Cubicle 7’s Warhammer 4 likes to use the words “grim” and “perilous” to describe the game and accessories.
It’s entirely fair and appropriate to use both words and to use them together. The Middenheim city and surrounding setting remind me of a dark and deadly Skyrim, faintly Scanadvian but evil and all Old World.
Middenheim: City of the White Wolf is a supplement for GMs looking to run adventures in, around or through Ulric’s city.
The 160-page setting is decorated with vicious-looking fishhooks, each marking a way to get Warhammer adventurers involved. There’s so many that as you turn the pages, you might wonder whether some torturer had spilt his tray of tools.
The blurb of the book says Middenheim has little room for heroes. I think you’ll find that heroes will either ricochet off Middenheim with a resounding “Nope!” (and likely to die in the wilds outside due to their failure to resupply and investigate) or get snowdrift sucked in.
Middenheim: Fortress City of Ulric
The hardback opens into a great map of the city. It’s a great map because it manages to be thematically evocative and easy to read at the same time.
The crests of the city decorate the bottom of the page; on the left, there’s the legend to nearly 50 points of interest, which leaves most of the double spread to Middenheim: Fortress City of Ulric.
It’s an essential city to the Cult of Ulric, and as the largest city in the Empire’s north, it could well be necessary to characters. It is said that the City of the White Wolf is impregnable, a centre for magical learning and is cosmopolitan.
The opening chapter digs into the history of the impressive city, legends and facts and then gets to the city today.
We visit the city rulers, those NPCs of note who might be worth talking to, who might become obstructions or allies for the PCs or in charge of factions of interest.
You don’t get tonnes of content for any one thing, but collectively there’s a lot here and paints the picture of a city that could take parties down a peg or two.
A Visitors Guide
The next chapter is forwarded with a convenient guide on how to get characters to Middenheim in the first place, an entry that is one of my favourite pages in the book.
The chapter is, I think, the most useful too.
The Visitors Guide is all about the places to visit. This is likely how many groups of explorers tackle the city. Even if they’re looking for an NPC, they’ll look for them somewhere, and this gazetteer approach works well.
It’s more than places, though; it’s people. There’s even a table showing the important festivals in the city. That’s the sort of detail that makes or breaks a setting book as it makes the locale memorable for the players.
There are many fishhooks!
Beyond The Walls
If your players are anything like mine, then they’ll spend as much, perhaps more, time outside the city they’re currently residing in.
There are just a few pages here, for a slum, a chapel, a shrine, etc. In other words, if someone wants their character to be the rural type who finds that thing outside the walls, then they’re there to be found.
As a reminder, though, Warhammer is a dangerous game and Beyond the Walls leads directly onto the next chapter, which is…
The Bloody Hidesman, Child of Ulric, Spectre and White Wolves. It may not sound much, but I found this chapter was a bantamweight boxer.
I appreciate that each entry here is illustrated as I like to show players what their characters face. I also need a good idea of it myself. The Bloody Hidesman feels so very Warhammer FRP to me!
Child of Ulric are Humans… who can transform into wolves, and White Wolves, revered by the cult of Ulric, are rare and dangerously intelligent large wolves. Where do they come from?
The Grand Duchy of Middenheim
The “Beyond the Walls” chapter was relatively thin, although with plenty of punch. The Grand Duchy of Middenheim adds some volume, transferring some of the import to the long term rather than immediate discoveries.
It’s here that we explore the lands around Middenheim and the important NPCs there.
It’s not just a list of places as there’s help here for trade and travel, more maps and plenty of danger.
The fishhook flood continues.
The Low Kings
The bosses of the powerful underworld in this vibrant city are The Low Kings. They live up/down to their name.
As you’d expect, more fishhooks. I was delighted, and I don’t know why I was surprised, but I was; to see a turf map of the Low Kings areas of control. I guess it’s because it’s GM prep I’d always do and rarely have done for me.
I’ve been enjoying Cubicle 7’s Warhammer efforts, noting the quality and attention. The books, I argue, are being written for collectors and gamers who really care about the game. These are not quickly sketched ideas, no matter how clever, packed up roughly and made available as you can often find online.
I found the layout and art in Middenheim to be absolutely topnotch and perhaps my favourite in the series yet. It’s a tad sparse but not cheaply, and it feels appropriate to the northern stylings! It’s certainly dark and heavy at times.
I think it’s a no-brainer; if you’re buying Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay supplements then buy this one too. Unless you’re fishhook-phobic.
- Amazon: Middenheim: City of the White Wolf.
Disclaimer: My copy of Middenheim: City of the White Wolf was provided for review by Cubicle 7.
Comment and share your thoughts on this article in the section below.