are different, but for the most part, the mapping is fairly transparent (and, where it isn’t, c’est la vie):

    WFRP Languaage
    Reikspeil German
    Breton French
    Halfling Dutch
    Estalian Spanish
    Eltharin English
    Kislevian Polish
    Khazalid Hungarian
    Norse Swedish
    Tilean Italian

  • 2d4 starting gold instead of 2d10, which I currently do not think you will be able to spend before the game begins.
  • Remember: all characters start with a Hand Weapon (that’s a specific weapon, btw: “Hand Weapon,” not a class of weapons).
  • You may, at this point, sell any of the trappings your starting career has provided you.
  • Roll 1d6. 1-4: start with a Pike (as Spear), 5-6: start with a Musket. These may not be sold.
  • I’ve taken a stab at creating some nationality & religion charts. You may choose your nationality (unless you’ve rolled a funky career and have chosen to not reroll it) and religion, or roll on the tables below**; whatever you prefer. (Just remember the prohibition against choices/behavior catastrophically prohibitive to party unity.)

    Nationality/Faction Chart
    Roll Nationality Roll Nationality
    Bourbon / Protestant Habsbug / Catholic
    01-06 Danish 101 Croatian
    07-19 Dutch 102-141 German
    20-39 French 142-144 Hungarian
    40-67 German 144-154 Italian
    68-70 Hungarian 155-156 Netherlander
    71-74 Norwegian 157-200 Spanish
    75-76 Scottish
    77-99 Swedish
    100 Transylvanian


    Religion Chart
    Roll Religion
    01-06 Lutheran
    07-09 Calvinist
    10 Zwinglian
    11-18 Roman Catholic
    19 Greek Catholic
    20 Mohammedan***

  • Note that you will be accompanied by d4 fellow deserters each. These will be fellow squadmates / acquiantences / replacements. These will function as hirelings. (TBD: How they’re to be generated.)

* Really, I forgot that WFRP 2E lets you roll twice and pick when folks did character creation last week. So, we’re stuck with it; only fair, right?
** Not making any claims as to the accuracy or comprehensiveness of these charts. Remember that bit about expect ahistoricity? These are broad strokes done quickly.
*** Is “Mohemmedan” offensive? I sure hope not; if it is, let me know and I’ll correct it to the more modern “Islamic” or “Muslim” or something.

The Salzenmund Apophaſiſ

I never got around to posting an overview about the game I’m about to run. I probably should fix that, since I’m about to start posting particulars about it.  Here’s the write-up:


The game will take place during the Thirty Year’s War.  All of the characters will be deserters, ditching the conflict in the aftermath of and in response to the horrors of the Sack of Magdeburg (or a similar, ahistorical event). Whatever’s happening here it sure ain’t the will of God, and it’s sure not something the PCs want any further part of. The world is going to Hell and, while they’ve bad things, they’re hardly alone. More significantly, they’re done. They’re getting out before their souls are stained any further. It’s time to find somewhere you can be safe: Switzerland.

The setting will lack fantastic elements. So, no elves, dwarves or halflings. No wizards. Initiates are valid choices, however, because they don’t actually start with the Divine Lore talent (so no need to worry about magic prayers at character creation.). It will be real-world historical run by a non-student of history. Expect ahistoricity and fudging, but no dragons or wyverns.  This might change as the game progresses, mind you, but we’re going to begin by selling things straight.

As I mentioned above, everyone’s a human. My default assumption is that they would be Catholic Germans, but I don’t really care about religious and ethnic choices: Protestant, Catholic, German, Spanish, Swedish – I don’t care so long as different players’ choices don’t become catastrophically prohibitive to party unity. In other words, if one of the PCs is a former Bourbon supporter and another former Hapsburg supporter: that’s cool, so long as things are much closer to “Boy, this sucks, let’s help each other get out of this shit situation” than “BURN HERETIC BURN!”

We’re using the WFRP 2E system. There will be some slight changes to char gen. Additionally, I expect to tweak rules a fair amount here and there as the game progresses.

I’m eyeballs deep in OSR blogs at the moment, so expect that mentality to inform the direction of the game: that is to say: exploration, resource management, and flexibility.

We’ll try extremely hard to stick to a every-other-Friday schedule.

Firearms

I’m not entirely pleased with the way WFRP 2E handles firearms.

For the Old World, it’s fine, but for Thirty Years’ War, they’re too advanced and reliable. There’s even a few paragraphs in the Old World Armoury that talks about the evolution of firearms in the Old World from hand gonnes to matchlocks to wheellocks and flintlocks and on to the “modern” handgun.  Those wheellocks and matchlocks, though, saw use in addition to flintlocks.

Unfortunately OWA doesn’t do anything with them mechanically.  So, I’m going to cobble something together on my own.  At the same time, one thing I very much appreciate about WFRP is how it just says, “Whatever man, it’s a Hand Weapon,” and doesn’t get too persnickety about details beyond that.  Weighing things down with details for details’ sake isn’t going to do me any favors.


Pistols and Firearms are either Matchlock, Wheellock, or Firelock (Flintlock).

  • Matchlocks – as Firearm/Pistol, but Unreliable range is 15% larger (attack rolls of 81-98 mean a roll on the Misfire Chart) and is Rare.
  • Wheellock – as Firearm/Pistol, but Unreliable range is 10% larger (attack rolls of 86-98 mean a roll on the Misfire Chart).
  • Firelock – as Firearm/Pistol, but 5% more difficult to acquire.

Type Misfire Explodes Rarity
Matchlock 81-98 99-00 Rare
Wheellock 86-98 99-00 Very Rare
Firelock 96-98 99-00 Very Rare (-5%)


When firing an Unreliable weapon, if the roll falls within the Misfire range, regardless if the roll would have been successful, there will be a secret roll on the Misfire Chart.  Experimental weapons will roll on the Advanced Misfire Chart in Old World Armoury.

Misfire Chart
Roll Result
01-20 Partial burn. Not all the powder catches; range and effective strength are halved (rounding fractions up) for this shot only.
21-50 Charge fails to ignite; try again next round.
51-70 Chage fails to ignite; reload and try again.
71-80 Slow burn, or ‘hang fire.’ The priming goes off, but nothing else seems to happen. However the weapon will fire in the following round, with potentially dangerous consequences. Anyone who is stupid enough to look down the barrel of a gun which has hung firetakes an automatic point blank head hit.
81-90 Flash in the pan. The powder around the touchhole ignites in a bright flash, but the gun does not go off. The gun must be reprimed before it can be fired again; this takes one round. The firer suffers a BS-10% on the reprimed shot, due to an understandable degree of nervousness about what is to happen next…
91-98 Burn-round. The powder catches, but the shot is either insufficiently wadded or a little too small for the barrel. The net result is that the heat of the burning powder welds the shot into the barrel. The weapon is now useless and has a 50% chance of exploding if anyone tries to use it again. A successful Challenging Trade (Gunsmith) Skill Test will repair it.
99-00 Weapon explodes, inflicting normal damage on the wielder and is destroyed.


Musket-Rest: Allows for a an Aim (Full Action) action.  If the following action is a Standard Attack, gain BS+20%.


The Misfire Chart in the core book is boring (it jams! it blows up!) and unrealistic (if it jams, you need a Trade roll to fix it).  The Advanced Misfire Chart in Old World Armoury is kinda brutal (40-50% chance of it blowing up); though I’m okay with it for Experimental weapons.  The above chart is effectively the Advanced Misfires Chart from WFRP 1E’s Warhammer Companion.

Also: the musket-rest is key.  I love them. Gotta be there.