This is the report of the warhammer session I participated in 2 weeks ago, which I haven’t had a chance to report on yet. The group consisted of the GM and 3 players, one of whom didn’t introduce himself[1]. Our characters were:

  • Dwarven Runebearer (played by Ichinose, who was part of my last Pathfinder experience)
  • Human Nightwatchman
  • Human graverobber (me)

We rolled randomly for our characters, so I also had a choice of playing a fanatic, which I was inclined to do, but it would have been even more of a disaster than graverobber. My graverobber’s main traits were that she was female, with wide, staring eyes and a slightly mad, twitchy manner – as if she has seen things you wouldn’t believe. Seemed suitable.

The adventure started in Middenheim, where we three found work with a church organisation. The forces of chaos had once again surged down from the North, and many of the Northern towns had been reduced to ashes[2], so there were missions heading north to rescue people, treasures, and the remnants of the non-chaotic civilisations that had been crushed there. The church mission would be straying near a town (name now forgotten) which was famous for its milk tea company, now all sacked of course, and particularly for the family that ran the company – the daughter of which Suzette Crepe, was famously beautiful and kind. All three of us had met Suzette Crepe in the past, the Watchman guarding her when she was on volunteer duties to the South, and me being healed by her during those same volunteer duties after a close shave with some chaotic scenario (perhaps a badly run funeral?)

So, North we went. We were soon attacked by a mob of Snotlings, which we soon put paid to despite my concerns about the combat system (possibly because they’re piss weak, but also because they weren’t defending themselves properly). Having cracked some chaotic heads, we settled into the mercenary camp in the town. Here our evening reveries were interrupted by an encounter with a filthy waif, who was attempting to steal some of our hard-earned bread. She was caught in the act by the resident mercenary bully, a racketeer who I shall choose to name “Tony,” who began roughing her up a bit and causing trouble. It was at this point that we realised the waif was actually Suzette Crepe, and we were watching the heir to the Milk Tea fortune being roughed up by some Southern German lout.

This is the point in any cartoon where the scrawny, dodgy girl at the back – you know the one, with the staring eyes and the twitchy expression – suddenly gets dollar signs spinning in her eyes like a crazy pachinko machine. It’s the point where Luke Skywalker says “She’s rich…” and Chewie sighs.

Some people, as Black Adder said, will fight for glory, love of country, the glistening tear on the cheek of a golden child… but my graverobber will mud wrestle her own grandmother for a stack of cash and a sack of french porn.

So, of course, we stepped in to intervene. And found ourselves in confrontation with a racketeer (“yurusuya,” or ゆるす屋). Things went badly from here, and my attempts to appear mad and unhinged and not-wise-to-approach didn’t work. Fortunately, just as things were beginning to heat up the head of the church force, a Judicial Champion, waltzed in high-handedly and “resolved” our dispute with the usual diplomatic style of a paladin – dispatching us all to our posts and ignoring the obvious injustice I was suffering.

We returned to our tent and, seeing the possibilities inherent in our having a rich girl suddenly homeless, orphaned and at our mercy, we did the obvious thing – dispatched the girl with the only female in the vicinity (me) to a bathhouse, where I determined her story. It was the usual tale of woe – family all dead, fortune lost behind enemy lines, goblins, etc. Turns out she didn’t even have any special “teas” which might be useful in, say, combat[3].

So, having endured her sobstory, back to camp it was, while she melded into whatever shadows people not as skilled as a grave-robber meld into[4]. Unfortunately, on my way back to camp I was accosted by the aforementioned yurusuya (you’ve forgotten this word already, haven’t you dear reader? See how hard this is for me?!) He was just about to grab me and start doing what racketeers do to shifty-eyed graverobbers when, again, along comes the Judicial Champion and recommends the only solution Judicial Champions can recommend – a duel. Knockout style, our 3 PCs versus three NPCs, including said yurusuya. I bet this guy chooses his underwear the same way (if he wears any[5]).

So, a knockout duel between some kind of Dwarven scrivener, a glorified lantern carrier, and a shifty little minx whose idea of a good time is digging up the bones of your daddy, in the red corner; and in the blue corner 3 trained mercenaries. Fortunately, I now know that probabilistically this was doomed to go on so long that eventually the DM would send in an extra-melee-icular resolution, which was exactly what happened. After 20 or so rounds of faffing, the scrivener finally managed to smash the first mercenary into submission[6]. This mercenary was followed by the next mercenary, who managed, after taking quite a beating, to reduce our scrivener to a bloody pulp (this took another 10 rounds or so), so then battle moved on to the watchman vs. the mercenary. Watchman soon stomped mercenary (a critical was rolled) and the final member of the mercenary duelling team, our friendly neighbourhood racketeer, entered the battle. What followed was an interminable series of rolls, and many announcements of “attari” and “hazureta” (hit! miss!) before finally the racketeer beat our loyal watchman to the pulp he deserves to be[7]. This left little me, all wild eyes and sparrow-like twitchiness, up against The Big Man, who was badly wounded but, you know, kind of … big! So battle commenced, and it just so happens that my character, even though not very big and a bit scatty, has a rather high toughness – so she could take that one extra wound before going down. So there she stood, swaying, on exactly 0 hit points,  obviously looking way tougher than anyone had given her credit for (and having previously done a bit of intimidation with the twitching-eye thing, and a rare successful social check), with the racketeer on exactly 2 hps and leering at her after a quite long fight, when in burst one of his hangers-on to beg us to desist (out of fear for the racketeers life!), only this is illegal, so the Judicial Champion stepped in and declared … us… the winners!!!

So do most Warhammer fights end, methinks…

So! Victory was ours! (Did you doubt me, dear reader?) So we took Suzette aside and discovered that she knew of a country house where perhaps her dad’s treasure was buried. At this point we discovered that amongst the entertainers following the camp was a clown who was a friend of Suzettes. So between them they instructed us on how to find this country house, and off we went.

Of course the country house was empty, and occupied instead by beastmen. So I crept up and spread some oil around the house, to burn it down, but they smelled my oil (stupid beastmen!) and most of them ran away (some of them got caught in the conflagration). We followed them to their cave, where we ambushed the leader and made short work of him. Inside the cave we found they had dragged off the treasure from the country house, which included a large case containing… a golden gun. And it was at this point that the clown and Suzette revealed they didn’t trust us, and were scared we would kill them and take the treasure. Suzette Crepe, being too good to be true, suggested we sell the gun and use the money to help resettle refugees from our old town. I twitched my eyes and suggested we should split the money and she could do what she wanted with her share. The Dwarven runebearer agreed, but our friendly watchman took an awful long time deciding what to do with his opinion. Finally, he weighed in on the side of divvying up the loot. We rolled social skills and ended up with … 100gps each, not the 300 we deserved. Still, better than poke in the eye with a golden gun… or not!

And so around us the war with chaos raged, while we scuttled back to Middenheim with our ill-gotten gains, to spend them on whatever second-rate goods the residents of a warhammer adventure purchase for fun. And I scuttled off to dinner with a sensei from the University, so missed the post-game review… zannen da ne!

fn1: There’s a whole strange phenomenon here. In Japanese “circles,” or hobby groups, by dint of being part of the group one doesn’t need to introduce oneself or have a proper name – names are almost irrelevant to native Japanese speakers, since they don’t need to use subject or object in constructing a sentence, and amongst your circle you are obviously part of a group, so don’t need to be named in many instances anyway; and when you are, a nickname will suffice.

fn2: It’s cute, the rulebooks contain a table for this war, with a list of cities and their populations, many simply recorded as “0”. Warhammer is British … any chance it was influenced by WW2 and the Cold War, just slightly?

fn3: This will be relevant later

fn4: It doesn’t bear thinking about, does it?

fn5: And assuming he ever changes it, which… he is a Paladin…

fn6: I’m really not sure what a runebearer does, but it fills me with fear of the kinds of disputes they have in Dwarven academia

fn7: I’m pretty sure that the first fight, between rune-bearer and mercenary, would have lasted even longer, but the player in question kept switching his tens and units dice around when it suited him.