LOST WARHAMMER: WFRP REVISED EDITION

This is part of a series on unpublished Warhammer supplements. The first post in the series can be read here.

Among Ken Rolston’s marginalia in his draft of Realms of Divine Magic is the following intriguing comment:

Mike [Brunton], Graeme [Davis], and Assorted Playtesters: I think this rules concept is sound, and ought to be extended to the [Realms of] Sorcery volume and WFRP Revised.

– Ken Rolston, Realms of Divine Magic draft

The reference to “WFRP Revised” seems to imply plans for a new edition of the WFRP rules. I believe this comment dates from 1990 and the initial establishment of Flame Publications. I am aware of plans around that time for Flame Publications to publish a second edition of the Judge Dredd role-playing game, but I have never come across a suggestion anywhere else that a new edition of WFRP was under consideration.

It is not clear whether this was a project of Rolston’s or whether it had wider sponsorship at GW. It raises the intriguing possibility that Flame Publications at one point had greater ambitions than were subsequently realised.

Given GW’s waning enthusiasm at the time for WFRP and the pressure on Flame to produce material rapidly, it is surprising such a project was considered. It may be the case that WFRP Revised was intended just to be a minor update of the WFRP1 rulebook or an expansion volume, rather than a fully fledged new edition. Perhaps it was an idea that flourished only briefly before the commercial realities at Flame became clear.

Utimately Flame never produced a new edition and it would be another 15 years before the second edition of WFRP would appear. But it’s another tantalising case of what might have been.

The ‘Lost Warhammer‘ series continues here.

Title art by Peter Andrew Jones. Used without permission. No challenge intended to the rights holders.

8 thoughts on “LOST WARHAMMER: WFRP REVISED EDITION

  1. Fascinating. I was never aware of any plans at Flame for WFRP Revised or for a second edition of the Judge Dredd RPG. We were completely focused on supporting WFRP 1st edition. These must have been longer-term plans, or intentions and wishes to be implemented if and when Flame proved itself successful as a roleplaying arm of GW.

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    1. Possibly, but GW had already done that in 1989 with the softback WFRP1 rulebook. Moreover, Ken Rolston seems to me to imagine something more extensive in the rest of his comment: “I am not real comfortable with the wording, however, and suspect there are a lot of implications I haven’t anticipated, and which will be a bitch to write unambiguous rules for without lots of detail and special instances”.

      On the other hand, the title WFRP Revised, rather than WFRP Second Edition, might suggest a relatively modest update.

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  2. A collation of the various optional rules that had slowly seeped out into other various supplements? Although I must admit I’m not sure of the exact timing of them to determine how feasible that is.

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    1. I think it would be more likely to be a volume of new material than of reprints. Most of the existing rules options had already been reprinted in The Restless Dead (1989). The main rules not included in that volume are probably those for gnome PCs (WD86) fumbles (WD91) and noble PCs (WD91), plus perhaps parts of the rules Q&As (WD98, 102 and 103). They would not amount to very much content. Also, Rolston’s comment refers a to new rule (about stackng bonuses).

      It could be that Rolston is referring to what was published as the Warhammer Companion (1990). Such a hypothesis would conveniently tie this comment in to elements we know. But it hits the problem that that is not what WFRP Revised naturally means, and had Rolston meant a companion volume, he could easily have written that instead.

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      1. Indeed. It was just speculation based upon the limited and vague information we have. It could be possible it wasn’t clear to Rolston, either. There may have been a vague idea to update rules but the exact format was not known.

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  3. I don’t know were they planning actual second/revised edition back in the day, before Hogshead. But Hogshead did reprint WFRP1 books including revised edition of WFRP1 Core Rulebook in 1995. I’m pretty sure it had some minor changes, but otherwise it was the same book.

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