|Trollslayers are always cool.|
The Enemy Within campaign series for those not in the know, is basically the Games Workshop equivalent for the classic G1-3, D1-3, Q1 series for 1st Edition AD&D in terms of the "defining adventure of the system". It is widely hailed as one the greatest module series of all time in the pen and paper RPG areana and I agree up until Power Behind the Throne. With the next module something Rotten in Kislev it started to come off the rails and especially Empire in Flames were let downs. Empire in Flames was pretty much non-canonical and even for the inconsistent GW its fluff and background really didn't mesh. Anyways instead of Empire in Flames, which is pricy despite its meh content there is the fan made Empire at War which replaces Empire in Flames
Come to think of it I should probably write a review of all of the modules.
As a system I think WFRP was a very good. Character creation was fast and didn't require a major amount of time which was a good thing considering the short shelf-life of characters in the game. The character races were certainly not balanced with elves and dwarfs being particularly unbalanced. The crux of WFRP is that a character engages in a career, and then improves his character with experience points that he gains through (and surviving adventures). From there each basic career has a career exit.
WFRP starts with all characters in the basic career paths ranging from Agitator to Woodsman with a focus on variety. There are even regular classes like Laborer and apprentices that real reinforce the idea of regular people who set out on adventuring, can't get much grittier then that. Funny because in many corners of the web gritty play is dejour; Warhammer is far more gritty and less high adventures then any of its contemporaries, yes, including 1st AD&D.
Basic careers run the gamut from some very weak, to some very powerful. The fighting classes are probably the way to go with a few other specialized careers with an eye towards spell casting in the advanced career section. Particularly the pit fighter, protagonist, squire, soldier and mercenary amongst others that are well suited for survival. In fact we remarked that we should have just run a game with all warriors and see what the results would be, but we never did. Of course we came to this observation after a number of our characters met untimely demises and the school copier was *ahem* "getting a workout".
One of my favorite parts of WFRP was combat! Unlike AD&D (its main competitor at the time) the combat system made logical sense: armor doesn't make a character harder to hit, it absorbs damage. That is not a knock on AD&D as it was the grand daddy of them all, it just didn't make sense. In combat and major wounds could happen with messy and amusingly graphic deaths via the critical hit charts. Characters even after several advanced careers where not unstoppable killing machines except for the "naked dwarf syndrome". Armor comes in three flavors: leather, chain and plate and reduces corresponding damage the better the armor. Not all weapons are created equal and require skills to wield them effectively.
Monsters are well thought out and most of the major ones that one would imagine to be there are in the setting. One thing I always wondered was did GW downplay dragons in the Warhammer pantheon of monsters on purpose given the prominent nature of them in D&D, at least in spirit if not in the actual game?
Perhaps the thing that kept bringing players back was the story of the Old Word, the setting. The Old World is a near approximation of Europe with the twist of the Old Slann changing the world to suit their creations. One of GWs greatest strengths has been their IP, and fluff, but as mentioned previously not something they always keep straight.
One of the great side benefits of 1st edition WFRP was the fact that one could use 3rd edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle, The Lost and the Damned and Slaves to Darkness all together. The Losta nd the Damned and Slaves to Darkness were great resoucres and certainly great values for the price (they are outragouelsy priced on Flea Bay now). While 3rd edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle was unwieldy it still is my favorite edition of the game. GW (in an instance of doing something right) actually gave the purchaser something for his value.
|"Welcome to Nuln!"|
For my next post I might have to review Death on the Reik first as it is probably my all time favorite Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay module, (rather then start at the beginning of Power Behind the Throne series: Shadows of Bogenhaufen) and ranks in my Top 3 of any modules, regardless of system.