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Warhammer Fantasy RPG: Middenheim – City of the White Wolf

Packed with fascinating places, dangerous people and enough story hooks to snag an entire ocean of adventurers, Middenheim – City of the White Wolf is a top-notch setting guide that never makes the mistake of forgetting its purpose of helping GMs to spice up their games.

WFRP-Middenheim-Cover-1.jpg

The positive impression is helped, of course, by the fact that Middenheim itself is a naturally fascinating place. Drawn from a fantastical take on northern Europe blended with the traditional Warhammer Fantasy madness, it’s a fortress city that sits atop a spur of rock in a land of ice and snow, holding itself as a bastion of civilisation in a frozen realm of danger and death. It’s home to noble knights and juicy religious tension, and manages to capture all the practicalities of a game set in the heartland of The Empire – the assumed base setting for the RPG – while still feeling distinct from the warmer southern provinces.

The aim of the book is to give GMs and players alike a chance to explore the city and make it feel like a living, breathing place rather than just a handful of stats on settlement size and import fees. As with most other gazetteers and setting guides it does this by running through the important places and people, as well as trying to paint a picture of what makes the city special.

With the entire book clocking in at just under 160 pages the inevitable whistle-stop tour rarely has the space to delve into too much detail – it’s very rare for a single entry to span more than a half-page of text – but unless you’re really desperate for maps and deep-dives into particular businesses this doesn’t ever cause much of a problem. Indeed, the brevity of most of the pieces allows them to just sketch what makes a place interesting and move on. This approach even manages to make the description of the lawyers’ guild offices an entertaining read, which is a rather impressive achievement.

Most importantly, however, the writers never seem to forget that the book is a game tool rather than a guidebook. Aside from the occasional bit of history or smattering of context, every single entry in the book is built to around the idea that it could play host to an adventure. This isn’t just supported by the main text either; almost every single business, manor and landmark it mentions is accompanied by a little box-out marked with the sign of a fishhook and filled with a potential call to adventure.

The humble farmers’ association, for example, might be home to a potentially dangerous blend of magical experimentation and guild politics that needs to be defused by adventurers, while the cabaret is secretly being run by a vampire on the hunt for high-powered patrons to seduce. It’s virtually impossible to go more than a couple of pages without reading something that can kick off a fizzing wave of adventurous inspiration, and if you’re ever stuck for something to do when game night rolls around you can probably let the book flop open on a random page and still cobble together something enjoyable.

This, ultimately, is a sign of a well-built setting guide, and while those looking for extra rules and character options to round out the location may be disappointed with the book’s relatively modest offerings, Middenheim – City of the White Wolf is a solid addition to the library of any WFRPG party.
 

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Richard Jansen-Parkes

Richard Jansen-Parkes

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
It’s a great book, that goes well well beyond being a reprint of City of Chaos. Like most of the non module books there are dozens and dozens of plot hook side bars to turn people and places into an interesting encounter. With the standard of this, plus Archives of the Empire, and Ubersreik Adventures I & II, I think we can put to bed the idea that Cubicle 7 is only reprinting old material.
 
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Retreater

Legend
I've been very pleased with the art/design of the Cubicle 7 releases - just got in my copy of Enemy in Shadows Companion yesterday. Lots of great setting, lore, and adventure ideas in everything so far. Just can't get into the system.
 

I have got some books of this RPG, the first Edition I think. It's a true classic, but later it became too dark-grimm for my taste. I love sinister enemies, but here the heroes didn't help too much to be a true lighthouse of hope.
 


TheSword

Legend
Supporter
I've been very pleased with the art/design of the Cubicle 7 releases - just got in my copy of Enemy in Shadows Companion yesterday. Lots of great setting, lore, and adventure ideas in everything so far. Just can't get into the system.
Are you playing it on Roll20 or face to face?

The reason I ask is that it streamlined things immensely for me, while our first face to face session was very confusing.
  • Automatically calculating target number and SLs.
  • You can use the red token circle to track advantage and if the token is unique it will update the character sheet.
  • Use the token icons to track conditions
  • You can automate a macro of crit hit and get it at the touch of a button.
  • Rules are searchable for everyone and easy to reference.

    It’s worth giving it a go.
 
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Retreater

Legend
Are you playing it on Roll20 or face to face?

The reason I ask is that it streamlined things immensely for me, while our first face to face session was very confusing.
  • Automatically calculating target number and SLs.
  • You can use the red token circle to track advantage and if the token is unique it will update the character sheet.
  • Use the token icons to track conditions
  • You can automate a macro of crit hit and get it at the touch of a button.
  • Rules are searchable for everyone and easy to reference.

    It’s worth giving it a go.
We have only played it Face to Face and I've been hesitant to try it on Roll20 because I've seen how confusing other systems (including 5e - which is pretty simple f2f) can be.
 

Paragon Lost

Terminally Lost
Nice, was hoping that this would be on the re-vamp and release list, sooner than later. :) Anyone have any info on if they're going to re-print the GM Screen as an aside? I missed the first print run and have been watching their website but haven't seen anything updated to indicate that they're going to do another print run. :/ When I snagged my physical copy and pdf of the core book I should have just snagged the GM Screen as well. Ah well.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
I can see your concern. Believe me it simplifies things immensely. The character sheet is very straightforward to populate for NPCs and you can drag and drop all their traits and rules across in seconds. I’ve been working for about 4 hours and have converted the starter set, and two of the Ubersreik adventures. That’s about 5 or 6 sessions I reckon.

I did have to invest a while creating the crit hit and miscast tables though but once done, they will last for every campaign.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
Nice, was hoping that this would be on the re-vamp and release list, sooner than later. :) Anyone have any info on if they're going to re-print the GM Screen as an aside? I missed the first print run and have been watching their website but haven't seen anything updated to indicate that they're going to do another print run. :/ When I snagged my physical copy and pdf of the core book I should have just snagged the GM Screen as well. Ah well.
It’s worth emailing them actually. I’ve found them pretty responsive.
 



TheSword

Legend
Supporter
I find them a great company. Loved the AIME stuff they produced and have loved everything they’ve put out so far.

My only criticism... and it is my only one... is that they don’t provide player appropriate maps. Keys, secret doors, even NPC routes are blazened across their maps that creates huge amounts of work for me to find/design/alter existing maps. Though Death on the Reik does seem to be correcting this so fingers crossed for the future.
 




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