Category Archives: WHFRP

Confessions of a Gamer: In the Beginning

In the recent post about Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay I revealed a few facts about my gaming history including that WHFRP was probably the game that influenced me a lot in how I see roleplaying games today. So I thought it might be fun to tell you a bit more about how I became a roleplayer. These are my confessions of a gamer, so to speak. 🙂

It all started when my friend S (I’ve decided not to use the full names of people here, out of respect for their privacy) asked me if I wanted to have a look at Battletech. I think I was 15 or 16 at the time. I believe I already had heard about the game already mostly from the ads in books I’ve read at that time. So, I went over to his place, where we met R. I actually knew R since early childhood, but haven’t talked to him for years at that moment. He was also a few years older and already had his own car (which came in very handy). We then drove to a nearby town to meet the other Battletech players.

I believe it was a Saturday afternoon in 1990 or 1991 when I first sat down to play a game of Battletech. Although I was a pretty bad tactician, I enjoyed playing Battletech a lot and I made fast friends with the other gamers. We then met every Saturday to play a few games of Battletech where I ususally used a Rifleman mech, which was my favorite. Alas it usually ended with my mech being the first to blow up since I tried to go toe-on-toe with better armed and armored mechs. I think I mentioned that I was pretty bad at this back then.

Sometimes during our meetings the others talked about another game called Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. I haven’t heard about it before and just found out that it was not a game like Battletech but a fantasy roleplaying game. I’ve heard of D&D of course, but I only new RPGs from the computer. My friend S was actually part of the group and I regularly begged him to tell me about the game and what has happened during their game session. I also begged and pleaded to be allowed into the group, but alas the GM didn’t want me to join until they’ve finished the adventure. I believe they were running “Death on the Reik” or “Something Rotten in Kislev” at the moment.

My first chance to participate in a roleplaying session came in 1992 when we went to PhanCon. My friends S, R and me decided to give Torg a try, since the GM seemed to be a nice guy and S has played with him on the day before. So I rolled up my first roleplaying character. It was a private detective from the Nile Empire. I don’t remember exactly what the adventure was about aside that it featured zombies and I belive we were in Orrosh. This was also the first time I encountered a gaming jerk. From what I remember he was the kind that kills the mood especially for the newbies by telling them what to do and he boasted with his knowledge of the background and robbed us of the opportunity to make our own mistakes. But nevertheless the session was fun and I was hooked on roleplaying.

You may have already noticed that I started playing at a much higher age than most US gamers. From what I remember tabletop roleplaying games weren’t as widely known back then and especially when you come from the country, you didn’t have a lot of opportunity to meet roleplayers. My first experiences with RPGs were on the PC with games like Ultima and Bard’s Tale.

I think it was in the same year when I finally joined the WHFRP group. We started playing “Power Behind The Throne” and I rolled up an Elf called Nimron Ellion who turned out a coachman. Ok, it was a bit strange to play an Elf wielding a blunderbuss and driving a coach in the Empire, but we made it work. In the course of the adventure we uncovered the plot to overthrow the current rules of Middenheim, made friends with the local celebrities, fought a lot of evil doers and in the end where knighted. So my Elf made the career change from coachman to templar knight. Usually a career change like that is not allowed in 1st Edition WHFRP rules, but it was made an exception because of being knighted.

So in many ways WHFRP was to me, what the original D&D is to a lot of US gamers. I’ve played and later run WHFRP for many years and aside from TORG it was the first roleplaying game I actually played. I think my love for grim and gritty settings and percentile systems comes from that time.

This concludes the first part of Confessions. Please let me know what you think about this new column in the comments. When you enjoy reading about my gaming history, I will try to post another Confessions post every week at least. And please take everything I write in this column with a grain of salt. The events I wrote about happened over 15 years ago and my memory is of course not perfect. Especially if you where one of the members of that group back then, please don’t be too harsh on me, when I get things wrong.

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?

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay! WTF?

Warhammer Fantasy RoleplayFantasy Flight Games will release a new version of the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay game at GenCon this year.

WHFRP was one of the first RPGs I played back in the day (this was still the 1st edition then). The updated 2nd edition that was released a couple of years ago, was awesome. It not only managed to fix a lot of broken rules the old edition had but it also succeeded doing so without making it a totally different game.

And when I first heard about the 3rd edition Fantasy Flight Games is about to release, I thought it was a hoax. But alas it was not. Graham McNeill has posted the following on his blog (emphasis added by me):

A coupe of weeks ago, our regular roleplaying group was privileged enough to playtest 3rd Edition Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. The guys from Fantasy Flight Games were over at Games Workshop HQ, and Jay Little very kindly did a show and tell for us over at Alessio Cavatore’s house, where we saw how much the game has changed from its previous incarnation. Our gaming group has been going for some time and we were all interested to see what was new with WFRP, since we’d playtested the previous edition also. It was in interesting evening, and the game was very different to anything I’ve played before, with a lot of table space taken up by character sheets, action and ability cards, dice etc. It felt like a strange hybrid of board game and roleplaying game at first, but once the notions of the new mechanics took hold, it felt very natural. Likewise, the new dice pool system felt odd at first, but once we’d rolled a few dice it immediately became very intuitive, which is surely the holy grail of any roleplaying system.

Seriously! Is this D&D 4th Edition all over again? Why can’t they just fix things that are broken instead of making it a completely new game? At this time I still hoped for a hoax or at least a misunderstanding, but alas I was so wrong.

Now, it’s official. FFG has created a new edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and it’s a strange hybrid of board game and RPG and it uses dice pools, action and ability cards. And they sell it as a box for $100!!!

From the looks of it, WHFRP will be a great looking game with a nice box containing several rulebooks, custom dice and many cards. So the production value will probably be pretty awesome, but I don’t think a complete overhaul of the system was the right thing to do. Don’t get me wrong, the game looks great from an artistic standpoint. I can’t  judge the rules, since I haven’t had the chance to check out the real thing, but I am worried. I am just worried that one of the oldest fantasy roleplaying franchises is turned into a boardgame.

I believe I sound like a total grognard right now, but why do these companies think, that we want games that use action cards and fancy dice? Does this really improve the roleplaying experience? And why is it necessary to change the WHFRP rules beyond recongnition? The box will also set you back almost $100. Obviously the industry is doing pretty fine, when you can release a $100 RPG/boardgame hybrid during a time of economical crisis! And I thought the “World of Warcraft Boardgame was expensive! Perhaps they reasoned that FFG’s strength are high production values and boardgames, so they wanted to make use of that in an overhauled Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay game.

Sorry, I usually don’t rant on this blog and perhaps I am terribly wrong about all this. Perhaps the new edition of WHFRP is the best thing since sliced bread and we’ll all play and enjoy it in a few months. Or I am right and we’ll all hate it and I can say “See, I told you so!”

Stargazer signing off!