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Razkir

Any advice for a new GM?

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Hello. I'm not new to gaming, but I'm new to being a GM. I'm hoping to get a campaign up and running some time in February. All I have right now is the Players Guide (the core and many other books are on the way), and I've been taking in all the information it contains. The group I'll be playing with consists of D&D veterans, and one total newbie, none of which are familiar with the Warhammer universe.

 

The one specific question I have is, what do you think is the best way to introduce players to the custom dice? Do you try to explain them and all of the various symbols before starting a game, or do you just go over them as they come up during the course of play?

 

And then just a general question of, any advice for running a game? One thing I've picked up on from reading the forums is that a lot of you like to make the Ironbreaker and Swordmaster advanced careers. Their starting equipment does seem pretty powerful for a basic career. Any other useful tips?

 

I became interested in 3E Warhammer last year and I recently decided to splurge and purchase 14 of the WFRP products available. So, I have a good amount of the material to work with when it all arrives in the mail! I really hope my friends like this game. :P

Edited by Razkir

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That's pretty much my introduction to the Warhammer material, but I did have a few years of GMing under my belt when I started.

 

I think the best thing for any GM is before the game, sit down and talk to your players so that you all agree on the kind of game you want to run. The system seems good enough that you can have nothing but political intrigue and investigations, exciting chase and combat scenes, or surprisingly intense and dangerous combat depending on how much you use the henchman rules.

 

Regarding character creation, Dwarves will make very powerful frontline fighters early on as they can handily start with two Expertise dice in Weapon Skill, and Wood Elves can start with two Expertise dice in Ballistic skill, so decide if you're okay with letting them be really, really good at combat early on or if you want to limit it.

 

I did Eye for an Eye, and I started my group in the Red Moon Inn. Thankfully they all adamantly refused to even consider starting the adventure without drinking, trying to get a read on other people or selling their incredibly cheap charms at the bar. This was actually really handy for introducing them to the system and the rolling, and they got it pretty well. I think if they want to run a more combat oriented approach, nothing wrong with starting them in a carriage that gets ambushed by Beastmen.

 

For teaching them the dice, I was very much "We'll go over it as they come up". Make sure you're familiar with it, but it shouldn't be too bad I think. Good luck with your first game!

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Print out the errataed Action Cards or remove the errataed cards if you are not able to switch them out for these:

 

https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/products/warhammer-fantasy-roleplay/

 

 

Use lots of these resources:

 

http://gitzmansgallery.com/wfrp-resources.html

 

 

For introducing the dice, just explain each type of dice as you introduce it. Don't make it too complicated.

"This is the Difficulty Dice. They represent how difficult the task is to complete. They have several different negative effects."

"These are the Characteristics dice. They have positive effects that also cancel out the negative effects."

So, Purple Dice: bad, Blue Dice: good :P

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Well, the best thing to do, is start with the very basics. So just use dice, the basic actions cards and use 1 or 2 abilities. Don't use the class card, the small trait cards, etc. Just go for the small basics until you are familiar with that. And remove all the rest from the table.

 

Don't make a complicated story, keep it light.

 

Think of a good tutorial scenario. Like, drop them in a prison cell and they have to escape.

So just think of a room with iron bars. Describe it to them and done.

 

They are the ones that have to figure out how to get out. If they give a good idea, run with it. Don't think of any hidden compartments unless they search for it, don't hide keys ahead of time, just go with the flow. That is the most important part.

 

The only thing you can do ahead of time, is construct how the world looks, blockages, traps and gather up some enemies you can throw at them once in a while.

 

The story comes either later or you think up something while playing.

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Regarding character creation, Dwarves will make very powerful frontline fighters early on as they can handily start with two Expertise dice in Weapon Skill, and Wood Elves can start with two Expertise dice in Ballistic skill, so decide if you're okay with letting them be really, really good at combat early on or if you want to limit it.

 

That doesn't sound right. You can only train a skill once at character creation and the maximum ranks of a skill is equal to the character Rank. So at character creation your elf or dwarf character is Rank 1 and can't have skills higher than 1.

Edited by Ralzar

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To continue on the prison cell thing, Just drop them in a prison cell. And leave the door unlocked, wanna bet they will think of the most craziest ideas ever to get out and no one will think of checking the door? :)

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We've had a few discussions about creating and running adventures. What I have found really works well is basically this approach:

 

1: Give the players a goal. You need to either know the players/characters well enough to know what goal they will aim for or discuss it with the players beforehand.

 

2: Litter the area with appropriate and interesting stuff that is more or less related to the goal.

 

3: Let the players figure out a way to use the stuff you put in there to reach the goal.

 

 

All other methods tend to run into problems. Railroading is as much a problem for the GM as it is the players. For the players it can become a bit boring and uninspired. For the GM though, it makes you way too focused on one path. When the players do something that veers off the path you are not mentally prepared for it and have a much harder time adjusting to a game where the stuff you planned no longer fit.

As long as you and the players agree on what the goal is, you can all much more easily collaborate in making a fun story instead of fighting over the reins.

Players allways do either dumber or smarter things than I anticipated. So I have mostly stopped trying to anticipate it and instead just amuse myself by throwing stuff at them and see what happens :P

Edited by Ralzar

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Regarding character creation, Dwarves will make very powerful frontline fighters early on as they can handily start with two Expertise dice in Weapon Skill, and Wood Elves can start with two Expertise dice in Ballistic skill, so decide if you're okay with letting them be really, really good at combat early on or if you want to limit it.

 

That doesn't sound right. You can only train a skill once at character creation and the maximum ranks of a skill is equal to the character Rank. So at character creation your elf or dwarf character is Rank 1 and can't have skills higher than 1.

 

Your right. You cant be above rank 1 in a skill if your character rank 1 (less than 10xp). Once you have 10xp you are rank 2 and then can buy a rank 2 skill.

 

The benefit for the dwarf and elf is being able to access a skill in character creation for free. But you cannot improve that skill until your in  rank 2 as stated. Easy mistake to make. ( I did it when I was new to the game)

Edited by DurakBlackaxe

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**** it, I had read about only training once per rank but had missed that. I fail all of the things!  :(

 

Let's get this away from the crushing roar of my failure and back onto helpful advice though. See, sometimes you're going to make a mistake as a GM, in which case you should be able to do what I am about to do and tell my player that the Rat Ogre hit him so hard, the concussion critical wound he took actually knocked a bit of his Weapon Skill knowledge out of his head. Fortunately he now has an extra point to reflect on the experience. That can't be spent in Weapon Skill. Yet.

 

I mean you'll probably have to season that advice for your game, but the point still stands: Don't be afraid to tell your players you messed up and have to change something. Keep it reasonable, and they'll probably want something in compensation (look at me generously give him back that experience point!), which you can accommodate but don't go nuts about it.

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Thanks for all the feedback so far. Here's a couple more questions.

 

Why are wizards restricted to humans? Didn't elves teach humans how to use magic?

 

Pg. 88 of the Players Guide: "A good rule of thumb is that each time your character is injured, a single First Aid check can be made to attempt to fix it."

 

Pg 89: "Each character may benefit from each specific source of healing once per day."

 

Don't those two statements contradict the other, or am I not understanding something? The first statement makes it sound like a character can use First Aid every time they take damage.

Edited by Razkir

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It's more accurate to say THAT KIND of Wizard is restricted to human. I believe the sourcebooks An Elven Wizard learns magic in an entirely different way, and is theoretically leagues more powerful than a human wizard. It contravenes Warhammer Fantasy Lore to have an Elf practicing anything other than High Magic, though in my campaign I did allow my High Elf to be an Apprentice Wizard, though she came up with an interesting back story to justify how it happened.

 

Regarding healing, they're proposing two schools of thought: The first is every time you get injured, you can take a First Aid roll (stabbed in the morning, get a roll. Stabbed later in the evening, get a roll). However there are far more methods of healing than just First Aid rolls like Healing Draughts, Light Magic, Life Magic, Shallayan Blessing, Sigmarite Blessings...

 

I put those rules together as "You can benefit from any single source of healing once per day. In addition, when you are injured you may use a single source of healing one additional time so long as you receive this healing before the next combat encounter, or the next day."

 

My idea being that if you're hurt in combat, you can down a Healing Draught even if you've drunk one before because it's in the moment. However you can't just do nothing but down Healing Draughts in order to get rid of your Wounds. You can drink one per day, and then one additional one if you get hurt during that day.

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A follow up question would be, how do you incorporate that in roleplaying terms?

 

Most of my friends are used to D&D, where there's not really any restrictions on healing. So do you have an in game reason you give your players for why they can't just spam heal?

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What it basically boils down to is that WFRP is a more narrative game. A lot more mechanics are sort of vague so it's more up to the GM to decide if it makes sense or not. Notice that recharge of actions is up to the GM outside of combat. So you might simply decide that the 4 recharge of an action is 4 days. A "round" is not a specified amount of seconds or minutes. It is whatever length o time the GM says it is.

This problem will only really pop up if you have some kind of dedicated healer or you keep giving the players acess to healing potions. Remember the dirty gritty flavour of Warhammer: Mysterious potions bought on the street might just be rat piss and the healer in the back alley might just drug you and steal your stuff ;)

You can't just go in the "ye Olde Healinge Shoppe" and buy a bag of healing potions. I have a lot of fun with my players by giving them strange potions that they don't know what is. Last time was a Potion of Fire Breath which one of them tried to drink as a healing potion and wound up setting fire to a few NPC companions instead :D

Edited by Ralzar

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A follow up question would be, how do you incorporate that in roleplaying terms?

 

Most of my friends are used to D&D, where there's not really any restrictions on healing. So do you have an in game reason you give your players for why they can't just spam heal?

 

My reasons for limiting Healing:

 

For magic, it's too dangerous to expose yourself to that much of the Winds of Magic, and there's no way to safely weave it into your body without introducing the risk of Corruption. This covers spells and healing draughts.

 

For prayers, the Gods watch over the entire world but can only bestow their favour on us so many times each day because they are busy watching over all of humanity (or those other, lesser races)

 

For straight medicine, you've received care for it but the body needs time to naturally adjust and heal before more treatment can be done.

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To put it in more plain mechanics, you could allways rule that each time an Action is performed the same day on the same target, the difficulty is increased by one Difficulty Dice. Lots of healing Actions have nasty effects for Banes or Chaos Stars.

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A follow up question would be, how do you incorporate that in roleplaying terms?

 

Most of my friends are used to D&D, where there's not really any restrictions on healing. So do you have an in game reason you give your players for why they can't just spam heal?

Not being able to spam first aid should be easy enough. The check could easily be defined as a day of rest and care and I believe this is the intent as the rule as written. Anyone that has spent more than one night in a hospital knows that most of the healing is just being monitored and resting with care as needed. I'd make the player roll at the end of day and modify the challenge/difficulty based on the conditions of place resting and the tools accessible to the healer. If the wounded player is particularly active throw in some more difficulty dice. Possibly ratchet up the party tension by a point to reflect the doctors frustration.

 

We did have a (Pathfinder) player playing a Barber Surgeon and when the rules for healing and his career ability were described to him he was a bit put out because he wasn't able to just heal the rest of us up with a couple of "heals". Warhammer is a dirty, miserable place. Explain that to your players. 

Edited by kidkraken

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