Welcome back, tabletop enthusiasts. Join us as we jump into the beginning chapter of the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Starter Set. If you have wondered what it is like to play the WFRP or just roleplaying games in general then stick around. We shall be presenting a sample session for your pleasure!
Setting the scene
The group of friends gathered around the dining room table, character sheets at the ready, dice in hand, and snacks to keep them going. The Gamemaster (GM) gathers their notes, starts up some fantasy music, and excitedly states, “Let’s play some Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay!”. The excitement resonates with their two friends on the opposite of the table. Beaming smiles and rubbing of hands prior to the GM clearing their throat and setting the scene, reading from the Adventure Book in the Starter Set.
“The striking fortress town of Ubersreik is situated between the gloomy Grey Mountains and the depths of the Reikwald Forest.”. The GM’s focus passes between each player detailing the importance of the town to the empire and its location on the red waters of River Teufel. The two players opposite look to each other raising eyebrows in anticipation.
Details of the uneasy state of Ubersreik are passed. The removal of office for the form Duke has made for some shaky times. “Soldiers from the distant capital of Altdorf now patrol the town and the surrounding provide. This stirs deep resentment from suspicious locals.”, the GM describes. This is before mentioning that the party has found themselves in the bustling Market Square. The main objective? Breakfast of course!
As newcomers to the wonderful game of WFRP, the players ask how they would get a meal. The GM asks them to make a Simple Perception Test by rolling two 10 sided dice (d10) and comparing it to their character’s Perception Skill. “Also, if you wanted to do a bit of shopping while your here, you can do. If you want more ammunition, different weapons, armour, or just more food for the road, then let me know.”, the GM also informs, making sure the players know their options.
“Oooo, I’d like some new armour for Grunnar”, the first player states. The GM nods and asks them whether they want to look for the shop or ask around. The option to ask around is taken and the player is asked to make a Simple Average Gossip Test. By rolling the 2 d10, adding the +20 bonus to the Fellowship Skill from the Simple difficulty the player smiles. The dice resulted in an 8 which is much lower than their skill which means success.
The GM then takes the opportunity to engage in a bit of roleplay and ask the player what their character would say to the citizen. “Er, excuse me!”, the player states in a deep Dwarven voice, “you couldn’t tell me where I could find some armour could you?”. The GM smiles and responds, “Oh, sure, yeah. You can normally find something like that in the district of there.”. The GM states the citizen points in the direction where you can potentially buy such items.
After finding the right district, the player asks the GM what armour is available. “After wading through oodles of people, encountering several aromas along the way, some inviting, some not so much, you are presented to the simple establishment. On display, there are a couple of different attires. Some that cover the body, and some that cover the body and arms.”. The GM finishes and the player eagerly asks for the latter. Haggling was also presented to the table and the player jumps at it.
The dice were rolled again. With luck on in favour, the reduced price is negotiated. A bit more roleplay with a disgruntled artisan is given, shillings and brass pennies deducted from the character sheet, and the hunt for food continues. Another good roll allows the players to follow their noses to local tavern whereby decent meals are available to address the growing hunger.
After filling their bellies in exchange for some coins, the party decide to dive deeper into the crowd. The GM asks the group to make an Average Gossip or Perception Test. After the sounds of clunking and pattering of die cease, the players reveal lower die rolls in comparison to their chosen skill. Success! “Great stuff!”, the GM exclaims, “Upon weaving in and out of the crowd, which the chatter filling the air all around, you managed to come into the presence of a brightly colour stall; deep within the hustle and bustle.”
The description of glassware, metalwork, and sculptures are given housed on wonderful displays. The part is informed that the sign says “Heske’s Dragonglass”, and the work is definitely one of a master artisan. A silver hair human woman, in her 40’s, is perched among the fine creations. The GM notes a defining feature of the lady is that she has an amber shot glass eye with emerald swirls. Upon being called over, the GM puts on a warming voice and tone discusses her back story with the players. The opportunity to purchase such fine ornaments follows with haggling tests too.
The colourful and vibrant character of Heske is thoroughly enjoyed by the players. Learning of her backstory brings smiles, questions, and understanding of her backstory. She becomes a favourite to the party. And once they have absorbed all they could, the party moves on. The GM asks the party to make another Perception, but a simple one this time. The clattering of die follows once more. Groans signifying really bad rolls.
On failing the Simple Perception Test, the GM informs the group that things are going to get a little out of hand. “A troupe of travelling entertainers dressed in bright clothes seem to displease the locals with poor performance. This quickly develops into a fray which pulls in nearby townsfolk, including the hapless characters.”, the GM details, passing attention from player to player. This then escalates when the Atldorf soldiers try to restore order but are labelled ‘Altdorf scum’ and are set upon by the angry locals. A full blown riot begins! The GM changes the music to one that fits the battle around them.
The GM explains that the group are pulled into a whirling melee. As they did not pass their Perception Test, they all gain the Suprised Condition. This means they can take no action, move, or defend themselves in Opposed Tests. The first opponent will also gain a +20 to hit in melee. The group collectively gasp and shout, “Oh no!”. Initiative checks are requested to see the order of combat. The Dwarf Slayer Gunnar’s player states that their Initiative is 34. For the Human Soldier Salundra, it is 32. The brawling horde has an Initiative of 30.
Due to the party having the Surprised Condition they will have to wait until next turn to act. The GM informs them, “The fight is brought to you and you are caught very much unprepared. The brawling horde ready their fists and strike out towards each of you! It’s a royal rumble!”. Each character has a member of the brawling horde to deal with, much to their excitement and dismay at the same time due to being “surprised”.
The first of the rabble swings for Gunnar with a roll of 90. The brawler’s Weapon Skill (WS) is 30 + 20 from the Suprised Condition on Grunnar. As this is less than the roll, the brawler misses to which the GM states, “Tripping over himself slightly, the angry jester swings very wipe and ends up colliding with the Dwarf Slayer. It was like hitting a firmly rooted tree and Grunnar shoves him off with a scowl.”. The second citizen throws a punch against Salundra. This just hits with 50 against the 30 WS + 20 from the Surprised Condition.
As the character is caught by unaware, the GM informs that damage is calculated straight away. By reversing the 50 (5), and checking the hit body part table, the player sees that the punch connects with Salundra’s head. Winces follow as the damage is calculated.The GM guides the players on how to do this. All bonus’ is calculated by subtracting the tens value. For instance, the Strength Bonus for Salundra with a Strength Characteristic of 36 would be 3. By gaining this knowledge, the player and GM calculate the damage from the blow.
The values for the damage are gathered. The Success Level by subtracting the tens values of the dice roll (50) from the WS (30 + 20) respectively then adding the Strength Bonus (3) and Weapon Damage (Fist +3). In this case, the GM jots this down and states the damage as 6. Now, the player calculates how much the damage is reduced. This is equal to the Defenders Toughness Bonus (4) + any Armour from the hit body part (1). The player announces that 5 damage was reduced resulting in 1 Wound sustained. “A slight ringing in your ears disorientates you as clout to the side of your head riles your blood for battle!”
With the first round out the way and the players truly in this fight, the combat continues with muscular Grunnar flat siding citizens for arm crunching damage (10). Salundra, not wanting to let the previous blow to the head to go without punishment, renders her opponent unconscious a well-executed headshot of her own with the hilt of her sword (13). All this happens as a merchant cart is caught up in the whirlwind of fists as countless pies litter the streets.
Included in the mess are the Cavalcade acrobats who have no issue adding to the chaos and pain. Fortunately, the Human Soldier (WS10) and Dwarf Slayer (WS66) easily dodge their blows (WS84) (WS77). The GM keeps the game tense by describing the chaos around them. Pigs slipping around in the pies, consuming them as they go, soldiers calling for the order before being dragged down in the muck, and the odd tooth flying across the street as the brawl continues.
As the rounds go by, the GM ensures that the combat rules of the game are understood and any queries are dealt with. Most of all, the players are enjoying the chaos! Even a bit of looting with Dramatic Perception Tests is on the table. After intervening between some thugs taking advantage of vulnerable citizens trying to keep away from the brawl, deafening gunshots are heard as reinforcing soldiers lead by a red-haired woman enter the market place. “You are all under arrest!”, roleplays the GM as the characters are quickly rounded up and taken to the stockades with the brawl now coming to a close.
And that is your lot. We hope you have enjoyed just a little glimpse into a session of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay with us. This particular session was done with the Starter Set, your pick up and go introduction to the vibrant and engaging world of the game. If you haven’t done so already, you can read our article on what is included in the WFRP: Starter Set. Stay tuned as we hope to release an episodic adventure with our heroes as they journey through the world with glory, riches, and epic stories to follow.