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P ow erBehindtheThrone P ublishedbyHogsheadP ublishing Review edbyJohnFoody HogsheadslatestrereleaseisthemuchdiscussedandlaudedPowerBehindthe Throne. However,thiseditionisnotastraightreprintasitincludesanewintroductory scenario. FormingthethirdpartoftheEnemyWithincampaign,PowerBehindthe Throneisseenbymanyasoneofbesteverroleplayingscenarios. However,WFRP playersoftentendtorankitbelowShadowsOverBofenhaganandDeathontheReik. In partthisisbecausethescenariomaybeexcellentintheory,butinpracticecanbe difficultbothtorunandplay.

Indeed,evenitsgreatestsupportersagreethatGMsneed tobeexperiencedbeforeattemptingtorunit. Thescenario,basedinMiddenheim,isa firmlycitybasedadventure,andtheSoucebookMiddenheim:CityofChaosgrewfrom notesmadebywriterCarlSargentduringhisdevelopmentofPowerBehindtheThrone. Thebook,at114pages,isofHogsheadsusualhighstandardofproduction,althoughthe frontpictureissomewhatmisleadingbothaboutthenatureofthescenarioand,tosome extent,WFRP. However,theoriginalcoverpicturewasnotthatgoodeitherand,asnow, theinternalartisvariable. PowerBehindtheThronetakesplacesometimeafterDeathontheReik. Indeedamuch raisedcriticismisthattherewaslittletoconnectthetwoscenarios. However,inthis revisededitionHogsheadhavetriedtoaddresstheissuebyincludingthenewfourteen pagescenario,CarrionuptheReik. ThishasbeenwrittenbyJamesWallisandillustrated byRussNicholson,whowasresponsibleforthebestoftheartintheoriginalrelease. Apartfromthesuperbtitle,HogsheadpromisedthatCarrionuptheReikwouldprovide themissinglinkwhilekeepingtheessenceof TheEnemyWithincampaign. It succeedsinthis,particularitywithregardtosettingupplotsforthepromisedrewriteof EmpireinFlames,whilelinkingtoearlierscenarios. Althoughlittlemorethanasmall seriesofencounters,theroleplayingaspectsofthescenarioarestrong,asisthe atmosphere. CertainlyCarrionuptheReikisfirmlywithinthespiritoftheEnemyWithin and,indeed,makesnosenseoutsidethecampaign. DontforgettolookoutfortheNPCRuariRoddy,whoisappearingashimself. Ata previousGaelconRuariplacedthehighestbidforaHogsheaddonatedprize:thechance toappearasyourselfinaWarhammerscenario. CarrionuptheReikbringsthePCstoMiddenheimandrunssmoothlyintoPowerBehind TheThrone. Theyarriveinthecityattheonsetofcarnivalweek,aweeklong celebrationfamousacrosstheEmpire. However,allisnotwell:newtaxesarealienating whole(andinfluential)sectionsofthepopulation,placingthecityitselfingravedanger. Aplotisslowlyrevealedtothecharacters,mostlythroughtheirownactions. ThePCs arerequiredtointeractwitheveryone,fromthecitysgreatandgoodtothecriminal scum. Eventsunfoldwitheverincreasingspeedand,shouldtheydelay,theplot continueswithoutthem. Alltheseplotsleadbacktoanoldenemyandaninteresting andpowerfulvillain. Theclimaxtotheadventureisdramaticindeed,althoughitmaybe overlystructuredforsometastes. However,mostplayersareunlikelytonoticethisin theexcitement. ItisinthetreatmentofNPCswherecomesintoitsown. Theseareessentialtothewhole

scenarioandalotofspaceisgiventotheirdevelopment. Thisisdonewellandthey, withtheexceptionofoneortwo,areinterestingandcolourful. Oneinparticularlymay beseenasalittletooobviousandoverthetopbutImsuremanyGMswillplayhimwith gusto. AswithallthepreviousEnemyWithinbooks,thereisagooddealofguidanceand adviceforGMs. However,therecouldbemore,especiallyinadviceonlikelyplayer actions. InexperiencedGMs,orthosewhohaveplayerswhoarenotusedtotakingthe initiative,maywellstruggle. TherearefewtriggereventstopushthePCsortheplot along. TheGMisrequiredtobefullyconfidentwiththeadventure,especiallythe motivationsandgoalsofthenumerousNPCs,jugglingthemallasPCscrisscrossthecity fromonemeetingtoanother. Thereisadangerthatthosewhoareillpreparedmayend upummingandahhingfartoomuchforcomfort. Thebiggestproblemwiththe adventureisthatthereisnoobviousentrypoint,especiallyifplayersareparticularly mercenaryintheiroutlook. GMswouldbeadvisedtohaveafirmideaofhowtoguide thePCstowardstheactionshouldtheybelackingideas. Attherearofthebookthereisaselectionofcutoutcharactercardswhichdetailwhat theimportantNPCsaredoingatsettimesduringthescenariostimeline. Personallythis seemsalittlepointless,andtheamountofpagesusedonthisisalittlewasteful. Such informationcouldhavebeensummarisedfarmoreusefullyandefficientlyelsewhere. Anothersummarychart,TheMasterAttractionsTable,managesthisverywell. Thefew playerhandoutsservetheirpurposewithoutanythrills. ThereisabsolutelynodescriptionoftheconsequencesifthePCsshouldfailintheir quest. Thisisanimportantomission. Thepriceoffailureshouldalwaysbedetailedas itspossibilitylooms. ThisisacommonproblemrunningthroughouttheentireEnemy Withincampaign:itisassumedthateverythingwillworkoutOK. However,thisisthe grimworldWFRP,andthingsforevergowrong. Whentheydo,failurehasaprice and onethatshoulddramaticallyeffectthefuturepartsoftheEnemyWithincampaignand theEmpire. Overall,PowerBehindtheThroneisanexcellentadventure,butisnotthebestscenario thattheEnemyWithinhastooffer. However,Iendorsemuchofwhathasbeensaidby othersbefore:onlyexperiencedplayersandGMsaregoingtogettogetthroughwithout toomuchdifficulty. Ifthescenarioistoberunasitstands,Iwouldrecommendtackling itinonelongsessioninordertokeepthemomentum. Itisatmospheric,andIwould saythebestexampleIhaveseenofwhatacitybasedscenarioshouldbe. Itmakesa worthyadditiontotheEnemyWithinCampaign,especiallywiththeinclusionofthe CarrionuptheReikscenario. However,ifyoualreadyownPowerBehindtheThronethis isntenoughtojustifypurchasingthisexpandededition. Also,ifyouintendtoplaythe wholeEnemyWithincampaigninthefuture,Iwouldrecommendwaitingforthere releaseoftherevisedEmpireinFlames(underthetitleEmpireinChaos)before launchingintothissection. Fromhereonin,theresnoturningback...