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Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying


Sardan
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@Aluco How are you finding WHFRP?  I think the Cubicle7 version is 4th edition?  I played 1st edition and I am very interested in it because I am generally interested in the history of British RPGs (and to a lesser extent war games) and I see Cubicle7 are republishing the whole enemy within campaign. It gets high praise and I love the Cubicle7 Adventures in Middle Earth range (now sadly defunct) so I am interested in looking at it. 
 

(My personal interest: WHFRP and The Enemy Within campaign was written by the team that were part of TSR UK and worked on UK D&D Line and Imagine magazine before TSR was shutdown. There’s some real UK flavour in their early stuff, much like there was in early Games Workshop and White Dwarf.)
 

 

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I have played every edition of WFRP (always wuff-rup, never W.H.F.R.P. or other such nonsense)  some more than others.

 

First edition was a classic because it created the world and the tone, but the rules were flaky and GW dropped support for it when Bryan Ansell took over Games Workshop and refocussed purely on miniatures and the wargames that encouraged their sale. Consequently the end of The Enemy Within campaign, as published back then, is a damp squib.

(I will write a separate post about this time later. I grew up in Newark, right near this stuff when it happened, so got to watch through teenage eyes with no understanding then, but some hindsight now.)

 

Second edition was a much improved rule set and had fantastic ongoing support, but I did not like the fact that their world had forwarded the timeline to after GWs Storm of Chaos. A bunch of stuff had been moved on in the world, for the worse to my mind. So I did not get on very well with their adventures, but the rules and most of the source material was pretty good. Combat was super whiffy. You could go round after round with nobody hitting shit.

 

Third edition was a radical change rules wise, an attempt by Fantasy Flight to introduce an element of board game like mechanics and digital copy proofing I think. The rules were just weird. The adventures are also post Storm of Chaos so have the same problem as second edition in that, and some felt like they sort of missed the tone a bit. I find it hard to articulate why, maybe they did not have quite the same sense of humour. Lots of nice art though.

 

So to Fourth edition from Cubicle7. Most definitely the best edition so far. There are varying opinions on the rules, but I like them, much improved in the areas that matter. Sometimes we have struggled to grok them though, particularly combat, but we are mostly past that. I am very much a flavour first GM, so I use the rules to facilitate good stories and ditch them as soon as they get in the way. Mostly this edition has been good for that.
But the area where fourth edition totally nails it is the world. Back to the 2512 timeline of the First edition. Richly described and illustrated. With the involvement of the long term talents of Graeme Davis from way back in the day and Andy Law who knows The Old World like few others and does the best maps. The adventures set in Ubersreik (The Starter Set and the others), and the detailed campaign world created to support them are really something in themselves. They have facilitated me running some cool published adventures and, just as importantly, having the material to glue them together, ad-lib when necessary and put together and include my own tales, all the while making it feel like a seamless whole.
And then we have the director's cut of The Enemy Within, I have the first part and its companion volume and, knowing the campaign well having run it before and re-read the first edition one only a few years back (then never actually running it again), I am happy saying that it really is the thing I wanted. The classic campaign, updated, expanded and enriched in all the right ways. And this time they should end it the way it was intended to go, I am so looking forward to that.
Your interests coincide with mine. I recommend it very highly.
 

  

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On the history of UK RPGs and wargames I will share some things:


I hope you already know of Awesome Lies. If not you are in for a treat. Gideon is in the process of writing a definitive a history of WFRP as we will ever see. It is well worth a read.

 

I grew up in Sutton-on-Trent in the 80s. We got into GW stuff while Citadel Miniatures were still based on Victoria Street in Newark, the nearest town. I visited there once and remember meeting Jes Goodwin and John Blanche, who was thin back then. 
My local Wargames Club was The Newark Irregulars who still run the Partizan games show up there. That club was set up by Duncan McFarlane who used to edit Wargames Illustrated and who nurtured my wargames passion and introduced me to some awesome historical wargames stuff. Particularly English Civil War and Marlburian period stuff. He wrote good simple rules and had an amazing collection.
The fantasy gaming was a bit of a off shoot sub-culture in that club, but we occasionally got the odd GW person come by and try stuff out. I played games with Rick Priestly, Rich Halliwell and the Perry Twins, including early versions of 40k. Not that any of them will remember me I should think.
I was actually at Crecy (although not by the cannon at the time) when Michael Perry got his hand blown off. It was my mate that held the wound shut while proper medical help was fetched.

When Bryan Ansell took over, they all moved to Nottingham and were seen much less, but I certainly understand why North Nottinghamshire is the epicentre of so much wargaming in the UK. Most UK Wargames owe a huge debt to those people in Newark and Nottingham back then.

Still, the move to Nottingham brought us 3rd Edition Warhammer which was possibly their best. And 40k, and so much more. Bryan Ansell may have been an arse to some but you cannot deny what he built.

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