24 January 2007

Witch Hunters in the Baronies

Rather than Dogs in the Vineyard.

As I read Dogs I posted to RPGnet about first impressions - generally good with a couple of queries that need be tested in play - and then later there, and here, about how I'd felt a little uneasy with the tones in the game regarding religion. Then, yesterday, I posted a thread about a campaign idea I've been kicking around for a few months: a WFRP game where the PCs are the empowered staff of a minor baron's household, tasked with executing his will and doing what's best for his smallfolk in times of trouble (wars or raids brewing, chaos stirring and so forth). The way it developed and a sleepless night thereafter, gave me and pause and time for thought and I realised as I lay waiting for sleep that Dogs could just as well be about the Witch Hunters in the Cult of Sigmar.

The parallels with the default setting are many, though there are as many differences to be sure. Essentially though it comes down to the same ultimate moral authority, which is a requisite baseline for the premise of Dogs to hold up. Warhammer is a renaissance fantasy, rather than medieval, and Witch Hunters certainly have access to firearms, even if the general populace do not and in essence this means that the rules port across as they are - escalation and all. OK, some of the conflicts that face Witch Hunters are not well represented by the rules in Dogs, things like facing down undead might require slight tinkering to work for example, but by and large the match is a good one and - more importantly from a personal point of view - it doesn't trip my comfort warnings the way the not-mormonism did in Dogs as written. I would still run it with the efficacy of Sigmarite prayers dialed down however: part of the appeal of Warhammer to me is that in many ways Sigmar is portrayed as a false deity (he was just, y'know, this guy who happened to be a hero in his time) but that the powers of magic and chaos are very real. Naked faith (albeit stacked with ritual understanding and black powder weapons) standing against a quantifiable, yet simultaneously subversive and secretive foe.

Either way, I think my campaign pitch has changed now! It'll still be Warhammer, just not WFRP... unless the group prefer that when all is said and done and I cannot persuade them otherwise.

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