[WHFRP] Warhammer is Pelinore II?

"The World of Pelinore is flat - everyone knows that…"
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Havard
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[WHFRP] Warhammer is Pelinore II?

Post by Havard » Mon Dec 07, 2015 9:30 am

The Fighting Fantasist's Blog talks about how the demise of Imagine Magazine and the GM Pubs series lead to the creation of Warhammer FRP and how many of the ideas from Pelinore were carried over into the new RPG setting, which is Warhammer's Old World.

Graeme Davis who was one of the people who worked on both Pelinore and WHFRP voiced in with this comment in the comment section of the blog above:
Graeme Davis wrote: graemedavis7 June 2012 at 16:58
Great post!

Yes, there is a Pellinore influence. It is inevitable given that most of the Pellinore writers fetched up at GW: Jim & Phil, Paul Cockburn, Tom Kirby, and Mike Brunton (aka Fiona Lloyd and various others - he wrote a lot more of IMAGINE than anyone knows) plus Carl Sargent later. But I think it's going too far to call the rulebook Pellinore II. Here's why:

The ex-TSR UK folks arrived piecemeal: Paul and Tom first, Mike a few months later, Jim & Phil last. By the time Jim & Phil came the rulebook was almost done.

The vast bulk of the rulebook was based on the work of Rick and Hal, with occasional ideas thrown in by Bryan in the same drive-by management style as "write a CoC adventure for WFRP." Rick had collected everything into a first draft which I edited and developed, filling in gaps and bushwhacking through everything ever published for Warhammer to make sure nothing was missed (which is why we see monsters like the Life and Death Elementals, based on old Warhammer minis, that fell by the wayside as the Warhammer mythos coalesced).

You're right that at this stage, WFRP didn't really know what it was going to be. The Warhammer mythos as a whole was still at the red box second edition stage, with odd and sometimes contradictory snippets of background scattered across the Citadel Compendium and Journal, miniatures ads, and the backs of mini boxes. Third edition, the orange hardback, was the first to try to pull everything together, following on from WFRP.

SoB fulfilled its purpose, but I don't think anyone expected it to set the tone for the entire game, and turning the Complete Dungeon Master series into the Doomstones campaign was seen in some quarters as an attempt to redress the balance and get back to the dungeon.

We were a fashionably cynical bunch at the GW Design Studio in the Thatcherite mid-80s, and sick of D&D's "shiny" fantasy with its perfect teeth, chrome-plated armour and Fabio hair. Films like Jabberwocky and Monty Python and the Holy Grail were big influences, as were Rick and Hal's offbeat (and often disturbing) senses of humour. I think these were the major forces at this point.

The nations were already set by the time I got to GW. As for the careers, it seemed that every day Hal would come in with three or four more, based on people he'd seen around Nottingham - like the Bawd or the pavement artist that became an Entertainer specialisation. We ended up with about twice as many careers as were ever published - most of them very grubby and many too silly for words.

Death on the Reik, to my mind, owes a lot to a UK D&D module called B/X 1 (later B10), Night's Dark Terror. It's a primer on campaign play, written to bridge the gap between the Basic and Expert sets. Jim & Phil wrote it along with Graeme Morris, who got out of the games business when TSR UK folded. I think it is DotR that most people think of when they recall the Enemy Within campaign - that and the memory of sewer mishaps in Bogenhafen.

Of course, since Jim & Phil had also worked on Pellinore there were influences from that quarter, but Pellinore wasn't yet dead. It survived in Paul Cockburn's short-lived GamesMaster Productions zine, and was never intended to become part of WFRP.

Power Behind the Throne is high-level political intrigue with very little sewage involved, and Something Rotten in Kislev takes the campaign screaming down a side-alley for reasons that have been explained elsewhere. Finally, Empire in Flames was written and published in a great hurry to bring the campaign to an end.

So that's my two penn'orth. Yes, Pellinore had an influence, but as far as tone and style were concerned WFRP was already moving in the direction of "grubby fantasy." The "grim and perilous" (another of Bryan's over-the-shoulder pronouncements) was what it morphed into as we went along.

As I posted this in the Pelinore forum, would it be possible to look at this the other way around as well? What WHFRP material could be adapted back into a Pelinore game?

What do you think about the sources provided above?

-Havard

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Re: [WHFRP] Warhammer is Pelinore II?

Post by Graeme » Mon Dec 07, 2015 3:52 pm

Havard wrote: As I posted this in the Pelinore forum, would it be possible to look at this the other way around as well? What WHFRP material could be adapted back into a Pelinore game?
An interesting thought.

Off the top of my head, I imagine that The Enemy Within, Shadows Over Bogenhafen, Death on the Reik, and Warhammer City could be adapted for Pelinore, and so could a lot of the Marienburg material that appeared in White Dwarf. The format I developed for Marienburg locations was based in part on the Pelinore format from Imagine and GM Pubs. The City League could hold pretty much any city-based WFRP adventure, and the County of Cerwyn is not very different from the Reikland.

The Restless Dead would also be easy to adapt. The later instalments of the Enemy Within campaign might be tougher. Power Behind the Throne depends entirely on the political structure and personalities of Middenheim, which are not the same as those of the City League. Something Rotten in Kislev is set in another land and, like Empire in Flames, is not among the first rank of WFRP adventures. The same goes for the Doomstones campaign, although some Doomstones adventures might work in the Sarpath Peaks.
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Re: [WHFRP] Warhammer is Pelinore II?

Post by Big Mac » Mon Dec 07, 2015 7:57 pm

Very interesting.

I never thought of raiding Warhammer to add ideas to Pelinore before. But it could make up for the fact that Pelinore didn't get as long a run as it should have.

Do you think that the early Warhammer products (the ones published when Warhammer "didn't really know what it was going to be") have got more Pelinore themes leaking out into them than later Warhammer products?

I know that the D&D production team (in the USA) changed radically over time (with things like Gary Gygax being outsted or Wizards of the Coast coming in to save TSR from being gobbled up by the printing company) having an influence on the types of D&D products that were published during certain eras of D&D, but I know very little about the history of Warcraft. Has there been any big influences on the style of Warcraft products?

And, going with Havard's "adapting Warhammer back to Pelinore" concept, would Pelinore have needed to have gone through radical design changes, if it had been given the same number of products as Warhammer had?
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Re: [WHFRP] Warhammer is Pelinore II?

Post by Havard » Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:47 pm

Graeme wrote:Off the top of my head, I imagine that The Enemy Within, Shadows Over Bogenhafen, Death on the Reik, and Warhammer City could be adapted for Pelinore, and so could a lot of the Marienburg material that appeared in White Dwarf. The format I developed for Marienburg locations was based in part on the Pelinore format from Imagine and GM Pubs. The City League could hold pretty much any city-based WFRP adventure, and the County of Cerwyn is not very different from the Reikland.

The Restless Dead would also be easy to adapt. The later instalments of the Enemy Within campaign might be tougher. Power Behind the Throne depends entirely on the political structure and personalities of Middenheim, which are not the same as those of the City League. Something Rotten in Kislev is set in another land and, like Empire in Flames, is not among the first rank of WFRP adventures. The same goes for the Doomstones campaign, although some Doomstones adventures might work in the Sarpath Peaks.
Those are some great suggestions Graeme. Looks like I really need to find more of the old White Dwarf magazines. I like the idea of using some of these adventures with the Pelinore setting. What do you think about even using the WHFRP rules with Pelinore? Another discussion entirely of course is the idea of using Pelinore material for the Warhammer setting, which I started a thread about here.

I really like the Doomstones Campaign, but I could see it being problematic for use in Pelinore. I had never thought about just using some of the adventures there though. It would be a nice addition to the Sarpath Peaks region. I like that suggestion :)

-Havard

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Re: [WHFRP] Warhammer is Pelinore II?

Post by Big Mac » Tue Dec 08, 2015 9:50 pm

Havard wrote:Looks like I really need to find more of the old White Dwarf magazines. I like the idea of using some of these adventures with the Pelinore setting. What do you think about even using the WHFRP rules with Pelinore? Another discussion entirely of course is the idea of using Pelinore material for the Warhammer setting, which I started a thread about here.
I think that the way that Games Workshop originally had a licence to sell Dungeons & Dragons (in the UK) but then brought out their own roleplaying system, with their own built-in campaign setting is fairly similar to what Paizo later did with Pathfinder.

The difference seems to be that Games Workshop seem to have "devolved" from selling tabletop gaming products, back to the business model of selling wargaming products. And it seems like they make a ton more cash from doing that than other companies (including Wizards of the Coast) are able to do.

I think that strong wargaming theme must carry over to the campaign setting, at some sort of level.

Over in the Chainmail forum, I have been exploring how some of the skirmish rules might imply that the Sundered Empire is pushed in certain directions. I don't know anything about the early Warhammer fantasy setting, and how strong the miniatures combat game was getting back then, but I am not sure that Pelinore was ever optimised for mass battles. So I wonder if the later Warhammer products would move further and further away from the sort of themes found in Imagine magazine.
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Re: [WHFRP] Warhammer is Pelinore II?

Post by NPCDave » Tue Dec 08, 2015 11:32 pm

Fiona Lloyd is Mike Brunton?

That is news to me. I love the creation of the hivebrood.

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