Armagideon Time

Following the “Brassfist Saga” (which you can read about Death Saves story, with some additional clarifications here), I found myself in charge of a ready made group of folks interested in running a Warhammer Fantasy Role Play campaign.

I was a little apprehensive about taking up the gamemaster’s mantle again after the clusterfuck my Champions one had become, but I was also pretty excited by the prospect. WFRP had fewer moving parts than Champions did, and fantasy genre stuff is easier to pull off — especially when you’re dealing with folks looking for a straightforward hack ‘n’ lootfest, as I was going to be.

The group decided to keep the Friday afternoon timeslot held by the failed AD&D run that brought us together. That gave me a week to guide everyone through the character creation process and cobble together an introductory scenario. I settled for a simple dungeon crawl, which was mapped out and populated on a sheet of graph paper between heckling the semantic wheel-spinners in my my Intro to Philosophy class.

I’d stopped keeping up with the sporadic flow of WFRP releases when my local group scattered to the winds. The upcoming campaign gave me the motivation to go back and scope out some of the stuff that had slipped under my radar, while the modest cushion of scholarship money meant that I could actually afford to purchase anything that truly caught my eye. Most of it was pre-made adventure material, heavy on worldbuilding and character interaction and thus of limited use to me. I ended up settling on the most practical choice offered on the shelf — a copy of the WFRP Character Pack.

The supplement consisted of a tear-off pad of revised character sheets wrapped in a cardboard folder (illustrated with sample fashions from the game’s fantasy world) and bundled with a pamphlet that expanded the character creation rules.

The pamphlet was the big draw of the package, as it contained tables and charts covering everything from hair color to appropriate names to distinguishing characteristics. It was the type of minutiae a obsessive gamergeek could get lost in for hours, and my players and I certainly did as we worked out their vital statistics down to the last second cousin. It was also the type of engrossing nonsense that the official AD&D rules didn’t offer, which only added to WFRP’s mystique for this fresh group of players.

The first adventure was was a bit rough in places. It had been a while since I ran the game, and my sense of threat-scaling didn’t properly sync with a party of beginners. Despite a few ham-fisted deus ex machina moments, the group had a great time with the game and we decided to make it a regular thing. Within a few weeks, it became the flagship role-playing campaign of the Sci-Fi Club, with other members asking to join in on our Friday afternoon sessions of gore-flecked horror and Greek pizza from the takeout place down the road.

For the first time since I enrolled at UMass Boston, I felt like I was part of a community.

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