WFRP's own journal of eclectica
Marienburg Special - says the cover - an entire issue of Warpstone, the UK's premier WFRP fanzine, given up to the new Marienburg supplement published by Hogshead.
A supplement that has not been published yet due to delays. Neat. Much of this issue of Warpstone refers to a book that is not availabe but fortunately the situation is not so bad. There is still a lot to read even with the obscure cross-references.
What remains obscure is why the writer Anthony Ragan is Guest Editor for this issue and what exactly his contribution to this issue is? Beyond a painfully unfunny editorial that is culled straight from the White Dwarf "Manual of Article Writing" that is. Ragan describes himself as a "WFRP guru" but "clichémaster" might be a better term.
Yes, thank you you evil quadraped. If you read a bit closer you would have noticed that Mr. Ragan provided "proof-checking" for the Marienburg material against his supplement. There is quite a bit to be checked too with a very large scenario set in Marienburg. Cameos for adventurers transferring to the city, an in-character pamphlet guide to the city, a write-up of a marine holy order based in the city and an article on whaling.
Ah, yes, the whaling... An excellent article if you are planning to recreate Moby Dick or may be even Jaws but can I really be the only one to see quite limited area of application for this article? It is very well-researched and well-written but I cannot think of many situations where you'll be diving to re-read your copy.
The same problem also affects the Templers of Mannan, written by Ragan himself. They are templers, but they are on boats, and they do not like the followers of other sea gods. All of five minutes work there then; and how are they going to link into my game? Or are they there just in case the P.C's ever need in interact with a priest who likes sailing and knows what a sword looks like?
Far better is the scenario, a large and sprawling beast about a trading house's dark deeds coming home to roost. There are a lot of NPC's to encounter before the answers are clear and the scenario as written allows for a variety of resolutions. At times it seems to be struggling to try and reference every other article in this issue but underneath there is a nice story of betrayal and overdue revenge which carries it on.
I also must admit that I quite like the in-character pamphlet which is "annotated" by a resident's comments. It's a nice touch and a good general idea for introducing players to a city. Kudos to the Warpstone team on that score.
I thought the Templars were actually quite an interesting mix between swashbuckling privateers and a do-gooding navy. I thought they were not quite distinctive enough and could have had some exotic sea-related powers to distinuguish themselves from regular Templars.
I also liked the scenario but felt it quite confusing with relevant bits and pieces scattered throughout the scenario. Having the NPC's in the side bars helped but the multiple parts didn't. I would have liked to have a section where the overall structure of the scenario was spelled out for me.
I also liked the short fiction and cannot help but think that the Warpstone editorial team are lucky to get such contributions from people. Warpstone Nine is a great issue and we would recommend you read it, if nothing else get it for the scenario.
There were three highlights for me in this issue of a fanzine that is always above the average and beyond the norm. I do not know what pratical use the whaling article is but if you think you might have a needed for an intelligent look at killing whales for profit with primitive tools then this is the only article you will need on the subject. Secondly is John Keane's article on creating characters which is a short and sharp two pages that would really help a lot of people to firm up their character ideas. Thirdly the scenario which as the Man has pointed out might be complicated but is certainly a lot better than your average fantasy scenario.
I still don't think much of the fiction though!
Warpstone Individual Issues £3 Subs £10 Back-Issues £2.50 John Keane, 5a Wolseley Road, Wealdstone, Middlesex, HA3 5RZ Checks payable to J. Keane firstname.lastname@example.org http://www2.unl.ac.uk/~cyhzoliverm/warpstone