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DrWorm73

Enemy Within

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Down the road a bit I am thinking of running my group through The Enemy Within and I am wondering from those who have been through it- what is the ratio of combat to social?  Our group has a good mix of players who like all sorts of things, but there is a strong desire to not let a session go without a 1-2 of combat encounters.  I listened to the Reckless Dice podcast for the sessions they recorded and while it sounded like fun it didn't sound like there was much action.  When I ran my guys through Witch's Song I added several combats in the swamp to keep things dangerous, but in the early part of the adventure when the story was developing I could tell a couple players were wanting some action to go down.  I am cool with spicing things up, but the interconnected nature of the story makes me think that might be tougher to mess with than the average adventure.  I would of course have them making new characters, and it will be a few months until it might happen, but I wanted to get some opinions before I dropped the coin.

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Summary: Best RP module ever!  But there are lots of really good combat/action encounters in the book; will probably need to speed along some content if your group is battle-crazy.

 

TEW's fame is from non-combat encounters.  The players research (and hopefully solve) a number of mysteries.  Don't skip the RP you will regret it!  In the process of their inspectigating, hornswaggling, and politicking...they will get into combats and you have plenty of opportunity to throw in more if that is the group preference.  Heck you could make a WFB campaign of the module if you really wanted to just skip all the plot but I would not recommend that.  One combat or at least some "action without combat" like putting out a fire etc is not a stretch for every session.   It sounds like you might need to move along some of the plot lines/social situations.    

 

For example - when you go through the overland section you could cut out the "road/travel checks" and go straight to combat encounters listed.  Another option that could really speed up book 1 is have each of the players already have spoken to one of the townsfolk and gotten their rumors ('seed' them with some/lots of info so the PCs don't use as much time on deciding who to talk to etc.).  You could have your guys sitting in the tavern swapping rumors and then BAM the bar brawl scene and your off.  In Book 2 - they actually tell you to kick the door down at just about any time you will have plenty of reasons to by then lol...  

 

A couple things to keep in mind:

Try to keep the players (close) to 10 advances per book

Encounters are designed for 3 PCs and early fights are a spring mow.  Scale it up and bloody the crap out of them to get them back working on the whodunit!

Each of the 3 NPCs should have at least one character in the party they befriend/ally with.  

Use a between session email to advance plot toward the part(s) of the module you feel is best suited for your players

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There are combat encounters in every phase of the story, and you can easily throw more in at times, e.g., in my game I added the insane killer Bischoff to the Brotherhood and made sure there would be reason to cross with him.

 

The "garden party" in Book 1 is perhaps the largest non-combat session but it does "move into action with a bang".  I rewrote it to give PC's more to do and make it less "spectators listening to narration until the bang".

 

I forget if you are one of those I've seen my supporting materials to are not (they are generally well-received).

 
The final climax can be more combat than any PC would hope for.

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Actually, I have seen you post to email you if people want them, but have not done so yet.

 

EDIT: Great stuff.  I'm sure it will mean more to me once I get the campaign and have a chance to look it over.

Edited by DrWorm73

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Thanks.

 

If you're thinking of taking an existing group into it you may have to adjust some things and think about how you accomplish the "weaving into story" the set up of new PC's does  in it.  It has a good approach to creating PC's who have a reason to "step up and be interested" in what's going on rather than just "I guess the GM expects us to investigate this ..."

 

You could accomplish much the same with enough foreshadowing and "meeting some key NPC's in other adventures or interludes" beforehand.

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No, from what I gathered when listening to gitzman and friends go through it seemed best to start with fresh characters in order to weave them into the story. Besides, our PC's are rank three right now. If we keep up our current rate of play we would be rank four (if they live), so not only would it be really hard to work them in, but I imagine we all will be ready for a new start.

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Yes it is best to start with new characters, though I know sometimes people like keeping characters until they "need to retire", which I understand and prefer myself - I hate seeing a PC's "story" cut short.

 

But things will work smoother starting new PC's.

 

Best of Season!

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**** ENEMY WITHIN SPOILERS, LOTS OF THEM, BELOW ****

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Great suggestions, everyone. As a player, I greatly enjoyed TEW in its entirety. The numerous investigations/social encounters allowed PCs to really develop their characters. The Fop character (who generally avoided combat) became the "Hero of Averheim" while my Pistolier character (constantly in harm's way) got shot, burned, stabbed, spleen broken, etc. and generally went unappreciated. The Priest of Morr became famous for "helping people along the way" including easing the pain of the leper colony found at the Welcome Rest Inn. As an old Call of Cthulhu player, I really enjoyed the investigation side of TEW. We had tracking charts to try and piece together various plots and discover the ringleaders. 

 

I cannot express enough how much fun the players had in this campaign. As our group generally plays twice a month, 3-4 hourse each session, the campaign occupied us for about a calendar year. Our GM chose not to play the final chapter (into the chaos realms apparently) so it ended with the party thwarting the Black Cowl at the prayer vigil.

 

I was interested to see what the ratio of combats to game sessions were so I've provided brief bullet summaries below. These are based on second-hand notes and from the player's perspective so forgive any errors and/or mispellings. As you can see, many sessions went without combats, some sessions had two combats. Final tally: 23 sessions, 16 combats. Our GM (Emirikol) is the king of impromtu encounters so he probably embellished stuff along the way. All in all I'd really encourage GMs to play up the social side of TEW... well worth it!!

 

 

Session #1 — Arrival in Averheim; check-in at Journey’s End Coaching Inn; initial investigations

Session #2 — Body discovered; more investigations, Upright Pig; potential gang war brewing; family saved from burning barge

Session #3 —  Gang war averted; Kurd Weiss hires party to find missing wagon; party ambushed but takes out raider camp (1st COMBAT)

Session #4 — Welcome Rest Inn; lepers sent to Morr by kindly Priest of Morr; return to Averheim

Session #5 — Hired by Clothhilde to protect carriage on journey to Manor; highwaymen driven off; pistolier loses his horse (2nd COMBAT)

Session #6 — Shindig at Manor; lots of interactions/investigations; matters become heated when Witchhunter Ketzenbaum arrives

Session #7 — More drama at shindig; Mauer/von Kaufmann argue over jade effigy; assassination attempt of Gislebert (3rd COMBAT); flightless griffon corralled (4th COMBAT)

Session #8 — Lots of meetings (w/Bauerfast, Mauer, Clothilde); sewer map found; visit to tannery results in discovery of skaven lair; fight w/rat ogre; jade effigy nose and clapper discovered (5th COMBAT)

Session #9 — Rumors of war; After meeting w/Mauer, party will take clapper to Middenheim; mutants attack a flagellant, two mutants killed and one captured (6th COMBAT)

Session #10 — Journey to Wurtbad; party encampment attacked by undead hounds (7th COMBAT); small figure attempts to steal party’s wagon (8th COMBAT); weeping blade discovered

Session #11 — Talabheim social encounters; on road to Middenheim beset by Chaos Marauders (9th Combat) 

Session #12 — Arrival in Middenheim; tasks include find Oppenheimer at Collegium Theologica, interview Ketzenbaum, investigate von Ashenbeck

Session #13 — More investigations; party meets w/Brother Frost at Temple of Ulrich

Session #14 — Party tries to defend Ashenbeck at his heresy trial; secret warehouse discovered, party avoids large box that contains warp beast? warp portal? (probable combat avoided!)

Session #15 — Markheim is actual culprit; more shenanigans by party to save Ashenbeck; Markheim attempts to kidnap Lady Margrit; leads to climactic chase of Markheim carriage along steep winding Middenheim roads; carriage and Markheim fly off cliff, Margrit saved (10th combat)

Session #16 — Follow up investigations in Middenheim lead to encounter with Tzeentch Colored Fiends (11th combat); Temple of Ulric ceremony results in cleansed clapper but Oppenheimer is incinerated

Session #17 — Journey to Altdorf; roadside encounter with Chaos Zombies and Chaos Warrior (12th combat); party hires barge for remainder of journey to Altdorf

Session #18 — River Talbec; River Troll attacks barge (13th combat); River Pirates hold-up barge

Session #19 — Arrival at Altdorf; meetings w/Weiss, servant of Clothilde, Mauer, Bauerfast

Session #20 — Little Mermaid encounter; investigations to find keg of black powder; theatre encounter; spider killings?; assassins are thwarted in attempt to kill Clothilde (14th combat)

Session #21 — Clapper stolen; Frederick/Karl chased and captured; fight w/Bootscraper gang avoided; tolling of bell for Emperor’s vigil

Session #22 — Encounter at Holy Hammer Inn, Arta Shaefer doesn’t want party to attend prayer vigil; epic fight results in death of Shaefer and inn is razed (15th combat); party arrives at vigil; bells ring/daemons appear, chaos ensues (session ends before combat begins)

Session #23 — Climactic conclusion essentially ends with Black Cowl entering warp gate (16th combat)

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Our sessions generally last about 5-6 hours and we meet monthly.  It is not so much about me playing up the social aspect, it is more a matter of making sure all my players get a dose of what they enjoy each session.  Never the less, I just ordered it from Amazon so I will have a better idea once it gets here and I read it.

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>Session #14 — Party tries to defend Ashenbeck at his heresy trial; secret warehouse discovered, party avoids large box that contains warp beast? warp portal? (probable combat avoided!)

 

 

 

Heh. Session 14... you guys never looked to see what was in the basement of that warehouse... Was that the "Piety Day" hazing incident that the would-be knight rolled so poorly on?

 

 

jh

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The main villain in TEW has a lot of different allies. Human bandits and criminals; cultists and mutants and the daemons they summon; and a tannery full of skaven. There's also a war going on in the background for 3/4s of the adventure, so the roads are dangerous. It's pretty easy to justify throwing in extra fights liberally along the way.

 

The final chapter is an epic mission into the Chaos Wastes, which is both harrowing and trippy. If your players like action, they'll enjoy it.

 

While I admittedly added some subplots and encounters here and there, my group just recently finished this campaign after 58 sessions of play and nearly 2 years of real life. 3 of the 4 PCs were strong combatants (a slayer, a bright wizard, and a knight), so I just ramped up the fights well beyond what the book called for. There were only two battles I didn't upgrade, and amusingly one of those two was the only time I actually killed a PC in the adventure. (KO'd them a lot before that, but never a TPK and never time for the NPCs to kill anyone who'd passed out. I got pretty good at balancing the fights so they'd just barely scrape out a win and keep the story going.)

 

There's a great old thread around here somewhere for GM prep for The Enemy Within and ideas on augmenting the campaign. Link: http://community.fantasyflightgames.com/index.php?/topic/76119-enemy-within-for-gm-thoughts-prep-ideas-etc/

Hmm... I may have to go necro that thread with some of my cards and observations from the last couple books.

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There's a great old thread around here somewhere for GM prep for The Enemy Within and ideas on augmenting the campaign. Link: http://community.fantasyflightgames.com/index.php?/topic/76119-enemy-within-for-gm-thoughts-prep-ideas-etc/

Hmm... I may have to go necro that thread with some of my cards and observations from the last couple books.

 

That is a great thread. I am preparing TEW for my gaming group and have read through that thread a couple of times for inspiration.

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