Thursday, November 03, 2005


An old buddy of mine read my blog yesterday and felt compelled to email me about it. This was as unsolicited as it was unexpected, so I just had to reply to Martin's comments here.
Initiative:Having played D20 but not WFRP (at least not for 20 years) I have a problem with your interpretation of the initiative system, D20 cannot compare to the Hero Speed Table because essentiallly in D20 you have 1 roll for initiative but after the first round that means nothing i.e. you roll a 20, baddies roll a 19, you move first then them, you roll a 19 they roll a 20, they move first then you, but this is carried forward each turn, so, as a PC, if they move first, I ignore it and count us as moving first from the 2nd turn onwards. That is all there is to it - after the first roll turns alternate, no big deal. With the Hero system there are segments where you move, other segments where they move and some where you both move (dependant on DEX) but this s far more complex than the D20 or by your implication, the WFRP system. I might be missing something because of your rant but????
Well Martin, I'm a bit unclear on some of what you're saying here, but if I get it correctly: you alternate initiative after the first turn? In that case it's hardly surprising my point was opaque to you: you're either houseruling initiative in d20 games, or the rules have changed from v3 to v3.5.

I was commenting on the way that the initiative system of WFRP2 (which it shares with d20) gives each combat a definite beat- or rythym, because the order of combat is essentially fixed after just one initiative roll. It is this fixed order of actions that I was comparing to the HERO SPD table, which has the same effect on each given combat- ie. it fixes the order in which the combatants act, according to their SPD and DEX.

I wasn't saying that the HERO SPD table and the d20/WFRP2 initiative systems are the same (heaven forbid!- ie. HERO is far more complex!). I was just comparing one effect both approaches deliver that I happen to like. This effect is very different from the traditional rules for rolling for initiative- where the action sequence each turn used to vary. This is why the issue of the fixed beat- and the comparison with HERO- leapt out at me when I saw the initiative rules in WFRP2 only a few months ago.
KILLING PC's: I am sorry but to kill 3 PC's in a random encounter is careless, not to mention negligent. If I am a GM, my job is to make sure the players enjoy themselves, tell a good story, put them in peril, kill them if it fits the story, but a random encounter?????
Well yes Martin, I guess I would confess that carelessness and negligence were on display all round that day, from the PC's and the GM. It's a learning curve thing for all of us I guess. But well, there are 2 points specific to WFRP that you might be missing here. The first is that the PC's aren't actually dead, as such. They all had Fate Points left, so they're all still alive- just a little more doomed, is all.

In addition? Well I'm sure that you don't need me to lecture you on the difference between, say a superhero rpg and a 'real death' rpg Martin. Nor will you need any telling that WFRP is a real death game. But WFRP is a wee bit more than that I'd have to say. Both from the setting and the combat rules, WFRP is a pointless death game. Love it or hate it, but that's one of the key features of the atmosphere of this great rpg, a feature that made this game stand out way back when it was first published.

In WFRP there is no such thing as a bunch of mooks there just to provide a speed bump for the PC's on their way to the inevitable climactic encounter with the chief baddie of the big adventure. Nope. In WFRP, every time you enter combat you risk getting wasted at a moment's notice because of Sheer Dumb Luck.

Moreover, just like in so many rpg's- fantasy rpg's in particular I'll warrant- not every opportunity for combat is plot-related: some are simply random encounters, or, to put it another way- encounters which represent the inherent dangers of the setting as opposed to the specific dangers of the given plot. This again is true to the WFRP setting, in which outlaws, mutants, beastmen, and other horrors lurk in the woods and elsewhere just waiting to prey on hapless travellers, especially in the post-Storm of Chaos default setting for WFRP2.

'Fate' chose my PC's to be thus hapless my last session. Restatements of my own shock aside, there isn't anything I can usefully add really.

So thanks for emailing me Martin. I hope I've answered your points satisfactorily.
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