21 November 2005

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: First Session Impressions

The regular guys played our first session of WFRP just now. It was good - the irreverence in the game world was a good fit for the group. This meant that the jokes worked well, which pretty much took up the first half of the session.

Making up the characters was great fun. We have:
  • An unemployed dwarf clown (he left his previous employment for "artistic reasons").
  • An elf kithband warrior (kind of their woodland militia) who really wants to be a magician and figured that hanging out with a guy who hunts down evil ones is a good place to learn about it.
  • A human vagabond who is fighting chaos out of misplaced liberal guilt - he is trying to make up for the fact that humans are the most susceptible to corruption by the dark powers of chaos.
  • A halfling hunter who, well, he's just a bit of a weed really.
Three of the characters (our fourth is lazing around on holiday in Hawaii right now - for this he misses my game!) were given a task to prove themselves to their master Rudiger, a Witch Hunter. First they spent a bit of time making fools of themselves at the tavern he was going to meet them at (totally messing with his plans to keep it quiet). They were to track down a chaos sorcerer in the village while he dealt with more pressing matters, armed with a document that none of them can read to give them authority.

The elf headed out of town to search suspicious farms, finding nothing. The human and dwarf tried to find out things at the tavern but all they got was pointed at the local healer (due to a local thinking the dwarf had a personal problem that needed some strong herbal remedies).

They began questioning the healer, which didn't go very far until they blurted out that they were witch hunters. She immediately figured they were going to have her executed and freaked out. Following some of the random comments she blurted out they eventually found a chaos shrine in the cellar of a burnt out farmhouse. They had brought the healer (bound and gagged) with them and when the vagabond heard a scary noise he dropped her and bolted. The giant three-eyed chaos frog promptly ate her.

Our heroes gradually got their act together and slew the frog. Then they headed back to the tavern to rest (and hopefully ponder the needless death of an innocent woman).

Next morning they tracked down the chaos cultists to a hut in the wood. They assaulted it, and there was an exciting fight as the elf basically killed the three thugs and the other two captured the sorceress and finished off one guy.

The sorceress was handed over to Rudiger and all was well. Except for the healer (I think they pretty much kept quiet about her fate, hoping nobody would ever find out).

Setting is good, the Warhammer world is a grim and fun one and the new edition of the game has this shining through. Especially the careers, which are at least as cool as the ones I remember from the first edition. The mechanics work well enough, especially as I was pretty much running it as conflict resolution even though it's written as task resolution. Combat doesn't allow that, but it runs smoothly. There are a few tactical options but they're not confusing.

The only thing that annoyed me was the critical hit system... it's far to complex. After rolling to hit, the victim rolling to dodge or parry and then hit position and then damage being calculated (another roll with modifiers). Then, if it is a critical, you roll another percentage dice and look up on a table on the column for how much excess damage there was to get a number you then look up on a table for the hit position was the actual effect was. I'm pretty sure that you would get the same result with something like d10+excess damage on the critical table for the position. I'll consider checking the effects there, because it was an enormous hassle to do that. And every fight to the death will have some - you only kill people with critical hits. The system is that damage wears you down until you run out of wounds (typically 2-4 hits) and then you take criticals that can maim or kill you.

Overall: pretty good game, and a hell of a lot of fun for our group.


Anonymous said...

Playing a strangely sensitive character was interesting. And odd. Game was fun, engaging , and we didn't die. That's good. I agree the action stuff was a bit confusing (and i'm shocking with remembering rules which doesn't help). I have absolute confidence in our intrepid leaders ability to sort this out tho'.
I can see this caring vagabond developing nicely...hee hee

With love and lollipops, Ulrich the Caring.

MadMacca said...

2nd vote of confidence...

I found it a great deal of fun and extremely refreshing, there was a nice flow to the session. The 'old school sensibilities' of the game were also highly enjoyable. Speaking as someone who couldn't give a rats at the best of times about stats, in terms of the mechanics they were dense but not as inpenetrable for me as say 3ed. I know you only planned a short run for this but if there is scope for extending it longer I wouldn't be unhappy.

Nice one.

Yours in relationship management,

Orzad the violent

The Gamester At Large said...


Also, macca, we can play longer if desired. I envision the short run ending after 5-7 sessions but we may want to continue after that. We'll see at the time.

Jason Pollock said...

Wasn't that hard of a choice... Sitting in a room playing a halfling with Bruce and Steph, or going to Hawaii with my gorgeous fiance... Not too hard to choose between those.

The Gamester At Large said...

Only thinking about yourself, that's pretty much what I was getting at there.