The Estalia Project: One Last Damn Time

I’m Steve and I’m a WFRP fan. Back in the days of 2nd ed, I co-wrote several Warhammer books including the Ennie-Award winning Children of the Horned Rat, Night’s Dark Masters and Realm of the Ice Queen.

Somewhere around 2009 or 2010, when 2e was dead and 3e didn’t exist yet a plan emerged to try and fill the sourcebook gaps left by the departure of Green Ronin/Black Industries, perhaps to publish some ebooks on Liber Fanatica (which now looks dead). At that time some people gathered to help write a Tilea sourcebook and I took lead on the Estalia sourcebook. We had some people flake out but a cadre of amazing folks including Craig Oxbrow and Steven Lewis gave me huge swathes of material. Things were chugging along, and we kept getting more ambitious; talking about new careers and bestiaries and adventures and science rules and dueling schools.

Then I had a nervous breakdown.

Not only did this impede heavily on my ability to finish the book, it also – as is the way with the human brain – ensured the project itself was linked in my mind to the breakdown. This made it impossible for me to do anything with the material, and nobody else but me had the files. Several times on several internet forums (on RPGnet, on Strike-To-Stun and on my own blog) I told this story and offered the files to anyone willing to try to finish them, because I figured both fans of the game and the contributors did not deserve to wait.

Now, at last, I am healthy enough to go back to the Estalia project. Too much time has past for me to build on it in a significant way. I don’t have the system mastery to add the rules we’re missing. I don’t have the time or inclination to make it as massive as we dreamed. But I still very much believe the contributors deserve their work to be shown. So my goal is to take everything I have, edit it, polish it, link it all together and put it into a Word file, and then into a PDF. Liber Fanatica no longer seems to be updated, so I’ll then just host it on my webpage with my other WFRP stuff.

As the project progresses, there may be space and capability for people to help out, as Andrea Maurizio just asked me about. I don’t know about that yet, because I’m still sifting through the ashes. I definitely have no layout or Indesign skills; I definitely will need art/stock pictures to make it look less dull. Got something that can definitely go in with no work like a monster or some fiction or a career? Send it on over. But I don’t have time to workshop anything, so I can’t guarantee everything you send me will go in the book. But I’m throwing this out there to just let you know that it has begun again, and maybe you can help.

Please forward this around so everyone who loves Warhammer can read it! I’m going to post all this on my blog as well.

Warhammer: The Guide To Estalia – An Open Call

 

Alrighty, here’s how it is. About five years ago, when WFRP 2nd ed had ended and there was no sign of 3rd ed, a lot of clever, creative people pooled their efforts to create more sourcebooks for the game, as close as possible to the style of the existing ones, such as Realm of the Ice Queen and Knights of the Grail. The Tilea book, Spears of the Maiden, was finished in a timely fashion and can be found on the Liber Fanatica website. Hooray! Meanwhile, I took on the task of the Estalia book (tentatively titled Swords of The Lady), and it went less well. Most of the book was assembled, but – perhaps because I was determined to make it as vast and awesome as possible – it got stuck. Most of the writing was done, then some stuff happened in my life and my mental health, and since then it has always been somehow too large to go back and finish it.

What I should have done, long, long ago, was this: put out an open call for editors to come and finish the project.

The content is about 90% done. It needs a few last minute tweaks, but we have history, culture, law, religion all done, rules for new religious spells, extra fun chargen stuff (including the random beard table) and so on. We wanted to do some rules for fencing and ship-to-ship combat but they never appeared. (Alas, we had a lot of people promise to work on things and then just vanish without a word.) To be a proper book it needs maybe a few careers and a few monster stats, and it needs someone to hammer the rules chapters into a cohesive whole. Then it needs art (we have some already), city maps (unlikely?) and layout (we have contacts) whereupon the enormous PDF can be forwarded to the Liber Fanatica people for hosting.

This seems to me the best and fastest way to get all the wonderful material out there, doing justice to all the wonderful contributors, and providing fans with juicy stuff to read.

As I said it is mostly done but it needs a strong, experienced hand to guide it to completion. I don’t want to hand this over to someone who won’t do it justice. There is no money in it, either. Only glory.

But if you think you’ve got what it takes to make the Lady proud, you know where to find me.

 

 

How It All Began

June 6th, 2006 I was asked to write my first RPG book, the critically acclaimed and fan-favourite, Children of the Horned Rat.  I just found in my folders the very first notes I made on the book, before we even got jobs or the outline, just trying to get a sense of Why Skaven Are Awesome (always a great place to begin). Here then, you can see great art taking form!

skavennotes

I shall translate the scribbles:

(picture of a skaven)

Evil Science (& Terrorism)

– electricity

-nuclear waste/power

-plagues

-bio-engineering

-privacy

(This is me nutting out the theme of the skaven, what makes them scary – a key fear vector is they are the fear of perverted science.)

In a circle: BE ASH. Not sure what that means. I think it means playing a Skaven is fun because you get to call everyone Primitive Screwheads, and build freaky robot hands and cars with medieval tech.

Biology

– smell and musk

– breeding = insane

– adaptable

– completely omnivorous

– resistance to disease

– CARRIERS (ala komodos, plus pestilence) – this was the old idea that komodos had no venom (now known to be false) but they ate such rotten food their breath was an infectious death sentence.

– sharp claws and teeth, strong jaw

– fur – waterproof, cold and warm

– senses – incredible

– speed and reflexes – phenomenal – good metabolism – always hungry

– can get anywhere – flexible

– strength low, courage low

Finally reading WFB 8th ed, and the big news is…

The Fimir are back. Mentioned by name, in canon. They were never 100% written out ala squats but it was stated at one point that the skaven wiped them out. God bless you Matt Ward for bringing them back, in fine form. Not only are they back but they can kill your forces if they stumble too far into the wrong sort of mists.

If you don’t know, the Fimir are strange narrow-headed fat-bottomed swamp creatures like something crossed between Salacious Crumb and a waddling skeksis, tres Brian Froud, with a single yellow eye in their narrow heads and a mace-tipped tail ala an ankylosaurus. They can control mists and have a habit of stealing human females to aid their breeding cycles. Also, their chief habitat is the Wasteland which is the Warhammer equivalent of the Netherlands. So they’re not just awesome unique monsters, they’re also DUTCH.

Hooray for Fimir!

Meanwhile, if you want to run a WFRP LARP, have you considered buying a village?