It’s been a quiet summer for me on the roleplaying front, with the miniatures arm of Games Workshop taking up so much of my time (with Warcry and Warhammer Underworlds: Beastgrave). Nevertheless, I’ve been keeping a quiet eye on Cubicle 7 and their amazing rebirth of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. I did squeeze in some games with the new Starter Set and a review of that will be coming soon(ish). (TL;DR: It’s a great introduction to the game and the Old World.) and I had fun looking through the new mini-campaign book Rough Nights and Hard Days, even if I haven’t actually brought it to the table yet.
But what I’ve really been hanging out for is the first installment of The Enemy Within campaign. Well, it’s my lucky week, because not only did I sample a huge slice of nostalgia with Ian Livingstone’s Board Games in 100 Moves, I got to add a delicious crunchy topping of WFRP with the Enemy In Shadows.
What Is Enemy In Shadows?
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, for me, The Enemy Within Campaign is roleplaying. I played it over a number of years as a teenager and it captivated me and made me appreciate just how great it is to weave stories for others to follow. The opening two parts came together in a slipcase. The Enemy Within was a brief preamble, with information about the setting, a map (oh what a map!), and the start of a very long journey. Part 2, Shadows over Bogenhafen was a proper adventure, with a race against the clock that pitted the characters against shadowy chaos cultists. In many ways, these two adventures defined my Warhammer experience for all-time.
And now these adventures are back in Enemy in Shadows—see what Cubicle7 did there?
The book opens with a forward from long-time WFRP author, Graeme Davis, that tells of players’ love of the Enemy Within campaign, how Cubicle 7 and its authors have had 30 years of playtesters’ feedback to inform this new version. A game designer’s dream! This version has been written foremost to incorporate the 4th Edition ruleset but it has also been redesigned as a great jumping-off point for players new to the game. We crusty old-timers need not fear, however. The campaign has been rewritten with alternate pathways so that veteran gamers can replay this WFRP classic.
Wanted: Bold Adventurers.
Teen-aged me had no idea what a cliche this opening tagline was. But again, it was a defining moment in my roleplaying DM genesis. And the tagline is back: 46-year-old me cared not a jot if it’s a bit of a cliche; reading it again still sent a tingle down my spine.
Looking through the module, it’s easy to see both the similarities and differences between the old and the new. Much of the differences center around expanding of the campaign. The Enemy Within is a huge sprawling adventure in the first place, but this incarnation is filled with possible side-plots and detours. GMs will need to do much of the work themselves, but there are lots of hooks in here, to embellish your story, whilst still keeping things moving along the central narrative. The story threads even dovetail with the goings-on in Ubersreik during the Starter Set adventures, which is a nice touch.
What I have always loved about the finest WFRP adventures is that they’re multi-threaded. Fans of the series will remember the campaign kicks off with a case of mistaken identity. This leads to all sorts of untoward interest in the characters, leaving them bewildered, unsure of who to trust, and which threads they should be following for the greater good (assuming that’s what they want to do!).
The Adventure Continues.
The rest of the campaign follows largely the same form as its original incarnation, though the production values of this book are much higher. Everything about it is gorgeous. It’s filled with incidental information for fleshing out the NPC’s and situations the characters may find themselves in. Additionally, for GMs running campagins for veteran players, particularly those who have played The Enemy Within before, there are lots of ideas for subverting expectations and turning the tables on PCs who think they know what they’re doing.
Enemy in Shadows is 164 pages long, with 100 of those being dedicated to the adventure. The remaining pages are devoted to a full setting guide for Bogenhafen and player aids to make the campaign run smoothly, pronunciation guides, maps, and handouts. The quality of the player handouts is particularly impressive, though in PDF format it may be hard to make the best of these unless your set-up is fully digital. My own set-up is about as far from digital as it’s possible to be, so I would definitely want to have the physical copy of the book to run this adventure, but that would be true of any adventure, anywhere, in any system.
The last page of the book has a tantalizing picture of the cover of Death on the Reik, the next part of the The Enemy Within and the finest adventure module I ever had the pleasure to play. I can’t wait to see it again!
The Enemy Within campaign is a fabulous way to immerse yourself in Warhammer’s “Old World.” It’s one of the finest campaigns I’ve ever played and this new incarnation takes things to a whole new level. Huge attention to detail, lots of alternative routes through the adventures, with options for both novices and veterans. Currently, it’s only available in PDF format, but the hardback will be arriving in the New Year, and there’s an Enemy in Shadows companion to follow too. This will no doubt add to the scope and fun of this excellent adventure.
If all that wasn’t exciting enough, check out this announcement about WFRP’s Age of Sigmar equivalent Soulbound.
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Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of this game for review purposes.