Making the Read/Write Skill Interestingly Useful

I’ve always had a bit of an issue with WFRP’s handling of the Read/Write skill, at least in its first and second editions. One of the strengths of the game has always been how it’s rooted its fantastical (and sometimes fantastically silly) elements in a world that felt real. Much of the heavy lifting with the latter was done by the careers system, but it was also observable in the rarity of the Read/Write skill. (Of the six pregens in The Enemy Within, only two were literate, and the Elf wasn’t one of them.) Meanwhile WFRP3 and Zweihänder both fold literacy into a more general education skill, in both cases treated as ‘advanced’. This was a world, the system tells us, dominated by illiteracy; those who could read or write were a privileged few.

But the wisdom of this approach is contradicted by the last 40 years of game design. Generally speaking, GMs now know that it is a bad idea not to give out any information because a lack of leads stalls the game. An entire rules system, Gumshoe, has been designed to address this issue. If the characters can’t read, then that immediately eliminates a major source of clues and leads to keep the action going. The problem cropped up as early as 1e’s intro adventure, The Oldenhaller Contract, itself: the scenario relies on the PCs being able to read the advertisement nailed to the Deutz Elm in Episode 12. So in this post I’m going to look at a few ways a WFRP GM can help keep the game going while still being true to the (pseudo-)historical verisimilitude of the setting.

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New Adventure for WFRP 1e: The Sins of Our Fathers

Luke Ó Scolaidhe has generously allowed us to host his substantial WFRP 1e scenario, The Sins of Our Fathers here. It’s great to see 1e still being catered to: it has a vibe all of its own. This adventure picks up a thread from the river encounters in Death on the Reik and leads the PCs into a murder investigation full of darkness and paranoia in which old secrets return to haunt a village on the Empire/Wasteland border. And, true to 1e tradition, there are spoilers ‘hidden’ in the German of NPCs’ names!

Here’s the link: Sins of Our Fathers

An Interview with Tony Ackland at Realm of Chaos

Realm of Chaos just published an interview with Tony Ackland an artist who is one of the most influential entities behind my vision of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Those more familiar with the current third edition (or even the second) might not recognize his visions but I would be damned if I would not share this link.

Tony Ackland had a perfect vision of how Old World looks like. It is pretty different from current line but it still means more to me than “let’s use this image from Fantasy Battle”-type illustrations.

Check it out here!

Malal Malal Be’Lakor!