Thursday, 28 February 2013

Campaign Week: part two


In the last post we showed you the Warhammer Fantasy armies we’ve been building over the last year. Today we’ll explain the minimalist way our campaign works, along with the setting and the major characters.

How doth this campaign bizznatch work?

Being a bunch of fluffy narrative-hungry types, the only things we needed to start the campaign were a map and a story. There are no rules or campaign turns. Each faction has its own objectives, and these aren’t mutually exclusive, so it’s theoretically possible that everyone could win.

When two (or more) players decide to play a game, they’ll chat about what their characters are trying to achieve, and set up a battle that will allow them to try and achieve it. This means that games can be skirmishes, battles, or even a short roleplay session if the story would be better furthered by investigation rather than open conflict. It’s all done with a co-operative spirit. When we fight battles, we fight to win, but the campaign itself is rather gentler.

The setting

The campaign map as of day two

Our campaign is set in Hochland immediately after the Storm of Chaos, starting in the spring of 2254 (by the Imperial Calendar). Two thirds of Hochland’s settlements have been destroyed by Archaon’s horde as it burned its way west towards Middenheim. It’s all a bit post-apocalyptic.

The campaign map has been sourced from Winds of Chaos. We’ve added further details relevant to our story informed by Mad Alfred’s WFRP pages – primarily to establish which towns were sacked by Archaon’s invasion.

The factions

Dwarfs (Jeff)
The Stormbournes are a seafaring clan who’ve been commanded by the King of Barak Varr to retake Karak Hoch, a long-abandoned Dwarfen hold in the Middle Mountains. To do so, they must create a chain of watchtowers along the Wolf’s Run and the River Talabec to safeguard their main trade route, whilst also reclaiming the hold itself.

Lord Hafnir Stormbourne

Lord Hafnir Stormbourne’s pride was all but destroyed when his flagship – the mighty ironclad into which he and his clan poured all their wealth – was sunk on its maiden voyage. It is only Hafnir’s responsibilities to his clan that has held him back from taking a slayer’s vow. Fatalistically accepting the impossible mission given to him by the King, the retaking of Karak Hoch is Hafnir’s last chance to re-forge the Stormbournes’ wealth and reputation.

Dwalin Gravenrune

Being as he is a Runesmith, Dwalin is the only Dwarf travelling with the Stormbourne host blessed with any diplomatic skill whatsoever. Consequently, he is generally the only thing standing between Hafnir and a major diplomatic incident with Hochland’s Elector Count.


Empire (Charlie)
If the survivors of Archaon’s invasion are to get through the next year, the refugees in Bergsburg and Tussenhof must be escorted back to their old villages to rebuild the houses and re-sew the fields, without which Hochland’s people will face famine.

Erhard von Rüdiger

The Order of the Silver Drake were all but wiped out in the war against Chaos. Only a handful of veteran warriors remain, led by their Grand Master: Erhard von Rüdiger. He is indifferent to the sacrifices he asks of Hochland’s soldiery, considering death to be just another aspect of duty.

Captain Oskar Brandt

As one of the few surviving officers in the state soldiery, Oskar is unwilling to risk the lives of the men under his command, and is doing his best to keep them away from the Grand Master of the Silver Drakes. He is, however, easily distracted by opportunities to strike a dramatic pose and make statements about the solemn need to repopulate the province.

Amelia von Lessing

Dispatched to Hochland in 2252 by the Amethyst College to track down the De Crécy brothers, Amelia’s mission was spectacularly hijacked by the war. Now that it’s over, she has resumed her search. If she is to defeat two vampires, though, she will need to enlist the help of Hochland’s soldiers – no small task, given that people seem to have difficulty trusting an ill-tempered practitioner of death magic.

Skaven (Mark)
Clan Voltik have claimed the charred ruins of Hochland’s capital city as their own. Strangely-coloured smoke rises from newly-made forges, but as yet, no one has got into the city to work out what it is that the ratmen are working on.

Voltik

Blessed with a natural talent for forging rare metals, and obsessed by his secret plans, Voltik leaves much of the day-to-day running of his clan to his underlings, leaving his workshops only when in direst need. He is more machine than rat, and whilst some of his tribe might find his tinny voice amusing, none would be stupid enough to say so in front of his towering form lest they find themselves run through, pulped, and fed into the fires of the factories.

Skivvit Backbreaker

As one of Voltik’s few competent underlings, Skivvit is charged with leading Clan Voltik’s armies out into Hochland to steal or capture the raw materials Voltik needs for his scheme to work. If Skivvit’s plans don’t work, it’s probably because his underlings are blithering idiots.

Lucky Sh!twhiskers

This Warlock Engineer is one of the most incompetent, self-destructive, reckless, unreliable, flammable rats  in the Old World. When trying to fry an enemy with warp lightning, Sh!twhiskers has been known instead to fire his own casting hand at the enemy. On several occasions he has drawn such impossible energies into the warp lightning condenser on his back that it has shorted out and killed most of the Skaven standing behind him before it could unleash its powers on the enemy in front. The only reason Skivvit hasn’t already killed this walking streak of urine is that the unreliable little ferret knows the secret of making the Skavenbrew that Skivvit likes to feed to the troops before a battle. Should Skivvit ever learn the secret of Sh!twhiskers’ brewing techniques, the engineer’s life would be measured in the distance he could put between himself and the murderous Clan Voltik warlord.

Vampire Counts (Maisey)
The de Crécy brothers could not have hoped for a better time to wake from their five-century slumber. Their shadowy sire, content to let the brothers run amok and get all the attention, has instructed his pawns to raise an army of the dead and march on the Brass Keep deep in the Middle Mountains. Like any Brettonian Duc worth their heraldry, though, Phillipe de Crécy also intends to carve a little fiefdom for himself out of Hochland, for what point is there to mortals if they are not paying him tribute in his court?

Phillippe  de Crécy

Once a Brettonian knight, Phillippe was drawn to vampirism by his thirst for power. Even in undeath, he still clings to martial pride and the desire to hold court as the lord of a well-appointed castle.

Etienne de Crécy

Forcibly turned to undeath by his brother, Etienne was unable to reconcile the honourable man he was with the creature he has become, and has since lost his mind to bestial fury.

Mallick Rosenthal
Mallick is another servant of Phillipe's sire, taken under his wing during the de Crécys' five centuries of torpor. He works feverishly to further his master's endeavours with the sycophancy that only a necromancer is capable of, although Phillippe looks down on him as little more than a newborn bereft of knightly virtue.

Warriors of Chaos (Emma)
Splendiferous the Magnificent, Sorcerer of Tzeentch, proud owner of two thoroughly inspiring horns and keen believer in Archaon prior to the defeat in Middenheim, has since come to believe in the idea of carving out a Chaotic empire in the heart of Hochland, from which to strike out at the rest of the Empire. If this can be done by usurping the now-empty chapter houses of the Silver Drakes, then so much the better, for Tzeentch enjoys irony almost as much as change.

Splendiferous, Sorcerer of Tzeentch

...we do have other characters, but they’re not quite as decision-make-y as these folk. Stand by for Part Three, in which the story that’s been evolving over the week shall begin!

So far, four days in, I’m having a whale of a time. Everyone’s armies look really cool, and I’ve had my share of victories and spectacular defeats (thanks Mark). Good times. Oh, and one final note: many thanks to Jeff for the nifty character portraits in this post. Safe as funt.

~Charlie

Monday, 25 February 2013

Campaign Week: part one

It's been over a year since the Beard Bunkerettes embarked on their quest for glory. Finally, unavoidably, the finish line is here. Five gamers had a year to build themselves a 2,000 point army, and some of them have met with success. One of them has met with a wheelbarrow full of humble pie. Below, then, are the five armies we're going to be feeding into the mincing machine that is the Beard Bunker's Hochland campaign:


Emma's Warriors of Chaos Army

Emma: As a life-long 'good-gal' when it comes to choosing the light or the dark side, I surprised myself by choosing Chaos Warriors as a first army as opposed to fancy elves or noble Bretonnians. Do I regret it now? Hell NO! I now have a grimy, sweaty horde of rapers and pillagers and I love them all as only a mother could. Rediscovering my love of painting (long-neglected after my last A-level art class) has been the major plus.  A little harder was engaging in the gaming side but even this is growing on me now, especially when a deliciously meaty storyline is involved (see campaign description!) 

Jeff: For reasons I cannot fathom, Emma doesn't think these are all that good. I respectfully disagree and remind everyone that this is her FIRST army painting project! I know people who've been painting a decade longer that aren't up to her standards!

Maisey: I've always loved the blues and golds of Tzeetch. It's a pretty army but so very scared of those knights.

Mark: This is a solid-looking and prettily painted army. Emma, you should be justifiably proud of this. Doubtless, they'll be picking bits of rat of their axes all the way across the Drakwald Forest.

Charlie: The tips of her knights' lances are bigger than my men. Oh gods.

Jeff's Dwarf Army: The Stormbourne Host.
Well huzzah! In June I decided to take a screeching left turn from Nurgle Chaos to Dwarfs, this was just not a smart move considering I wanted to paint the army within the year. With a fairly massive task ahead I had sort of given up getting all of these little chaps finished by the start of the campaign. Then my normal painting speed happened! This is 3000 points of Dwarfs and just in time too, I had started to feel the terrible pull of Dwarf Fatigue toward the end. Really looking forward to busting out all 3k of them in battle now!

Maisey: Beards! In the Bunker!

Em: Mmm Dwarves - now with sex appeal thanks to Richard Armitage... and the epic beards, obviously.

Charlie: I love the concept behind Dwarfs; their imagery and their character are both deeply charming, but the current model range just doesn't consistently do it for me. As the proud owner of every Dwarf model ever, Jeff has made the army I always picture when I imagine a Dwarfen throng, and it warms the cockles of my wossnames.
 
Charlie's Hochland Empire Army

Charlie: Pie is delicious, unless it's made of humble. I still have 25 state troops and 12 flagellants to paint. Lame. To be more upbeat, I'm happy with the bits I have done, and I did at least manage 84% of the target.  GO ME.

Jeff: Well, quality over quantity has always been the Charlie way...
Em: How much time did you spend sculpting Amelia's lady lumps??
Maisey: Small but nicely formed...
Charlie: Your collective mums.
Mark. Fond of some of the space filling elements in the army - particularly the blessing in the large unit of gunners.
Charlie: Ta.

Maisey's Vampire Counts Army: The Host of the Brothers De Crécy

Maisey: I've not made as much progress towards the end of year as I hoped. I got decidedly distracted by my 40k project. I will have more time, and enthusiasm to get the last few units finished off to push me well over the 3000 points mark. Still needs more Zombies. 

Jeff: Damn this thing is huge. There are more zombies alone on this table than there are Dwarfs in my entire army. Intimidating is not the word.
Em: Depressing to think that my guys will have to kill most of these at least twice...
Charlie: Brains brains brains. Brains brains. Brains.

Mark's Skaven Army: Clan Voltik

Mark: In my mind, the majority of any army (including 40K) should be made up of the rank and file troops with the specialist units acting to support and assist the troops. Armies that rely on the special stuff to get the job done don't interest me so much. To that end, Clan Voltik consists largely of Skavenslaves and clan rats. This will prove to be useful later on, as adding additional fancy stuff (catapults, cannons, etc) should not overbalance the army.

The only thing of any real note are the 10 wolf rats which are (strictly speaking) summoned monsters. I intend to use use them as part of my standard army in the 'Special' or 'Rare' support slots.

Jeff: I love Skaven, they're one of those armies I've always contemplated and never executed. Mark's done a good job of bringing the "horde o'rats" to the table.

Maisey: Looking forward to watching these guys explode themselves and running away!

Charlie: The skavenslave units including non-skaven slaves are a thing of utter beauty.

Em: Squeak!!

So concludes the first Campaign Week post from the Bunker. Our intention is to post several times this week; tomorrow, we'll explain how we're going about playing a co-operative narrative campaign, and what's happened so far.