Follow-up on my Warhammer FRP 3rd Edition rant

WFRPI have to admit that in my last post about that topic I was really ranting and raving. The original WHFRP was probably the game that influenced me the most in my gaming career and it will always be one of my favorite game. So I was pretty much shocked when I saw that FFG is about to throw out the classic system in favor of a new system that features fancy custom dice, action and ability cards.

I am obviously not the only one who is more than skeptical about the upcoming game by FFG. Several bloggers commented on the announcement of this new edition of WHFRP including UncleBear and Gnognardia among others.

And it seems the announcement has even more ramifications. As the German blog “Rollenspiel-Almanach” reported, there will probably be no continuation of the German WHFRP 2nd Edition line. The German version of WHFRP was produced by Feder & Schwert who now confirmed that their license has not been extended, so that there will be no German translation of “Shades of Empire” and the “Career Compendium”.

These are bad times for fans of 1st and 2nd Edition Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. What do you guys think? Will they pull a WotC on us and remove all PDF products of older editions from the stores, too? Or will we at least complete our collection of 2nd edition books before the new game is out?

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

20 thoughts on “Follow-up on my Warhammer FRP 3rd Edition rant”

  1. What?

    How is it bad times for WHFRP fans? We have two full editions of the game that we can play. They are complete games – I would be hard pressed to think of new material that calls to be published for either of them.

    I wish FFG the best of luck with the third edition. I'll still be playing 2e when I play, but I won't bemoan them the effort to try to make some money out of the license they paid so much for. If they just kept publishing 2e, I'm pretty sure it would never pay off for them.

    These are GREAT times for WHFRP fans. Soon we'll have three different versions of the game to choose from, and the major marketing push of FFG's new version to try to draw new people into the game.

    I'll stick to WHFRP2 myself. A complete and awesome game.
    .-= Dyson Logos´s last blog ..[Ghostbusters] Mark Rein·Hagen, Paranormal Researcher =-.

  2. Then tell that to the German fans how don't speak English, who will never see the supplements for 2nd Edition they've been waiting for so long.

    And choosing from three editions is only possible for a minority of gamers and not everyone shares your enthusiasm for the 3rd edition.

    As someone who enjoyed 2nd edition so much, I would have loved to see more support to the system. But when I am not mistaken FFG didn't relese anything new aside from stuff that was already done by Black Industries.

    Sorry, but I can't really praise them for shutting down a RPG line I enjoyed very much in favor of something that quite a few people consider a step in the wrong direction.

  3. The problem for the German fans isn't with FFG – they don't have the rights to sublicense the product line, the licensing is through GW.

    Where the blame lies here is with GW for ditching the line. FFG can't afford to support a game line that they don't make the primary revenue on AND pay licensing fees to do so. The core books of an RPG sell heavily during the initial release of the game – FFG timed it right to pick up Dark Heresy because the original print run was very small and they got it right after the original release so they could still make a profit off the reissue, but for WHFRP2, making supporting books means selling only those supporting books and not getting good sales on the core books. Businesswise, when also paying for the license fees, this sounds like a bad idea.

    Finally, I don't have enthusiasm for 3e. I'm not going to buy it or play it. But I think that getting angry at a company for making a new game just doesn't make sense. We, English speaking and reading players, have 2e. Many of us have 1e. How does releasing 3e hurt us in ANY way?

    And in the end, blame GW, not FFG. GW is the company that threw out these games, FFG is trying to save them.
    .-= Dyson Logos´s last blog ..[Ghostbusters] Mark Rein·Hagen, Paranormal Researcher =-.

  4. Saving the game by throwing out almost everything that made it what it is today? You must be kidding!

    Ok, they did a great job with the Warhammer 40K RPGs. Especially the upcoming Rogue Trader is looking sweet and you can still recognize the roots of the rules (which are closer to the original WHFRP) than the new WHFRP can ever be.

    And I think although 3E will not hurt us directly it's just another sign that we roleplayers are not their main customers anymore. It's the same thing like the "casual game" trend in computer games.

  5. Is "grognard" German for irrational complainer? Sheesh, wait until the game is out to start freaking out.

  6. Meh, I'm not thrilled by the announcement of the new edition either. I didn't see what was wrong with Green Ronin's version (2nd). FFG hasn't helped things by just dropping this bomb as they left for Gen Con and not having anyone do info/damage control.

    Sorry, but as much as I applaud them for their work on Warhammer 40K RPGs, I gotta give em the thumbs down on this 3rd edition of WFRPG, at the very least for the way they've handled things so far.
    .-= Daniel M. Perez, The Gamer Traveler´s last blog ..Not Going to #GenCon, But Still Almost There =-.

  7. I'M not going to wait until the product is out, and I don't think my concerns are irrational. I also think that "freaking out" is a little strong. Then again, I'm amused by people who leave comments on blog posts criticizing the blogger for criticizing something. Hee hee. You just did what you accused him of doing. Stop the hysteria! You're killing me with this stuff.

    How drastically can you change a game and still state with any credibility that it's the same game? The new game could be the greatest game ever made, but it's still not going to be compatible with older editions. It's going to prevent reprints of older edition material from being translated into German. Those are all legitimate concerns, especially from someone who has spent a lot of money supporting this product line for a couple of decades. Yes, you can still play the old edition, but it's a little disheartening to know that that edition will no longer be officially supported.

    It is a bit startling to see FFG take this direction with 3rd edition, especially since their 40k RPGs (Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader) have had great success sticking to the concepts of the original WFRP. Those games are selling well, so there was some reasonable expectation that they'd keep that paradigm for a 3rd edition of Warhammer Fantasy. But hey, their license, their choice. Maybe it will sell like crazy to new fans, and some old fans. I think it's cool that they want to go in a "story games" direction, and it may be a great game, but I think it could have been done by building on the existing rules rather than starting over, and I can get a story gaming experience for less than 100 USD.

    In the end, though, I think people are jarred more by the design choices than the lack of reverse-compatibility or nostalgia. From what I've seen, it looks more like they designed a cool alternative fantasy RPG and then made the Old World fit that paradigm, rather than saying "how can we overhaul Warhammer". I feel like they're using the license to sell the mechanics, rather than designing mechanics to support the license. I think if, in reading the initial promotional materials, it felt more like Warhammer and emphasised how this will make for a great Warhammer roleplaying experience, people would be more accepting of the chane. As it is, the marketing is focused on the new system rather than the elements people are looking for in a Warhammer experience. They may very well be there, but their marketing is working against them so far.
    .-= BerinKinsman´s last blog ..I Want To Run: Adventures Into Darkness =-.

  8. Given that WFRP 2nd edition seems to have gone out of print over night (No longer on Amazon except via scalpers, no longer at my local and nearby games shops with no new deliveries expected, no longer on FFG's website), I think that it's pretty much done for. We'll probably see a few more addons and fluff books over the next few years, but FFG seem to be saying (quite publically) that they reckon they've sold as many WFRP 2nd Ed games as they are going to.

    Talking about it with my RP group (half of whom are about to start playing Enemy Within in 2nd ed), they all feel that 3rd ed is a bad move when there is plenty of life left on 2nd ed. They are also (having had far more experience then I have) concerned about the custom dice and cards, which they have already seen fail with other games.

    Incidentally, they all much more skeptical about Rogue Trader now, with their main concern that it's basically testing many of the WFRP rule changes. I remain mainly positive about it however.
    .-= Hammer´s last blog ..Distance Is Nothing; It Is Only The First Step That Is Difficult =-.

  9. The anti-spam word was cthulhu! Nice.

    I have to admit that I never looked at WFRP until I saw the announcement about this new boxed set. It just wasn't on the radar for me at all, with nothing to draw me into yet another fantasy RPG, until the announcement of the weird dice and the little cards and fiddly bits in the box set. This whole situation's gotten very interesting.

    So I guess if they wanted to expand their audience, they're catching eyes. I might actually get this one, not really out of interest for Warhammer, but because I'm interested in how all the props actually work and how much they ease and add value to the game. However, to accurately judge I'd have to play the other WFRP's. Which I wouldn't be really super stoked on trying out.

    But the moment I saw that announcement, I immediately thought "Begun, the WFRP edition wars have."
    .-= Wyatt´s last blog ..Karma, Fate and the Spirits of Eden =-.

  10. @Tom: Wow! Your post is really impressive. You don't have any arguments, but you even manage to make my nationality an issue. Why don't you just shup up, if you are just able to make ad hominem attacks?

  11. @Daniel, Berin and Hammer: thanks for coming to the rescue, taking flak all of the time for voicing valid concers is no fun.

    @Wyatt: Hehe, glad you are having fun with the anti-spam words. I am using parts of RPG game titles, so Cthulhu just had to be in there. 😉

    I think they are truly trying to increase their audience and they might even succeed, but they will succeed alienating the old WHFRP fans by doing so. And when Hammer is right the old edition will almost vanish from stores, robbing us from alternatives. And it's always a sad thing when RPGs vanish from the market.

    And when you get a copy I would be very interested in reading a review written by you.

  12. @Wyatt

    If there is one thing that WFRP isn't, it's just another fantasy setting.

    First off, it's extremely dark, it's got a great rules system and while the career system isn't perfect it's one of the most interesting and unique class systems going.

    And of course, there is my favourite feature, more realistic chance for success and failure.

    The PR fluff suggests that a lot of that is going to be lost in 3rd ed.
    .-= Hammer´s last blog ..Distance Is Nothing; It Is Only The First Step That Is Difficult =-.

  13. @Hammer: I agree with you 100%. The Warhammer world is really unique and well thought out instead of your garden variety fantasy setting. And the career system is probably the coolest class system I've seen.

    For a deeper analysis of the PR fluff you should check out UncleBear's post about WHFRP 3rd Edition.

  14. I feel compelled to add to this discussion.

    I've been playing WFRP since it first came out in the 1980s and I still have my original softback book that I still use. That one book is all I need to run a WFRP campaign because it has everything I need as a GM. It's my favourite RPG of all time.

    I bought the supplements, stuff like the rules companion and some of the adventures but I only ever mined them for ideas and never used them outright. When 2nd edition came out I bought it but wasn't bowled over by it. I never got the same 'feel' or sense of atmosphere that I did from my original book but the two were compatible – I always felt that should I need any new material or if anything took my fancy with the 2nd edition stuff then I'd be able to buy it and use it with very few problems.

    WFRP 3rd edition looks gorgeous, it's true, but if they are changing the rules and the style of the game then it's no good to me – why would I want to change my game after playing it for 20 years? I'm one of those fans that have kept the line going, that has supported the game and bought the products, and to now be told that the new game will change everything I love about it, my game will no longer be supported and, not only that, possibly be incompatible with what I already own?

    Sorry, but that's a bit of a slap in the face.

    1. That was what I liked about the second edition: it was close enough to 1st edition, so that you could use 2nd edition material to run 1st edition games and vice versa. I didn't have the same problem with the 2nd edition as Jonathan had, but I wouldn't mind playing Warhammer using the original rules for old times sake. 🙂

  15. I think I'll enjoy downloading all of the forthcoming Rogue Trader and Dark Heresy material without paying fantasy flight a single cent.

    Really, that's the only way to hurt them… for WFRP this is nothing new for the aficionados of the most tormented RPG ever…GW, Hogshead, Black Industries, Fantasy Flight…the system is alive and well, it has thousands of aficionados and thank to people like us it will never die…we only have to keep releasing fan material…
    .-= Kull´s last blog ..WFRP (2nd ed.): Project Eastern Tilea =-.

  16. Somewhere (either at FFG or I read, that FFG would keep the old pdfs available for download. This sounded rather certain, but sadly I can't quote it right now.

    Let it suffice to say, that I still think the new "WFRP" sucks.

  17. If that's true, it's at least something. But they should reconsider their prices. Some of the PDFs are more expensive than what I paid for the hardcover copies I have sitting on my shelves.

  18. Ok, according to the new FAQ (which can be found here:… the PDFs of the old edition will only be available for a limited time:

    "However, FFG is making the 2nd edition books available in PDF format for a limited time through DriveThruRPG and RPGNow."

    I have to admit that I am increasingly intrigued by this game…only that it's not WFRP but something completely new.

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