Monday, 18 August 2014

#RPGaDAY: Day 17 - Funniest Game You've Played

Hello again, WFRP
The Enemy Within is a classic of 1st edition Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, the published campaign that actually worked. Mostly. The concluding chapter was not so well-received and was later replaced by Hogshead Publishing.

The current (boxed) edition of WFRP has its own Enemy Within campaign, written by several of the same authors, but I can't speak for that at all.

The campaign consisted of several linked adventures:

  • The Enemy Within/Mistaken Identity
  • Shadows Over Bogenhafen
  • Death on the Reik
  • Power Behind the Throne
  • Empire in Flames (redone as Empire in Chaos)
My University gaming group played Death on the Reik and Power Behind the Throne in the twilight days of the best roleplaying time of my life. Honestly, there is nothing like university for roleplaying; when else can you get away with those sudden all-nighters without care or consequence (for me at least; as a solid 2:1 I have the comfort of knowing that all the hard graft in the world likely wouldn't have tipped me over to a first)? I was playing the game with a group who had been together for two years, as of Death, and three by the tie we played Power, and it was one of those things that just clicked.

There were a couple of other players in the first part of the campaign (taking on the elf and the druid), but the core group that carried through was:

  • X, The Dandy Highwayman, whose name I forget in part because we spent most of our time ribbing him for being 'the Chosen of Sigmar';
  • Gregor the even dandier illusionist, who didn't have more taste or flair than the Highwayman, but did have more money;
  • Sven the Dwarf, see day 8;
  • Ambrose Tully, Halfling thief-turned-honest trader.
This game was the funniest - and most fun - I ever played in, simply because the group dynamic was by then near-perfect. Highlights included:

  • Everything Sven, including his absolute umbrage at being given a 'drinking allowance' after Ambrose took control of the group's finances, despite the fact that he could have handily drunk himself to death with what he was given.
  • The group egging the Highwayman on to romance a princess for information, including everything from pooling resources to buy a ring of invisibility to briefing him on his lines ("Tell her 'you're the only one I can trust,' she'll love that.") The fact that we OOC fully expected (incorrectly) that she would turn out to be a murderous Slaaneshi cultist, and not a hopelessly drippy damsel after all, just added to the fun.
  • Gregor insisting on splashing out to dress everyone 'suitably' for the Graf's ball, resulting in the party turning up like a pack of peacocks in the ever-so-serious City of the White Wolf.
  • After the third time his enquiries at the Temple of Ulric received the same response, Ambrose decided that it must be the cult's ritual greeting, and thus opened his interview with the high priest (the gist of which was to tell the leader of a cult of storm-worshipping, wolf-wrestling battle-priests that we knew he was being blackmailed for sleeping with a serving girl) with the words 'don't make me hurt you'.
  • The highwayman, seeking to rally the people, leaped onto a table, brandished the magical blade Baracul, which marked him as the chosen of Sigmar (less of an achievement since the field from which Sigmar had to select his chosen human warrior consisted of him, a halfling, a dwarf, an elf, a druid and a wizard), and declared: "I have Baracul!" Ambrose immediately leaped up next to him, drew his dagger and declared: "I have bugger all!" HELPING!
  • The day after the highwayman's super-seekrit romancing of the princess, being greeted by her sassy handmaiden in the pub with the words: "Chosen of Sigmar, huh?"
It's moments like these that make a game fun, and funny, for me. Moments like the Tunkin manouevre (faced with armed goons on the far side of the door you just opened, close the door again) and deathless quotes (everyone who played in my Star Wars campaign, Beyond the Fringe, seems to call back to the almost-dead ace pilot's assurance that "I'm fine," every once in a while).

In short, rules and setting are props, but games are people.

With that in mind, the next entry is 'favourite system', so that should be interesting.