Lots has happened in the WFRP world over the last 1+ week. But before I get to that…
JUST THREE DAYS LEFT ON IAN MILLER’S KICKSTARTER
I posted about this on Tuesday, but now there are just three days left on this relatively short, two-week KS for a deck of tarot cards illustrated by Ian Miller. So take the opportunity to pledge here now before it ends this coming Tuesday!
A recent update showed what the backs of the cards will look like:
And now on to the WFRP news proper… Continue reading
WFRP grognards like myself know how important the art was for drawing us into the world. One of those artists was Ian Miller, and he currently has a Kickstarter running for a tarot deck featuring his art, including some that was used in WFRP. The campaign has already achieved several stretch goals, including offering, as an add-on, an A5 signed print of ‘Farewell to the River’, the piece that was used as the cover to Death on the Reik.
The Kickstarter can be found here and ends on Tuesday, 26 November.
One of the adventures run at the last TobCon, which I got to playtest in advance, is a dark scenario about a pattern killer who plagues the city of Kemperbad. The author, ‘dark knight of the twisted moon’, has kindly agreed to have it hosted here. It’s statted for 1e, so can be found under Downloads => WFRP1. Here’s the ‘trailer’:
A Pattern Killer is loose in the Freistadt of Kemperbad; the bodies of his victims turn up weeks or months after their disappearance, debased by signs of torture and the marks of gnawing vermin. The Watch are on high alert, seeking to catch the twisted perpetrator; their failure has caused a backlash from the good burghers of the town, and now agitators are seeking to use the unrest to rouse the mob for their own ends. Pamphlets have begun to appear claiming that the Freistadt’s thirteen strong Council has some involvement in the deaths. The most recent of these libellous scandal sheets goes too far – accusing the Council of bondage to the Ruinous Powers. The Council will stand for this no more, and so a special team has been assembled from amongst the espionage services to find and neutralise the agitator threat.
There is much more to this scenario than a ‘simple’ investigation, though. It is also most definitely for adults and touches on some very disturbing topics.
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.