On the surface, the Empire is all but invincible. It is the greatest
of the Old World’s realms, both in extent and in military might.
Founded two and a half millennia ago, it has withstood
countless assaults by Greenskins, Skaven, Chaos, and its many
neighbours. Beneath the banner of the twin-tailed comet,
emblem of its founder-god Sigmar Heldenhammer, the State
Armies of the Empire take to the field behind their mighty
Griffon-riding Emperor, confident of victory.
However, scratch the surface and peer just beneath, and
things take on a different aspect. There are worrying rumours
concerning the Emperor’s health, and he hasn’t been near his
Griffon for months. Deep in the remote forests of this vast
realm, Beastmen and worse still lurk, even though the forces
of Chaos were expelled from the land two centuries ago. The
taint of Chaos touches everywhere, inflicting strange mutations
that force good folk to hide from their neighbours or face the
flames of the witch hunters. Strange and secretive cults worship
blasphemous gods with titles like ‘the Changer of the Ways’,
‘the Prince of Pleasure’ and ‘the Father of Decay’.
Beyond the Empire’s borders, past the icy fringes of Kislev
and Norsca, the swelling forces of Chaos inhabit the twisted
and unnatural Northern Chaos Wastes. Leaders rise and fall,
amassing armies to raid and plunder, only to have them disperse again.
It has been two centuries since any Champion of Chaos has
arisen with the strength to unite the Enemy Without. But
rumour suggests a new Chosen of the Ruinous Powers walks
the north, and is binding the warlike tribes together. So, the
rulers of the Old World do not relax their vigilance. They keep
their eyes steadily on this terrible external threat. And, in doing
so, they overlook the Enemy Within.
About the Game
With the introduction of the 4th edition of the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying (WFRP) system, the Enemy Within Play-By-Post is a forum-based campaign using the accompanying (re-)release of the Enemy Within “Director’s Cut” to launch a collaborative journey through the heroic highs and depraved lows of the Old World. WFRP’s signature campaign famously takes its player characters from the Empire’s dank sewers to its highest courts in pursuit of riches, glory, and salvation, exposing them to the precious opportunities and unspeakable terrors lingering outside of the view of their modest beginnings—and possibly leaving them irretrievably corrupted, insane, or dead in the process.
(For a more extensive description of WFRP, see mindland’s excellent write-up here.)
What to Expect
For one, a more casual and fun experience than the rest of this page may suggest! The GM is generally a pretty laid back and lighthearted dude (who will even refer to himself as “dude” in the third person in certain contexts) that nevertheless sees the value in being as clear as possible about expectations for the game. Overall, though, we’re just hoping to make some new friends, tell a great story, and have a good time. Once you’re on board, worry more about your roleplaying than your roll-playing, and you’ll do just fine.
To that end, as a way of mirroring the novice-to-veteran arc of the PCs, the campaign will be highly receptive of newcomers to both the Enemy Within campaign and WFRP in general. Players with no experience with the system or its expansive lore are encouraged to join. Ample rules information will be provided to players that have signed up for the campaign, and in order to encourage greater emphasis on development of character and story over the mechanics of the game, the GM will be as generous as possible in providing additional background when helpful, and do as much as is practical to translate players’ expressed intentions into the action of the campaign, assuming a clear path is provided within the rules.
Recruitment will therefore place greatest emphasis on finding 3-6 players that are:
- Fun to play with!
- Committed to indulging the potentially very low lows of a grim and perilous fantasy setting.
- Reliable to make quality contributions to the collective story on a day-to-day and year-to-year basis.
To the extent this can be proven out using experience in similar campaigns online, it would be fantastic to have references to comparable games you’ve played in when you apply.
Please note that applicants that are granted initial access to the site will not be guaranteed a place in the campaign. A private forum will be dedicated to each prospective player in order to roll up a character and collaborate on background details for the PC with the GM. If both the character concept and player are good fits for the game, we’ll be lucky enough to have you join the party. If not, no offense is intended, and the GM will keep you and the character in mind to hopefully add a boost to the story at an opportune moment later on.
During the campaign:
- GM posts should take place roughly every 48 hours, with regular breather periods scheduled during the campaign to help keep everyone fresh.
- Increases to the posting rate will only be made with advance notice to and agreement by the players.
- Players will be expected to contribute responses that process the GM’s and fellow players’ inputs from their PC’s perspective, and then follow through with a well-described reaction from their character to help advance the scene. (In other words, usually more like two or three paragraphs than two or three sentences per post.)
- Experience rewards will be heavily weighted towards participation, including the frequency with which players respond to GM posts. Exceptional roleplaying may be rewarded with additional XPs or bonuses during play, but as long as you are making regular, quality contributions to the story, you will be compensated.
- Dedicated campaign forums will provide areas for both in-character and out-of-character communication for the party at large, and there will also be equivalent private forums for each PC/player for when action gets taken “off-screen”. Activity in secondary forums will count towards experience rewards whenever appropriate.
In addition, players will be asked to sign up for and participate in a Slack group for the campaign to facilitate more immediate communication, as chats may be used in place of posts for extended give-and-take exchanges, and the software provides an expedited messaging path when needed outside the game.
Additional Guidelines for The Campaign
- Because this adventure has been published in its original form for over 30 years, and will be readily available for several more years before this telling of the tale is likely completed, all players will be bound by the honor system in committing not to pursue or use advanced knowledge of the story during play. Several optional plot modifications are being built into the “Director’s Cut” of the campaign to foil such attempts to spoil the game. However, if the GM suspects a player of cheating and/or dishonesty at any time, he reserves the right to humiliate, torture, and/or kill that player’s PC after summarily banning the player from the campaign.
- Additionally, while the GM wishes to give the players as much free will as possible within the game, the play-by-forum format and the length of the Enemy Within itself limit the extent to which the campaign can be treated as a true sandbox– let’s knock this out in years rather than decades! So please be prepared to be gently railroaded at times, and if/when you feel this is unwarranted or too heavy-handed, please let the GM know. He’ll be happy to do whatever he can to help you pursue your idea(s) within the parameters of the story, even if that means time for your character off-screen or shifted into the private forums.
- Absences from the game are permitted (of course), ideally with advance notice and occasional check-ins if possible while away. The GM will take control of any absentee player’s character while they are unavailable. For “excused absences”, the PC will be de-emphasized, but still travel, act, and fight with the rest of the party with the benefit of all of their Fate/Resilience points during that time. For “unexcused absences” of more than a week, the player will remain with the party without the benefit of their Fate/Resilience points, and remain under GM control until the PC is either a) dead or b) written off-screen in some probably unpleasant fashion if the player remains AWOL.
- As hinted above, WFRP can and will be a brutal game– some player characters will likely lose limbs, minds, and/or lives during the course of the campaign. In order to lighten the loss of a PC as much as possible, players will be allowed to develop replacement characters using the same number of experience points that had been earned by their PC(s) prior to their death(s).
- In circumstances when player characters have been sidelined in-game (and therefore the player is unable to contribute productive posts), the player will be credited with a participation rate for those days equal to the rate at which they had responded in the their last ten eligible posts. So for tabulating experience rewards, if they had posted on 100% of the prior ten opportunities, their PC will be treated as if 100% of responses had been made while incapacitated. If the player had posted on eight of the previous ten turns, the player will receive 80%.
- For players that are familiar with the WFRP 4th edition system, the campaign will be using a few house rules at the start of play. (If curious about any specific deviations from rules as written, see here, or consult the rules posted in the relevant section of the campaign site, which have been modified to reflect the changes made.) The GM reserves the right to revert or tweak any changes made in collaboration with the players if a mechanic is not working in practice.
About the GM
The GM is a veteran as a player of both the original edition of the Enemy Within campaign (tabletop version), and a years-long D6 Star Wars play-by-post campaign hosted on roleplayinggames.net. Sadly, no record of the Star Wars campaign (the great “Cost of Contraband”) is currently hosted online, but nostalgia for the story created by the GM and its players, and the day-to-day quality of their output has led to this attempt to find out what a similar group of quality players can do with this classic campaign.