Episode 24 (Part 1) WARHAMMER Fantasy Role Play (with Graeme Davis)


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INTRO: The GROGNARD files is dedicated to Greg Stafford (1948-2018)

OPEN BOX: Graeme Davis talks to us about the genesis of the 1st edition of WARHAMMER and some of the plans for the new edition. You find out more about his long and distinguished career in gaming on his website.

WHITE DWARF: The Daily Dwarf reviews the articles that appeared in White Dwarf for WARHAMMER, it’s a long list.

JUDGE BAZ RULES!: Baz Stevens from The Smart Party podcast (The UK’s Premier RPG Podcast… mmm?) joins us in the room of role-playing rambling to get deep and dirty into the rules.

OUTRO: Join our Patreon before the end of November to get a hard copy of the zine.

Author: Dirk

Host of The GROGNARD RPG Files podcast. Talking bobbins about Runequest, Traveller, Call of Cthulhu, T&T, AD&D and others from back in the day and today.

7 thoughts on “Episode 24 (Part 1) WARHAMMER Fantasy Role Play (with Graeme Davis)”

  1. Enjoyed that. Definitely a nostalgic listen… And I’m glad you enjoyed all the WFRP stuff in Dwarf back then. 🙂

  2. WFRP 1st edition is with the possible exception of CoC, the game i have played for the longest amount of time in my 35 years of gaming. GM’d mostly, apart from playing once in the 80’s and a couple of games in the late 90s.
    It, and its first three scenarios are some of the few items i kept during the great rpg throwaway during my ‘deep freeze’ from the start of the 90’s until 99. They were little works of art, full of atmosphere, great just to dip into.
    I remember coming back from Nottingham on a Wednesday afternoon, (no lessons at sixth form) in late 86 i presume, with the just-out heavy book from Games Workshop, it was a must-have after that brilliant pull out ad in WD, with the short story that ended with a skaven opening the secret door into the cell of the man who knew too much.
    As you say in the pod, it was very much the first published scenarios that defined how to play.
    I remember the campaign our group did first before any official stuff came out, and it was very standard fantasy, with chaos thrown in.
    We’d just come from Battlecars League Tournaments and Dragon Warriors – and the first scenario i did was just a bog standard dungeon with orcs and rescuing a dignitary from the city, thinking ‘lets keep it familiar’. I can remember a fairly non-plussed reaction, is this what we’ve given up Dragon Warriors for?
    Next i tried a tied-in version of the Oldenhaller contract, this landed, the investigative bit and a city based adventure was different to the usual dungeon bashing, the careers had more chance to shine, they loved it.
    It continued with the halfling burglar Bimbo having to take the nurgle jewel to an ancient dwarf hold with a volcano and throw it in to destroy it, (why has no one thought of that before?). In company with Spunjo Puddin, and Elbo Bendins, a trapper, a pit fighter, and a wizard called Grondelf.
    They were pursued while crewing the Voltsvagon (from The Magnificent Sven) down river, by a chaos necromancer and his undead hoard, after many adventures i must’ve got tired of it, realising the worlds edge mountains were a very long way away, and they ended up in a castle on a mountain next to the river, (premonition?) where the necromancers brother lived, a detective murder mystery style adventure with all the subtlety of a punch in the face, led to a showdown in a temple underneath the castle with the other rival brother turning up, and a handy lava pit. The jewel went in, the place blew up and the PCs escaped by hot air balloon.
    But everyone enjoyed it, the critical hit table always being turned to with relish, but i think i always used to pull the rolls a bit, there were plenty of breaks and little bits chopped off, but unless it was well deserved, Fate points were reserved for the important times.
    I’ve still got those 9 scenarios, neatly written out in black and red ink, the free time I had back then. The difference WFRP had made was that they were mostly city and wilderness based. We’d come out of the dungeon.
    Some of that group went on to play The Enemy Within campaign, the first lot saved Bogenhafen (i think), the next group didn’t, and like many GMs, as the chaos pit widened to swallow the whole town, i had to ask, what happened to the river Bogen? In it went too, draining the rivers slowly upstream.
    It was a great campaign, truely ‘Cthulhu with swords’, but with a lot of dark humour and nonsense along the way, but then always the option for a side quest. Its a bit of a blur how far this group and the next got when i ran them again, its a bit Rock Family Trees, but i definitely did Death on the Reik at least once at that time.
    Years later, unfrozen, it was the first game i turned to in 99, and with a new group from work, with one player from the old days, i ran another campaign, home brew, but tying in a lot of the great one-offs along the way, The Haunting, Grapes of Wrath and Eureka, tying them in to end with Death on the Reik, this time foiling a chaos invasion and once again escaping from the castle by balloon.
    2nd edition passed me by but i bought a few of the books to read, and 3rd didn’t register, but 4th, so far its great, lots more to absorb, and i’m not sure we’re doing combat, advantage, and conditions etc right yet, but it’s breathed new life into one of the greatest settings in RPGs, and all the plug in traits and talents are very handy.
    We’re talking about a campaign, in between monthly club sessions, hopefully that will come off.
    (By the way, why are bows so expensive in Warhammer compared to other items? I thought it was a 4th ed thing, but looked in 1st ed and it was even worse, its only a bit of wood and string?!)
    I think mention needs to be made of the deep background to the game that was later dropped- all the Slann stuff with their future tech and the fact it was their warp gates which had collapsed and allowed chaos in. I always thought that was great, i suppose it was a bit tekumel in reverse (not that i’d heard of it then).
    Great podcast again, looking forward to part 2. Cheers.

  3. Great episode! I am a little surprised that this great game passed the Armchair Adventurers by, seeing as the setting of the Old World never got any better than it was in 1st edition WHFRP.

    I would like to give a shout-out to WHFRP’s very own retroclone, the great game Zweihänder, created by Daniel Fox. It won Golden Ennies for both “Best Game” and “Product of the Year” this year. I am very interested in 4th Edition but the art has left me a little cold. It’s not bleak enough, I cannot smell the decay or sense the utter struggle of living in the Empire. The work in Zweihänder is perfect however, Dejan Mandic’s illustrations captures the grim yet intricate style perfectly, being reminiscent of old White Dwarf/GamesWorkshop but still having his own style, giving the game a distinct vision.

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