How James Wallis Ruined My Character's Life
How James Wallis Ruined My Life
From The Memoirs Of Fat Gregor
Life was sweet. The bookshop had made up a pretty packet. I'd invested some of my share in a fine townhouse in Altdorf (with a live-in cleaner) and put the rest into a bank account. We'd joined the Merchants Guild, and were looking forward to trekking cargoes up and down the Reik on our barge. (We even took the exams to get qualified. I passed first time, but Ulrich failed and had to retake. Ha!).
And then it all went wrong. On a trip down south, we came back to our moorings, after an evening in town, to find our barge a sunken, smoking ruin.
That's right. James Wallis had decided that the best roleplaying campaign ever written could be improved by torching our fucking boat. Bastard.
Desperately, we waded into the wreckage searching for what remained of our possessions.
The way it worked was that you had to pick an item on your equipment list, and make a roll to see if it had survived. If you rolled 4-6 on D6 it had survived, and you then made a roll for another item on your equipment list. It you rolled 1-3, not only was that item destroyed, but so was every other item still on the list that you hadn't yet rolled for. In other words you carried on rolling until you failed. I rolled more than 20 consecutive successes!!!!!! John failed on his second roll.
I managed to save nearly all my stuff except for a few glass bottles, but Ulrich lost everything except for a stuffed crocodile.
I have no idea where we got the crocodile from.
From that point on we were doing favour after favour for people in an attempt to get our boat repaired. And bad turned to worse. Pretty soon we were knee-deep in trouble, which resulted, in no particular order, in the following...
We went to Kislev. Don't *ever* go to Kislev. "Something rotten in Kislev"? EVERYTHING'S rotten in Kislev. We spent most of our time there in a hut huddled around a stove trying not to freeze to death - and those were the good bits!
I got drafted.
We accidentally assassinated a major political figure.
Ulrich and Wolfgang found god and became witchhunters. They didn't tell me. I turned round one day and found them dressed in black with pointy hats. There's nothing like hanging around with witchhunters to make you watch what you're saying, I can tell you.
We encountered some chaos cult type people who were using spells they learnt from demonologist's books that they purchased from a bookshop in Altdorf. Oops.
And finally, just to put the icing on the cake, we encountered a drug dealer in a pub, and in a mad moment I sampled the goods. Which were good. Which were *very* good. When I took some I felt like I was on top of the world, that I could do anything, that no-one could stop me. These drugs worked, and I said yes!
One dose gave you +10%/+1 to EVERY single attribute bar attacks. My weapons skill was up by 10% (i.e. 58% instead of 48%). My ballistic skill was up by 10%. My toughness was up by 1. My initiative was up by 10%. My intelligence was up by 10%. My leadership, my cool, my everything, etc. etc.
Now admittedly, there were some negative aspects to this, as Ulrich and Wolfgang repeatedly reminded me. It was true that after three hours the effects not only wore off, but plunged you into a pretty devastating low. You got you -30%/-3 to all your attributes (again except for attacks). This effect would last forever, until you took another hit.
But I didn't let that worry me. I just purchased shitloads, and took it every three hours.
It was great. Time after time I'd roll the dice and say: "I made it... because of the drugs!" Time and time again they saved my skin, and I wasn't going to let the 50 gold crowns a week cost get me down. And who cared if every time I took a dose, General Tangent (the GM) rolled some dice behind his screen.
But as with everthing since that git Wallis trashed our boat, it was too good to last.
One day I took a dose as usual, but it went a bit wrong, and I suffered a heart attack - which stopped my heart beating.
Apparently the rolls were getting harder and harder the more stuff I took, and I rolled (well General Tangent rolled) my first critical failure.
But Ulrich and Wolfgang banged on my chest and managed to get my heart going again.
I spent a fate point to avoid death, which gave me more insanity points.
Then, on the barge journey back from Kislev I had two more overdoses.
...and spent two more fate points, and got more insanity points.
I was beginning to wonder if I could continue like this.
TAFKAC and John eagerly compared my overdose rate with my remaining fate points tally, and calculated that I'd be dead within 6 play sessions.
And I was starting to run out of money. Not only did I have to pay for the drugs, but I had my lifestyle as a noble to pay for.
If you are a noble character, you have to spend 42 gold crowns a week to maintain your "lifestyle" (i.e. food, drink, clothes, hangers on etc) or lose social status.
And we didn't have any money coming in.
WFRP is *not* D&D. Chaos creatures and evil cultists don't have a nice pot of cash lying around. Apparently, fighting chaos is it's own reward, which is fine if your a puritanical witchhunter, but pretty shit if you're a drug-addicted, alcoholic aristocrat with a lifestyle to maintain.
I figured I had to do something.
Err... I figured I had to do something.
In Altdorf we found a brain-surgeon who reckoned he could cure me. To pay for the operation, as well as pay Ulrich back all the dosh I owed him, I had to sell my house, and clean out most of my bank account, but I decided that it was worth trying.
We spent about twenty minutes crunching the numbers (General Tangent generously gave us the surgeon's statistics) and came to the conclusion that I had a 5% chance of instant death on the operating table, about a 15% chance of surviving, but with some very unpleasant consequences in the attributes department, and around an 80% chance of being cured with no ill-effects. It might have been possible to use one of my few remaining fate points if a death was rolled, but you can't use a fate point to prevent crippling, but not fatal, brain damage.
I was pretty worried, but I went ahead.
I couldn't believe that I was about to entrust the character who was the longest played character I'd ever had (more than two years) to a single roll of the dice.
...and the surgery was successful.
I felt a new purpose. I wanted to do good and help people. I even married Solvieg, my mistress.
The insanity points I'd got during the last overdose had pushed me over the edge into a new insanity, which in this case was a change of alignment from neutral to good, which pretty much forced me to make an honest woman of Solvieg. Still it could have been worse. I could have found god like those scary fuckers Ulrich and Wolfgang.
I would rather have performed my good works from a nice comfy bed in a nice warm home, but as soon as I'd recovered from the surgery, we were already setting out to save the world. Again.
So where am I now?
Well this penniless, alcoholic, recovering drug addict is currently located half way up a mountain somewhere down south, freezing his bollocks off, wet (apparently fine quality aristocrat's gear isn't that fine when it comes to outdoor use) tired, suffering from a pretty nasty fluey cold which apparently might turn to pneumonia (nice one Warpstone, nifty article) and wondering what the hell to do about the bunch of ogres him and his fellow muppets just pissed the hell out of.
Oh, and the orcish army is apparently arriving tomorrow.
And so I again ask myself, as I do every session, "Why I am here? Where did it all go wrong?"
And I get the same answer that I get every time that I ask: "James Wallis burnt my boat."
Thank you very much James.
Thank you very bloody much. :-)
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