Ah, the mid-1980’s. We had no computers. We had no cars. What we did have is the living room of my friend Bob’s house and his saintly mother who never complained about a mob of teenage boys in her house every Saturday and Sunday for hours at a time.
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay was my 2nd game after D&D. A friend of ours named John turned us on to it, and we were immediately hooked on the grimness of it, the horror elements…and, of course, Ork humor. But John’s schedule (and our lack of four-wheeled transport) meant that one of our group had to pick up the torch and help the others defend the Empire. And “one of us” meant me.
So, I borrow a copy of Shadows Over Bogenhafen (an awesome series of adventures to a larger campaign) and off we all go a-murder hoboing.
They get hired to investigate a possible Chaos infestation in the town. Immediately, bodies start dropping. The only survivor of their initial investigations is a single sod who they suspect is spying on them. After the standard round of preliminary torture, Matt – the party wizard – uses the WH version of prestidigitation to produce a small frog and somehow convinces their captive that Matt has trapped his soul in this frog. We’d been playing for 4 hours at this point, and they’d not gotten on step closer solving anything, so, miraculously, this innocent shopkeeper turned into a very well-informed cultist in a matter of seconds.
Now armed with the Chaos shrine’s possible location, they set off for the sewers and almost die en masse to the most inept group of local smugglers ever to grace RPGdom. Even a group of mentally defective, one-armed kobolds would have been more of a threat. They locate the shrine and curb stomp a mutant with no preamble or conversation.
While the rest of the party is celebrating their first, epic victory, Matt – ever curious – touches the Chaos shrine, promptly fails his save, and now he has an arm that is turning into a purple tentacle. He is now infected with Chaos which, in Warhammer, is a quick trip to be BBQ’d on a big stick. Wisely, he chooses to hide his new accoutrement from the rest of the party fearing they might might…you know…kill him with sticks.
Somehow…and I really don’t know how…the party becomes convinced that the town alderman is complicit in the cult, even though he is the person who hired them to…umm…stop the cult. Some want to rush right over and arrest him. Others want to break into his house in the middle of the night because they at least feel that it’s only fair to get some evidence before they kill him. Reluctantly, my rather bloodthirsty friend whom I’ll call Dave agrees.
So off they go to break into the alderman’s house, find the appropriate evidence of his perfidy, kill him, and then reap the rewards as befits their newfound status as saviors of the town.
They are all heavily armed and armored. Matt is the sneakiest of them all simply because a wizard can’t wear armor. They fail every attempt at burglary and finally just decide to let Steve’s psychotic Troll Slayer dwarf smash down the door. Now everyone is awake screaming. Steve is running through the house like Lancelot in Swamp Castle screaming “Don’t run!” as he butchers everyone and everything he comes across. Matt is desperately scrabbling through every book or batch of papers looking for the alderman’s “spellbook” in hopes of finding a cure for his baby tentacle-arm.
Finally, Bob – who was playing a sturdy, barbarian-type – cleverly spots the old alderman trying to hoof it out a back door. Bob’s next statement to me…
Bob: I want to gently tap him on the back of his head with my Warhammer.
Me: Ummm…come again?
Bob: I want to tap him with my Warhammer, but…you know…just a little bit.
One Warhammer attack and one critical hit later, the alderman’s head is sitting where his lungs used to be, the house is a bloodbath, they’re not finding any of the evidence they were looking for (because there isn’t any), and the neighborhood is roused calling for the Watch.
Then…then gentle Readers…instead of running…they decide to manufacture some evidence real quick in the few minutes they have until the Watch arrives.
They are all actually arrested in the middle of forging this “evidence”. Matt’s mutant arm gets detected which earns him a swift escort to the bonfire. The rest are hung the next day. TPK. The End.
So, my friends, never try to “tap” anyone with a Warhammer!
Thanks for reading, and we’ll catch you next time.