This is it. You had enough. Despite what your family says it is time for you to live the dream. For years they tried to keep you off the path, they even sent you away to study accounting with the Dwarven masters of Karak Hirn. But enough is enough. You decided to run away, follow the footsteps of your glorious ancestors, and become a celebrity, a living god, in one word: a Blood Bowl coach.
After a few disappointing forays as coach assistant with some local Dorf teams, weird passing Skaven teams and even a trial for an Orc team, you decide to try your luck with the Khemri teams in Nehekhara. The journey is slow, dull and generally awful as the scorching sun seems to make the desert dust taste like old bone in your mouth. Looking like a dust devil, you finally reach a small Khemri town tucked in a quiet valley.
As you step into town you immediately recognize the unique clamor following Blood Bowl matches. Maybe you can head to the local tavern, kill that awful thirst and collect some interesting information.
- Tucked away in Golden Valley -
Sure, take the seat. You look like you could use it. Just don’t dust yourself here, the staff doesn’t like that. And you wouldn’t want to have them on your back, especially if you want to try their specialty: wheat beer with citrus rind in it. Nothing better to chase the taste of dust in your throat friend.
You like the place? No? It takes some getting used to. The sun, the wind, the dust, I know… I like the beer here, and it’s so cool inside. Probably a question of conservation for the Khemri folks mind you… But that may be the nostalgia speaking, this is the place where my recent journey as a Blood Bowl coach started. Yes, I'm a Blood Bowl coach. How is it? Glad you asked...
I still remember the backbreaking, sweaty, journey across the desert for my first official Blood Bowl game as a coach. Know what I'm talking about? I remember the sparse crowd, the strange dance steps of the opposing team, the bone crushing hits. I still remember my innocent dreams of success and glory. When I look back on my humble beginnings, in this very place, I realize how much muddy water has oozed under the bridge.
I could reminisce, but I have been prone to this lately and it didn’t do me any good. No sir. I even have been told, rather seriously and repeatedly, by several individuals, that it would be better for my health to focus on what is in front of me. And what’s in front of me you ask? Well, I will tell you!
I am the “coach” of a fourth-rate Vampire Blood Bowl team. Not only they prefer to wallow in vile bacchanals to team strategy sessions; but they keep finding every opportunity to get pummeled off the pitch and slack on the sideline. That’s what I’m dealing with, on the official front. Now, less officially but as public, the lads are more renowned for their off-the-pitch antics. They stopped at nothing under the guise of collecting “travel fees”, by which I mean they conned and stole and pulled enough fast ones to drunk themselves stupid in good company across all of the Old World and even more.
As you say: quite the feat. Which led to the Guild of Bandits (and affiliated trades) to lean on me and “sponsor” us. By which I mean they gave us a couple of lousy loans and now squeeze everything they can out of our revenues, on and off the pitch. When things went south, I tried to motivate the players, to no avail. Then I tried to get my investment back, which only landed me higher on the menu of the bloodsuckers. I tried to run and all I have to show for it is to return to the starting point with a broken hand…
With a future looking this bleak, they wonder that I drink and live in the past!
- Original Wrappers 2: Arthritic Boogaloo -
Hm? Sorry I was somewhere else for a second. The game? Which game? Ah. Yeah.
We played the gangster wrappers as the first game of the season, and we just played them once more. One can say the first game of the season was a soft opener for each of us so we were looking at a proper game. Soft opener… Mostly for them, as we came out of it with 1 touchdown, a smashed knee and a broken jaw… Anyway, they flashed us some strange signs out of the locker rooms, creaked their way into the field and told us this one was “for Rizzle”, whoever that dude is.
First half saw the Khemri shuffle away on offense, and no rain to slow them down this time. Picking up the ball with their usual nonchalance, they came clanking up the mid field, decided to grind their way past the Vampire constellation. Apparently the fang bearers had another idea, they switched on the Hypno Gazes and dove right into the cage to pop the ball out. Which obviously turned into a chaotic scrum from which the Vampires managed to viciously extract themselves at the expanse of the locals. 1-0 at half time for the visiting bloodsuckers.
The second half saw us visitors trying to hold our own against the pillow-hands onslaught of the dusty wrappers. Managing to stall with the ball in hand until the last bearable moment, they put the nail in the coffin with a 2-0. With little time to hope for a tie, the driest team on the pitch set up for a last gallant effort. Finally landing some casualties, a groin strain on a Thrall - don’t ask -, they managed to get in range of the opposing end zone but no joy.
2-0 for the Sylvanian team and only a groin strain to deplore, the dream. The Khemri can curse Nuffle fickleness on that one.
And I can breathe with a sigh of relief. If the guys didn’t do anything too stupid off the pitch, the Guild would be off my back or one more week. With only two left before the end of the season and my freedom!
- The Cups and Coins Routine -
I still have to travel with the team mind you. Sure they’ll be in a better mood after this week’s game, but it doesn’t mean they will be happy to have me around them either. My failed attempt at running away didn’t really put me in their good grace. At the same time listen to the kind of things I have to endure.
We were playing on Ulthuan last week so we had to sail back here. With the impossibility of finding a direct transport, we had to make do with connecting liaisons. Despite having had a tough start in life with ships, I can now spend most of the time on deck without making a disgrace of myself. Since I usually carry my own supply of hooch, I like to tuck myself in a corner out of the way to enjoy drinking and pass the time. But the players… they need more.
One of the Vampires especially felt the need to pass the time in good company. Truth is the freeloader had been with us since week eight and had been pretty useless until now. Anyway, this one puts the cardshark in Land Sharks. He played cards with everyone for anything. For the Seaguards’ pay on the Asurian transport that took us to the Sorcerer Islands. For extra rations with the cooking staff of a spice Baghlah that chartered the team to Copher. For the black tar rum of the corsairs who hauled us to Zandri, at the mouth of the Great Mortis.
He can play any games passably well, but his real forte lies in the tricks he plays at the end. When the evening is getting long in the tooth, the players drunk on the alcohol and thrills of the game, this his when our man strikes. He proposes to end on a double or nothing bet with a simple wager. When his audience agrees to, hoping to clean him up good, he takes off his jacket, pull his cuffs up to expose his forearms and delicate wrists. When ready, he picks three cards in his hands: two from the Cups suite, one from the Coins suite. The audience simply has to say where the coin card his.
As he talks he shuffles the cards, all slow and casual like, with deliberate movements; hold them in his hands, places them face down on the surface he happens to be playing on before asking the gamblers to pick a card as the one of Coins. The only thing you can be sure of is that the audience never finds the card. Any one they point at is always a cup, and when they accuse him of having only cup cards he flips them the coin one. And who is going to get all procedural with a Vampire making his living on a Blood Bowl pitch?
The team loved it as he provided for their usual style of traveling in debauchery. I have no doubt that the Guild will enjoy their share of the ill-gotten gains and I must say myself that there is something mesmerizing in the slow, methodical but almost lackadaisical way he pulled that one off.
- De Res Bloodbowlica -
What? My tale wasn’t enough for you? What could you possible want more? My thoughts on Blood Bowl? HAHAHAHA! Good one. No… Seriously? Have you seen who you’re talking to? I may look somewhat like Diogenes but I don’t have his brilliance. Diogenes? Just… forget about it.
First of all, if you decide to become a blood Bowl coach my advice is simple: don’t. Just don’t. There are only a few things more masochistic than getting into Blood Bowl. You’ve been told.
Now if you persevere in your folly, and decide to live with a blood pressure in the triple digits, pick the team you decide to work with carefully: Elf and Skavens coaches have been known to fall into depression due to their number of losses, Orc coaches have nervous breakdowns when someone yells “Go for it!” too close to them, Chaos coaches become control freaks, and the list goes on
And, whatever you do, never accept to coach an Ogre team if you value your sanity.
If you’re still decided to join the community, here are a few rules of thumbs, off the top of my head:
- The opposing team is nothing more than a bunch of luckernoobs - don’t ask, it’s slang - and Nuffle clearly hates your personally; otherwise how else could you lose?
- Never read any official publications: they’re rubbish and the officials are only here to tell you all about it in person anyway.
- Always talk up your players like they are going to be the next Griff Oberwald, nobody could have the chance to work with a player that good on their roster. Or the other way around, just keep complaining how dull your roster is, that’ll motivate the troops alright.
- No matter which race you decide to work for, someone is going to hate you for it. But never forget that everyone hate Chaos Dwarves. Even the Dwarves.
- Pick your sponsor carefully, "Bell polishers" doesn’t sound really glamour but they rarely come to settle issues with a full 36-pieces Cathay torture set either. Trust me on that one.
- Never trust your team apothecary to get rid of that crick in your neck. Like, ever.
- Once you won a few games, feel free to throw you opinion around and judge other coaches. You’re clearly now a seasoned specialist whose vision of the game is of primordial importance.
- And always, always go to a meeting of Blood Bowl coach occurring near you. First of all they are way too rare. Secondly they always have beer. And, otherwise, where could you boast about your team and trash-talk all the luckernoobs?
Now be a lamb and leave me alone, would you? I hope to finish this pitcher and get a fresh one before the staff refuses to serve me any more.