Blood Bowl – the RPG!

I’ve been having a blast with the new release of the Blood Bowl miniatures game from Games Workshop and as an old fan of the original editions of the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (please don’t talk to me about the FFG edition – I never could get into that one…), it really got me thinking about what a Blood Bowl-based campaign would look like!

Just to be clear, most of these ideas can be used for any sports-based campaign.  I’m simply using Blood Bowl as a convenient stand-in for the sports ball of your preference (but let’s face it, Blood Bowl makes for a great, gonzo backdrop).

So what are some possible campaign hooks based around a Blood Bowl campaign?

  • The Bad News Bears (Orcs?) – Everyone loves a Bad News Bears style story where the young, scrappy team works their way up to become champions.  Have the PC players start out under-equipped and poorly managed and put them into situations where they can’t seem to get anything right.  Playing this type of game needs some care – it can be a bit demoralizing to be the lovable loser.  Try including an archrival that’s nasty and prone to cheating that the players can develop a real antipathy for.
  • The Star Player & Team – On the flip side of the coin, you can have a campaign where one or more of the players are the star of the team, with the other players taking the role of the players’ agents, physical trainers, etc. There are lots of different narrative arcs that you can take with this type of campaign – rags to riches based on talent (aka the Jerry Maquire if you will), the fall from glory or the classic race to the championship against the archrival (it’s sports folks, we’re going to go to the archrival well quite a bit).
  • The Management Staff – Rather than play members of the on-field team, why not have the players take on the role of management staff?  Coach, scorekeeper – even waterboy!  In this style of campaign, the PCs can struggle with the antics of the team, deal with their counterparts on other teams and even have to content with the league staff!
  • The Broadcast Team – Why have the PCs linked to a specific team?  One of the great things about Blood Bowl is the commentary by Jim Johnson and Bob Bifford.  Players as members of a broadcast staff could be working for one of the Old World’s governments, traveling with the Blood Bowl tournaments as cover for their activities. Or perhaps the PCs are up and coming sports reporters who’ve attached themselves to the league’s bad boys in hopes of scoring the perfect scoop.

Blood Bowl makes for an awesome miniatures game, but I’m not sure about it’s long term potential as a RPG setting.  That said, any of these ideas could make a fine mini-campaign that could serve as a break from a more serious, regular campaign.

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