View Full Version : Making up a WHFRP campaign, would appreciate help.

25-10-2005, 00:52
have taken it into my mind to do a game of WHFRP once our current game (involving underground structures and reptilian monsters) finishes, and have decided for a bit of a twist to it. I have setting, NPCs, themes, a way of introducing the PCs…everything, in fact, other than the main plot of the campaign. So, I plan to copy and paste my mad rantings document from my computer and see what you fine fellows can think up. I've done research into the period and area where it was set, and have scoured both the ether-net and arcane tomes for advice, but...


The year is 2009, in the province of Sylvania. The great count Vlad von Carstien has rebuilt the province in the long years after his marriage to countess Isabella von Drak. Yet, for all the count’s lands may be free from the robbers and brigands that plague so many places in this, the time of the Three Emperors, dark rumours circulate this land. Though it is known that the nobility often live far longer than the brutish lifespans of the peasantry, the oldest woman in Drakenhof has claimed that her grandmother was but a girl when the Count came to the throne. Even though the peasantry are often slow witted and ignorant, even they have begun to sumise that all is not as it seems.

The town of Teufelheim lies on the opposite side of the river Tepla to the ruins of the Vanhaldenschlosse, immediately outside the Tangled Wood. Last winter was unusually hard, harsh blizzards rolling down from the World’s Edge and carrying with them a foul plague of winter wolves. Not only did the beasts carry off dozens of locals but starvation and cold brought the final end to hundreds more. But now, with spring dawning, the roads are once again open.

Now, with the Witch Hunter Gustav van Beichling investigating the town on rumours of heretical practices by certain prominent locals, there is little doubt that the future will hold even greater depredation.

The Outsiders:
Gustav van Beichling, Witch Hunter (ex-Vampire Hunter, ex-Tomb Robber)
Natalie Kenyov, Bounty Hunter (Ex-Bodyguard)
Frans Baak, Veteran (Ex-Squire)
Niklas Becker, Flagelant (Ex-Zealot)

The Locals:
Malachi Gelfstrum, Sergeant of the Watch (ex-Watchman)
Mayor Gerheart Grunsten, Politician (ex-Racketeer, ex-Thug)
Aprentice Surgeon Gelhern von Strocken, Student
Dwarven Prospector Gamilk Graumunchen, Miner
Gustaf Rutgier, Agitator

The Law:
Sir Enyin Tihmor, Knight [Drakenhof Templars] (Ex-Squire)

Teufelheim: Small town, corrupt government and watch, minor trade centre with dependant villages. (Thugs, brigands, Zombies, Giant Rats)
Tangled Wood: Near uninhabited, some assorted threats both living and dead. (Ghouls, Zombies, Vampire Bats, Dire Wolves, Giant Wolves, Giant Spiders)
Vonstal: Closer still to the Dark Moor, isolated and ill fated. It is said that some of the inhabitants took to the eating of the dead rather than fall to the depredations of the hard winter. (Ghouls, “Ghoul King” – Strigoi Vampire)

“The old priest of Ulric walked across the snow, wrapped in that great big pelt he drags out every winter and with the watch captain and his mob grumbling along in his wake. He looked across to the great beast at the head of the pack, and then it rushes at him. Hits him square and downs him, then rips out his guts before the watch captain can get his crossbow up. A bolt hits square into its skull and it keeps on going. When the captain went down the rest bolted for the gates. All of two made it out of a squad of nine."

“Widow Cherdrack ’as seen more winters than anyone around these parts, and she can’t think of a time when ze Count di’not live up at the ol’ Drak place. They say zat ze grandmother of ze oldest crone over at ze hof was but a babe when he took Isabella. It is not natural. There’s talk of witching and worse, but any that says anythin’ gets disappeared in short order. An’ not always by ze watch neither…”

“The old Valhaldenschlose is bein’ rebuilt, they say. A more ill-omened place never have I seen but they build anyway. I was there, twenty years back as but a young lad in the militia, cowering for fear of what we might find. For all there were noises and clanks from the woods we found nothing there, although I’ll mark that neither captain nor men had the stomach to remain for the night.

1650 – Crusade launched against Sylvania by the Church of Sigmar.
1797 – Death of Count Otto von Drak
2010 –Vlad von Carstien begins his campaign by raising a vast army of the undead.

Opening scene: You do, in fact, all meet up in a pub. It is early spring in 2009 (Pflugzeit 25, Backertag) and the Witch Hunter Gustav van Beichling has just arrived from Ostermark, the first outsider to visit this year and a bringer of welcome news of the outside world. As it has done for the thirty years since Magrita was rejected the throne by the Grand Theogonist, the contention for the throne continues. Van Beichling, an uncommonly friendly man for one in his profession, tells many a tale of his adventures in the ruins of Mordenheim, and is rather free with the drink.

This is intended for the party to introduce themselves in-character. For whatever reason, the party are to stay the night in the Raven and Axe for the night (reasons why are a part of the players’ responsibility, although simply staying too long to listen to news and tales of daring-do is good enough). Once night is well set in, very few people will risk going outside during this most ill-omened of times, and so the players will be pressed to stay the night.

That night, smoke is seen rising from the village of Gilau by the guards on watchtower duty. The Witch Hunter is sent for, and he decides that to send out a search party before dawn would be foolhardy. At this point the game propper begins.

I'm intending to use the Witch Hunter's party to hammer home what befalls adventurers, even if they survive. Van Beichling is an alcoholic, driven to his career by fate and bloodshed more than a divine calling. Natalie is quite bonkers, with one arm and a metal skull resulting from a run-in with beastmen whilst she and the rest of her warband fought a mob of orks for a handful of warpstone shards amongst the elven spires of Mordenheim.. or something like that, her memory's a little fuzzy still. Frans is a highly insular man who once dreamed of a life leading regiments of Rieksguard in glory combat, but now finds he is only employable as a huntsmaster and handler for the hounds. Niklas is, unlike most of his kind, actually quite a bright and coherent man, but is haunted by the events of his family's death (he is a local boy, under the rule of Konrad von Carstien) and determined to find a way to join them other than suicide (if he was a dwarf, he would be a slayer).

Question is, what do I do with them? I have a coupple of set-pices in mind (legging it to reach an abandoned riverside shrine at dusk whilst the dire wolves close in, only to find something far more evil and far more human inside; a nasty encounter at the Valhaldenschlose and a few others), and I've taken care of truncating character options for apropriate (it's going to be next to impossible to become a wizard before the coleges are founded, for example, and I'm damned if I'm letting an elf into this campaign), but I'm still at a loss to find more of a plot than just leaving the province before Geheimnisnacht 2010...

26-10-2005, 08:30
Fine then, I'll just go and sulk.



Lord Lucifer
26-10-2005, 10:05
Hmmm... Frans having dreams of gloriously leading the Reiksgard, I think the Reiksgard are a rather recently-founded order, after the time of the Three Emperors.
Might be wrong, but got the suspiscion anyway.

Could you give us a little more rambling one how you would generally like the campaign to progress, and more definition of what you want help with?

-Lucifer :)

26-10-2005, 12:31
I shall change it to an older order, perhaps the Panther? I'm a 40K player at heart and my knowlege of Fantasy fluff is rather limited.

I have little or no idea as to how I want the campaign to progress. My experience of running campaigns is limited at best (although I have a coupple of more high-fantasy ones ready for use, none are suitable for more low fantasy).

In essence, I need a good plot that I can string over the campaign, one with a more involved objective than just leaving the province as fast as possible.

Lord Lucifer
26-10-2005, 13:12
Firstly, the aside of a knightly order... Where is Frans Baak from? If he's from the more northern provinces, White Wolf or Panther would suit swimmingly.
If it's a more southern region, the Knights of the Blazing Sun have always been quite classy.
The White Wolves are the only order of those three that pre-date the Crusades against Araby.
The Crusade happened before the Vampire Wars, I think... I'd have to double check, but the Panther and Blazing Sun orders were both formed at the end of the Crusades, and the Panthers served in the Great War against Chaos, which marked the end of the Age of Three Emperors, to which the Vampire Wars were a bit of a lead-up to

A-ha, thank you 4th ed. Empire army book!
Crusades against Araby from c1450-1550, nearly one thousand years before the Great War.
The Reiksgard were formed by the Princes of Altdorf once the Imperial crown was secured to be the standing army of the Emperor, to my knowledge.

So if Frans is a northern Ulrican he'd likely have dreamed of leading the Knights of the White Wolf, if a northerner but not devoutly Ulrican he'd undoubtedly dream of commanding Knights Panther, and as a southerner would likely wish to join the gloried ranks of the Knights of the Blazing Sun

As to plot... you could always be insufferably evil and give one or more of the players a cery personal imperative motivation. Thinking in terms of a terminal motivation.
Illness, plague, sickness. Madness. Poison of some rare extraction. Or Chaos taint.
I'm not sure about you, but I about had a nerdgasm at the diabolical nature of the Glorious Corruption insanity (I believe that was the one) that wastes first the mind, then destroys the body of the afflicted. It definately adds a hell of a lot of tension to a storyline knowing they have to complete tasks, avoid suspiscion, and above all find a way to cure themselves before they croak. All the while suffering the adversity of madness and mutation.

Sylvania has an abundance of things that are potentially hazardous to the individual, and that's just the menu at Hamfist Jack's Rundown Tavern :D
Ghoul poisons are fiendish, but hardly terminal.
A strain of virus or plague carried and twisted by the dark magic rife in the unliving could be a significant problem to players. Securing graveroot to delay the illness (it is a bane to the unliving) could allow them to cope with it in-game whilst retaining its' status as Looming Threat, and the search for a cure would be uppermost in their minds. This is where you get to throw complications at them while they struggle to save themselves, which could lead to broader themes revealed piece by piece by their actions (specifically the vampire war and the nature of the von Carsteins).
The masive consumption of graveroot could make them points of interest for the Witch Hunter, who would undoubtedly hold them in suspiscion.

If they should somehow come upon a sampled copy of the works of Van Hel, it could prove entertaining. The compelling writings of a madman, translated into glorious Reikspiel. Have one of them pass Willpower tests to resist the temptation to look at the book, make them harder after a night of sleep, and force them to pass an increasingly difficult Willpower test to stop reading. This is where you can be even more of an evil SOB and actually prepare hand-outs detailing wretched, filthy, horrid passages of text for them to read after each failed test, filled with archaic forms of speech, more fanciful than Shakespeare, on marble-paper with truly disturbing images (the Black Series by Francisco Goya would be deliciously appropriate) to try and disturb your players. If they're hard to spook or rather jovial, just go to the extreme extent of bad taste of sickeningly visceral description. Apparently Chuck Palahniuk has a series of short stories so vile that people frequently threw up at the book readings he gave, so tracking down the work would be a good way to make an impression.

Now the fun thing is the book having a further effect than just disturbing your players. Have the one that reads it possessed by some spirit or madness found within the book... and just as he read the book, the book also read him. Have the book hold a portion of his soul, and the book stolen ;)
Cue a mad dash to reclaim the book before a)the new owner tries to use it to claim his soul and dominate him forever, b)the Witch Hunter tracks down and burns the heretical text, destroying the poor sod's soul in a bout of searing agony, and c) getting rid of this obscene madness that threatens to crush what's left of the poor, weak-willed reader.

Then again, Sylvania is full of spooks and spirits of some sort or another. One player could always end up a host to a spirit with unfinished business that it wishes taken care of.

For a climax to end the campaign after escaping Sylvania itself, evacuating an oblivious township as the hosts of Sylvania march upon it, the beleaguered adventurers struggling to slow the advance to allow the formerly disbelieving township to escape. It could lead to a very tense escape, or a heroic death, both of which would be stellar ways to close a campaign.

That's off the top of my head so far.
Hope it helps, but feel free to slap me if it doesn't :)