Saturday, 12 May 2012

Sabotage - The Enemy Within!

I lamented in my previous post about the considerable amount of time I've had to allocate from my hobby to my new family. And, try as I might, I've yet to be able to convince my dear daughter that being quiet and lying still is a hugely rewarding activity to be undertaken whenever possible.

I tend to use the word 'sabotage' to describe anything that inhibits hobby time (you know - like life), but almost always, that sabotage comes from elsewhere - an outside source.

Unfortunately, I think I've just gone and sabotaged myself.

Erny, the proprieter of Erny's Place (not to be confused with Ernie's Place) declared that he would start running a Warhammer Fantasy Role Playing campaign. It is to be an online exercise, you see.

Interesting, I thought. I'd like to see how something like that pans out, seeing as I have a vested interest in online 'board' gaming. But then he did something unexpected: he invited people from the internet to play.

And, like James Bond to the arms of an eastern european spy in a bikini, I folded and applied to participate.

Masochism being my new favourite activity, I then thought - I wonder if I could write some sort of journal from the view of the character I play?

So, I've clipped time from my dwindling supply of hobby time in order to play an offline RPG online. And I've proposed to write about it.

The campaign he will be running will be the (apparently) hugely atmospheric The Enemy Within - the first of what I understand is a series of campaigns set in the Old World. We will be using the pre-generated characters the module supplies, and in the end I have elected to play one Wanda Weltschmertz.

Wanda, as you may have guessed, is a woman. And, whilst it may never have been expressly stated, it is now: I am not a woman.

Which brings me on to my role-playing credentials. Like almost all of the the people involved in this hobby, I started with Dungeons and Dragons (the Rules Cyclopedia, if you must know), before discovering the joy of lead. I was young and I didn't really understand the difference between role-playing and roll-playing. I wasn't entirely clear why my strength 18(99) minotaur dragon knight fighter/mage couldn't carry 10,000 pieces of gold and 500 feet of rope in his pockets, whilst hefting two vorpal axes of berserker rage with extra giant strength (+5/+10 vs undead).

Later on, when I started mastering games, I realised what role-playing really was. But by then, it was too late. The problem with roll-playing is it quickens the route to meta-gaming. Very quickly, I realised that I couldn't 'unknow' the things I knew. All my characters knew that killing trolls involved fire - even though they'd never seen a troll before.

But, throughout the D&D, I never ever played a female character. Or even a human character.

At this point, I'd suggest my credentials are, at best, dubious.

Now I've kicked around the fantasy world a bit. Been around the block a few times. I know Wanda probably looks like this:

Or this:

...because that's what fantasy women look like, right? I mean, the fantasy we're talking about here is not the fantastic, is it?

This is the drawing from the module that Erny provided:

I mean, its very 80's, but she's in the ballpark, right?

But a casual conversation with someone regarding WFRP set me straight. Apparently, the old world is a dark place. It is the historical medieval world, but with extra hopelessness and darkness thrown in. He advised that something like this might be more appropriate:

He also mentioned mud. Lots of mud in the Old World, apparently:

Anyway, this is another drawing of Wanda from the module:

Whilst there's nothing to say she isn't wearing a plate mail g-string, I would suggest that's probably not the case. I imagine she would call that garment she's wearing a 'frock'.

Her special skills are that she can read and write. Look - she has a handbag. And she's not afraid to use it!

Back to WFRP. I've never played it. Ever. I remember picking up the book once, paging through, and taking note that necromancers will eventually develop a funny smell and that children and small animals will avoid them. Apart from that, I know nothing. 

So, I know nothing about WFRP and I know nothing about playing a woman. And, just because I've had a recent brush with pregnancy, doesn't mean I'll only draw on that experience and act irrationally and emotionally. I'll park my horse badly and buy lots of shoes too. 

My point is that, for Erny (the GM), I should make the ideal player - because I know nothing. He could tell me anything and I would have to believe him. I can never say something like "1d6? I'm sure it says 2d6 in the description..."

In short, my role-playing credentials are second to none.


  1. Wfrp is a great game. Best RPG I've played. Never liked the pregenerated characters though, especially the enemy within ones. They are just a bit boring. Should be good going in knowing nothing though!

  2. Being able to read and write is a very valuable skill in the WFRP games I've played in or run.

    It is very easy to roll up a party of illiterates.

  3. An amusing post Gaj. It is always a bit of a let down when you realize that your idea of fantasy is not someone else's fantasy, especially when there is a G-String involved.

  4. I'm in a similar boat Gaj - although I've never actually played an RPG before at all - closest I've been is playing the old Fighting Fantasy gamebooks...

    Really looking forward to it and I'm sure it'll be an interesting ride! Best start flexing my literary muscles in preparation.

    As for your character - there's always hope for your former idea - not sure what she'd have to go through to turn into said chainmail bikini warrioress, but there is always character development...

  5. hey gaj,

    wfrp is a very good rpg. for starters, it introduced character advancement through careers, instead of endless level advancement. it was (i think) a much more believable way of a characters progression than a great many other rpg's, even today.

    and, you cant go wrong with percentiles, any idiot can understand them and they are easily modified by the GM to suit unforeseen circumstance.

    i've only played an online rgp with a pal of mine (who was GM'ing) once. it was ok, but its obviously not as good as playing face to face with a bunch of your friends....just the only option to the real thing at the moment.

    as far as not knowing anything about the warhammer world...thats great. its one of the only fantasy settings around that make you acutely aware of the fact that "your only human", you can't beat everything that you come across.
    And, if you have a half way decent GM then he/she should make you work for your sheckles by making this point blatantly clear to you in the form of a....chaos adversary. where even if you "win" you could end up with a hideous souvenir from the encounter i.e. mutation :)

    have a blast.

  6. I signed on to play the halfling, Harbull Furfoot. While I've played lots of RPGs and still do... I've never played a halfling. I'm not sure I even like halflings. I know I don't much care for Hobbits and I'm not up on what, if anything, is different about their WFRP counterparts. Should I be writing up some songs about lunch?
    The only halfling miniatures I own are the old 'Psycho Hobbits' that I'm currently using as Chaos Thugs.
    Harbull was my first choice though (even though I was last to pick)... so I wanted the challenge.

    What rhymes with 'sandwich'?

  7. Bandwidth :)

    Love WHFRP although I am only familiar with the first edition.

    Very atmospheric and er Warhammer-ish in the good sense.

    I think only Dark Elves and chaos girly-men get to wear the plate lingerie though.

    Look forward to reading of your adventures!

  8. Nice to see the love for WFRP. I have since ebayed the book, but I've purposely only read parts the players section, so that I have the minimum knowledge needed. As a good example of this, I see that daemonologists can get insanity points. I don't know what those are, but they sound very interesting...

    Having since received the character description of Wanda, I see that she's actually quite a strong willed, independent young lady, so I presume she has a strong feminist streak. I guess that means the opportunity for a chainmail bikini has diminished even further. I can only assume she looks down on such adventuresses, suggesting that they should stand up for themselves and respect themselves more.

    Anyway, I'm quite looking forward to this now!

    And, as for 'sandwich', I'd propose 'damned witch'