Saturday, 30 June 2007

Help wanted (9)

"Wanted: adventurous young male with fencing skills wanted for romantic purposes. Must own good clothing and know how to dance! Also, no living relatives! Ask for Othilde Knaus at Imperial Palace!"

- Exquisite letter distributed by a middle-age woman to every likely looking candidate in the Bankbezirk.

I must admit that thinking these help wanted ads up can be a riot. I know many characters who would kill to get a chance to check this item out! And I'm sure we'll hear from one of them in a bit.


Friday, 29 June 2007

Mapping Altdorf


In my quest for knowledge about the Imperial Capital, I have started drawing maps of the places I have visited. Altdorf is a huge and sprawling place, and the houses sometimes form a labyrinth, a maze of doors, windows, roofs and ledges. I am no cartographer such as the esteemed Anders Gesetz, but I have nonetheless taken it upon me to do as well as I can. This is taking up a lot of my time of lately, but I hope that the map will enable me to document with even greater accuracy the heart of the Empire.

Adolphus Altdorfer
Wellentag, Vorgeheim 29, 2522 IC

Wednesday, 20 June 2007


After feedback and clarifications from my good friend and expert Nils-Erik Fahlvik as to how the gun that Nuln by Night was based on works, I have pulled it from the site for updating. Basically what I'm going to do is add two other weapon qualities called Volley and Big Bang, and remove the Multiple Barrels quality. I hope to have it updated by tomorrow.

UPDATE: Ok, the new version is up. See below for a fresh take on Nuln by Night!


Saturday, 16 June 2007

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Best of the fans (3)

It's time again to point your browsers at another stunning WFRP fan contribution. This time it's not a netbook or a handout but an online tool that garners our attention. For any Game Master who's had to create an NPC on the fly, a character generator is a godsend! Or fan send, in this specific case.

Character generators don't get any prettier and easy to use than the one found at Danish based (but English language) web site Malleus Maleficarum.

So I don't have any qualms about naming their character generator a Best of the fans effort! And after you've checked out the generator, be sure to take a look at the rest of the site for a lot of inspirational bonuses!

Great work guys!


Saturday, 9 June 2007

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

FAL Review: Elizabeth

Genres: Historical drama, Romance, Suspence. Main cast: Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Christopher Eccleston, Joseph Fiennes, Richard Attenborough, Kathy Burke. Director: Shekhar Kapur. Writer: Michael Hurst. Length: 119 minutes.

Elizabeth is a visual feast, and a tour de force of convincing acting from many of our times greatest stars. Fantasy fans and roleplayers will recognise Cate Blanchett from The Lord of the Rings and Geoffrey Rush from Pirates of the Caribbean, to mention just a few. Fans of football will recognise Eric Cantona as a french emissary ... and cringe at his awkward and stilted acting.

The events of the movie begin in 1554. The reigning queen of England is Mary Tudor, but she is done in by cancer pretty quickly, putting Elizabeth previously declared a traitor, on the throne. What follows is a very compressed version of historical events. The story of Elizabeth's ascension to the throne and her struggles to maintain it along with her own independance moves at a fair clip, and the plots and schemes to put her down add an interesting edge to the events unfolding in front of our eyes. It is a straight historical movie, no elves, goblins or dragons in sight and no overenthusiastic sword fights that stretch on forever and ever, as is too often the norm today. And that is refreshing. The focus on the people and their interactions fire up my brain with ideas for my games, and should provide many players with plenty of ideas for hamming it up at the table.

So is there anything to lament? Well, yes. I mentioned Eric Cantona, who is a blight on the acting profession. And if you're a fan of historical accuracy, chances are that you will be disappointed. There are several deviations from actual events, several of them for no readily apparent reason apart from fitting some events into the movie a bit easier, such as the death of Mary, Queen of Scots. And even if I myself didn't notice it, I have read that the costumes, while beautiful, are sometimes wildly anachronistic as is the dialogue which has a much more uncouth and modern tonality than that which evidently was used during the actual time period.

Still, to me Elizabeth opened up a deep well of interesting history. I looked up several of the people portrayed in the movie, and found an abundance of inspirational material. Just take a look at the Wikipedia entry of Sir Francis Walsingham! If you don't come away from that page without your mind brimming with ideas, I don't know what would enthuse you.

To sum it up, I loved this movie. As some of you know, and every one else will learn after reading my reviews, I'm a sucker for great visuals and this movie delivers in spades. Its tonality fits WFRP better than D&D, but I believe that Game Masters and players of both games will find great inspiration for plots and characters among the multitude offered.


Tuesday, 5 June 2007

What's going on?

Sometimes I feel as if I'm being watched. As if everything I say and write is being read by distant spirits, far away ghosts ... or even Deamons from the Void. I feel the urge to burn every single word that is wrong, every thought that goes astray. But even when the flame from my candle consumes the bluish ink, I have a feeling that someone, somewhere, has read the words already.

Adolphus Altdorfer
Backtertag, Vorgeheim 5, 2522 IC

Just a short post to explain some strange posts on my blog the last couple of days. Even though I've been doing this since January, I haven't really learned everything about blogging with this tool that I need to know.

So ... when I've been wanting to preview a post, I have cleverly posted it so that it was published one year ago. And that means it didn't show up on the front page. That way I figured no one would find it, and I could look at it at my leisure and then take it down and redo it. Basically this is because I'm not at all happy with the preview function, and I really prefer to actually publish my posts to preview them. Gives me greater control and accuracy.

This weekend I realised that quite a few of my faithful readers ... well, at least two of them, thanks Gitta and Dante, are subscribing to changes on my blog. A great way to keep track of new posts ... which also meant that they can see every post I make, even if I try to hide them away.

So ... not so clever of me, after all.

So, one of my strange experiment posts were up for a few days, confusing at least one reader. I didn't count on anyone finding it, so for those of you that did, the basic explanation is that I'm looking for a house, and wanted to check some houses with a good friend. Hence the mysterious page with links to houses for sale ... but now that page is removed, so look for it no more!

I really don't know what happens when I publish a post, and then remove it. Do those of you who subscribe still get a notification, or is the notification removed when I take the post down?


Monday, 4 June 2007

FAL Review: The Temple of the Troll God

Publisher Fast Forward Entertainment. Released Fall 2001. Format Softcover. Game system d20. Setting Green Races. Levels 4-7. Pages 48. Price $12.95.

Designer Timothy Brown.

Once in a lifetime, there comes a roleplaying product so grand in scope as to put all other competitors to shame. It shatters our conceptions of what a roleplaying game can be, and it shows us new ways of looking at our hobby. It is balanced, has innovative new rules or interesting takes on existing mechanics. It has a riveting plot which allows great freedom for the players' PCs to get involved and change the outcome of the story.

The Temple of the Troll God is the anti-thesis of that product.

Released in fall 2001, this product hasn't aged well. Heck, it got hit by a ghost's aging touch the second it hit the shops. I know it's very much too late to review this adventure now, but I do so for several reasons. First, I had already written a review years ago so I might as well use that again now that I'm launching FAL. Second, it will help you all to start figuring out what I like and what I don't like.

The Temple of the Troll God is part of a trilogy (made up of Fortress of the Ogre Chieftain, Temple of the Troll God and Slave Pits of the Goblin King), but can be played by itself. It is set in the setting of the Green Races, on a world called Elara. The layout is simplistic, the maps are under average and the illustrations of low quality. The structure of the text is incredibly confusing and freely mixes text on the adventure, the rules and the "unique" setting. All in all it feels like a train off the rails; it lacks direction and is heading towards a train wreck.

A premise for the adventure doesn't exist. There is no plot, no reason for why the PCs would be where they are, there is no logic to what's going on or why anything happens. Somewhere among all this is a temple dedicated to a god worshiped by trolls, and this is where the PCs are going to ... do something, I suppose. No one knows what, not even the DM.

These kinds of setups exist in other adventures as well, basically offering the DM a framework to use with his players' PCs. I find many modules with that premise interesting, but The Temple of the Troll God was merely frustrating. It seems as if Brown wrote an adventure that was supposed to be both framework and a linear wilderness plus dungeon romp, but that half of the text got chewed up by a hard drive crash.

The execution of the rules is also a catastrophe, and there are many gigantic mistakes regarding monster stats and abilities. In addition to this, the writer consequently breaks the terms of the d20 license throughout the text. In addition to this, the amount of treasure placed in this adventure borders on the ludicrous.

What makes this offering so crushingly disappointing is the fact that several of the old AD&D guard were involved in its creation. I admired Timothy Browns work on Dark Sun, and always figured that Jim Ward had a lot going for him. But these illusions were backstabbed and disintegrated and then cast into the abyss. Temple of the Troll God feels like a quick hatchet job to cash in on the, at the time, very profitable d20 trend. I wouldn't be surprised if it was revealed that the adventure was simply some discarded or even rejected notes from the AD&D era, dressed up in a tutu and brought to the prom, without Brown ever reading the third edition rules or the licenses attached to it.

Harsh? Yeah, maybe. I have read a rave review of this adventure on RPGnet, so there are people out there who disagree with my assessment. So should you buy it? Hell, yeah! If you can find it for a dollar, pick it up. There are several lessons to be learned from The Temple of the Troll God, and having it in your possession will give you new faith in the products offered for D&D and d20 today.


Sunday, 3 June 2007

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay awarded again!

According to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay has won yet another accolade: Grog d'Or, the prestigious french accolade from Guide du Roliste Galactique.

Read more about it here!

Congratulations to Black Industries!


Saturday, 2 June 2007

Burning the midnight oil

Although my adventure in the archives under the University ended badly, I have managed to procure a number of books about Altdorf from a book shop close to here.

My books

I don't believe they will reveal any hidden knowledge about the heart of the Empire, for they were all to easy to find. But still, I need to add to my library and I believe that I have to aquire more gold before I start looking for the forgotten tomes, for they will undoubtedly carry a heftier price tag.

Adolphus Altdorfer
Wellentag, Vorgeheim 2, 2522 IC

The great masters of painting didn't always paint people and religious allegories. They also did a lot of stillebens (still-life), which make perfect handouts for your gaming sessions! Instead of describing the desk the adventurers find, you can actually show it to them!