Wanna help me design my next WFPR campaign? (edition agnostic)

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Angelman
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Hi all,

So, I’m thinking about my next WFRP campaign (probably for around a 2020-2021 start-up) and I could do with some suggestions and ideas to seed my mind and tantalize my muses. I do not want to do another Chaos-focused campaign as I’m currently running a Nurgle conspiracy story and have several chaos cult extravaganzas under my belt already (<-- now, ain’t that a sentence! :P ); The Enemy Within has sort of set a precedence in my group that I want to move away from. Furthermore, I don’t want to do a war campaign (although I can dig a final/central battle in the story), and lastly, I don’t want to do a Greenskin campaign as I have recently ran a heavily modified Doom Stones campaign with the Bloodaxe Alliance angle dialed way up.

I do very much enjoy running adapted versions of published campaigns & scenarios, but because one of my players is a WFRP GM himself who owns all the books, I cannot run an official campaign (except some WFPR3 scenarios) this time around. So… what to do? I can do Warpstone scenarios and I REALLY like to base campaigns around 2-3-4 high-quality published/fan-made adventures strung together with character arcs and overarching plots. As an example, my latest campaign – Trismagistos – is based around The Oldenhaller Contract (from WFRP1’s Rulebook), Horror at Hugeldal (from WFRP3’s Liber Infectus), and Ring-a-Ring of Cultists (from Warpstone 12) and it’s been an absolute incredible ride thus far! :D

We tend to like intrigue and mystery, and also to delve into politics and cultural sides of the setting, while combat for combat’s sake we (or at least me, the GM) find boring. I’ve been considering doing a Skaven-based story, and am currently looking at the Conspiracy campaign from Warpstone, but have yet to find an angle/approach there I that really like. Final consideration, I would like to keep the story anchored in The Empire; we can go beyond it, but having some sort of connection to the Empire would be preferable.

So, my question goes something like this: What’s the best/coolest/most interesting campaign concept you’ve run not covered by the ‘don’ts’ listed above? What has been really fun to run in WFRP for you and your group? And secondly, what are some really good stand-alone Warpstone/fan-made scenarios to build a larger story around?

Any thoughts? :)
Last edited by Angelman on Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Hyarion
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One of my main sources of inspiration is using episodes of The Twilight Zone (the old Rod Serling version). Given your preferences listed above, I would suggest you go check out the episode "Will the real Martian please stand up?" I think it could work really really well as one of the parts of your next campaign.
I hold the glaive of Law against the Earth.
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Angelman
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Hm... that's an interesting suggestion. I actually haven't seen any TZ... I'm sure there could be loads of inspiration there. Thanks, Hyarion :)

In the meanwhile, any suggestions for published fan-made, Warpstone, or WFRP3 adventures to use? Any favorites? (Witch's Song, from WFPR3, is possibly my favorite WFPR ever -- just a great picese of drama and adventure :D -- but unfortunately, I've ran it already...).
Whymme
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I'm now running a campaign that's two stories into one. The first campaign is set in Marienburg, where the PCs started as a gang of smugglers. They get drawn into a conflict in the local thieves' guild, which has grown into a full-blown gang war after the death of Henschmann (the guild leader). Next to physical conflict, there's a lot of political intrigue going on as well, as houses of the Upper Ten have chosen sides and try to get their side to win.
In the second story, a different set of PCs (although the same players) have been dropped in the Warhammer version of the Dreamlands, and are trying to find their way back to the real world. While doing so, they find out that a war is brewing there as well, as Khaine (that is, the WFRP1 version of Khaine) tries to take over these lands from his brother Morr.

There is some over-arching plot that brings the two stories together. But even without it, each story gives you something different than the normal ratmen/goblins/chaos cults as an enemy. I guess that the Marienburg game could be set in the Empire, but I just love how the sourcebooks (the official one and the unofficial one) make this city come alive. Much more so than even Middenheim or Bergsburg.


As for adventures to base games around, let me push my "The Legend of Wolfgang von Horn". You can run it anywhere as the start of a campaign, and by the end the PCs will have a powerful McGuffin that can lead them into further adventures.
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Angelman
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Ooooh, that is really quite cool, Whymme. I have been toying with the idea of doing something in Marienburg, and I like the thought of doing something with a non-chaotic evil cult; a Khaine plot should be very interesting indeed. And your Dreamlands thing is very clever, and something that would leave my more WFPR-knowledgable players pretty much in the dark. Awesome stuff :D

Say, what do you do for Dreamlands? Random, shadowy mystery realms beyond the wall of sleep, or something more involving/defined? Hm... A random thought jumped into my mind; could fimirs get mixed up in this somehow, do you think? Fimirs are returning in WFPR4 and it would be interesting to do something with them if one run a murder mystery (serial killer?) thing set in Marienburg, which involves the underworld, a Khaine conspiracy, the lands of dream, etc.

Also, for your campaign, how do you do player characters? Are you allowing random heroes, or have you designed/shaped the adventurers during character generation somehow? Any Morr priests or other plot-speciffic characters in the groups? And what's the connection between the two different parties? (Having done dual-party games in the past, I would probably aim for a single party approach where the heroes stumble into the realms of sleep at some stage.

As for your adventure, I don't think I've read it before but I had a look and it seems promising :) Thanks!
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Chuck
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My two scenarios, Noblesse Oblige and Dead Ringer, can be found here: https://www.windsofchaos.com/?page_id=259

They're both low on Chaos and combat, and high on investigation. Campaign-wise, you might be able to flesh out or combine the scenarios or plot out some follow-up adventures with Jakob Creudzfeldt, Darathee Durrenbach, or Augustin Vorster as recurring antagonists.
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Angelman
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Chuck wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:29 pm
My two scenarios, Noblesse Oblige and Dead Ringer, can be found here: https://www.windsofchaos.com/?page_id=259

They're both low on Chaos and combat, and high on investigation.
Cool, thanks :D I know I've checked out Nobless Oblige in the past... even printed it out in full color as I was impressed with the product value of it, but as with so many projects I had back in the day, it all came to nothing, unfortunately. I'll look into these again and see if they spark to life my evil muses, heh heh. But yeah, these are very well done, Chuck :D
Whymme
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Angelman wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:26 pm
Ooooh, that is really quite cool, Whymme. I have been toying with the idea of doing something in Marienburg, and I like the thought of doing something with a non-chaotic evil cult; a Khaine plot should be very interesting indeed. And your Dreamlands thing is very clever, and something that would leave my more WFPR-knowledgable players pretty much in the dark. Awesome stuff :D

Say, what do you do for Dreamlands? Random, shadowy mystery realms beyond the wall of sleep, or something more involving/defined? Hm... A random thought jumped into my mind; could fimirs get mixed up in this somehow, do you think? Fimirs are returning in WFPR4 and it would be interesting to do something with them if one run a murder mystery (serial killer?) thing set in Marienburg, which involves the underworld, a Khaine conspiracy, the lands of dream, etc.

Also, for your campaign, how do you do player characters? Are you allowing random heroes, or have you designed/shaped the adventurers during character generation somehow? Any Morr priests or other plot-speciffic characters in the groups? And what's the connection between the two different parties? (Having done dual-party games in the past, I would probably aim for a single party approach where the heroes stumble into the realms of sleep at some stage.

As for your adventure, I don't think I've read it before but I had a look and it seems promising :) Thanks!
The current campaign flowed out of a sandbox Marienburg campaign that we had been running. I started with the Lustrian Bubble adventure, and afterward the idea was that we had a big sandbox city and very little plot; the PCs were supposed to find their own way to settle in the city, and we'd have stories around that. But eventually the group wanted more plot in their games. So I used lots of things that had happened in the sandbox phase, lots of story threads that had not been ended yet, and put them all together.

Some people in the group had said that they'd want on some sort of quest / adventure journey / away from the city. Others didn't. That's where I got the idea from to make two groups of PCs. The PCs in the current group split, and the players made new PCs for the group their old PCs were not in. So the 'old' characters in each group know, and have a history with, the old ones in the other group. I let the players choose starting careers for the new characters, with some nudging as to what would fit in the story. Those new PCs then got a bit of an XP boost to catch up a little. And I'm very happy that I don't have any priests of Morr in any group. I don't need a PC who knows more about the metaphysics than me as a GM - especially if that PC would be played by a player who doesn't know the Warhammer setting that well.

Storywise, of course the gang war in Marienburg is linked to the upcoming war in the dreamlands. They are two manifestations of the same threat.

As for what I do in the Dreamlands, it's very much a 'journey in an unknown country' thing. The PCs have to travel the dreamlands in search of the exit, and have strange encounters during that time. A ship that sails a sea of grass, a floating castle, a market place with strange things for sale, and so on.
I don't use Fimir in my campaign, but why should they not be a present in the dreamworld? My line of reasoning, though, is that if they're in there, their presence has to be meaningful, and tied to the story.

I did two tricks at the start of the campaign - they might give you some ideas.
First, I mailed the players some questions about their characters. 'As you stand to leave the city, you meet someone. Describe that meeting.' Or: 'Tell me about a dream your character had recently'. Questions like that. I gathered their answers and tried to incorporate them into the story. So when a player described that his 'away' character had met a Bretonnian lady who had just entered the city, the characters in the other team would meet that woman later on in the story.
Second, I gave every PC a dream that they had - which actually was a foreshadowing of the places they would travel through in the dreamlands.
Karanthir
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Angelman wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 2:25 pm
I do not want to do another Chaos-focused campaign as I’m currently running a Nurgle conspiracy story and have several chaos cult extravaganzas under my belt already (<-- now, ain’t that a sentence! :P ); The Enemy Within has sort of set a precedence in my group that I want to move away from.
...
We tend to like intrigue and mystery, and also to delve into politics and cultural sides of the setting, while combat for combat’s sake we (or at least me, the GM) finds boring. I’ve been considering doing a Skaven-based story, and am currently looking at the Conspiracy campaign from Warpstone, but have yet to find an angle/approach there I that really like. Final consideration, I would like to keep the story anchored in The Empire; we can go beyond it, but having some sort of connection to the Empire would be preferable.
Angelman wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:16 pm
In the meanwhile, any suggestions for published fan-made, Warpstone, or WFRP3 adventures to use? Any favorites? (Witch's Song, from WFPR3, is possibly my favorite WFPR ever -- just a great picese of drama and adventure :D -- but unfortunately, I've ran it already...).
I think WFRP3's The Edge of Night might be just the sort of think you're looking for (if you haven't already run it). Intrigue and mystery: check. Politics and culture: check. Skaven: check. In The Empire: check! We certainly had a lot of fun playing it in my group. Not sure what it's like to run, but maybe a little more complex than usual since (in classic Graham Davis fashion) it features multiple interweaving plotlines. Nothing an experienced and competent GM couldn't handle though.

Alternatively, there is also The Gathering Storm from WFRP3 (again, if you haven't run it already). It's a bit more linear, combat-heavy, and features a somewhat cliche ending (a wizard did it). But there are multiple enemies along the way, none of whom are Chaos Cultists (although there are Beastmen), and it features some of my favourite NPCs.
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Angelman
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Whymme: Man, you’ve got some really cool ideas, and I like your set-up & pay-off character moments and tricks. Very cool stuff :D

My current brainstorming is leaning towards the adventurers getting tangled up in investigating a serial killer on the streets of Marienburg (very Whitechapel-esque) only to gradually reveal a larger plot tied to a Khaine conspiracy and an alliance to some Fimir witch. The witch has been paid to help the Khaine’ites invade the Land of Dream to steal souls from Morr, but of course the witch will use this opportunity for her own clan’s end too and go a-hunting in dreamscape. Something like that, although it’s very early ideas yet and I might still jump on to something else down the road. We’ll see. But GREAT work, man :D


Karanthir: Thanks for the suggestions. I’m actually reading The Edge of Night as we speak, but although it does contain a whole lot of ticked boxes I just don’t care too much for the story. I love my man Graham Davis, but this story feels a little unimaginative and contrived… and box ticking’y. I can’t put my finger on it, but TEoN feels a bit meh to me, somehow. I might still end up using it, especially if I go for a major skaven plot (and possibly combine it with Warpstone’s Conspiracy somehow), but it’ll have to be heavily scavenged and rearranged, I think.

The Gathering Storm I’m not really familiar with. I have it but have only flipped through it a couple of times. As you say, it seems a bit combat heavy and basic, really, but I’m sure there are scavengeable. I also like The Enemy Within 2, although that’s much too chaos cult-y for now – I will run it at some point, however.

Hm… are there other good WFRP3 scenarios that I’m forgetting about?


Alternatively, have anyone here ran/gamed in campaigns featuring rarely seen Warhammer themes, plots, cultures/species, factions, and/or conflicts? (As noted, I’m interested in doing something with Fimirs as I have, in my close to 30 years as a WFRP GM, never used them in any serious manner. Same goes for Skavens, really. They just tend to show up as badies of the week, but I’d love to explore cultures and intelligent plots of various WFRP creatures and groups).
Whymme
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Angelman wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 9:22 am
Whymme: Man, you’ve got some really cool ideas, and I like your set-up & pay-off character moments and tricks. Very cool stuff :D
Thanks. Appreciated. I might put the whole thing to paper once the campaign has run its course. I'd like to get my players' comments on it all before I do so, though.
My current brainstorming is leaning towards the adventurers getting tangled up in investigating a serial killer on the streets of Marienburg (very Whitechapel-esque) only to gradually reveal a larger plot tied to a Khaine conspiracy and an alliance to some Fimir witch.
Hmm ... I have an elaborate outline of a serial killer investigative scenario on my computer. A bit horror-like - the killer cuts out the heart and eyes of his victims. If you want a link with the dreamlands, the stolen eyes might just do that. In my scenario they don't have that link, but it could easily be written in, I think.
I can send you the outline, if you PM me your mail address. I'd rather not post it here, as I might use it next TobCon.
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Angelman
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Awesome! That's the kind of grotesque horror stuff I was thinking of myself. I'd love to have a look at your adventure; I find that while everyone can write their own awesome plots, by reading the work of others you get inspired to go places or take approaches you wouldn't think of yourself, which only strengthens your own work. (I'll PM you my e-mail address).

I need to read up on the Fimir issue of Warpstone and see if anything there inspires my muses.

Also, it would be great to see your notes on your campaign, man. Please do consider writing up at least a rundown of your groups adventures :)
Karanthir
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Angelman wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 9:22 am
Karanthir: Thanks for the suggestions. I’m actually reading The Edge of Night as we speak, but although it does contain a whole lot of ticked boxes I just don’t care too much for the story. I love my man Graham Davis, but this story feels a little unimaginative and contrived… and box ticking’y. I can’t put my finger on it, but TEoN feels a bit meh to me, somehow. I might still end up using it, especially if I go for a major skaven plot (and possibly combine it with Warpstone’s Conspiracy somehow), but it’ll have to be heavily scavenged and rearranged, I think.

The Gathering Storm I’m not really familiar with. I have it but have only flipped through it a couple of times. As you say, it seems a bit combat heavy and basic, really, but I’m sure there are scavengeable. I also like The Enemy Within 2, although that’s much too chaos cult-y for now – I will run it at some point, however.

Hm… are there other good WFRP3 scenarios that I’m forgetting about?
Fair enough. I think Graham is reworking (part of) TEoN for Rough Days and Hard Nights, so it might be worth seeing what he does with it there.

I'm running TEW2 at the moment (just under half way through). It's a great campaign (so far) with some really fun moments. It is a bit slow to get started though, and the initial investigation was a bit of a slog: the PCs are allowed to find lots of "clues" but they aren't really given the opportunity to solve the mystery, so it can be a bit frustrating. Highly recommend for when you are ready to get back to Chaos Cults though.

I feel like most of the WFRP3 scenarios are Chaos-focussed (partly because four of them came with the Chaos supplements), and I think we've covered the ones that aren't. I'll have a look through the fan-made scenarios and see if anything leaps out from them.
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Angelman
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Good point, Karanthir. I haven't looked at the Khorne, Slanees, & Tzeentch adventures yet, but those are out of the question right now anyway. And then there is... the dwarf thing? (Can't recall the WFRP3 Dwarf book's name). I don't have that so that's out too (and not something I'm interested in right now).

As for TEW2, I am looking forward to running that one. I'll probably restructure and change it quite a bit, and will probably significantly expand the Act 1 stuff. I might even do an Act 0 that introduces the characters to Averheim and references future plots and NPCs etc. I think the entire Black Cowl thing could do with a bigger set-up.

As a bonus, by pure coincidence the PCs from my last running of TEW1 (10 years ago) fits PERFECTLY as replacement NPCs and inserted background NPCs for my tackling of TEW2, which will be a lot of fun. I'm useless with names, but the wizard dude in Middenheim will be replaced with the wizard PC (now NPC) from our TEW1 game; the sea elf dude will be connected to a TEW1 PC who ended up an envoy of the elves; the witch hunter babe with the knife-hand will tie in perfectly with a TEW1 PC who ended up a witch-finder general of sorts; and so on... It'll be a mammoth undertaking, but prepping and running this tweaked follow-up to our past TEW1 campaign is gonna be great! :D
Karanthir
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That all sounds excellent! Good luck with it.

As for the WFRP3 scenarios, the Slaanesh one (Mirror of Desire) might suit your group. It's Chaos, but not in any of the traditional senses, and it's very much social-focussed.
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Angelman
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Nice! I'll have look at the Mirror of Desire, then. Slaanesh should be interesting (unless it is full on orgies and Hellraiser galore, heh heh).

Thanks!
Karanthir
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Oh no, nothing like that. It's just a nice classic love story of four men all in love with the same woman, but with a suitably WFRP twist!

(Full disclosure, I haven't actually run it myself. But it looks fun in theory.)
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Angelman
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Karanthir wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:42 am
Oh no, nothing like that. It's just a nice classic love story of four men all in love with the same woman, but with a suitably WFRP twist!

(Full disclosure, I haven't actually run it myself. But it looks fun in theory.)
Sounds great :)
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Angelman
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Hi all,

I thought I should do an update on this just in case people are interested :)
(It goes without saying that MY PLAYERS SHOULD STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM MY TOPICS on this forum :P ).

The campaign has no title as of yet, although I’m toying with “Lands of Joy and Despair”. It is set in Marienburg (‘cause I need a change of scenery and haven’t used Marienburg much yet) and its environs (for reasons which will become obvious).

Premise: A shadowy cult of Khaine has flowered in Marienburg over the last handful of generations among certain civil servants and higher-ups with a desire to cheat death. The basic premise of their theology is that they can buy their way into a pleasant afterlife by stealing souls from Morr and gifting them to Khaine; a rather straight-forward concept.

A few decades ago, however, the cult’s machinations were escalated thorough a cult-witch making contact with some Fimir in the marshes. A mutual cooperation between cultists and Fimir were negotiated wherein the Fimir would, in return for shipments of healthy females of child-bearing age to be used as breading meres for the bog fiends, use their foul magics to help the cult craft pocket realities in the misty fens where half-dreams dwell* for the cultists to use as after-life refuges. Here, the Khainites hope to continue their existence in pleasant gaiety, with trophy-victims murdered in Khaine’s name serve as slaves and subjects. (Basically, the concepts that has existed as a loose theology and philosophy among the cultists for generations have now been codified into actual ritual practice and magical work through the Fimir connection; hence, escalating everything).

*I am slightly recasting the Fimir as a more mysterious species with one foot in the underworld/dreamworld and one in the land of the living, with foggy fens working as a liminal space where the realms of life & death & dream & magic intermingles and overlap, to some extent. Basically, I want to add some realty to marshes-as-scary-places, if that makes sense.

In Marienburg, the Khainites work their evil schemes of serial murder to populate their pocket afterlives, and also abduct women as gifts to the marshland allies. And this is where the player characters come in. The PCs will be a bunch of adventurers with personal stakes in the missing/murdered people, investigating the crimes and the conspiracy at its core. They will be opposed and sabotaged by the Marienburg bureaucracy at every point (i.e. by cultists in the watch etc.), and will slowly come to realize that the source & cause of the nefarious plots at work in town.

Act 1 will see the PCs investigating a ritual-obsessed serial killer at work in Marienburg (i.e. a cultist killing in a manner that steals the victim’s souls as slaves for his afterlife). After repeated foils, they will finally capture the dude and bring him to justice (or just kill him). If brought to justice, the man will escape the gallows on a legal technicality or similar, and flee the city (for the marshes).

This act will contain a flashback scenario where the PCs are kids, investigating the disappearance of several youths that occurred while they were children. Basically, the kids take it upon themselves – Stranger Things style – to fix what the grown-ups are too dumb, too complacent, and/or too corrupt to do anything about. Here, they will bring down a child killer who does not survive the encounter.

Act 2 continues with the PCs now venturing into the fens to investigate cultic clues and sightings of “marsh demons” that may be connected to it all somehow (i.e. Fimir). Here the PCs will encounter signs of dark magics, and eventually find themselves trapped in an afterlife realm wherein the child killer from the flashback scenario now reigns as a gaudy king. They deal with this whole situation, and learns vital details about the cult that leads them back to Marienburg and the heart of the city bureaucracy.

Act 3; now it is the PCs against the city, as they try to bring justice to the conspirators and for their victims. They will find that not only the City Watch, but indeed the legal establishment, is heavily entrenched in the Khaine cult. A mighty showdown with the cult Grand Master climaxes the campaign.



Obviously, this is just a quick outline of the story I intend to run, and details may change and/or get added as I work on this. Also, the start & set-up of my campaign is much further along than the yet rather sketchy end/pay-off of the same. Any feedback or suggestion (or questions?) would be greatly appreciated :)
Last edited by Angelman on Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:25 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Angelman
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I should also note that my campaign is based on ideas by our own eminent Grand Mutant, Herr @Whymme ;) The story isn't quite the same as his, but many of the central ideas and themes are. Thanks, dude! <3
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