mandrill_one
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:17 am

Fixes for Ashes of Middenheim

Tue Feb 19, 2019 3:06 pm

It is widely known that Ashes of Middenheim would need substantial changes to be fully enjoyable and appealing to players.
So, what fixes did you apply when you played it?

Thanks to anyone who cares to answer!


NOTE: I know this topic has likely already been treated in other forums (StS, BL). To my defense, from what I know these other forums are currently unavailable.

Karanthir
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Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:30 am

Re: Fixes for Ashes of Middenheim

Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:32 am

StS is still available (for now). This seemed like the most useful result of a quick search there (although I haven't read the thread, and it might depend on exactly what you want to fix): http://forum.strike-to-stun.net/viewtopic.php?t=1331

I haven't played the adventure, so unfortunately I can't offer any advice.

NOTE: Not trying to discourage discussion here by posting a 14 year old StS thread. New discussion of old problems is always welcome!

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Hyarion
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Re: Fixes for Ashes of Middenheim

Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:38 am

When my group has played through it, we thought it was quite servicable as written, certainly not in any need of "substantial changes". I recognize that not everybody will like the same stuff, so it might be better if you listed the stuff you don't like or want to change.

Graak
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Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:50 pm

Re: Fixes for Ashes of Middenheim

Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:37 am

Hyarion wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:38 am
When my group has played through it, we thought it was quite servicable as written, certainly not in any need of "substantial changes". I recognize that not everybody will like the same stuff, so it might be better if you listed the stuff you don't like or want to change.
We also played it as it was. It was my first try with wfrp so I wasn't comfortable enough with the setting to try any modifications. It's has its flaws, probably many, from the relic thing, to the trial how it's meant to be played, to the last fight with super-knights of "Ulric".

But I agree it's better for you to point the parts you can't digest. Personal tastes are very... Well, personal... I know people who would shout out in shame at the idea of PCs got in jail bacause this deprives of game freedom (no comment, seriously :S ).

mandrill_one
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Re: Fixes for Ashes of Middenheim

Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:36 am

First of all, thanks Karanthir for pointing out to the StS forums, I thought they were already unavailable.

Well, I don't have a strong opinion on the adventure as such (I have just read it, I still have to digest it), but from online reviews and comments in blogs it seems that A LOT of people don't like it. So I was curious to know the variants put in place by other GMs.
My thoughts on possible problems with it:


(SPOILERS!)



- The final piece is, well, the same old ritual to summon a demon. How many WFRP adventures end this way? We just played through Ill Tidings (from Knights of the Grail), and the ending is awfully similar;
- The main enemy is a stranger to the PCs, so either the GM does not provide clues as to his guilt (and the players will not suspect him) or he provides some clues (and the players will immediately know the culprit is him); his (supposedly slow) descent into Chaos worship is totally ignored by the scenario and thus by the PCs;
- The (real) reason for the baddie to send the PC on the side questo to find a very important Chaos artifact seems contrived.
- The connection between AoM and Spires of Altdorf seems weak and uninspiring: "You have to find a series of Chaos artifacts. Let's search a library. Ok, you discover that one of the other artifacts is probably in Altdorf".

Graak
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:50 pm

Re: Fixes for Ashes of Middenheim

Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:18 pm

mandrill_one wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:36 am

(SPOILERS!)



- The final piece is, well, the same old ritual to summon a demon. How many WFRP adventures end this way? We just played through Ill Tidings (from Knights of the Grail), and the ending is awfully similar;
- The main enemy is a stranger to the PCs, so either the GM does not provide clues as to his guilt (and the players will not suspect him) or he provides some clues (and the players will immediately know the culprit is him); his (supposedly slow) descent into Chaos worship is totally ignored by the scenario and thus by the PCs;
- The (real) reason for the baddie to send the PC on the side questo to find a very important Chaos artifact seems contrived.
- The connection between AoM and Spires of Altdorf seems weak and uninspiring: "You have to find a series of Chaos artifacts. Let's search a library. Ok, you discover that one of the other artifacts is probably in Altdorf".
- the ritual could be an attempt to extinguish the holy flame. You can swap one of both the knights of "ulric" with bloodletters if you want to save some of the demon part
- can't help with the second point, it has been more than 10 years since I played it, sorry
- the whole "follow the blind prophet" needs to be re-written, yes. Can't remember atm. Was that an excuse to send PCs iut6if town? But it backfired because they acquired clues?
- it's the nature of mcguffins, some are better concealed by veils of illusion, some are not. This one in particular needs to be better inserted into the plot. How to? Clues in the main enemy' bedroom that lead to something more interesting than "search the library"? Spoiler from Spires of Altdorf: one of the side-enemies will be a survivor of the khornite cult that wants revenge. You could work on that maybe


I'm sorry if I can't be helpful as I would like but I realized a forgot many details since then
:S

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Hyarion
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Re: Fixes for Ashes of Middenheim

Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:26 pm

A lot of this is going to change whether or not you plan on running the full Paths of the Damned campaign (Ashes of Middenheim, Spires of Altdorf, Forges of Nuln) or are only running Ashes of Middenheim on it's own, so please bear that in mind.

1a) The daemon summoning. I think you need to separate what is happening from why it's happening. If you object to the magic ritual, I'm not sure there's a way around that, unless they are just planning on using the artifact for some purpose, but in the world of WFRP, magic rituals are a thing, and unless the PCs are sufficiently advanced magisters themselves, they may not recognize the difference between a chaos ritual and a ritual of another sort until it's too late.
1b) If you object to the daemon summoning, they could be planning a consecration ritual before they use the artifact. It could be a ritual to extinguish the flame of Ulric, or any number of things.
2) Liebnitz's descent into chaos *is* slow, you're right, but the players are only coming in on the tail end of things. By the time the players meet him, he is a full blooded (some pun intended) Khorne worhsipper. He's able to pass of Khorne's blessings as Ulrics, both by his own skill and by having help from his brother cultists. When the PCs meet him he is still a high ranking priest in good standing in the Church of Ulric, any accusations the PCs may have would be met with incredulity. Besides, how would they be able to tell the difference between a Khorne worshipper and a fanatical sect of a very martial religion which is dedicated to battle?
3) Following a vision isn't beyond the scope of believability for a fantasy-genre rpg. Besides, Liebnitz doesn't send them to the shrine anyways. If the whole thing seems too contrived, you could pull a "Wrong time/wrong place" and have them meet another adventuring party who found the skull but were ambushed by beastmen. The other party hands the skull over with their dying breath and entrusts the quest to your PCs.
4) So put another link somewhere. An inscription on the skull, or on the pedestal where they find the skull, or letters in Liebnitz's room directing him to bring the skull to be reunited with the other part. This one is easily addressed.

Whymme
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:18 pm

Re: Fixes for Ashes of Middenheim

Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:47 am

It's long ago since I've read the book, so I don't know the details anymore. I know that I didn't like it at all, and I remember some of the points why I didn't.

* The adventure takes the whole kitchen sink of WFRP baddies - skaven, cultists, beastmen, whatever you can think of. And the only reason that I could come up with is that the powers that be thought that it would be a great introduction to show off all the baddies of the setting. IMHO it made for a very incoherent adventure.
Suggestion to repair this: Focus on just one enemy, Rewrite stuff so that it's just cultists, or just skaven, or just whatever - just focus on one single enemy. It gives the adventure focus.

* IIRC the adventure called for several 'follow trail' rolls at the start, to follow a skaven assassin back to his hide-out. If the PCs wouldn't find that hide-out, they didn't find the clues that would lead them to the rest of the scenario - so a single failure of a 'follow trail' test would have left the players helpless.
Suggestion to repair it: Either do without the 'follow trail' tests, or find a different way to get the clue to the players.

* The Purple Hand made an appearance, and they decided, apparently just for kicks, to poison the wells or the water supply of the city.
Suggestion to repair this: Give opponents a believable motive for their actions.

mandrill_one
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Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:17 am

Re: Fixes for Ashes of Middenheim

Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:46 am

Thanks everyone for your answers!
They will be useful for our campaign. We'll start in a few weeks!

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