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The Bad, The Worse, and the Ugly >> A look at handling enemies & adversaries in WFRP

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Over the course of their adventures, characters are likely to face a variety of enemies. From brutish orcs to cunning cultists, numerous adversaries will rise to oppose the heroes. In the Tome of Adventure included in the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay core set, the GM will learn how to manage enemies during encounters. A number of potential enemies are also presented, with background information and game statistics, providing GMs with everything they need to use these adversaries during the game.

Creatures and adversaries are more than just a set of numbers, and they can provide a wide range of potential plot twists and complications. To make the most out of encounters with enemies, the GM has a variety of tools at his disposal.

This designer diary discusses enemies from a game mechanic standpoint in more detail, and includes a downloadable sample of an adversary spread from the Tome of Adventure.

http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=823

 

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Can`t wait to buy this game.

One of the weaknesses of any previous warhammer editions, where that are almost no special attacks for monsters, even a Boar had to make a standard WS test to gore somone with its tusk, and ofcourse the player to be gored, parried with his dagger successfully.

Even if the Boar did hit the damage inflicted where from his Strenght alone (+the die), which again where just a number derived from the Warhammer Fantasy Battle game, and ignoring such facts that Toughness in WFRP did not operate with scale of numbers as in the W Fantasy battle game.

 

What I understand of this excellent diary, is that the Boar have special attacks, that means something more than just rolling its WS.

I remember in the old days that you could wrestle a bear without difficulties, I would like to see that happen in the new edition.

This time they have not simply transferred monster statistics from the Miniature battles into the RPG game.

And this alone is a perfect argument for trying Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd Edition


 

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Ok, there is one thing I don't like about this article and it concerns me that there may be more rules like this hidden away to make the game feel too gamey, and the rule is this..

At the bottom of the first page it starts to describe how actions recharge, now from this and other articles I've surmised that each action takes a certain amount of time to recharge before it can be used again; all fine and dandy.

Now, for NPC actions it states that once an action has been used it can't be used by ANY other creatures until it has recharged... I read this to mean that if the PCs are faced by 3 chaos warriors, and one uses a special attack applicable to chaos warriors then the other two (or infact any other creature in the combat that also has access to action) can't use it until it is recharged.

Now I can see the simplicity of this (it makes the task of tracking actions for the GM much simpler) and it is probably justifiable with the henchman rules, as they are effectively acting as one, and so henchmen combat isn't meant to be "realistic" but I don't like the rule as I currently read it for standard NPCS, because i can't see any "in game" justification for it. As I said, its seems to be there just to keep things simple for the GM, regardless of the un-sensible-ness of it.

Obviously, the rule can probably be ignored (although the components provided might not deal with tracking recharge actions for each npc very well, we'll have to wait and see) and it's certainly not enough to turn me off the game, but of the posts so far, this and one or two other things make me feel that the game in RPG has a much bigger emphasis that the RolePlay in this third edition (I'll prob still buy it though!)

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Necrozius said:

Ewww... Essentially you want him to be blessed with H1N1. Not a nice thing to say!

Nah, nothing like that.
More like a Nurgle's Rot, so he can serve the dark gods making Warhammer addons forever and ever, spreading ideas all over the world like fever gran_risa.gif.

(What can I say, Nurgle is my favored chaos god lengua.gif)

PS: No I dont' wish anything bad to Jay, I really liked the last few diaries happy.gif.

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Well atleast the Designer Diary was accurate in the title, it speaks much of the way it seems Warhammer has been taken.

The one thing I realy liked about Warhammer was as a PC you are an average joe, now you arent.  Henchman AKA mooks, are way past the boundry of the game being about average people becoming more only by circumstance.

Why take Warhammer down this path?

It's not a rhetorical question, I am rather curious as to why the dramatically altered change of scope and ideals was seen as being needed.

I am hoping this isn't the trend of it all, as each designer diary takes the game further from Warhammer Role-playing and closer to D&D in scope.

I guess its good to have 2nd ed then.

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Ihave to agree with Artaxerxes and loswaith, this is a disturbing trend I see.

However, debating the systems has been so much fun, as I learn aspects that I love about the original and 2E of WFRP and new ways of applying those rules.

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Loswaith said:

Well atleast the Designer Diary was accurate in the title, it speaks much of the way it seems Warhammer has been taken.

The one thing I realy liked about Warhammer was as a PC you are an average joe, now you arent.  Henchman AKA mooks, are way past the boundry of the game being about average people becoming more only by circumstance.

Why take Warhammer down this path?

It's not a rhetorical question, I am rather curious as to why the dramatically altered change of scope and ideals was seen as being needed.

I am hoping this isn't the trend of it all, as each designer diary takes the game further from Warhammer Role-playing and closer to D&D in scope.

I guess its good to have 2nd ed then.

Even in the 1st edition, a few good die rolls at character creation  would mean you were a lot better than the average 'joe'. I also remember being in a number of fights with a lot of average 'joes' when the rules now proposed by Jay would have been useful. Also In the first edition,by the time you became a champion or assassin you could slaughter alot of average 'joes'. At least in the second edition you had Ulrics Fury to make things interesting.

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I don't know like You guys, but I'm gonna pick all the rules I like in this system, and houserule the rest (lowering creation points by few points, and setting starting attribute cap to 4, or lowering all starting stats by 1 will be probably my first changes - did I mention that I don't like heroic game types? Then I will need to think of some way to dispose EP).

The only thing that still bothers me, is the amount of dice I will require for every check (on average experienced character: 3-4 characteristic, 1 expertise, challenge usually 2, fortune for skills, tactics, actions, added by me, or players, misfortune... looks like 7-9 for an average roll, that's more than I would like to).

As for the roleplaying part... well the only thing that it truly requires is setting/ fluff/ lore + GM and players that want to roleplay (1d10 is enough, and You don't even require any stats then, trust me, I played like that for a few years with one of the best GM's I met).

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ragnar63 said:

 

Remember each expertise die replaces one of the characteristic dice.

 

 

Erm... I may be wrong but I think You accidently confused conservative (green)/ reckless (red) with expertise (yellow).

But if You are right, then my dice rolling script needs a serious redesign...

@Edit:

On a second thought my script does not require a redesign, even if You are right lengua.gif

@Edit2:

Checked.
On "Of Dice An Man" designer diary there is Creating Dice Pool part which says "If the hero has training in the relevant skills, he adds one yellow expertise die to the dice pool for each level of training", so expertice die adds to the pool, instead of replacing characteristic dice like conservativve/reckless do.

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Loswaith said:

Well atleast the Designer Diary was accurate in the title, it speaks much of the way it seems Warhammer has been taken.

The one thing I realy liked about Warhammer was as a PC you are an average joe, now you arent.  Henchman AKA mooks, are way past the boundry of the game being about average people becoming more only by circumstance.

Why take Warhammer down this path?

It's not a rhetorical question, I am rather curious as to why the dramatically altered change of scope and ideals was seen as being needed.

I am hoping this isn't the trend of it all, as each designer diary takes the game further from Warhammer Role-playing and closer to D&D in scope.

I guess its good to have 2nd ed then.

I fail to see how the introduction of rules for henchmen in any way breaks the game being about 'average' people.  Primarily, the GM in no way is required to use henchmen.  He can, in fact, run all the NPCs as standard.  The henchmen rules are merely a way for a GM to streamline large groups of multiple enemies.  For example, the group faces a dozen rats.  The GM could divide the rats into 2 henchmen groups and thus only roll/do actions twice rather than twelve times.  Also remember the fact that although the PCs *think* of themselves as 'average joes', they are in fact *not* average in the grand scheme of things.  They are, by the very nature of being a PC, special and important.  They get personal Fate/Fortune points, for example.  They are the protagonists of the story.  While their power and influence might start small, once the PC's first adventure starts they are no longer ordinary.  They are now more influential, and more important, than your average Empire citizen simply by leaving their 'normal' routine and participating in an adventure.

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Henchmen – many systems have mook rules, Savage Worlds uses Extras, and D&D4e has minions. I like the concept and prefer it to the “all Goblins are created equal” old school method. In reality, the PCs shouldn’t know by looking at a bunch of Gobbos at a distance if they’re a bunch of hard boyz or if they’re just weedy little mooks. Identifying the leader may or may not be easy at this point. Leaders usually have the best gear, so if the PCs have time to observe the group before becoming engaged with them, they may be able to spot this or they may be able to pick out who seems to be bossing the others around. After combat starts it’ll be clearer who’s calling the shots.

 

Henchmen Work Together – in practice, most GMs treat groups of mooks in combat this way anyway with the melee weapon armed mooks going in for melee attacks while ranged weapon armed mooks look for good shots; here they’ve just codified it. This also prevents a group of three archers from taking down one foe with the first attack in the group and then having archers 2 and 3 select another target. Since they are acting on the same initiative, you assume that all the attacks made by a group are simultaneous. So yes, they all have to attack the same target and by concentrating their fire, they just increase the chances that at least one of them will hit (represented by the single roll with additional fortune dice for extra attackers). Much more realistic that assuming that 3 archers acting on the same initiative still act sequentially and can react to what their fellows are doing/have done in such a relatively short span of time.

Henchmen have fewer wounds – It makes sense that henchmen will be easier to take out of action than a “regular”. D&D’s rules for minions does this by having all minions have only a single hp so that a single hit always takes them out. This seems to be a little better system for one that uses HP/wounds. Some henchmen may still fall to a single blow, but others might take more than a single hit to deal with. I like it. I am concerned that the difference in wounds is the only difference. They’re only easier to kill in combat. In all other ways they appear to be as effective as a “regular” of their type.

Henchmen share health – This presumes that in the swirling mass of combat, you are not only being attacked by a group, you are attacking the group. This is a reasonable compromise between always removing a henchman with a single successful hit and having to track wounds for them individually. Combined with the fact that some henchmen may survive a single hit, but they always attack together, in essence, attacking a group of henchmen is just like attacking a single creature with multiple attacks that for every x wounds has its attacks reduced 1.

PCs engaged with both NPCs “regulars” and henchmen will have to decide whether to allocate their attack(s) to the individual(s) leader types, or the group. In practice however, it seems it will always be more effective to target henchmen rather than “regulars” since the rest of their stat line remains the same. For example, in melee vs. a regular foe with 15 wounds and 3 henchmen with 5 wounds each, assuming one attack each, you can reduce the number of attacks against you by one for every henchman you take out, so by causing 15 wounds, you remove 3 attacks and now are only facing one from the regular. Focusing on the leader means you have to do 15 wounds to remove his 1 attack, which is no more effective than those of the henchmen, and are still facing 3 attacks from the henchmen. This is just in combat though and it may well be that there is some other benefit to taking out the leader first (like forcing a Morale check on the henchmen).

Aggression, Cunning, and Expertise – Looking at this, I’m wondering how this works with henchmen. From what we’ve been shown it is only wounds that are reduced for henchmen, meaning a group of 3 Chaos Marauder henchmen have 12 fortune dice in combat. Are all the dice contributed by individual henchmen added to one big pool or are they tracked separately? If the GM used 2 dice during the first round of combat and the PCs take out one henchman, does the GM have 10 fortune dice left (assumes a single pool), 8 (assumes tracked individually and the henchman removed is the one who already used 2 of his dice), or 6 (assumes tracked individually and the henchman removed is one of the two that has not yet used any dice)? Since wounds aren’t tracked individually, it follows that fortune dice wouldn’t be either. This gives the GM more flexibility to spend them when and how he chooses (tracked individually, you’d be more prone to use them before you lose them), but may cause heartburn for players who see dice continue to be used that were contributed by henchmen they’ve already defeated.

Enemy Threat Level – This seems to be combat oriented and smacks of D&Dism. I won’t get into a discussion on whether or not WFRP should or shouldn’t be concerned with enabling the GM to create “balanced” encounters. However, by itself the skull designations don’t provide enough information. Are four one-skull creatures the same threat as two two-skull creatures or is it some other scale? Is it impossible for a one skull physically weak creature that is cunning to be better in a social encounter than a two skull creature? Is there a skull to average PC advance table somewhere in the Tome of Adventure?
 

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mac40k said:

Aggression, Cunning, and Expertise – Looking at this, I’m wondering how this works with henchmen. From what we’ve been shown it is only wounds that are reduced for henchmen, meaning a group of 3 Chaos Marauder henchmen have 12 fortune dice in combat.

 

A group of 3 Marauders would get 4 Aggression dice, the same as a group of 10.

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I have very mixed feelings about this new way adversaries are handled.  While I'm for anything that makes the GM's job easier, I'll have to reserve final judgement until I've seen more.

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I don't get it. Nearly everyone complains that combat in WFRP 2 was slow, and now that it's sped up, people still complain?

I'm sure combat will still be as deadly as ever, but will go a lot faster with this henchman system. We just need a combat example to show how the finer points work (hint hint).

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People love to complain. Any change is bad, if it's easier it means it's dumber, etc.

Me, I've found all earlier Warhammer editions to be clumsy and mechanically uninspired, while this looks to streamline things, while also bravely trying new things. The only definitely clumsy aspect is the dice mechanic, but I have faith that can be pretty easily houseruled into something without eight different dice piles.

Even easier, if someone doesn't like the henchmen rules, they can just not use them - it's just an extra option to make the GM's job easier, something that is always welcome.

 

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Juriel said:

People love to complain. Any change is bad, if it's easier it means it's dumber, etc.

Me, I've found all earlier Warhammer editions to be clumsy and mechanically uninspired, while this looks to streamline things, while also bravely trying new things. The only definitely clumsy aspect is the dice mechanic, but I have faith that can be pretty easily houseruled into something without eight different dice piles.

Even easier, if someone doesn't like the henchmen rules, they can just not use them - it's just an extra option to make the GM's job easier, something that is always welcome.

 

 

I would expect a $100 rpg to be draw droppingly fantastic, not just so-so. Why bother paying $100 for a core set that you are going to houserule? 

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Enemy Threat Level – This seems to be combat oriented and smacks of D&Dism. I won’t get into a discussion on whether or not WFRP should or shouldn’t be concerned with enabling the GM to create “balanced” encounters.

There is nothing forcing a GM from using this to balance encounters.  It is merely another tool FFG is giving the GM to determine at a glance the general power of an monster compared to other monsters.  True, it can be used as a basis of adjusting party encounters if the GM wants.  I am also sure it does mostly represent combat threat.  It will be handy, though, for a GM (especially a new GM) to tell easily (generally) if a Giant Rat is more of a threat than a Giant Mole (as a random example) if he wants to throw a giant rodent in his adventure.

 

However, by itself the skull designations don’t provide enough information. Are four one-skull creatures the same threat as two two-skull creatures or is it some other scale? Is it impossible for a one skull physically weak creature that is cunning to be better in a social encounter than a two skull creature? Is there a skull to average PC advance table somewhere in the Tome of Adventure?

I expect the book explains the skulls more fully than the blurb given in the diary. It is impossible to know from what we are given so far.  However, I expect it is most likely only a 1v1 comparison tool, along the lines of "a single 2-skull creature is generally more dangerous than a 1-skull creature", and it likely doesn't go into depth regarding multiples or creatures.  And no, there won't be a skull to PC table.  The diary explicitly said the skull values have nothing to do with the PCs, and only compare creatures to each other.  Which makes sense, because a party's strength has too many variables in it (party composition, player disposition, player intellect, etc) to really accurately gauge.  It's also not like PCs get experience for each encounter, either, so encounters don't need to be measured or balanced in that way.

I would expect a $100 rpg to be draw droppingly fantastic, not just so-so. Why bother paying $100 for a core set that you are going to houserule?

Well, you get a lot of physical tools for your $100, like cards, dice, tokens, etc.  Not just the rules that are written.  In fact, the majority of the high cost is because of the physical tools.  Sure, if you don't want to use any of the set other than the 4 books, $100 is probably too much to spend. You're best waiting until you can buy the books separately, or find someone on Ebay selling just the books after the game comes out, etc.  However, if you plan on using the dice, cards, career sheets, etc, then the $100 cost is fairly reasonable for what you get (although still quite a bit to shell out at one time).  That seems to be what people keep overlooking.  You aren't just buying the rules.  You are buying a lot of other things along with the rulebook(s).  Imagine buying any other RPG rulebook, and then buying over two dozen custom dice for it, plus a lot of cards for talents/feats, plus cards for classes, and so on...  The rulebook alone is typically $40-$50, so another $50-$60 in physical 'stuff' is about right.

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sudden real said:

I don't get it. Nearly everyone complains that combat in WFRP 2 was slow, and now that it's sped up, people still complain?

 

 

Nearly everyone, i wasnt one of them. Do I have the right to complain yet?

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Loswaith said:

Well atleast the Designer Diary was accurate in the title, it speaks much of the way it seems Warhammer has been taken.

The one thing I realy liked about Warhammer was as a PC you are an average joe, now you arent.  Henchman AKA mooks, are way past the boundry of the game being about average people becoming more only by circumstance.

 

Don`t make me laugh? PC in warhammer the Average Joe?  What, you took away their FATE POINTS? That`s not nice. gran_risa.gif

Average people in the Warhammer world don`t have FATE POINTS, heroes and adventurers as well as certain antagonists have it, but not the average run-of-the-mill.

 

Henchman may not be the best concept, 3e as it reminds me very much of the minion concept in D&D. But again it make it possible to use large numbers of inferior creatuers in those dramatic combats, where you want to let the players sweat a bit. And no, I won`t tell if their henchmen or not.

 

 

 

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dvang said:

I would expect a $100 rpg to be draw droppingly fantastic, not just so-so. Why bother paying $100 for a core set that you are going to houserule?

Well, you get a lot of physical tools for your $100, like cards, dice, tokens, etc.  Not just the rules that are written.  In fact, the majority of the high cost is because of the physical tools.  Sure, if you don't want to use any of the set other than the 4 books, $100 is probably too much to spend. You're best waiting until you can buy the books separately, or find someone on Ebay selling just the books after the game comes out, etc.  However, if you plan on using the dice, cards, career sheets, etc, then the $100 cost is fairly reasonable for what you get (although still quite a bit to shell out at one time).  That seems to be what people keep overlooking.  You aren't just buying the rules.  You are buying a lot of other things along with the rulebook(s).  Imagine buying any other RPG rulebook, and then buying over two dozen custom dice for it, plus a lot of cards for talents/feats, plus cards for classes, and so on...  The rulebook alone is typically $40-$50, so another $50-$60 in physical 'stuff' is about right.

 

But with most other RPGs, I don't need to use over two dozen custom dice, plus a lot of cards for talents/feats, plus cards for classes, and so on to play them. in WFRP3 I can't play without them. No one, either here or on the StS forum has yet to say why this game is so fantastic. What does it do better than the previous editions that justifies the $100 outlay for the core set? Why buy this $100 game rather than the $40 alternatives?

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