Hireling Orientation

So, I've just started a new job, and I just saw someone else on Google+ talking about a new job, and the characters in Fellhold just replaced all of the hirelings who were killed in a horrific exploding wizard accident.  All of this has left me wanting to do something quick about hirelings adjusting to the adventuring lifestyle: in other words, "onboarding" new hirelings.  And so I present "The First Time a Hireling is Asked to Confront the Unknown, Bizarre, or Completely Screwed Up":

(roll 1d12, add the employer's Charisma modifier and the hireling/henchman's level, if applicable)

  1. Runs off gibbering like a madman and takes all of the equipment he or she is wearing or carrying, never to be seen again
  2. Collapses into a heap weeping, utterly useless for 1d6 exploration turns, will refuse to do anything but leave immediate danger afterwards
  3. Cowers and screams, but will recover after 1d4 rounds of consoling and encouragement, roll again at the next especially terrifying encounter
  4. Quietly and stoically recognizes the depth of his or her mistake, will finish the current mission/delve/expedition, but will refuse any further service
  5. Refuses current assignment, and roll a morale check.  Failing indicates that this refusal is permanent, passing indicates that the hireling will stay on but continues to refuse this particular action
  6. Roll an immediate morale check.  Interpret normally and roll on this table again the next time it is relevant
  7. Roll again on this table with a +3
  8. Hireling is shaky but determined, carries out ordered action but takes -1 to all relevant rolls until completed
  9. Hireling will perform action normally if anyone else is supporting him or her, otherwise, take -1 to all relevant rolls
  10. Steady and dependable as rock, this hireling knew the score and was actually adequately prepared to face whatever was entailed in the job
  11. Laughs in the face of danger and pursues the assigned task with notable zeal. +1 to all relevant rolls.
  12. Discovers unknown depths of resolve and sense of purpose. Add +1 to a random attribute, loyalty, and hit points

Dwarves as Germanic Sumerians

So, a combination of a Google+ post about Dwarves being like the Sumerians (that unfortunately I cannot find to properly attribute) and Ben L.'s post on Textual Corruptions has me thinking about dwarves in Fellhold.  Specifically, it has come up a lot that the Dwarf character's loosely defined familiarity with Dwarven culture has given him all sorts of benefits in the part of the dungeon built by the dwarves.  Well, I've thought of a great way to get around that.

So, the Dwarves were the first civilized people.  They invented most of the ways of civilization, including magic.  Hrokr, the Crow Father, was the patron deity of the minor tribes of men beginning to encroach on dwarven land.  He tricked the dwarves into confining magic into runes, that man might more easily learn it, but eventually men learned the magic behind runes, while dwarves forgot.

Basically, Dwarves are to the setting as Sumerians were to the near east: the source of ancient, barely understood knowledge, highly organized, crafting order out of Chaos, semi-mythical, all that good stuff.  But supplanted, replaced in real secular power terms.  All writing is based on dwarvish writing.  Old, high mannish is actually debased dwarvish.  Engineering, carving, art, are all derivative of Dwarven styles.  In the terms of my setting, the ancient dwarves were the proto-Germanic (maybe even proto-Indo-European) types to the humans' northern germanic-ness.

So, modern dwarves remember little of the glory days.  It's like asking a Babylonian about an early Sumerian, or a Danish viking about the distant ancestors of the Germanians who fought the Romans.  There is almost as much cultural similarity for learned humans to spot as there is for a common dwarf.

Now, rules-wise, I want to incorporate some textual corruption type rules like in the post above, but into archaeological features or murals.  I want there to be a way that seemingly obvious interpretations of ancient and esoteric carvings/statues/art are actually way off the mark, maybe even dangerously so.  The easiest way would be with inscriptions, or an elaborate method of recording like the story-walls in Hammers of the God, but I'm trying to come up with something more interesting.  Maybe I can incorporate it into an elaborate set of puzzle rooms and the mechanical workings thereof.  I'll have to figure it out.  But mostly I wanted to start firming up some ideas about the dwarves as the cultural font for all of the known campaign world.

Tuesday Reaction Roll Filler Post

So, work stuff combined with the snowy death weather that has visited itself upon my visit to Atlanta has resulted in me not getting the relationship map stuff finished up.  So instead I want to put up a quick post expanding a little more on some thoughts raised by yesterday's Fashion post regarding the reaction roll mechanic.

Now, point one: Courtney Campbell has done a lot of awesome stuff with the reaction roll and modifying it based on history with individuals and groups in his "On the Non-Player Character", so first and foremost, if you're interested in expanding that mechanic, go there.

Point two: as blasphemous in some older school circles as it may be to say, aggressive expansion and re-imagining of the reaction roll starts to butt up against the core mechanic of Apocalypse World, which means that it and its hacks are a fertile place to look for ideas on just what can be done with a (modified) 2d6 roll if you're feeling frisky.

So, all that being established, I'm not going to go into one of the AW style rolls just now, but I'm going to touch on an idea linked to what I was saying a few days ago about linking rumors to different locales, so that visiting them is more than a change of scenery.  Yesterday we talked about the potentially confusing ways high fashion might impact reaction, so today, a super brief idea on locale based reaction roll modifiers.

For extra simple, give every locale a "local" and "foreigner" reaction roll bonus/penalty. More insular places will have a bigger disparity, while more cosmopolitan places will have less.  Maybe the big city offers easier information along with expanded shopping lists.

For a little more complexity, you can create a reaction roll profile for different districts, towns, countries, or whatever.  Maybe Dwarrowdale is +1 to dwarves, -1 to elves, +0 to rural humans, and -2 to city folk.  You could even tie this into clothing if you like, a la Pearce Shea's excellent raiment rules in his most recent Character Creation post.

For still more complexity, create a matrix with each locale visited on each axis.  Each row tells you how that locale reacts to people from every other locale.  This is probably highly fiddly, and honestly, you could make the columns only represent the background/appearance/mannerisms of each player character, unless you want to be prepared for them to claim to be things that they aren't. This errs a little on the "stuff to look up" side for my current tastes, and it might honestly only get used once or twice, but if you want to make regional/neighborhood/class differences a focus, this might be a good start.

Fashion is Danger

So, this post is inspired by some in-game events and then some discussion on Logan Knight's recent post about fashion in D&D. Basically, the party in Fellhold got invited a feast at an earl's great hall in the city.  They asked about fancy clothes, I looked at LotFP and was like "sure, 20 silver", and they were like "but it says it can go even higher if we want."  And so I ended up with a silly ad hoc system for tracking the fabulousness (or fabulosity, if you prefer) of the clothing for some hardbitten adventurers.  This post is cleaning them up and making them more gameable and interesting.

When a characters find themselves in a sufficiently large and well-off locale (such as the big city), they may purchase fancy, ostentatious, or just plain ridiculous clothing.  Even weirder accoutrements may suit your fancy, and if so I direct you to the blog post and associated pinterest boards linked above for excellent inspiration.  Hence forward, all clothing has a fabulousness rating, as such:

Disgusting, filthy, or hopelessly unfashionable: negative
Normal clothes acceptable to people and utterly beneath the notice of the fashion conscious: 0
Fancy, extravagant, haute couture, or otherwise noteworthy clothes: 1 and higher

The fabulousness of a new outfit is determined by rolling 1d20 + 1 per 20 SP (on the silver standard) spent.  NPC fabulousness can be decided on a whim, or you can roll 1d20 plus a die size representing wealth (d4 for well-off, d6 for substantially wealthy, and so on for more and more maniacal devotions to fashion). Especially talented or noteworthy tailors, seamstresses, or visionary designers may add a further bonus.

When encountering an NPC in a fashion-conscious area (again, like the big city, less so in Dirt Town), reaction rolls are modified by plus or minus the difference between fabulosity quotients, to a maximum of 3.  Whether the roll is positively or negatively affected will depend on how the NPC would react to someone better or worse dressed than his or her self.  For example, a fawning member of court will likely be impressed by suitably rich garb, and utterly disdainful or even hostile towards inferior duds.  On the other hand, a starving gutter urchin might find all your useless frippery a slap in the face and attack on sight.  Tailor which way it will go for whom based on your game world and situation, but err on the side of fancy clothing (player characters have higher fabulousness) improving reactions in the right company so that the players get something tangible out of their investment.  This also gives a fun mechanic to discourage characters from walking straight into the King's court still covered in carrion crawler entrails and troll shit.

A further potential wrinkle (also inspired by Logan's post): you can have cliques, factions, clubs, gangs, cults, and more to create a complicated web of social landmines for fancy characters to walk into.  You can figure out different fashions or styles or markers used by different groups, and then make a positive/negative note for each other group.  Fabulousness remains absolute, but whether it affects the reaction roll up or down becomes relative to the two groups involved rather than social situation.  If you dress extremely well in the fashion started by the queen, the mistress's clique might react negatively.  If you show up to the cult of weeping knife's meeting in the style of the merchant's guild that is supporting them, they'll be impressed. In a game where you want to make this sort of thing the focus, remove any sort of inherent reaction modifiers (like orcs are -2 to humans, or cultists are +3 to mutants or whatever) and replace them with modifiers based on appearance and the intensity thereof.  Maybe these orcs treat anyone dressed as an orc as one, maybe that is their definition of orcness.

A couple of brief design notes.  First off, the huge expense and swinginess is totally intentional.  Fashion should be expensive and unpredictable.  You'll also notice that for enough money, the D20 could theoretically become unimportant, because at some point it becomes more about demonstrating how many resources your threw into an outfit and less about the merit of the design or talent of the tailor.  Finally, by capping the modifier to +/- 3, the 2d6 reaction roll remains reasonable, but really strongly biased. Since that modifier is always based on the comparison of two fabulousness ratings, there is still some effect from higher numbers (more likely to get the modifier, even if it doesn't get any bigger).  I haven't tried out the numerical side of this yet, so let me know what you think.

Pretty Pretty Picture Friday

As has become something of a tradition, I am posting a bunch of pictures on Friday in a mad dash to keep up with my weekdaily posting.  The second part of the Vornheiming Middenheim epilogue is under construction, I'll probably get a lot done on that on an airplane ride Sunday evening, so I hope to have it to post on Monday or Tuesday.  In the meantime, here are some cool pictures I found for my Fellhold campaign from cghub.  CGHub has a certain aesthetic to it that makes everything have a somewhat samey feel, but it's at least high quality.  Deviant Art has a wider variety of styles, but it also has a wider variety of quality.  At either site, here's a good way to find some cool art:

  1. Find an artist you like using one of the following methods:
    1. Pick an artist you already know you like
    2. Look at the "popular now" pictures and find one that catches your fancy
    3. Do a fairly broad search, like for "fantasy traditional 2d"
  2. Once you get a good artist, browse their gallery for good stuff
  3. After you get through their gallery, look at their favorites
  4. Repeat this process until you can force yourself to stop
Once you find some good art, Pinterest is actually pretty cool for organizing inspirational photos. I've got one for Fellhold here.  If you're harder core, you can go for a Tumblr like Thomas Fitzgerald's sweet, twisted Middenmurk one.  At any rate, on with some cool pictures:

Rumor Has It

So, in writing the Middenheim series, I really came to love the use of rumors as a way to convey both setting information as well as adventure hooks.  Thanks to +Brendan S and +Pearce Shea , I had some further discussion of rumors and why I like them and what they do, and I wanted to expand those thoughts some here.

The first and perhaps most obvious virtue of rumors is their dubious veracity.  This permeates through everything else I want to bring up about rumors, so it deserves to go first and I'll get to reference back to it.  The fact that rumors are, by definition, suspect information at best combines with the usually random way they're determined to give rumors a nice indeterminacy.  The referee doesn't know what he's going to tell the players until it happens, and the players don't know what of that information is important, and they lack meta-information on how important it is.  More on the different roles rumors play for players and referee in a bit.  You can amp up that indeterminacy by putting different sets of rumors in different places, making rumors that contradict each other, and the old stand-by of mixing up truthful and straight up false rumors.

Rumors can do different things when you write them for your own adventures and when you write them for the use of other people.  If you're writing rumors for your home game, you probably have some idea of which ones are true and which ones are exaggeration and which ones are poppycock.  Now, many published adventures do the same, which can be helpful in the same way it is for home adventures: setting tone and prompting certain player/character behavior.  If you throw in a lot of rumors of dangerous monsters, players will likely be more careful at first.  If you instead have half the rumors say "way dangerous" and half say "the place is harmless", then other factors will drive the players' decision-making more.  Providing the veracity of the rumors helps the referee know how to convey them and how to deal with the elements in the adventure related to those rumors.

What I have come to think is a more interesting approach for an adventure or setting intended for others is to provide rumors as rumors.  In other words, the truth or falsity of all rumors is left to the referee's discretion.  When you present rumors this way, you can get a number of pretty cool effects.  For one, it is fantastically efficient.  You don't have to waste words with "it is said" or "in some quarters people believe" or the like.  No time spent explaining how a particular misunderstanding came to be common.  But you still get the same effects on the players.  Part of that efficiency is that you can convey a general feel both with the nature of individual rumors, and with the rumor table as a whole.  It also simplifies a referee's job of weeding out what content he doesn't want to incorporate while keeping it useful. Say a referee sees a rumor that is a thinly veiled reference to the plot of Dracula and he thinks that's silly.  He's still got a preposterous rumor to put in the mouths of people who maybe shouldn't be trusted.

Which gets a bit to what I alluded to earlier about the different uses of rumors for players and referees.  This idea was spurred by some comments by Pearce Shea about some rules being more player-facing and others being more referee-faces.  Rumors get to be both, but do something different each way.  To referees, they convey a complete(ish) picture of what's going on and an overall feel.  Where and how to give them out provides tools for shaping the players' experience.  For the players, rumors provide valuable but unreliable information, indications of tone and approach, and spurs to unexpected action.  Players can decide which rumors to investigate and follow up on, what decisions to draw from them, and how to incorporate them into future evidence.

Finally, an aspect of rumors I got to explore a little bit in Middenheim, but I really want to develop more in my own games and future projects, is the way that rumors can be tied to people and places. Not only can places have a different feel or tone, they can be useful to players in different ways.  Maybe one place has more reliable information but it's more dangerous or expensive.  Or if you want rumors about the sea you go to the dockside taverns.  With people you develop a reason for players to want to meet new people or develop existing relationships.  This can also enhance the other features of rumors.  You can make things like social class and nationality matter by having them provide different information.  You can make contradictory rumors have different levels of trustworthiness based on where they were heard.  All of these things can enhance engagement and agency.

Altogether, a pretty hefty load for twelve or so entries to pull.

Vornheiming Middenheim: Epilogue - Building a Mystery

[Don't forget about the Dungeon Dozen Adventure Contest . Deadline is Friday!]

Okay, so not really a mystery so much as an adventure, but I'm a sucker for situational use of song lyrics.  In this post I'm going to run through using some of the Middenheim tools to make an adventure.  As a proof of concept, I'm going to try to run through this "by the numbers" as much as possible, and limit my editorial changes.  Follow along after the break.

Vornheiming Middenheim XVI: Wrapping Up

[UPDATE 1/6/21: I no longer support spending money on products that benefit Zak S, or giving him positive attention and connection. The short version is that I find credible claims that he has engaged in unacceptable behavior and not made up for it. For more detail, see here for the core of the accusations. To get Zak's side of things, he maintains this separate blog from his main one to post updates on the legal status of these complaints. 
Please consider these claims and make your own decision on their validity, and the implications thereof, before either supporting or shunning Zak.]

[Don't forget about the Dungeon Dozen Adventure Contest . Deadline is Friday!]

So, looking over my original proposed table of contents along with notes I developed over the course of the project, I think that I've covered everything.  I considered coming up with some rules for alley/sewer/roof crawling to include, but I think I'm good with saying use these by Logan Knight and tweak anything that doesn't fit your vision of Warhammer or Middenheim. So I want to do a brief retrospective on what I learned while doing this whole thing.

For ease of reference, here's a summary of what I stated I wanted to accomplish in the first post in this series:
  • Err on the side of brevity
  • System Neutral
  • Focus on interesting/weird stuff, and take it to 11
  • Canon? We don't need no stinking canon
  • People
  • Tools, not Reference
Looking back, I'd say that overall I met those goals pretty well.  I'm glad that I stated them clearly up front, because the impulse to expand, embroider, provide all the details; that impulse was definitely there. Having these guiding principles worked as a sort of amulet against excess.  I'm sure I still messed up some stuff in the posts, but I'll be exercising some editorial discretion in compiling a .pdf.

Really, the only one of these goals I don't feel as great about is "Focus on interesting/weird stuff, and take it to 11".  I think a lot of the content remained pretty mundane, due to the influence of the text itself continually reasserting its somewhat tame tone whenever I referenced it.  Fortunately, when it comes time to do something like this for my own fantasy cities, the only force for mundanity is my own predilection for cliches, and I have plenty of good sources to help counter that.

Enough wishy-washy mumbo jumbo, here's some concrete lessons learned for anyone who wants to pursue a similar project:
  • Define at the outset both style and substance goals. These will guide you when you are flipping through highlighted pages going "what the hell am I doing with this?"
  • Good Highlighting is time-consuming, but really helps in the long run
  • To achieve good highlighting, have a clear idea what you want to extract before you start highlighting (I highlighted a bunch of stuff that I ended up not using, and neglected to highlight some stuff I did)
  • What stuff did I end up finding most useful? Odd or quirky NPC traits, scandalous/secret relationships, neat locations, and ideas for crime/investigation/fighting that make sense in the city
  • Stuff that was least useful: stats, specific NPCs that weren't "the powers that be", specific prices, encounter chances, that sort of thing
  • Rumors are your friend.  A table of rumors (or better, multiple tables in different locales with some overlap) are now my very favorite way to convey adventure hooks or content. GMs can make their own decisions and take their own inspiration, but still have something reasonably concrete to go on in a pinch
  • Well established aesthetics and concepts go a really long way to enable efficient use of words - I can say "Warhammer's Old World" and/or "Nurgle", and almost all of the work is done for anyone familiar with those conceptual clusters.  If you're starting from scratch, you'll have to work harder, but focus more on getting your aesthetic/feel right and less on nailing down every detail of a fictional history
  • Having an organizational framework is good, but it's okay to deviate from it halfway if you figure out something that works better. You can edit for consistency later (like my district write-ups)
  • "Roll one of each die" type tables are a remarkably useful creative framework, but are not the answer to everything
Now the only thing left besides collecting all of the content into a .pdf is that I'd like to use the tools I've created to write an urban adventure that is not plot-happy nor a dungeon with a good excuse to be in a city.  That'll be a sort of epilogue post, probably tomorrow, but possibly later depending on how much progress I make. 

Vornheiming Middenheim Part XV: Job/Mission Generator Options

[UPDATE 1/6/21: I no longer support spending money on products that benefit Zak S, or giving him positive attention and connection. The short version is that I find credible claims that he has engaged in unacceptable behavior and not made up for it. For more detail, see here for the core of the accusations. To get Zak's side of things, he maintains this separate blog from his main one to post updates on the legal status of these complaints. 
Please consider these claims and make your own decision on their validity, and the implications thereof, before either supporting or shunning Zak.]

[Don't forget about the Dungeon Dozen Adventure Contest . Deadline is Friday!]

So, intrigues and complicated personal relationships are great to keep play going, but it helps to have something to jump start the action either at the beginning of play, or when you hit a lull.  This was driven home to me when my players asked a long-time contact for whom they've done work before "do you have anything you'd like us to do?" and I completely flubbed it.  So, in that spirit, I decided to include a job/mission generator.  Now, these sorts of things have been done before, so I had a few models to go on.  First up are Mike Evans' excellent Firefly and Shadowrun hacks of Vornheim, which include some great job generators.  I've made one that is almost an exact copy of the Firefly job generator, but with a few of the jobs and people involved changed.  I like this one a lot, but the fact that it's damn near identical to Mike's work makes me want to come up with something a little more original.

Then there's a format presented in Dark Heart of the Dreamer, a World of Dungeons supplement.  You roll a D6 to determine type of employer, another for type of job, and another for location.  Then you roll the specific employer under the type of employer. I think the re-roll could be rolled into a single roll, like on a D20 or D100, and the nature and target could be other columns, but then you end up with basically a variation of the Firefly/Shadowrun one discussed above, but with one column removed.  One thing I do really like from Dark Heart of the Dreamer's job system is a roll to see what happened to a job while you ignored it.  So, the players get offered a job, then run off and do something else, this tells you what happened if they later ask "hey, what about that offer to bump off a guy, is that still available?".  So I came up with something similar, but made it a 2d6 roll instead of 1d6.

Courtney Campbell's Mission Generator is nicely comprehensive, and I like what it does, but it strikes me as more suited to adventure generation than to on-the-fly job generation (but maybe I'm just slow).  I figured for something extra fast I should have a chart of complete jobs you can get with one roll, but I couldn't resist noodling a little bit.  So I made it a nested table: you roll a die size based on who the job is offered by (if you want, you can always roll the full d20 for anyone if you want).  The idea is that you roll a d4 for an average joe, a d6 for a business owner/artisan, a d8 for a criminal, a d10 for a crime boss, a d12 for a noble, and a d20 for a merchant.  You can randomize who's offering the job with the career list, roll 1d6 to pick what category, base it off of who or where the characters ask, or however else you want to decide.

Finally, I figure jobs need a place to be offered and discussed, so it's about time for the Inn generator. Once again, the generator in Green Devil Face 4 is probably a better comprehensive preparation-based inn generator than I can make, and there are plenty of inns and taverns detailed in the write-ups, so I think the most useful thing here is an answer to "where's the nearest available inn?".  I ended up going with another pop-o-matic special (oh how I love them), but even moreso than the NPC generator, the idea is to use only the categories you want or need.  I broke down and put an "availability" category in for completeness, but there's no hard and fast "no rooms here" result, because I think that's a boring result.  The names can be used as one d20 roll or two, depending on the variety you want.

All these tables are after the break.  As always, recommendations for improvement are welcome. I apologize for not being able to get the Inn generator entirely into the main column, the layout will be taken care of in the .pdf.

Pretty Pretty Picture Friday

I've found lots of good stuff for slums while looking for stuff relating to my Middenheim posts. So, here's a pretty pictures post for Friday.

Vornheiming Middenheim XIV: Procedural NPC Relationship Map Generation

[UPDATE 1/6/21: I no longer support spending money on products that benefit Zak S, or giving him positive attention and connection. The short version is that I find credible claims that he has engaged in unacceptable behavior and not made up for it. For more detail, see here for the core of the accusations. To get Zak's side of things, he maintains this separate blog from his main one to post updates on the legal status of these complaints. 
Please consider these claims and make your own decision on their validity, and the implications thereof, before either supporting or shunning Zak.]

[Don't forget about the Dungeon Dozen Adventure Contest]

So, given my thoughts the other day about situation-based adventures, I decided that a simple chart for "what's the nature of this relationship" wasn't enough on its own for what I had in mind for NPC relationship generation.  While the right-most column of the powers that be chart can be used for anybody, I wanted some relationship qualifiers that were a little more open-ended so they can mesh with the imagination fuel of the NPC generator.  I also figured that it would be useful to have a procedural way to generate a complex relationship map all at once, for designing adventures and the like.

I should point out that the NPC relationship diagram in Vornheim is fantastic for quickly getting probably all of the intrigue you really need, especially for doing it on the fly. This relationship method is more prep than it is at the table, which goes a bit against the principles I've been following, but the pieces can be used spontaneously, so I think it'll work out okay.

Unfortunately, I'm still working on the actual instructions to make them both sensible and concise.  For this entry, I've done an example, but I don't want a lengthy example in the final version, so any input on what the example conveys that is not in the instructions, or even more importantly, what isn't clear from either, would be useful.

One issue with attempting to create a map like this is that networks grow exponentially, so while it may be satisfying for each character to have 3 or 4 connections, this can quickly get out of control.  I've ameliorated this two ways: 1) as you get further away from your start point, you reduce the number of connections created, and 2) there's a significant chance that each "new" connection is actually a connection with an existing NPC.  I ended up settling on a base number of connections of 2d2, after 2d3 ended up skewing towards rather a lot of connections.  I paired that with a 50% chance of connecting to an existing NPC instead of a new one.  If you want to create more connections, you have a few options: 1) Just make whatever new connections and NPCs you damn well please (duh), 2) Pick a new "starting" NPC already on the map, and begin the procedure anew, or 3) adjust the default number of connections and/or the chance of connecting to an existing character.  You could go to 2d3 or 1d6 or something but then have a 75% chance of connecting to existing characters if you want more of a web, or you could keep 2d2 but reduce the chance of connecting to existing characters to 25% or even zero if you want a more ramified map.

My hope is that this is pretty modular, and you can use it as a whole to create a new adventure, or you can just create a few connections and their nature to flesh out an existing NPC, or something in-between.  I figure if you want to go all-out to make a complex web of intrigue and complications, you could use the intrigue generator, and then take an NPC from each party of the intrigue and generate a map from each of them, preferably one that links up so they're both connected in someway besides the intrigue indicated, even if tenuously.  I think when all of the pieces are finished, but before I compile a .pdf, I might cook up an adventure using the methods here as a proof of concept.

I also broke down and made a d100 chart of careers.  I figure the most WFRP of concepts deserves inclusion here, and it can serve as my token use of the most WFRP of dice, the d100.  Dwarf and Elf specific careers, as well as nautical and some woodsy careers have been eliminated to make it more suitable for a landlocked human city and for use with my all-human NPC rules.

The procedure and example are below the break. (As a public service announcement rolz.org seems to have terrible randomization - I should have gone to the other room and gotten my real dice).

Vornheiming Middenheim Part XIII: The NPC Generator

[UPDATE 1/6/21: I no longer support spending money on products that benefit Zak S, or giving him positive attention and connection. The short version is that I find credible claims that he has engaged in unacceptable behavior and not made up for it. For more detail, see here for the core of the accusations. To get Zak's side of things, he maintains this separate blog from his main one to post updates on the legal status of these complaints. 
Please consider these claims and make your own decision on their validity, and the implications thereof, before either supporting or shunning Zak.]

[Don't forget about the Dungeon Dozen Adventure Contest]

Okay, I'm really excited about this one, even if it's a pretty short post.  Small But Vicious Dog really inspired me on how to take the "Warhammerness" of Middenheim to 11.  I said near the beginning of this project that I felt like Middenheim was too generic, too "nice" for what I have in mind when I think about the Old World.  Yes, I know that the view of Warhammer as being syphilitic and knee-deep in shit is exaggerated.  But that's part of what makes WFRP different from D&D for me, and part of what's appealing about the setting.  SBVD also takes this view and does a fantastic job with it.  The people are especially described as largely nasty and self-serving, so I've made an NPC generator to convey this feeling.

So, the results of this table skew towards grotty and nasty.  If you just want a generically pleasant shopkeeper or gruff but honest watchman, then there you have it: don't bother with the generator.  You'll also notice that this generator only creates humans.  I figure elves, dwarves, and halflings are all rare and/or stereotypical enough to either be cast to type or purposeful inversions of those stereotypes.  Or you can make yourself some demi-human generators.  I've also not included careers here because a) I wanted to make a table I can use with my shiny new pop-o-matic, and there's only so many dice in there, b) I figure it will be more common to want to figure out details about someone with some context already established ("Who is this shopkeeper really?"), and c) SBVD or WFRP already have methods of random career generation.  That being said, I may make a d20 chart for Middenheim specific careers. I also considered some name tables, but then I found this site.

Obviously this chart owes a lot to Logan Knight's NPC Birthing sacs, which are probably more generically useful than this one (it's also automated here).  His doubles and triples tables also give some fantastic more esoteric stuff.  I figure you can roll all at once to get the inspiration for a full formed guy or gal like Logan's tables are intended to be used, or you can roll selectively as stuff becomes important to flesh out established people.  I'm going to make a relationship generator too so that complex relationship maps/social situations that aren't necessarily intrigues can be created easily on the fly (which will probably owe a lot to this post at "Really Bad Eggs", which Michael Julius was kind enough to point out to me in response to my last post) .   

Middenheim NPC Generator
1Middenheimer1Old Male1Aggressively1Beshitten1Money1Mutation
2Middenlander2Young Male2Sarcastically2Shabby2Lust2Speech Pattern
3Other Imperial3Male3Cringingly3Fancy3Power3Chaos Cultist
4Marienburger4Female4Haughtily4Unremarkable4Religion4Serious Disease
5Young Female5Drunkenly5Seductive5Fame5Madness
6Old Female6Comically6Diseased6Social Rank6Hard-working
8Inappropriately8Crazed8Intrigue8Strange collection
9Obese9Bootlicking9Missing Body Part
12Goodness12Body Language
13Highly Formal Manners
16Strange Appetite
18Nervous tic
20Gourmet Palate

Of course, I've got to give it a couple of test runs:

First up: 1, 6, 4, 8, 10, 20 (Middenheimer, Old Female, Haughtily, Crazed, Viciousness, Gourmet Palate)
Kune Herbarter: An old Middenheimer woman from a good family who enjoys fine meals made of poor people.  Her haughtily manic behavior is interpreted as a form of dementia, but she is actually just a mean old cuss.

Neat!  Try 2:
3, 2, 4, 4, 6, 15 (Other Imperial, Young Male, Haughtily, Unremarkable, Social Rank, Fanatical)
Setanta Kahl: A young man from a farming village somewhere outside of Middenland who adopts the most stereotypical fashions and affectations of the upperclasses in his fanatical drive to achieve a higher station in life.

I'd say it works like a charm so far!