Continuing a playthrough of British RPGs with Warlock! and some random tables based on Warlock of Firetop Mountain.
Warlock solo - intro | start | partway | finish
Disclosure - I'm a DriveThru RPG affiliate
Rolling Solo with British RPGs - Warlock!
Warlock! (note the exclamation mark) follows on from Dungeoneer and Troika!, part of a trilogy that draws heavily on the Fighting Fantasy heritage. It also has elements of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay mixed in.
Warlock! is a 146 page book from Fire Ruby Designs. I have the original but there is a more recent version, Warlock! Traitor's Edition which has new layout, design and art but the same rules (except for some minor updates).
Unlike Troika! I've used Warlock! in the past, running a campaign set in an alternative Devon in proto-saxon times for 5 players. It's a flexible and fast-moving system!
The game uses Stamina and Luck, but instead of the Skill from Fighting Fantasy / Dungeoneer and Troika, it has a list of Adventuring Skills which start from 4 to 6 for each character. There are no other attributes such as Strength, Smarts or Willpower. It's all done on skill such as Appraise, Small Blade and Ostler (dealing with horses)
Character generation consists of rolling for Luck and Stamina, choosing a Community (from Human, Dwarf, Elf, Halfling) which has no rules effects. Assign 10 skills to have rank 5 and 10 more to have rank 6. The rest start at 4. Lastly pick a career from 4 random rolls and use 10 points on skills from that career. Roll on a couple random charts, pick 3 character traits (such as Capable, Generous or Obnoxious), pick up any equipment from your career and you're good to go.
The Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay heritage of the game shows in the Community choices and the careers system, which has advanced careers such as Freelance and Outlaw Chief to progress into. Basic careers such as Bounty Hunter, Grave Robber, Initiate, Outlaw, Rat Catcher and Wizard's Apprentice are WFRP classics.
Skill checks are quick, using 1d20 + Skill with anything resulting in 20+ being a success Anyone has at least a 25% chance of succeeding on a basic skill check. In opposed checks both roll and highest wins.
Combat is fast, with initiative involving a character and then an opponent acting, and repeating until all have actions. Some creatures get multiple actions, such as Ghouls with 2 Griffins with 3. But they take one at a time. Melee attacks are opposed, with the loser getting injured. (my players loved this part after playing Savage Worlds and D&D 5e before that).
The magic system is similar to Knave, where anyone can use a spell if they can read it from a tome. Except in Warlock it costs Stamina points and requires a successful Incantation check. And there's a chance of a mishap, continuing a tradition from Dungeoneer / Fighting Fantasy and WFRP (2nd Edition).
The book also has spells, some monsters and GM advice. and a little setting info (such as some sample gods). The style (in my book) is well-drawn black and white art, in a more 'classic' presentation.
For solo tools I'll be using some random tables made for creating dungeons, based on the Warlock of Firetop Mountain. As this was the first Fighting Fantasy book, and the main foe is the Warlock, I couldn't resist using it to base my adventure on.
But a solo adventure gamebook isn't perfect for sending adventurers of an RPG into. And I've also played through the gamebook a few times in the past. So I'll be playing a version using random tables based on Warlock of Firetop Mountain.
There will be a dungeon, with a river halfway through it, and a warlock at the end. That's about all I know.
I may also use a simple GM Emulator or oracle, depending on how it goes.
Introducing the Foolhardy Adventurers
One adventure would be ill-advised for Warlock going into Warlock of Firetop Mountain, as starting characters aren't experienced adventurers, like the protagonist in Warlock of Firetop Mountain.
So we're starting with a trio of adventurers trying their luck, and seeing how it goes (probably poorly). I used a random roll (1d6 1-4 Human, 5-6 Nonhuman) for Community (Nonhuman 1d6 1-3 Dwarf, 4-5 Elf, 6 Halfling). For the traits I used a Warlock Char Trait tool I made long ago on Chaos Gen.
We ended up with a dwarf mercenary, a dwarf miner and a human tomb robber. Actually pretty appropriate for trying to navigate a dungeon, kill a warlock and take their stuff.
Stamina 18, Luck 9, female dwarf Mercenary. Impolite, imaginative, brilliant.
Worked for - The king's guard, who were in need. Haunted by a death - no one, you are made of stone and death.
Skills - Appraise 6, Bargain 5, Blunt 6, Brawling 5, Command 5, Crossbow 7, Dodge 7, Endurance 6, History 6, Intimidate 6, Language 6, Large Blade 10, Medicine 5, Navigation 6, Pole-arm 5, Repair 6, Small Blade 5, Spot 5, Streetwise 7, Survival 5, Thrown 5
Equipment - arming sword, moderate armour (chain, breastplate and shield), crossbow, quiver of bolts, book of religious scripture, backpack, 2 days food, waterskin, eating knife, clothes, boots, 4 sp
Stamina 20, Luck 13, male dwarf Miner, Warm-hearted, grouchy, generous
Dug up - nothing but dirt and ghosts. Seen a goblin town, complete with brats.
Skills - Appraise 6, Athletics 5, Bargain 5, Blunt 6, Brawling 5, Command 5, Crossbow 6, Dodge 5, Endurance 8, History 6, Intimidate 6, Language 6, Large Blade 6, Medicine 5, Navigation 10, Pole-arm 5, Repair 6, Spot 5, Survival 6, Swim 7, Thrown 5
Equipment - pick and shovel, hardy and rough clothing, lantern, sack, wooden carving of a mine spirit, backpack, 2 days food, waterskin, eating knife, clothes, boots, 10 sp
Stamina 16, Luck 10, male human Tomb Robber. Puzzled, fierce, unfriendly
Robbed - tomb of family Cesst, shattered. Found - body of a ghoul, fat and swollen.
Appraise 6, Athletics 9, Blunt 7, Bow 6, Command 5, Diplomacy 6, Dodge 6, Disguise 5, Endurance 6, Incantation 5, Intimidate 5, Language 6, Large Blade 6, Lie 6, Medicine 6, Navigation 5, Persuasion 5, Polearm 5, Repair 6, Small Blade 6, Spot 5, Swimming 6
Equipment - crowbar, metal pegs, hammer and chisel, hooded thick cloak, lantern, club, backpack, 2 days food, waterskin, eating knife, clothes, boots
Next will be a look at the tables we'll be using and starting the adventures in the nearest village to the Mountain.