I’ve been reading the old Enemy Within series of adventures for Warhammer Fantasy, specifically Shadows over Bögenhafen, and I discovered that Bögenhafen really is just the right size town for what I’d like in my Warhammer Fantasy game. It’s not quite as big as Altdorf, but still plenty big to feel like it could hold a lot of secrets, and honestly the map in Shadows over Bögenhafen is really just amazing.
I suppose I could just run The Enemy Within as written, but I’m still attached to the idea of having a good number of tables to generate random chaos in the town as play proceeds. The good news is that Matt Finch has already done most of the work for me. The tables in his Tome of Adventure Design, specifically The Villain’s Plan section in book one, are perfect. All I needed was a list of potential villains, so today while driving in the car I challenged Jenn to brainstorm with me “who might be behind the mysterious goings on in Bögenhafen?” Here’s what we came up with:
1. A secret chaos cult (roll 1d4, 1: Khorne, 2: Nurgle, 3: Slaanesh, 4: Tzeentch)
2. Skaven (roll 1d4, 1: Eshin, 2: Moulder, 3: Pestilens, 4: Skryer)
3. The undead (roll 1d6, 1-3: Necromancer, 4-6: Vampire)
4. A crime organization (thieves guild or similar)
5. Local corrupt individual (roll 1d6, 1-3: minor guild leader or other economic power, 4-6: wealthy individual or petty noble seeking social elevation)
6. Spies from another country (Roll 1d6, 1-2: Bretonnia, 3-4: Tilea, 5-6: Kislev)
So I took this and slapped it into an Inspiration Pad Pro file, and then proceeded to transcribe all of Matt Finch’s tables from The Villain’s Plan in as well. You’ll forgive me for not sharing the file, but again most of the work is Matt Finch’s and he deserves your patronage. The end result is some truly amazing stuff all available at a quick tap on my phone. Here are some examples (slightly modified during transcription for readability):
Cult of Nurgle that is acting as the minions of another villain with the assignment to raise money. The cult is selling dangerously flawed merchandise. Involves murders.
Necromancer attempting to gain favor with another villain by rescuing it from prison. The necromancer seeks initiation to a higher, formalized level of the other villain’s organization.
Skaven Clan Moulder attempting to gain favor with another villain by providing slaves. The method of gaining favor must be performed on ongoing basis, and the second villain can’t do it alone. In this case, the first villain has considerable power over the second, who depends on the first to keep performing the requisite task.
Crime Organization attempting to destroy anyone returning from a pilgrimage to a particular holy site via outside slander. Instead of spreading lies within the community, the villain spreads lies about the community to everyone else. The objective is to cause mob violence or legal opposition that will break or kill the members of the community.
Petty Noble attempting to manipulate his or her own reputation as a dangerous person by claiming responsibility for others’ crimes.
All in all, I’ve had very few duds. Mostly at this point I’m just cleaning up the text from Finch’s tables to run together better when randomly assembled. I wish I had some more villain types, but there are only so many that fit into that category of villains who could lay hidden within society and pull strings to cause trouble. Sure, we could have an army of orcs show up at the gates, but somehow I’m not seeing a secret cult of greenskins hiding underground trying to manipulate the normal citizenry.
Actually, that sounds kind of awesome, but really, it can’t be a major part of the tables. I mean, how many times can the players break into the vault and pull back the hoods before rolling their eyes and asking “really, another secret cabal of goblins who just want a seat at the council?”