Enemy Within Updates (plus other stuff)

The enemy lurks in shadows
Capitaneus Fractus
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I agree with you, that The Enemy Within campaign was just a set of possible course of events. In itself, this campaign have a lot of potential ends:
Spoiler
Bögenhafen might be destructed or saved...
Boris Todbringer might be murdered or saved...
His murderer might take the place of late Boris or to fail to...
Adventurers might succeed to return Sigmar's Hammer to the Empire or fail to...
Heinrich Todbringer might be killed or saved...
And yes, Emperor Heinrich was only mentioned three times in official publications, including the Empire in Flames
Spoiler
-in The Empire in Flames (Games Workshop, 1989) as Heinrich X, for example: It takes only half an hour to crown Emperor Heinrich X, even though Emmanuelle forgets most of her words and has to be prompted by Grossprattler and Ar-Ulric. While the PCs have no further part to play in the ceremony - the Hammer having disappeared - they are permitted to form an honour guard behind the Throne.;

-in Death's Dark Shadows (Flame Publications under Games Workshop's licence, 1991) as Heinrich the First, for example: This adventure pack assumes that the present date is 2515 IC - after the culminating events of the Enemy Within campaign, which are presented in Empire in Flames. The current Emperor is Heinrich I, the successor to Emperor Karl-Franz, and the current ruler of the County of Wissenland is Countess Etelka Pfeifraucher, who succeeded her grand father Bruno in 2513 (her father -Bruno's son- died in 2508). Wissenland is attached to the City-State of Nuln, whose ruler - Countess Emmanuelle Krieglitz-Untermensch [sic] is Empress, married to Heinrich I;

-and in Pour la gloire d'Ulric (Descartes Éditeur under Games Workshop's licence, 1995) as Heinrich the First too, for example: Heinrich Todbringer est couronné empereur à Altdorf le deuxième jour de Pflugzeit de l’an 2513 après avoir été élu à l’unanimité par les Grands Electeurs. Il porte Ghal-Maraz et l’on raconte qu’il est de la lignée de Sigmar. On le dit élu et désigné par le dieu protecteur de l’Empire ainsi que par Ulric.
"Heinrich Todbringer is crowned emperor in Altdorf the second day of Pfugzeit of the year 2513 after that he has been elected by unanimity by Grand Electors. He carry Ghal-Maraz and one narrate that he is of Sigmar lineage. One said him elected and named by the protector god of the Empire and by Ulric."
Veniam, Duelli Malleum, phantasticum ludum personae uidebo, in fera terra periculosorum aduenturorum ludebam.
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Karanthir
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Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 5:11 am
Did it? The first publication that seem to diverge from Empire in Flames is Games Workshop's Warhammer Armies: The Empire (WFB6, 2000): "It is the year 2520 of the Imperial Calendar, and Karl Franz is the ruling Emperor."

Flame's Death's Dark Shadow and Descartes's Pour la gloire d'Ulric were in line with the events of Games Workshop's
Spoiler
(both take place in 2515 under the rule of the emperor Heinrich Todbringer). Other publications made Flame and Hogshead didn't contradicted events of Empire in Flames.
You're right about those two publications, my mistake. The point stands though, that there are two divergent timelines following the events of TEW.

I tend to agree with Herr Arnulfe that WFB events shouldn't impact too much on the RPG, but I suspect that GW has a much tighter leash on that sort of thing now than they did in the 90s.
Last edited by Karanthir on Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
Herr Arnulfe
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Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 6:53 am
And yes, Emperor Heinrich was only mentioned three times in official publications, including the Empire in Flames
Nice list of citations! Essentially the Enemy Within campaign was about the fall of the Habsburg dynasty. It sounds like there was some brief confusion in the early 90's over whether the setting would transition to post-Habsburg HRE, until GW hit the reset button and switched it back to default settings. Similar to how Storm of Chaos references continued cropping up for a while in 2009-2010 after the SoC had technically been retconned.
FasterThanJesus
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I was a little bit skeptical, but Power Behind the Throne has been released today. I'm all excited, it's my favourite part (in theory, at least).

Edit: this has been a productive end to the year, and although I'm not going to completely recant my earlier cynicism regarding releases and project management, I will say that this is a good end to the year with some decent material coming out. I'm actually in a quandary with regards to what to read next.
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Totsuzenheni Yukimi
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Do let us know what you think of it if you have the time and inclination.
Zisse
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I just skimmed through PbtT. My first impression is from reading the small parts that I could identify as new.

I like that there's a continuation of the post castle wittgenstein part of DotR. I cannot judge on the quality yet, because I did not read details.
I also like that the leads from DotR are explored more. Also no details read yet.

The aftermath provides a list prerequisites for part 4+5. E.g. this NPC should survive, etc. It does not provide real leads to what's coming in parts 4+5. But maybe I should read the main part of the adventure, because the presumed main opponents in part 4 play a role in PbtT, which is new compared to the 1e version.

I really like the art in C7's books. And I know that the portraits in the original all had a very similar facial proportions, they all looked as if they were from the same grandfather. Still, for my taste, some new portraits diverge to much from what has been burnt into my grognard's brain. The Graf's champion's portrait is great, though.
FasterThanJesus
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totsuzenheni wrote:
Thu Dec 17, 2020 2:55 pm
Do let us know what you think of it if you have the time and inclination.
Yep. Will do. Gideon will probably have a 3000 word essay published by the time I've finished the foreword though ;)

First impressions are that I like the art work, I like the maps (except the city map which has two annotated versions alongside the main PDF), it has a nice relationship web diagram showing the important NPCs. As Zisse notes, it alludes to expanding the consequences for the Kastor Lieberung thread, the Skaven and Gotthard in the final installments.
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Totsuzenheni Yukimi
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Much appreciated all. I'm still on that fence.
Theo
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Here's my first thoughts on the new PBtT after a first read-through (cross-posted from the GMs group on Facebook):

Short impression: Very close to the original, more so than I had expected.


Longer thoughts:

First, of course, the book is very pretty as we’ve come to expect from C7. My favourite piece of artwork in it – the highly evocative image of Brunhilde in her lair preparing her disguises that serves as a frontispiece – will unfortunately be hard to use in the game.

My main impression after this is that the new version hews a lot closer to the original than I had somewhat expected, both in contents and organisation. Apart from an added prologue section covering the journey from Altdorf to Middenheim, the chapters are fundamentally the same and in the same order as in the original, and while there’s some more detail (for instance, many of the carnival events, which used to have only humorous names, also get humorous descriptions) the structure of the adventure and most of its particulars are essentially unchanged. The greatest difference in organisation is that the big block of descriptions of major NPCs is moved to an appendix, while the chapter called ‘The Powers That Be” is now an extended version of the old chapter “People and events” featuring “trigger events” and describing points of contact and interactions with all the major NPCs rather than just a handful of them – which is helpful, but also a bit confusing since a GM reading the book in order will not know much about a number of these characters who will be detailed only in the appendix.

As for contents and expansion, the famous deficiencies of Power Behind the Throne complained about from the start are its failure to advance and develop the Purple Hand, Kastor Lieberung and Gotthard von Wittgenstein plotlines, and to a secondary extent the problems of finding time to use all the extra Middenheim stuff either before or after the main adventure. While there is a _little_ bit more about the Purple Hand and the Lieberung plot, and a tiny little bit more on Gotthard, the adventure mostly doubles down on refusing to engage meaningfully with these plotlines. HOWEVER, it’s also heavily hinted that these plotlines _will_ be followed up in The Horned Rat, the first act of which will apparently be set in Middenheim and follow straight on from the end of PBtT. There’s quite a number of teasers about THR and, at least, some notes on what NPCs, groups and plotlines will need to still be around for that, but it’s all kept on a strictly “need-to-know” basis with only the minimum possible transparency. (The list of what is “needed” for THR is extensive enough to probably require some railroading to keep various NPCs alive.)

I admit this – simply postponing all the loose ends until the next adventure, which will be newly written anyway - is probably quite a clever solution and definitely the one that requires the least reworking of PBtT. It’s very badly suited for my own needs, since I probably won’t be using THR (assuming it even comes out in time for me to be _able_ to), but then I know I’m not the core target audience and I was prepared to do this work for myself anyway. :)
Another link with THR is a slightly expanded version of the ‘Chaos strikes by night’ incident, but with the mixed Chaos warband turned into all-Skaven and the implication of some sort of cooperation between the Purple Hand and the Skaven of under-Middenheim, which will apparently be an important plot point in THR.

The Grognard boxes, mostly devoted to how to tweak the adventure to foil players who know the plot from before from metagaming their way to an easy victory (does anyone actually do this?) are, by now, mostly just an increasingly annoying gimmick. The only useful such section IMO details some variants to tweak the “evil plot”, including various substitutes for the doppelgänger. (As in the original, we get no explanation as to where Wasmeier got his doppelgänger from.)

The new prologue adds some minor encounters, news and rumours. It doesn’t include the fight at the Place of the Shining Rock, and indeed reimagines the Sons of Ulric as a somewhat more mainstream but still nasty separatist group that reminds me more of the Tea Party and various reactionary American secessionists than the all-out religious terrorists of Carrion Up the Reik and Empire at War. There’s also some useful notes about how the situation in the Empire in general and around Middenheim needs to evolve for the latter part of the campaign to kick off properly – but again, this should have been in the first chapter of the _first_ book.

There is a little more advice on how to run this complex adventure than in the original, but not a whole lot. (The section actually called “Running the adventure” is a laughable single paragraph which states that the adventure is complex and needs to be read through thoroughly.) I’ll be interested to see if the Companion book breaks with precedent and includes some more material to help GMs out here. If not, Gideon’s TEW Companion, which does include such material, still is anything but redundant.

Finally, some changed details to NPCs that I did notice and appreciate:

- The description and depiction of the mentally disabled Baron Stefan Todbringer is very different (and improved) from the caricatured 1E version. This Stefan seems catatonic or otherwise dissociative.

- While Katarina Todbringer’s role in the adventure is basically unchanged, her description is a lot less patronizing (she’s no longer being referred to as a ‘truly dumb blonde’).

- The libertines Luigi Pavarotti and Allavandrel Fanmaris are now actually bisexual. (It’s not spelled out in so many words but they will now hit on any attractive _characters_ rather than just female ones.)

All in all, it’s a solid and pretty book, well worth having. Not exactly essential if you've got the original and aren't interested in playing the new version of the campaign ending.
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Totsuzenheni Yukimi
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It will be interesting to see what the Companion contains, though i'm thinking a lot rests on The Horned Rat at this point, for me at least.
Hteph
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Still annoying that the “secretive” Skaven openly attacks a inn to fetch a map! That is one thing thats really going to need a rework in my campaign!

Prolly going for something like a opportunistic Skaven trying to filch someting from a PC that they have picked up earlier.
FasterThanJesus
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I'm only half way through so I'm going to leave a more thorough write up when I've finished. However, I agree with a lot, not necessarily all, of Theo's high quality assessment.

I will say that I'm getting a "in the forthcoming Realms of Sorcery" sense of déjà vu whenver I read "The Horned Rat."
FasterThanJesus
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I'd been meaning to update this thread with my views on PBtT and the latest round(s) of updates from Cubicle 7 but I've been a bit under the weather. However, the PBtT Companion was released yesterday, so and that worth mentioning. Here are the abridged contents:

CHAPTER 1:THE GRAF’S GARDEN PARTY ............7
CHAPTER 2: CAMEO ADVENTURES .........................21
The Wine of Madness ..........................21
Watch the Birdie... ...............................25
Nice Teddy... ........................................26
Down Among the Dead Men ..............28
Devouring the World ...........................30
Golthog, Ogre Mercenary ....................31
CHAPTER 3: THE JADE SCEPTRE: A GAMEMASTER’S GUIDE ..............32
CHAPTER 4:THE CULT OF ULRIC .........................41
CHAPTER 5: SOME VERY IMPORTANT PEOPLE ..................................52
CHAPTER 6: FAMILIAR FACES ......78
CHAPTER 7: THE CHANGELING 85
CHAPTER 8: THE RITUAL ................86
CHAPTER 9:FLYING DEATH SKULLS ..................98
PREGENERATED CHARACTERS ....120
Capitaneus Fractus
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Pregenerated characters?
Is The Ritual suggested to happen in a specific moment? Is it no longer set in Delbrez, or is it suggested to happen in Delbrez on the road to Middenheim?
Veniam, Duelli Malleum, phantasticum ludum personae uidebo, in fera terra periculosorum aduenturorum ludebam.
FasterThanJesus
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Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 3:07 pm
Pregenerated characters?
Erina Eberhaur and Golthog. Gives the option of ready made characters for PBtT if needed. Apparently the next Archives of Empire will contain ogre rules.
Capitaneus Fractus wrote: Is The Ritual suggested to happen in a specific moment? Is it no longer set in Delbrez, or is it suggested to happen in Delbrez on the road to Middenheim?
No, it's been updated to be set in Middenheim, potentially a diversion or pace change from the core PBtT plot. I've only skim read it but it does not appear to be significantly different
Theo
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Some impressions after a quick read-through of the Power Behind the Throne Companion:

First off: the tagline “The essential companion for campaigning across Middenland” is completely misleading. There’s pretty much nothing in this book about Middenland, let alone campaigning across it. It all focuses on stuff in Middenheim or close to it. I wonder if this tagline is a survival from an earlier conception of the book?

Preface: A few lines of commentary from Derrick Norton, who edited and heavily reworked the original PBtT, and an equally short tribute to Carl Sargent from Graeme Davis. I’m a little baffled by these entries – not by their being there, but by their being so brief and lightweight (less than half a page each) I wonder why they bothered to put them in at all. They might at least have provided a link to Norton’s much fuller commentary on PBtT on the Awesome Lies blog.

1. The Graf’s garden party: A much more detailed, almost Three Feathers-style, writeup of the garden party that happens during Carnival week and could be a pivotal opportunity to talk to and/or eavesdrop on important NPCs. One of the longest chapters in the book at 17 pages. I liked this very much and I’m pleasantly surprised this came out in time for me to make use of it.

2. Cameo adventures: A mini-adventure, three scenes adapted from adventure seeds in the 1E Middenheim book, an adventure seed about that Babrakkos liche-thing that the Middenheim book kept going on about, and an ogre NPC. The first, ‘The Wine of Madness’, is new and involves a plot by the Jade Sceptre to hand out free wine spiked with mind-altering drugs during the carnival. Better than murdering a load of children for no reason as in ‘The Pie-Eyed Piper’ but still lightweight. The scenes are fine.

3. The Jade Sceptre: a GM’s guide: A writeup on the Slaanesh cult. There really isn’t much to it, but that’s less of a problem than with the Purple Hand – and here we actually get motivations, and even a suggestion that the Sceptre might be unlikely allies for the PCs against the Hand. By far the best of the three cult chapters in the Companions so far, though it’s a pretty low bar. Most of the chapter is new spells, generally focused on the conventional Slaanesh combination of sensuous manipulation and body horror.

4. The cult of Ulric: A detailed writeup. Not too useful for me personally since I’ve changed so much of the religions, but it looks like a solid chapter. Has there actually been a detailed writeup like this on the Church of Sigmar for 4E yet?

For some reason, the Gazetteer of the Duchy of Middenheim is squeezed in at the end of this chapter.

5. Some very important people: Detailed PBtT-style writeups of a half-dozen NPCs (three of them – two priestesses and a dwarf clerk - from the original PBtT or 1E Middenheim book, three I think from later Warhammer novels) to add some more optional plot depth and complexity to the adventure, as well as expanded and more detailed writeups of Brünhilde Klaglich and Nastassia the spy with suggestions on having them take a more proactive part in the adventure. My second favourite chapter after the Garden Party; this looks very useful. My only gripe is the idea – obviously tempting thought it was – to make Nastassia and Brünhilde each other’s nemesis/archenemy. It’s another instance of the bad Warhammer habit of making everything about the cool NPCs. This is easily ignored, though, and I really like the guidelines for running them more proactively.

6. Familiar faces: Suggestions on having various NPCs from the previous adventures turn up again. Most interesting is the notes on Hieronymus Blitzen, Quintus Fassbinder and Alberich Hollzauber (the otherwise forgotten kidnapper of Elvyra from DotR, now identified with Ernst’s contact ‘Doctor Schmidt’ from the very start) which suggest something might be built up for The Horned Rat.

7. The Changeling: A one-page chapter on the supremely annoying demon that might be inserted in the adventures. Utterly pointless and no help at all to the GM as far as I can see.

8. The Ritual: An old White Dwarf adventure also reprinted in The Restless Dead, basically a short dungeon crawl featuring a small Skaven lair under a city. Apart from moving the setting from Delberz to Middenheim, it looks like a very straight adaptation. A brief and generic adventure, but I suppose a workable enough introduction to Skaven as well as a useful mini-dungeon.

9. Flying Death Skulls: A rewrite of the well-loved old WD adventure “The Grapes of Wrath”, also reprinted in The Restless Dead and the 2E Plundered Vaults. This is much more heavily rewritten, shortened and simplified: the timeline is contracted drastically and while the outer action is similar the plot behind it is wholly different. In place of the original ‘Scooby Doo and the Cask of Amontillado’ mystery where the villain is seeking revenge for his brother, buried alive by the village headman for having an affair with his wife, the new version substitutes the insecure necromancer Hans Gräber from the lame DotRC “Vengeance of the Gravelord”, angry about the same wife snubbing him years ago, in order to make this adventure a part of that utterly forgettable campaign b-plot. The third party (Skaven in the original, rival adventurers in the 2E version) is also eliminated, as is the villain’s none-too-loyal henchman. In the process, the rewrite loses all the moral ambiguity, most of the interesting wrinkles, several opportunities for players to observe things and notice patterns over time, and much of its charm. It’s still not a bad adventure, and possibly the condensed timeline might actually work better (I haven’t run it), but the original is so much more interesting. And the Grognard boxes are more annoying than ever. This rewrite seems almost spiteful.

General verdict: A solid book, perhaps less generally useful for running WFRP than the EiSC but more than the DotRC, and I think the best read of the Companion books so far. The Garden Party and the NPCs chapter are the highlights for me, but most of the other chapters range from inoffensive to good. The only stinkers are the Changeling and the baffling rewrite of Grapes of Wrath/Flying Death Skulls into a much weaker adventure.

What it does not include, except indirectly by the detailed writeup of the garden party, is any substantial hints or help on running the complex adventure. This, as I suspected, means that Gideon’s TEW: A Companion still remains an essential resource for running it.

In a nutshell: if you’re going to run Power Behind the Throne in any version, buy this, but do yourself a favour and find the original or 2E version of Grapes of Wrath, and be sure to use Gideon’s Companion for help in running it.
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Totsuzenheni Yukimi
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I would hope that the developers at Cubicle 7 understand the difference between Middenheim, the Duchy of Middenheim, and Middenland (and, for bonus points, Nordland), such as they were, if they still are.
FasterThanJesus
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Theo wrote:
Fri Feb 26, 2021 4:04 am

Preface: A few lines of commentary from Derrick Norton, who edited and heavily reworked the original PBtT, and an equally short tribute to Carl Sargent from Graeme Davis. I’m a little baffled by these entries – not by their being there, but by their being so brief and lightweight (less than half a page each) I wonder why they bothered to put them in at all. They might at least have provided a link to Norton’s much fuller commentary on PBtT on the Awesome Lies blog.
I also found them a little jarring. I wasn't sure whether to mention it as it's not too relevant to the actual book it's just a nostalgia trip and could come across as a bit whiny or vindictive. However, the entries were just very light compared to those in the previous two companions to the extent it is very odd.
Hteph
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totsuzenheni wrote:
Fri Feb 26, 2021 4:44 am
I would hope that the developers at Cubicle 7 understand the difference between Middenheim, the Duchy of Middenheim, and Middenland (and, for bonus points, Nordland), such as they were, if they still are.
I highly doubt so, i have lost any respect i ever would have for the hacks that are C7, they seems to be stumbling around and sometimes getting stuff right by random chance, rather than have any concious thoughts about anything.
FasterThanJesus
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totsuzenheni wrote:
Fri Feb 26, 2021 4:44 am
I would hope that the developers at Cubicle 7 understand the difference between Middenheim, the Duchy of Middenheim, and Middenland (and, for bonus points, Nordland), such as they were, if they still are.
This has been mentioned on here since we saw that bit of blurb that it seemed a rather odd claim for the PBtT Companion. I think the general consensus that they're confused about it is correct.

However, I suspect GW are also confused about this considering the number of pointless retcons and changes they've made over the years to the Empire's political borders.
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