As I’ve said, you really can’t judge a game until you play it a few times. The initial reviews were great, but the later ones are the most important. This will be my last game report pertaining to the new system. Tonight we played (my) forth game. No surprise, we all had a blast and the system runs like clockwork.
Tonight we actually tried the character creation for the first time. This was our first game that wasn’t Demo related. I photocopied off the build point page, and a few equipment pages for my players to share around as they built their characters. Since we still have only the one book, I had to read off a lot of skill descriptions and specializations. Other than that, the photocopies did all the work. The books are still in great shape, even after heavy use and bending them back for copies.
The character creation process is almost as fun as playing. That’s good too, because my players are likely to be doing it now and again… Everything went smooth, people thumbing through action and talent cards, picking equipment, drinking Rogue Beer. We took our time, optimized the characters, and looked at all the options. The entire process, for a GM and 4 players (one a caster), took about an hour and a half. You could easily get this down to a half hour.
After character design, we had about 2 hours left to play. This was an ‘investigation’ scenario, so there was no combat (well, almost). After some great roleplay pertaining to the selection of the ‘party sheet’, and party introductions, we started the game proper.
Our spell caster flexed his muscle a bit trying out the flexible ‘cantrip’ spell as we familiarized ourselves with the casting rules. There were some interesting spell effects. At one point an over achieving intimidate check (assisted by 3 other players) ended up frightening a poor barkeep and his entire customer base (3 drunks and a cat), clearing the entire bar! Which… my players promptly robbed, then fled the scene. Sigh.
There were some very interesting social interactions as my players investigated their mystery. We relied heavily on interpreting dice results and they led us in some very surprising directions. We decide to run with the results and the rolls actually shaped the game is some very cool ways.
I found some interesting uses for the ‘tracker’ and built a couple of different tracks, one to represent the player’s progress, and one ‘unknown’ tracker that caused a little tension at the table (I’m being vague because some of my players read these).
After the game there was a lot of talk about the ambiguity of the rules. Ambiguity sounds negative, but that wasn’t the course of the conversation. The statement was that in other systems, say D&D (any version), if there was an ambiguous rule, the game stopped. You pour through the books until you find the rule. It’s there. You know it is. You just have to find it. In this version, the rules are built around ambiguity. It’s actually presented as a ‘feature’, or a tool. Intentionally ambiguous rules are there to allow the GM (and players) the flexibility to adjudicate as the situation requires. This means that more situations can be covered with fewer rules. It works very nicely.
It’s very hard to explain. You almost have to see it for yourself to understand. It’s certainly a different way to think about things. It will take some time to get used to that amount of freedom.
The evening wrapped up with us all sitting on the front porch, smoking and drinking, and buzzing about all the possibilities.
My group still loves this system. So do I. We look forward to many more adventures in the Old World using the solid new ruleset.
On a side note, I was sad to see the last official Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2 forums scheduled to go dark. Though I have been a staunch supporter of WFRPv3, I’ve had decades of fantastic games using v1 and v2. That system, with its percentile and bloody splattery crit charts, with its phenomenal career charts and tight skill and talents list, with its amazing history and detailed world, will always have a place in my Roleplaying conscience.
The artwork of John Blanche, Ian Miller, and all the other iconic artist of the Old World, the art that drew me into this game to start with, will always cause a feeling of nostalgia.
I plan on writing scenarios that capture those old feelings. Those feelings I first had when I stumbled across the green cover with the bad ass dwarf chopping into a goblin, or my first look at Middenheim on the Warhammer City cover in Ian Miller’s distinctive style. Wish me luck. That’s a tall order to fill.
R.I.P. WFRP2. Warhammer is dead. Long live Warhammer.