Saturday 28 November 2009

FAL General: Whither WFRP?

As the winter is approaching, and my working hours are loosing their cloying grip of me, I begin to ponder the future of WFRP once again. The most interesting and terrifying event is of course the release of third edition WFRP. But in its shadow there are many other developments, both alarming and comforting.

Alarming, although no longer news, is of course the closure of Warpstone magazine. John Foody has done a remarkable job at the helm of a publication that I rank as one of the best efforts in the history of roleplaying games. If there were a WFRP Hall of Fame, John Foody should be inducted, only shortly after Graeme Davis, Jim Bambra, Phil Gallagher and James Wallis.

Although John has denied it, I will play the unusual role of conspiracy herald; Warpstone closes at issue 30. The last issue will be published after Fantasy Flight Games published edition 3 of WFRP. Coincidence? John says so, and who am I to contradict a future WFRP Hall of Fame inductee?

After Warpstone, the shining star of fan publications have been Liber Fanatica. I'm not sure what that gang is up to, but I've got some e-mails to send out to find out. Stay tuned! I'm sure they have some splendid news, or maybe apocalyptic tidings, to dole out. All in all it should be interesting.

And the latest news regarding the frolics of the Games Workshop legal department don't bode well for fan sites and said fans' relations with and attitude towards GW and by extension FFG. Grim news of the potential closure of the Dark Reign web site reached me last week, but those fans are rallying and complying with the "Cease and Desist" letter sent from GW legal. I can't be alone in thinking that GW have picked up too much inspiration from their admittedly splendid Judge Dredd RPG from 1985. Maybe a new motto would be pertinent:

"Games Workshop. We are the law!"

Truth be told, I'm not too worried about that. Apparently GW are going after sites that use their own texts and images, and if for example I myself do refrain from cribbing from GW I should be ok. We'll see ... until a C&D explodes in my mailbox, The Altdorf Correspondent is here to stay ... albeit intermittently, I must admit.

Well, you might be thinking about what on Earth I find comforting with the current situation for WFRP.

Well, one comforting thing that has happened is that fans of WFRPv1 and WFRPv2 have now found more common ground than ever before. What seemed like gargantuan issues of rules incompatibilities only a year ago, now seems like trifles that a smattering of house rules will set right, at least when compared to the new enemy: WFRPv3.

And even WFRPv3 makes concessions to the demands of the fan base: apparently the campaign date is set before the Storm of Chaos. Which would have pleased a lot of WFRP players if that had been the case for WFRPv2 as well. I'm happy about it, although to be frank I mostly ignored the SoC in my own writings and my own campaign. I even figured that it could be used creatively and in the spirit of WFRP, something a few fans were adamant in telling me I was wrong about. Well, it seems GW and FFG thought the same thing (that I was wrong) and now WFRP is pre-SoC. Whether SoC ever happened ... or "happens", actually ... is still up for discussion.

"Games Workshop. Retconning For The Greater Good!"

Yeah, well it does pose a little dilemma for me, since my writings so far have factored in SoC ... ah, what the hell. I'll just roll back the whole thing and go with the current timeline. It's not like angry fans of SoC in WFRP are going to storm my front door demanding I stay with the WFRPv2 timeline.

And finally, one comforting thing is the fact that WFRPv3 finally comes out. And it's in a box, which I've been clamouring for for ages and ages. RPG's came in boxes when I was a lad, so that's clearly the best way to publish an RPG! If WFRPv1 had been packaged in a box, I would have loved it even more ... if such a thing is possible.