I love the first three volumes (or four, depending on what editions you’re looking at) of the original Enemy Within campaign for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. The last two chapters, not so much — Kislev is fine, but a digression; Empire in Flames is a linear, ex machina mess. I’m lukewarm on the system for 4e WFRP from Cubicle 7 (too many meta currencies!) but I was extremely intrigued by their announcement that they were renovating Enemy Within for the modern era. 4E is its own thing in many ways, but I think it manages to bridge a gap to the sensibilities of 1E in regards to the presentation of the Old World. We’re never getting the early 1E-era back, but this is a good modern equivalent. If they can pull it off. Can they pull it off? What we have here is the collector’s edition of the first set of two books — the core campaign chapter and a companion expansion — of a gigantic ten-volume series. Holy wow. I am already impressed.
Enemy in Shadows (2020). The core book contains the set-up adventure “Mistaken Identity” and the entirety of Shadows Over Bogenhafen. The companion has the equivalent of the sourcebook material from the original Enemy Within, lots of road encounters and NPCs, a short adventure and another weird carnival (there is already one in Shadows). Nearly everything is useful. In sum, it feels like the original, just polished up to a modern standard, similar to Chaosium’s recent treatment of Masks of Nyarlathotep. Which boils down to this being a brilliant adventure made more so. We’re off to a good start here!
Praise Father Steel and Mother Cordite, first among the Lingering Divine. Praise the River, which gives us succor. Praise the Coven, for the embrace of fellowship. Praise Hope and Defiance, last children of the God-War. Praise the Path of Shot and Shell, upon which we walk. But always remember: this world is a tomb, and the dead rise only as Horrors.
Elonanji is a graveyard: a tombstone in the shape of a continent blasted by a war which killed the Gods themselves. Prairies have dried up into deserts, deserts flooded into sorrow-soaked swamps; the land is pierced by blades, kissed by ash, and the cracks in reality itself bleed fragments of dead gods and creatures from the Elsewhen. Yet it is still a land trod by the living. A vast network of railways girds the world, pouring blood, food, and fuel into the heart of the continent: the last true city, Hexarail. Blessed by the living River, it is the sclerotic heart of humanity: the great and the small, the rich and the poor, all hanging onto the remmants of civilization in a feverish dance of consumption designed to stave off oblivion for one more night.
And through it all, rides the Gun-Witch. Astride their wolf, or wandering on foot, they walk the Sacred Path of the Six Chambers, the discipline of Shot and Steel, in service of... well, that's up to them. Call it a Spark: for love, for money, for glory, for revenge. Children of Father Steel and Mother Cordite, they are cultists who wield the magic of the bullet, the sacred discipline of the gun. Their Covens hail from Orders, traditional and heretical, old and new:
The Western Order: the first rotation of the cylinder, the power and aura of flint and tradition, and the surety of a quick death.
The Eastern Order: the grace and elegance of violence, the turning of the wheel, and the individual mastery of the Path.
The Sacred Stitch: staple-gun and suture, making and unmaking, and the necessity of force.
The Seven Mile Order: the azimuth of the arc, the madness of the falling shot, and spite's delirious flavor in the mouth.
The Broken Boundary: art, written on the face of the world in fire and flash, explosion and excess, and the joy and sadism of Hope Herself.
And, of course, the Order of What You Deserve, who forsake all philosophy and philanthropy in favor of a road paved in blood and silver.
Rifle, revolver, shotgun or sword, the Gun-Witch writes the story of what's left of this world - be it tragedy or comedy, romance or revenge, or something stranger than any of these. This book will show you how to make that story - whatever it is - your own.
GUN-WITCH: LEAD, THREAD, AND THE DEAD is a role-playing game designed for two or more players, centered on making your way in a world wracked by war and decay, where even the gods are struggling to find their footing. It’s a game about building community and connection inimical to the very context, about finding common ground with people who view things in a way you never could, and about doing what you can to bear a weight that you can’t let drop, no matter how much you might want to let go. It’s also about the weight and power of violence, wielding your weapon properly, and working astonishing miracles of life and death at the end of the barrel of a gun.
We’re also selling our previous game, Our Stormy Present, for 50% off through November 14th! Have a happy Halloween, everyone, and we hope you enjoy the game!
Hello everyone! I've got actually kinda massive news! There's this new kickstarter from The Far Horizons Co-Op, The Far Horizons Guide to Cults, and ohhhh man y'all, it's so cool it's so cool it's SO COOL. My partner worked on it and it's such a really cool thing from what I've been able to see!
The goal behind the project was to create a system-agnostic supplement with 15+ cults/arcane groups which can all kinda just go where-the-fuck-ever you need them, plus some essays and advice on how you can include them into your games! There's even some free previews so you know what you're gonna be gettin! Here's my own little teaser for one of them:
Redford Hollow is an isolated village whose prosperity--and its obfuscation from the outside world--relies upon oaths and bargains with the Fae that have marked the surrounding mountains and forests their territory. It definitely gives a new insight into the idea of "The trees have eyes". (Bonus: this was the cult my partner designed, so!!!!! yes)
The final book is hoping to incorporate some more cults before publishing, such as the Cult of Preservation, which seeks to capture and then worship strange and rare creatures, as well as a yet-unnamed technological cult which takes "cutting edge" to a very strange level!
Altogether, by spreading and supporting this, you'd be really helping the Far Horizons Co-Op, and that's a really good thing--they're a co-op dedicated to fair practices and improvement of the tabletop games industry, and yes!!!! please go help !!! reblog and/or throw them some money!!!
The kickstarter for In Golden Flame is live! I’ve helped contribute some art to it so far, but the major goal for this is to be able to provide funding for even more art. If you’ve enjoyed what I’ve done for it so far (not to mention the wealth of art contributed from the rest of the team) please consider backing so we can make the full finished product with as much art as originally intended!
This is the collector’s edition of Death on the Reik (2020), the second two-volume installment in Cubicle 7’s renovation of the classic Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay campaign, Enemy Within. As with all the volumes, this consists of the core adventure and a companion book with optional material. I should take a moment to say that the deluxe feels, well, deluxe. The standard cover art adorns the slipcase, while the book covers are lovely, color-coded, shiny and thematically appropriate, sort of illustrating abstracts that that adventure deals with. In this case, we have Morr, the god of death, and his wife Verena, the goddess of justice. I really like all these cover treatments.
As with the previous volume, the core adventure here is a revamp of the original. I know there are probably significant changes, but I am not super aware of them on a line by line basis. This feels like the same river-born sandbox. If anything, it feels a bit more cohesive and thought out, but I can’t point to a specific reason I feel that way. Fun thing: Grognard sidebars that point out old gripes or give suggestions how to change things up for players who might know what’s coming down the pike.
The companion book brings in some original material that didn’t fit in the main book, like the vampire-centric mini scenario and some source material on river boating. There is also the first installment of the Gravelord scenarios, which I am not sure how I feel about. I think they are maybe OK, a sort of running joke involving a not very good necromancer. I think maybe the biggest problem with them is the idea of adding more length to an already sprawling campaign.
Hey traditional TTRPG game designers. Hey, you. Yeah you. Look at me.
Stop including mechanics that remove player engagement.
What do I mean by this? I mean shit like stunning effects that prevent a character from taking actions and therefore remove a player's ability to continue to participate, abilities that knock out a player character and therefore remove the player from participating in a fight, effects that instantly kill a character (therefore removing a player from participating), and literally any other effect you can think of that ends in the player no longer playing.
Trad designers, our artform is dependent on player participation. People enjoy maximalist, crunchy, tactical games because they're fun to engage with. What's the point of having all these rules if you're going to include things that stop your players from using them??
You're gonna say "oh, but only D&D does this" - no it fucking does not. These rules are everywhere. They're even in Blades in the Dark. Stop it.
Here are some cool alternatives. I'm trying to present these as open ended as possible:
Force a choice between two actions
You can't attack this enemy, but you can attack another, make a movement action, or any other non-attack action
Present a hard bargain
Attacking this enemy means you choose between taking a certain amount of damage or accepting emotional attachment to them, causing issues later.
Present high risk and high reward
Attacking this enemy means incurring extra damage against you if you hit, but if you succeed, you gain a stat boost for the rest of the fight.
Consider stakes other than character death
In many instances this will require rules reconfiguring, but that's a topic for another post. Besides that, remember that if someone's character gets instantly killed in the first round, that player must then sit on their hands for the rest of the session.
Yeah I know "let them play an NPC" is often a "solution" to this problem, but why do that when you could just implement a rule that lets other PCs get the downed character back to the fight - like in Borderlands or Left4Dead (or Gears of War or Vermintide, or...)
Consider how much more exciting that is, and how much energy won't be lost by someone having to literally sit out while all their friends have fun. Furthermore, players make much more interesting and risky decisions when they aren't at risk of losing their blorbo.
The point is to play. Nothing else. Stop shooting yourself in the foot with your own rules.