First Impressions - Warlock! Compendium (Fire Ruby Designs)


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Warlock! Compendium

When I returned from holiday, my copy of the Warlock! Compendium had arrived. This is another hardcover book in exactly the same style as the Warlock! Core Book and the Kingdom Supplement. It clocks in at 94 pages and is a compendium of the first four mini-supplements released for the game (which are available as separate PDFs on a Pay-What-You-Want basis at DriveThruRPG).

The first part of the book, Different Paths, provides additional careers for the dwarf, elf and halfling community members. There are six new basic careers; two for each community and they include such delights as Halfling pie masters and gong farmers. They're fun, different and easily integrated into the game (you just add an additional D6 when rolling the initial career options). There are further advanced careers for each community, a total of six again. If you fancy the dwarf on the front of the original Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying game, then you clearly need to follow the Dwarf tunnel fighter career into the advanced Dwarf slayer who even has a stick to bite on because they don't believe in armour! The section rounds out with a prettier take on the character sheet and then some random tables for items found on the road from Pomperburg and rumours about the sprawling industrial city of Verminham.

The second part is an expansion to the magic system, called The Grimoire. It covers what to do if a player wants their character to cast a spell which they find during their adventures and how to copy down scrolls. A wide selection of additional spells is then presented, some of which initially look quite innocuous but could really be quite evil should the players be of the right mind. Rules follow for wands, rods and staffs (which generally hold spell effects) and talismans and amulets (which can store stamina for spellcasting). A short, but interesting selection of magic items is presented, along with a table of sundry items which may really not be of that much use. I especially liked the helmet which forces the wearer to tell the truth, which is apparently avoided by priests in the same religion as the Paladin who used to own it. A list of lost relics provides McGuffins for adventures, and there's information on the wayside shrines found throughout the Kingdom. The section rounds out discussing community spellcasters; dwarves get Runeforgers who can embed spells into items. Halflings get conjurers who work by illusion and sleight of hand, and elves get Druids. Don't annoy them because they can fuel their spells using blood.

The next two parts allow you to dial the game's feel more towards Warhammer than Fighting Fantasy. Part 3 describes Necromancy, starting with how necromancers integrate into society (they tend to want to hang out in big cities as they're a better source of 'raw material' for their projects). There is a short selection of spells to round out this darker side of magic, along with some artefacts which may prove beneficial. The text does suggest that this is perhaps more suitable for non-player characters, but that there is nothing that stops the players taking their characters down this darker path if they can find and learn the spells.

The final part, Corrupted, looks at the lure of the dark and demonology. There's a short description of the motivations of demons and then descriptions of the typical cultist. More powerful opponents such as Fallen Knights (magicians corrupted by demons with dark gifts) are described along with several types of demon that the characters could become misfortunate enough to meet. I do like the fact that 'dark goblins' are described. Goblins are not automatically or inherently evil in this game; spiteful, selfish, but not evil. [1] However, some of them gather around with Fallen Knights to provide a menace to society. Their fellows would resist them if they were faced by their demon-worshipping relatives. The section rounds out with some tables of possible mutations, and a final random demonic find list.

What I really like about this supplement is that it's completely modular, and you can draw on whatever elements that you want to. If you want a world threatened by chaos, you just add in the Necromancy and Corruption options and make them prevalent. The expanded character options for the non-human communities is welcome, as is the expansion to magic. This is a really useful supplement; it's not essential, but it gives you options and the random tables are full of ideas for a GM or player to latch onto. Recommended.

8 September 2020

[1] This is a position taken quite strongly on the game's Discord channel. Goblins are integrated into society; they can be a menace, but they could just as easily be working with others outside their own communities. There are rumours of a Goblin sourcebook...

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