Friday, December 5, 2014

Top 5 Oldhammer Scenarios - Rank 4

The Oldenhaller Contract

Onwards with the top five Oldhammer scenarios! Rank four is probably THE Warhammer scenario. Probably most of us have fond memories of this one. I do. I fondly remember sitting around a tiny table with now long lost friends. We somehow knew this would be different. Playing Warhammer felt like summoning a demon. A thick tome, with an aura of evil and madness. The tone was dark, the illustrations pure madness. We were blown away. We were in it together. We lowered the light and summoned a demon.

The scenario is as Warhammer as it gets. Players who are new to the Old World will be in for a (nasty) surprise. This is not your typical fantasy setting - this is Warhammer. Keep in mind back then the world of roleplaying was dominated by D&D. Instead of fighting alongside a dwarf, elf, barbarian and wizard within random generated dungeons - without any goal beside looting - , the players get thrown into a net of murder, intrigue and chaos. 

A job offer

The plot is straightforward. The first half of the adventure is a city run. After getting robbed and beaten up - what a nice start - the players are hired by Albrecht Oldenhaller to retrieve a valuable artifact from the Schatzenheimer gang, inhabiting a tunnel complex known as ‘the asylum’. As expected things are not as straightforward as they seem. There are not one but three rivaling gangs in the asylum. There is murder, blood and footprints. Oh, and the artifact is being used in a chaos ritual. 

The second half is probably the closest you will get to a Warhammer equivalent of a dungeon crawl. The players delve deeper and deeper into the complex. On their journey they encounter the various gangs and gather clues of where to find the artifact. Eventually they start to realize that things are less harmless and straight forward as they might have sounded. 

Welcome to the Asylum

The scenario was written as an introduction to WFRPG for new GMs and players. It actually reads more like a choose your own adventure book. It covers and recaps most of the basic rules - how to resolve combat, fire a ranged weapon, how to break down a door etc. Great if you are new to WFRGP. A more experienced GM will probably skip most of that. 

Fluff wise the scenario has everything you might want from an Oldhammer game. Robbed and beaten up players, a rooftop chase, exploring sewers, an Indy Jones mine cart scene, rats, mutants and chaos! Mood and setting are perfect! Down to earth Warhammer. 

The iconic cart chase

The flow of the scenario is straight forward and railroaded. Again, keep in mind it was written for new GMs and does an excellent job at that. An experienced group will probably frown here and there. 

To be honest, the scenario feels a bit dated by now. Well, to be fair -  it actually is OLD and was written before the mighty GW canon was established and our brains rewired. Mister Oldhenammer seems a bit to open about the heritage of the artifact - Nurgle. Running the scenario today, I would play down the Nurgle part a lot and make Albrecht Oldhenhammer much more secretive. I am not a big fan of chaos and mutants popping up left and right. Make chaos count, not an everyday commodity. Oh, did I mention that the players might face a Beast of Nurgle in the end… and catch Nurgle’s rot? Well, good luck with that one.    

Oldschool Nurgle 
Overall, the scenario is the perfect introduction to WFPG. It has collected a bit of dust here and there, but nothing that can't be fixed. Gritty and dark! 

What do you think? Fond memories as well?


  1. Very fond memories. My latest iteration has Skaven instead of cultists. The beast of Nurgle never got far against an attacking party, so I changed it to a rat ogre.

  2. This one is awesome. I've run it several times, it's a great introduction. I've set it Middenheim most of the time with the mine cart tunnels running deeper and deeper. I use chaos cultists for the final fight but don't allow the ritual to work. Contracting Nurgle's rot is as you say quite harsh at the beginning of ones adventuring career!

  3. I really want to run this one as it always caught my imagination ever since the first time I read the title. It's the essence of WFRP from the very firstil scene. But I will modify some parts, as seems to be the consensus these day. Espescially the last part. The full horror of chaos is best kept as a lurking threat rather than sprung in the players faces from the start. ..