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doc_cthulhu

So What's the story of the new Enemy Within?

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Players:

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… So what is going on in the new Enemy Within? Is it linked to the original TEW or is it completely a new kind of thing? What were the "I can't believe they included this!"-moments?

Come on! It give us the sugar or it gets from the hose.

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SPOILER INDEED!!!!  Keep your noses out Players or you spoil your own fun!

 

It's a new plot using different NPC's.

There are nods to the old plot and the cults involved, Purple Hand, Red Crown, but locations/adventure events are different.  It mentions that the groups above were frustrated in a plan some years ago by a group of heros - e.g., without delving into it if you want to say the original adventure happened in the past you can - though perhaps not through to the Empire in Flames parts.

I am digesting and figuring out the "big moments".  One is - the play may end very badly (and we're not just talking about reviews).  There's another that is more "emotional" which is not "on the page" but pretty much called for (people you met went missing, at least one of them being likeable and sweet, and now you find what's left of them - well that is tragic and calls for a Stressful check in my book).  The finale scenes are intended to be huge/over the top as well - epic fights.

I need to read it again, couple of times really - it's well integrated across its chapters (unlike some earlier edition campaigns) so that NPC X turns up here, here and here etc. (as GM you want to know that plan first time they appear).  There are some bits that may be a bit complex to run (parallel events unfolding).  That happens "just a bit" in first part and "a whole lot more later on" (perhaps so GM and group get hang of it).

Interesting points (well interested me):

The Emperor makes an appearnce (you get a card and actions for him and in passing learn he does have a son, Luitpold - there's a blast from the past - doesn't factor in adventure though).

Surtha Lenk appears off stage and indeed Wolfenburg is not a healthy place to live in any edition it seems.  We stop short of Archaeon appearing but "that storyline is not invalidated".

For those who follow the wargame version, a Luminark appears (who says Light wizards are not use in a battle).

The high level epilogue has Chaos Waste rules for the not-faint-of-heart.

There's a trip to Middenheim and the Sacred Flame - Dr. von Oppenheimer has a plan (is it a surprise to say it ends explosively?)

Some GM-comforting canon on warpstone confirmed (it's very very very hard to dispose of the stuff - oh we're in spoiler territory let's be clear - it's confirmed the silly humans think they can at times but the high elves aren't even sure of how to).

My Thoughts of Tinkering:

I don't think plot line needs it.  Unlike gathering storm (schulmann is just way too obvious, come on!) this one has any number of suspects any no more likely or tragic a choice for the villain.

I think my prep work will be just fleshing out what it provides and doing table top aids to help it in play.  For example it starts with investigation in a district of city sort of like the Winds of Magic adventure in Altdorf and I will probably use similar approach as I did there of creating little cards with the descriptions of the neighbourhood NPCs to scatter on table so heroes choose who to go up to and chat.

The fact villain is "tragic" is mentioned in a sense and something that can be developed and that means they can be presented sympathetically earlier on before their villainy is revealed.  Very much like your typical Batman villain (by the end they are very probably best played like your typical Batman villain).  This applies whichever of the candidates you select for villain.  There are a lot of "flawed but struggling to do right thing as they see it and admirable in their way" people of whom one turns out to be "really flawed with a very bad idea of right thing".

The "great conspircacy" , which the vilain is leading-twisting, can really be seen as a simply bourgeois class chaffing at the Empire's restrictive nobility and official cults and wanting more liberty and freedom.  It's very easy to see it (like the secret societies Lure of Power introduced) having lots of "unIlluminated members" who support it'.  Its ideas can presented in a way  that is "friendly to a 21st Century view of things".  There are a couple of secret societies from Lure of Power that would make sense to reflect it (the campaign does use not that concept/those cards).  I definitely won't have it be calling itself, "The Great Conspiracy".

 

 

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Thanks for a in-depth answer. Seems to me that this offers much more than many of previous supplements. And can actually be bough as a pdf withou a problem? Gets my juice running for WFRP again!

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This all sounds great, I just hope it turns up in the UK before christmas so I can read it though the holidays. I was wondering if you could give more details on the enemies in the campagin and for the purposes of my work on 'Evil' magic, if any new spell action cards have been included and if there are any above rank 3.

I guess the Enemy Below features Skaven in some form? While the enemy without is either beastmen or greenskins? and the Enemy within is cults and daemons? Are the Undead featured at all? What is the nature of the enemies thoughout; and how combat heavy is the adventure?

 

Many Thanks. Crimsonsun

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doc_cthulhu said:

Thanks for a in-depth answer. Seems to me that this offers much more than many of previous supplements. And can actually be bough as a pdf withou a problem? Gets my juice running for WFRP again!

If they offer the pdf alone it would give you the story, the 4 location/city district maps are in the pdf too. 

However, you don't get 2 condition cards that are unique to this set, "Filthy" (others are duplicates from others), Clue Cards to emphasize key points in investigation (if you have good investigative players in Call of Cthulhu sense not necessary but for less attentive groups, useful), and more significantly the 6 Backgrounds with special abilities etc - the book has some information on them BUT NOT the unique character creation variant and ongoing special ability each has, and though the book as a list of creatures with stat lines etc., you won't get the monster action cards like "Villainous Monologue" (a reason mastermind villains make cheesy speeches revealing their plots).

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Hi,

Heh heh "Filthy" sure to get plenty of use with my lot!

Thanks for the run down Valvorik. Can we assume that the four cities featured are Altdorf, Averheim, Middenheim and Wolfburg?

Another quick question if I may, are the featured noble houses connected with those listed in previous supplements?

Cheers for the teasers..

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Perhaps a pointless question, but what are the requirements for each of the background cards? Race/Traits etc?

My copy got shipped on Friday but has a long way to travel, so in the meantime I'm sitting in my chair and pulling my hair out in anticipation.

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Wolfburg is not featured, rather mentioned in general background.  The adventure features Averheim, Middenburg and Altdorf with a "district of city" map for each and bit fo more info.

The adventure text makes clear that though there is a war going on at one point (starts and still going on really when adventure ends) and heroes might want to rush off and fight it "that's not the story of the Enemy Within…." and they should be worried enough about the plot within the Empire to pursue that rather than enlisting.

There is no connection I can see to previous noble families from Lure of Power etc - though there is reference to using LoP's noble rules etc.  There is a "tying to other adventures" section that goes through how if you played other adventures you can tie that in, e.g., had become von Aschaffenberg agents etc.

The families contending for Elector position in Averheim are 'canon' (Leitforf, von Alptraum).  The situation is not quite the same in detail or "evil plot" as in the novel (forget if that is Sword of Justice or Vengeance) though you get a Schwatzhelm stat card too. 

The Elector issue is a bit of a red herring - it's not resolved in the adventure - though that is kept open with a fun twist, the conspiracy targetting it changes its plans when war breaks out in north and "gets more ambitious" (which is why we end up in Altdorf).  You can see a very "Tzeentch pulling strings" plotline there in which the plotters themselves are pawns whose ambitions really having nothing to do with the purpose they are being used to serve in the end.

The 6 backgrounds all have 4 or more traits on them.  There is no hard and fast rule about using them though suggestions as in - if doing draw 3 and pick one for careers, and choosing background first, then discard any drawn that don't share at least one trait with background.   There's a sidebar with several suggestions for how to use backgrounds (pre-career choice, post-career choice etc.).  Two have racial traits and are obvious choices for non-humans, some others hard to justity (a non-human can't be a Gently Born local), but others without racial traits could be explained as being non-humans.

Averheim by its background fluff etc is most friendly to choice of dwarf of halfling to start (look at map, makes sense), ogres actually do appear as bodyguards at times (the adventure actually notes at one point, "an ogre PC will have to ride on the coach buckboard, if there are 2 ogre PC's the heroes have to walk".  Elves are a rarity in Averheim.

 

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valvorik said:

The 6 backgrounds all have 4 or more traits on them.  There is no hard and fast rule about using them though suggestions as in - if doing draw 3 and pick one for careers, and choosing background first, then discard any drawn that don't share at least one trait with background.   There's a sidebar with several suggestions for how to use backgrounds (pre-career choice, post-career choice etc.).  Two have racial traits and are obvious choices for non-humans, some others hard to justity (a non-human can't be a Gently Born local), but others without racial traits could be explained as being non-humans.

Averheim by its background fluff etc is most friendly to choice of dwarf of halfling to start (look at map, makes sense), ogres actually do appear as bodyguards at times (the adventure actually notes at one point, "an ogre PC will have to ride on the coach buckboard, if there are 2 ogre PC's the heroes have to walk".  Elves are a rarity in Averheim.

 

That's awesome, thanks :)  Nice to see that they are taking all the races into account. I'm really hoping one of my players opts for an ogre since I've never seen one played before, but I suspect it won't happen.

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The opening of the war is definitely in line with the Storm of Chaos timeline, Surtha Lenk comes romping down etc.  It's not called "storm of chaos" and you arent obligated to go with any of the rest of that story line by it and the story line is not itself "storm of chaos" oriented but could easily be seen as "part of a grand associated plan" by "your Old World Specialist in Grand Plans".

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Thanks for the info!

As I understand it the campaign is designed to take newly made characters well into the higher tiers. Is this correct and if so, how difficult would it be to play through the campaign starting with relatively experienced characters?

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Yes, the campaign is designed to start with beginning characters - including having "character background options" that give some advantages and have narrative connections (each has questions to answer that connect PC into various aspects of the adventure).

It also has suggested ways to transition from Eye for an Eye/Edge of Night/Mirror of Desire (connections to Lord Rickard), Witch's Song, Horror of Hugeldal, Gathering Storm and Crimson Rain (which it notes could also be used as an interlude adventure in it).

I find generally once you have a bit of familiarity with the system, stepping up difficulty is not usually a problem (add a squad of henchmen, throw a template on the lead foe or just give training to more foes, create some more environmental difficulty etc.).  The variability of groups means sometimes adjusting written material anyway.  However if characters are over Rank 2 at the start (have status in the campaign world) it may not "feel right" for them to be "doing errands" for nobles and looking into vanishing brass tier nobodies etc and more work on explaining "why they are involved in the way they are" might be needed (less because 30 shillings is big money or because you want to impress a Rank 4 wizard, more because it's my duty, I owe a debt of honour, I seek some payback etc.).  If willing to do that, then I don't see a problem.  The background questions mentioned are really ways of doing that for any level character so finding ways to still use them would be key.  Even a Rank 4 character might in the past have had his life saved by Jurgen or been given an alibi by Frederick.

Speaking as someone who is running a game now with Epic tier PC's, I think the issue is more that if heroes start more experienced they will be really accomplished by the end - then again the Epilogue for Heroic Tier is (intentionally) pretty over the top anyway.

All comes down to how much work you are interested in doing.  

 

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valvorik said:

[…]ogres actually do appear as bodyguards at times (the adventure actually notes at one point, "an ogre PC will have to ride on the coach buckboard, if there are 2 ogre PC's the heroes have to walk".  […]
The text mentions am abundance of ogre mercenaries in town, especially after the last battle in the Black Fire Pass. Their is even the ingame excuse of playing one: The cattle industry of Averheim is to the liking of the ogres. Halflings suffer from some bad stigm due to the halfling rebellion.

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My group is likely to include an ogre and/or a halfling. 

A couple first impressions: 

  • I love what I've read so far, in paticular, the optional Backgrounds.
  • The opening sections of Part I involve decidedly less life-threatening combat than I've grown accustomed to with this game.  One could definitely begin play with a non-martial character without feeling useless.

 

 

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How easy would it be to run the campaign with previous editions of the game? My group is keen to play it, but we're not fans of third edition. That's not to say we don't like it, just that we found nothing compelling to make us switch.

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Obviously you will have to convert stats etc. of things and find ways of expressing different "effects".  The basic plot and key NPCs and events are all "warhammer".  If you're first edition of course "the world is a bit different" so I can't speak to that, but the 2nd edition take on world fits well enough (timeline is essentially just pre a Storm of Chaos hitting).

I have run 2nd edition stuff converting to 3rd without much difficulty, just some work, so I assume the reverse can be done/

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I think it would be close to just as easy to run it with 2 edition as to run it with 3rd. That's basicly because even if it written for 3rd , it is such a huge campaign that each session is bound to require some work to setup and then flesh out and fit into what the characters have been up to. And that part requires a little less work to do with 2nd (imho) than with 3rd.

About the story, i have a hard time imagine that the Players in my groups will not be innovative about trying to figure the cowl out, to a degree that would force the adventure in new directions, and properly use up a likely candidate or two way to early. I properly have to introduce another scapegoat that the cowl can frame and setup, that can sidetrack them for at least 1/3 of the story. Because else it could be hard to keep the suspension up about who the cowl could be.

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Confusion about the cowl can early on be that descriptions of cloaked figure in black around during murders/vanishings may make a listener think the figure in black hood that is behind new criminal network.  Later finidng it was skaven, were the skaven using humans?  (instead of the truth, a human using skaven).

You can develop the criminal group more, I'm calling it the Brotherhood, and it can have some minor crime bosses who become part of it.  They all wear black hoods, it's an organization that has a "cell structure" with individual bosses that seldom meet.  Any of these bosses may seem to be the "black cowl".  There may be a "day to day" boss who thinks they are the real power merely taking "advice" from a helpful supporter who only wants a cut of the take (the real black cowl) and is your patsy.  The whole "black cowl" thing can be a red herring - the main villain with the template card can just be the "conspirator" behind the "black dowl patsy".

You can even let them think they have defeated the criminal in Part 1 and Part 2 is carrying them on to clean up the artefact.  This works just fine.

I'm also toying with the idea that the Black Cowl wears is a magical artefact that, among other things, disguises his voice.

And, last but not least, if you're really evil - there isn't just one Black Cowl.  If one falls, the Conspiracy and the Great Conspirator will raise up another.

Another option is to make whichever one you would choose only "think they are the prime mover" and really it's their lieutenant figure in each case who is the real power.

 

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thanks for all the suggestions. There is some really good ones that should be easy to use. Unfortunatly I was not clear enough about my concerns for what my players would be up to.

I am quite sure that they would expect something rotten from at least one of the importants NPC's early one. (they are after all, veterans GM's them self for 20+ years) and what i expect them to do sooner than later is to investigate alot about the 3 major candidates and that could bring them in a situation where their work in "normal circumstances" would be able to rule out at least 1 of them as the cowl. So it's not that i fear they figure out the cowl to early, but more that they can eliminate some of the other candidates too early. To avoid that am consider adding at least a 4th candidate to the pool that has to be figured out first. Because i really think the story would benefit from having many options for the cowl for a long time.

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Would they be "waylaid" on the path to early discovery if they found suspects had ills to hide (just lesser ones) on the theory of "it's warhammer, everyone is corrupt", and let them be "users of gray methods for good purposes".  The Conspiracy's principles are in some instances "friendly" as in fewer church trials, more middle class freedom.

Luminary Mauer shelters hedge witches and such from the witch hunters but then discover it's so they can be taken into the College, not so they become sorcerers bwah ha hah (of course perhaps not all of them).

Graf von Kaufman is trying to conceal he is desperate for funds - oh he borrowed money for that expedition and if he can't drum up interest enough to sell of things from it he will have to sell his share in Red Arrow, and he owes the part of this criminal network [a victim!] (of course could be covering up he loaned it to himself and is covering monies with cimrinal income)

Captain Baerfast is intentionally drawing out the succession crisis by supporting Steward Tochfel's endless legal wrangling among contenders (genealogy charts and legal precedents back to the time of the 3 Emperors) - but because he is actually a supporter of the whole Charter concept (which explains how Rambrecht can publish pamphlets full of critiques of nobles and not get arrested) (of course really because councils are easier for Conspriracies to corrupt).

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