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Beren Eoath

WFRP 4e - how should it look?

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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). 

 

 

My thoughts exactly! The SW dice pool is actually better and simpler but still gives you the nuances. The SW system generally has a lot going for it. If FFG were to go back to the percentile system completely then they might as well shift to d20, which is more used than percentiles.

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.

 

Again if you look at many of the cards, a simple success could be classified as a partial success under your terminology, as more successes or boons produce better results. If you couple this with the possible negatives you can have with the varied degrees of success, then the nuances are certainlky more fun, and I would not classify them as hair splitting. Playing the 40 K games I have found people having more problem with degrees of success than interpreting a dice pool.

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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.

 

More than anything, your critiques reveal that you believe "few people play 3e". I don't necessarily share that belief.

 

I guess it all depends on how you define "few".

  • "Few" as in "less than play the new Star Wars game" would probably be correct.
  • "Few" as in "less than play 2nd Ed" I find doubtful, and would love to see your sources for that.
  • "Few" as in "less than play your average non-d20 RPG" would be completely wrong, or at least was completely wrong in 2010 (and probably still is wrong despite 4 years of campaign-decay).
  • "Few" as in "fewer than were playing it the year of its release" is definitely true, but is also true of all RPGs and is what drives publishers to launch new editions at least once a decade.

 

Sales data in the gaming industry is pretty hard to come by, but ICv2 did publish a top 5 RPGs by sales volume list roughly quarterly since 2008.  It's not terribly crunchy or detailed data, but it's the best we've got.  

For four straight quarters starting in late 2009, WFRP 3e was the top-selling non-d20 RPG on the market. It outsold the World of Darkness, Shadowrun, Dragon Age, countless independent RPGs, and also outsold Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader during that year and a half. Since then, 3e has dropped off that list. So have the various 40k lines, though they as a whole (DH/RT/DW combined) lasted longer on the list than 3e did.

 

People like to make this completely anecdotal assertion that 2e had a bigger fan base or market share than 3e. They follow it up with a statement or implication that if we revert to a mildly revised 2e, or make a new 4e that's nothing like 3e, suddenly people will flock back to the game. I've never seen any compelling arguments to back up either point.

2e came out in 2005. Three years after 2e released, when icv2 started compiling those lists from game retailers, Warhammer 2nd was _not_ in the top 5.  If 2e was bigger on release, it must have dropped off in 3 years or less to numbers below those of the 40k lines, World of Darkness and Shadowrun (all of which I note were outsold by 3rd Ed for its first year).

The closest thing to a numerical argument I've ever seen put forth for 2e having a larger playerbase than 3e is the "common sense" of how there's so many more 2e fans at Strike to Stun. "Everyone knows" that more people play X than Y... but which whether 3rd is X or Y is subject to your own personal bias. Of course there's more 2e fans at StS. They had multi-year head start to build their community, and were extremely hostile to anyone coming and saying nice things about 3e. If you were a new fan of 3e,  before you'd read your third thread at StS you'd realize you would never feel welcome there. Seriously, there's an snarky jibe about the dice in the header for the 3rd Ed subforum there! It's easy to look at the low post volume in that subforum and erroneously conclude it means no one plays 3e, but it's probably wiser to simply conclude that 3e fans tend to stay away from StS or at least keep their heads down in that environment.

We can safely assume that 3e is not selling as well as the 40k lines or the Star Wars game, both of which were on the Top 5 list in 2012, and are continuing to get development from FFG. But we also know that 3e did sell very well for over a year.  That FFG has largely abandoned 3e doesn't even mean that it's selling poorly or that few people play it.  It just means it's selling less than either Star Wars or the combined Dark Heresy / Rogue Trader / Death Watch / Black Crusade / Only War multi-line. That's it.  I don't think it's safe to infer anything from that about the popularity of the mechanics, it's almost certainly all about setting.

For all we know, FFG might be limited by issues only vaguely connected to sales. There could be limitations based on staffing, warehouse space, the volume their favorite printer can handle per month, customs or tax issues since their printer is overseas, etc, that prevent them from supporting a third line simultaneous with the other two. If that were the case, then they wouldn't be focusing on a third line even if that line had solid but not record-breaking sales, because their time and resources are better spent focusing on the big money-makers (Star Wars and 40k).  This paragraph is admittedly idle speculation on my part, but it's no more speculative and unfounded than this "few people play 3e" argument that never seems to offer any data to corroborate it.

 

</rant>

 

If I'm wrong, and you've got some sort of data to show it, I'll listen.

Edited by r_b_bergstrom

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WFRP 3e sold well in the first year or so because of its novelty value. Virtually every serious WFRP fan bought it, or someone in their group did, and many non-WFRP gamers also bought it for the "shiny new thing" factor. Now look at the number of groups actively playing it. The FFG forum remains a nice, tight community for 3e players but it's a niche of a niche. I hesitate to label myself as a "moderate" in...well anything really, but I'm pretty sure my take on v3 is approximately the median for WFRP fans. Own it, played it, can't be bothered to GM it, but would play it with a GM who was keen and knew his stuff. Ultimately the GM's keenness for a game is more important than the game itself IMO. The majority of WFRP fans that I've spoken to (which is a lot) are either apathetic about 3e or actively dislike it.

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If it's any consolation the only 5 people I know of that dislike the system are here on this board so I suppose one persons trash truly is another's treasure. It's ok. We all like different things. But I think this conversation has once again hit that inevitable wall. At least Bergstrom was able to bring some data to the table this time. That was refreshing :) Cheers.

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On this forum you're going to get about 99% 3e fans and 1% general WFRP fans who don't play 3e but enjoy chatting about it occasionally (e.g. me). So you can multiply my opinions by x100 to obtain more representative data for this thread. :)

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On this forum you're going to get about 99% 3e fans and 1% general WFRP fans who don't play 3e but enjoy chatting about it occasionally (e.g. me). So you can multiply my opinions by x100 to obtain more representative data for this thread. :)

No doubts. And differences aside I respect your opinions. I think I enjoy the cross-edition conversations on Reddit a bit more, though, to be honest. I have a feeling all we're doing here is providing a negative stage for supporters of 3E who could frankly care less.

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3e players sometimes seem troubled by the lack of support for the game, or feel it hasn't been given a fair shake, or question why others don't appreciate its narrative potential (e.g. valvorik earlier in this thread). Usually when I elaborate, it turns into a long debate with multiple digressions. Such is the way of this forum, I don't mind though now that the worst fanboyz have gone away. Haven't checked out any Reddit threads, what's the general edition split over there, do you reckon?

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The Reddit and G+ boards are tiny but seem like a collection of fans that love the setting regardless of edition. Basically people that love the Old World and do what they need to do in whatever edition they have access to in order to bring a great story to the table. I think folks may have some preferences edition wise, but it's never a focal point of the conversation. We're thankful for what we have, house rule what we don't and spend our time talking about thwarting Chaos instead of party sheets. :) 

 

We do that here on a good day as well :)

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Every "next edition?" thread is bound to include nitpicky discussions about the merits and drawbacks of different rules approaches, comparative success of past editions etc. It's probably the least interesting type of RPG discourse, but when the topic does arise it's better to have a variety of opinions than an echo-chamber IMO.

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I think that people that stayed on this forum and are taing part in this discusion are only the ones that played or still play the game. I'm the one that played it from the start and I'm not playing right now only becouse of the lack of support. I sold it to invest in other games not becouse it was bad but becouse I did not liked some ideas in it.

I did not liked the recharge - I still don't. Too much tokens. Stress & Fatigue could be changed a little bit and actions maybe the mechanics from Descent would do better - actions have a cost in stamina to trriger and some are only once per round and exhausted. Maybe something similar could be better for WFRP.

Maybe FFG should consider doing a 3.5 if not 4e.

But if they would do a 4e maybe a good option would be a mix of some Descent mechanics and SW RPGs. It would have careers with talent trees and actions that would exhaust and/or have a fatigue/stress cost to trigger.  With the custom dice that a really good storrytelling tool. And they should keep the Critical wounds mechanics - becouse iths good.

Those are just some of my thought how this game could evolve,

 

Cheers

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I think that people that stayed on this forum and are taing part in this discusion are only the ones that played or still play the game.

 

Admittedly, I don't have any data to back up my assertion here, but I thought actual forum-posters usually represent a relatively small minority of purchasers. Back in the old days, most people didn't spend much time online. These days everyone's online, but most folks just follow the manufacturer on Twitter or Facebook or whatever. Am I completely off-base here?

 

I know I for one don't automatically spend time at the forums for every RPG I purchase. Heck, I'm running a FATE campaign right now and have been for almost a year, but I haven't poked my head in at the FATE yahoo group in probably three or four years. **Double-checks to make sure they still exist. Yep, they do.**

 

Anyhow, I'm terribly off-topic now, and should probably just let it go. I'll try.

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I think that people that stayed on this forum and are taing part in this discusion are only the ones that played or still play the game.

 

Admittedly, I don't have any data to back up my assertion here, but I thought actual forum-posters usually represent a relatively small minority of purchasers. Back in the old days, most people didn't spend much time online. These days everyone's online, but most folks just follow the manufacturer on Twitter or Facebook or whatever. Am I completely off-base here?

 

I know I for one don't automatically spend time at the forums for every RPG I purchase. Heck, I'm running a FATE campaign right now and have been for almost a year, but I haven't poked my head in at the FATE yahoo group in probably three or four years. **Double-checks to make sure they still exist. Yep, they do.**

 

Anyhow, I'm terribly off-topic now, and should probably just let it go. I'll try.

 

I don't think you're off there. Most RPG forums, a few big monsters aside, are actually a very, very small part of the overall community. I try my best to ignore them, although I originally go to them to try to figure something out mechanics-wise. I try hard to stay out of threads like this one but it happens sometimes :)

 

As far as Fate the Yahoo group still exists but you should also check out the Google + community. Very upbeat and busy. Fantastic destination.

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For me, a 4E would have to be based on the EotE mechanics, and remove all the paraphernalia:  the cards, tokens, stances, all that crap.  I love the cleanliness of the EotE game.  More importantly, my players simply wouldn't play...I've tried with 3E and nobody is interested, yet they took to EotE like ducks to water.  But weirdly, none of them are real SW fans, and all would prefer a fantasy game.

 

So FFG would have to clean up the game if they wanted my cash.

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Hm, I think that your players are not the only ones. Many gamers that played 2nd say that it's hard for them to get used to cards, tokens and so on. In SW rpgs the cards are optional and You can buy those but don't have to and that in my opinion is a good way of publishing RPG. If FFG is considering some changes in the WFRP line then maybe one of them should be selling the game as hardback books with optional boxes that contain cards and tokens. This way every player/gamer can customize the game the way he /she wants and buy only those expansions that fit him/her most. For example You could buy a hardback book about Empire and the if You wish You can buy a box with cards, tokens & more that covers the same stuff but puts all important/usefull informations  on cards. The boks would be a must but the other gadgets would be optional. It could also work the other way for some players like if You would want only cards, You could buy those without having to buy a book.

Cheers

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The more I think about this hipothetical 4th edition the more I agree with Ragnar. While I believe the new SW system is great, and a 4th ed of Warhammer based on the SW system would be good, after a bit more of reflexion, I don't think that will be enough. I have the impression that this will split the community even further.

 

Indeed what the Warhammer rpg world / community...needs is a revolution, the kind of revolution that the 3rd edition pretended to be. But now, not an experiment, a properly done one. They have to create a new system, one that is not close to percentage neither close to the 3rd edition system. It has to be totally radical to avoid comparisons with previous editions, but this time has to be good. That is the only way I think that a new Warhammer rpg can bridge the splitted community.

 

As for what whafrog says, I have to confess that it makes me doubt. There is no question, the new SW is being a huge success, and it has a very large fan base. Therefore, would a fantasy rpg (i.e. warhammer 4th ed) based on the SW system benefit from its popularity? will it drag some of the SW fans to it? If the answers are a Yes, then a Warhammer 4th edition with an evolved SW system will also be a possibility, it probably won't please the actual fans, but a possibility nonetheless. I say "evolved" if only because the SW system, as it is, it is not made to be played in a context where hand to hand combat is very relevant.

 

Cheers,

Yepes

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SW is undoubtedly a much cleaned up version of 3rd edition, sanitised for SF, and it works very well. And as Beren Eoeth says, having the cards as an option is the way to go.

 

However SW still suffers from a serious lack of proofreading and maybe playtesting. For those who play the game, the problem with the Galaxy Mapper Talent and Astrogation checks is an obvious and glaring point that should have been picked up in the Beta.

 

As Yepesnopes says however, the 4th edition needs to evolve way beyond SW, otherwise it will be like what FFG have done with the 2nd edition Of Dark Heresy, where they have only "upgraded" it to Only War standard. A real chance missed in my opinion. Unfortunately I am not sure that FFG are the company to produce 4th edition as I do not think they have the mojo now to do the radical job that is needed. Again just my humble opinion.

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Not sure FFG should feel obliged to "bridge the divided community". It's really not that divided anyway, we can still talk about the setting regardless of the edition we play (and we do). Someone who flatly refuses to play percentile or use symbol dice, or who gets mad at people that criticise their favourite edition, is being more "divisive" than FFG ever was by creating 3e.

 

v1 and v2 players have no problem finding people to play with because percentiles are so intuitive and well-known (CoC, Runequest etc.). This would be a reason for FFG to revert back to percentiles for 4e.

 

v3 players have a bit more trouble finding players, which would be a good reason for FFG to improve the symbol dice mechanics and finish the job they started.

 

It comes down to whether FFG is more interested in reaching the broadest possible customer base (improved percentile system) or following their legacy through (symbol dice). FWIW I've been playing a lot of Runequest 6 and I think its popularity shows there's still plenty of demand for new percentile systems, but if I had my choice I'd actually prefer to see FFG make the symbol dice an actual narrative mechanic, as storygamers would define the term.

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I don't see a possibility of 4e as a clone of SW. SW is good but why should they do a clone of it set in fantasy? This would not make sense.WFRP and SW are to different settings one is a grim, dark fantasy, the other a space opera. they both need a different aproach. I do not know if a new edition would bridge the community but I agree that a new edition should be a more of a revolution then evolution.

Still the cards as optional components sold in boxes is a good idea.

WFRP should have some good storytelling tools like the 3e dice but changed a little, still should have a critical wounds (the mechanic from 3e is good but without cards could fit). And the most importent part the game needs some good rulebooks with all information about the Empire or terrains that adventures are set in, not 4 pages long. SW is here a good example when in rulebook there a big chapter about the universe. Of course WFRP should also expand beyond Empire to Bretonia, Kislev or even Ulthuan.

If this would happen then maybe there is a chance to unite the community of WFRP and fans of every edition would find in 4e something for them.

Is FFG capale of doing such a edition, I will not judge but they could try. But please let then not do such a thing like they did with DH 2e when they made out of it a Only War clone. WFRP deserves a propper treatment so WFRP would stay WFRP and not just another fantasy.

If they wish to try something new they also could release a RPG set in Terrinoth (Descent/Runebound universe). They could try on it some different mechanics or approach to RPG and if it will catch then make a WFRP 4e.

I will say only this - I love the WFRP setting and it's sad that the game is like on the bottom of FFG RPG list. I hope that this will change and WFRP will get all the love in deserves,

Cheers

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Agreed, if WFRP 4e explored the WH setting to the extent that SW is with the new Corellia Sector sourcebook, WFRP fans would buy the material regardless of system. That decision is largely in GW's hand though. Assuming GW doesn't loosen their reins on the WH setting, a WFRP 4e would only appeal to a broad audience if it was either generic enough (improved percentile) or revolutionary enough (improved symbol dice) to be worth buying for the system alone.

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Agreed, if WFRP 4e explored the WH setting to the extent that SW is with the new Corellia Sector sourcebook, WFRP fans would buy the material regardless of system. That decision is largely in GW's hand though. Assuming GW doesn't loosen their reins on the WH setting, a WFRP 4e would only appeal to a broad audience if it was either generic enough (improved percentile) or revolutionary enough (improved symbol dice) to be worth buying for the system alone.

 

The first is an interesting and very valid point. I know from the experience of friends that have written for FFG,  that GW keep a very tight hand on anything that adds virtually any detail to the WFRP universe. However GW's recent troubles may possibly convince them to loosen the reins a bit. Personally I think they would be better off taking WFRP back themselves when the license comes due again. A proper Elven supplement/s would be a major draw for all concerned.

 

Whether you use improved percentile dice or dice pool, 4th edition will need to be revolutionary. IMHO they couldn't do any worse than reading their own literature and getting the RPG to better reflect it. This would particularly apply to the magic system and the social reaction of locals to strangers and particularly magic users. The latter would give depth to the setting. Either way just a revamp of 2nd, 3rd or SW is just not going to cut it.

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I think they could get away with an "improved" percentile system, not necessarily revolutionary (how much can percentile be revolutionized anyway). It's just easier to find players for percentile systems in general. Now, it may be that you personally wouldn't buy a "slightly improved" percentile system, but in the big picture it would create a broader player base than the current 3e system has retained after 4 years IMO. The actual number of "I don't play percentile" gamers is miniscule - if a GM has a fun game ready just about everyone will play percentile.

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I think they could get away with an "improved" percentile system, not necessarily revolutionary (how much can percentile be revolutionized anyway). It's just easier to find players for percentile systems in general. Now, it may be that you personally wouldn't buy a "slightly improved" percentile system, but in the big picture it would create a broader player base than the current 3e system has retained after 4 years IMO. The actual number of "I don't play percentile" gamers is miniscule - if a GM has a fun game ready just about everyone will play percentile.

 

Unfortunately if they go back to percentiles then they might as well go the whole hogg and use d20, which has an even larger player base than percentiles and is just a simpler version of percentiles. However the dice is an abstraction in a way.

 

It is the rest of the rules that they need to revolutionise. Combat needs to be fast but also giving real variation between fighting styles and a truer correlation between weapon, armour and damage. Magic needs to be reflect ease at lower levels but just how dangerous and moreover tiring it is to use at the highest levels, even if you are a Wizard Lord. I could go on and bore people to death so I won't.

 

I am afraid your very last comment would apply to any system, even one based on a single coin toss for skill resolution.

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Well if they're going d20 they might as well just sell the license to Hasbro and make Warhammer a D&D setting :) There's a 25-year history of percentiles in WFRP so it's the most logical "conventional" die mechanic to use if they decide to bail on the symbol dice. It's also more intuitive for new players than rolling d20+skill with variable target numbers.

 

I can pretty much guarantee that you'd have an easier time finding players for a percentile RPG than one based on coin-tossing or tarot reading. :)

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