This week we have legendary Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay game designer Graeme Davis taking us through his journey with WFRP and his current work with Cubicle 7. We hope this makes you all as excited as we are here at C7 for whats to come in 2019!
My name’s Graeme Davis, and I’m proud to say I’ve been involved with WFRP since the very beginning.
In early 1986, I was a not-terribly-successful graduate student at Durham University in England, researching prehistoric burial practices and spending far too much time playing AD&D, Call of Cthulhu, and Bushido. I had been writing articles for White Dwarf since 1982 – my first, in issue 32, was an AD&D subsystem for drug addiction, but then it was the early 80s! – as well as for the short-lived Imagine magazine published by TSR UK, the British arm of D&D’s original publishers. But 150 miles south, in Nottingham, events were in motion that would change my whole life.
Games Workshop’s early success had been based on licensed printings of D&D, AD&D, and other tabletop RPGs for the British market. Now that TSR UK had taken over, GW boss Bryan Ansell wanted a competing product – and it was decided to develop a roleplaying game from the company’s Warhammer miniatures game. Since most of GW’s roleplaying specialists had decided not to move from London when the company’s headquarters was relocated to Nottingham, there were some vacancies – and as a regular and reliable freelancer, I was approached about one of them.
I arrived in Nottingham in May of 1986 (having forgotten to tell the university that I was dropping out) to find a draft of the rules and several stacks of notes, and told that some more people would be coming from TSR UK in a month or so and we had until the end of September to finish the game: October was for printing and November was for shipping, and it absolutely, positively had to be in the shops in December to hit the Christmas market. It was a busy few months.
I stayed at Games Workshop until October of 1990, working on everything WFRP as well as several other games. I moved to the United States and began freelancing, but when WFRP was taken up again by Hogshead Publishing, I had some discussions with owner James Wallis that ended with me editing the Apocrypha 2 anthology; more projects were planned, but by that time I had a full-time job in the video games industry and my free time was very limited.
Second and third editions came and went, and each time I contributed a little: Ashes of Middenheim for second and Edge of Night for third, plus co-writing the third edition The Enemy Within with the pleasant and talented Dave Allen (which, by the way, has nothing in common with the first edition campaign except the title and the broad themes).
I’ve stayed in touch with the WFRP fan community, and made some good friends there; it never ceases to amaze – and humble – me that so many people are so passionate about the game and the Old World. So when I heard that Cubicle 7 had taken up the license, I got in touch with Dom and we had a long series of conversations. I have a little more time now, and I knew I wanted to do more than just one or two titles for this edition – but nothing prepared me for Dom’s suggestion that I return to the Enemy Within campaign and put together a “Director’s Cut.”
The project has grown: in addition to the five main adventures – including the all-new The Horned Rat and a completely reimagined final chapter – there will be five companion volumes of “DVD Extras,” including words from some of the original campaign’s creators, expanded rules, optional side adventures, and more. It is certainly keeping me busy, and I’m having the time of my life!
I’m also thrilled about Rough Nights and Hard Days. This gave me the opportunity to take one of my favourite adventures (and the fans seem to like it, too) and built it into a five-part mini-campaign set among the Empire’s nobility, with two all-new adventures in the same style and two adapted from previous publications. At last, the full story of the Gravin Maria-Ulrike von Liebowitz of Ambosstein and Baron von Dammenblatz can be told!
Well, I’d better get back to it – there’s a lot still to do. To the WFRP grognards, thanks for sticking with it, and I think you’ll find a lot to like in what’s coming up. To the newcomers, welcome – but watch your backs and keep one hand on your purses.
Oh, and in case anyone is still wondering, my name is pronounced “Graham” (like the cracker, for you Yanks). I still get asked sometimes.