The game's fluff is presented in small doses, heavily mixed with the game's meaty rules. This works wonders in order to make the system an organic part of the Old World, even though it has the unwanted side-effect of leaving the reader wanting more. This is a gritty setting, a few steps distanced from traditional pseudo-medieval fantasy. As much as this stuff is not in the book, it feels like a setting where you can trust very few people, where you wouldn't want to walk in dodgy back alleys for the fear of an illness-infested mum of 13 kids emptying a family's worth of night-potties on you... at the same time that enemies you thought long forgotten have marked you as their target. This is a setting for gruff anti-heroes, for people who do the job because there is no one else around. Think of Better Call Saul's Mike Ehrmantraut; that's the core of the feeling WFRP radiates.
The game's production values are very high. This is a sturdy, gorgeous tome. Warhammer has an extremely strong visual identity, with dirty rats, mutated cultists, extremely haughty elves and punk dwarves. The present edition does all of them justice, starting from the cover, a fitting tribute to the game's first edition. The introduction is adorned with extremely evocative full-page scenery. The smaller pictures inside the book follow in the same logic. People look flawed, broken, no matter how impressive their pose might be or how happy they might look. Easy example: the otherwise kick-ass dwarf on page 71. He might look like any other kick-ass dwarf from a fantasy RPG, until you realise how well drawn the discolourations and moles on his head are. Idem for the villager suffering from poke-marks, or the fence examining the merchandise while wearing band-aids. Not everybody looks like a bodybuilder. People are laughing, they fool around, they are caught at inopportune moments. This is great stuff.
Conclusion: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay plays to its strengths and predictably wins. The rules are meaty and engaging, choices abound, the world is full of flair, suspicion and mischief. I would have enjoyed more fluff in the book, even in this form however WFRP is an instant hit, no matter if you are a long-time fan or someone wishing to try out a different take on post-pseudomedieval fantasy. Stand fast! Time to purge the Old World from ratmen, mutants, and chaos.
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP) is the roleplaying version of Games Workshop's popular Warhammer Fantasy Battles wargame. Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st Edition was published in 1986 by Games Workshop themselves and was until 2nd Edition which was published in 2004 by a sub-division of Games Workshop. When Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) took over all non-wargaming tabletop licenses from Games Workshop in 2008, they revamped Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay into their own style. Cubicle 7's edition of WFRP is more focused on its original roots, updating and expanding on the earlier systems and adding their own feel to the game.
In terms of crunch, which is a term used to describe a high level of detail in the rules, WFRP is quite crunchy, there are a lot of options written in sidebars throughout the book to streamline play if players and Games Masters want less crunch, but as the first two editions had a fair level of crunch, it is very in keeping with those (FFG's 3rd Edition was very token/component heavy, which did reduce some of the crunch). If you're used to extremely stream-lined systems that are less rulesy, you will notice a difference with WFRP, however, if you're used to this level of crunch, you won't notice at all. We didn't notice during our test sessions, and it was only during this write up when we were considering the rules details and character options that it came up. For new players it doesn't mean that play is slow or even rules focused, but characters/NPCs do have a few options for actions/effects/results that can require looking some things up for the first few games and it provides a very realistic system in terms of player actions and injuries.
Cubicle 7 hasn't changed the world with the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Core Rulebook, the rules and system won't blow players minds, but that isn't what they were aiming for. What Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition is, is incredibly straight-forward and crammed with a huge amount of information for new and veteran players alike. The strength of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay is in the depth of the information, that allows Games Masters and players to build their worlds, combined with easy to learn system for combat and actions. The leveling up system also feels real, adding to your career path and then progressing along it, either being promoted within that path or striking out on a new path, feels incredibly realistic, which has been a stable factor throughout all editions of WFRP and what has kept it so strong. The fact that they've also taken Warhammer back to the original grimdark setting, and haven't updated it to the new Age of Sigmar says a lot about which market they are aiming for and will also give Cubicle 7 a lot more freedom in terms of the products they release.
Overall I found Warhammer Fantasy to be a very interesting fantasy roleplaying alternative to DnD, especially considering its age. The universal attribute based resolution system is intuitive and avoids many of the odd pitfalls of the often clunky proficiency system introduced halfway through AD&D 1e. The combat system is appropriately gritty, avoiding the power creep of 1e by capping hit points and attribute increases while allowing for tactical options. The profession system is a nice addition to the class based gameplay that we all know and love and helps embed any new characters in the world they are to inhabit.While the mechanics are superior, if more complex, to AD&D, the magic section is somewhat anemic and the choice of magics is limited, which is a shame.
Pen-and-paper roleplaying games, like computer games, are in their essence rule-based simulation \"engines\" that facilitate playful interaction. These similarities make it possible to take some theoretical concepts and notions developed for computer games and use them to study roleplaying games. This article takes the concepts of \"paidea\" type play, game rules, simulation and agency, to discuss the rules of pen-and-paper roleplaying. These concepts are by now fairly well established within the field of game studies. I will use these concepts to examine the sometimes troublesome relation between roleplaying on the one hand and rules, gaming and gameplay on the other.
Most roleplayers will point out that pen-and-paper roleplaying games offer considerable opportunity for actual roleplaying and dramatic developments within the game, while they scorn their computer counterparts as mere \"character-builders\" or nicely decorated spreadsheets. However, roleplaying games are not called games for nothing; they are fictional simulations and their rules are designed with a particular type of gaming activity in mind. In this article I will examine the gaming element of roleplaying; I will try to expose the role played by dice in these games. In doing this I have drawn on the study of existing texts on roleplaying, the rule-set and descriptions of published roleplaying games, lengthy interviews I conducted with players from different groups and my own experience as a player of these games.
Roleplaying games are a little over thirty years old. The first edition of Dungeons & Dragons was published in 1974, although Gary Gygax and Dave Anderson were working on the idea from 1971 onwards (Veugen, 2004). Since then roleplaying games have evolved in different directions. Particular genres of single player and multi-player computer games are among the best-known descendents of Dungeons & Dragons. However, the quintessential roleplaying game, played with friends around a table with pens, paper and dice, remains an experience shared by a relatively obscure and small circle of fans.
In general, one can distinguish between four different types of roleplaying games based on medium, means and scale: Pen-and-paper roleplaying games are the oldest form of roleplaying games. The label pen-and-paper stems from the fact that most of these games use pens and papers to keep track of the game. Critical character information is recorded on \"character sheets\" and often locations are mapped out on pieces of paper or similar material. These games are played around the table or in a similar domestic setting. For this reason they are sometimes also referred to as table-top roleplaying games (akin to table-top strategy games). Pen-and-paper roleplaying games tend to be more told than enacted. In these games one plays a character by describing what she does and what she says. Rules are used to determine the abilities of the character and effectiveness of her actions. Dice are often used to introduce an element of chance into the resolution of the rules. Live-action roleplay is played with a large group of people who physically enact their roles and dress up for the occasion. They gather at an appointed place that acts as the game-world. Such places can be rented buildings, stretches of a forest, or other similarly confined areas. The groups are generally larger than the groups of pen-and-paper roleplaying games. It is not uncommon to have gatherings of a hundred or more players for sessions that might span a whole weekend or a brief holiday. Live-action roleplay generally mimics the fictional world more closely than in pen-and-paper type games. In that way it is closer to improvised acting than the \"storytelling\" pen-and-paper games, although unlike pure improvised acting it remains game-like in its use of rules to govern combat, magic and healing.Computer roleplaying games evolved from computer adaptations of the classic pen-and-paper games. In computer roleplaying games a single player controls a single character or an entire party in an electronically simulated environment. These days the term roleplaying is used as shorthand for a typical type of gameplay of computer games: a type of gameplay where the player has to develop her character or party, with such development reflected by various statistics, typically strength, dexterity, charisma and so forth. A first person shooter that offers the player some choice for development is said to have some roleplaying elements. Massively multiplayer roleplaying games (MMORPGs) are the youngest form of roleplaying. In a MMORPG thousands of players connect to a server using special client software. This software renders the fictional world like the software of a normal computer roleplaying game. I feel this type of game constitutes a separate category as the sheer number of players connecting to them on a daily basis has serious implications for the type of play that is offered by these games. Massive multiplayer roleplaying games are currently the most prominent form of roleplaying as these games have some very real economic and social aspects and effects.Needless to say, the differences in medium and means affect the nature of the roleplaying games, the four types of games are related but sometimes can be very different. Some players will only like one particular variant and not have much interest in the other type of games. They may even dismiss the idea that one or all other types of roleplaying games are about roleplaying (or gaming) at all. For example it is not uncommon for pen-and-paper roleplayers to dismiss computer roleplaying games for lack of story, drama and actual \"roleplaying.\" 153554b96e