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Warhammer Wednesday #1: WFRP 101

Written by MythicParty - Published on February 20, 2013

HammerDungeonMastering is obviously a Dungeons & Dragons-based site.  While D&D may not be considered the ‘best’ game system out there, it certainly is the most ubiquitous- much in the way that Magic the Gathering is to CCGs.  But there are literally dozen upon dozens of other much smaller RPGs that have design features the Colossal Classic known as D&D can borrow to Level it up.  One of those is paradigmatic: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, aka WFRP.  I’m admittedly a fanatic, having been introduced to it right around the time that Second Edition D&D reared its ugly THACO-ish head.  Our D&D Palyer’s Handbook had an adventuring party successfully looting a temple with giant eye gems, whereas WFRP’s core book had an adventuring party desperately fighting against…Orcs & Goblins?  I mean, ok there was a mean-looking Ogre in the bad guy’s band too, but a party struggling against Goblinoids?  Granted the Mohawk Dwarf on the eye-catching cover (not only a Troll Slayer but the basis for a famous Warhammer literary character named Gotrek) had his axe buried neck deep in an Orc, but the rest of the PCs was actively fighting for their very lives.  And this struggle vs what D&D has as cannon fodder came as a shocking eye-opener for our group that had been playing an RPG where the Good Guys always won.

But that’s because the WFRP system lived up to its motto; “A Grim World of Perilous Adventure.”  And these 2 key concepts are what your standard D&D campaign most likely does not have enough of:

  1. Grimness
  2. Peril

During the upcoming weeks we’ll be looking through all the books to find various ways for incorporating these elements & more into your D&D games.

Written by MythicParty

Dog-loving, movie-watching, pizza aficionado. Content Editor for DMing.com, Project Manager for AvatarArt.com, & player of the coolest characters in a weekly D&D game. Halflings are the real heroes.

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4 Responses to “Warhammer Wednesday #1: WFRP 101”
  1. Shannon says:

    While I have two copies of WFRP, I’ve never looked that closely at them. I’m very interested in this topic, and I look forward to your future posts. Thanks!

  2. Darkwarren says:

    I love the Warhammer world. The stories and novels are great pulp fantasy. I’ve always been interested in giving WFRP a try. Perhaps a one shot to wet the whistle.

    It is also noted that you want more peril and grimness.

  3. FullovStars says:

    I’ve got to disagree with you there. I’ve played many RPG systems and D&D can be just as Grim as WFRP if you want it to be. Forgotten Realms is a grim world as is the new pathfinder – both I would consider dark fantasy and not really worlds I enjoy. But the main flaws with WFRP I found is that it is incredibly under resourced which forces you to convert D&D stock anyway to provide material and the severe limitations on magic mean that character surviveability is severly restricted as well. I do enjoy the career paths but find the warhammer world (which is designed for unending wars) is very limited and immature from a roleplaying point of view.

  4. Waffledragon says:

    Grimness is something our group has a severe lack of, we are almost always a bit sugared up, so it’s rare to have even a remotely serious encounter. We are always laughing at each other’s descriptions of their turn, especially their critical failures.

    But, peril? Yes. We have that. Our newest DM was running a level 1 encounter,…and kept rolling criticals at both ends of the spectrum. One Goblin’s sword snapped and killed it’s ally, and another happened to one shot a dwarf with 30 hitpoints. It was the most diverse encounter dice-roll wise, that I can remember having (7 Crit Fumbles, 5 Crit Hits), and we almost all died because of a handful of goblins. T’was fun indeed till my char almost died, then it was a horrible, horrible encounter, wherein I WANT THEM DEAD! I WANT THEIR FAMILY DEAD! I WANT THEIR CAVE CRUMBLED! I wanna go there in the middle of the night and I wanna SCATTER HIS ASHES!
    Yes. Peril is fun.

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