Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Books by David Chart

WFRP is a game I really got into while I was at school, although, back then, I never actually got to play it. I did try submitting articles to White Dwarf, the Games Workshop house magazine, but they all got rejected. I did get some very nice, detailed, rejection letters, including one from Graeme Davis, who wrote the first adventure in the Paths of the Damned series. I've been doing quite a lot of work for this line recently; it seems to be very healthy.

Paths of the Damned 2: Spires of Altdorf

Black Industries, 2005. ISBN 1-84416-2249

The sequel to the adventure Ashes of Middenheim (which I did not write), this book takes the characters from the ruins of one great city to the thriving mass of another. Altdorf has not been ruined, but danger and corruption still lurk within in.

For this book, my brief was to produce an intrigue-based adventure set in Altdorf and including the Colleges of Magic. So that's what I did. I was inspired by Power Behind the Throne, a classic adventure for the first edition of WFRP, although as my copy was in storage thousands of miles away while I wrote this book, the inspiration was rather indirect.

I think the part of this book I thought hardest about was the ending. It's the middle volume of a trilogy, so the ending can't be too variable; it has to lead into the next volume pretty much whatever happens. However, if the actions of the characters make no real difference, that doesn't make for a very good adventure. Players like to affect the outcome.

As a result, it is very, very hard to simply fail in this adventure. On the other hand, it is very possible succeed in ways that cause quite a lot of damage to the characters, and rather hard to succeed in the easy way, which inflicts no damage. I think this is an important aspect of RPG adventure design, and one that is overlooked far too often. There should be degrees of failure that do not kill all the characters, so that the campaign can move on.

Knights of the Grail

Black Industries, 2005. ISBN 1-84416-265-6

This is the regional sourcebook for Bretonnia, a sort of France-analogue in the Warhammer world. But only sort-of. Actually, the main feature is that the culture in Bretonnia is much more medieval than that in the other nations, which are much more early modern.

Warhammer is a grim world, so Bretonnia can't be a nice place to live. On the other hand, it does have connections to Arthurian romance, which means that it needed to be able to handle knights in shining armour. My basic policy was to emphasise the divisions between nobles and peasants, and the general oppression of women, building oppressive features into just about every aspect of society. Of course, this is a game, so there are some truly noble nobles, and women who disguise themselves as men tend to get away with it.

This is a common feature of RPG settings; they are places you wouldn't want to live. On the other hand, if you restrict the player characters too much, you can spoil the fun. If someone wants to play a woman disguised as a man, that's fun. On the other hand, playing a woman who gets persecuted all the time and can never take the initiative is not.

In most ways, though, this was one of the more straightforward books I've written for WFRP.

Renegade Crowns

Black Industries, 2006. ISBN 1-84416-311-3

This is the setting book for the Border Princes, an area of the Warhammer World that is generally in turmoil, with dozens of petty lordlings fighting for the right to claim that they control a god-forsaken piece of scrubland. Or, if they're really powerful, a river.

As a result, this book is nothing like Knights of the Grail. It is, instead, a toolkit for GMs, helping them to create their own area of the Borderlands, populate it with princelings, and then run a campaign in which the player characters become princes, and try to hold on to power afterwards.

As befits a grim world, I made that difficult.

Actually, this book was tough to write; it is something a bit different from normal, and so I had to figure out how to do it. In the end, I'm quite pleased with the result, particularly in the second part.

The second part is mainly concerned with running a principality, but does that without including any rules for calculating the wheat harvest. Instead, the chances of internal or external problems increase every time the rulers go off on an adventure. Problems cause adventures, and resolving those problems can reduce the chances of further problems, at least for a while. Of course, things are set up so that being just and virtuous rulers is very likely to get you kicked out for weakness; this is a Warhammer book, so things are grim. It would be very easy to change the distribution of solution points to make virtuous solutions the way to go. Thus, the rules emphasise adventures, which means actual play, and support the mood of the game world. At least, I hope they do.