WHAT 1st Encounter – Part 3, The Denizens

In this part I’m going to show you who lives in the dungeon. This is the last bit of prep work before playing the Dungeons Encounter in Warrior Heroes Adventures in Talomir or WHAT for short. Though I’ve taken three posts to demonstrate the prep work I’ve done, in actual time it only takes a few minutes and doing the prep work makes for a much more enjoyable game.

The first thing to do in a Dungeons Encounter is to roll 2d6 on the Big Bad Table to find out who lives in the dungeon. My result was a six and I go to that row on the table to discover the Big Bad is wererats, the minions are wererats and the lowlifes are wererats. So this is a dungeon to wear down a party with wave after wave of wererats with the added tension of party members being bitten and becoming wererats themselves. However, I’m going to do something a little different. I’m going to make my wererats a little more interesting.

The Lowlifes

The dungeon lowlifes are the standard wererat found in the rules. The main difference is that being in the dungeon away from men, they are in their rat-man form. To save time in the game, I’m going to pre-load my lowlife PEFs and write them down on an index card. I’ll create six different PEFs and when the game calls for a lowlife PEF, I’ll just roll a d6 to determine Who They Are and when I roll for How Many of Them, I just pick them from left to right until I have the number I need. Here’s how it’s done:

Pre-Loading PEFs

  1. Determine the maximum number of NPCs needed for the PEF. When resolving PEFs in WHAT there is a chance that the number of NPCs will be one more than the number of your band (two more if goblins). So if my party has six members, each pre-loaded PEF will have seven NPCs.
  2. Using the Resolving PEFs process in the Encounter or general rules, create the NPCs as normal writing them down on an index card. In my case for my dungeon lowlifes, I’ll use the Wererats table.
  3. The first NPC generated is the leader.
  4. Don’t forget to roll to see if a NPC is a Caster or Healer. Unless called for by a special rule, there can only be one Caster and/or one Healer in the NPC group.
  5. Repeat this process until you have six different PEFs.

I’m not going to list all six of the PEFs, but here’s what the first index card looks like:

Wererats Lowlifes PEF #1


The Minions

My take on the Minions comes from real life experience – the Minions are middle management! These are the task masters or bosses of the dungeon. What I’ve done is identify three types of leaders for the Minions PEFs – the Captain, the Caster, and the Packmaster. Again, I’m going to create six of these: two Captains, two Casters and two Packmasters.

The Captain PEF

The Captain Minion PEF is the easiest to build. The Leader is the first row of the Wererats Table – yeah, the Rep 5 AC 4 bad boy. The rest of the PEF is loaded as normal. Here’s what the first Captain PEF looks like:

Wererats Captain Minion PEF #1


The Caster PEF

The Caster PEF is one where the Leader is a Caster. In addition, the Caster may have one (1-3) or two (4-6) Beastman bodyguards. Now, there isn’t an extensive bestiary for WHAT, no system does because new races and creatures are always being created. What you do when you have a race or creature that doesn’t have stats is to find a similar creature and decide what makes the two different. In my case, the Beastman is like an Orc, but instead of being Cruel, the Beastman is subject to a frenzied Rage. So, until a bestiary comes along with a different definition, I’ll create my Beastman from the Orc Table and replace the Cruel attribute with Rage. The rest of the PEF is populated from the Wererats Table as normal. Here’s the first PEF:

Wererats Caster Minion PEF #1

2Beastman Warrior422BM
3Beastman Warrior422BM

The Packmaster PEF

I have to admit that the Packmaster is a throwback to my Warhammer Fantasy days where several armies had Packmasters or Beastmasters who drove swarms of creatures and monsters into the enemy lines. The Packmaster is protected by a single Wererat Warrior as he herds a swarm of giant maddened mutant rats slavering with Wererat poison. There’s not a listing for giant rats, so what I’ve done is give giant mutant rats the stats of the weakest Wererat and treat them like goblins in that there is one more than what was rolled in the How Many of Them process. Here’s the stats for my first Packmaster PEF:

Wererats Packmaster Minion PEF #1

3Giant Mutant Rat321BM
4Giant Mutant Rat321BM
5Giant Mutant Rat321BM
6Giant Mutant Rat321BM
7Giant Mutant Rat321BM
8Giant Mutant Rat321BM

The Big Bad

I have the perfect Big Bad – a Rat Ogre. Again, there’s no Rat Ogre in the list of Races. So what do I use? I use the stats of a regular Ogre and just give him Wererat Poison. Since he is the Big Bad, I up his Armor Class to AC6. He ends up with these stats:

Rat Ogre – Rep 5 – AC 6 – Weapon 2 – Alignment Black Moon – Attributes Slow and Wererat Poison.

On To The Game

With all of the prep work done, I’m ready to play the game. I hope these posts have been helpful to you and maybe even given you a spark of inspiration here or there for your own games. Hopefully, I can play the game tomorrow, my main concern is lighting. I’ll be playing on a 2′ x 2′ battle mat, so I’ll have to use natural light for photography. It has been an odd couple of weeks here in the Dallas area with days with a heavy overcast and rain with days of bright Summer mixed in. What I’m saying is that if it rains tomorrow, I’ll have to postpone the game until I get a sunny day.

As always, let me know in the comments if you would like to see more posts on how I set up games.

7 thoughts on “WHAT 1st Encounter – Part 3, The Denizens

  1. Nice work on the last three posts. There does seem a lot of were rats for your party to wade through. This might be a tricky task for them. Great idea setting up the PEFs as preloaded, no need to roll them up as you game. Do you use lots of scenery on the board to block line of sight?

    1. I’ve used scenery in the past – the Loke Battle Mats have things like walls and columns drawn on them, but I may add the corresponding scenery just to improve the photographs.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to share this.

    This article is actually the one that had me decide to purchase WHAT rules (after WHA&A, WH Legends & DH2C)

    I thought Minions and Lowlifes were a game term referring to specific game mechanics or sub-lists.

    Reading the rules they just seem to be
    – more of a “story” term
    – another way to call the 1-2 & 3-6 columns of the Big Bad Table.

    So Lowlifes are, in 5/11 cases on the BB Table, just NPC from a different army/race list. Right ?

    That makes the work you did with your Wererats pre-loaded PDF even more useful.

      1. FYI here is what I improvised on the fly today for my Skaven (not Talomir wererats) Lowlifes (Minions never showed up).

        I decided I would use two different kinds of LL : Warriors and Giant Rats

        For the “What are they?” test I rolled

        2D6 vs ER
        2 – Warriors
        1- 50/50
        0 – Rats

        AND I did another test to see if one of them was a Champion if Warriors (with a +1 to REP more than the average warrior) or a Pack Master if Rats.

        1D6 VS ER
        1- Leader
        0- No Leader

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