Saturday, 16 May 2015

Realm of Chaos campaign reflection, suggestions and MacGuffins

I spent last Saturday enjoying a Realm of Chaos campaign put together by Gaj, along with Jeff McC and Paul D. For all of us I think it was our first "proper" taste of RoC, although Jeff and I had also played in the big warbands game at BOYL '13, and I think it's fair to say we're all keen to play again another day. There are a few things we'll probably do differently next time, mainly down to what seem to be shortcomings with the campaign system itself, although probably a degree of user error was involved as well.

There are photos too, but if that's all you want to see then probably best to scroll down...


  • We played in pairs across two halves of a 6' x 4' table - small was definitely better
  • Warbands games are small (and fast - we managed to fit 4 (and even 5) in the day), but because of that also spikier than a typical game of Fantasy Battle. Although WFB can also be prone to bouts of streaky dice it's exacerbated with a warband where for example a lucky round of combat can lead to enough casualties (maybe only 1 or 2) for rout tests to be required
  • In a bid to even up the starting strengths of the warbands we'd settled on each having a level 10 hero plus two rolls on the followers table. This seems in hindsight to have given (slightly) overpowered champions.
  • In every game the losing warband also had its champion killed / incapacitated - typically there was a fight between the champions which tended to also settle the scenario outcome. In one case at least though a champion was killed by missile fire alone
  • Overall though the RoC campaign system seems to have a significant flaw - once a warband starts to fall behind in strength it doesn't seem possible to catch up.


  • Personally I feel the "Dying in battle - No rewards" rule is wrong - instead I feel that as long as your actions were aligned with your chosen power's wishes then a degree of failure can be overlooked (bearing in mind that half the time "dying" only means knocked out). So I'd suggest the major actions (e.g. killing a sorcerer if a Khorne follower) should be rewarded, but halved. The minor (i.e. half point) rewards wouldn't be earned. Hence if you're zealous enough you have a chance of some reward from any battle.
  • We were awarding a reward for achieving the scenario objectives (which I believe is a stated rule in Lost and the Damned, but I could be wrong). Hence we nearly always had a situation where one of the warbands got 2 rewards, and one none (as their champion was dead / knocked out), leading quickly to disparity between the warbands. I think we shouldn't do this in future, especially as achieving the objective tended to set the winner of the battle, hence invoking the "survive on the winning side" reward. More importantly from a flavour point of view though, presumably the scenario objectives is the champion's worldly concern - it may or may not please your chosen power.
  • The survival rules are quite generous in often making models "killed" in combat actually just incapacitated / knocked out / etc. and hence available for the next battle. However they also (not unreasonably) state that the loser's survivors "become prisoners of the victor, who may dispose of them as he wishes". Consequently I'd suggest that, where appropriate, the scenario conditions encourage the winning side to vacate the field as part of the scenario, hence increasing survivability for the loser.
  • I think our starting champions were too strong. You could of course just play as written and roll randomly, but if, as we did, you don't want to start with wildly inbalanced champions then perhaps go for level 5 heroes rather 10. Or, when starting out, roll on the tables but cap the rolls at level 15 (for warriors) or 10 (for wizards), but if one player is re-rolling part way through a campaign after being wiped out then they use the full table (and hence have a slim chance of starting with a powerful warrior or wizard).
Note: the median roll on the standard champion tables is a level 5 dwarf or elf, and with my suggested initial caps a level 5 human. However the modal value is a bog-standard human so I think (my stats knowledge is a bit shakey) you're better off settling for a level 5 than rolling. But then if playing it safe is your thing then the path of the chaos champion probably isn't for you...


Many little lead (and plastic) people were locked in combat for a day in pursuit of a MacGuffin known simply as "the MacGuffin", which seems a little undignified. So, in Realm of Chaos-style, a MacGuffin generator seems useful -

d10 First part d10 Second part
1 Eye of 1 Chaos power (d6: 1: Khorne; 2: Slaanesh; 3: Nurgle; 4: Tzeentch; 5: Malal; 6: Hashut)
2 Tears of 2 Old World god (d6: 1: Morr; 2: Taal; 3: Ulric; 4: Khaine; 5: Grungni; 6: Liadriel)
3 Claw of 3 the Oathbreaker
4 Essence of 4 Eternity
5 Orb of 5 Hunger
6 Blade of 6 Eldritch Sight
7 Gourd of 7 Dispair
8 Casket of 8 the Archmage
9 Crown of 9 Avarice
10 Tome of 10 the Earth


The games

Finally, on to the pictures...

Scenario 1 - below ground. A band of adventurers find the MacGuffin, and now must escape past a warband who are also after it. They routed a pack of wolves, after which it was a simple chase to the exit, which we decided was a bit dull. So mysteriously the exit became barred by a door - surely the adventurers could break it down before being caught by the warband's main strength...?

Moral of the story - adventuring party modelled on a low-ish level WFRP party can't go toe-to-toe with a warband. If we use this idea again it needs a bit of a re-think (and a buff). Or less doors.

Scenario 1 - above ground. Meanwhile two further warbands are fighting for control of the area, to give them a chance to find another entrance to the dungeon.

Scenario 2 - below ground. The adventurers must escape the tunnels (still), but this time through a different warband. Somehow they manage it this time.

Scenario 2 - above ground. Now in possession of the MacGuffin, the winning warband from below ground must escape past another, whose champion has now ascended to pseudo-daemonhood. Or, rather than escaping, kill the champion and all his followers...

Scenario 3 - in town. The warband with the MacGuffin have infiltrated a town for nefarious purposes, and are now resting up in a barn before making good their escape at night. But the adventurers have tracked them down.

Meanwhile various townspeople and guard patrols do their best to overlook groups of armed somethings in the dark, but the guards can't quite ignore obvious sounds of battle.

Scenario 3 - the bridge. A couple of chaos champions have worked out that if they can take possession of - or better yet destroy - this bridge, they can prevent the escape of the warband with the MacGuffin. If only they can get out of the surrounding mud for long enough to make a contest of it...

Finale. The warband with the MacGuffin is getting relatively powerful at this point. But the other two warbands, and the adventurers, get one last chance to acquire it.


  1. To my mind this is how fantasy miniature games are supposed to be played, ie. on a smaller scale and with a strong rpg streak running through them. Much more manageable, immersive and ultimately rewarding for players than mass-battle dice-fests, at least in my humble opinion! Many thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Gaz. I have a preference for smaller scale games anyway, and this has definitely reinforced it. This seemed much more fun-per-hour than the last game I played, which was a larger, long battle with exactly the same participants. And the immersion is a big part of that I think, as you get invested in the game rather than the battle, if that makes sense.

      Although they both have their place - you have a far smaller tactical scope at this small scale, for example.