May 2022 Roundup

Trying something new today: using this blog as a recap of what I’ve been up to this month. Maybe this’ll become a regular feature! Or maybe I’ll get too busy, and neglect my blog for another nine months. Who can say!

What’s Been Released

The Emperor’s Wrath, my first Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay project to get an actual release, came out at the very end of last month! It’s a PDF adventure about the crew of an Imperial steam tank, with an appendix for players who want to drive the steam tank right out of the adventure, and into other WFRP adventures where they surely don’t belong. Toot toot!

As I wrote about on Twitter, this was actually my second time writing steam tank rules for Cubicle 7, because I wrote the vehicle rules and profiles for Soulbound‘s Steam and Steel. By happy coincidence, my complimentary copy of Steam and Steel arrived in the post the same day Wrath was released! Petition to make March 27th an official “Steam Tank Day”?

Wrath was more focused on steam tanks specifically, so it required a lot more research. To my knowledge, I read every primary source on Imperial steam tanks ever written. The obvious starting points were the Empire army books, earlier WFRP releases, and White Dwarfs 262-264. But I was able to dredge up material from Warhammer Total War, Uniform and Heraldries of the Empire, 8e’s “Big Red Book”, the End Times’ “Glottkin” and “Thanquol”, the Tomb Kings 8e army book, 1998’s “Dark Omen” video game, and William King’s “Skavenslayer”. Characters or lore from ALL these sources ended up in The Emperor’s Wrath somewhere, with a bit of work from me to make everything line up. Hopefully gamers firing up their own steam tank will find it useful to have the pertinent parts of those sources compiled in one place!

(The only source I couldn’t make work, continuity-wise, was the Undead 4e armies book – which referenced a steam tank at the Battle of Beeckerhoven in 1244 IC, long before Leonardo’s birth. Canon moved on a bit since 1994. Go figure.)

I’m hoping to write more for WFRP in the future – the Old World was my first love amongst the many worlds of Warhammer, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. Fingers crossed.

What I’m Playing

A couple of months back, I decided the time was finally right to get a face-to-face roleplaying campaign started again. We chose Heart: the City Beneath, partly because it looked bitchin’, partly because it appealed to both my dungeon-crawler and weird-horror-fantasy buddies, and partly because it had MAPS and STICKERS, which is exactly the kind of physical, tactile experience I wanted for our first in-person game.

We genned characters, had our first session… and then had to take off the next five sessions. Ooops. First I got Covid, then one of the other players got Covid, then life stuff happened as these things tend do. Turns out I was little over-optimistic about getting back to in-person gaming after all.

But this week we FINALLY had our second session. And it was great! Weird and gross and action-packed and shenanigans…ey. I’ve definitely learned a bit more about how to get to grips with the session – I overegged the Risky rolls a bit this time – and there’s lot of other dimensions to the game that I definitely want to explore in future sessions (Delving, for one, but also just giving our four characters time to roleplay all together). Here’s hoping the next one isn’t quite so delayed.

What I’m Reading

Lands of Gold and Fire, a supplement for 7th Sea. I’ve always felt the game’s Second Edition was something of a flawed gem – you may have noticed from all the supplements I put out for the Explorer’s Society! – but of all the game’s settings, Ifri was the one I had been least motivated to game in. Unlike Europe, and the Carribean, and other settings which have been brought to life countless times by Hollywood movies, the African subcontinent has long been neglected by mainstream entertainment as a setting for historical adventure… and what stories do exist invariably focus on the exploits of colonial outsiders, not on the heroism of the people who actually live there. Tragic as that state of affairs is, the sad truth is that without cultural reference points to draw upon, I found myself without inspiration. Especially compared to the countless ideas I had for gaming in other 7th Sea settings.

Obviously I should have started by reading the book itself! Gold and Fire’s writing team have done an amazing job anchoring readers in that setting, providing useful, gameable material to fuel amazing adventure stories. On the strength of the supplement alone, I’m hugely excited to play the game again, and to try my best to depict Ifri as wondrously as it deserves. Huge congratulations to the Gold and Fire team, for achieving what mainstream storytelling media has so consistently failed to do!

What I’m Looking Forward To

UK Games Expo is coming up! My first time in three years, and my first time ever as a professional first and attendee second. I’m not running a stall or anything, but I am planning to attend network events, check-in with clients, and generally enjoy meeting people who I’ve only ever interacted with online before. Here’s hoping people are still exercising a reasonable amount of Covid safety!

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