Game Trade Magazine recently published the above article from Cubicle 7 CEO Dominic McDowall on Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and The Enemy Within. We have printed it below for you to read more easily!
It’s no secret that we here at Cubicle 7 Entertainment only work on games we love. I admit that it can be limiting —we’ve passed up quite a few big licenses over the years, mainly because they weren’t something we’d absolutely loved beforehand. I need to know I’ll be able to bring genuine passion to the property so I can guarantee to other fans that they will love what we are doing.
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP– we pronounce it WuffRupp) is the first RPG I ever played, so it has an incredibly special place in my heart. I have so many awesome gaming memories featuring the (always doomed) voyages of the Emperor Luitpold as it made its way sluggishly up the River Talabec. This is something I share with my WFRP 4e co-designer, Andy Law. We have both been huge Warhammer fans from the 1980s onwards. So, when we were talking about the supplements we wanted to make for the game, our thoughts turned to the Enemy Within campaign.
This campaign is one of the biggies. One of the gaming experiences discussed in awed tones; a legendary tour de force full of epic moments. And it was just about to celebrate its 30th anniversary! We decided that the time was right to revisit this classic and bring it to a new audience. And we wanted to revisit it in a meaningful way, but not to stray too far from the original intent behind the project. Cue WFRP legend Graeme Davis.
I’d worked with Graeme on our Cthulhu Britannica game line a few years ago, and we’d been in touch after Cubicle 7announced the fourth edition of WFRP. He was working with us on the rulebook, and as one of the core contributors to the original Enemy Within, he was the perfect person to help us bring back the campaign in style. The Director’s Cut was born!
There were two main factors that we had to consider. The first was that many people had played the campaign already, and so might be walking spoilers. And the second was that the last two parts of the campaign had taken the plot in directions that weren’t universally popular. At Cubicle 7, we like efficient stone to bird ratios, and as Graeme revealed that he had some alternative plans for parts four and five from back in the day, a plan was born: we wouldn’t just rework the existing campaign into a new Director’s Cut, adding the results of thirty years of playtesting to the table, we’d also rewrite the last two books completely, bringing them in line with Graeme’s original intention.
Graeme also had the genius plan of working in ‘Grognard Boxes’. Sprinkled generously throughout the campaign, these snippets of text provide alternative plots and explanations that can completely change what’s going on, and so mess with anyone’s prior knowledge of events. The most dastardly of Gamemasters can even use these boxes to deliberately troll anyone who knows too much! Which is as WFRP as it gets. The Grognard Boxes also offer alternative scenes and campaign options for those playing the campaign for the first time, making the whole experience deeper, and more easily tailored to individual gaming preferences.
So, we immediately set to work, examining every aspect of the campaign, from top to bottom, making sure we presented the very best version we could. We re-examined very character, every location, every scene, and asked what they brought to the table, and what was needed to ensure they were as fully developed as possible. It was very important to all of us that the whole campaign hung together as a single piece, with the plot elements introduced at the beginning leading directly through to the very end, from the start of Mistaken Identity to the end Empire in Ruins. And what we came up with is epic, gritty, awe-inspiring, horrendous, and in every way, WuffRupp!
Dominic McDowall runs award-winning publisher Cubicle 7 Entertainment. He’s co-designer of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and the man who brought Middle-earth and D&D together at last, with Adventures in Middle-earth™.