Grand sewer run

Posted by  | Sunday, November 25, 2012  at 4:58 PM  

On the last Friday night of October, eight Mordheim fans convened for the first of what became four gaming sessions to determine who would ultimately conquer the Marienburg Grand Sewer Network. This is what happened.

Burrow Town Collapsing is an underground scenario for Mordheim promising more tunnels, more bolt-holes, more traps and more objectives than you can handle!

Download the scenario here:
Burrow Town Collapsing (PDF, ca. 0.3 MB)

A few days prior to our games night the two architects of this dastardly exercise in underground excavation met up to set the scene. It seemed only appropriate that Chris 'Frogprince' Kneller & I be laying the city foundations! As we are playing skaven and elf warbands, who along with dwarf artisans shaped the sprawling dungeon network found beneath the city-port. Rear-Admiral Krislik would be bullying his warp-engineers & pirate rats. Elf-Captain Malek skippers the sea elf ranger crew of his Moon Guardians patrol.
"All sorts of scavengers in the sewers. There are things you wouldn't believe living in the stew."
— Acting Sergeant Rudi, Sewer Watch

Typically the 'Mutiny in Marienburg' underground scenario sees two or more players contesting a section of the sewer network used for smuggling contraband cargo. One of the players takes on the role of the smuggler gang by being assigned cargo objective markers. The sewer network unfolds during the game as tiles are explored by warriors. Tiles are placed using a grid. The simple grid is used to control the layout of the unexplored network guaranteeing sewer sections link up. This ensures warbands will meet during the course of the game.

We playtested underground games using a rapidly expanding set of guidelines and charts. In two player battles it becomes possible for a very lucky smuggler to avoid their opponent but the expected outcome is that a turf war is fought by opposing sides. With more players involved things become more intriguing when the size of the grid increases to accommodate additional models.

Once I felt everyone in our group was satisfied with the conditions of the scenario we began making preparations for a grandiose multi-player game using a super-size dungeon. Following the scenario principals, eight of us played a sewer game using a customised tile layout. Smugglers were invited to choose from my collection of cargo markers instead of randomising what freight is available. Having no unexplored sewer section meant there was no formal grid required. Custom sections featured non-player models, bonus objective markers and some additional dungeon events; tangle with bearded daemon-smiths at their infernal forge, plunder the tombs beneath a Garden of Morr, launch a raid on an illegal distillery, free prisoners from a castle dungeon or rescue a rooster from the halfling cooking pot! A couple of hidden rooms would also be revealed to players who 'thought on their feet' as the game unfolded.

One additional house rule was applied for this important battle to help everyone stay in the game. The first time a warband failed their rout check then they could ignore the fail result.

Factions: 3x smugglers, 2x law enforcement agencies, 3x predatory species

Player 1 - Mobsters (Webby)
Lascar sea-dogs whipped by professed Indic pirate lord Salaman Singh. The reputation of the 'Salamander' is preceded by his lethal enforcer Kala Halavaha. Their run set them towards fulfilling warband objectives from 'The Secret Deal' plot. To achieve bonus Campaign Points the cartel muscle are weighed down by sacks and chests loaded with booty, all being hauled back to the hideaway of the racketeer.

Player 2 - Strigany Gypsies (Michelle)
Bounty of choice among the grave despoiling exiles of Strigos happens to be coffins. Pine boxes used to smuggle weapons, corpse dirt and cadavers. Dragging their preferred load ties in with the 'Promise of Power' plot from our campaign. River gypsy gangs are never a welcome sight on the canals. It is rumoured the shadowy Dola family keep a dark secret. Will it be revealed under torchlight?

Player 3 - Ogres (Philip)
Guiding the Man-eaters of Tanners Alley, was a Dramatis Personae by the name of Lisette Leerer, Saleswoman, Assassin and Enforcer for the League of Gentlemen Entrepreneurs, the largest organised crime network in the city. The ogres led by Captain Krunk elected to smuggle barrels as this cargo supports their MiM campaign plot 'The Body Trade'.

Player 4 - Witch Hunters (Dave)
Witch hunter Annika Bohringer sailed from the spires of Altdorf to the fish-stink of Marienburg. In her latest bid to secure a license from the City Council to root out heresy in the port she descends below the waterline supported by her heavily armed retinue of femme fatales and frothing zealots! Not only do the Templars have a pair of warhounds, one huntress is a master of beasts with a tiger at the heel of her boot. Mutants had best beware when this big cat is let off its leash!

Player 5 - Sea Elves (Werekin)
Policing the canals in an official capacity has led the Moon Guardians 2nd Company to a midnight excursion down a sewer. Feanor Dreadweb is no stranger to dank environments. Trapper turned sewerjack, Dreadweb will use his intimate knowledge of the catacombs to help guide the way.

Player 6 - Swamp Goblins (João)
Piracy comes in all shapes and sizes! Parts of the Cursed Marshes surrounding Marienburg are infested with grobi. The smallest looters come from tribes of swamp goblins plunder the River Reik in hit and run raids! Their maggoty lairs are connected by subterranean warrens. Underground tunnels cross old smuggling routes tracing back to the advent of when men arrived in what was once known as Westerland. Diminutive pirates like Captain Stinkfoot use them when sneaking his crew into port on a nocturnal salvage raid.

Player 7 - Fimir (Bob)
Clawing monsters from a lost age strike from the Grootmoers forbidden depths! Rumours of a portal to the warp opening in the dungeons has piqued the interest of a leathery skinned Draich. With the intention of capturing a sliver of daemon essence an ambush party of marsh monsters have left the safezone of misty banks to brook a deal on the Chaos crossroad.

Player 8 - Warp Engineers (Frogprince)
Engineers from Clan Skyre squirt the musk of fear as they're being sent to find out what the heck is going on in Undertown. Along with their Clan Scurvy pirate allies hoping the place won't collapse around their ears! The scenario title is a homage to Border Town Burning, a supplement for Mordheim which featured a dungeon scenario called Horrors of the Underground. It's something Black Library author C.L. Werner mentioned to me. Skaven dupe Clint was complimenting the completion of that setting. He offered his services if we should work on a 'Burrow Town Collapsing' game for Mordheim. Well here it is!

The eight players deployed their warbands. We have predetermined eight entry points. These were designated based on theme. Ogres set off from a Dwarf mine tunnel being wider than the adjoining sewer corridors. Goblins started by entering through their warrens leading into an orcish den. Skaven poured from a effluence pipe into a warp-engineers lab. Strigany Gypsies dropped down into ancient tombs from a private burial mound. Fimir reached the dungeons when they swam in via a dilapidated canal inlet. Smugglers from the Spice Islands of Ind crawled in from a sewer grate.

Starting the game
It was mutually decided between two local law enforcement constabularies that we should be leading things off in this escapade. After receiving an anonymous tip about mutants on the loose plus witchcraft happening in or beneath the Craftsmarket and Dead Canal, the fearsome Templars ploughed down a stairway in a distillery leading into an illegal cellar bar. Moon Guardians from Elf Town entered via the Floodwall control room for a Dwarfen aqueduct.

With eight players it is necessary for players to take turns in pairs. One pair take their turn while two more players oversee movement and dice results. This helps keeps things moving. After the law agents had begun the game, it's the Mobsters and Fimir who are currently adhering to the ceasefire terms of a treaty in our campaign! They were followed by the Strigany and Man-eaters. Lastly the Goblin Pirates and Skyre Engineers are taking their turns.

Rounds 1-3
Our opening rounds involved warbands establishing what perils awaited them in the dark depths of the Marienburg Grand Sewer Network. A few warbands experienced mould slowing them down. Batches of magic mushrooms were plucked from damp crevasses. The first event rolled was a powder store. Somehow our group always end up with powder kegs galore when we venture underground! We've even modified the event chart to reduce the likelihood of rolling this result. A few of the players managed to locate powder kegs in the opening round despite this. Eventually we would run out of powder keg markers and result to using plastic gold crowns to keep track of kegs.

Witch Hunters don't usually drink on duty but these pious Sigmarites had entered through a cellar bar! They elected not to partake in the mysterious alcohols on tap. Things were a little rough in the bar room but any wild blows struck by rowdy patrons brushed off these heavily armoured Templars as they went about their business.

A couple of traps were set off around the dungeon. A complex trap was sprung by one of the smugglers from the Indic cartel! Swinging blades chopped past as the smuggler deftly sprung out of the way. With the danger presented by the recurring slice of the trap they began seeking an alternative route when the elves refused to send their trap expert across to deactivate the blade trap. When Webby beseeched me to help him out with this I offered to comply on the understanding that he used the trap to chop his Dark Elf Apprentice Assassin in two with it first! This pesky druchii Hired Sword has avoided death a few times too many in our campaign so far for my liking. He wasn't enamoured by my deal so his trap remained activational.

Two careless goblin mates were washed down an aqueduct whilst looting the ancient temple. One was only flushed round a U-bend. The other unlucky greenskin found himself surfing along a spout full of slurry into a spider nest. After biting the goblin to death in a sewer drain, these bloated arachnids fell under the control of a nearby elf Hero using an animal charm.

The only combat situations anticipated in our opening meet was to be warbands fighting their way past sewer hazards. Most of the Marienburg gangs got stuck-in straight away as giant spiders, giant rats or worse attacked them in the darkness. One of the fun additional features in store was the first two giant rat packs were each going to be chased by a cat! These fun to use models are represented in our games by using the rules for the Trickster-priest of Ranald's cat companion from my Priests of the Empire article - Miracles Workers. One of the shop locations in a future planned article 'Marketplace' allows Heroes to visit a pet emporium to order speciality animals. The chart for strange pets included cats as one entry. They prove popular in games causing mischief in combat. I amended the animal to polecats in my draft copy, after reading the Orion: The Vaults of Winter in which a pair of these critters do a brilliant job of harassing the Cygor from a horde of beastmen!

One of the polecats ran down a corridor chasing rats amongst the Strigany. Michelle has a Hero with the animal charming skill 'Rat Charmer'. She turned on the ability to take control of the rats and bagged herself a free cat companion for her mystical Petru the process! Adding these animals to the snake and hunting bird kept by members of their crew the Strigany are turning their watercaravan ark into a menagerie of beasts! The other cat sprang out in the company of the Moon Guardians 2nd Company. One of the elf Heroes in my warband now receives the same benefits as the waterfront witch from Michelle's gypsy crew.

Reviewing my drafted report it became clear that I'd skirted around the finer details concerning individual combats. Presented with an adventure of this magnitude the finer points of close combat can be addressed in another battle featuring only a couple of rival factions.

Upon reflection it is worth highlighting that Heroes from the Fimir warband managed to seek an audience with the daemon bound to the Chaos crossroad sewer section. This objective room relies on followers of Chaos carrying a wyrdstone item onto the crossroad tile to attract the daemon's favour. Bob has been feverishly following his campaign objectives to the point where he has tapped into the power in the stones!

By visiting an Alchemist in post battle sequences, each Hero in the Fimir warband now carries a stone of power. The gaze of the Dark Gods long since left the amphibious followers of Chaos and Bob is looking to set the record straight. The daemon was willing to bestow a sliver of his essence on a few of the already 'gifted' Heroes. Bob has rolled a lot of characteristic increases for his Heroes making them all a serious threat in close combat. It's only fitting that the wyrdstone items they carry spur the occasional mutation. As yet none has degenerated into becoming a Chaos Spawn. I think that Bob would quite like that!

As it stands the two Young Nobles and his Shearl (that lad's got talent) have acquired a Daemon Soul which allows a valuable 4+ save against magic attacks.

A memorable moment from this session was when the Draich used a Chaos ritual to take control of a giant's mind. The chained guardian was blocking their path through a fighting pit. Alas they couldn't use the titan to smash their enemies with but they were able to duck past unscathed. Some of the amphibians took the opportunity to duck down a trapdoor leading off to another quarter of the sewers on the northern edge.

Whilst Bob's fimir lost advantages gained overground for their 'Mystic Mist' spell of protection, João's swamp pirates were enjoying all the perks gained from goblins night vision! A couple of ghoul nests were disturbed in the course of the evening. The goblins keen eyes did not help them fighting these crypt dwelling fiends! We managed to eat a buffet and play a full rounds 3 rounds in an evening which totals 27 game turns when you include the sewer denizens.

Rounds 4-6
Reconvening after the weekend our group set about the task of drinking teas and eating biscuits whilst dungeon bashing our way through the next three rounds of nail-biting action!

A couple of the mobsters with high Initiative had duck past the swinging blades. The rest of Webby's criminal gang were following a new tactic. After realising that his cartel would be following behind the ogres if they chose to go one of the other routes, he began climbing them down into a sewer channel. For the rest of the session half the mob fell face-first into the stew while those landing on their feet waded through slurry at half their movement rate.

After being double-teamed by the mob enforcer and a guttersnipe who made it past the complex trap, an elf Hero found himself enslaved. Suffering from madness the Feastmaster had scouted ahead of his elven crew. There was no way out of this predicament as both Heroes picked up the Slaver special skill available Mobsmen. I was disappointed but reasonably content in the knowledge that the cartel would do the right thing and free my elf if they won the game. Not routing is the only condition allowing them to keep all captured models.

A second complex trap was triggered in this session by elves. Ironically it grilled the spider-charming elf trapper shortly before he foolishly detonated a Cathayan firepot while still holding it! Cathayan candles are good like that. Roll a 1 and the bloody firestick blows your own guys head off. My first roll was a 2 so I used a rabbit's foot to re-roll in order to throw the bombas amongst the Mobsmen advancing towards one of the main objective rooms. I felt violated when it came up as a 1! The elf Hero had the trap expert skill yet failed a roll required to disarm the device. His run of bad luck ended as the firepot blasted him against the ceiling and caused a cave-in as a result.

There were other cave-in's occurring around the sewer network. One tunnel collapse event happened in the vicinity of the ogres and goblins. They had alternative routes meaning it was of no consequence. Another cave-on event was triggered by a noisy witch hunter stomping over near where the fimir warband was lurking. They too pursued an alternative route.

Rats ahoy! Elsewhere in the sewers ratmen began being taken out of action by more giant spiders. Some skaven warriors were effectively besieged by spider attacks on all sides! While Chris rolled badly and swore loudly, in another corner of the dungeon the ogres were making easy work of a spider attack.

Captain Krunk's ogres encountered a warp bat which passively fluttered past in search of wyrdstone objects. They were greeted by an Old Prospector in the dwarf mine shafts. Before Lisette Leerer established a rapport with the Hired Sword an ogre mountain guide barrelled the old codger under one arm and marched off to the next section!

The Strigany made very slow progress through the sewers carrying a lot of loot! Giant rats having been charmed into helping the pirates on their way were killed pestering the fimir! After struggling to push past the marsh monsters, a different route was agreed, but it would involve acting innocent in front of witch hunters.

Annika Bohringer had split her forces into three. One lone Hero had scouted an open route ahead of the skaven while they fought their war with arachnids. They weren't likely to chase too closely after her for she was accompanied by her pet tiger! Most of the witch killers advanced peacefully through a stretch of corridor lined with dungeon cells where eight hostages were held under lock and key. Seemingly there were no heretics among the prisoners as the remaining hunters and their hounds moved off to inspect a weapons rack and a fortified doorway.

With no warbands looking to voluntarily rout any time soon we made arrangements for the third gathering. The game being set up in Chris & Michelle's gaming room as a semi-permanent fixture meant we would be able to continue until a natural ending could be reached.

Rounds 7-9
Our third session was explosive. The Strigany caravanmaster's plan to avoid the Templars had worked for a while, up until the Petru started practising the dark arts! Following the loss of their Dommu leader, in desperation a coffin fell open and out sprang a grumpy vampire! One foolhardy fimir noble had inadvertently woke a slumbering Strigoi who got out the wrong side of his coffin! The fimir ambushers were shaken by the Strigany Old Father who sought to settle scores after the premature loss of the Dola gang's caravanmaster. Beneath the Craftsmarket the Draich had coaxed a handful of her warriors through a secret tunnel leading north to where a witch hunter was examining a custom made weapon. She was surprised as the amphibians sprung from a trapdoor only to collapse on the floor due to the mouldy conditions in the armoury! One fimir Hero managed to pull himself together in time to receive her charge.

Mobsmen found themselves in fiery hell when they passed through a powder store. With steady hands Elf-Captain Malek unloaded a shot from his handgun that struck a barrel of powder, showing why his crew nicknamed him the Albatross. The explosion detonated a second keg flattening the lascars! Although cave-in's were avoided, this turn of events has thrown a spanner in the smugglers plans. By this point my elf lawbringers are similarly hanging on by a thread. The same goes for the Rear-Admiral's pirate rats after the body count from spider attacks rose to five. One combat swung in the rats favour when a Black Skaven named Commander Spike took down Kala Halavaha after scurrying up the enforcer's inside leg! Sal Singh's right-hand has picked up the nickname 'Turbanator' in our campaign after the destruction he has wreaked on enemy warriors. He won't live this melee down in a hurry and things were looking decidedly dicey for the cartel.

Ogre slavers bargained with fire dwarfs over a daemon weapon after visiting their forge! In exchange for a treasure chest they now possess a daemon-possessed blade. Before entering the Chaos engineers weapons depot a couple of the Man-eater Heroes did battle with two large tunnel wyrms (borrowed from Cianty's Horrors of the Underground scenario). They were represented as the head and the tail of the beast. The wyrm's tail thrashed until it went flaccid from heavy ogre boots stamping on it! After being repeatedly punched in the maw by a talented half-grown ogre Hero the limbless drake disappeared back into the crevasse from whence it came.

While their captain-led trio haggles with Chaos dwarfs over trade negotiations the rest of the ogres were fighting a turf war. Goblins swarmed the network of pipes. The ogres path was temporarily blocked by a river troll. Lisette Leerer cleared the tunnel by unbalancing the slimy regenerator in a pile of its own vomit. Proving she's all woman the assassin followed the troll. This was a combat that she couldn't win. João was passing nearly all his rolls to regenerate the troll. When the troll regenerated four wounds in one round (4+ to regenerate trolls) it dawned on Phil that he'd do better to concentrate on the smuggling mission at hand! Lisette broke off her attack. Fleeing from combat was simple enough while the troll was flailing around in sewage and vomit.

By the end of the night Captain Stinkfoot was missing in action after a run in with flea-bitten pirate-rats. The rest of his swabs and their finely cast 'white' squig (pro-sculpted from a lump of plasticene by Michelle at short notice) fled for the swamps with a barnacled treasure chest they found in an old temple that looked like it was surely too big for goblins to carry!

A witch hunter being chased by the warp bat was carrying a tainted item. She plummeted from a walkway to land in the unexplored city vault! This unexpected turn of events closed the night with the secret room tile being revealed.

Rounds 10-15
Before the start of our final stretch the cartel gracefully decided to bow out. As the tenth round began, after assessing the damage and current state of play I decided that my sea elf rangers needed to do the same.

Clan Skyre warp-engineers were routed by ogres in the opening couple of turns. Under a barrage of rapier attacks rat-of-the-hour Commander Spike was polished off by none other than Ms Leerer waving her stiletto with rapier in deadly unison.

The bestial force of Old Night managed to force his way past the fimir warriors before succumbing to injuries. The leaderless Strigany tried to press on after the Strigoi was put out of action only to encounter a chained giant who refused to fall. Throwing every projectile they had at it ultimately proved futile. Although a dwarf slayer pirate who joined the gypsy crew blew a few holes in the giant to score himself some bonus experience points before the rout. With the witch hunters right on their tail, they had no choice but to stuff their Old Father back in his box and just leg it!

The Templar captain proved that her cult of Sigmarites has nerves of steel. Finding a casket of legend with magical properties after falling off a narrow walkway and seeing their captain escaping his doom in a temple of pain. Outlasting the monstrous fimir who surprisingly made a break. The cold-blooded phantoms found themselves routing at the crucial moment when one ripped the first of four prison doors off in the dungeon cell block.

Four ogres marching under Lisette Leerer's guidance made acrobatic jumps down from a raised dais and then dexterousness abandoned her as the assassin fell gracelessly to the flagstone floor. They scooped her up before advancing unchallenged up a stairwell below a magician's shop in the Craftsmarket.

Ending the game
1st place: After bartering a chestful of treasures with twisted dwarf engineers the Ogre Man-eaters came away with daemon weapon! Loaded down with wine barrels the ogres stormed up a stairwell leading into the basement of a Magician's Workshop, nabbing themselves an alchemists flask of Nehekharan Fire!

2nd place: Rumours have circulated that a magical casket had arrived in the city. It has fallen into the hands of the Thieves' Guild. Witch Hunters held until the last and secured this legendary arfefact recovered from an underworld vault! The huntress carrying the wyrdstone item fell foul of its warp-tainting presence. Waking to find she has birthed a third arm! Normally the taint would see her purged of corruption through fire and brimstone. A recent acquisition of her Blood Stone talisman has led the covetous Witch Hunter Captain into a quandary over whether the mutation is perhaps a blessing in disguise. She may choose to let sleeping dogs lie or elect do the right thing and burn the altered flesh after all.

3rd place: Lords of the Marsh slew a watch patrol guarding dungeon cells before fleeing from the cells occupants upon realising their purity had already been compromised by one of the guards!

WANTED - Skaven skulls. Kala Halavaha will pay 5 gold guilders for every rat taken out of action.

WANTED - for crimes against the Free city of Marienburg
Kala Halavaha for uttering seditious talk of giant bipedal rats in order to spread civil unrest and destabalise the economic growth of the city.

The merchant councillors of the Stadsraad have spoken! The dirty lascar Kala Halavaha must turn himself in or face the wrath of Lord Justicar Ambrosius Aloysis, who is currently busy dealing with the local marsh gas problem.

Photography: Bob Whetton click on images to enlarge photographs
Additional photos: Frogprince (of chained giant) and João (of Bob)
Custom quest room tiles: thebard108 and Talion78
Painted miniatures: Werekin (Ogres, Elves, dungeon doors & objective markers),
Frogprince (Skaven), Geekgirl (Strigany), Bob (Fimir) and João (River Troll)

Captive honour

Posted by  | Saturday, November 24, 2012  at 4:30 PM  

Captive warriors is a topical subject. It happens to be a topic I have been burning to write about this season. I recently relabelled all my topics on Liber Malefic accordingly.

Further campaign information on what Dark Elves and Chaos Dwarf warbands can do with captives can be referenced in my Hired Swords compilation article: Swords of the Empire - Mordheim Compendium of Hired Swords
Prisoners of War
One of the by-products of the Mordheim campaign rules is that warriors can be taken captive by another warband. When a Hero is captured as a result of rolling on the Serious Injuries Chart, limited options are available.

Playing a Border Town Burning campaign or using Hired Swords, can lead to other situations where warriors are captured. Consequently, despicable warbands being played in the spirit of their character might fulfil the unpleasant objective of taking prisoners and putting them to work or death.

Dark Elf and Chaos Dwarf warbands will never consent to freeing captured warriors. Any captured once-proud individuals can be put to far better use as a slave. Browbeaten warriors suffer the same humiliating fate, to be chain-ganged then forced to search for treasure and scavenge for wyrdstone!

After a battle nominate which captured warriors are being assigned to search for treasure and wyrdstone. At the end of the Exploration procedure roll a D6 for each captured warrior who was nominated. Add the results to the total score from the Exploration dice result used to calculate the number of wyrdstones shards or treasure found.

Furthermore, on a roll of 1 the captured warrior has mustered the strength and courage to bite back against his oppressors! The warrior has slipped past the fiends guard and returns to his original warband a Hero. Treat a Henchman as receiving 'The lads got talent' and the Hero gains D6+2 Experience points. If the roll made was a 6 the prisoner has been overworked, exposed to too much wyrdstone, and suffered so terribly at the hands of his tormentors that he has expired! Either result means removing the captured warrior from the Dark Elf or Chaos Dwarf player’s roster.

If Hired Swords or Dramatis Personae are captured then they are treated in exactly the same way as any other warrior. Alternatively, if the Hired Sword is eligible to be hired by the warband then treat the warrior as having been hired. No hire fee is necessary but any upkeep cost must still be met after each battle.
Models that cannot be captured by a Chaos Dwarf with a man-catcher (or Clan Skyre/Moulder Hero armed with a spike-jawed snatcher, yes skaven can buy man-catchers in Marienburg!) should be easily determined by checking the entry for the target model. If it counts as being large then it cannot be grabbed!

I have uploaded a scenario from 'Mutiny in Marienburg' called Powder Bridge that includes some material on non-player character hostages.

This is not my full package for guidelines on this subject. I have written a special scenario for the campaign called Swap Meat which Eliazar played during his recent visit. This scene provides more detail on using hostage markers as scenario objectives.

Captured models from enemy warbands form collateral in campaigns. While it is true that players can become despondent when capture experiences occur, there are a number of ways this can happen in the game rules; Serious Injury, Man-catcher, Bounty Hunter Hired Sword, Slaver Hired Sword, Ogre Slavemaster Hired Sword.

In the Marienburg setting there are a few additional means for this situation happening. These include;
1. Slaver* special skill for Mobsters warband.
2. Slaver* special skill for warband leader from a warband achievement from completing objectives from 'The Body Trade' plot.
3. Warriors being placed under arrest by warbands following the 'Guardians of the Peace' plot. Guidelines for this will be included with a scenario called Dead Freight.
*There may never be more than two warriors with this skill in the warband at any one time.
In my campaign the matter of captured warband members has become a hot topic. It is still a delicate subject. The principals for freeing captured Heroes and Henchmen (remember Hired Swords count as switching sides when the capturing warband can normally hire them!) are on page 119 in the Mordheim Rulebook;
1. The warrior may be ransomed at a price set by the captor or exchanged for one of their warband who is being held captive.
2. Captives may be sold to slavers at a price of D6x5 gold crowns.
3. Undead may kill their captive and gain a new zombie.
4. The Possessed may sacrifice the prisoner. The leader of the warband will gain +1 Experience if they do so.
5. Captives who are exchanged or ransomed retain all their weapons, armour and equipment; if captives are sold, killed, or turned to Zombies, their weaponry etc. is retained by their captors.
Using campaign achievements earned through completing warband objectives, I have found it is possible to reinterpret how a certain kind of warband must respond when taking captives. The reason for this was to provide agreeable stories that will allow players to return Heroes to their starting warband! Here are some examples of this.
Plot: Drowning the Witch - 10 Campaign Points
Warbands: Witch Hunters, Sisters of Sigmar and Mercenaries hiring a Warrior-Priest of Sigmar may follow this plot.
Torture: Instead of searching for a rare item during the post battle sequence, the leader of a Witch Hunters warband can organise an interrogation to coax information out of an unwilling suspect. On a successful Strength test, the torturer prizes a secret from a captured Hero. The Witch Hunters gain 1 extra Campaign Point. Whichever warband the captured warrior belonged to loses 1 Campaign Point and the warrior is returned to their warband. The captured Hero is released after being interrogated.

Plot: The Body Trade – 10 Campaign Points
Warbands: Dark Elf Corsairs, Mobsmen, Norse Explorers, Arabyan Raiders, Brionnese Pirates, Maneaters, Marauders of Chaos and Chaos Dwarf warbands may follow this plot.
Slaver Ring: The warband joins a slaver ring. The warband may trade any captured warriors from other warbands. The warband leader gains the 'Slaver' skill. There may never be more than two warriors with this skill in the warband at any one time. Any Hero or Henchman put out of action in hand-to-hand combat by a Slaver will automatically be captured (see 'Captured' on the Serious Injuries chart, p.119 of the Mordheim Rulebook). Heroes or Henchmen captured may not be eaten or ransomed to another warband during the post battle sequence. Heroes or Henchmen captured may be exchanged with their starting warband for hostages or captured warriors. Whenever another player sells captives to slavers at a price of D6x5 gold crowns, they should be offered to warbands in the slaver ring. If two or more warbands join a slaver ring roll dice to determine who buys each captive.

Plot: Gaze of the Gods – 5 Campaign Points
Warbands: Beastmen and Fimir warbands, Cults of Chaos including Cult of Possessed, Carnival of Chaos and Stromfels Reavers may follow this plot.
Sacrificial Stone: Any Hero or Henchman captured by the warband must be sacrificed, despite any arrangement with a Hired Sword that was hired by the warband. ie, Slaver. Instead of searching for a rare item during the post battle sequence, one or more of the Heroes in the warband may visit the Sacrificial Stone to participate in a ceremony of sacrifice. Roll once on the Ceremony of Sacrifice Chart for each sacrifice offered to the Ruinous Powers. Apply a +1 modifier to the roll for each Hero beyond the first to participate in a ceremony. On a roll of 1 the captive will always escape: 1-5 Escaped. The warrior has slipped his bonds and returns safely back to his starting warband. The warrior (or his Henchman group) gains D3 Experience points. 6 Sacrificed. Blood of the victim is spilled across of the altar. Each Hero participating in the ceremony gains 1 Experience point.
After one recent battle, Bob's Fimir warband returned a Hero to Webby's Mobsmen by purposefully letting him escape during a sacrifice! The two players have entered into a treaty of sorts. Ok so if he had rolled a 6 then the Hero would have been slain but it makes for a compelling story!

Worldwide audience

Posted by  | Thursday, November 22, 2012  at 8:43 PM  

"You should have seen it a century ago. Its amphitheatres were the envy of the world. Even the Masques of Lothern would come to play in Tor Yvresse and you know how particular they are."
— Kyrielle Greenkin, Elf Mage

Sascha Klocke visited Bournemouth from Berlin this month. Sascha, who is better known in the Mordheim community as Eliazar de la Tierra, played a sequence of 3 scenario games in Marienburg during his visit facing 6 different campaign opponents! An unusual stopover to be making if you consider real Marienberg is in Würzburg, Germany! Once our guest star has produced a suitable journal we will publish his story accompanied by a photo shoot displaying the action from the finale; a four way dispute over 'provisions' settled using flea market scenario set in the Cursed Marshes.

The Fortress of Marienburg is found in Würzburg, Germany
Earlier this year I noticed amongst the functionalities on Blogger there is a gizmo detailing the statistical activity for blog audiences. This distracted me again tonight while editing my next post. It provides various insights into which browser software views use, which web site pages were used to enter the blog plus statistics for what pages have been viewed. Most intriguing were figures for visitors whereabouts. It is marvellous to realise that gamers from all over the planet discover Liber Malefic to risk a peek! Here is a round-up for the week so far confirming the most active heretics living in countries still visiting Mordheim!

Note: While the annual results are compelling there are currently no Italians subscribing to Liber Malefic. This is odd because annual statistic shows Italy to have birthed the 10th highest number of views. Witch Hunters must have caught up with some old Tilean mobs lurking in the city! The weekly results are by no means indisputable proof of dedication to hedge wizardry because when I cross referenced these numbers against statistics from last months total views I discovered that two great gaming nations were curiously absent! Add the following countries to the list below then you have a fair idea who is currently committing the most heresy; Netherlands 104 views (4th place) Finland 44 views (7th place)
Top Nations of Mordheimers: USA 93 views, Great Britain 49 views
Germany 24 views, Canada 18 views, Spain 17 views, Sweden 12 views
New Zealand 11 views, France 11 views, Poland 10 views, Australia 8 views
Ireland 6 views, Russia 2 views, Brazil 2 views, Belgium 1 view
On a final note, prior to our visitor arriving in town we managed to complete our underground adventure game set in the Marienburg Grand Sewer Network, burrows of Undertown, secret city vaults and smugglers bolt-holes. It was an epic battle staged across four meetings. I have have completed the scenario draft and a picture heavy battle report write-up to go with that is in the works.

Trolls on parade

Posted by  | Sunday, September 30, 2012  at 8:07 PM  

Games Workshop host their grand annual event at Birmingham NEC. It's called Games Day. It is the stage where the Golden Demon Awards and Slayer Sword for best miniature painting in the United Kingdom takes place each year. For most enthusiasts it is the chance to buy cool new releases and admire cabinets loaded with finely detailed Citadel miniatures painted by some of the most talented painters in the hobby.

Once every twenty years, a playwright, street performer and suspected werecreature is unleashed upon UK Games Day...

This year I managed to attend Games Day for the first time since I was teenager. I accompanied Chris 'Frogprince' Kneller and Michelle 'Geekgirl' Steele who go along every year! Mr Flibble came with us too because there aren't enough penguins in the Warhammer universes. "Too busy killing Batman", offered one of our coach-going companions. We travelled from the GW store in Poole. The coach ride wasn't unpleasant. There were only a handful of youngbloods among the local warband of Warhammer nerds. I can tell you a lot more wild youths went in 1992! What are kids doing these days for Sigmar's sake?

[Left to Right] Werekin, Mr Flibble, Geekgirl, the Frogprince
Tickets are priced at £30 which covers entry and a free programme. I found the handout to be fairly pointless on the day because the excellent layout explains itself. There is way too much to look at and do in a mere 6 hours of open time. I can't stress how short the day is! The ambitious schedule is suffocating. Once you deduct rest breaks you're left with too little time to pack everything in. A couple of additional hours opening would relieve retail congestion considerably. There is a lot more going on than a single report can hope to divulge. Read on if you care to hear of random activity nobody else would think to write about!

Upon arrival we hunted for tickets to attend the Forge World and Black Library seminars. Attendance is restricted to 150 places on each of 2 seminars for both. Being as the slots are 11am-12pm and 2pm-3pm there isn't much scope for flexibility. There were less than half-a-dozen places left for each seminar by the time patrons from our store's coach were being admitted. Oddly a lot of folks didn't turn up for the Black Library seminar at 11am. And why that might be? *drum roll* FORGE WORLD

After we grabbed seminar tickets we wandered through the main exhibition hall and gaming hall littered with battlefields into the trade hall. There was an enormous queue of hobbyists lined up to get to the Forge World trade stand. I've seen a scrum of punters before at the Salute trade fair last year in London. That was carnage. Nothing like this! The queue was sheer madness. Snaking all over the trade hall like some giant serpent out of a mythological legend! Suffice to say we did not join this nerdcade. Depending on whose version of events you have listened to the wait was anywhere between 1-3 hours. Nobody seems to care because the miniatures are just that damn good! One far-fetched account being relayed was that a disabled woman had waited 3 hours to be served her Forge fix. The smell of freshly forged resin warriors, vehicles and monsters is intoxicating.

I had a nose around the bazaar of books and made a couple of choice literary purchases. I was hoping to get a copy of new Time of Legends novel Neferata but the rumour it was going onsale in advance was a falsehood! It took the aged clerk some ponderous amount of effort to get Bill King's new hardback release for Sword of Caledor to ring through the till. I had exact cash in my hand by that point.

At this exact moment I could spy authors across the trading post wall signing their books for Black Library but it was time to make way to the first seminar. On the way we bumped into my old buddy Anton who manages a Games Workshop hobby store in Maidenhead! As I write this today it is Anton's birthday. Many happy returns squire.

Fantasy Flight Games were demonstrating their full crop of associated cards and board games in the main hall. Nobody appeared to be playing Blood Bowl this year yet there were fantasy football computer games demonstrations aplenty. What caught our interest was a display of Warhammer Quest and Talisman apps under development for iPhone and iPad being demonstrated by Rodeo Games and Nomad Games. According to the representative these games are being produced exclusively for Apple platforms. If it can now be wielded like Ghal-Maraz then perhaps this makes my otherwise hopeless iPhone useful for something, at last... Suck on my gromril warhammer Samsung Galaxy users! The release date on the App Store for Warhammer Quest is being advertised as Spring 2013.

Observing volunteers playing the demo quest game, we recognised vintage rooms tiles being trodden. Visually the game looks great. Politely declining an offer to face the dungeon as interpreted by Rodeo Games, Chris & I queried why there was a River Troll facing off against one young fellow (beating his warrior to death as it goes!) in the game. The demonstrator explained that in keeping with the greenskins army theme they had substituted the original large monster (it was Minotaur) with the aquatic foe. While it makes perfect sense to employ a Troll we weren't in agreement with the rationale behind this particular breed of troll, even if the well-rendered graphics are based on one of the latest funky Citadel miniature releases. The developers stated that the adventures will include unfamiliar new room tiles alongside classic favourites from the original game. According to the rep we can also look forward to new artwork for Rodeo's quest-room boards becoming available next year to download, for use with original Warhammer Quest board gaming. This means tabletop games of Mordheim-Quest can be further expanded too.

Note: Next month Frogprince & Geekgirl are hosting a multi-player Mordheim-Quest battle in the sewers beneath Marienburg. 'Burrow Town Collapsing' is our new underground campaign scenario and a Halloween battle report will follow.

Burrow Town Collapsing: Strigany River Pirates converted and painted by Michelle Steele penetrate the Marienburg Grand Sewer Network using a Warhammer Quest junction tile
Armies on Parade is a recent feature at Games Day events around the world. The competition is scored based on attendees votes. There were a couple of fantastic ogre armies entered into the contest. One was an Ogre stronghold...

Another entry was a beach party...

...with stunning Ogre pirate crew and trollish new breed of fish-dog! (or dogfish?)

Competition is stiff when there's great attention to detail for so many entries. One particular detail which tickled me was the rider of a Thundertusk wearing a diving helmet! While the idea of an ogre wearing a diving bell might have come from elsewhere in the market place it was a neat touch which I mentioned in passing to the sculptor of this miniature Seb Perbet when I passed by the designers display stand later in the day.

The winning army will be announced on the GW web site at some point. We wandered the gaming hall to check out what battles were being fought. Tilean paparazzi agent Chris 'Frogprince' Kneller grabbed pictures of unusual sights to his liking. Following the coastal theme our treasure trove led us to a cliff-top stronghold populated by ratmen (from Clan Skurvey we presumed)...

And a gigantic magical construct dominating one of the many battlefields...

Plus two ships (Nurgle Man O'War & Imperial Barge) that were sighted by me from the crow's nest...

The afternoon seminar was hosted by guru Tony Cottrell who runs Forge World and lead writer Alan Bligh who conjures most of the new gaming material. Both staff were present to explain all the latest developments. This session was packed out. Tony has a dry wit to say the least, making this presentation a joy to behold. His sense of humour provided me with plenty of laughs. Alan is lead author of those perfectly profane tomes for the Warhammer Forge. Most of the fantasy battle talk was geared towards Monstrous Arcanum up until the guys started spilling beans about Blackfire Pass which is their next lavish campaign book. We saw previews on the projector screen for more new monsters, a Dwarf command group sculpted by Steve Whitehead (more on him shortly) followed by talk of new Orc and Empire army releases. The seminar is unmissable! If you ever get the chance to hang out with the Forge World team you have to take it.

Towards the end of the day I conversed with some of the hired swords who help breathe new life into modern day Warhammer. Seb Perbet from the Citadel design team was my first victim. He is the sculptor of latest editions to the Ogre Kingdoms range including the mighty Thundertusk/Stornhorn kit which I keep calling the 'Stonehoof' in error. When I explained to Seb that I purchased this kit just to use the heads of the crew in my Mordheim warband conversions his response was indescribable.

Forge World sculptors Edgar Skomorowski and Steve Whitehead were available to discuss their work. Both gentlemen have provided Chaos Dwarf fanboys with plenty of reasons to rejoice in the past 12 months. Edgar's impressive Bull Centaurs were among the recent releases on display. He'd also brought along WiP versions of one of the centauroids. Whoops I forgot to take pictures of the concept sketches Steve had on display for his new Empire sculpts. They were characterful and very much in the vein of art from the source book Blood On The Reik (A Journey Through The Old World). Steve was responsible for producing the new Fimir warriors featured in Monstrous Arcanum, freely admitting to being a big fan of the one-eyed fiends since olden days! It's uncertain whether there will be more Fimir releases in the future. Any fellow Fimir enthusiasts will be disappointed to hear it would seem unlikely based on the political response my question prompted from Tony Cotrell (yes I posed a question using the F word!) in his Q&A session. As a consolation, Tony was admiring my hat in a very vocal way! Steve himself is blissfully unaware of what quantities of which of his miniature designs are selling like hot halfling hot-pots.

The creative imaginings of Edgar Skomorowski are well known to my friends and fellow hobbyists Joao and Cianty. Make sure you check out this link to Edgar's personal web site. It contains some stunning quality sculpting. Both of the miniatures designers were friendly gentlemen.

Which leads me onto my final port of call. The Black Library authors stand. I failed miserably to greet novelist (and self-proclaimed hack!) Joshua Reynolds at the Black Library Live 2012 due to overindulgence (mine not his). The sands of time were running out but I located Josh before departing the event for a brief exchange. He is one of the few authors right now who is writing about subject material which really peeks my interest! Josh has launched a new blog on Wordpress which you can check out here.

With the day drawing to a close there was no sign of storyteller and guitar-hero Darius Hinks. I've finished reading his book Orion: The Vaults Of Winter, detailing the exploits of Athel Loren's god-king alongside elves, faeries and polecats! It's part one of an unwritten trilogy meaning I had to find something else of its equal to read last week. Warrior-Priest, also by Herr Hinks, staring at me from my bookshelf seemed like the best story to consume next. With any luck I may catch up with Josh at a future Black Library event and eventually meet Darius along with my guitar-buddy Ed 'Skarloc' Morgan. For reasons known to the likes of us we wanna bug Darius about his academic skills in rock power and elven lore! Because the two things that matter most are talismanic tattoo ink and decibels.

Coming Up Next: The next adventure sequence in Marienburg happens below the city. A team of daring Mordheimers have been hard at work playesting an underground scenario for the MiM campaign. A copy of the detailed scenario and a battle report will be published on Liber Malefic in the coming weeks.

[Left] Witch Hunter Capt. Dave play-tests 'Burrow Town' with Webby's Criminal Cartel [Right] Canada Steve's Cathayan Monks fight a turf war verses Skyre Warp-Engineers led by Frogprince

Best fight scene

Posted by  | Saturday, September 29, 2012  at 12:41 AM  

The Mutiny in Marienburg campaign uses new core scenarios written for this setting. Each scenario treats players to a taste of what life if like in the city-port for their warriors. While not every scenario is combat-centric, the waterfront adventure features violent turf wars! The best fight scenes ever.

Mutiny in Marienburg follows the same structure developed for the Border Town Burning supplement. This is different than in the Mordheim Rulebook.

For players using the standard campaign rules these Core Scenarios replace the scenarios found in the Mordheim Rulebook. Refer to Border Town Burning supplement for scenario rules to 'Last Orders!'

2D6 Result
2 ....Scenario 1: Rolling Fog*
3 ....Scenario 2: Black Market Lagoon
4 ....Scenario 3: Powder Bridge
5 ....Scenario 4: Pit Of Blood*
6 ....Scenario 5: Stockade
7 ....Scenario: Last Orders!*
8 ....Scenario 6: Silk Market
9 ....Scenario 7: Illegal Salvage Operation*
10 ..Scenario 8: Burrow Town Collapsing*
11 ...Scenario 9: Dead Freight**
12 ...Scenario 10: The Sting

Scenario 13: Midnight At The Mausoleum*
Scenario 15: All Hands On Deck!
Scenario 16: Swap Meat*
Scenario 17: Colony of Plenty*

*optional multiplayer scenario
**multiplayer scenario

All core scenarios are now illustrated here. Scenarios are accompanied by Marienburg campaign charts. Also included are two of the special scenarios which found their way into the Marienburg campaign story. Click on links in the table above to view and save each of the scenario files. These will be updated periodically to include more new campaign scenes.

An additional player aid for enhancing your campaigns can now be downloaded. Epic Campaigns Rules features a selection of important guidelines to help your maritime city adventures.

All other published resources from the Marienburg manifest can be downloaded here.

Fell cargo

Posted by  | Wednesday, September 26, 2012  at 12:39 AM  

Dealers in strange unknowable goods bring business to Marienburg.

Representatives of every nation and race can be found there, and it is rumoured that if something exists, no matter how rare, a trader with money will find it in Marienburg, find someone who knows where it is, or be swindled into buying something that looks just like it.

Running a Mordheim campaign set in the trade capital of the world means there is wider scope for deals to be struck. Smugglers are interested in opportunities for moving more than just shards of wyrdstone. Click on the image below to expand detail for the two main charts being used when determining physical objectives in Marienburg campaign scenarios.

The tender is gold guilders which are Marienburg's equivalent to gold crowns. Gold is not the only currency and wyrdstone-hunting is not the only source of revenue available to warbands. Mercantile gangs featuring a trader and vehicle can flaunt their illicit wares on the black market. Violent gangs operating in a slaver ring could be set on taking hostages and capturing rival warriors. Ghoulish warbands collect corpses for vile purposes. All different types of commodities are being shipped down the River Reik.

The Cargo Chart can be used for determining objective markers when playing scenarios. Value for each cargo marker is decided in the post battle sequence to maintain the flow during games. Whilst a Hero might realise he is moving a barrel rather than a crate, he won't expect to lever the lid off to inspect its contents until the shipment is safely secured.

The Booty Chart expands the themes for piratical rewards when warbands are committing 'wet' or 'dry' crimes. Specialist charts such as the Profane Books Chart add a further level of detail allowing players to capitalise on an archive of existing merchandise or discover strange unknowable goods from the Marienburg manifest.

"In collections and museums in Marienburg and Brionne, you may see such things, scavenged from the field of battle and carefully preserved."
— Ehrhard Stoecker, Exiled Imperial Novelist

There are all sorts of useful charts to roll on in Marienburg, especially when it comes to Heroes escapades in the post battle sequence. Nothing has been included for the sake of it and anything can start the next big conspiracy between warbands!

Lots of vital material has been carried over from Mordheim articles and one priceless chart comes courtesy of the Warhammer General's Compendium. Click on the chart below, it may look familiar. These rules need to be referenced when gaming some of the forthcoming maritime scenarios which will be appearing on Liber Malefic in the coming days.