Friday, 27 July 2018

Preparing Blessings Unheralded - Wrath and Glory Intro Adventure


I don't think it's a surprise to anyone that I like a bit of 40K. I also play a lot of D&D. So when I heard about a new 40K based RPG with a focus on narrative and streamlined mechanics, I got all excited. I have played several previous 40K RPGs from Fantasy Flight Games, mostly Dark Heresy, and to be fair, had a lot of fun with them, but I always found the mechanics somewhat obtuse. When D&D 5E came into my life I pretty much abandoned the FFG games.

Wrath and Glory (by Ulisses), is something that looks much more to my liking. Having followed bits and pieces over the internet, including the rather spiffing comic features on the Warhammer Community, I find myself liking almost all of the design decisions made for this. I'm pretty much ready to love this game already, however RPG books are expensive and I've not gone full irrational fanboy just yet. What I really need is to try the game for a session or two first...

Enter Blessings Unheralded. An intro adventure that was until recently available to download for free. (It's now available for around 4 dollars from DriveThruRPG - other RPG PDF sites are available). I've managed to arrange to GM the adventure on Monday for a group including my wife and her LARPer buddies (NERDS!). So I've been spending a fair amount of time reading through the rules and the module and making notes, printing character sheets etc.

Most of the basics of the game rules seem to be in here, which seem quite nicely designed. Nice, simple, flexible core mechanics and enough complexity in options that I'm sure it'll cover most of the ideas the players have for creative ways to kill stuff. I personally am very interested in the character creation/tier system that seems exceptionally wide in scope, but none of that is in here yet so I'll have to trust that it will be good. The characters that are in here are rather well fleshed out though, with multiple special abilities and gear and a nice lump of background, including a really cool mechanic for objectives. Essentially the players roll a D6 at the start of the session, and consult the objective table for their specific character. The objectives are all narrative, for example Commissar Victoria Linn (who will be played by the wife - read into that what you will) has an objective that calls for her to threaten to execute someone for cowardice. Achieving the objective will grant an in game resource called Wrath that can be used for rerolls and other bonuses. It's a similar but more defined system to the Inspiration in D&D 5E.

(Image stolen from here)

The biggest issue for me will be running the adventure itself. I've never actually run a pregenerated adventure before, I've always made up my own stuff (with various degrees of success) so this is a little intimidating. I've read through it a couple of time and drawn myself a handy flow chart to get through it, so I'm doing my homework. I even found and listened to a recorded play through on Youtube - run by someone called ELH Mk 1 (who mostly seems to play Star Trek Adventures). Obviously if you are planning on playing the module, spoilers are found here!

My initial thoughts on the adventure is that it is quite well put together, with a nice investigative segment and some appropriately scaled fights, but does require a certain amount of 'bad stuff kicks off just as the PCs happen to turn up' which to me breaks the immersion a little - though perhaps it will be less noticeable to the players. As a pregen for a one shot it is naturally a bit railroady and most of the investigation just 'happens' when the players go to the right places, but I figure this will not be an issue if the players are proactive with their decisions, and if they are not then it's nice that they won't just be sitting around twiddling thumbs until things happen. I'm also happy to go off the rails if the players come up with some crazy ideas - which, let's face it, they probably will.

So I'm looking forward to Monday night. At this stage I'm nearly sold on the game, so I guess marketing works? I'll be back to post my 'review' of how the session goes sometime next week. Stay tuned!

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