The Prince of Dorkness

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I don't care how stupid the <br/>
hat looks, it goes with the job.

Fac pergas, O nequam; perfice diem meum.

As I write this month's column Mrs. Dreadful and I are moving house.
This is a good thing on many levels as the place we're moving in to is
bigger, brighter and a lot less damp; but it there is one major bad
point... all of my game books are currently packed away. This means that
until I get round to unpacking them I'll have to go without being able to know the dice rolls needed to determine the effects of falling from orbit in Paranoia1 or the Base Attack Bonus of an 11th Level Barbarian in D&D2. These things may sound petty but if you don't understand the need to look up information that you might never use in a game then you aren't a real gamer. So there.

Anyway, on with the show...

Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play

The hour is nearly upon us... nineteen years after the original
release3 comes the long-awaited 2nd Edition of
Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play, or WFRP4 for short.

Now, WFRP is one of my favourite role-playing games and even though
most of the 'community' has been after a second edition for quite some
time I have always remained a little sceptical, mostly due to the worry
that it would end up being a D20 game5. Then out of the blue Games Workshop, who had so cruelly abandoned WFRP's fans in the early nineties, announced that they'd set up a new role-playing division called Black Industries and that the first release of this new kid on the block would be WFRP 2nd Edition. There was much rejoicing.

Anyway, back to the point... as great as the new version will
undoubtedly be I'm not here to sell it so I'm going to talk about the old version instead.

WFRP has always stood out as on of the most innovative RPGs out there. On the surface it's very much like D&D, with alignment and character
classes and suchlike... but beyond the character classes were the careers. While you're character would have a class such as Warrior, Ranger or Rogue he would also have a proper day job, to which his adventuring career was just an interesting diversion. All the obvious careers - like Thief, Troll Slayer or Wizard - were there, but there was so much more than that. Your character could possibly be a Student, a Rat Catcher6 or even a Beggar who had simply got bored of his everyday life and wanted to join the Mercenaries and Clerics in the glory of an adventurer's lifestyle. Another thing was the gorgeous interior art, the only weak link there being the mis-shapen and haphazard styles of John Blanche7. But the icing on the cake was the combat system...
although you wouldn't know it, given Warhammer's roots as a wargame, WFRP actually discouraged combat. It discouraged combat because combat was lethal. None of this nancy 'I can get hit all day because I've got 185 Hit points.' Noooo, in WFRP if you took an axe to the head you went down, and I'm sure a great many GM's have enjoyed inflicting this on any party who just went around hitting everything they saw.

Short version: WFRP is ace and there's a 2nd Edition coming out. Hurrah with highly-polished brass knobs on!

Warhammer – the Game of Fantasy Battles - Edited Entry about the wargame.
Black Industries - Home of 2nd Edition WFRP.

The Gentle Art of LARPing

I'm sure at least some of you saw The Secret Life of British Holiday
Makers on Sky One in January... you remember that bit with all the people in strange costumes spending a wet weekend in Wales? Well, that was Live Action Role-Playing or LARPing8.

I am a LARPer. I am proud to be a LARPer. If I turn up to work on a
Monday completely knackered and barely functioning as a human and somebody asks what I did at the weekend to make me so tired I tell them I was LARPing9.
The LARP I go to is called Shards10, and it is so much fun, even that event last year where the sea tried to reclaim the land by airdrop. There are of course others out there, but that's more the subject of a Guide Entry which I might finish eventually. There's just something about getting into a fantasy costume then running about and hitting people with a rubber sword that just, well, does something for me.

It appears that I am quite a successful LARPer as well. After less than a year in the system my principal character has become Minster of
Information11 and is
officially12 'the
Inquisitor who manages to upset the most people In Character.' Another one of my characters has also been promoted and is now Captain of a pirate ship. Unfortunately he's also an arrogant prat so he may not survive long. Oh, well.

Anyway, the whole point of this is to say: If you like the idea of
LARPing, don't be scared... we're not all weirdoes and while we do take the hobby seriously we also like a good laugh13. It's usually immense fun and newcomers are always made to feel welcome.

Live Action Role-Play - Unfortunately not
representative of the hobby as a whole as it concentrates almost solely on the Lorien Trust system.
Pagga - LARP community and message boards.

Next Time: Paranoia and the Misadventures of Malark
Greycastle... assuming I don't find something more interesting to go on


The Prince of Dorkness


Mr. Dreadful

03.03.05 Front Page

Back Issue Page

1On a D20 1 = Dead, 2-20 = Vaporised.2+11/+6/+1.3... and eight years after the ill-fated re-release by
Hogshead Publishing
4Pronounced 'Woof-Rup'.5Not necessarily a bad thing but it wouldn't really be Warhammer, would it?6Including his small but vicious dog!7Just my opinion, some people think he's a genius.8Not 'medieval camping' as some TV guides reported.9Unless there wasn't an event that weekend in which case I was probably doing... *ahem* something else.10Possibly the only LARP system
in existence where a gathering of monsters was once greeted with the
fearful cry 'Holy s**t, they're doing Conan poses!'
11Imagine a cross between Director of the FBI and
Witch-Finder General and you're part way there.
12Well, according to Dan anyway.13Like watching Tony trying to light a cigarette while wearing gauntlets.

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