Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Almost a second GM'ing landmark

Thinking back to the last WFRP game after writing it up, I was struck by a shocking thought: I had almost achieved my first ever TPK- Total Party Kill for the uninitiated. With 2 down out of 3 I got a lot closer than when I took down 3 of 5 with the outlaw ambush in the Drakwald. And that episode had been shocking enough.

Yes, I know that percentage-wise the difference is a pretty insignificant 6.666 recurring per cent. But that would be a use of statistics to mask the fact that I only needed to kill 1 more PC in that sewer, meaning that I was indeed that much closer to the TPK. All the more so considering that the one PC who did survive is the least combat competent in the party.

It's not as if I was actually trying to kill anyone. Alane and Berthold were just foolish enough to follow Seigfried's rash descent into the sewer, and everyone was stupid enough to do it without proper preparation. Hopefully that'll be 2 lessons well learned.

The TPK would've been really easy too. Fortunately for Alane I'd already judged that the party of Skaven in the sewer had retreated in haste after the PC's had crushed the scouting party which had attacked in Morrspark when Snikkit Blackblade decided to put personal revenge before his mission. Yes, I've recently picked up Children of the Horned Rat and just couldn't resist adding traditional Skaven infighting and bumbling minions to my plans to make use of an old loose end.

Of course, one of the reasons the Skaven in the sewers retreated was to let the PC's get a look at the chewed-over carcass that was another of the loose ends that was in the set-up for the session (oops, there goes that 4th wall- sorry Andy!). But in any event, I decided thereafter that the vile ratmen's main interest was in retrieving what, to them, was a valuable resource.

So Alane's escape made sense. Even so, it did leave me wondering if I was letting her off too lightly. Ever since the shock of taking out 3 PC's in that ambush I've been very leery of killing off anyone. I've found myself wondering if I'm just too soft to run WFRP quite as grim and perilous as it really ought to be. Maybe a TPK is a crucial initiation that every WFRP GM has to go through? I don't know, but The Madness of Father Ranulf might've been a bit of a tonic in that respect!

In any event, the mood was strangely lighthearted afterwards. Losing fate points that you'd only just gained can do that I guess. Andy noted how I seem to have a habit of 'killing' PC's in side stories instead of major encounters. I promise to do better next time... Mwah hah, etc! ;)

History to download again

So gnome does it again! After his link to a free download of White Dwarf #1, he has gone and given us a link to the venerable stunty's only serious contender for the title of Most Venerable in the hallowed ranks of rpg publications, namely The Dragon #1. Interesting to note that The Dragon beat the White Dwarf to the shelves by a mere 12 months.

Of particular note is the article by Fritz Leiber about Lankhmar, the setting for his popular Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories. Also interesting is the article about Royal Armies of the Hyborean Age featuring Lin Carter in the co-author credits. Oh, and there's that psychedelic cover. Noteworthy? Maybe not, but a momento of a bygone age for sure.

Another good one from the gnome then.


gnome said...

I guess I'll blush and rush to buy a certain Skaven grimoire.

There's a 6.666% it will make a good summer read.

(thanks. again)

Anonymous said...


Personally I don't recommend tpk, most players don't find it fun...

...and GMs that find it fun... well, no need to comment.

"A bit political on yer ass!" said...

Well I wasn't really recommending TPK Antony, though I'm sure you know that. And I didn't find either of my near-TPK's fun, so you don't have to worry that I've got a secret urging to inflict one up my sleeve. Except, well, except...

I was a PC in a TPK once many years ago, and it was great fun! Sure, although we weren't expecting a TPK, we knew we weren't setting out to begin a major campaign when we rolled up our characters that day. Plus there was a delightful twist in the tale which made the TPK especially apt, something which we all enjoyed on the day, and which means that we still revisit that game to this day during the telling of our 'fish stories'.

So a TPK is definitely a roleplaying experience worth tasting if it can prove as memorable as that one. And I would suggest that Fate Points make WFRP a game especially suitable to actually enjoying suffering a TPK.

The fact that most of the PC's are likely to survive in the end should take the edge off the experience without seriously undermining its impact I would think. All the more so since the very use of FP to survive a TPK in WFRP means that the PC's are likely to find themselves prisoners or in some similar kind of peril on their regaining consciousness. In other words- as well as a defeat, a TPK in WFRP can also be a bridge to a whole new adventure.

Hmm, interesting... ;)

Anonymous said...

...and only one has more fate points then ever... *smirk*

...whoever that happens to be fully intends to keep hold of them... least intends to *eep*