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Changing creature stats and adding skills


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#1 Blacorum

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 01:44 AM

Hello,

This being my first post, I'd like to mention that I really enjoy the Warhammer Fantasy setting, mainly because I found it to be very believable, coming across as a generally functioning world.

My opinion in this is mainly influenced by WFRP 2nd Edition, from books like Sigmar's Heirs and The Old World Bestiary, though I've noticed a change in tone with the 3rd Editon.

To get to the point of this post, I'm trying to run a game using the Core Set, I've looked over some of the creature stats in the Tome of Adventure and found that they didn't really fit with my vision of the setting. Then I started wondering how changing some of those stats would affect the rest of the game.

Soldier basic NPCs, for example, have 3 across the board, statwise, and 15 wounds. Now, the average soldier in 2nd edition would be a guy taking the soldier career and half the advances, if I remember correctly.

If I were to do that for 3rd Edition, I'd get a considerably stronger soldier, possibly with str 4, tou 4, weaponskill trained and so on. He probably wouldn't have 15 wounds, though, but that's just it, the NPC isn't a human in the way a player character is a human, because a 1st rank tou 3 human character can't have 15 wounds, can he? He gets 9 + tou, + 2 from the soldier advances and that leaves 1 wound from, what, fixed career advances?

Now I'm inclined to change the stats for soldiers using the 2nd Edition method, mainly because they fit my vision of the world better. If I recall correctly, in the Broken Honour novel, halberdiers were described as barrel chested men, with arrogant pride on their faces. That doesn't fit well with "str 3 but can take a 15 wound beating".

The ungor is another example of stats I'd like to change. They're supposed to have roughly the same physical stats as a human (or they did in 2nd edition, 3rd edition makes them equal to a strong, hale human), but they have 4 across the board for physical stats, plus 1 fortune for toughness and they don't suffer any real penalties with mental stats, either.

They have WP 3, yet they're supposed to be cowardly (they had 24% in 2nd Edition, where an average human would have 31%).

To make things worse, they're balanced by having only 8 wounds (so soldiers are on par with them, where they were stronger than ungors in 2nd Edition). How does that make sense? A human has at least 9 wounds and ungors are supposed to be like humans. Couldn't they have toughness 3 and 12 wounds like a human? I'm saying this because the stats mean they'd hit you like a bouncer, but if you hit them back they fall over and die. It doesn't really feel believable.

Also, I really dislike the A/C/E mechanic in general and was thinking of giving everyone skills instead.

So I took 20 or so creation points and built an ungor off a human:

My ungor would have strength 4, toughness 3 (1), agility 3 (1), intelligence 2 (1), willpower 2 (1), fellowship 2 and 13 wounds.

He'd have the following skills: observation (tracking), resilience, stealth (silent move: forests, ambush), athletics, coordination.

That would be pretty much it. It would also mean that a character who has faced them several times would know pretty much what they're capable of (they can probably outrun you, they don't get ill, they'll notice you and they'll hunt you down but they don't randomly increase the difficulty of some of your checks or add dice to whatever).

Now my questions are, since there's bound to be other people who thought about fudging the stats, how much does this change the game in the long term?

Will I start seeing state troops hacking chaos warriors to pieces or ungor stronger than orcs?

Will some of the stats work or will I have to keep changing stuff for every new enemy type the players will face?

Does anyone else get the feeling the stats for some creatures don't represent the fluff that well?

I like to think that the Warhammer world isn't a place where humans are the weakest creatures alive, but a place where the fact that you're the PC doesn't make you special in any way and where humans don't lose battles because they are intrinsically weaker, but because they're foolish, arrogant, "the folly of man", that kind of stuff. I got that impression from 2nd Edition and I'd like to keep that, despite, what seems to me, a move in a different direction with 3rd Edition.

Oh, and I don't want to go back to 2nd Edition, the fiddly bits have utterly spoiled me.



#2 k7e9

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 06:12 AM

I'll just make some short replies to your thoughts.

First I change stats around some to fit the creatures, mainly I give my creatures expertise dice when appropriate. It's easy to do on the fly when GMing it's nothing I really prepare a lot in advance.

Secondly I often use a lot of A/C/E dice for a single action when I want to get a spectacular sucess (such as an all out attack).

Thirdly and maybe most importantly, creatueres rely on their actions in a big way. In general the creatures, Beastmen for example, have really powerful action cards. They do critical hits and extra damage on a few hammers. This means that while most creatures have no training as per RAW they can still hurt the players a lot. My players can still, at rank five, have a hard time with a small party of beastmen (mixed ungor, gor and often a wargor).

The effect of the creatures and their associated actions means that they will miss more often than players, but as they do not need to get a lot of hammers, boons and comets to deal out damage/criticals/condition cards/stress/fatigue they are still dangerous. Their limited number of dice also makes active defences (especially the improved versions) more effective for the players.



#3 Yepesnopes

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 06:12 AM

I have to say that I felt the same as you when I went through the game by first time. This has been one of the worst turn overs I had with 3rd edition. I liked it more in the previous editions where PCs were normal people, adventurers instead of heroes from moment zero.

I will say it once, only once. The NPCs in Warhammer 3 is a complete **** and mess! It is just done horribly! No skills, some A/CE bullsh@&#, inchoherent stats and wound thresholds, ridiculous or totally unflavored action cards (when any at all)…have you seen the troll? or the giant? have you see how many wounds they have? or the action cards for the Dragon? flame breath? they probably meant candle breath…

And finally human npcs, like the soldier are just pathetic, their are ridiculous just to boost the starting PCs. I wounder how in the seven hells in the wolrd of warhammer 3 ed the orcs have not destroyed the Empire already twice! Have you compared a NPC soldier with an orc? with a beastmen? Are these guys defending the Empire? really!!!!? Look at the Noble npc, any 0xp party of PCs can convince a noble NPC to lower his pants and start singing "the Emperor is a mutant".

Ok, done. Now something more constructive. I started to modify the NPCs of the Warhammer 3 edition more acordingly to (my vision of) the previous editions, but it is a hell of a work and I never finished it. If you want to give it a look you can go to my signature and click the links. I hope it may help you having ideas to find a good way to flesh out the NPCs. If you ever do some job on it I would be interested on looking at it.

 

Good luck

Yepes,


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#4 Emirikol

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 11:44 AM

Blacorum:  First, welcome to the game!  You're going to like that you can still do whatever you want with the system without having to make major changes.

Here are my thoughts on the matter:

YES, you should modify monsters to suit your taste.  The creatures presented are weaklings (except for Orcs, as Yeps' mentions).  I look at it this way:

Soldier is your basic peon NPC with a sword.  He can be advanced the following ways:

  1. Use the Pre-generated soldier in Liber Fanatica 7 (download it..it's great)
  2. Use the templates in Hero's Call that make increasing their toughness a snap
  3. Increase their abilities as you advocate, but have standards as below
  • Basic Soldier (unmodified from the core rules) - representing basic town guards..probably no real experience at war
  • Armored Basic Soldier - Realize that SOAK is the most important thing in this game (well, that and Reckless Cleave).  Giving soldiers some armor really boosts their staying power.
  • Veteran Soldier (bumped up stats) - A guy who's important and has seen some combat;
  • Sargeant (more bumped up stats) - Very important guy who has seen the HORRORS of war
  • Captain - The big kahuna

 

Ungor could be designed the same way:

  • Basic Ungor: as listed in core rules; just peon cannon fodder for chaos; work well for chaos
  • Advanced Ungor:  Either armored or with advanced stats.  It's nice to have an intermediary between the basic ungor and a gor, Pestigor, Wargor, Tzaangor, or Boogor or whatevergor ;)

Here's a picture of one of the hero's call templates as an example of how to advance a creature.  

As for the toughness of creatures:  This has NOT increased in this system.  They still have the same wound thresholds and weapons still do the same number of wounds.  What was increased is the fact that you have about an 80% chance to hit someone in this game.  This makes combat about 3-4 rounds long, rather than the 2e's  "several rounds more."  As your players get better at interpreting the dice, you may actually crave longer combats.  Even a peon monster has a high chance to the PCs, so making all soldiers tougher as a base, is likely to teach your players a lesson if they think that they can just go around roughing up the town guards.  I'm all for that idea!  I highly suggest that you get a good feel for the success percentages using this website.  It will give you a much better idea on how to bump up your monsters against the PCs:  http://laakmann.free.fr/wfrp/

The ACE mechanic.  Honestly, I just throw whatever the hell dice I want out there as bonuses.  My players trust me not to TPK them unfairly (I just kill them off one by one! reir.  The ACE dice are mainly just "guidelines" for me for putting bonuses out there.

Another thought on toughness of monsters.  In this system, there are "henchmen."  That means that 3-4 of them get together and act like bufoons and the player characters get the satisfaction of mowing through them like they were mall cops armed with ice cream cones and lardbellies.  Although some game groups like this, I prefer that almost every combat matters.  Just remember to READ your players and see what they really want to do.  

 

The crucial thing on all of this is that it doesn't have to be logical or mathamatically perfect.  Find the balance between how hard you want it to be for the players to mow through monsters (or not), and what feels right.



#5 Yepesnopes

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 02:30 PM

I may be wrong, but if I do not misunderstand him, he is not really concern with how to use the rules for the npcs, or if npcs are weak or strong. I think his concern is more directed towards the fact the the system does not reflect properly the warhammer lore, or at least the warhammer lore we were used to in previous editions of the game.


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#6 Emirikol

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 03:26 PM

Oh yes surely.  2e wasnt the same as 1e just as 3e is neither.  To make it feel like 1e, for example, youve got to add the gods of law, elementalism, alchemists, fate points, fimir and zoats (and a lot darker, grittier feel than 2e or 3e).  To make 3e feel like 2e, youve got to cut the success chance in half and have 15 roundcombats of 'I'm worthless and covered in muck and missing every round in this comedy of errors,  but at least I only have 7 careers behind me in as many sessions :)"  My characters had more ex's than Elizabeth Taylor.

Feel is what you make it, but correct, system differences will matter.  All you can do is house rule and describe it how you need it to feel.

 

jh

 



#7 Yepesnopes

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 04:07 PM

I was not refering really to succes ratios (specially not to combat), not even to the level of gritness, but more on things like

What is an Ungor? or what makes an Ungor being an Ungor?

First I would say a Ungor is a creature of chaos, half human half beast. Secondly I would say they are creatures of the woods, I would also say they are rather unorganised.

How Warhammer 3 reflects this? In a poor way, really.

No trace they are chaos creatures, no trace they are good in the woods apart from an ability called Ambush with a very very narrow applicability, unorganised? well they have WP 3, they are disciplined as a human soldier.

Come on! let's be serious. The Wizard npc in warhammer 3, for example, does not even have skills like channeling, spellcraft, magical sight…it is a bit sad.

Of course one can argue that the game gives you the elements to further flesh the Ungor if you like. One could add mutations, skills like Stealth, Nature Lore and the like, to represent they are creatures of the woods. Likely one could reduce their Wp or decide that on a roll of a chaos star the Ungor does not act during his turn to represent their lack of discipline. Or one can say that you can use (not use)  the A/CE budget to reflect these things. The same applies to Orcs, Trolls, undead etc etc etc.

Sure all this is true. I would say then, that I can as well create my own rpg and save the money.

I do not argue that warhammer 3 is a game you can play and have fun, but I definitely have the feeling that some of the system mechanics (like NPC mechanics) fail evoking the warhammer world (as I see it). On the contrary, as I have commented on other posts, other mechanics are excellent at evoking the Old World.

As I final comment, just to point out that most probably I am not the only one thinking like this, in the new Star Wars game, designers (Jay Little beign one of them) have decided to flesh out npcs more, for example they have skills that reflect what they are suposed to be, a pilot (in between others) has gunnery and pilot skills, Bounty Hunters have (in between others) weapon skills, stealth… Additionally, the controversial A/C/E dice budget its gone.


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#8 Emirikol

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 06:04 PM

Agreed on all points.

There seems to be a lot of assumption about the Warhammer world with 3e's writers.  Many things were left deliberately unembellished and creatures having narrowed actions is probably just part of the early un-evolved part of the game.  Remember, they never even bothered to tell us that basic actions and defenses were avaialble to monsters too.  As for fluff, the same is true:  For example, I'll admit, I was a Warhammer idiot who never really knew anything about Greenskins and miniatures battles games are not my thing.  Suddenly the writers are talking about Waaagh! and I was wondering what the f' that even was.  Nowhere was it defined.  I had to google that and was pretty unimpressed. Meanwhile the writers seemed to be wetting their pants over it.   Now, Star Wars will suffer from the same problem for me.  I never played the MMO or console games, so I'm pretending I maybe know some of the descriptors of all these Aliens are and I've seen the original 3 movies probably 50-60 times each.   Honestly, I'm kinda glad they didn't go with the WFRP's worlds least-inspiring supplements like they did with a lot of the 2e stuff (I'm still wondering if there are trolls in Kislev, but I know all about their marriage rituals!), but YES, I would be happier if they didn't assume quite so much.

Regarding how much detail to include for monsters:  On one hand, I"m torn about the NPCs not being fleshed out more with stuff like you are mentioning, but on the other hand I don't want WFRP3 to look like the boring-ass encyclopedic and statistical nightmares of d20 games.  Have you seen any Pathfinder scenarios lately.  They're like 3 pages of fluff and 56 pages of statistics.  Like I'd give a hoot if the archmage Elminster has cantrips and what those would be…

In the end, some common sense on what to add is going to go a long ways  (channeling, for instance).  Yes, it would be nice if they all had single page write ups, but we ended up with them trying to jam everything onto a playing card instead and a disjointed creature guide  ;)   It just doesn't suit to sit in the dark and let the lightbulb remain burned out for sake of listening to one's own troubles however.

~ I just got my edge boxed set.  I plan on playing it with my 7 and 9 year olds tomorrow.  They already have the dice mechanic down from wfrp so it's pretty easy for them to get when I had them do some quick interpretation the other night.  I'll try it out on my group probably next session too as the sample adventure would probably only take about an hour (the Hutt scenario looks a lot longer…46 pages I think).  I've got a bias against the game, but I'm going to keep my mouth shut for the sake of my kids and to honestly assess what my wfrp players will think of it to see if there are some portable elements.  All I can say is that it's really dumbed-down compared to WFRP3 (except for the talent trees..holy crap..looks like the boardgame department at FFG got a hold of wrecked that section as bad as some of the stuff in WFRP :), so there's really not much to carry back to WFRP that I can see yet. I may use some of the extra "universal effects" that are available and leave it up to the player.  I think the reduced-complexity system is better for Star Wars, as it is a more pulpy game style.  It would also work for Indiana Jones and other games where the details don't matter so much as just pass/fail and fill in the action with some generic description from the GM.  

jh



#9 Yepesnopes

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 07:49 PM

Emirikol said:

Regarding how much detail to include for monsters:  On one hand, I"m torn about the NPCs not being fleshed out more with stuff like you are mentioning, but on the other hand I don't want WFRP3 to look like the boring-ass encyclopedic and statistical nightmares of d20 games.  Have you seen any Pathfinder scenarios lately.  They're like 3 pages of fluff and 56 pages of statistics.  Like I'd give a hoot if the archmage Elminster has cantrips and what those would be…

:) I agree

 

Regarding EotE, I don't understand too much your point regarding the lower complexity as compared to warhammer 3, may be you relate it to the lack of action cards? Because for the rest the EotE is a more fleshed out game with a far better and more fair balanced dice mechanic, where you never have to build /interpret a dice pool of 20 dice. It is also a game where skills have more weight than in warhammer 3, where characteristics wear far too much weight. Also notice the BIG improvement on the henchmen rules in EotE (called minions there).

I have to agree though that the talent tree / specialization system is not of my taste neither.

I was wondering if your opinion on the game may be because you only have the Begginers box which is a very simplified version of the game. I am wrong if you have the beta book of course.

I hope you enjoy your next games of EotE. May the force be with you!

Cheers,

Yepes


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#10 Emirikol

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 03:59 AM

Yes, it could be that it's just the beginner box.  I could be jealous of the siphoning off of support as well :) 

 

I'll check out the minion rules.  Might be cool to enhance our WFRP3 experience.

 

I personally am interested in the idea of enhanced and more powerful skills rather than dependence on characteristics (although we solved that in our game by removing bonus fortune characteristic dice).  The reduction in dice bloat serves its purpose, but that's not too much of a big deal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

..



#11 Yepesnopes

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 06:36 AM

Emirikol said:

I'll check out the minion rules.  Might be cool to enhance our WFRP3 experience.

The rules for minions work like this:

They give you an NPC which is categorized as a minion, let's say a Stormtrooper. Although it is a minion he will be fully fleshed, i.e. description of the items (weapons, armours, etc), stats, wounds and skills. A single minion will count as having no rank in any skill, even in the ones listed in his sheet. But if you team them up the skill ranks start to build up at the pace of one rank per minion above the first.

For example our stormtrooper minion has Ag3 and he has Ranged(Heavy) listed. If you present then 4 stormtrooper minions against your PCs, you may present them as four independent minions and they will roll only 3 green dice (stats dice) with no skill dice when firing their blasters. But if you team them up in one team of 4 minions they will fire as a single unit but they will roll 3 yellow dice (experitse) and 1 green dice (stats dice). And this is great because the yellow dice is a very powerful dice, similar as in warhammer 3. You can obtain comets, boons…

Minions in EotE are weak in hit point, although they have more hit points than minions in Warhammer. For example a thug minion in warhammer will have 3 wounds, while in EotE will have 6 (or 5). But the thing is that they are extremly deadly because when they team up they gain yellow dice instead of simply gaining fortune dice. And with the yellow dice they can activate critical hits and special weapon qualities much easier.

 

I was tempted to bring this rules to warhammer, but the problem is that the yellow dice in warhammer has 6 sides only, which mainly means is more powerfull than the yellow dice in EotE which has 12 sides.

Cheers,

Yepes


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#12 Yepesnopes

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 06:43 AM

Double post, delete it please.


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#13 Blacorum

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 10:54 PM

Sorry for the late reply and thanks for all the feedback, it's been very helpful.

I've been reading through the liber fanatica website and I've checked out Yepesnopes links. I've found a wealth of knowledge there and I'm certainly going to include a lot of it in my games. It's reassuring to see people making house rules for things that seemed off to me right from the start, things like buying as many maneuvres as your fatigue would allow. I'm seriously considering removing fortune advances from the game and letting people have a fortune die when they spend half the necessary advances towards an attribute, like you suggested.

That dice calculator has also been very useful and made testing changes easier.

Now, there's a lot of stuff I'd modify here and there but the main thing, and I'll just hijack my own thread for this, is grid combat.

Has anyone tried to adapt the system to work on a grid for combat encounters?



#14 Yepesnopes

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 02:06 AM

Blacorum said:

Has anyone tried to adapt the system to work on a grid for combat encounters?

You should find some house rules in these forums regarding grid map for combat. I think they were from DVANG, but I am not sure.

Good luck searching,

Yepes


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