Forums: Other RPGs: Does anybody like Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay?

12 Oct.,2022

 

frp fittings

First off, this isn't a board game. It's an RPG and much more than the other systems out there and here's why. You spend less time fuddling through books and arguing over rules because it's all in front of you and rules are so simple once you have a few sessions under your belt that there is no arguing. No searching...you roleplay. That's it. You play your character with a fast and brutal combat system along with similar situations in social areas, and this encourages your players to spend more time telling the story than pushing pieces around on a grid map saying "I'll cast web here using my metamagic feat shape spell to avoid having it hit my friend here. Damn, what's the casting time on that? Did I have that even prepared? Is there a component to cast the spell? Sorry guys I need a minute to find this." This is what slows games down and it's boring. And to those who say it's not 1st or 2nd edition, I'm glad it's not. If I wanted to play either of those...I would. This brings the game to where it should be...the present. I'm not content using old dice mechanics in a stale fashion that still has referencing to the rulebook for how many modifiers you get. And is the game still brutal? Yes, just as brutal. You will die...chances are a lot just like the old one. If your character lives to actually retire as a higher rank character...you should be heralded...forever.

I've been a GM for the system for 4 years now, so I think I may be of some assistance here. First off, if you've played the games a couple times, chances are you still won't like it. The game is extremely rules intensive at the beginning and it can be a lot to take in because it takes what you are used to and throws it to the side. I'd personally ignore all the people saying negative things here as they either downloaded a pirated PDF and just said it's bad or played a game and discounted it away because they couldn't power game to their hearts content. Onto the game itself.

It will take 3-4 sessions per player to understand the rules to the point of never having to reference...never referencing you say? You've played Pathfinder, 3.5, GURPS, Paladium, BRP, whatever. I'm sure you've had a lot of referencing what things do. Let me refresh your memory. "What does my skill do?" "How does this spell work?" "How the hell do I grapple again?" "How many modifiers do I get for that?" Throw in rules lawyers and you have the reason I hate those games. Does WFRP solve this? Oh yes it does. After 4 sessions players will not be referencing anything except what is on the table in front of them. Everything they can do is right there. All skills, actions, talents, temporary conditions, diseases, insanities, magic spells, wounds, critical effects, magic items, terrain features...is right in front of them. There is absolutely zero time wasted fiddling through books. Now onto something I tested.

I ran an identical scenario with 3 systems (Warhammer, Pathfinder, and GURPS)doing basic combat of someone who has been playing a few months (Rank 2 Warhammer, level 5 Pathfinder, about 250 points for GURPS). The number of monsters fought were the same as were the terrain features. The WFRP combat took about 10 minutes for 4 players to kill the 8 goblins. Pathfinder it took about 40 minutes. Gurps we got sick of having them parry successfully after 50 minutes and just said 1 hour and quit the scenario. Warhammer had the players bloodied up to the point where they suffered a critical wound (this is bad) and all of them needed long term care for about a week to heal up. Pathfinder just mowed over them with only a few scratches, nothing to write home about that was instantly healed after combat by someone with a wand of cure light wounds. GURPS had no damage dealt to players and almost no damage dealt to goblins.

WFRP's system is fast and streamlined. How can it be so fast? I'll show you. Pretend you have a Dwarf with a 4 strength (this is above average for the system, 3 is average). Ok, pick up 4 blue dice to match your stat. Are you trained in weaponskill (this is your fighting skill), yes you are, pick up 1 yellow dice. Are you specialized in weaponskill for your weapon? Ah you are specialized in hand weapons, excellent pick up 1 white dice. Now you know your starting dice pool for every melee attack you make. You can keep these in front of you for the entire game. But how do you attack? You take your dice pool and roll it against the difficulty of what you are doing. Let's pretend you are fighting a goblin with 1 defense (1 black dice) and he is using an active defense (like a parry, dodge, block, something like this) and he gets 2 more black dice. These are now added to your existing dice pool plus 1 purple challenge dice (the default) and you roll it. If you have more successes than failures, it succeeds, if you do not, it fails. But there's more...there are minor successes that can happen even if you fail or minor failures that can happen if you succeed. These dice help you tell a story unlike other games where you roll and it's kinda like this. "I rolled a 15 plus my str, base attack, charged for +2, flanking them for another +2, weapon focus...ok So I rolled a 30! Do I hit? Yes you hit! Awesome, now let's see how much damage you do! This leads to another dice roll...or as I would prefer to call it, a waste of more time. WFRP has damage fixed. As a strength fighter you do strength + weapon damage + action card damage...finished. If you have a 4 strength and you're using a hand weapon (this covers swords, maces, hammers, clubs, axes) you do a flat 5. Add this together...ok I do 9 damage. Action cards may say you do normal damage...some may say you do normal +3 if you get a certain number of successes. So in a nutshell, you roll your dice pool, if you succeed you hit and do 9 damage minus their toughness / soak (armor damage reduction) with a minimum of 1. It's fast and brutal.

Leveling up...well every single game session advance further gaining new skills, talents, more hit points, actions...did you read that? Every session. Players get to build their character with advances constantly.

Power gaming. Sure little Timmy's will exist that want to power game, but in WFRP it's really tough. Even an Ironbreaker which people have dubbed the "gamebreaker" isn't even that strong. Sure it rolls over things in combat...sorta it just doesn't get hurt much. But the other 90% of the game, he's going to be SUPER EFFECTIVE! Right, he's rolling around with a 2 intelligence, 2 fellowship (charisma), and 2 dexterity. When it comes to those skill checks, he'll only get to roll 2 dice and more than likely always fail. He'll also get destroyed quickly by being surrounded by little monsters that do 1 minimum per round. You can try to power game, but it honestly doesn't work. This is a roleplaying system, not a system with rules created in a way that makes you feel you can win the game...this isn't a video game.

1 damage can kill you? Oh yes it can. There is no magic level 2 where your hit points miraculously double for no reason at all...that isn't scaling very well if you ask me. That's doubling in power. This is how hit points work. You take your race we'll just say a human to make it easy...that's 9 + your toughness. What's your toughness? Average is 3. So you have 12 hit points. Your careers (think toned down class) might, yes I said might...it could give 0, give you 1-3 wounds as you level up to maximum in that career. So let's use the average of 2. So after 10, count em 10, game sessions your character has earned 2 bonus hit points taking you to 14. That's only a power increase of less than 20%. Now that is scaling properly Falling from orbit in d20...are you a level 10 fighter with a 12 con? Oh you'll survive because it's 20d6 by default as max damage. These silly things don't exist in WFRP. You also only heal your toughness in hit points per day of rest. So if you are hurt by 10...you'll need to rest over 3 days to heal this. If you have a critical wound...you have to recover from that if you can. If you ever have enough critical wounds to equal your toughness, you're dead. Same goes for disease.

Anyways, combat is fast. Social skills are even faster. Oh my gosh you say, it's so fast, but I love to roll dice! So do I, that's why I can roll so damn many and when I roll them, I don't have to ask for permission if I succeeded, I can see it myself. Also combat isn't boring. There's no "encounter" or "daily" powers. Your actions have cool downs. If you have something with a 4 recharge, in 4 turns you can use it again. If it has 0...well that means you can use it again next time! At the end of every round you remove a token from each skill to let you know when you can use them again. Long fights you can use a super powerful skill numerous times.

So what am I getting at? This system puts the players at the forefront of the game, not the rules. I can run what would normally take 5-6 hours in another system is under 3 hours...and what's sad is...the 3 hours will actually progress further because the other systems I end it because who likes gaming that late. When you're playing with a system that has you focuses on a grid map, little miniatures, constantly going through the rules, with minimal amounts of time being spent on actual roleplaying, you're playing the board game that people claim WFRP to be, and I'm playing the RPG (weird huh? it's true!). When combat starts in WFRP there is no grid system, you have a vague abstract system of just close, medium, long, extreme. You use tracking tokens just to mark how far you are. You have room to do everything you want to encourage fantastic skills. Do you want to do something that's not a skill? Sure, we have something called perform a stunt...it lets you do anything your heart can muster up with the GM assigning the difficulty to it. You want to cast some magic spells with similar things...sure you can do that too. WFRP is about the GM saying YES DO IT! I want to see you do something great, let's hear your story! Instead of no, page 142 says you can't do it because it's impossible.

Now, like I said. You need each of your players to have played it for 3-4 sessions. I normally run "a journey to blackfire pass" for new players shortly after giving them a few combat and social "combat" scenarios so that I can prep them for the real game so they can focus on their character and not the rules. It's a beautiful system once you get the hang of it as a player.

Finally as a GM. The system is a beast to run at first. It's a lot to swallow. After running it for I'd say 5 sessions it starts to become easier. After you have done it about 10 times, you will have everything down so pat that you can make an encounter from thin air in seconds. You can create social encounters just as fast having it feel like that was your plan all along. Monster manuals? Nope, creature cards. Sort them by groups and boom you're finished. Fighting a couple orcs, sure pick up the cards place the stands on the table with their pictures and you have a combat ready to go. Throw in the location cards to give people an idea of where they are plus any bonuses or bad things.

Anyways, from what I read here was a bunch of people that never played it.

If you want to play it seriously, you'll need to find a group already playing unless you want to spend the time to learn it yourself and get 3 others to learn it as well which can be a little confusing. But once you get this down. Character creation takes maybe 5-10 minutes once you've done it once. It might take a little longer if you're doing a wizard or a priest for the first time...but after that you'll be down to minimal times again.

Players will appreciate how fragile their characters are. They will love them and they will do things you never see in other games. RUN! FLEE! Because instead of seeing a situation with a Minotaur thinking...oh hell yes, what kind of lewts does this guy have! It's holy crap, run this guy will kill us all! Players will do hilarious things to avoid combat instead of thrusting you into one like other systems do. Remember, this isn't a board game. It simple has quick reference to everything. The game you are playing with your miniatures on your grid map with rules to how things move and dice mechanics to make things even more random damage wise you have yourself a nifty little board game with a few RPG elements thrown in. Go figure, the system that has the most pieces on the table is the most abstract and requires you to have the best imagination.