This is a semi-sandbox adventure module for Warhammer 3rd Edition, and my god would it have been useful a year ago when I was running a semi-sandbox campaign in Ubersreik. My adventure even had Skaven, just like The Edge of Night. Though I think my approach to the skaven was better, my map definitely wasn’t, because The Edge of Night is a well-presented product, with a great deal of content.
The Edge of Night presents an adventure in the town of Ubersreik, based on a skaven conspiracy, against the backdrop of a political conflict between three noble families. To facilitate this adventure, the book provides background information on the town of Ubersreik sufficient to, essentially, ground an entire campaign in the setting. The adventure itself builds up to a climax that occurs at a ball held by one of the noble families, but the path by which the PCs can reach this ball is left open, with the adventure description making it clear to the GM that he or she has an almost infinite range of ways of handling the PCs progress to this ball. In order to facilitate the adventure, the book contains a map of the town, with key locations described not just in terms of their contents, but their relationship to the three noble families, and a couple of rumours at each location that may or may not be relevant to the adventure. These rumours can open up into whole other adventures if the GM wants to do the work, or can be dead ends or red herrings or clues to the adventure plot. This gives the GM an almost infinite amount of time to track the main adventure; or if he or she wishes, to have the events of the main adventure happen anyway if the PCs fail to get in tune with it, which leaves the PCs having to deal with the fallout. It also means that the adventure setting essentially can be turned into a campaign setting with a bit of extra work, which means that you’re getting a lot of value out of your 56 page module (and this is important with Warhammer 3, because the products aren’t cheap).
A key part of the build up to the adventure is the development of patronage with one of the noble families, and as is typical with a WFRP 3 product, the designers have developed the progress tracker/party sheet mechanism to include a system of patronage. Basically, each noble house provides its own “family sheet,” which the PCs advance along according to how their actions affect the noble family. As they advance, they gain recognition, an invitation to the ball, and finally patronage. Each house has its own traits and allies, and each family sheet provides benefits in the form of a talent accessible to the whole party when they achieve patronage. Because the map describes which locations contain people sympathetic to specific houses, it is easy for the PCs exploration of the town to lead to opportunities for patronage. Furthermore, the adventure itself contains a few simple encounters for the GM to use to offer advances along the family sheet. Patronage is valuable in its own right, so the family sheet is of use if the GM decides only to use the town as a campaign setting; or, if the GM decides to deepen the political intrigues, the patronage system could be useful in helping to place the PCs on particular sides of political and military conflict, possibly without their having realized what is happening. The family sheet is a good example of the way Fantasy Flight Games have developed a flexible mechanic and found ways to extend it to cover a wide range of possible contexts. It’s a creative idea.
Like other modules, The Edge of Night comes with a wide range of suggestions on how to lure the PCs into the adventure, including but not limited to references to other modules. It also comes with a set of new cards (actions and magic for skaven), new adventure locations, new cardboard standups, and the new mechanic for patronage. I don’t use the standups in this system very much at all (I’ve never been able to incorporate miniatures into my gaming) but the patronage mechanic is useful not just in its own right, but as yet another example of the versatility of the progress chart mechanic, which I thoroughly recommend to all gamers.
I would go so far as to say that The Edge of Night, in addition to providing a fairly complete setting and an interesting adventure, is easily as good as the classic warhammer settings, but with the addition of some very nice descriptions of, and mechanics for handling, political tensions between families in the world. I think this aspect of the game makes it possibly on a par with the classic warhammer modules, and reaffirms for me that WFRP 3 is providing a lot of new and interesting ideas for both Warhammer and for role-playing games generally. I’m hoping to set up a gaming group during the next year, and I will be aiming to run a campaign in Ubersreik with the material in this module. I think that, even if you are planning on sticking to WFRP 2, this module could provide some useful material for your campaign, as well as a complete setting. It’s another example of Fantasy Flight Games’ commitment to high quality work, and to maintaining the authentic feel of the warhammer setting.