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11/18/2016

It's Grimvember time! "The Lord of Lost Heart" is coming for you!

Grimvember continues with another entry. This time I'll be writing about one of my favorite, fan-made adventures of all time, "The Lord of Lost Heart".


There are many, fantastic fan supplements for WFRP, but for me the best ones are always scenarios and campaigns. For many years I've struggled with writing my own stories, so I took any chance to run a well written adventure. Some of them were good, others less so, but a few were real gems. Among those is "The Lord of Lost Heart" by Pip Hamilton, a scenario for 2nd edition WFRP, which takes place right after the Storm of Chaos in the village of Hohlesbruck. It won an award in the Strike to Stun's 2009 Scenario Contest, and rightfully so. Seriously, this adventure is all kinds of awesome.

Unfortunately there's no official cover, so here are some creppy trees. Trust me, you'll see many of them in this adventure
Naturally I'll avoid spoilers, so you'll be able to enjoy it fully, once you'll play it yourselves. "The Lord of Lost Heart" is everything a WFRP scenario should be - a dark, gritty and grim tale of love, loss and despair, so common for Warhammer Fantasy. The adventurers are tasked with investigating the small community for a man, that they've met in a tavern (of course) some time earlier. It soon becomes obviouse that the village of Hohlesbruck houses many a dark secret, and that not all is as it seems. A girl with broken heart, a handsome, but vain young Pistolier, a prosperant but greedy merchant with huge ambitions and a disgruntled son - these are only some of the interesting and complex characters, that the PC's will be able to encounter, during their stay in town. "The Lord of Lost Heart" is pretty unique, when it comes to solo scenarios, for its portrayal of NPCs. I don't think that I've ever seen such complex, many layered and interesting characters in any WFRP supplement, except maybe huge, multi-layered campaigns, like the "Thousand Thrones" or "The Enemy Within". For Hamilton to give his NPCs such a depth of character is truly unique and fantastic. The villians are interesting, and certainly not one-dimensional, "ha ha ha I'm evil, lol" type of bad guys. This is a very nice change, from the usual megalomanicas, dark and brooding cultists or crazy warlocks.

The Hohlesbruck's citizens are varied in their characters and motivations, and almost all of them have something to hide, some dirty little secret, that could ruin them, if it ever came to light. One can never know if the pretty girl that he is speaking with, dosen't have a bunch of skeletons in her closet, perhaps literally...

The story itself is well paced and clearly written. There won't be any problems with preparations for the game and I always remembered where to look, when searching for certain details. That's not always the case, mind you, so again - big thank you to Pip Hamilton for doing such a good work with his document.

While "The Lord of Lost Heart" is excellently written, it is also rather difficult and demanding of players to complete successfully. Again, I don't want to spoil anything, but needless to say that both the enemy encounters, and puzzles, can be very challenging, even for an experienced group of adventurers. Gamemasters are advised to scale their sessions accordingly, or they can suffer a Total Party Kill. In fact, they can suffer more than one, when I think about it. My group actually did rather well, since only one or two lost a Fate Point, but in the end they did not managed to achieve the positive outcome. So you know, be prepared for a hard time with this one, or accept that the heroes do not always win.

"The Lord of Lost Heart" is simply wonderful. It's a great, smart, well written scenario, ideal for a campaign filler or a memorable, stand alone game. I think it might be my favorite WFRP scenario, ever made. It's in the top 3 for sure and I reccomend it to anyone who even has a slight interest in both WFRP, and role-playing in general. Unfortunately it's not available for download anymore, or at least I can't find it. However I do have it stashed on my hard drive, so if anyone would want it, send me a mail, and I'll be more than happy to supply you with this incredible gem of a adventure.

Oh and yeah, I know that there was a week without a promised Grimvember post, but don't worry - when the November comes to an end, there will be 4 posts in total, one for each week. Just some serious, IRL problems came to the fore and I had to deal with them. Happens to all of us.

Oh and there will be a small surprise for all of you, at the beginning of December. Below is a small sneak peek...

Oh yeah, it's on now
Until next time!

Xathrodox86

11/05/2016

It's Grimvember time! A new WFRP event starts now!

Halloween came and went and here I am, hitting myself in the head, for not writing an adequately spooky post. All is not lost however, as the fine month of November gave me a splendid idea for a brand, new event on this blog.

From this point, every November will be known as Grimvember on "It always rains..." blog. What is a Grimvember exactly? Well, some time ago I've realised that after discussing various video and board games, as well as talking about the game itself, I've never reviewed a single module for WFRP. This will not stand. From now on, every week of November will be dedicated to a specific adventure, campaign or sourcebook for this fine and legendary game, which I especially value. Of course there are too many of them to contain within a single Grimvember, but you know... there's always next year and the year after that. I think we'll be fine.

Oh, and this one is for Karl Voss of Averland and the rest of the guys and gals from Warhammer-Empire.com. Keep on being awesome and never stop.

Anyway, here's a scenario for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay that I love to death - "Haunting Horror". It was released for the first time, many, many seasons ago, back in the days of the 1st edition. Initially it appeared in "The Restless Dead" campaign book, as well as in issue of the "White Dwarf" magazine and it was later reprinted in the "Plundered Vaults" supplement for WFRP 2nd edition. Personally I've first encountered it, when reading a polish RPG fanzine "Magia i Miecz" ("Magic and a Sword"), and immediately fell in love with the spooky, atmospheric nature of this adventure.

Ah, the good, old times
Without venturing into spoiler territory, here are the basics. Player Characters are tasked with checking out a suspicious house, somewhere in the city that they're currently visiting. After entering the huge and ghastly manor, things start to get... weird, to put it lightly. The beginning can be a bit railroady, since the players have no way of escaping the haunted house. I know that some peeps were irked by this, but then again - where would be fun in just walking out of a spooky building? Anyway, it soon becomes abundantly clear that the heroes will need to explore the entirety of the house, in order to escape from it. The Gamemaster is handled the map of the haunted building, which is always useful, as well as a plethora of nasty, creepy surprises for him to use against his or hers unwitting victims - the players themselves. These range from a Beastmen painting, coming to life, to arabyan Fire Spirit to the most dreaded and dangerous enemy of them all - possessed cuttlery. No joke, when I was running this adventure, one of my players got his ass handed to him by a bunch of forks and spoons. These things can be downright nasty and, what's best, is that they work really well as adversaries, if you can call 'em that. Every single enemy in "Haunting Horror" has been really well thought out and simply works great in such a scenario.

During their voyages through the titular haunted house, the players can learn the truth about its original inhabitant and what really happened to him, but the thing is that it's not really important. Now I know what you're thinking: how can a story be not important in an RPG adventure? Easily, since "Haunting Horror" is about atmosphere, the feeling of dread and unease, of claustrophobia and primal fear. If played right, it can be an extremly scary and climactic experience. I remember playing it with my group in late winter, during evening hours. The effect was incredibly and really worked well for our overall game. It still is one of the most memorable adventures in our crew.

Now it has a few problems, I'll grant you that. According to the author it should be played by a party that just entered into their 2nd careers, but honestly, I would not run it for heroes below 1500 experience points, since "Haunting Horror" is downright deadly. There are constant fear tests and the enemies and traps can be very, very dangerous, not to mention some of them have a nasty habit of coming back from the dead... many times. Again, no spoilers so you'll have to take my word on that. Another thing to take into consideration is the "Haunting Horror's" structure. If PC's will linger too long in some areas, their chances of survival can drop by a big margin. Of course it can be said of any adventure or campaign, but in the case of this adventure it is doubly so. Gamemasters are advised to prepare themselves accordingly, as to avoid a TPK early on (or at any given time really), since it is really easy to achieve such effect with "Haunting Horror".

Are you scared yet?
To sum things up - this adventure rocks! It's a great filler between campaigns as well as an excellent one shot material. I recommend "Haunting Horror" to all Warhammer Fantasy and horror enthusiasts out there.

Unti next time!

Xathrodox86