The Odd Couple
The hungry Halflings and Ogres of Hero's Call
“Little Empire people scared. I say, ‘Hokay, don’t bother me none.’ They scared, they pay on time, they keep me fed.” –Blorg, Ogre Maneater
Hero’s Call, the epic campaign supplement for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, features a wide range of high-powered careers for heroes at the pinnacles of their professions, new actions to inspire awe, and deadly foes such as Archaon the Everchosen, who make worthy adversaries for epic showdowns toward the climactic end of a campaign. Still, Hero’s Call offers yet another truly exciting addition to your adventures in the Old World; players find rules to play characters of two new races, halflings and ogres.
While halflings and ogres have long resided within the Empire, neither race is so much welcomed as tolerated. Most common folk in the Empire think of halflings as lazy, cowardly thieves. Still, it’s a fool who dismisses the halflings’ culinary talents, and many halflings earn good livings in human cities as chefs. Those with good reputations can find employment in fine noble houses.
Meanwhile, no matter how many assassinations an ogre has thwarted or how many battles an ogre mercenary has helped the Empire win, people remain fearful and wary of them, never certain if one of the hulking brutes will turn against them. Nonetheless, a few members of the nobility have hired ogres into their staff as bodyguards. Their sheer size and strength makes them truly intimidating, and while an ogre receives payment on time and remains well fed, he remains surprisingly loyal. An ogre who doesn’t find himself drafted as a bodyguard may end up serving as a mercenary or hired muscle for a criminal organization.
How might halflings and ogres fit into your Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay campaign? To give you an idea, we’re offering you several examples of halfling and ogre characters as web exclusive content. These characters are not from Hero’s Call, but they illustrate how halflings and ogres may play a part of your adventures in the Reikland.
A halfling with an adventurous appetite, Ham Hubgrub left the Moot at a young age to travel the Empire in search of new meals, new flavors, and new opportunities. After sampling human, Dwarf, and High Elf cuisine, Ham rooted himself in Altdorf, where he established a filthy little deli where he sold sweet breads and seasoned meats. His distinctive cooking style quickly earned him a reputation among the nobility, whereupon he was asked to serve as a personal chef for Ludenvig Waldorfer, a minor noble with aspirations of greatness.
Ham has recently become increasingly suspicious that his employer may be involved in cultish activities, which he may host in secret chambers within his massive estate. For his part, Ham feels this justifies the acquisition of any loose and useful objects lying about the estate, many of which he comes across while searching for secret doors or false panels.
Rosie Duckend doesn’t share the same fear and loathing of rats as most people of the Empire. While physicians link rats to epidemics such as the Black Plague of 1111 and common folk suspect they may be witches’ familiars, Rosie has learned to think of rats as a source of income. Her short stature allows her to pursue nests of the beady-eyed rodents through the dark reaches of Altdorf’s sewers into which her human counterparts can’t squeeze. Traditional ratting poles are too long for her, but Rosie has cut her own down to size, which she has named “Bacon” after her favorite food, in order to remind herself why she spends so much time in the sewers, chasing rats. Though she’s named her ratting pole, Rosie refuses to name the small but vicious dog that keeps her company. She was raised by a family that held it unlucky to name animals, and Rosie has yet to shake that superstition.
Like most halflings, Rosie shares a keen appreciation for food. She hasn’t tried cooking rat for herself yet, but she sometimes sells fat catches to halfling chefs employed by the Altdorf nobility who serve the meat renamed as a delicacy, seasoned with cloves, ginger, and cinnamon.
Rosie may need a bigger dog to help her face the epic monsters in Hero’s Call!
Like many halflings who establish residence within the Empire’s human cities, Rook Clumpwood confronts daily distrust and even blunt bigotry. While some halflings feel compelled to rise above the frequent jibes and taunts, Rook simply decided that if people were going to call him a thief and a coward, he’d prove them right. Rook’s natural aptitude for theft earned him a steady diet of fine steaks, wines, and desserts–everything for which a halfling could ever hope–but several close encounters with the watch and suspicious priests of Sigmar prompted Rook to reconsider his personal involvement in thievery. Recently, he’s entered a new chapter of life as the boss of a local gang of thieves, educating them in the subtlest techniques, directing them to targets he’s marked, and enjoying a nice cut of the proceeds.
Still, there are times in which Rook feels nostalgic for the thrill of a personal adventure, sneaking about, feeling tumblers tick and fall, and testing the heft of a coin purse in his hands or savoring the flavor of a fresh baked pie acquired at full discount. As the urge to become more active starts to take him, Rook has begun to train his network of thieves to serve also as a network of spies and informers.
The ogre maneater known only as Blorg found his way to the Empire largely due to his fondness for the taste of Orcs. Hailing from a family out of favor with the Tyrant of his tribe in the Mountains of Mourn, Blorg traveled out of the mountains to travel the world, fight, and eat. Blorg’s early encounters with a number of Orc scouts resulted in the acquisition of a taste for the flesh of greenskins, as well as a tremendous bronze and iron tower shield that serves him nicely as a gutplate. Later, Blorg’s wanderings led him into a skirmish between a battalion of Empire soldiers and a host of greenskins. The ogre happily charged into the melee, much to the astonishment of the Empire soldiers, and when the humans and ogre proved victorious, Blorg was pleasantly surprised that none of the soldiers wanted any share of his greenskin meat.
Since his happy encounter with the Empire’s military, Blorg has served as a mercenary, patrolling the wilds and turning back incursions by tasty greenskins as well as the less flavorful Beastmen and Chaos marauders. Even when the Empire’s patrols have given Blorg few foes to slay and ingest, the soldiers have kept him happy by introducing him to roast mutton, rye bread, and spiced wine.
For years, Kronn traveled the Old World and the Empire as a maneater, but he has happily put those nomadic ways behind him as he seeks to enjoy his new life as a dockhand who claims his weekly bonus in barrels of raw fish. It was his fondness for the fish he’d sampled that first led Kronn to the docks of Nuln, and his employer gladly rewards his prodigious appetite with an ample supply of salmon, mackerel, whitefish, and trout. Kronn’s tremendous strength and endurance allow him to pack and unpack cargo holds at an astonishing rate, making him a model of efficiency, but not everyone is as pleased by Kronn’s unique abilities as his employer.
Both the Hooks and Fish dock gangs see the potential Kronn offers as an ally and seek his vow of loyalty. Even so, they plot against the dull-witted dockhand, should he refuse them–or worse, accept the offer provided by the rival gang. Just as Kronn has begun to appreciate and rely upon the services a number of cooks, tailors, barbers, and other humans offer, the Hooks and Fish have begun to exert their influence over the ogre’s life, in order to make him miserable should he prove himself a thorn in their sides.
All ogres in the Empire begin as maneaters, but how they advance is up to you!
“Cheaters never prosper, but they sure are tasty!” –Günther, Ogre Gambler
Günther served as a bodyguard for an old, minor noble after his travels took him to Altdorf, where he adopted a new name to better blend into the crowds. Günther’s years of service as a bodyguard were remarkable for his efforts in foiling a burglary and saving his employer from a riot when starving peasants had been incited by Chaos cultists. As reward, Günther received not only legs of lamb, lamb stew, and lamb chops, but the respect of his fellow guards in the noble’s service. They introduced him to drinking halls and gambling dens, where Günther, who was long interested in fitting in with his fellow citizens of the Empire, caught a taste for the thrills of Daemon’s Eyes and Cripple My Pig. With a growing interest in the Empire’s many fashions and its finer foods, Günther was easily entranced with the opportunity to win quick coin. Whether due to luck or his hulking presence at the table, Günther enjoyed a good share of success.
Thus, when the old noble passed away, and his heir had no use for Günther’s service, the ogre decided to pursue his fortune as a gambler. Occasionally, an enterprising gambler will cheat Günther once, but never twice. Still, even in Günther’s worst games, as it seems his fortunes are ready to slip away from him entirely and his realization leads to anger, his luck has a way of turning around so that he wins his last hand. Rare is the opponent who walks away from the table, bold enough to swindle the ogre for more than a minor profit.
Tolerated, though never entirely welcomed by the majority of the common folk, halflings and ogres live lives apart from most within the Empire. Whether they undertake adventures at an employer’s behest, to earn acceptance, or simply because no better opportunities appear to them, heroes of these two races understand what it is to be outsiders within their homeland.
With Hero’s Call, players gain the opportunity to add these outsiders to their Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay campaigns.