By Jim Bambra, Lindsay Law Cubicle 7 WFRP 4e "Relatively new characters"
It’s a dark, stormy night, and the forest creaks as foul creatures howl through the undergrowth. As freezing rain slices from the roiling sky and attack threatens from all sides, the desperate adventurers stumble upon the warm glow of a fortified inn. But everything isn’t as it seems, and soon the unwitting heroes face deceit, betrayal, and horror as they strive to survive a terrifying Night of Blood.
This eleven page adventure details a small inn that has been taken over by cultists posing as the innkeeper & staff. It sets up some interesting situations and has some decent specificity and flavor, but could use a little less abstracted generalities and a little more traditional formatting. It comes to me as a request to review.
It looks like this adventure appeared in a 1987 edition of White Dwarf, and then was updated and released as a separate product in 2018 for the 4e version of the WFRPG. This explains the original writing credit (Bambra) and the updated one (Law.) I’m not sure how he original went. This one has some issues.
There is some great color in this adventure. That, and the setting up of situations, is one of its great strengths. It starts with the party caught out in a forest road, in a storm, at night. You can hear the braying of the beastmen in the distance. The braying gets closer, and closer. And then it stops, they having brought down the deer they were chasing. The party, of course, doesn’t know this. They are just shitting themselves by this point, this early in the adventure! They see an inn in the distance. The gates in the walls are locked. The ferryhouse, unlocked, shows signs of a struggle and blood, if investigated. Getting in through the side doors of the walls, the party hears unhappy horses from the stables through the storm, and sounds of laughter and mirth from the inn.
What the adventure does very well is create tension and go back and forth between creating suspicion and plausible explanations. The horses could be loud because of the storm. The laughter in the inn dies when the party knocks on the door … which is to be expected. The innkeeper is portly and gruff, having well to do guests staying and not wanting the parties kind tonight. The roadwardern inside asks the party questions. A worker mops the floor. And … theres a mutie in the stable hayloft munching on the dead stable boy. The worker is actually mopping up blood. The portly innkeep is a fat mutie. The roadwardens outfit has bloodstain at the base of his back. The floor upstairs to the common room is wet … hmmm, are those remnants of carpet where the hallway wood is now? Was a carpet just pulled up?
Suspicion. Plausible deniability. Things that makes sense. With alternative facts …
The adventure does this sort of brooding and tension building very very well.
It also does a great job with its monster descriptions. Short and good. A beastman with a cattlehead (with a great little illustration) andmutie descriptions that are both short and decent enough to run with. A great description of a little situation and enough personality and mannerisms for the DM to run with it pretty well.
And it makes a lot, A LOT, of bad decisions.
To begin with, the location key. You get the standard numbered map. In a nice surprise, there’s a little key on the map to tell you which room is which. Room 11 is the stable, for example. But, then, the adventure text doesn’t use the numbers. It uses the room names. SO you have to go find “Bedroom” in the text. And it’s not in alpahbetical order. Instead it’s in some kind of plot order. The party will be outside first, as they approach the inn, so the ferry and stable are outside he inn, and the party might explore there first, so those descriptions come first. Then, in some fucked up decision that only its mother could love, we get a background/introduction section that explains what is going on in the rinn, what has happened and what will happen, kind of. Then we get the main floor inn descriptions. Them ots assumed the party goes upstairs to sleep, cause thats where the loose plot is taking us, so we then get the description of the upstairs of the inn. Then, more plot/timeline stuff and the cellar of the inn is described. It’s a completely fucke dup way to describe the place. Yeah, I get it. I get what is trying to be done. Butit’s nonsense. The monsters/staff/etc are all mixed up in there. This experimental formatting is NOT good. Room/Key format is not perfect for every adventure, but it DOES help you find things easier. Unlike this mess.
It’s also a little handwavey in areas that I think could have emphasized better. Cutting down the word count (A LOT) would have focused better what’s remaining, in the DM’s head. Emphasizing the storm and the chaos/sounds it creates would have gone a long way. As would more advice on playing up suspicion and plausible deniability. Teasing the entire thing out just a bit more. Maybe an order of batt;e/advice section for how things could go down in a couple of situations, just a few sentences each.
In short, it’s an open ended situation. That’s GREAT. But it could have been focused on that and provided some hints to the DM about how to run that and be organized around that, with better break outs of the NPC”s, clues, and little events like the blood mopping. Instead you get this fucked up little plot thingy going on instead of a proper timeline. ANd then it ends with the cops showing up and taking the worst read possible on the situation and the party getting a decent chunk of XP for explaining to them. This partis totally handwaved, with almost no more words than I have typed here. A little more on the cops would have been much appreciated, especially given the XP reward it comes with.
It’s a nice try, and I see the potential it has for a great night of gaming. Good concept here and one of the better “fucked up roadside inn” situations, but severely missing some things.
This is free at DriveThru.
Welcome to WFRP adventure formatting. Nice ideas but tedious as hell to run as written.
Interesting. I liked the old TSR stuff that Bambra worked on. Since it’s free, I’ll have to check it out
Who has run Enemy Within or Masks of Narlahotep?
I suspect Bryce hates them and they would take a life to prep with no help from the product and your players would not appreciate you, not show up and then babies cry
Anyone run this stuff to comment on the above, please share
Funny that you would mention Enemy Within, considering Night of Blood apparently was a part of the campaign, or at least written with it in mind.
The MoN Companion, which is supppsed to help you run it is, I am not joking, longer than The Stand, clocking in at 775 pages.
(Still easier to run than Beyond the Mountains of Madness)
I ran the Enemy Within about 15-20 years ago? The recollections are vague other than it being pretty decent and the party deciding not to fuck with demon summoning and abandoning the city EI the final shot being the party sailing away as the city went up in flames. I think running away was always the better option in most warhammer adventures.
I was the one requesting this so thanks for doing the review, it really helps being able to compare thoughts with yours. For what it’s worth, I’ve run it twice recently with different groups and enjoyed it very much. It’s something different… the way it builds tension and anxiety in players while in fact, nothing is really happening. And it works! When it came to conflict, my players still weren’t sure if they weren’t just paranoid and causing pointless trouble. “Are we the bad guys?”
I thought you my enjoy the tension building and open-endedness. I underestimated how much you would hate the format. 🙂 And you’re right. It’s still one of the best formatted WFRP adventures around. And not that hard to follow in-game… the actually inn has what, four pages? You can pretty much run it from memory (and you probably have to).
I suspect using the original 7 pages long version from White Dwarf 87 might work even better.
The original adventure was exactly the same: the map is numbered, but the adventure is set up as a “script” based on the likely actions of the adventurers, and never references the numbered key. Fortunately, it’s not that involved, and for a set piece it’s pretty nice.
The map is VERY nice, but it took me a bit of time to understand how the Temple/Shrine was connected.
As a WFRP fan, I feel I have to contribute my two silver shillings. Night of Blood has appeared in a number of (very similar) versions: White Dwarf 87; Apocrypha Now; The Restless Dead; and this 4e conversion. I like the original the most: we seem to be agreeing the content is strong, and that is enough for me to call it a very good adventure. Yes, it would cost nothing to have headings like Stables (8 on Map); there could be a list of clues sidebar and a timeline table. As noted above, the original was only 7 sides (and the type in this version is on the small side); it seems to have got bloated without adding extra value. As an introduction to the “the forest outside cities is scary” Old World, I would give it a strong recommendation.
To be honest, it both astounds me how many adventures Cubicle Seven has put out for 4e, both old and new, and just makes me sigh how consistently bad their maps and keying are.
Not going to lie, I think I have this White Dwarf issue and I’m going to dig it out.
I’ve compared the versions the new one is pretty much verbatim the same as the original from 1987. Just mechanical changes, nothing else. Lindsay Law has probably done the conversion but certainly no writing.
Did they lose the Russ Nicholson art!
This sounds exactly like the first Gotrek and Felix story I read in Trollslayer:
“Geheimnisnacht (Night of Secrets)
The first chapter finds the adventurers shortly after meeting for the first time and leaving Altdorf together. They are kicked off the coach they were riding on because of Gotrek’s comments toward the coach driver and especially his wife. As they continue to travel on foot, they are nearly run down by a black coach, and Gotrek vows to find it and hurt the driver. They reach the Standing Stones Inn, and are able to make their way through the barred door to learn of how on Geheimnisnacht a coven who are based in the Darkstone Ring steal children and other people for sacrifices. They learn that the son of the innkeeper, Gunter, and his wife have both disappeared, and so they vow to find the Darkstone Ring and destroy the coven and save Gunter and his wife. After finding the path to the Ring, they come across a rotting cultist who chants gibberish before being felled. They finally come across the Ring and coven and discover that the leader of the coven is the driver of the Black Coach. They listen in for a while and learn that it is dedicated to Slaanesh, Lord of Pleasure. They finally attack and destroy the coven as they intended to sacrifice a stolen baby, and in the aftermath they discover that Gunter and his wife were both cultists, and so are both dead. They rescue the baby, and move on… This story is frequently alluded to by Felix later in the series, as it was his first true glimpse at Chaos” -From the Trollslayer Wikipedia entry.
I set this up as an adventure years ago. A fun atmospheric adventure and big fight.
I found this adventure in an old WHFRPG adventure anthology and last year I ran it as a 5e adventure for level 2s. Worked like a charm. Had the beastmen replaced by gnolls and for the mutants I used guards or something similar. I remember the ending was a bit weird with the shrine.