Connected and Motivated
A Preview of The Enemy Within, the Upcoming WFRP Campaign
A shadow lies over Averheim. The rich and prosperous city is caught in the grips of a struggle for succession, its Elector Count dead these two years with no heir. Sinister forces stand poised to exploit this weakness. And now, as war breaks across the Empire’s borders, a vile conspiracy gnaws at the heart of the Empire. The true enemy will soon be unmasked…
In March, we announced the reimagining of The Enemy Within, a classic, full-length campaign for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. From humble beginnings in the poverty-stricken docks of Averheim, The Enemy Within plunges its heroes into a plot that spans the whole of the Empire, from Averheim in the south to the City of the White Wolf in the north. The heroes will endure treachery and betrayal, foul magics and fouler smells, violence and intrigue. They will see miracles and terrors. They will save the Empire, or destroy it.
The Enemy Within is a massive campaign that unfolds over the course of three different adventures, The Enemy Below, The Enemy Without, and The Enemy Within. Each adventure contains enough material for roughly ten sessions, and those heroes who survive the adventure’s myriad challenges will rise from their humble beginnings to the heights of power. An optional epilogue, The Enemy Beyond, allows the heroes to pursue their nemesis into the realm of the epic.Click to enlarge.
In the face of such historic peril, heroes thinking about delving into Averheim’s mysteries may ask themselves one simple question: “Isn’t this a job better left to someone else?”
The Old World is a world of eternal war. Soldiers fight and die every day. The Empire repels foreign invaders on a regular basis. So why would some minor events at Averheim’s docks draw the attention of your characters?
Heroes built with the optional PC backgrounds in The Enemy Within will care because they’ll be personally connected to the plot. In addition to their unique abilities, these optional backgrounds help players define their characters’ relationships with many of Averheim’s notable figures, establish character motives that tie into the story’s events, and create rich opportunities for roleplay with other PCs.
Today, we will look at how these optional PC backgrounds keep the heroes personally engaged with the world around them.
Connections and Motivations
Players creating new characters for The Enemy Within have the option to choose from six unique PC backgrounds: Gently Born, Criminal, Battle-Scarred, Academic, Foreign Messenger, and Outcast.
- Gently-Born. This character grew up alongside the nobility of Averland and is familiar with their names, families, connections, and influence. With no lands or titles of his own, he must find a patron if he’s going to stay in high society.
- Criminal. This character was arrested for a crime, but acquitted of the charges. Since this almost never happens in the Empire, the Criminal is a minor celebrity amongst the underclass of Averheim. He seldom has to buy his own drinks at the Upright Pig or the White Horse, two taverns on the docks.
- Battle-Scarred. Approximately two years prior to the events of The Enemy Within, this character fought in the Third Battle of Black Fire Pass against a massive orc and goblin horde. It was at this battle that the Mad Count Marius Leitdorf, the Elector of Averland, was slain by the orc warboss Vorgaz Ironjaw.
- Academic. This character is a member of the Sun Society, a small group of academics that meets regularly at the Journey’s End coaching inn in Averheim. It’s probably the most prestigious and erudite academic society in Averheim, which sadly isn’t saying very much.
- Foreign Messenger. This character has come to Averheim bearing messages from a foreign dignitary for several people within the city. The messenger begins the adventure waiting to deliver his messages, then wait for replies (if any) while making himself useful to his master’s correspondents.
- Outcast. This character been cast out of his home due to a scandal or crime. The outcast’s wanderings have brought him to Averheim, where he hopes to earn enough money or glory to allow him to return home.
On the front side of each optional background, players will find unique, useful abilities for both character generation and game play, as well as a short descriptive paragraph about a character’s starting situation and motivation. Nonetheless, it’s the back side of each optional background that truly makes it shine as you uncover more of the mysteries within Averheim. Roughly a half-dozen notes about your hero’s history provide you with built-in connections to notable NPCs. That way, when any of them appear, they’re not simply names in a distant story, but established characters who have previously impacted your persona’s life. Follow-up questions allow you to further customize the details, so that you retain the final control over your character’s personal story. Regardless of the answers you provide, when you decide what your hero sold to Mathilda Durbein and what your business arrangement was with Graf Friedrich von Kaufman, you define pre-existing relationships with characters you’re likely to meet later in the story. You’ll already have reasons to like or dislike these NPCs, and to trust or distrust them.
The optional backgrounds can also influence your hero’s interactions with the other PCs. As with the Gently Born background (shown below), each background connects your character’s history to that of other PCs, establishing the basis for rich roleplay within the party.
Behind the Screen
When the players use any of these optional backgrounds to develop their characters, they will benefit from pre-existing dynamics between several of notable figures in Averheim and other characters. GMs, too, will benefit. Throughout the campaign, GMs will find helpful reminders as to how these backgrounds may shape the player’s interactions with key events, clues, and NPCs.
Of course, these optional backgrounds are just that – “optional.” The Enemy Within provides advice for GMs who want or need to help their players develop rich context for the campaign with all manner of backgrounds.
Other groups may wish to begin the campaign with characters that have already developed their own backgrounds through previous adventures in the Old World. In The Enemy Within, GMs will find connections to five previously published Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay adventures that can serve as adventure hooks to draw more experienced parties to the events of Averheim.
The Enemy Within is a sweeping tale of corruption within the heart of the Empire. In order to navigate the alleys, inns, docks, and politics of Averheim without being carried themselves into the tides and eddies of corruption, your heroes will have to know their own hearts and motivations.
The optional PC backgrounds for The Enemy Within are literally just the beginning of this epic campaign, but they steer players along a true course into its main events.
Immerse yourselves in conflicts and conspiracies that threaten to destroy the Empire when you confront The Enemy Within. This epic new take on the classic series of adventures arrives at retailers everywhere next week!
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