My group and I met for the 3rd session of WHFRP last nite. I am looking for some feedback and thoughts on issues I am having with the system. I am running with 3 players (4 now).
The first session was character creation, game explanation, and a small bar brawl/poker game to test the mechanics. We enjoyed the narrative quality of the dice, but I have some reservations about the longevity of game system. Forced changing of a career seems a bit odd and I'd love to see more ideas people have on this. As well, after 25-30 sessions players will be rank 3 and possibly have 3 yellow dice available to them, plus tons of fortune dice from specializations and attribute dice.
The second session was a straight running of the Day Late adventure here on the FFG site. It was fun and we saw the priest of sigmar almost one-shot the gor had he not missed. The players took some serious damage initially but had little trouble killing the henchmen and gor once they just attacked them. The wargor they two-shotted. Two of the three characters had enough criticals and wounds on them that any hit would have killed them (put above wound threshold and with the one flipped, put over their TOU in criticals). The barber-surgeon certainly got his creation-points worth from his first aid action and skills.
Some flaws in the system that bug me from that session: fixed damage of really lethal proportions, poor defensive options, and limited maneuvers. It seems like non-attack actions are almost wasted since hitting first and hitting hard are the primary means of survival. The one character was actually taking non-combat actions which, while interesting and certainly helpful, caused her to take damage. Another thing we noticed was the second wave starts at long range which means 4 turns of closing (5 to engaged) if they arent willing to spend wounds/fatigue, yet their actions were wasted as they didnt have ranged weapons to throw or other actions to attempt while closing. We tentatively thought about allowing another manuever in place of your action so you could "double move" if that is all you did.
The third session was the start of Eye for an Eye in the GM booklet. In the initial combat the party (now 4 players) killed 2 of the 4 henchmen right out of the starting gate and were untouched by the gor and ungors's counterattacks. Meanwhile, at extreme range the other pack plodded forwards (7 turns out, 8 to be engaged). When the other characters initiatives arrived they made short work of the remaining mobs, one-shotting the gor and the remaining henchmen. There was some confusion and arguement about the next course of action, but zero fear of the second group now that they had a better grasp of the mechanics. The second group of ungor were broken at the sight of the slaughter ahead, and even the gor vanished into the woods, prompting one of the characters to leap in pursuit. The sounds of the rest of the herd arriving changed their minds and they retreated into the safety of the gates just in time (at this point I started using the double move rule and the ungor being driven by the gor being driven by the wargor reached the gate as the party helped swing it shut). Very dramatic and fun. We wrapped up there with the manor coming to full alert (such as it can).
In this session the same flaws came to light again: the manuevers (but I am definately allowing an action to be replaced by a manuever if desired as it speeds up the board a bit) and the flat damage (but my players refuse to let me roll it either for or against them, prefering the "fast" flow of the game as it stands now).
I really got a feel for the party stress meter this session, puttting a token on it anytime the players hesitated or argued about initiative or did something in character that made everyone/anyone frustrated. I took tokens off for teamwork and looking out for each other. Once I rewarded a player with a fortune point for reminding me of a rule I had overlooked in dealing with another character, but then added a stress token to the party sheet for the "betrayal". Awesome roleplay tool.
Much of session three was actually eaten up trying to heal from the combat in session two. Criticals are really nasty, especially 3 + severity. The party was really sympathatic with Vern Hendrick after learning about his hand and the damage being taken over a week ago (severity 5(!) festering wound; hello lifelong lasting injury!). Even tracking down a priestess of shaylla with the rank 2 cure wounds spell was not helpful and the dwarf's severity 3 broken nose is well into its fifth day of not healing. This we all liked as it added a layer of gritty harshness to the world.
TL;DR : flat damage seems borked, characters seem like they are pretty powerful already and it will only get worse as they gain advancements, and the best defense is a good offense. Also, pray you never let a festering wound fester.
Are any other GM's seeing this and how are they dealing with it?