Saturday, September 22, 2012

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, 2nd Edition: A Review

So for the past few weeks at out weekly Magpie game we have been playing a little campaign of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, 2nd Edition.  It has been a fun and interesting little endeavour.

For those that don't know about the game I will provide a bit of background.  First off the world that it takes place in is a fairly standard fantasy, low-magic type setting at its core.  It is one of the older worlds in this hobby and genre, and a lot of the tropes present in modern stuff can be seen in this.  Here is a bit from the Warhammer Fantasy setting wiki:

"Warhammer Fantasy is a fantasy setting, created by Games Workshop, which is used by many of the company's games. Some of the best-known games set in this world are: the table top wargame Warhammer Fantasy Battle, the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay pen-and-paper role-playing game, and the MMORPG Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. Another game, Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes, is a free-to-play release. Warhammer is notable for its "dark and gritty" background world, which features a culture similar in appearance to Early Modern Germany crossed with Tolkien's Middle-earth. "Chaos" is central to the setting, as the forces of Chaos are attempting unceasingly to tear the mortal world asunder. The world itself is populated with a variety of races such as humans, high elves, dark elves, wood elves, dwarfs, undead, orcs, lizardmen, ogres, and other creatures familiar to many fantasy/role-playing settings."

 The game itself uses one of my least favorite systems, a percentile based system.  The system has you roll a pair of ten-sided dice that allow you to generate a range of numbers from 01-100.  You have skills and abilities that also are rated on a range from 01 to 100.  When you roll you are trying to get a result that is under the rating of the skill.  So if you have a 50 Weapon Skill, then when you attack with a weapon you have to roll a 50 or less in order to hit.  My main problem with this style of system is that the range you are having to deal with is so large, and in most iterations of the percentile system you never have anywhere near enough points to spend in order to make yourself reliably good at anything, or at most you can get reliably good at one thing but at the cost of being terrible at lots of other stuff.  Another problem with them is that a lot of them make it very hard for you to raise a skill once you get good at it, which is somewhat realistic, but not in a way that I find enjoyable to simulate.

This particular game actually does a decent job of reducing these annoying tendencies.  For one you have a small spread of attributes that all start at a fairly decent number (around 30-40) and the rating of the attribute translates into a rating for all the related skills.  I.E. if you have a 45 Willpower, then all Willpower based skills will be at a 45.  This is nice since you do not have to spend points on each individual skill.  The method for raising skills is also much more reliable.  Instead of having to roll for it and hope that you get lucky enough to raise it, you just spend XP points in order to raise them at a set rate.  While this is still rather slow, it is set and regular, so that is nice.

 The combat in the system has some really interesting stuff in it.  Probably my favorite aspect of the game so far has been the critical hits tables.  Well, really the whole damage system is pretty cool.  First off you have an amount of Wounds (Hit Points).  When you take damage it gets taken away from this pool of Wounds, with Armor reducing the amount from each hit.  Once you are down to 0 or less wounds, each point of damage below 0 wounds translate into a point of critical damage.  So if you knock someone down to -4 Wounds, then that is a 4 point critical.  You roll percentile dice again on a critical table and cross reference the result with the critical rating.  This gives you a number between 1-10.  You then take that number and consult the specific hit location table and use the entry assigned to that number.  The specific hit location is determined by reversing the digits on the dice that you rolled to hit btw. Here is an example to try and clarify all of that.  Lets say you have a Weapon Skill 55.  You roll the dice and get a 41.  Hurrah you hit!.  So take those numbers and reverse them to get 14, which gives you the hit location, with 14 I believe being the head.  So that is a hit to the head.  Let us assume that you have already removed all the Wounds from this target, so all damage is going to be counting towards that critical rating.  Lets say you do 7 damage, so thats a +7 critical ratings.  Then you roll percentile dice again.  Lets say you get a 31  That means your result is an 10.  You consult the Head Critical result table and you see this result:  "Killed in whatever spectacular and gore-drenched fashion the player or the GM cares to describe."  Huzzah!  We are actually using an even more elaborate critical hits chart than the one in the book that was written by an actual M.D., so its very interesting and detailed.

The rest of the game is fairly straight forward.  If you have any experience with things like D&D you will be familiar with how most of this stuff works on a basic level.  Nothing too complicated.

 As far as the story and campaign have been going, we are playing through a module in the back of the rulebook; and it has been pretty fun.  Its a bit of a mystery investigation type of thing so far.  The party is composed of a Human Thief, a Dwarven Troll Slayer, a Dwarven Shield Breaker, and a Human Initiate of Sigmar (my character).  We have fled a huge enemy invasion, fought Beastmen, Skaven, Ghouls, and other beasties.  We got a Relic of Sigmar, but after it was turned in it was stolen.  We pursued it but have not been able to find it yet.  We've helped out some blind priest, and delved into sewers one too many times.  The play has been quite enjoyable.    I look forward to even more sessions.


  1. Yeah, that does sound like it's a lot less aggravating than my experience w/ BRP.

  2. We are playing a campaign that started in the back of the rulebook but that was just the first session. After that the campaign moved into the first of three adventure books, which we are now about halfway through. The overall campaign is called Paths of the Damned.