Graeme Davis has shared some information about the new edition of The Enemy Within for WFRP4 in his GenCon seminar ‘Thirty Years of The Enemy Within’. If you haven’t already seen the seminar, I strongly recommend it. The video is here.
I thought I would add some of my own thoughts as to what his comments might mean and see if I can read between the lines a little.
WHAT WE KNOW
Davis has already been specific about a number of things. There will be five episodes in the new campaign, each 160 pages long. They will have the titles The Enemy in Shadows, Death on the Reik, Power Behind the Throne, The Horned Rat and The Empire in “Something”. The title of the final part has not yet been decided. Each will include background information in addition to the adventure itself, continuing the practice of the original Enemy Within campaign.
There will also be companion volumes, which will contain supplementary material. Some of this will be reused from existing sources, but 30% to 50% will be new material.
Davis has been given free rein to write the campaign as he likes, and intends to write it according to the designers’ original intentions, or at least what he and Phil Gallagher can remember of them. He has also said there will be major twists and changes to keep old players guessing. He seems understandably excited about the project.
Davis’ plan to follow the original intentions for the campaign faces the obstacle of knowing what those intentions were. He freely admits he was not heavily involved in planning the campaign; that was handled by Jim Bambra and Phil Gallagher. He also says that Bambra is estranged from the Warhammer community. That leaves Gallagher as the only source of information, and his prior recollections have been quite sketchy.
What was the original plan for the Enemy Within Campaign after Power Behind the Throne?
The original plan? We had a plan? I think the “plan” was to keep creating linked, campaign-style rpg adventures with some great role-playing scenes, and plenty of action…
How close was Carl Sargent’s published Empire in Flames to the original intention? Did you have much input into the brief Carl worked from?
Jeez… Empire in Flames… I’ve no idea… that was you and Mike [Brunton], Graeme – all you and Mike!
– Phil Gallagher, Graeme Davis’ blog
Some of this uncertainty is perhaps a self-deprecatory style. There certainly was some sort of plan, and we know Gallagher did have some involvement in Empire in Flames. It is also possible Gallagher has shared more information with Davis than was included in this blog post. But after thirty-two years it seems likely to me that there is little trace left of the original brief (which, in any case, may have been literally brief).
Moreover, Davis’ desire to introduce unfamiliar twists necessarily involves moving away from the original plan. We should probably, therefore, assume that The Director’s Cut tries to capture the essence of the original campaign and some of its specific elements, but is otherwise in large parts new. In my view this is a good thing.
THE ENEMY IN SHADOWS
The title, sequencing and characterisation of the episode as a rewrite make it clear that the first episode will be based on the original Enemy Within and Shadows Over Bögenhafen. I suspect, though, this part of the campaign might see some significant expansion. Adventure material comprised only 64 pages of the original modules. This falls far short of the target 160 page count.
The original modules also contained 38 pages of background information on The Empire and 8 pages on Bögenhafen. However, the background on The Empire should surely be reserved for a separate source book, and the plot of the adventure means the GM is unlikely to be able to reuse the Bögenhafen setting in the campaign.
It seems to me more likely, given the plot of ‘Mistaken Identity’ that the background information will be the “road life of The Empire” material that Davis mentions. This presumably would follow the pattern of ‘River Life of The Empire’ in the original Death on the Reik. That comprised 20 pages of background, encounter ideas and a short scenario.
That would still leave a substantial number of pages to fill. Differences of layout will mean the page count will not be directly comparable with the old editions, but it seems to entail a considerable expansion of the adventures. Another good thing.
DEATH ON THE REIK
It seems less likely there will be substantial expansion of this adventure. The page count of the original (including maps, handouts and ‘River Life of the Empire’) was 122 pages, already close to the 160-page target. Death on the Reik is also one of the parts of the campaign in least need of repair.
POWER BEHIND THE THRONE
This is a difficult one. The original adventure is in need of some fixes to address its links to the rest of the campaign. It would also benefit from giving the GM more help in running the adventure. Yet the original adventure was already quite long (112 pages). If there is also to be background material, there is little room to add to it. I suspect the background information might be relegated to a companion volume.
THE HORNED RAT
This is going to be a new adventure, prsumably based on Gallagher’s original plot. I have written before on the original Horned Rat. Beyond those scraps of knowledge, I know nothing about this. The contents of this adventure will be a surprise. Another good thing.
I know some will be disappointed by the inclusion of a skaven adventure and consider it a cliché. Personally I will be happy to see a good skaven adventure, and for new players it will not at all be a cliché. WFRP4 could hardly miss out Warhammer‘s iconic villains.
THE EMPIRE IN …
This will be another new adventure. Davis says that it will act as a bridge to the background of WFRP4 (presumably as the fan-made Empire at War was a bridge to the WFRP2 setting). That implies substantial changes, if Karl Franz is to sit on the throne in WFRP4‘s timeline. There is one intriguing possibility, though. Since The Enemy Within will precede the new setting, the Emperor at the start of the campaign need not be Karl Franz. He could be Luitpold, for example, and Karl Franz could take the role of Heinrich, leaving the original plot of Empire in Flames intact.
The new adventure might more closely follow the original outline that Derrick Norton shared, though it is not clear if that reflects Bambra and Gallagher’s original vision or Carl Sargent’s ideas.
Of course, given the low regard for Empire in Flames, a blank sheet of paper might be in order. Personally, though, I think elements of Empire in Flames are worth saving.
THE COMPANION VOLUMES
Davis did not explicitly describe their contents, but suggested at least 50% is from existing sources. We can guess a few possible candidates. ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ and ‘Carrion Up the Reik’ have previously been part of the campaign. I am not a fan of the latter (apart from the title), but would be delighted to see the former included. Davis also gave a non-committal answer regarding linking to the WFRP3 Enemy Within campaign. That might imply that adventure will appear in the companion volumes. The Middenheim guide surely also goes into a companion book.
Since Graeme suggests new material is getting close to 50% of the total of the companion volumes, that suggests a lot of new material. We could easily be looking at three or four companion volumes. Good things again.
One thing I can make clear: my own material will not be included. Graeme Davis wants to pursue his own ideas. I consider this another good thing.
WHEN WILL WE SEE THE NEW CAMPAIGN?
Here is the bad thing. Work seems not to have started on the rewrites of parts one to three, part four is drafted half way, part five is unwritten and there is a lot of new content to be produced for the companion volumes. It sounds like we are going to be waiting a while to see the new Enemy Within.
See also my post The Enemy Within: the Blogger’s Cut.
Title art by Ian Miller. Used without permission. No challenge intended to the rights holders.