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Amani2

GM's Toolkit

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Got my Toolkit yesterday. Seems particularly appropriate for new GMs but it has enough goodies, information and optional rules that even more experienced GMs will find it useful as well. Screen is very nice. Nemesis cards are interesting but not sure how effective they will prove to be. Essentially it is what it says it is, a toolkit, or more to the point, an expansion for the toolkit provided by the core set. The toolkit model of additional options over new rules definitely appeals to me. Every GM should find something they like with this set.

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 If anyone could post a list of what is on the GM Screen it would be appreciated. Don't need everything spelled out, but like:

"dice symbols chart"

"challenge difficulty chart" 

and so forth

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Sure, the Screen is very nice indeed.

WFRP Rulebook Referrence

Adversary Dice Budget Workspace

Currency Exchange Rate

Ranges & Measurment

Success & Failure Symbols

Levels of Injury

Opposed Check Difficulty

Tactics & Combat Modifiers

Rewards & Incentives

Three Act Episode Structure

Challenge Levels

Combat Sequence

Standard Manoeuvre Summary

Rally Step Summary

Universal Bane & Boon Effects

Progress Track Workspace

 

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Finished reading throught most of the Game Master's Toolkit book last night. Great book, really highlights just how flexible, strong, and well-rounded the new system is. Definitely will be used extensively, so glad I bought this!

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I thought I saw somewhere there were optional rules included. could you give us the highlights? I don't mean rule breakdowns per say just the names I guess. Is there info on using horses or sea vessels?

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Ok, I just got mine thanks to the friendly neighborhood USPS shipping method, and I'll go through it as I open it up. I'm typing as I go, so this may not be the best format.

 

First impression: The box is not of the high quality I expected. It's thin card, with a flap opening on the top. It has nice artwork and the design is up to par, but this box probably won't do well for repeated use as a storage box. The only bonus here is that the core set and adventurer's toolkit both come with very nice boxes that will be able to hold everything in the GM's toolkit, but it would have been nice to get a sturdy box like I had anticipated.

 

Contents:

 

1x Fantasy Flight Summer 2009 Game Catalogue

1x sleeve containing 8 Nemesis Organizations

1x sleeve containing a punch-out board containing:

  • 2 large standups (Rat-Ogre x2)
  • 14 medium standups (Hound of Khorne x2, Chaos Fury x1, Orc x1, Chaos Warrior x1, Gor x2, Ungor x2, Wolf x2, Skavenx2, Skaven Gutter Runner x1)
  • 4 small standups (Goblin x2, Nurgling x2)
  • 12 Tracking Tokens, colored green on both sides, with a horned chaos shield symbol in the center
  • 1 Progress Tracker (All one piece, with the following spaces from left to right: Skull, Green space, Green space, Skull, Red space, Red space, Skull)

        (Large standups are the size of the Giant in the core set, Medium the standard PC size, and Small the same as the Small but Vicious Dog standup)

1x sleeve containing a four page, heavy cardboard (Twice as thick as the cardboard in the core box) GM's screen. One side shows artwork, the other side is covered with tables for quick reference. Starting on the far left page and moving to the right:

  • Rulebook Index (Contains some of the most "looked up" sections of the rulebook)
  • Currency Exchange Rate table
  • Range and Measurement (Summary of each range increment and the number of manoeuvres needed to move between each)
  • Adversary Dice Budget Workspace (A/C/E Headers, enough room to work with two groups simultaneously)
  • Quick Reference (Identical to the one on the back of the Rulebook)
  • Levels of Injury table
  • Opposed Check Difficulty table (Quick reference for assigning challenge and misfortune dice)
  • Tactics and Combat Modifiers (Different examples of circumstances that would warrant (mis)fortune dice, same as the core rulebook)
  • Reward and Incentives (Different options for rewards for player successes)
  • Challenge Levels (Simple outline of how many challenge dice to assign based on difficulties)
  • Three Act Episode Structure table
  • Combat Sequence table (1-7 sequence table, like in the Combat section of the rulebook)
  • Standard Manoeuvre Summary (List of actions that would be considered a standard manoeuvre)
  • Rally Step Summary
  • Universal Boon and Bane Effects
  • Progress Tracker Workspace (Printed tracker, placed at the bottom of the screen so you can put tracking tokens next to it. 9 Spaces)

1x resealable (Ziploc-style) sleeve containing 10 item cards and 12 location cards

48 page Rulebook

 

 

 

That's all there is at first glance. I'll start going through this stuff now and see what else I can find to post!

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 Picked mine up today.

Likes:

Thickness of the GM screen

static status tracker

new location cards

nemesis/organization rules (still reading everything...)

yay, optional rules and tips on rewards!

ACE tracker on GM screen

The standups look great!

 

Not So Likes (sadly, all about the GM screen):

The rulebook index on the GM screen (I can think of five things I'd have preferred to see, the first: a master skills reference list, another - recovering from insanity rules/full healing rules, a third? brief summary of common items and costs, OR weapons and damage?

How much space the dice reference bit takes on the GM screen (really, that couldn't have been smaller and made space for something else?) I looks to be a cut and paste from the rulebook, just like the advantages/disadvantages summary is a cut and paste - which is useful, but begs the question why the useful maneuver summary had to spell out what sling/unsling a shield means vs. just listing the common maneuvers.

Also, should the three act structure have a summary in the GM screen?

Don't get me wrong, this GM screen isn't a bad one for starting players, but some of the most commonly referenced information (master skills list, recovery rules, casting and equlibrium, common items and/or qualities or weapons/damage seem to be more useful to all levels of GM than some of the other info. I'll give the screen a 2.5 to 3 out of 5.

GM screen design is such a subjective process I'm happy there is one, just would have preferred other information on it. I guess that's what Avery labels are for, right? ;)

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Ugh..now that we have enough crap and more crap to track, can we get on with some scenarios and meaningful supplements?

I'm generally unthrilled at the attempt at catering to n00bie GM's with this entire product line.  I know they're "hoping" to get some people from the WAR basements to emerge to play FTF games..but it aint' never gonna' happen no-how..and designing half of your product with a bunch of tracking modifiers for VETERAN players and then designing the other half of the game for n00b GM's seem's like a giant incoherent thought with misdirected execution.  Thanks for the GM screen..uh..it's pretty...uh...I guess it's better than nothing and the nurglings will come in handy  ;)

Rather than say the patented, "I like this game and it's great and all..but...." politeness.. I"m probably going to just get to the point with my posts from now on ;)  This is an advanced "sorry" to those who will definitely misunderstand my honest criticisms and unyielding demand for /what we need now/ as some giant attack on the game. 

jh

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I hope I will get my copy next week.

After eeading the reviews on the net I'm getting really exited about this one. All the new stuff and hooks for adventures are looking great. Can't wait to see it and read it.

And if anyone would still think when it's going to be in Europe the anwser is 8-10 april.

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Emirikol said:

Rather than say the patented, "I like this game and it's great and all..but...." politeness.. I"m probably going to just get to the point with my posts from now on ;)  This is an advanced "sorry" to those who will definitely misunderstand my honest criticisms and unyielding demand for /what we need now/ as some giant attack on the game. 

Well, you know that Gathering Storm was already due out and you know it got delayed and you know FFG would rather it weren't delayed and you know they'll get it out as soon as they can. And, you know, rants are fun, but you know it won't get stuff out any faster.

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Of course rants won't get stuff out faster..and we wouldn't want anything rushed, however if a sheepish, non-demanding attitude is taken, then how important does it look?

I think the, "meh whenever" approach is ineffective.  I'm at the table with a fork, knife and a bib around my neck.  I want to eat!  ;)

jh

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Emirikol said:

Ugh..now that we have enough crap and more crap to track, can we get on with some scenarios and meaningful supplements?

I'm generally unthrilled at the attempt at catering to n00bie GM's with this entire product line.  I know they're "hoping" to get some people from the WAR basements to emerge to play FTF games..but it aint' never gonna' happen no-how..and designing half of your product with a bunch of tracking modifiers for VETERAN players and then designing the other half of the game for n00b GM's seem's like a giant incoherent thought with misdirected execution.  Thanks for the GM screen..uh..it's pretty...uh...I guess it's better than nothing and the nurglings will come in handy  ;)

Rather than say the patented, "I like this game and it's great and all..but...." politeness.. I"m probably going to just get to the point with my posts from now on ;)  This is an advanced "sorry" to those who will definitely misunderstand my honest criticisms and unyielding demand for /what we need now/ as some giant attack on the game. 

jh

I agree with some of your points here Em and generally like your take on this game, but I think you are missing some finer points as a VETERAN GM to use some of the new aspects of this game.  Sure, they are "new" to gamers, but are not geared toward Noobie gamers.  On no basis do you need Nemisis trackers at all, period in any game circumstance, however, their are many ways to use them in the game. 

For instance...for my all Vampire game (carried over from 2e) we play on occasion to see the game at high-power - as it was in 2e - they all have organizations with goals and driving ambitions.  The Nemesis cards now give me a way to track their goals, health, etc without a boat load of GM intuition and guess work.  We have hard evidence to plot their successes, missions etc.  Sure, they weren't explicitly written to be used for PC's, but after all they are used to track bad guys and being Vampires slaughtering the Empire and seeking revenge (in some cases) or trying to carve out their hold over the Border Princes, these cards quickly became a natural fit and have improved the quality of play a thousand fold for us.  I can see how in standard games, someone sits down to play a Nobleman who has loyal knights who serve him, these cards quickly become a natural way to give his host of NPC'S more "life" rather than "yeah, you got a bunch of dudes," they ride off and do what.  Low Stability, less guys, less help.  Lower power rating, less power, less skill, less abilities.  Lastly, the template is sound for ways to create our own stuff and use them in these types of ways, with stability that advances, it's own talents and abilities and I'd like to see it generally gain their own "stats" to make checks with (which is easy enough to do with the six attributes...like the pets.  

So yeah, the Toolkit doesn't say use it this way, but as a VETERAN GM I saw and it and knew how I could use it. 

For standard games too it can add flavor to tons of stuff.  Like in an old regular game of 2e we have a  merchant-rogue trying to destroy his brother who ran the other merchant-rogue family out of petty jealousy.  This was not a main plot, it was a subplot, but came up and motivated tons of his actions in games.  So how far he went, or what his actions meant, or how his brother harmed him or could influence him was up to my own ingenuity and guess work.  These cards would have been useful back then because they give a framework, something to help me understand the choices I make, the fiat I choose, etc. 

Also, to use Tolkien as an example, if I remember the books correctly and believe me, it has been a looooong time since I read them, decide the best way to rescue Merry and Pippin from the Uruk-Hai from Merry and Pippin is to cut down their numbers and slow their progress.  So they make small strike attacks here and there.  Sure, as a GM I can simply say, your actions have weakened them, blah, blah, blah, but players quickly ask, "well, how much?"  Especially when they are dealing with a small army and we're not running solid blow, by blow combat or fighting something they cannot destroy in a single combat sequence.  Nemesis Cards give them that validity and help me know how much weaker (as in the example above) the Fellowship was at weakening the orcs and Uruk-Hai.  It hold me accountable, helps the players actually gain a reward from their actions  (other than my flippant, yeah, it worked, they're weaker now, without any real clue what that means other than what I randomly pull out of my butt at the moment).  It gives us all input, control and gives the players something tangible so they can see how I am thinking and the choices they should make rather than just throw everything away. 

All this tracking stuff I have found also balances fiat versus player fiat.  It forces a GM to be honest in everything.  Their guesswork and set up still controls the tracker, but for once, the GM'S butt's on the line like the players.  You can still flub encounters and dice, but there is now something holding you accountable for your actions, and that is something that balances player and GM influence over the story allowing more Narrative events to take place.  The trackers use a system to add narrative depth, not to take it away as the same as the boons/banes on the dice add narrative depth from a typically dread, dead and flat roll.  Trackers allow things to bend and shift as the players see fit as well as the GM and hold the GM accountable.  They also improve the quality of social situations.  I have ran tons and tons of Vampire games that I would have killed for trackers during political debates.  How do you know when is enough is enough, how do I know my NPC is actually becoming convinced (even when it might destroy my plot and I may have to Assess the Situation to regain my stress from that).  The tracker allows that to happen.  It gives finite points.  It allows things to happen that I would have otherwise overlooked to make the story better, because, not only does it now give a framework to the encounter, it allows things to happen that I would not have predicted or would have overlooked.  I have to work with the player based on his role-play and really pay attention without flippantly disregarding their choices because it did not fit my preconceived paradigm.  

Lastly, I like the encounter structure section because sometimes, as a GM, even as a VET GM, I get stuck or don't know what to do or we want to do a one off but haven't really prepared.  For instance, lets say all of a sudden the PC's have made a series of wrong calls and now have to Hold the Line, something I did not expect or anticipate and they have made yet another wrong turn.  But I don't just want to be a ****-master and slaughter them wholesale.  So, I can now whip open the section, skim the encounter format they put in the book during a Rally Step, make a few quick modifications, and I am good to go.  These pre-generated encounters give us that luxury and are way better than the "how to write a campaign" in all the other crappy GM/DM books and all the pounds of useless information they provided.  What I liked about the toolkit, I didn't spend a bunch of money that is ACTUALLY useless to me as a VETERAN GM.  Every tool in the "toolkit" is great and usable once I figure out how, as a Veteran, all this stuff is actually useful to me and will push me as a GM and how I can put them in my games. 

As a Vet I love the product and am glad they released it.  I would absolutely rather see more careers and more magic before the campaign I won't use but will buy for the cards.  To me, that is way less important than rounding out their game which needs it, before too many people walk away from it for what it currently lacks (which is everything else that's camping in flimsy boxes of future expansion packs. 

Have a good one,

Commoner

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As a clarification, by the way, I don't track everything.  I track one encounter out of ten roughly, but when I do, it makes the game fantastic.  I will use Nemesis cards for maybe not the huge bad guys, but smaller factions of them, I will. 

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I'm amazed about the Game Master's Toolkit. I paid 23 € for it, and after reading through it, I really like what I've got.

I'm running a Robin-Hood style campaign with an all-too-good noble supressing his commoners with his sheriff and witchhunter. Now I'm not only getting the cool nemesis rules for making rememberable enemies, but I also can use the nemesis organisation "Knights Templar" for keeping track of their goals and showing the player's how their actions affect the campaign.

As commoner said before, it is good for players to see a tracker move. My group will love it, as they love the Party sheet with the stress-o-meter.

The Screen is really good. Great artwork. I love the two workspaces. Healing and Insanity would be nice, but I can work with the reference too. After all the rules are not so difficult to remember.

I certainly will use the templates, because they are fun. As well as the new items and locations.

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GM Toolkit is nicely done for beginner GMs. The screen is well made. I'm starting to get get flashbacks from the 80s of the old basic D&D box sets but atleast those had more meat to them. I am really starting to get lost on where FFG is going with WFRP. It been 4 months and I still done feel I got a complete game. Please FFG give us a year out view of what products you going to come out with so we can make long term plans for my player group. Right now the game just sitting on the shelf till we know the game got some long term play.

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Militarywizard said:

 Please FFG give us a year out view of what products you going to come out with so we can make long term plans for my player group. Right now the game just sitting on the shelf till we know the game got some long term play.

They already gave you about a 6-9 month preview of what was coming out, put in a roleplaying teaser.  The fact is, you just need to figure out what they mean in the teaser.  The magic supplement has already been revealed ... but there are more than that coming and will be revealed in more detail later. 

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I originally thought I wouldn't be getting this, but then I decided that I might as well support the game I like. Even if the actual product is pretty lackluster.

The book is nice, but it really is something that should have been a part of the core box's GM book.

The screen is horribly bad, but I never use a screen, so whatever. It makes a nice montage spread out on a bookshelf. 

More tokens is nifty. Though I still haven't found I need to use any, I do kind of want to pull them out since there's so many of them.

Overall, only get this if you feel like collecting everything.

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