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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st Edition

The Ride Never Ends, Post 1

I want to begin with a disclaimer that this is entirely a review/analysis based on a readthrough, not actual play. I have not run or played WHFRP1e. However, reading it was really goddamn interesting in looking at how it was changed to create WHFRP2e. I'm always interested in what changes between editions of a game and why. Plus, I think WHFRP1e is actually really interesting on its own for a game that is as old as I am (Literally; it was written in the same year I was born!). 1e is also intriguing because a lot of it seems to have been brought back for 4th edition. It's a very different game from its descendants, but you can still see all of their bones present here in this first book. Also, as someone who got way too goddamn deep into the fluff in 2e, it's really interesting to read material from back when the fluff was still forming and coalescing. I was really fascinated by how Chaos is treated in this first book, and by how front and center a bunch of the 'the world was seeded by mighty sci-fi technowizards' stuff was originally compared to later. Heck, Sigmar's a minor God who doesn't grant spells because he's just patron of the Imperial Family and mostly worshiped as an act of civic pride and loyalty.

The other reason I want to cover it is because for all that it starts with A Grim World of Perilous Adventure it has some surprising GMing advice for a game written in 1986. It's much more player-positive than you'd expect; Fate Points were originally conceived as a way to show you were special without actually making you 'special' and they've added a lot to every edition I've read. There are some really surprising bits where the game outright tells you not to be too rough on the players and to watch and see how pessimistic they seem to be; if the players are down, you need to lighten up and make the game more fun and less punishing. Yes, you can definitely die from an unlucky encounter with a badger in 1e (I'm not exaggerating) but the spirit is still there. That sense that the game is partly interested in looking tougher than it is was there in the beginning.

As was the thing that made WHFRP so attractive to me: The sense that player characters really are still part of the world. And that adventurers are kind of nuts. Adventuring isn't an exalted profession like in D&D. Adventurers are weirdos. One of the things I like about WHFRP is the sense that your background really matters; what you did before you decided to quit your day job and try to fight goblins for better pay is a building block of your character and was from day 1, edition 1. Being an ex carnival strongman actually gives you huge advantages in its own way, which is hilarious. At the same time, the beginnings of the Career system really get at why they worked hard to standardize starting careers in 2e: You roll for a ton more stuff and can come into the game pretty useless much more easily than 2e.

The other thing that made me want to cover it is that 1e is a loving mess, but it's a really interesting mess! It's written with a serious enthusiasm for trying to model everything and anything, but it's actually kind of neat? There's a special rule for everything, there were no Talents, and Skills worked like a sort of mixture of Skills and Talents at the same time. There are honestly a few things where I'd say 2e faltered some in adapting or simplifying stuff! That's not something I expected before I read the book; I actually think 2e's treatment of Basic Skills is significantly more restrictive than 1e in most cases, though I also see why it was doing what it was doing from a point of view of standardizing. If there's one thing I'd say 1e told me 2e was doing, it's trying to cut out subsystems and exceptions and special rules and move the rules into a much more standardized system. At the same time, the crazy enthusiasm of 1e is fun. There's an entire subsystem for detecting poison in your food or wine based on taste and enhanced by whether or not you're a good cook! It's nuts, but also a surprisingly interesting way to make a bunch of the skills that don't sound so useful actually do something for an adventurer, which is neat in its own way.

1e is a huge mess, but the surprise that made me want to cover it is that I honestly think I could sit down with my group, run a game of 1st edition WHFRP, and still have a good time. I'd rather play the later editions, and I'll continue to do so when my group plays WHFRP, but honestly 1e doesn't look like a bad game! Especially not for the time it was written. So here goes, on the first appearance of the grim world of perilous adventure!

(It still had the Small, But Vicious Dog. That's been in every edition, like God intended)

Next Time: Basic Rules, Character, and Career: 1st Edition

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 01:36 on Sep 10, 2019

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Ah hell yeah, the Cube is back. Send me that dumb, dumb assassin money.

E: I gotta ask. Why do the assassins want the lovely curse money? Does it help with their edgy monologues or something? Does being cursed get them EXP for their gritty backstories?

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 01:51 on Sep 10, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


At the same time a society of van wizards being like 'huh, I can trade the dreams of children for valuables? SET UP THE FACTORY PENS' is a pretty van wizard thing to do.

Though actually I'm not sure it's metal enough for proper van wizards.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Every Invisible Sun update makes me sadder that I know of no game that is intentionally about playing Van Wizards, the wizards airbrushed on the side of a van who just gently caress up all the time but try to be really metal.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Also, yes, thanks Inklesspen!

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


The orb seems especially inconvenient when it seems like you carry a ton of them at once.

And of course the drat table has the price for eating nothing but sweets all day, just for extra whimsy.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Plus the whole point of making a setting element vague or open ended is to leave room to either write about it yourself or to not bother with it. Take the Syndics in Myriad Song: Trying to figure out where they went and why is a campaign hook for a sci-fi epic, but since they've been gone 100 years and there aren't too many hints (just theories by people in-setting) it's perfectly fine to play games that have nothing to do with them and everything to do with what people have done without their alien Gods.

A big 'Setting Secret' of 'what happened to the Syndics' would defeat the purpose of the Syndics as a piece of RPG writing. Which was to let you develop your own stories about why they left and/or to ignore them to focus on the stories of what they left behind and the game's stated theme of rejuvenation, rebirth, and exploration. While I'd certainly be interested in hearing what the original setting authors think would be cool explanations for what happened to them, I wouldn't pay hundreds of dollars for it because it isn't important to playing the game. And might even actively detract from it if it was a big official metaploty thing.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Kurieg posted:


Monte Cook is leaking, apparently.

This is how you produce orbs, I think. Just fill out these forms. Forever.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


An invisible folding chair is way easier to get past the ref when you need to clock another wrestler from behind, obviously.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1e

Post 2: Cool and Willpower, Fellowship and Leadership

One of the first things you notice on looking at stats in WHFRP 1e is that there are a lot more of them. There's no general Agility stat, replaced with Initiative, but compared to 2e we also add in Dexterity, Cool, Willpower, and Leadership. You will also notice Strength and Toughness do not have percentile stats in 1e. They're 'just' the stats that would have been denoted as SB and TB in 2e and onward. As in, a starting human PC has 2-4 Strength, rather than a 22-40 Strength that generates a 2-4 SB in 2e. This is a little awkward; removing some of the redundant stats in 2e was one of its good changes. Something else you notice when looking at stats in 1e: Elves are loving nuts. You remember how elves got +10 BS and Agi in 2e, plus some fairly useful talents, at cost of having 1-2 Fate and fewer Wounds? Elves in 1e got: +10 WS, +30 Init, +10 Dex, +10 Ld, +20 Int, +20 Cool, +10 WP, and +10 Fel compared to a human. That's even more than they get in 4e, where they actually got a bit more hammered by wasting time on Elf Time and having to split their insanely limited metacurrency points between both Fate and Resilience to try to balance this in some way. In general, species modifiers are huge in 1e, compared to 2e. 4e's higher species modifiers are almost certainly an intentional throwback to this.

Also note original flavor Hams Elves were not, in fact, better shots than humans.

Anyway, you roll for stats, as you'd expect. There are no rerolls and no Shallya's Mercy rules; you just roll down the line and come what may. You also have fewer Wounds, and you roll for your Movement as well as your other stats, which is a bit odd to me. You will also quickly note that WHFRP 1e uses all sorts of dice, not just d10s. A human character has about 5-7 starting Wounds (d3+4), for instance. Elves are 4-6 (d3+3), Dwarfs 6-8, and Halflings 4-6 like Elves. Like always, all the percentile stats are 2d10+Mod, with 20 being the base mod, 10 indicating a stat your species is bad at, and anything above 20 being something you're good at. S and T are determined with d3+1 for humans and elves, d3+1 for Str and d3+2 for dwarfs, and d3 for both for halflings. Dwarfs are good at the same things dwarfs always are, just moreso; they get terrible Fellowship, for instance, but great Cool and Leadership, they're tough, they're great at fighting, but they're slow and have poor dexterity. Halflings are mostly good at Dex and Init, and due to some silly stuff they're your main source of good thieves and rogues because elves in 1e are mostly averse to stealing poo poo and need an abnormally high Init to actually become thieves.

Nothing too groundbreaking, but it's interesting to note: A: Your chance of having an above or below average S and T is much higher using this method than 2e's method, which given 2e was trying to keep S and T fairly tightly controlled was certainly intentional and B: Your species matters way more.

Another thing that stands out: You have Alignment in WHFRP1e. Alignment was dropped from WHFRP in 2e and never really came back, but WHFRP's ideas about Alignment are actually pretty interesting. They're much closer to what you find in Moorcock's novels than D&D. PCs have their starting Alignment determined by their species (Elves are Good, everyone else is Neutral) if this is your first game; the book says you can pick Alignments afterwards and they can shift in play based on what the GM sees. Alignments go on an axis from Lawful to Good to Neutral to Evil to Chaotic. Note that both Lawful and Chaotic are dicks; Lawful characters seek to make the world a place of eternal stasis even if they provide some sense of order, Chaotic characters would see everything on fire all the time so that new things can replace it. The difference is, Chaos is not simply a force of corruption and evil in 1e. The Dark Gods certainly are, but in many ways some of the Gods of the pantheon seem meant to be 'good' Chaos, the need for the world to be able to change and renew itself rather than just mindless destruction. Neutral is also described as the alignment of the open-minded, who are aware there is a place for both Law and Chaos in the world. By contrast, Good characters don't have much of an opinion on the cosmic scale (but might lean towards Law) but just try to be decent people. Evil characters are just dicks who are okay with hurting people to get success and money.

It's interesting to see a setting that actively likes Neutrality. Alignment mostly ended up vestigial to WHFRP from what I can tell, so later editions just tossed it out the window. Especially since by the time 2e came out the old 'Evil Gods of Law that oppose Chaos and have to be balanced out with it' element had been tossed and Chaos had lost its positive elements. Also note that as far as I can tell, the actual Chaos Gods do not have 'positive' attributes. They are simply Chaos in its destructive and lovely form.

Anyway, after rolling your stats, you check to see which of the general types of Careers you actually qualify for (Warrior needs WS 30+, Ranger BS 30+, Rogue Init 30+ (65+ as Elf), and Academic WP and Int 30+). You then choose which of those 4 general Career tables you roll on for your starting Career. You also get extra skills based on your general 'class' of Career type, and can move more easily among Careers of similar classes when advancing. I note this was also brought back in concept for 4e. You also roll for Age, deciding if you want to be a young or older PC. All species used to be able to start out as young as 16, I note; the original setting seems to have had everyone hit young adulthood at the same age and then just age much slower afterwards. Age actually has a significant game effect: It decides how many random extra skills you get (d4+Age Modifier), with very young or very old characters starting the game less able. 30-somethings (or equivalent for their species) are the mechanically optimal adventurer!

Similarly, once you have a Career rolled, you actually still dice off for some of its skills. For instance, a Student has a 10% chance to know a TON of various skills, to represent just how hard they worked in school. Lots of Careers also demand you pick a 'sub-career'. For instance, an Entertainer might pick Strongman and get the Strongman skill from it, or pick Tightrope Walker and get Acrobat and Scale Sheer Surface (Note: Why would you then ever take Acrobat, who only gets Acrobat?) Basic Careers are not at all balanced, and gleefully so; this is meant to be another part that randomizes your character's power. I much prefer the approach in 2e, both mechanically and because I think it got across a general theme of ordinary people being surprisingly capable much better.

You also grab Fate Points, which are only really used for extra lives as far as I can tell. There is no equivalent to Fortune Points. Fate is curiously tied to the species' importance to history. Elves are waning, so get 1-2. Humans are important, and so get 2-4. Dwarfs get 1-3, halflings get 1-4. Fate is also directly tied to divine attention and the spirit of the planet; you can gain more Fate by gaining the favor and attention of the Gods or working towards the fate of the world. This bit of curious framing was mostly removed in later editions, with it being made clearer that variances in starting Fate had a lot more to do with the apparent mechanical power of the character's species and that having more Fate was the human advantage.

After all that, you put together your trappings and buy 1 Advance from your starting Career, and you're ready to go. Character creation in 1e is much as character creation is in all of the Hams Fantasy RPGs. It's reasonably quick, but 1e is exceptionally random and unconcerned with trying to balance out your options. You rolled day laborer, you deal with it. At least most of the shittier starting Careers can be finished in like 2-3 advances, but this doesn't really make up for how one PC might've started with 1400 EXP worth of Skills from a Career while another has 100. In general, I think 2e significantly improved on its predecessor in terms of starting characters and character creation. Similarly, elves are crazy. I really, really prefer the 2e elves over 'the elf is better at absolutely everything'.

Next Time: Example PC

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


RedSnapper posted:

Ahh, 1e, such fond memories.. My first RPG and primary system for many long years..

Also, please feel free to correct me if I get anything wrong; unlike usual this isn't a system I've personally played or run.

It's just that there's so much that's intriguing in how it transitioned into 2e; 2e really, really cleaned things up and made a much simpler system. I generally appreciate that, but 1e's wildness has its own charm on a read-through.

Also good to know the whole 'PCs can have a higher Str than a dragon' thing isn't new, but then the fact that the dragon has 6 attacks and shitloads of wounds and DR on par with an endgame character in plate means that Str score or not, you don't want to tangle with dragons.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


It's the kind of thing that makes sense in WHFRP, where having the money for material comforts is one of the entire reasons you're doing any of this, but does not make sense at all for the game of whimsical fantasy wizards who hop between realities.

It's actually always seemed really weird to me in D&D, since characters often find money that massively outdoes anything they could make by doing anything but adventuring and that eliminates any material needs they have by like adventure 1.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


I personally hate that bit because it's really obviously gamey and artificial. The game already often conspires to keep you poor in other ways. It doesn't need to suddenly make it near impossible to save up to buy a warhorse because it wants to keep you eternally in poverty for mood and someone forgot that a GC is worth more now and kept destriers costing hundreds.

E: I also really dislike how it teams up with a bunch of the potential random events that go 'your stuff you spent time slots on saving disappears' or 'your income from the last adventure got stolen before you could blow it on Bretonnian brandy and losing at dice anyway'. Combined with that, it sort of feels like a codification of the pre-made authors' hard-on for never actually paying PCs in 2e.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 00:02 on Sep 12, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Still, money and mundane shopping and all is the kind of thing a game like WHFRP experiments with rules for because it's genuinely important to its tone and setting and what it's going for. It's why it keeps trying to find the right balance of poverty/necessity and 'actually you get paid more than you'd make in years doing normal work, this is why you fight Chaos Warriors like a crazy person'.

Not many games need to go into that kind of thing that way. I'd even argue 3.5 D&D/PF 1e doesn't, really, not if it's putting out wealth by level guidelines and all. Yet here it is in whimsical wizard country.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Armor. Best Weapons. Other tools, mostly. The thing is, it's potentially a long, long time before you get those to where you want them. They're huge resource sinks and one of the reasons you buy them piece by piece is partly to let you make partial progress on upgrading them.

Oh, and mounts, if you ride a horse. Healing Draughts were also a bit of a money sink, and ammo could be, too. Armor is the really big one in 2e, though. Or guns. Guns were ridiculously expensive considering a longbow would generally outdo them. An actual brace of pistols (which was one of the good ways to use a gun) cost more than plate.

E: It's why Ashes of Middenheim dropping that suit of Full Plate in the Chaos Tomb that it tells you isn't tainted or magical or anything is so crazy; that's effectively completing what would normally be a long-term goal for the party's fighter immediately, in their 1st career and their first plot arc and it's a huge power boost.

Oh, also, making potions and stuff could be a huge resource sink (or something very expensive to buy from NPCs) that could really provide a lot of punch, too.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 00:50 on Sep 12, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Kurieg posted:

Mounts have to be one size category larger than you, or specifically stated to be able to carry your weight.

Insert halfling luchador wrestling all the big bads into submission. Redemption by suplex.

By god it's Slamwise Gamgee's music!

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st Edition

Post 3, Randomness

I should also note a really interesting bit in the 'what is this game about' part just before character creation. I will quote directly, because it warms my heart to see this stated so clearly in a game from 1986: "The GM cannot 'win' as such. His aim should be to provide an interesting and demanding game for the players. Because of his unique position, the GM could kill off a player's character at any time, but that is not the idea of the game and should not be the aim of the GM." It's really nice to see a game that starts right off the bat with 'Adversarial GMing is kind of a dumb idea, because the GM has ultimate power to do whatevs and so 'killing the players' isn't a good gaming goal for the GM. One of the things that stands out for me throughout the whole book is that the GMing advice is surprisingly good. It focuses on trying to find ways to provide a challenge and force players to make plans or feel tense without focusing on killing everyone all the time (because players will enjoy advancing and sometimes seeing their clever plans succeed). Fate Points likely come out of this mindset as a nice way to cushion lethal situations and damage, letting you still throw nasty stuff that could go either way at players without TPKing them all the time.

A friend of mine always said his impression of 2e was that it wants to look meaner than it is, so that when you somehow succeed it feels great. Considering that's an explicit goal of 1e's GMing advice, I'd say that's very likely true in 2e as well. Now on to making some example people.

So, we'll be making two people to see how differently they come out. I'll even roll for their species; d4 to see who they are. Rolls are 2 (Elf) and 1 (Human). Rolling d4 for species isn't normally in the game, but I can't make one of everybody. We'll do the human first, because then we'll have something to compare the elf to. I start out by rolling 2d10 down the line (except for d3 for Movement, Wounds, S, and T) and get 5 Movement, 6 Wounds, 3 Str, 4 Toughness, plus 32 WS, 26 BS, 37 Init, 23 Dex, 29 Ld, 36 Int, 35 Cool, 26 WP, and 33 Fel. Got some real highs and lows on our would-be hero here. Somehow extremely fast and agile for a human, but can't handle fine motor control to save her life. She'll be a her. She's 5' 9" (5'+d10 Inches), and we'll say she's young. To get her age, we roll 6d6, and then if the result is under 16 we roll again and add them together. She's 22, which is in a good range for a human (+1 random skills) but not the best (30-40 is optimal for an adventurer at +2 skills). She also rolls for Fate and gets 3, average for a human.

She rolls a d4 for how many random skills she gets and adds 1 for age. A 4 here means she has 5 skills outside her Career, and humans do not have any mandatory Random Skills, unlike everyone else. They just go right to the rolling tables. She'll be a Rogue considering her stats. Dicing off for skills, she'll be a woman of Lightning Reflexes (+10 base Init), Fleet of Foot (+1 Mv, she's lightning quick), both Silent Move Rural and Urban, and Very Resilient for +1 T. So she's basically an elite athlete who got into thievery, but who has terrible manual dexterity. Next, she rolls for Career. Getting a 66, she's a Raconteur, a wandering storyteller. This gives her Blather, Seduction, Charm, Public Speaking, Story Telling, and Wit, and a 25% chance of Etiquette. She hits it with a 20, so she actually knows her manners very well. She picks up +10 Fel as her Free Advance because hey. She'll need +10 WS, +1 Wound, +10 Ld, +10 Int, and +10 Cool before she can finish. She has to get cooler.

Something to note is these skills are a mixture of what skills would do in 2e, and what Talents do in 2e: Blather unlocks the ability to make a Fel test to try to confuse people (and to do it for a full d6 Rounds if succeeded by 10% or more), which doesn't work in combat and is used to buy time. Charm, by contrast, effectively gives +10 Fellowship (Giving her a base 53 now!). Her Silent Moves aren't even rolled for; they instead penalize the base chances of enemies to hear her at various distances in various environments. Seduction is as weird as it always is (+10 to most tests with members of the opposite sex, can make people sleep with her if they fail a WP test against her) and a product of its time. There's gonna be a lot of products of their time. Public Speaking lets her work crowds up to her Ld stat rather than just talking to small groups. Wit is a straight +10 to Bluffing and Gossiping; note a lot of stuff that was a skill in 2e is just a standard test type and having various skills gives bonuses to it and/or lets it work on more people or do something new. Storytelling improves Gossiping and Busking by 10%. Note that all this taken together means if she's gossiping among people attracted to her, she's at like 83% base chance of learning interesting stuff already; she's really good at her chosen job off the bat. I'm talking in detail about starting skills here because it's a good place to get across a sampling of them without having to go hard on them.

Also, being extremely good at running away very quickly (and able to hold her liquor or take a punch) seems like a good talent for a wandering storyteller and lady of wit. Mia Becker is tough, quick on her feet, and has long since incorporated her butterfingers and poor manual dexterity into a talent for physical comedy. The way she does pratfalls, one almost wouldn't notice that doing them without hurting herself takes enormous physical grace that her shakey hands don't seem to match. She looks like a fun character to play, honestly.

Next up, I'm grabbing the Elf Name Generator from 4e and going in on an Elf. I should also note here that 1e's fluff for the High Elves really plays up that the ones in the Old World are often lovely first world tourists on trust funds having 'adventure vacations' and 'slumming it', which I adore. I've always run/written Ulthuan as the Hams 1st World because it's fun and I'm glad to know it was the original take in the RPG! Galolric will be our elf, and he starts out rolling stats: 6 Movement (d3+3), 5 Wounds, 4 Strength, 2 Toughness. Note outliers in Str and Tough are much more common in 1e since they're 1/3 of rolls. He's buff, but always skipped cardio. However, he has a natural 49 WS, 22 BS (lol), 69 Init (leaving Mia in the dust), 40 Dex, 42 Ld, 55 Int, 58 Cl, 45 WP, and 46 Fel. Not only did he have higher stats in general, but goddamn, I rolled like mad for this elf. The only thing he sucks with is bows. Look at how his stats are compared to Mia, it's nuts. However, he only has 1 Fate. And with 2 Toughness and 5 Wounds, he's probably gonna regret that!

Gal will be a Warrior; his stats basically demand it. He'll also be young, and he's 6' 4" (5' 6"+d10 Inches). A young elf is 10d12, min 16 like humans. Gal's 46, very young for an elf to be out and about. This just barely gives him +1 Skills. He rolls his d4 and gets a 3, so he has 4 Skills. He has to start with Excellent Vision, but also a choice of Dance, Musicianship, or Singing. He'll take Musicianship. That means he only gets 2 random rolls. Note that having no Mandatory Skills is meant to be a human advantage. He gets Lightning Reflexes and Singing. So he's really good at music in general and he's got a 79% Init from day 1. He is a buff, but poorly conditioned elf pop star or something. Rolling for Career, he's no great warrior at all, he's just someone else's Servant, escaped to try to find a life of adventure and let his natural talents show.

Servant...well, it's one of those careers that isn't very good. The only thing he's guaranteed is Dodge Blow. He has a bunch of small chances for extra skills from his day job, and does come out of it knowing Etiquette and Cooking. Etiquette is as it is in 2e: +10% with high society diplomacy. Cooking makes his field rations nicer (just a roleplaying thing) but also gives him +10 to notice poison in food or drink, because he's used to tasting stuff to see if it's 'off'. So while Mia's career made her pretty good at stuff, Gal...well, he's got big dreams, I guess. And he's good at getting out of the way, there is that. And his base stats are amazing, and for the most part, base stats can carry you further without needing skills, it seems. Plus he's good at finding work as a musician (Sing and Musicianship team up for +20 to busking tests and looking for Entertainer work) and being an elf with Excellent Vision, he has a 50% higher vision range than humans. He is a man of talent who was wasted as manservant to a lovely adventure tourist High Elf. Escaping his master after the young man passed out from one too many shots at an Altdorf bar (and stealing the guy's sword and purse), Galolric tries to pass himself off as an elven knight in training and looks for adventure in a part of the world where no-one knows he should be scrubbing the floors. He'll also grab +10 WS for his Free Advance so he's as skilled as the average Chaos Warrior.

So, both still came out interesting, but as you can see the heavy randomness really changes up what a character can do. Some of this is mitigated by the very different Skill and Test systems, and they're one place I'm not entirely sure 2e was fully an improvement; there's a part of me that really likes the idea that most characters can do most things on base stat pretty well and skills just team up to add to various test types. Skills in 1e are mostly what we would describe as Talents in 2e, and I actually suspect a lot of the '-10 to everything' adventure design in 2e was writers thinking in terms of 1e and not actually adapting to some of the lower base chances. If you wanted to challenge Gal on Init, it'd be pretty hard, after all. He and Mia could reasonably hit 'harder' tests in their specialties and things they're very good at. We'll get into all of this more next time in Skills and Tests.

Next Time: Skills, Tests, and Subsystems

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 14:52 on Sep 12, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Yeah, but I was letting the dice decide everything in the spirit of things.

For reference, if you think Mia is tough (and she is), a Dwarf Troll Slayer could be starting play at T 6, naked as the day they were born. Heck, a class with +T as a Dwarf like Tunnel Fighter can potentially start with 7, and with a suit of mail. That gives them DR 8, making an average S3 foe have only a 1-6 chance of inflicting any kind of damage on them since the damage die is a d6.

Of course, any time they take that damage it triggers fury chances. Still, it's possible to begin with a dorf who just kinda walks through normal attacks mocking the people who thought they could hurt him.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Clearly this leads to a Chaos villain who has their armor made entirely out of dwarf slayer skins, and is thus invincible.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Chernobyl Peace Prize posted:

Please help me budget this my children are dying

Which is really slowing down production!

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


D&D Wizards: The authors of all of life's miseries, really.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


They did lower the overall cost of guns a lot in 4e. The weird thing is guns in 1e are absolute dogshit with no reason to ever use one (a pistol is a Damage 3 weapon with no ways to boost this, 1 shot per 2 rounds, and requires special training), while 2e's guns suffer some from action economy but do hit pretty hard and make a brace of pistols fairly attractive, at least. Then 4e's guns are slow but cause fear and do a fuckton of damage, plus almost no-one multi-attacks in 4e without specialized talents. As guns got more and more mechanically useful they made them less expensive/rare with each edition.

The funniest thing is, my group often plays in our own 1 century later version of the 2e setting where they have access to stuff like infantry rifles and cap-and-ball revolvers. They use guns an awful lot more and it does make ranged weapons stronger, but it still hasn't removed the need for melee or made ranged unbalance the game much. They really could have left Impact on repeater pistols/firearms without it messing things up much, which I can say from experience since the Damage 4 Impact Imperial Cavalry Revolver hasn't really unbalanced the system for me.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st Edition

Post 4, Testing Your Patience

Honestly, the basic resolution mechanic is exactly as it's been for every single percentile Warhammer game. Roll vs. TN on d100, if you go over TN, you fail. Under TN, you succeed. More under TN, the GM can decide you succeed by more. WHFRP 1e also had the idea that if you wanted to test two stats in short order, you could average them and get that as your TN, which is actually a good idea compared to a sequence of tests because 'Make a 50% test based on your 40% and 60% stat' is significantly less bullshit than 'Make a 40% check, then a 60% check, in sequence.' The former has way better odds! A series of tests is saved for very difficult sequences of actions, instead.

We also get an enormous number of 'standard sorts of tests', but note that effectively unless something needs a skill to be attempted (similar to a 2e or 4e Advanced Skill) PCs attempt actions at their base stat. Which is effectively like having a skill trained in 2e. Your Skills mostly give bonuses, or ways to use a test in a new way. What else is curious to me is how often a test is actually a flat number; for instance, if you try to sneak around, opponents just have a fixed chance to notice the noise at various distances (with a penalty if you have Silent Move as a Skill). You don't roll at all, you just say you want to move quietly, and they roll against it at a flat number. A pretty low one, too, as long as you can move quietly. Mia can only be heard 20% of the time unless her enemies have ways to boost their Listen test.

Every single test type listed in the standard tests is its own subsystem, and this is what makes me kind of conflicted. On one hand, I really like the idea of 'you can do most of the stuff we'd consider a Basic Skill later with base stat without needing to have any extra training, extra training and relevant abilities only help you out'. It opens up a much wider set of options for characters, and is more in line with 'I'm going to try a ton of options that aren't combat'. I think Basic Skill use is overly penalized in 2e; halving your stat if you don't actually have the skill means you'll generally never try to put yourself in a situation where you're going to rely on a Basic you don't have unless you have no other choice, even if you're great at its stat. The issue is that 1e's Tests are extremely random in how they work, and how skills will apply to them. There's no standardization. There are tables for your exact chance to find a job to work at for a little while between adventures. There's an entire subsystem for avoiding poison in your wine. Whether something uses a stat or just flat chances has no real rhyme or reason to it. Lock Picking suddenly introduces a specific Lock Rating that penalizes your chances.

In short, 1e's tests have a simple base resolution system and then a ton of 'here's how you roll for offering a bribe' or 'here's some extra rules tacked on to picking a lock', without much streamlining. 2e is much simpler, but also introduced what I think is a too-harsh penalty for not having skills compared to the original system where almost anyone could try most tactics.

2e also did another thing that instantly makes it a better game even if I see quite a bit of merit in 1e's stuff: It tossed the idea of critical fumbles out the window, into the trash, where it belongs. Yes, 1e has fumbles. Failing by 20 or more causes you problems. Failing by 30 or more can potentially injure you or cause even bigger problems, invoking a Risk test that has a 50-50 chance (generally) of causing you d3 unreducable wounds. Lots of other test types have extra fumble effects or specific fumbles that can make things worse. This is a bad idea. Critical failure rules specifically based on your chance to succeed when your chance to succeed may be 30-50% mean you have really high odds of crit-failing to one degree or another, too. Fumble rules have always sucked, but this is even worse than usual. Especially when you recall that you don't have Fortune/rerolls like you get from Fate in 2e and 4e.

Anyway, let's talk about Skills, too. Skills are another place where the game just doesn't have any sense of what an individual skill is worth, because it's not trying to. It isn't interested in trying to make skills balance against one another, it just wants to have a huge list of potential edges PCs or other characters could have from their training and experience. They're mostly fine, but it was an interesting surprise to discover that for the most part, Skills in 1e function like Talents in 2e or 4e. You also don't get any benefit from having a Skill twice, so if you rolled a random Skill or whatever but also got it from your Career, it's just wasted. One of the most annoying aspects of the Skill system is the % chance for starting skills stuff in a Basic Career. Your Physician's Apprentice can very much join the party having no idea how to do anything useful medically, because all the actual medical skills in that Career are 50% chances. Which you then have to spend EXP on if you want them, if you failed to learn them this first time.

Similarly, you can actually attempt to learn any Skill in the game outside your Career if you can get a teacher, spend some money, and the GM approves. However, if you fail a stat check to learn the skill, you waste your time, money, and the 100 EXP you spent on it. Now we see where they got that rule for learning out-of-Career Talents in downtime in 4e. In general, a lot of 4e owes a lot more to 1e than 2e on a readthrough of 1e.

Now, I certainly can't go over every goddamn Skill. There are 133 of them. Suffice to say they're usually very significant character advancements, though. And some of them are hilarious. Like Strongman. Which gives you +d4 max wounds and +1 Str, but requires you to spend more money on all the raw eggs you eat to keep yourself as buff as the Great Gama. If you lose your diet for 10 days, you lose this skill until you can spend enough money to have meat and eggs and stuff all the time for 30 days. Similarly, a very few skills have an embryonic version of Skill Mastery; Lock Picking requires the Pick Lock skill to try at all, and Pick Lock notes that you can acquire it more than once for +10 to Lockpick tests for each rank. Considering Skill Mastery went on to be a major cornerstone of 2e and 4e both, it's interesting to see its origins here with a couple edge cases. Also of note: Having Street Fighter didn't used to give you bonuses to unarmed fighting, but rather eliminated a penalty for it (originally -20 WS) while making your bare fists do the damage of a Hand Weapon. That's the sort of thing Skills do in 1e.

One thing I like is the way lots of skills that often just end up color instead give stacking bonuses to something. Being an actor might just give you the basic bonuses to busking and getting employed as a performer that most of the performance skills do, but it also makes you better at lying and gossiping since you know how to read people and react properly from getting into character. Little stuff like that helps with the thing that's attractive about WHFRP: It's always been a game where all the little flavor in your character background actually ends up mattering. The skill system here feels like a nice way to do that, combined with the more generous ability to do most sorts of tests without needing specific training.

However, it's also all over the place, and leaves you potentially at the mercy of needing massive base stats to do certain things if there don't happen to be a bunch of stacking skills that help you out with them. In general I think 2e was a step in the right direction in separating these into Skills and Talents, it just over-penalized being untrained.

Once again, what strikes me in going through 1e is that a lot of this still looks fun to play with, despite being a disorganized mess with no sense of standardization. Look at Mia; she turned out looking like a character who'd be fun to write about. The issue is primarily that it's much more likely you end up with a character who is terrible, or way behind the people who rolled well, comparatively. No mercy rules on rolling stats, no standardization or concern for balancing the base careers mean you can end up with a large gulf of ability and I think 2e was right to try to even things out.

Next Time: Murdertown

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


That's also kind of funny for them when they're happily palling it up with and building stuff for a 'no I swear I'm not a TITAN, promise' super-AI.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


mllaneza posted:

There was an a article in Dragon, somewhere in the mid-double digits that redefined the coinage. They changed the standard, heavy GP for an SP the size of a dime. Their GP was the same size and worth about 20 times an SP. Coin hordes got much more manageable.

When I ran a game about the D&D cosmology colliding with a fairly normal alt-hist 18th century, one of the jokes was the D&D people being extremely confused that the locals called this heavy, relatively rare stuff 'gold'. Turned out that they all used as gold in the rest of the Prime Material Plane was lightweight and very common, and they used GP for the same reason we use paper money.

That was my personal answer to 'how the hell do people carry around 10,000 GP'

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Well, given the wizards get more valuable EXP from tragedy, I imagine they're all taking a dive and rolling around wailing about the existential horror and sorrow of everything that happens to them to try to farm.

EXP, drawing a red card, same principle.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


So, what do you do with these guys for adventures or are they just there as set dressing/something that attracts foolish rear end in a top hat wizards to cause you trouble?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Yes, I understand that, but they're kinda not especially interactable. Just a small thing you run into once or twice, not something I'd see getting a ton of full writeups.

But then this whole book seems to have a little bit of a problem of, ah, Promethean doesn't seem like a game that needs a specific 'enemy book' the way something like Woof does. It's about a different kind of conflict, mostly.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Violence in general is going to have a really weird place in a Promethean story because it would be more about contextualizing violence, from the point of view of something of an outsider looking in and trying to understand it. It's probably going to come up, partly because it's an important part of the human character but also partly because the WoD is explicitly a more violent world than the real one. The ubiquity of actual lethal violence and the way it would warp peoples' culture and worldview somewhat beyond just 'nobody really pays as much attention to people going missing at the colossal pillar of wasp eggs' to justify normal urban fantasy adventures would actually be worth examining in Promethean.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st Edition

Post 5: The Eternal Sorrow of T 2

So! Combat. Combat is an important part of WHFRP, always has been, and it's significantly more dangerous (potentially) in 1e than 2e. You've always been meant to avoid combat when it's unnecessary, but it always comes up. Grim world, perilous adventure, all that; while people might say WHFRP is D&D through the lens of Call of Cthulhu, Adventurers are considerably more combat capable than Investigators. The single most interesting thing about combat in 1e relative to 2e is how much using a d6 as a damage die changes things compared to d10s. With the d6 damage die and significantly fewer Wounds, every individual wound scored matters a lot more. Moreover, it's much easier to accidentally outpace the damage die, so to speak. To help me demonstrate this, we'll be bringing in our two example PCs from earlier, Gal and Mia. But we'll also be adding the stalwart Thrunbor Grimgison, Dwarven Tunnel Fighter Who Rolled Awesome. This is at least partly because Thrunbor is the most Warhammer Dwarf name possible, but also to demonstrate just how much extra DR and wounds matter, even more than they did in 2e. Thrunbor rolled a 5 for his starting toughness, got Very Resilient as one of his Warrior random skills, has 8 Wounds, and bought his +1 T advance as a Tunnel Fighter. Thrunbor is effectively DR 9 with his shield and armor. He is also angry, about elves, orcs, and many other things.

Anyway, one of the first things that stands out about combat is that true to 80s design, there's a lot on random encounters and their composition and how often you should roll for them. This stuff is completely absent in later editions, because even RPGs that are sort of traditionalist like WHFRP mostly moved away from heavily regimented resource-grind dungeon crawling and overworld travel. This also means the entire beginning of the chapter on combat is about how to randomize position and detection ranges during a random encounter. This is a product of its time, and night vision and its range is heavily valued and carefully tracked here. An elf or dorf with night vision can very much surprise a bunch of humans in the dark. Initiative is not randomized in 1e; you go in order of Init, though a character with a very high Init may choose to act later in the round with complete freedom. None of this 'reserving actions', Gal's 79% Init means he usually goes first, but also that he can freely choose to wait for Mia to move and then act after her or something at no penalty. A higher initiative is meant to be a pure advantage and Init is very desirable.

There is no half/full round action separation in 1e; you just do one thing on your turn. The rules also forbid 'arm wrestling with dragons' or any other 'wildly unrealistic action' as the GM decides. You can follow Moving with attacking in hand to hand if you end up in base to base contact with an enemy at the end of your move. Also note that Moving is very quick; you move 2xMove Stat yards with Cautious movement (used in cramped spaces and things), 4xMove with Standard, and 16xMove when running. Moving at faster rates risks having to make Risk tests not to trip or hurt yourself, depending on circumstances; it's a bit 'GM May I'. Still, someone like Mia is lightning fast, but note also the Charge action is much more restricted: You can only Charge from 1xMovement rate away. This is because Charging gives you bonuses; +10% to the first of your attacks, and if you're using something like a Lance, you get other bonuses. So while a character with open ground can move 4xMove into combat and then make a full attack action, that wouldn't be a Charge and wouldn't get them bonuses besides just moving into combat and swinging away.

Also notable: When using a missile weapon, you only ever get one shot a round. Similarly, there's nothing like Mighty Shot or whatever in 1e. It seems like missiles are considerably weaker in 1st edition than in later games. Guns are also treated as lovely joke weapons, that 'make a lot more noise but don't do much damage'.

One of the really big differences here is that there's no Swift Attack. You make a hand to hand attack, you make ALL your hand to hand attacks. Given how the tyranny of Swift Attack is perhaps the single biggest mechanical misstep in 2e, I'm pretty tempted to just shift that into how 2e works and adapt around it. Similarly, Charging is set up as something you really want to do when possible, whereas for serious combatants in 2e due to action economy reasons, you usually wanted to get Charged and then response with Swift.

1e also has more explicit rules for forcing enemies to flee combat; people who take serious critical hits may be forced to withdraw if they can still walk. Facing is also important; you're assumed to only be able to strike at the front of your model after moving, and shields and parries only apply to people attacking from your front. There's much, much more of an assumption that you absolutely need a combat map in 1e, while 2e's combat can be simple enough to abstract.

One of the biggest changes, though? Even more than in 2e, DR is your main defense. You can attempt one Dodge a round if and only if you have the Dodge skill, making an Init test to avoid a hand to hand attack. You can also Parry once a round, if you have various appropriate weapons (most of them), but it takes up one of your Attacks for next round to do so and it doesn't outright stop the attack, just reduces its damage by d6. Parrying is thus less attractive than it was in 2e, where it can outright stop a blow. 4e went ahead and just made parry one of the default parts of combat, with a significant advantage to characters who try to oppose incoming melee attacks with a Melee skill instead of Dodge since they can score a crit and counter-crit their enemy on defensive rolls. It's interesting how the parry became significantly more and more important as the editions went on.

Another very important difference in combat is that there are no direct outnumbering rules, but rather they are rolled into Winning and Losing combat. When characters are fighting, you total the successful Wounds inflicted during a round between the two sides of combat. The side that did more Wounds 'won'. The losers are then forced back a little ways as the winner desires, and the winner can either follow up or use that to fight free of being engaged. If the winner follows up, all attacks by the winning side this next round are at +10 to hit. You might see the kernel of 4e's weird Advantage rule, but without the possibility of things snowballing; you'd be right to do so. The idea here is also that outnumbering is represented by the fact that you total the Wounds inflicted by both sides. The side with more attackers is more likely to do more Wounds and thus to 'win'.

Another very important point: You can see the origin of 4e using doubles on the percentile dice for crits here in 1e, where it's used to determine when gunpowder weapons and bombs misfire. In general, the more I read of 1e, the more it is apparent 4th edition is primarily working from 1st, not 2nd.

Critical Hits have been around since 1e, and honestly, they've been kind of bad since 1e. Crits have the issue that they have to become lethal very quickly, because the chances are you have to account for being unable to inflict more than 1-3 wounds on an opponent while still being able to finish them off, even moreso in 1e than 2e since your damage die is only a d6. Crits in 1e are also much more random, with more results but also with results varying wildly between what you roll on the percentile die for determining severity. 2e and 4e switch to a simple sliding scale instead of, say, having a 40 somehow be less devastating than a 32 but only if you've inflicted Crit +4 or more and so on. Dropped-past-zero Crits have never really added that much to Warhammer because they're so lethal so quickly, and the system for generating them in both 1e and 2e is clunky and slow. PCs' capacity to survive lethal blows tends to focus more on Fate Points than the crit system. At least in Fantasy Wounds actually work as a buffer, unlike 40k where you just get vaporized.

Now, let's talk damage, armor, and weaponry. These are significantly different than later games; armor is much less effective (though still really helpful) and the d6 damage die changes an awful lot. Similarly, weapons are both simpler and more complex at the same time. Armor is just a simulation of tabletop armor and its direct effect on armor saves. Mail armor? +1 DR. Plate armor? +1 DR. Shield? +1 DR. They stack. Leather armor is mostly worthless, reducing damage by 1 if you were only going to take 3 or less wounds, and not stacking with the metal armors; it's assumed you're wearing padding and leather under any serious armor already. Armor penalties to Init exist, but are purely at the GM's prerogative and are -10 for mail leggings, -10 for plate. Full mail and plate is less of a huge deal than in 2e, but you're not going to be sorry you wore it, and a shield is still quite helpful for the +1 DR even if you never Parry with it.

Similarly, weapons don't really have special traits unless they're described in their entry. Weapons vary instead on their modifier to Parry, their modifier to Damage, their modifier to Init, and their modifier to to-hit. For instance, a Great Weapon gives +2 damage, which is awesome when you're using a d6 for damage, but -10 Init while wielded. Also remember Init is your Dodge stat if you have Dodge. Meanwhile a Rapier is -1 damage, but +20 Init. This leads to situations where, say, a Spear is outright better than a Hand Weapon in combat because it doesn't take a special proficiency, does the same damage, has +10 Init in round 1 and any round you're winning, and gets +10 to hit against aerial foes. Flails do huge damage at the cost of to-hit penalties and needing Flail prof. Halberds are a Great Weapon with all the advantages of a spear, but -10 to hit because halberds are tricky. That kind of thing.

I've mentioned a lot that damage is d6s. There is still Fury, though it wasn't called Fury yet (which is sad, because X FURY! is a great name for a 'pile on damage' rule) and it works exactly like in 2e, save it's explicitly clear all combatants do it. The lower damage die makes it both more common, and more common that someone is going to 'double fury' and keep rolling 6s. Combine that with having very few Wounds comparatively, and you can get splatted by just about any attack with some bad luck. I'm not kidding when a say a badger can be a menace.

Let's look at our three heroes and damage to get some examples. Mia Becker is a very tough human, at 5 T. We'll say she's wearing some light leather armor, too, since she's a Rogue and Rogues love leather in every fantasy setting ever conceived, so she's not totally unprotected, while also having 6 wounds. Our man Gal the Elf has a 2 T, and no armor because he's a poor servant turned warrior of fortune, and being an elf he only has 5 wounds. Meanwhile, Thrunbor is rocking his T 7 (5 base, +1 Very Resilient, +1 Advance), plus 2 points of Armor for Mail armor and a Shield. He's also got 8 Wounds because he is a badass. Note these are all starting characters, right out of the gate. They're fighting Str 3 Beastmen. Each hero takes a hit and their enemy rolls a 6, but doesn't trigger Fury since they fail the WS roll. How do they all do? Mia takes 9-5=4 Wounds, losing 2/3 of her HP. She's in serious danger, but she's still up. She also had pretty good odds of taking 0 wounds, thanks to leather (would've protected her from anything below a 6) and her natural toughness. Gal takes 7 Wounds and an immediate Critical Hit, +2 Severity. He rolls poorly and takes a Critical 9 hit to his body, falling unconscious and bleeding 1 Wound a turn until he gets help; he's basically down, dying, and cursing the low Fate total of elves. Thrunbor takes the hit and...takes no damage. And keep in mind these are all out-of-the-gate possible 0 EXP PCs. Thrunbor is not some super-leveled shitkicker (though he is assuming some drat good rolling).

The lower number of wounds, the higher chance people fury, and the extreme potential variance/outliers in player damage and toughness (A character in 2e is very, very unlikely to have TB 7 for a long time, if ever) makes for much swinger combat, with much higher chances of someone either walking through everything unhurt or dying immediately. I think making outliers in S and T much less likely and more tightly controlling their advance was one of the really important and good ideas in 2e compared to 1e. Similar for making armor a bigger part of the equation and adding a higher variance in the damage die; it's much, much harder to outrun the possibilities on the 2e damage die unless you're talking Chaos Lords, Vampire Lords, or characters with significant runic equipment. Who are all big outliers on the system. An 'average' experienced human in plate (like a Chaos Warrior) has DR 9 or 10; Strength 3 attacks can still hurt that character even without Fury. The larger number of Wounds on PCs also gives you a little more 'give', since every point of damage is no longer quite as significant. At the same time, Wound advances in 1e are much more significant than in 2e; the +8 Wounds on a high level fighter probably more than doubled their starting wounds, while +8 Wounds on the same character in 2e still makes them noticeably more difficult to drop but isn't as significant relative to where they started.

In general, combat fits with the swingier nature of 1e. A lot of the bones are the same, and I find rules like Winning kind of charming, actually. There are naturally lots more rules about various situational actions, but it's also notable that 1e is not that concerned with modifiers; you won't see nearly as many moving parts to track as you'd get in something like 4e. The chart of situational modifiers only has 6 entries, 3 bonuses, 3 penalties, and none are above the -20 for fighting unarmed (which was dropped in 2e, as they decided the lower damage was penalty enough). The hit location stuff in all the Warhammers has always been odd, mostly because it isn't that important unless someone is only partially armored. Crits to the legs are every bit as lethal/crippling as crits to the head, they just have different flavor. It's always slowed down combat and I'm never sure it's ever been really worth it, either.

Still, 1e's combat engine is functional, and you're clearly intended to get into plenty of exciting debates of the sword and axe. It just reflects that fact that compared to WHFRP 2e, 1e continues to have no breaks and to really show off just how insane the gulfs in ability between characters can be.

Next Time: Wizards are not to be trusted

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Oh, another interesting thing in 1e: Healing skills roll to see if they help you recover, but even if they fail having a doctor around still speeds recovery. 1e characters also recover from simple lost Wounds really quickly, especially with a doctor around. It's only crits that break limbs that take a long time, or crits that cause terminal bleeds. Which then require a skilled doctor to actually help you properly recover from the break or to keep you from dying to complications of blood loss.

Much like 2e, and 4e, you really want a Shallyan initiate/doctor in training/herbalist around. It cannot be overstated how helpful a skilled medic is in every edition of the percentile based Warhams.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


megane posted:

I guess humans in White Wolf world are just completely devoid of imagination; every rumor or story anyone has ever come up with, ever, is directly based on a literal actual monster. If you hear some fifth graders telling a story about a crazy pirate with hooks for feet who lives in the woods, then there really is a pirate with hooks for feet, he's probably a centimanus or something. The big dog that totally ate a guy in the eighties, and that's why they closed the camp, my cousin heard them say so? Real. A bookshelf that turns into a lady and steals your teeth? Real.

Human imagination cannot survive a world that has a terrible thirst for more stuff to make into splatbooks.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Because he's just another random monster like all the rest, mostly. You kinda check out on the 'oh that's a wild concept' train of thought once they try the spooky book monster and show you that 'Pandoran' is 'whatever silly monster we could think up'.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Isn't 'Gehenna was basically bullshit' the beginning of V5's pitch?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st Edition

Post 6, The Mystery of Druids

I could go into trying to summarize how magic works in WHFRP 1e. I really could. I've been dreading getting to this part because even reading the drat rules for it is a headache. But you know, I'm not interested in trying to transcribe enough to summarize things a bit and you're not really interested in reading it, let's be honest. The big thing you need to know is that magic in 1st edition is extremely bog-standard basic high fantasy magic. Magic is also very character resource intensive, requiring you to go through a gating Basic Career to start climbing up a series of Careers 1-4, labeled helpfully 'Wizard Level 1' or 'Wizard Level 3' or 'Alchemist Level 4'. They're normal careers, and they bring to mind the later career tiering and career track stuff in later games in the series. Where they differ is that entering new Wizard/Priest/Whatever careers costs a ton of extra EXP. You have to spend heavily to switch between careers, specialties, and climb up levels. Magic relies on a complicated system of MP that is completely unrecognizable to later games in the line. There do not, from what I can tell, seem to be miscasts or casting tests; you just slam the MP down (and expend an Ingredient; material components were required, rather than being boosters), declare you're casting, and pray you don't get walloped in the middle of your spell because you now count as Prone and not defending yourself (for the entire round, it seems!), meaning you not only get automatically hit by melee attacks but they do double damage, which also cancels your spell (but costs the MP) if you were hit while still casting.

Do not cast spells unless you are behind your buddies. You will die from trying to put up the magic fingers, which in no way stop some barbarian wretch with mighty thews from cleaving you stem to stern.

The really important part is that the Winds of Magic, all the fluff and flavor and Lores and stuff that made magic flavorful and cool in Warhams? None of it's here. Magic is just generic high fantasy magic, mostly the same as D&D. It's a specialized and powerful tool, sure, but it's boring. Not only is it boring, its much too complicated and deals with a bunch of big subsystems that only deal with magic. The magic system is absolutely the weakest mechanical system in 1st edition that I've seen, and according to the author's notes in 2e, it was apparently meant to be a temporary stopgap system that would get expanded and filled out into something less dull but then ended up surviving all of 1st edition's tenure. 2e's magic system might have its own issues (especially with a few of the Lores being really underpowered) but at least 2e made playing a wizard flavorful and interesting. You didn't just have a generic 'Battle Magic' spell list and then maybe go into Elementalist to get a generic Battle Magic: Elementalist list as well.

The lack of any and all of the magic fluff that made magic fun is really draining when you read this section. For the most part, Warhammer really isn't that much like D&D; it's got a lot of fantasy cliches but it usually does something with them. It's concerned with different things than D&D, and generally has a stronger sense of grounding or of placing characters in the context of their society and their world. Here? 1e's magic is D&D magic. It's a thing where powerful wizard dudes wave their hands and stuff just happens. There's no real limitation on what it can do besides it being a general RPG spell list full of combat spells (there's a reason it's defined as Battle Magic as its default) and there's no theme to it. It's really complicated, not very good, and completely lacking in the stuff that makes magic interesting to play with in later entries.

What's more interesting is that you can see from day 1 Magic Items were something of an issue for WHFRP. 1e actually expects you to get them; a GM is told to make sure finding one is a big event but that players shouldn't be allowed to 'despair of getting one' during their career. There's a much wider selection of magic items, though I also recognize many of these as being converted into items you could find based on Realms of Sorcery in 2e. What's notable is that magic items can be generated very randomly, and can vary enormously in power. For instance, a Shield +3 is +4 AV on every location against attacks from the front. Your chances of rolling such a mighty item on the random tables are very low, yes. But it's possible. Most items are fairly minor edges, but even minor edges are potentially a big deal in Hams. Hams has never really sat down and looked at how to include magic items without them either being vanishingly rare or surprisingly unbalancing. I suspect this is a big reason 2e just kinda went 'most PCs will never use any' and moved on from there.

Another interesting thing: Most of the Chaos Weapon table in Tome of Corruption in 2e actually consists of conversions and re-imaginings of the enormous number of weapon effects you can roll for a magic weapon in 1e. There's a lot of wild poo poo your magic sword could do. You also need a WP test to 'master' a magic weapon when you first get it or it won't turn on for you.

What really stands out is how, in a game where I can recognize a lot of the flavor and style (or the outlines of them, at least) from the later editions and setting? There's absolutely none of it in magic. Not in magic items, not in spells, not in the way magic works in the setting. It's curious that this is one of the places where things seem to have changed the most, and the most fundamentally, between the early history of Hams and later works. I'm genuinely curious what sparked the changes and why, but I'm also very glad they happened; if magic had stayed how it was in 1e the entire setting (not to mention the game mechanics) would have been much poorer for it.

Next Time: Old Old World Religion

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


The Lone Badger posted:

Re Warhammer, do any of the editions have decent rules for playing an ogre? I just love the Maneaters.

This is one of the enormous weaknesses of every single edition of WHFRP, I say, as someone who also loves the ridiculously costumed fat cosplaying mercenaries.

None do. They thought bringing gnomes back from a footnote in 1e was more important in 4e, I guess.

(The real reason is that the Size rules added in 4e would make a Large PC ridiculously strong)

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


I imagine they gave them 3 attacks because the standard OWB Ogre has that (as do the TT units) but man is that a dumb idea for a PC conversion.

E: The issue that makes them hard to do is they need to be very strong and very tough to actually work out, while being very strong and very tough is a powerful trait in WHFRP. Especially 1 and 2 e where a significant amount of your defense comes from tanking with DR. I could probably do a reasonable conversion for them but it would work out to +10 S, +10 T, -10 Fel, -10 Agi (I'd actually keep to 'no-one really has altered Int') and very high starting Wounds (Somewhere like +3 or +4 over human norm) but lower Fate. Not sure what I'd do with talents and things. They wouldn't come out looking like proper 'monstrous' characters, but making them fit into PC parameters wouldn't really allow for that as is. They'd basically come out playing like less skillful but harder hitting dwarfs, but that's hard to avoid without putting them into crazy town on physical abilities.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 02:39 on Sep 18, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


S and T are really tightly controlled for a reason; scaling them out of whack can do crazy stuff (this is why Chaos Lords with their +30 S/+40 T and Vampires with their higher base stats get nuts). Maybe give them their choice of Very Strong or Very Resilient among their starting talents for their species. A guy or gal starting with effectively +15 S or T over human norm is already pretty mean.

Basically I'd err on the side of having them fit the normal PC paradigm just so you don't have to worry about them being too out there, because they're one of the few 'monster' character types that would fit in fine with a normal party since Ogres play better with others than most people think.

E: Basically 'how would I do Playable Ogres/Saurus/Skinks' have all been things that have occupied part of my thinking for a long time, but has never been official.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 02:51 on Sep 18, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


The Lone Badger posted:

What if a promethean based their view of humanity on mainlining Supernatural/Hellboy/Scooby Doo/etc, so their Pilgrimage involves driving around the country in a panel van punching monsters?

Follow some Hunters around, take notes.

Throwing vampires out a window into the blazing light of the sun so they explode into confetti is very human. Most of us would absolutely do that if we could.

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Again, seeing a living avatar of smirking, privileged cruelty that lives only to abuse others and reacting by wanting to make it taste the curb for what it does is a pretty human response.

E: Not to mention they're literal opposites, monsters that are very eager to leave behind any vestige of humanity to glory in the temporal power they get to hurt other people. Compared to artificial but very powerful beings who are on a long pilgrimage that will hopefully eventually give up that power in order to be able to lead a meaningful life and live with others.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 03:22 on Sep 18, 2019

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