Backing of the Board

Da Board Room

The air inside the tent was thick. Fungal brew bubbled away on a fire in the corner. A withered boy slave poked at the mixture with a wooden spoon. Pinpricks of light shone through the tattered cloth above, making the rotting table glimmer like an old Dwarven mine. Snux sat in his chair. He had been waiting for Kuldag to speak for fifteen life times so far. At least that’s what it felt like. But the old orc wasn’t one to rush. And Snux wasn’t going to rush him. The snotling coach knew well why he was here in the Big Boss’s tent.

Kuldag sat back in his chair and stretched his arms out, his sinuous body cracking from years of hardship. “Dey said I was mad in the ‘ed when I started dis Ogre team. ‘Why not an Orc team, bring yer old friends along?’ dey would say. But after I won dat bet with a slaver for four baby Ogres, I knew what I ‘ad to do. Trained dem from babies, I did. An’ all for a coach to mess it up.”
The orc glared at the small snotling. Snux felt a yelp bubbling in his throat as he squirmed in his chair. “I shoulda coached the team me self. But dat ban. All’s fair in Blood Bowl dey sed. A game for da toughies dey sed. But yer lets Squigs into one Khemri trainin’ ground and get booted from the league!” Kuldag emphasised this by booting the boy slave in the behind, sending him clear out of the tent. The Orc smiled, still got it he thought. He walked back to his chair and let his enormous body slump into it. “Let’s go through da games den?” If Snux could get any paler he’d be whiter than the Mountains of Mourn.
“Match one was against Skinnies. You might as well ‘ave stayed at ‘ome! No scorin’, no urtin’, nuthin!” Kuldag smashed his meaty fists on the table. It buckled under the impact, only the fungal rot keeping it together. “Farkle ‘ad fun, but e’s fick, int he?” The boy slave reappeared, carrying a plate of meats of dubious origin. He scrambled over to the table, placed the plate down, and scampered back to stirring the fungus brew. Kuldag grabbed a handful of meat and crammed it into his maw.
“The next one wuz betta. Couple of scores. But no krumpin’? These humans are like twigs to snap!” he bellowed, spraying flecks of meat over the shivering coach. Kuldag turned to the slave boy, “Oi! Dat brew ready yet?” The boy cowered. He ladled out a bowl for the enraged orc. He placed it on the table at almost the same time as running out of the orc’s reach. Kuldag drained the bowl in a few gulps. Snux couldn’t tell if the brew caused the Big Boss to calm down, but his rage seemed to subside.
“Dis last game…dis last game I liked. If yer aren’t gonna score, hurt ’em. So we lost a few snots. You lot aren’t important. Get you by the bucketload if I want,” the orc grinned. The snotling didn’t. “So, ‘ere’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna let you ‘ave one more game in charge. Yer beat the Mighty Gorgons, or I eat yer. Simple as dat. Now leave, before yer go in pot!” The orc grabbed at the last of the meat. Snux was sure he recognised one of the chunks.
“Erm, thanks boss,” Snux squeaked as he clambered down from his chair. Snux didn’t know what to do. Was this a trick? Should he run away now and become a troll rider? How would he get the rabble to beat the league leaders?

The threats were still pounding in his head as Snux made his way back to the team practice field. Fungus and Fergus were playing catch with Wicket. Farkle was attempting to learn a new touchdown dance, even though he’d never held a ball for longer than a blink. Deej was lying on the floor, back still hurting from the previous game. Three new snots were over the far end trying to stop Fungus from getting past them. New, and stupid.

Looking over his team, Snux realised he would need some outside help…

 

Just a short fluff piece as I haven’t done a write up for any of the games so far. I may go back to full write ups for the next game, or I may do a fluff style write up, similar to this. Unsure yet, cheers!

Visit Element Games here (Use the code DAN2300 at Checkout for double points)

For more Blood Bowl action:

Listen to the Two Drunk Flings podcast here

Listen to the Anything But A One podcast here

Listen to the Double Skulls podcast here

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Waterbowl 14

Tournament Time!

February marks the return of the Waterbowl Weekender. The 6 game tournament boasted over a hundred entrants from such exotic places as Denmark, Spain, and Derby!

The Team

After the Nurgle did so well last year I opted to increase the difficulty with a Tier 3 team. So it was decided I would use Ogres, the same as I am using in this year’s league.

As I did last year I took the 5 normal, 1 double option for additional skills.

Ogre – Block
Ogre – Stand Firm
Ogre – Stand Firm
Ogre
Ogre
Snotling – Diving Tackle
Snotling – Diving Tackle
Snotling – Diving Tackle
Snotling
Snotling
Snotling
Snotling
Snotling

3 Re-Rolls, 1 Fan Factor, 1 Assistant Coach, 1 Cheerleader

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The Shreking Balls!

I opted not to take an Apothecary, as I figured that having the extra re-roll and bodies would help more. I was right, but not in the way that I figured. But in that if one Ogre went off, there would be another following soon behind!

Skill wise I copied the Diving Tackle Snotlings from my League Team, while adding in Break Tackle for both offensive and defensive reasons. In hindsight I should have loaded up on skills for only the Ogres. But I wasn’t to know what I was in for…..

…..Insert Swirly Time Travel Music…..

DAY ONE

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The Future’s Bright…..

In my eagerness to reach the tournament I arrived with an hour to burn. I headed to the Beefeater for a pre-tourney breakie. As I enjoyed my breakfast and copious cups of coffee who would arrive but the lads from the Two Drunk ‘Flings Cast.
A cracking catch up with a hungover Liam was interrupted with Alan’s order of breakfast. 7 bacon, 7 sausage and at least one of each other item from the menu.
“I’m training to be a competitive eater,” he reasoned.

Breakfast
TWO PLATES! (also, Johnny “Nicest Man In Blood Bowl” Bull at the table)
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‘Fling Coach Extraordinaire, Liam “Longstride”

After hobnobbing with Blood Bowl Podcast Royalty (?) I headed over to Element Games for the first round

Round One – Howza with Skaven

For the second year running I faced Skaven in the first found. With this being Howza’s first tournament, it was a Noob by name Vs Noob by nature game

Unfortunately my Ogres didn’t want to play with the ball this game, losing 2-1.

Casualty wise they faired much better, with the score 3-1.
In “non-scoring” casualties, he managed to crowd surf an Ogre. Two of my Snotlings managed to foul the Rat Ogre into the injured box, with the sending off being a fine swap.

Howza is a lovely chap and I wish him all the best in his future Blood Bowling activities

0 Wins
1 Loss

Round Two – Jasmin with Humans

Round 2 was against the lovely Jasmin. With the weather perfect, and me winning the FAME roll, I thought I may have done well here…

There was one survivor, nestled safely in the KO Box!

One solo Snotling survived. He lives to fight another day!

The game began with a Blitz result on the Kick Off table and a quick score for the Humans. The next kick started a long grind and my first two conceded casualties. And an infuriating 3 Bone Head rolls in Turn 8 was just a cherry on a poor half for the Ogres.

0-1 (0-2) Half Time

Once things started going wrong for me it spiralled out of control. Six more casualties and another score made the game out of my hands.
Kick Off roll showed a Perfect Defence, making even a flukey OTTD off the table. Two casualties and a fouled Ogre casualty topped off a resounding win for the overseas coach.

2-0 Loss
10-0 on casualties

Completely pitch cleared by Turn 16!

Jasmin was a joy to play against, and his generosity showed when he donated dice to Alex’s nephew. Lovely guy!

0 Wins
2 Losses

Round Three – Drewcifer77

I played against the Two Drunk Flings and Friends Podcast affiliate, Drewcifer77 and his Slann

This wasn’t one for the neutral and both teams struggled moving the ball at times.

After a Turn 2 score for the Slann, the ball was kicked to the Ogres. My second turn of 3 failed Bone Head rolls was followed by a 2 re-rolled into a 1 on the ball pick up. By some miracle I managed to score in Turn 6, causing a casualty before half time.

1-1 (1-0) Going into half time.

The second half just upped the incompetence level of both teams, to the chagrin of me and Drewcifer. The Slann caused a single casualty and a TD in an uneventful second half

2-1 Loss, even 1-1 on casualties, and two completely inept teams.

The streak continues!

0 Wins
3 Losses

At the end of Day One I was searching eBay to see the sell on value of an Ogre team. But as I am using them in the League, I must persevere.

DAY TWO

I started Day Two refreshed. An earlyish night and a leftover takeaway for breakfast put me in high spirits for the day.

I also knew that my Round Four opponent would be Porter Sorter, a great guy that I had spoken to a lot on Twitter. So that would be a good start!

With a hushed prayer to Blood Bowl creator Jervis Johnson I headed off to Stockport

WWJJD

As I listened to my music on the journey my phone beeped.

…REDRAW…

So out goes the Ogre vs Chaos Pact match I had barely planned for.

Round Four – Nadsokor with Skaven

My Round Four opponent was another overseas coach, this time from Denmark. We ended up seeing a lot of each other this tournament as he bounced between three adjacent tables.

My second game vs Skaven of the tournament started off better than I expected. Two swift casualties gave me hope.
Then I conceded.
I managed two more casualties, one from a foul, before the whistle blew for half time.

The second half was tough. Nothing of note happened. But my poor opponent had the worst run of luck.

Snotling armour was titanium.
Ogres were impervious to harm.
The ball was glued to my team.

I scored in Turn 16 to pull off a draw!

0 Wins
1 Draw
3 Losses

Round Five – Zerosgiven with Elven Union

In Round 5 I played against Elven Union with the special addition of Jordell.

Jordell, who is an absolute bastard.

Jordell, who I curse with all my life.

Fuck Jordell.

The first turn had casualties inflicted on both sides, followed by a quick touch down for the pointy ears. I caused two casualties and the Elves caused one against me.
I was winning the fighting, but losing the scoring. The game was pushed out of my reach with a second score for the Elven Union shortly before Half Time.

As Round Five had a bonus point available for 3+ Casualties, that was the focus of the Elf team. Again the Snotlings became massively resilient to pain, with no further damage caused to the Ogres. (Although I caused another)

0-2 Loss (4-1 on casualties)

0 Wins
1 Draw
4 Losses

Zerosgiven is the brains behind the Charlie Victor range of Blood Bowl accessories, so check them out!

Round Six – Blessed Knight with Nurgle

I played against Nurgle

Now some of you may think this helped me out, with my knowledge of the team…..you would be wrong.

The first half saw me cause zero casualties and concede three plus a TD.

A few assists on this foul!

I was lucky to only go into the half 1-0 down and playing 10 vs 11 would make the second half difficult. Of course my luck then decided to dip again, with my first double skulls re-rolled into a double skulls of the tournament.

Highlight of the second half was when Blessed Knight’s Bloater fouled a Snotling, got sent off, and failed to break the armour!

The Nurgle team scored in Turn 16 to win 2-0!
MY FINAL RECORD

0 WINS
1 DRAW
5 LOSSES

Well it could have gone better

FINAL RESULTS

Winner: Monkeytrumpet (Lizardmen)
Runner Up: Don Vito (Amazons)
Third Place: Winkle Picka (Wood Elves)

Best Overseas: Candlejack
Best Kid: Lolcaesar
Best Painted: Darkdan (Amazons)
Stunty Cup: Mjallen (Goblins)
Wooden Spoon: Ben Shaw (Humans)

My Team

Overall I played as well I expected. I did everything I could do right, to a point. But squishy Snotlings and Bone Head ruined any plans.
I should have taken Guard on at least one Ogre too.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Absolutely fantastic tournament Thank you to Alex Wormall for organising the event and to Element Games and the staff for being such great hosts.

Also, I didn’t finish bottom!

Next year I think I’ll use a “proper” Blood Bowl team Of course I only have to use the Ogres for a further 11 games in the league … Unless I make the playoffs by some miracle…and possibly the Stunty Slam. Then it’ll be Skaven time!

Visit Element Games here (Use the code DAN2300 at Checkout for double points)

For more Blood Bowl action:

Listen to the Two Drunk Flings podcast here

Listen to the Anything But A One podcast here

Listen to the Double Skulls podcast here

Beginner’s Tips on Roleplaying a Character (By a beginner)

A Whole New World

Roleplaying games are great. They give us the ability to disappear into fantastical worlds of magic and danger, or planets of aliens and, well, more danger. But when you first start off these games it can be overwhelming. Each game system has its own set of rules to learn, spells and abilities to keep track of, and often a multitude of different dice.

With all this to keep track of, sometimes it can be difficult to keep up the Role aspect of roleplaying. So here are my beginner’s tips to create characters that both fit the game archetypes and are easy enough to imagine.

First Games

Plagiarise

I know, dirty dirty word. But we aren’t talking about writing a film or book here.

For your first games I would take an existing character that you love and implant them in the game system. Now it would be tough to have Judge Dredd or Batman in D&D, but not their personality. So you have a character that has a strict sense of right and wrong. One more Lawful than the other in the two examples here, but it is a jump off point.

pirate-batman-640x320
Or even PIRATE BATMAN!

You already have seen enough stories and scenes to make a guess on their actions. You even have a cool gravelly voice to put on if you roleplay like that.

I would change up their role however. So imagine, if you could, Batman but as a Wizard. Less hand to hand fighting, but keeping that sense of justice and use of fear. In game it may influence you to use the more psychological spells, or become a spell based bounty hunter. That would be cool.

Of course the next step is to slightly change them. Some platforms make this easier than others. In my Play by Post WFRP game, Lukasz is based on Captain America. This may seem strange at first if you read the game play. He says and tries to do the right thing at all times. But given that I can write out his thoughts, it is all shown to be a charade. Whereas Steve Rogers lives and breathes his actions, Lukasz is doing it all for his selfish glory. He is desperate to be liked. Both he and Captain may save a child from a building, but Lukasz would be upset if he wasn’t praised afterwards.

Before you know it your character will evolve. Even if it isn’t a big in game thing (losing an arm will change up the character whether you like it or not), your character will slowly morph into the PC you want to play.

Building Your Character

Next Steps

Once you have wet your feet, or don’t want to use an existing character, it is time to try and make your first original character.

This will depend a little on your character’s class and race in the game system. You’ll have to tie the class into the background, with some needing a bit more development than others. For example, a wizard class would need the explanation of where his spellcasting ability came from.

A game that has randomised stats/characteristics can spark off some imagination too. All it takes is filling in the gaps and reasoning for the stats. A high weapon skill could mean that the character was a natural fighter in their youth. A high intelligence would be a top of the class student.
Lukasz rolled low on toughness and charisma. So in the background he was injured as a child, and is very vain.

Appearance

What do they look like? How old are they?

After deciding or rolling the race/species, the first place I start is the appearance.

  • How old are they?
  • What is their hair and eye colour?
  • Do they have any scars or tattoos?
  • What are they called?

For our example we will have a character named Jacob.

Jacob is a 23 year old human. He has brown hair and brown eyes, with a scar on his left eyebrow. He is a fighter (DnD class)

Give them a home life

Try not to go for the clichéd dead parents, you are better than this.

  • How is your character’s relationship with their parents
  • Do they have siblings? How do they get on? Sibling rivalry is a great motivator
  • Are they a wealthy family?
  • What do they do for a job?

These are the corner pieces of the character jigsaw. From these simple questions the rest is easily built upon. For each question you answer, ask why.

Example:

How is your character’s relationship with their parents?
Jacob loves his mother but dislikes his Dad
Why? His Dad is violent

Do they have siblings?
Jacob has one brother and two younger sisters. His brother joined the army; his sisters are school age
How do they get on?
Jacob looks up to his brother, but resents him for leaving the family. His sisters are practically raised by Jacob.

Are they a wealthy family?
They aren’t poor, but are comfortable. Dad works as a market trader, Mum is a housewife. Jacob contributes how he can by doing odd jobs.

What job does he have?
Jacob does odd jobs, but is often a rat catcher at the local tavern

So from that we have a frame:

Jacob is a young man living at home with his parents and two younger sisters. He has an older brother that is in the army. Jacob is proud of him, but is also resentful as he believes his brother abandoned the family. Jacob’s Dad is a violent man. Often he beats them when he gets home from working on the market. Jacob often sees his father at the tavern when he helps rat catching in the cellar.

We can deduce that he will look after younger people, has a strong sense of familial duty, can trap, and that he probably hates bullies.

Long and Short term goals

What does your character want in life?
This is split into long and short term goals as they can be massively different.

A short term goal would be earning £100. A long term may be saving £10,000

Examples of short term goals:

  • Buy a new sword
  • Travel to the big city
  • Pass a school test

Example of long term goals:

  • Graduate from a Sword Mastery school
  • Start a new life in a big city
  • Become a teacher

For our sample character, I see his goals being tied into his class as a fighter.

Jacob’s short term ambitions are to train in swordplay, with a long term goal to win a sword fighting competition.

The call to adventure

Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces details the standard cycle of adventure stories. The third section of this is the ‘Call To Adventure’. The Hero learns that they must leave the known world behind and travel into the land of adventure.

The Hero must then decide how to answer the Call:

  • Refusal of the Call: The character refuses it, often to then get forced into it.
    Think Luke Skywalker refusing to go with Obi-Wan, until his Auntie and Uncle are killed
  • Jumped at the Call: The character enthusiastically leaves to go on the adventure.
    The MCU version of Spider-Man is this. He jumps at the chance to be the hero.

Now the majority of RPGs will start after the character jumped at the opportunity.

What would make your character leave the relative comfort of the status quo? What will push them on that first step to adventure?

My DnD gnome, Shia, jumped at the call. It was to prove himself to his family. As the middle child he was often overlooked. Nothing was keeping him from leaving.

From the earlier section, Jacob has both a reason to leave on adventure (his Dad, admiration of brother), but also a reason to stay (his mum and sisters). So what are his goals?

Jacob longs to get away from his abusive Dad, but is torn between leaving and looking after his family.

So what will be the inciting incident to get him to leave?

Escaping a military draft?
Runs away with his family, but is separated?
He is on a job in another town and is arrested? (Forceful call to action)

While on a job in a different town he was arrested in a case of mistaken identity. He ends up in a prison cart on the way to the nearest big City. While he is there, the actual criminal is apprehended. He is released, but penniless and far from home.

Flaws

Flaws are important in your character, and they are great for a DM to add to campaigns. My WFRP character is vain and is scared of bears. I tied both into his background, explaining the bear thing with an incident as a child.

Indiana Jones is afraid of snakes.
Batman is fearful that his family/friends will be killed

Being extremely angry or shy could be a flaw.

Flaws could also be vices. Old standards are drink and drugs, but maybe your wizard is a glutton.

Jacob doesn’t drink; he has seen the damage it has done to his family. However he has become extremely preachy about this. He is known on occasion to lecture people in tavern, much to the chagrin of others.

With this we have a basic overview of our character.

Jacob is a 23 year old human. He has brown hair and brown eyes, with a scar on his left eyebrow. He is a fighter (DnD class). He lives at home with his parents and two younger sisters. He has an older brother that is in the army. Jacob is proud of him, but is also resentful as he believes his brother abandoned the family. Their Dad is a violent man. Often he beats them when he gets home from working on the market. Jacob often sees his father at the tavern when he helps rat catching in the cellar.

Jacob longs to get away from his abusive Dad, but is torn between leaving and looking after his family. Jacob doesn’t drink; he has seen the damage it has done to his family. However he has become extremely preachy about this. He is known on occasion to lecture people in tavern, much to the chagrin of others.

Jacob loves sword fighting. His goal is to train in swordplay and to eventually win a sword fighting competition.

While on a job in a different town he was arrested in a case of mistaken identity. He ends up in a prison cart on the way to the nearest big City. While he is there, the actual criminal is apprehended. He is released, but penniless and far from home.

Not a bad little background overall. The next step is to learn how to roleplay as the character.

Roleplaying

mmorpg-roleplaying.png

Separating player and character

One thing about roleplaying is separating what you as a player know, against what your character knows. As a character you may know that Orc Warlord Uglud the Masher has an army in the area, but Clarence the Bard wouldn’t. Clarence would have to ask around for information.

Now this separation can be tricky when first starting out, but in time it is easy to “forget” that information. Some DMs will purposely hide this information from one or more players, which may be helpful at your gaming table.

Game System

Another thing to remember is that your character won’t know that he only has a 1 in 3 chance of making the jump to save the burning orphanage. Your hero will attempt that jump, if it is in their nature. This can be where the old DnD alignment chart comes in. I will link it here, but an easy way to look at it is whether your character is selfish or selfless, and if they veer towards good morals or bad. Again, these can be open to interpretation. Stealing a loaf of bread to feed a starving child may not be ‘lawful’, but it can certainly be seen as ‘good’.

Remember your goals

Your character has their needs and wants. What are they doing to work towards them? Jacob helping an Old Man to market won’t directly help him further in his sword fighting, but the two coins he gets as payment could go towards swordplay lessons.

Incorporate the other players in a positive way

If another player is adamant on Greebo the Half-Orc charging headfirst at a dragon, because that seems characterful, don’t discourage it. You character may tell their character not to do it, but you as a player shouldn’t stop any other player from carrying out a characterful act.

Instead, think of what your character would do:

Harkin the Dwarf watches Greebo charging towards the dragon. Shaking his head, he readies his axe, and charges as fast as his stumpy legs will take him. Onwards towards the scaly beast.

Now Harkin and Greebo may die because of this. But would a proud Dwarf really let a half-orc take the glory?

Don’t be too stubborn

So your party has been hired by a corrupt King to take out a troll cave. He has promised you plenty of riches. But your character is anti-establishment. He wouldn’t normally help royalty.

You as a player need to give him a reason.

Your character could agree to help, while secretly planning on using the money to fund a coup.
They could be scouting the castle for weak points.

Find a reason for your character to help further the story.

Do NOT get too hung up on the rules

The Dungeon/Games Master’s word is final. I know the wording there seems stern, it is meant to be. Roleplaying games are first and foremost storytelling games. If the DM decides that it would be cooler if the castle walls are un-scalable, then don’t argue that your massively high dexterity levels would let you do it. Accept the ruling and move on.

If you really want an explanation, ask after the game in a polite manner.

Of course, they aren’t infallible. Perhaps you could suggest that because of your character’s background as a gymnast that you roll an agility based test to avoid an axe strike, instead of some form of weapon skill. But suggest, never demand.

Bringing it all together

To bring it all together, here are some scenarios. Going off your character’s background and nature, how would they deal…

  • …with a thief that has just robbed a wealthy but cruel man?
  • …with being outnumbered by two orcs?
  • …if they were given the task to hunt down an unhappy man that has left his wife?

Run through each of these and other scenarios, and try to get into the mentality of your character.
Why not pick one of your favourite films and honestly decide what your character would do.
Maybe Clarence the Bard couldn’t have stopped the terrorists at Nakatomi Plaza, but he could have distracted them for long enough until the reinforcements arrived.

It will help with your gaming as well as being really fun!

Remember it is a game

Finally, enjoy it. It is a game. The people you play with have given up their time to pay this game with you, respect that.

The story might now go exactly as you thought.
The dice definitely won’t.

Don’t take it so seriously that it is no longer fun. That’s what your job is for!

Visit Element Games here (Use the code DAN2300 at Checkout for double points)

For more WHRP action:

Listen to the Old World Podcast here

Follow our adventures here