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Started by fatolaf, August 22, 2009, 01:58:12 pm
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QuoteAs The Gathering Storm campaign for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay draws ever closer, I wanted to share more information about a key part of the adventure's campaign setting, the town of Stromdorf. The Gathering Storm includes more than a dozen pages of details about this town, from its humble roots to its rules and regulations, from its interesting environs to many of its quirky, unusual inhabitants.The rain-drenched town of Stromdorf can serve as a convenient "story hub" for the events that transpire throughout The Gathering Storm, but the details and information can easily be used by a GM to help bring any town, village, or community in the Empire to life. Writers Dave Allen, Steve Darlington, Dylan Owen, Clive Oldfield, and Gary McBride helped create a fascinating story set in an interesting place that is unique and yet at the same time thoroughly Warhammer.
QuoteAbout StromdorfStromdorfStromdorf is a small market town in the southern part of the Reikland, about one hundred and fifty miles from Altdorf as the raven flies. It is located near the confluence of three rivers, the Ober, Tranig, and Teufel, each flowing from the distant Grey Mountains into the shadows of the nearby Reikwald Forest. The area of marshy lowland and stony hills south of this confluence is known as the Fleuchtschussel, a wet land infamous and avoided as the stormiest place in Reikland; even in midsummer, grey clouds smother the sun in a sky angry with rain and lightning.The town's population numbers fewer than seven hundred people. Neighbouring folk are puzzled that the entire population has not moved on to less damp climes before now, but there has been a settlement here before even Sigmar's time, and the people of Stromdorf have a profound sense of history and are proud of their town. They regard it as a mark of their tenacity that they survive in such an intemperate climate; however, other Reiklanders mock this outlook as proof of the townsfolks' inbred imbecility.
QuoteStromdorf's inclement weather ensures few travellers tarry in the town, and hardly anyone settles there from elsewhere unless they have to. Thus, Stromdorf remains a backwater; it is an impoverished place when compared to the thriving settlements in the rest of the Reikland. It is no surprise that, like the sky that thunders above their heads, Stromdorfers are a stormy lot, quick to anger and difficult to placate. They complain bitterly about the smallest grievance, finding fault in everything except, oddly, the weather, which they habitually shrug off with heroic stoicism: "Come now, it's only a bit of rain!"EconomyThe River Teufel is Stromdorf's lifeline to the Ubersreik in the west and the Reik to the north, yet the town fails to capitalise on the river traffic that bypasses it. Travellers prefer to hurry past, eager to escape the drenching rain. It doesn't help that Stromdorf does not produce many goods to trade. Its low-lying farms eke out subsistent crops from the sodden fields, and the wool and meat from the hardy sheep pastured in the hills is of poor quality. Just enough produce is generated each month to keep the town from starving. Stromdorf used to rely heavily on its upland flocks for revenue, but a hundred years ago, goblin tribes drove most farmers from the hills.However, the marshy climate and muddy waters of the rivers are an ideal breeding ground for the Reik eel, a large, voracious snakelike fish with razor sharp teeth. Its sleek body is muscular, and the flesh is flavourful. Many Stromdorfers fish for the eels, dredging the river with large nets. The eels are skinned, smoked, and barrelled, comprising one of the few regular exports of the town.
QuoteAdministrationPhillip AdlerBurgomeister Phillip Adler has been the administrative head of Stromdorf for nearly a decade. Adler was appointed to the position by the von Jungfreuds, the prominent aristocrats in the region, hoping new blood would invigorate Stromdorf's negligible economy.Phillip Adler is a self-made man, who made a fortune in the textile business in his native Ubersreik, and married a distant relative of the von Jungfreud noble family. From the start, the town council, a collection of older, gruff white beards, disapproved of an outsider managing their affairs – by tradition the burgomeister had always been one of their own.Initially Adler proved popular, encouraging trade between Stromdorf and other parts of the Reikland. At the beginning of his tenure, revenue increased, but so did the taxes, now that the von Jungfreuds had their own man in charge.However, Adler has become reclusive in recent months. He has shut himself away, barred visitors to the town hall, and has even dismissed his servants, living there alone. He conducts his affairs from behind closed doors, using the watch captain, Arno Kessler, as his intermediary. Kessler is a man of war, lacking the verbal finesse needed for politics, and his brusque manner has angered some of the locals he has to deal with. Recent events have made Adler unpopular – a few folk openly call for his replacement, arguing that his behavior is hurting business.According to local gossip, Adler is in mourning for his wife, Else, who died shortly after he became burgomiester. Further enquiry reveals that this happened two years ago, long before he decided to shut himself away.
QuoteA Brief ResurgenceStromdorf experienced a brief renaissance during the first few years of Burgomeister Adler's tenure, as he used his influence with Ubersreik's Mercer's Guild to encourage more trade between the two towns. However, since Adler's "retirement" from public view, most outside merchants have lost interest in these ventures. It seems the only remaining profitable enterprise for distant traders and merchants is the import of dry timber and coal for fuel to Stromdorf, commodities which the sodden climate ensures are scarce in this locality.Despite the challenges faced, the local tannery is an example of one business that continues to thrive. The tannery is operated by Marcel Gerber, Stromdorf's wealthiest burgher after Adler. Tanning is a filthy industry, and in many towns, tanneries are relegated to the outskirts. Not so in Stromdorf, whose people are eager for any employment, however noisome. The constant rain helps mitigate some of the stink produced by tanning procedures, but a foul aroma subtly pervades the town.The town's one true luxury export, and the one thing it is known for apart from its wet weather, is its Thunderwater Ale, brewed by the Brenner family for generations, and sold to connoisseurs Empire-wide. Even dwarfs from nearby Karak Azgaraz have been known to make the pilgrimage to Stromdorf to tap a keg of the stuff, a potent brew with a distinctive peaty aftertaste.
Quote– Design Notes from Senior RPG Developer Jay LittleOne of the exciting things about The Gathering Storm campaign is the fact that it's the first adventure product available for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. As such, I'm anticipating that it will be the first exposure to WFRP for a lot of people, and for many others, the next step into the Old World for PCs who completed the Eye for an Eye adventure included in the core set.A Fearsome Beastman With this in mind, the expectations and excitement from fans and players are sure to be extremely high. I knew we had a daunting task on our hands – to develop and deliver a top notch adventure that provides a varied and intriguing look at the Warhammer Fantasy setting and life in the Empire, as well as showcases WFRP's mechanics and unique gameplay.With the help of the talented team of developers and writers, we started by highlighting some of the key features we'd want to be sure to include in the adventure. In addition to some of the classic Warhammer Fantasy thematic elements, we wanted to be sure to cover new ground, and introduce some unexpected twists and turns along the way.Without spoiling anything from the adventure, here are just a few of the design and thematic elements we knew we wanted to cover over the course of the campaign:
Quote* Present a grimy, gritty environment to play around in * Have a few encounters where things aren't quite what they seem * Pose a few moral dilemmas and questions to the players and their PCs * Include some of the quirks, oddities, and dark humour Warhammer is known for * Provide a good blend of social, investigative, and combat encounters * Have some interesting options for encounter resolution (there's often more than one way to skin a Skaven, so they say) * Provide GMs with a lot of great resources to manage the game * Make use of the tools and components in interesting and accessible ways * Develop memorable NPCs and situations players would remember for years to come * End the campaign with a bangWe had several more goals, as well, but this gives you a good idea of the foundation we laid out. In some ways, it seemed rather ambitious. But I wasn't going to accept anything less for The Gathering Storm.Next, we started brainstorming ideas for a story that could fulfill these goals.I already had a few concepts in mind, but things really took off when Steve Darlington, Dylan Owen, Dave Allen, and the other writers jumped in with additional details to flesh things out. Steve Darlington really helped shape and drive the over-arching plot and the spiderweb of story threads that are woven through the entire campaign. Dave Allen stepped up and tackled Stromdorf, taking the concept of a rain-soaked, bedraggled town in the middle of nowhere, and making it look, sound, feel (and unfortunately, even smell) just right as an "adventure hub" for the story. Dylan Owen helped develop how we would take Steve's over-arching story and break it down into different sections – a prologue to set the stage, several exciting chapters of escalating tension, a thrilling climax to the campaign's events, and an epilogue to tie up loose ends.Then Clive Oldfield, Gary McBride, and Dylan each tackled different sections from the campaign to help mesh the interesting storylines to the overall plot, while ensuring each section was a fully realized, exciting adventure for the PCs to undertake. I relied heavily on Daniel Lovat Clark and Tim Uren to help continually refine the encounters, scenes, and stories. They also helped introduce GM sidebars and suggestions and developed the mechanics and rules that would make the adventures run smoothly and easy to manage.I knew we were on the right track when the first batch of playtest reports came in. They were extremely positive, and included comments about how some of the players were completely expecting one thing, but the story ended up delivering something different. And that the players were faced with some really tough choices over the course of the adventure. Some groups relied on diplomacy. Others on swords and spells. Characters were horribly injured, some were killed, others driven insane. Mysteries were unravelled. And players were having a ton of fun.
QuoteAs more playtest reports came in, we were able to fine tune the pacing and details and make sure the final product would include the tools and resources a GM would want to have on hand while running the game.To reflect this, The Gathering Storm box includes: * 80-page full colour, perfect bound campaign book * 13 action cards * 13 location cards * 10 item cards * 8 condition cards * 5 miscast cards * 6 wound cards * 6 talent cards * 3 insanity cards * 6 full colour reference sheets (maps & player handouts) * 2 storm tracking sheets * 23 NPC and enemy standups * Tracking tokensSo where did all the design, writing, playtesting, feedback, and fine-tuning lead us? To The Gathering Storm, an exciting, accessible campaign for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, an adventure I'm hoping you and your friends will remember and talk about for years to come. Like it says on the back of the box: The Gathering Storm has it all. Death. Misery. Peril. Suffering. Disaster. And that's just the weather.