Wednesday, June 6, 2012

We Didn't Get the Memo Re: Warhammer FRP

I've been thinking about WFRP 1e a bit lately; it is the game we definitely had the most fun with in high school.

Sadly, it turns out that we were playing it completely wrong.

Warhammer is supposedly a meat-grinder of a game where beginning PCs suck at everything and will inevitably die in gruesome ways.  We got this one totally wrong.  Two PCs (mine and a buddy's dwarf trollslayer) went through the Enemy Within, Doomstones, Drachenfels, and a bunch of one-shot adventures and survived them all, so clearly we were doing it wrong.

We tended to play cautiously, but there is something to be said for starting WFRP characters being a lot tougher than 1st level D&D characters.  A 1st level fighter right off the turnip truck can be killed in a single blow; a WFRP character can't be killed in a single blow because they'll start with at least one Fate Point.

And as for WFRP characters being Eternal Weenies Who Always Suck, my long-lived six-career elf character begs to differ.  Sure, he didn't end up with a super-high Strength or Toughness, but an absurdly high Agility and the Dodge Blow skill meant that it was practically guaranteed that at least one attack per round would miss him entirely.  Oh, and he also had a ridiculous Initiative score and 4 Attacks to unload before his foes got a chance to act.  Good luck with that, warriors of chaos.

Warhammer's Old World is a crapfest with nothing but misery, disease, and poop lying around all over the place.  We honestly never got that sense of the Old World from the 1e setting materials.  Sure, the Old World was a place of danger, corruption, and economic disparity, but I think you need a big element of that in a fantasy setting for it to be interesting.  Nevertheless, it certainly didn't seem as post-apocalyptic as people often make out.

Of course, we actually benefiting from not knowing too much about the culture surrounding Warhammer that favored SPIKES AND MORE SPIKES AND GRIMDARK HELMS WITH SPIKES AND SKULLS ON THEM because we pretty much played the game in isolation from anyone else playing it.  To us, Warhammer was a place where Gandalf could go on an adventure with Conan, Legolas, King Arthur, and  Renaissance German dwarves and Viking dwarves, like this:

That's what WFRP looks like to me, but I guess we didn't get the memo.