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Beren Eoath

WFRP 4e - how should it look?

326 posts in this topic

 

I think in the end it may come down to whether FFG reckon WFRP is worth the license fee, and /or if GW decides that FFG are not doing it justice. The results of the 2nd edition of Dark Heresy may have far more influence on the former than anything we say here, particularly if SW is successful,

I'd agree. I expect this year to revolve around SW and 40K products.

 

 

And next I am afraid!

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I started this topic out of curiosity, what has changed over the last year.  And I must sadly say that nothing. FFg still is not doing anything to keep WFRP evolving or expanding. I liked the 3e but I see it as a wasted potential. Many players from previous edition would like to see the game expanding and continueing the themes stared by 2e like Bretonia or Kislev. Nothing like this happened and, looking at how it is, will not take pleace.

For many older players, that knowed, the previous editions the card where a gadget not necceserly to play and have fun. I think they would be better as optional content not a must to play. They are a littel bit slowing the game down, but that just my opinion and for others those are the essence of this edition.

Looking at how succesful are game like SW or W40k I can only speculate that the future of WFRP 3e is not looking well. I can say more it looks like the next step will be taking this gameinto the direction of SW and W40k RPGs.

I can only hope that FFG has learned from this edition and other RPGs many things so that they will take all the best parts of good/best games and make out of WFRP a even better title then it is now.

 

Cheers and happy gaming

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I am not sure that the cards are a problem by itself, at the end, it is a way to have the rules at hand. What for me it is a big problem is the cumbersome mechanic of the Recharge, which forces players and GMs to trace endless things all over the game (action cards, basic defences, talents, brief conditions, temporal insanities, party tension...)

 

Cheers,

Yepes

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FFG just needs to recognize that the current symbol dice don't function as "story-drivers" in the way that people who actually play storygames would define the term. They occupy a sort of a wishy-washy middle ground between trad and narrative mechanics. Either go back to the drawing board and try to improve the percentile system, or overhaul the symbol dice so they actually interface with the story in a meaningful way.

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FFG just needs to recognize that the current symbol dice don't function as "story-drivers" in the way that people who actually play storygames would define the term. They occupy a sort of a wishy-washy middle ground between trad and narrative mechanics. Either go back to the drawing board and try to improve the percentile system, or overhaul the symbol dice so they actually interface with the story in a meaningful way.

 

Can you explain that a bit more?  I find the dice do feed into narrative fairley well.  Success - what you were looking for, more success more so, Banes - a setback or negative though often on a different axis and if used narratively always so, Boons - something beneficial but again often on a different axis, Chaos Star - ooooh, oh, what's the biggest oops that could happen succeed or fail?, Comet - hoo-yah, bestest of something.

 

I've played "storygames" like In a Wicked Age (which I love) and find the dice here do the same sort of job.

 

This isn't to say the cards and ways outcome symbols have been used always life up that potential.

 

As a pratical example, a freeform induction ceremony for a wizard character into his college was passed (hurrah!), quite well (oh, you are promising, here's a scroll with some extra spells), and Chaos Star (and here's an evil artefact to lug off to a monastary where you are to find out how to destroy it, try not to become a mutant in the meantime).  That was all just reading the dice pool result and thinking "what could that mean"?

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I've also had a fantastic experience using the narrative dice to drive the storytelling. My players are more engaged than any previous d20, percentile, d6, or crunch-heavy system. Part of this may be due to us spending some time with various incarnations of Fate, but the narrative dice seem fast, intuitive, and inspiring. There are clearly all kinds of us here, but in my experience the folks that enjoy the system seem to outweigh the few that don't, so experiment or no I'd say FFG rolled some boons with this title. My group will be enjoying it for years to come.

Edited by GmMichael
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I find the narrative nature of the dice a bit hit-or-miss, honestly.

 

I've used them for some lighter variants and in that context they work wonderfully for me. During my 40k campaign, an Everway miniseries, and an Awful Green Things one shot, I found it easy to interpret the symbols on the fly and make up really rich story developments. These dice work wonders with a rules-light system! Though to be honest, in that context you'd be okay with just 4 symbols (success/failure/boon/bane).

 

Problem is, they never seem to work as well for me in actual WFRP3. I get kinda bogged down by all the mechanics, and find myself less inclined to improvise. The PC will have some Talent or Action card that they spent points on for the tiny little bonus it gives if they score two extra boons... and I find I'm really reluctant to devalue that purchase by routinely improvising effects just as potent as that for one or two boons on every roll. As a result, I only end up narrating anything special out of those symbols if a roll is really exceptional (huge numbers of some symbol).  If I'm anticipating the scene, I might come up with a terrain card (etc) that does something special with a boon or two (etc), but if the players go somewhere unexpected and roll a single boon/bane/comet/star, I usually freeze up and don't narrate anything special.

 

(That said, I'd still rather they make more new content for 3rd Ed than start in on a whole new 4th Ed with a lot of parallel redundant content.)

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Sometimes I wonder if degrees of success/failure are a new concept to WFRP 3e players. DoS are not about generating narrative, but rather creating shades of grey in terms of success/failure. If you've played Dungeon World (which is *not* a storygame BTW), then you've seen the maximum extent to which degrees of success/failure can be used as story-drivers (e.g. players can sometimes choose options from multi-choice lists).

 

A true narrative mechanic is something like player-initiated Bangs in Sorcerer, or Raises in Dogs in the Vineyard. Trying to squeeze more narrative juice out of task-resolution than a simple 2d6 roll provides in the Dungeon World games is just a waste of time IMO. Most of the posters on this forum are already v3 fans who do find the symbol dice to enable narrative, and that's fine. There's a much larger pool of WFRP players who don't play v3 or post here though.

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I have to disagree with Herr Arnulfe on this one. I find the possibilities with the dice pool much more fun than straight percentiles. However it is noticeable that with Star Wars, FFG have cut down on the number of dice in the dice pool and they also use percentile dice for some things

 

When a 4th edition comes out, I suspect it will be using the SW system. A further point Jude, is that more people use d20 than d100 and they are not to be found on here either.

Edited by ragnar63
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In WFRP 3e, you have "success with complications" and "failure with benefits", both of which can be included under the broader umbrella of "partial success" using conventional die mechanics. It's just a question of whether you feel the additional hair-splitting is worth the hassle of using custom dice for. Ultimately it still boils down to the GM reading chicken bones and telling the players what happens, or referencing their dice against a card. WFRP 3e dice as presented in RAW can't actually generate a "partial success" BTW in the true sense of the word; it's all-or-nothing +/- benefits/complications.

 

Now, apparently some people use Stars and Comets to introduce new story elements, not just as crit success / crit failures. I would argue that for a proper narrative game, using stars/comets in this way would require uncoupling them from task-resolution dierolls. Generally, the times when a player is making a skill test, something interesting is already happening. It's those times in between skill tests when a narrative boosts are really needed, not in the heat of the action.

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I enjoy variable success, but I'll admit, it gets old coming up with effects all the time (another thing that killed SW for me..besides the fact that I dont' like science fiction roleplaying).  Had there been a better standard for some of these additional Action cards, it could be a bit more balanced.  I'm with the earlier poster that if there wasn't annoying recharges in SO MUCH of the game, it would have been a lot better.  It really did get boardgamed.  Yet, we simply house ruled out everything but the special action cards and its not a problem at all at my table.

 

When they never get around to a 4e, they'll never do a d12 for a single chaos star on that die, but that's what I'd want since I expect they'll never do a 4e anyways (that wasn't just a half arsed fleecing of the consumer edition).

Edited by Emirikol

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Yes, recharge is a little pain in this game. i also invented some house rule to past that.

The dice and symbols on them are ok. Of course they could maybe evolve a little bit for a mone storytelling experience, but they are not bad.

I think that everybody in here will argee with me that FFG should publish something new to WFRP to keep this setting alive. By something new I mean an box expansion for this edition or a new incarnation of the game.

Cheers

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Things to ditch or rewrite from 3e to 4e:

 

Symbol Dice: not as clever as they first seem

Recharge: like an MMO, except fiddly

Stances: who even cares

Abstract Range Bands: creates more hassles than it solves

Action Cards: way too many of them

A/C/E pools: tactical GM navel-gazing works work better in competitive games like Descent

Talent Socketing: very "gamey" concept that's immersion-breaking in an RPG

 

Things to keep and embrace from 3e to 4e:

 

Skill Tree: organizes skills logically and creates synergies

Minor Criticals: adds flavour to the HP grind

Temporary Insanities: adds grit and makes Insanity more playable

Spellcasting: Chanelling into a temporary reservoir fits WH fluff better

 

Things in 3e that have potential but require a different implementation:

 

Progress Trackers: tangible goals are nice but they're too boardgamey

Player-sorted Initiative: enables teamwork but can slow things down at the most exciting time; "fast Dwarfs"

Stress and Fatigue: chits/beans could be eliminated if Stress/Fatigue was used more sparingly, just for extreme activities

Party Sheet: enables teamwork but only of the OOC, gamist, Talent-socketing variety

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Yup, so the cards tell you what the procedural benefits/risks of a comet/star are because if you're using Threading the Needle etc., let's not slow down or complicate things, let's keep moving, we're interested in resolving a simple narrative point but doing it with some tactical detail.  It's when it's not "heat of action" that what a Star/Comet, boons and banes, mean can be more expansive.

 

To me, the different dice pool gives a qualitatively different result than the sort of scale you can have on a numerical system (percentile or otherwise) where it can be "success at great cost --- compromised success --  success -- great success -- success with unlooked-for-great-benefits" as having a different symbol set (boon/bane etc.) allows a completely different axis and the additional possiblity of "failure with unlooked for great benefits" (since great benefits only come from yellow dice, only training or factors granting them warrants that - again something special dice permit).

 

I like, for example, instead of a numerical system in which +2 (whether it's + to % rolled or two extra d6's in dice pool) for lining up shot and -2 for poor lighting = no modifer, the WFRP pool means 2 fortune and 2 misfortune that may or may not cancel.  On average they cancel but instead of no change to your probabilities, they increase the chances of better or worse outcomes (essentially they extend the back and front tails of the bell curve). 

 

I like the action card approach as well.  There are plenty of individual action cards I'm not so keen on, but player and monster choices on cards in front of them not in a book being opened and looked up all the time is great.  We generally are only opening books during play to look at equipment price lists.  That's because of the action/wound/crit/insantity/disease card approach.

Edited by valvorik
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Things I would change for 4E:

 

Redesign the dice to fall more in line with the SW set. I hate to even say that, but the way opposed checks work is so much more elegant.

 

Follow SW in terms of combat math. Successes + Weapon damage vs. Soak/defense value = done. Benefits from characteristics are already worked in. One less step in the equation. Very fast.

 

Things I would keep for 4E:

 

Practically everything, and more of it. Here's where the rubber meets the road... I have countless, classic systems and toolkits for which to play this setting in but I came to this particular edition because I love what FFG brings to gaming...and that's components and niche, "gamey" mechanics. It's what they do. With the materials currently on the market I can play a d6, d20, Fudge, or even percentile version of Warhammer right now this minute. I don't need FFG to produce something that I already have access to. It simply doesn't make sense. I get it if you don't like 3E. I really do. But it seems very peculiar to berate a company known for components about their components. If the entire system has you down, it's clear that another company or product line would be the better option. Don't expect the donut shop to serve you a taco, friends. I keep my 2E materials handy for this very reason.

Edited by GmMichael
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valvorik wrote:

"It's when it's not "heat of the action" that what a Star/Comet, boons and banes, mean can be more expansive."

 

Except Stars and Comets are mostly rolled and interpreted in the "heat of the action", be it during combat, social or stealth type action. If it's not an important skill test, players wouldn't normally be rolling, would they? A player rolling a skill test has already exercised narrative power by applying a stat/skill to an in-game situation. They are already "creating story" by initiating a dieroll. The WFRP 3e dice want GMs to embellish the "story-in-progress" - mostly with cosmetic details.

 

You'd get much better, more creative Star/Comet/Boon/Bane interpretations if they were divorced from skill tests. Let skill tests just be skill tests, and make Narrative Events their own separate thing. Skill tests should really emerge from Narrative Events, not vice versa. WFRP 3e flips it the other way around.

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We generally are only opening books during play to look at equipment price lists.  

Which equipment list?  ;)

 

Ah yes! I have a suggestion for the 4th edition! Please! once and for all get rid of the concept of "toughness based soak". It is creating issues at game table since Warhammer 1st edition, Naked dwarf syndrome, remember anyone? And yes, it is also an issue in Star Wars... out out out out no toughness based soak, or no soak at all!

 

Cheers,

Yepes

Edited by Yepesnopes

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Things to ditch or rewrite from 3e to 4e:

 

Recharge: like an MMO, except fiddly

 

My thoughts exactly.

 

I've been toying with the idea of exchanging stress & fatigue for (SW-like) strain mechanic, and having actions cause an amount of strain equal to their recharge. Might require some rebalancing of the individual actions, but it should be a reasonably easy conversion.

This would remove a lot of the fiddly-ness, and I actually think that it would be a better balancing mechanic than delaying.

Edited by Croaker13

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valvorik wrote:

"It's when it's not "heat of the action" that what a Star/Comet, boons and banes, mean can be more expansive."

 

Except Stars and Comets are mostly rolled and interpreted in the "heat of the action", be it during combat, social or stealth type action. If it's not an important skill test, players wouldn't normally be rolling, would they? A player rolling a skill test has already exercised narrative power by applying a stat/skill to an in-game situation. They are already "creating story" by initiating a dieroll. The WFRP 3e dice want GMs to embellish the "story-in-progress" - mostly with cosmetic details.

 

You'd get much better, more creative Star/Comet/Boon/Bane interpretations if they were divorced from skill tests. Let skill tests just be skill tests, and make Narrative Events their own separate thing. Skill tests should really emerge from Narrative Events, not vice versa. WFRP 3e flips it the other way around.

 

I'm not sure we see "skill test" the same way.   Pretty much everything important is translated through the dice in my game unless it's a "an outcome already won".  You have a stunning insight on the villain to share with authorities, great make a roll to see if they believe it - it does sound good fortune dice on that roll, what skill are you basing this on?

 

 

As to which Equipment lists, the ones of arms, armour, other items (e.g., someone wants some paper, someone else wants some superior first aid gear etc.).

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As to which Equipment lists, the ones of arms, armour, other items (e.g., someone wants some paper, someone else wants some superior first aid gear etc.).

 

I think he's referring to the fact that the list in the rulebook is so badly thought out that most GM's use some kind of home-made version.  :P

Edited by Croaker13

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Valvorik, we definitely see skill tests differently in that case. Narrative doesn't emerge from skill tests in my game, it's created by players during the lead-up to the skill test. That's how it's functioned in pretty much every RPG I've played. Sure dieroll outcomes will influence the subsequent narrative as well, but that's out of the players' hands, and therefore not worth fussing over details too much (the players haven't come to watch me read chicken bones, after all). 

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Thanks, BTW Herr A., I do bow to your wisdom often here and on Strike to Stun. 

 

My table too its lots of roleplay/dialogue, narrative (is there a nice quality brandy available to send over to the table) that leads up to roll.  The roll is a skill (or skill via Perform a Stunt or via Action card like Flirt), and modifieres and even difficulty can change based on the roleplay/narrative (that was a really good point there, now it's Easy not Hard roll), though on that players do like to see how I interpret "stunning success with comet and a chaos star" (often calling out sugggestions and sometimes one of those is indeed what it is).

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I can certainly appreciate if your players derive enjoyment from your diepool interpretations. The world would be a boring place if we all played the same way. Hopefully my personal critiques may shed some light on why few people play 3e, and why a "slight revision" for 4e wouldn't be enough. WFRP needs to be junked and rebuilt unless FFG is happy with the current customer volume.

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If you've played Dungeon World (which is *not* a storygame BTW), then you've seen the maximum extent to which degrees of success/failure can be used as story-drivers (e.g. players can sometimes choose options from multi-choice lists).

 

 

We'll have to agree to disagree on that one, good sir. The only thing missing from Dungeon World is the campfire to sit around and some smores to munch on while the players tell their tale. :) 

 

Dungeon World scrapes the bottom of the barrel for me, but I often recommend it as an inspirational piece for DM's looking for ideas. There are good ideas in there, but for me the game is about as entertaining as pushing a paraplegic down a flight of stairs. 

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I'm not a huge DW fan myself (I much prefer some of the DW clones). I was only using it to suggest how the maximum narrative potential of skill tests can be achieved with a 2d6 roll. Now, obviously people have different definitions of "narrative". I don't consider the GM functioning as an oracle for random dierolls to be narrative, but for some people it obviously is (primarily GMs, I'd wager).

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