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Action Cards, Character Sheets and Advancement - some analysis

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#1 Ravelli



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Posted 04 September 2009 - 04:55 AM

I first posted this in answer to NezziR's questions in his "WFRP 3.0 from the perspective of old school roleplayers" thread. By putting it in its own topic, I thought it might help others who haven't been following the latest developments (or that thread) quite so closely.

  • How do you move the marker up and down the stance bar? Is it triggered by circumstance or does the player decide?

The player decides. Five minutes into part four of FFG's GenCon seminar videos Jay Little said: "The players are able to throttle the risk tolerance of their individual character over the course of the game and adjust it on the fly based on the current situation." There may be circumstances that affect a character's stance, but they've not been mentioned.

  • Do the action cards contain skills?

No, not exactly. The action cards are basically a return to the original version's "standard tests". Except, rather than being listed on a table and described in a chapter, all of the pertinent information regarding a particular action/test is printed on its card. Otherwise, they are quite similar. Trying to con someone in WFRPv1 would require a Bluff test (roll under your Fellowship characteristic, modified by any appropriate skills, such as Charm). In v3 you'll likely refer to your "Bluff" basic action card (roll your Fellowship characteristic in ability dice, modified by the appropriate skill, such as Charm or Guile, and talent, such as Silver Tongue).

Now, I don't know what the "pull the wool over" action card will actually be called in v3, but it will likely exist and that's fundamentally what it'll do. We've seen the Ranged Shot basic action card and that's the function it fulfils. Note, it's not the "Ballistic Skill action card" (and BS is now a skill, not a characteristic), it's just one of the actions you can perform using your Ballistic Skill.

Ranged Shot basic action = Agility + Ballistic Skill vs. Target Defence

Melee Strike basic action = Strength + Weapon Skill vs. Target Defence

Many of these basic action cards are available to starting characters, with the special actions limited to certain careers (like the Slayer's Troll-Feller Strike). According to "The Role You Play" article, however: "Several of the basic action cards have a minimum characteristic requirement. If a character does not begin play with the required characteristic rating, he does not begin with that basic action card. However, if he later raises his characteristics to meet these requirements, he can choose to acquire these actions later in his career."

  • What exactly is in the card decks? I know there are wounds (with crits), conditions (like blind), Insanity, and Attacks (like Accurate Shot). What about cards for social interaction skills (and others like climb, swim, or stealth) or spells?

From the WFRP3 FAQ:
"The large boxed core set includes the following:
4 Rulebooks, 36 custom dice, 154 action cards (which include spells and blessings, as well as special combat and social actions), 70 wound cards, 45 talent cards, 30 condition cards, 30 insanity cards, 30 career ability cards, 19 miscast cards, 12 location cards, 1 item card, 30 career sheets, 5 party sheets, 1 pad of character sheets, 3 character keeper boxes, 48 tracking tokens, 6 stance rings, 6 activation tokens, 2 large standups, 47 medium standups, 12 plastic bases, 39 fatigue & stress tokens, 40 puzzle-fit stance pieces, and 5 puzzle-fit centre pieces"

Additionally, from the WFRP3 description page:
"Mighty warriors perform mighty deeds. You can quickly reference the full-colour action cards to see what your abilities and innate skills can accomplish, allowing players to spend more time focusing on the task at hand. From spells, blessings, and attacks to social gambits, and reactions, and acrobatics you will have the actions you need to tell your character’s tale."

From "The Role You Play" article:
"Certain careers may have access to other basic actions. For example, wizard careers start the game with a number of petty magic spells, which are considered basic spell actions, and Channel Power, which allows them to generate the power needed to fuel their spells. Priest careers start the game with a number of minor blessings, which are considered basic blessing actions, and the Curry Favour action, which allows them to generate the favour needed to activate their blessings."

It's also been mentioned in passing on other forums by a playtester and a developer that the game's well suited to roleplaying-heavy scenarios like Power Behind the Throne and that there are systems in place to cover social interactions. Perhaps social actions may also be impacted by a character's career keywords/tags. So, someone in Menial, Rogue or Rural careers may have a harder time socialising with the Graf than those in Social or "Noble" careers. (Barber Surgeon does have the Social tag, but the "Noble" bit is speculation on my part.)

There'll probably be basic actions covering things like climb, swim and stealth, as Athletics, Coordination and Stealth are basic skills. They may also be covered by other specialisations or advanced skills, too.

  • How much detail is there on character sheets and how customizable are they when they level? Are they still going to be interesting with forward goals after a year of campaigning?

If you look three minutes into part 3 of the GenCon seminars online at FFG you get a pretty good view of the front of the character sheet.

There are now only six characteristics (three mental and three physical): Strength, Toughness, Agility, Intelligence, Willpower, Fellowship.

Jay mentioned a Strength of 5 during an example of the dice mechanics. So, characteristics will likely range from 1 to no more than 8, as there are only eight blue characteristic dice included in the core set.

There are 18 basic skills listed on the sheet (nine mental and nine physical), along with their associated characteristic:

Athletics ST
Ballistic Skill AG
Coordination AG
Intimidate ST
Resilience T
Ride AG
Skullduggery AG
Stealth AG
Weapon Skill ST
Charm FEL
Discipline WP
First Aid INT
Folklore INT
Guile FEL
Intuition INT
Leadership FEL
Nature Lore INT
Observation INT

There is also space to record up to six Advanced Skills. The Coachman career has the Animal Handling skill, which may be an advanced skill.

Both types of skills look like they can be advanced (and marked as "Trained") up to three times. This implies they can also be used untrained. So, potentially, you can use any of the skills listed on your character and career sheets at a base level. So, out of the careers we've seen so far, only the Coachman can use the Animal Handling skill untrained, and he can advance it and any of his other career skills (Ballistic Skill, Coordination, Resilience and Ride) up to three times.

However, there's also a new category on the character sheet: Specialisations. As yet, there's been no indication of just what they are. Perhaps Animal Training is a specialisation of the Ride skill? They seem to have a one-off mechanical effect, rather than a graded scale, though, as there are no checkboxes for them. Perhaps a specialised skill adds one extra yellow skill dice to the pool, as there are four skill dice included in the base set (one for each of three advances and one specialty).

Moving on to the rest of the sheet: Name, Race, Current Career, Current Rank (?), Wound Threshold, Fortune, Special Abilities (these may be racial and/or the ability you get to keep if you complete a career fully, eg. the Ratcatcher's SBVD), Weapons (these have both a Damage and Critical rating) and Armour (which has both a Defence and Soak rating). The back of the sheet has more of what you might expect: Equipment, Encumbrance, Money, Insanities, Critcal Wounds, Adversaries and Stances.

The back of the sheet is also where you track your careers, experience and advances. Indications are that there is at least as much complexity to character advancement in this version as the earlier ones. In addition to spaces for recording any career advances (action cards, talents, skills, specialties, wounds etc) there's also a Career Completion Advances area that has a checkbox for a "Dedication Bonus" (?) and a Non-Career Advances section where you can check off up to ten advances of different types.

There do seem to be quite a few advancement options for characters. Unfortunately, we've only seen the front of the basic career sheets so far, and they don't appear to mention the available talents or special abilities. However, they do show that the basic careers are almost all numerically balanced . The only exception so far, the Troll Slayer, is short one career skill, but this could be for racial balancing purposes (perhaps non-humans remove a career skill, and this is already factored in for the Dwarf-only Slayers) or for balancing out another advantage the Slayer gets, like extra or more powerful talents and special actions.

Each basic career has three additional career tags, two primary characteristics, five career skills, four stance pieces, two talent slots and ten available advances. These basic career advances can be Action, Talent, Skill, Fortune, Conservative, Reckless or Wound and selected from 0-3 times each, depending on the career. There's no indication of how characteristic advances are handled, or how a career's primary characteristics affect them. At the least, I imagine that the primary characteristics might cost fewer creation points at character creation. (From "The Role You Play" article: "Each player has a number of creation points available to invest in the customisation of his character. The number of creation points available is based on the character’s race. Creation points are spent by the player to invest in his PC’s characteristics, as well as starting wealth and other advancements to improve a character’s starting skills and abilities.")

Another area of relative mystery is that of talents. They seem to come in three flavours (Tactic, Reputation and Focus), an individual can only have two active at once and "the character’s career influences his available talents". The only barely legible one I've seen so far is the reputation talent, "Silver Tongue", from the first page of the FAQ. I think the card's text reads, "Fellowship checks add an eagle (boon) to the results pool if three hammers (successes) are generated".

Finally, we're all still waiting to see an advanced career and what differences they bring to the table.

#2 eihort



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Posted 04 September 2009 - 07:24 AM

 I just wanted to thank you for the work you've done on this analysis.  Very interesting reading!  I can't wait to see how advanced careers will work... although I'm even more interested in what the monsters, traps, and NPC's will look like...

#3 Emirikol


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Posted 04 September 2009 - 07:26 AM

Thanks for the updates :)



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