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The Restless Dead: The Forgotten WFRP Campaign


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A lot has been written about the Enemy Within campaign for WFRP, and rather less has been written about the Doomstones campaign. But the Restless Dead campaign is almost forgotten.

Restless Dead

This modest, 104-page hardback is not a common find on Ebay or elsewhere. It was never reprinted, although a good deal of its content wound up in Hogshead’s Apocrypha Now and Apocrypha 2. And much of that content was reprinted from White Dwarf.

Edited by Carl Sargent, the book falls into three parts. First is the Restless Dead campaign proper, which consists of seven adventures from WD. Carl expands my own On the Road (mentioned in an earlier post) to provide the campaign’s overarching storyline, and I think he did a pretty good job pulling together a bunch of unrelated adventures to make a reasonably coherent campaign.

Night of Blood and A Rough Night at the Three Feathers can also be found in Hogshead’s Apocrypha Now, and The Ritual and The Affair of the Hidden Jewel are reprinted in Apocrypha 2. The other two adventures, Eureka! and The Haunting Horror, have not been reprinted for 1st edition, although Plundered Vaults has a 2nd edition version of The Haunting Horror as well as A Rough Night at the Three Feathers. and can only be found in this book. The Haunting Horror has been widely criticized as too deadly even for WFRP, while Eureka! features an array of wacky inventions, including hang-gliders and a submarine, which Hogshead chief James Wallis thought were a step too far. Each adventure is accompanied by a page of campaign notes from Carl, giving advice on how it can be used in either the Restless Dead campaign or the Enemy Within campaign.

Altogether, the Restless Dead campaign takes up 58 pages, or a little over half the book.

The second part of The Restless Dead consists of a single adventure for the Enemy Within campaign, specially written by Carl (with Derrick Norton) and found nowhere else reprinted from WD98. Titled Grapes of Wrath (and known in the Studio as “Flying Death Skulls” for its defining encounter), it runs to 16 pages and features a crazed wizard terrorizing a peaceful village. It is reprinted with 2nd edition stats in Plundered Vaults.

Finally, there are 24 pages of optional rules. Jim and Phil’s Practice Makes Perfect takes a detailed look at career progression, while Hack and Slay! introduces some optional combat rules. New spells and magic items round out the rest of the book.

The Restless Dead is a curious little volume. It was put together in a hurry in 1989 with the intention of getting more WFRP material out at the lowest possible cost. The John Blanche cover art was re-used from the Skeleton Horde boxed set, a move that would be repeated in later WFRP books. But Carl’s editing and development of the Restless Dead campaign saves it from being just another miscellany like the Warhammer Companion and the two Apocryphas. First edition completists will probably want it for the bits and pieces that were never reprinted elsewhere, and while it doesn’t approach the heights of Power Behind the Throne, Grapes of Wrath is definitely one of Carl’s better adventures. There are some typically silly NPC names like Isolde Guderian, Seel Baldurich, and Knud Gropenfrotteur, and Carl claimed to have based Wuder Lechart, the village idiot, on GW’s lead graphic designer, Charlie Elliott.

While it is definitely a little brother to The Enemy Within and Doomstones, The Restless Dead doesn’t deserve to be entirely forgotten.

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  1. January 9, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    I loved The Restless Dead! The low-key gritty feel of the adventures worked really well with my group, who played really reluctant adventurers and spent a lot of time falling into middens and complaining about the amount of trudging through rain they had to do. The crazy inventions in Eureka, and the swashbuckling bits in The Affair of the Hidden Jewel, were just the right amount of comic relief.

    I’m sure the Flying Death Skulls appeared first in White Dwarf – issue 98: http://rpggeek.com/rpgissue/47176/white-dwarf-issue-98-feb-1988

  2. January 10, 2015 at 1:32 am

    Really enjoyed the Restless Dead and the whining ghost (Was it Johan?). I remember being disapointed originally when I opened it as we’d already played some of the adventures out of WD, but now it’s one of my favourite books to flip back through.

  3. Jimi Fallows
    January 10, 2015 at 6:19 am

    I’ve just recently GM’d Rough Night at the Four Feathers and Night of Blood for my newly-formed WHFRP group – we had a lot of fun with them. I’ve read through a lot of the other White Dwarf adventures, intend to use them eventually (though I’m keen to get started on the Enemy Within) and would definitely recommend picking them up – whether to play the Restless Dead campaign or to use them as incidental adventures.

  4. Ralf Achenbach
    January 10, 2015 at 7:32 am

    The Haunting Horror and Grapes can be found in Plundered Vaults, with 2nd edition Stats.

  5. January 10, 2015 at 11:23 am

    Thanks for the corrections, everyone! Guess my memory isn’t what it used to be. I’ve incorporated them above.

  6. January 10, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    I picked this up off eBay recently, as I was looking for a smaller entry into WFRP, and the idea of running the Enemy Within campaign seemed daunting. Russ Nicholson’s full page artwork for the Haunting Horror is, for me, the visual highlight of the book!

    I look forward to running it, thanks for the history and background.

  7. inkubpendragon
    January 10, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    Hi Graeme! Long time no see and You probably don’t remember me – I’m the guy from Poland who constantly asked questions about WFRP back in early 90s. I was responsible for Polish translation of WFRP line back then for MAG company.
    Anyway, I really like Restless dead, especially considering that this is just a bunch of loose adventures stitched together. And I think that optional combat rules are – to be honest – really necessary, as they made a combat a little more balanced.
    Artur

    • January 12, 2015 at 9:01 am

      Hi Artur! Of course I remember you! How have you been?

      • A.
        January 14, 2015 at 5:39 am

        Ups and downs, Simply, life. Lately mostly downs:) I won’t work in games industry anylonger, but still play wargames:)

  8. January 11, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Grapes of Wrath was the first WFRP adventure I ever mastered, straight out of WD98, which happened to be the first WD issue I ever bought.

  9. Wolf
    January 12, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    I remember my friend got this and GM’d a fair bit of it. I’d already GM’d some of the adventures from White Dwarf. Both me and my players really liked Eureka!, silly inventions and all. Rough Night at the Three Feathers has rightly become regarded as something of a classic – something you are too modest to say. For me Night of Blood has a special place in my heart. Published in WD when WFRP was first brought out it helped define for me and I’m sure many others what WFRP was about.

  10. Jimi Fallows
    January 12, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    Rough Night at the Three Feathers deserves a reputation as a classic. I described it as a classic British Hotel Farce – with cultists, kidnappers, jilted lovers, blackmail, perversion and murder (among much else besides). It had my players banging their heads in frustration… in a good way, I think.

  11. August 26, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Hi. New reader of your blog. Long-term WFRP (1st and 2nd ed) fan, been out of gaming a while, hope to get back in. Anyways, I managed to obtain a copy of The Restless Dead from a friend at uni by swapping him rare Magic (MtG) cards for it – good deal in both our eyes! Look forward to perusing your blog in the future.

    • August 26, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      Thanks, elizzar, and welcome! You’ll find a lot of my GW memories on this blog. Enjoy!

  12. Andrew
    April 10, 2016 at 10:50 am

    For me the Restless Dead book was the best release outside of the Enemy Within Campaign books. I still own all my old 1st Edition WFRP books. Sadly had to throw out lots of old White Dwarf magazines as I had to clear lots of stuff out. I made sure I extracted all the WFRP articles though.

    I would say I had my best RPG memories playing this from the young age of 15. Haven’t played WFRP since about 1994 (the year I turned 21). Would love to start playing it again.

  13. Alessandro Scaltritti
    May 7, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    The first adventure of the doomstones compaign is fire in the mountains. In this book is reported that have the restless dead would be useful. Why?

    • May 8, 2016 at 8:09 am

      Because of the additional rules there.

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