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OSR How Would You Convert WHFRPG to OSR?

Campbell

Legend
I would use something like the base system in The Nightmares Underneath where characters do not rapidly escalate in hp as they level that had some room for specific injuries.
 

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I don't believe any iteration of D&D or its clones is compatible with the theme of WFRP. WFRP 2e is a little easier to learn than WFRP 1e, but still very similar to the original. The cleric and mage are really innapropriate for starting characters in a WFRP setting, and the distinciton between starting as a Camp Follower, Vagabond, Peasant or Smuggler as opposed to just "thief" is really significant to the setting and gameplay. Boiling players down to the D&D character classes, and assuming D&D style normalization of clerics and magic-users, is really counter to the theme.
 

One thing I just thought about is using the sidekick class rules in Tasha's to simulate the career system of Warhammer Fantasy. You could easily create a career path out of those, having everyone start off as one of the three sidekick classes.
 

One thing I just thought about is using the sidekick class rules in Tasha's to simulate the career system of Warhammer Fantasy. You could easily create a career path out of those, having everyone start off as one of the three sidekick classes.
Sidekicks would help simulate the weakness of WFRP characters. If you do this, you should also create profession based equipment packages rather than let people buy their gear. A big part of WFRP is that a Camp Follower starts with the stuff a Camp Follower would own. She doesn't get to buy general purpose adventuring gear at the start, though she's free to do so later once the player takes over and invests her with agency.
 

Retreater

Legend
I'm reading through the 4e book again to try to convince myself "maybe it's not as difficult as I remember."
Nope. It's bad.
Here are things that don't work for me in the system.
1) Fate/Fortune; Resolve/Resilience
Having a pair of similar sounding names for characteristics that do very similar things. It's bloated and unnecessary.
2) Success Levels
Roll then subtract your roll from your ability score, round up, get a number and compare to a chart to see how many successes you've earned. There must have been a better way to do this.
3) Advancements, Spending XP
You can increase these certain things, but only at certain points, and only to a certain degree, then you need to "complete" that class's path, pay more XP to start another class. WTH?
4) Advantage/Disadvantage, Easy/Challenging/Hard rolls
You can roll two percentage dice and take the better result if you have advantage (or worse if you have disadvantage). Or you can get a bonus/penalty to the roll depending on circumstances? Why in the name of hell do you have two mechanics to do the same thing?
5) Bonuses after Successful Checks
You have to keep track of all your successes in a row to get bonuses to future die rolls. There's plenty to keep up with in a combat. As a GM, am I supposed to also track this for all enemies? Bad mechanic.
 

I'm reading through the 4e book again to try to convince myself "maybe it's not as difficult as I remember."
Nope. It's bad.
Here are things that don't work for me in the system.
1) Fate/Fortune; Resolve/Resilience
Having a pair of similar sounding names for characteristics that do very similar things. It's bloated and unnecessary.
2) Success Levels
Roll then subtract your roll from your ability score, round up, get a number and compare to a chart to see how many successes you've earned. There must have been a better way to do this.
3) Advancements, Spending XP
You can increase these certain things, but only at certain points, and only to a certain degree, then you need to "complete" that class's path, pay more XP to start another class. WTH?
4) Advantage/Disadvantage, Easy/Challenging/Hard rolls
You can roll two percentage dice and take the better result if you have advantage (or worse if you have disadvantage). Or you can get a bonus/penalty to the roll depending on circumstances? Why in the name of hell do you have two mechanics to do the same thing?
5) Bonuses after Successful Checks
You have to keep track of all your successes in a row to get bonuses to future die rolls. There's plenty to keep up with in a combat. As a GM, am I supposed to also track this for all enemies? Bad mechanic.
Fate/Fortune: Fate is rarer and more powerful than fortune.
Success Levels: If you just treat the value on the 10s die as your success level, you get basically the same end result, with a lot less math. I've always done it that way.
Advancement: They're not classes and shouldn't be expected to resemble D&D classes or D&D advancement in any way. The game assumes that if your Profession is "Rat Catcher", you're a Rat Catcher first, and an "adventurer" second, so most of your skill increases are still informed by what your actual day job is, not the weekend-warrior adventures you occasionally embark on.

Everything else you commented on is new in 4th edition, and not present in the first two editions, which were recommended since they're already OSR friendly. 2nd edition WFRP is basically a simplified version of 1st, and i'd start there if you want something easy to teach/play.
 

Not relevant to OSR, but

4) Advantage/Disadvantage, Easy/Challenging/Hard rolls
You can roll two percentage dice and take the better result if you have advantage (or worse if you have disadvantage). Or you can get a bonus/penalty to the roll depending on circumstances? Why in the name of hell do you have two mechanics to do the same thing?

This may have been borrowed from the recent Warhammer miniatures rulesets that were in play at the time. In 40k and AoS, there's a hard rule that you can only re-roll a roll once. The fastest way to make a bonus (or penalty) that can't stack is to make it a re-roll. +1s/-1s are generally stackable and adding in a few sneaky "doesn't stack" bonuses would increase confusion. When a rule gives a bonus that can't stack, it gives a reroll instead. Since the publication of WFRP 4e, the bonus and re-roll rules have changed yet again in 40k 9th edition, and will probably follow suit when AoS gets updated, so the rule will then no longer match what happens in the strategy game.
 

Jaeger

That someone better.
My groups are moving more and more to OSR systems and away from trying out "new" systems. Not to mention we're also playing on VTT that aren't ideal for teaching new systems and implementing ruleset idiosyncrasies. A goal I've had for a few decades is to run Warhammer Fantasy's well-regarded "Enemy Within" campaign, and I've started collecting the 4e WHFRPG's revised books. Only problem is, I don't see us being able to play it in that system. (I GMed a handful of sessions using that ruleset before moving players and the pandemic broke up the group.)
What would be some easy to implement rules changes - if any - to give OSR systems a Warhammer feel? My gut-reaction is that we limit non-human PCs to reflect a more humanocentric world, maybe allow being reduced to 0 HP having a critical injury chart instead of instant death, put in some kind of roll mechanic for magic. I'm thinking that AC can maybe work the same way, even though it wouldn't be as DR - it just makes a low roll be a non-hit.
What do experienced WHFRPG and OSR GMs think?

IMHO, you can get close enough for government work by cutting and pasting what you think is best for you from previous efforts:

Small But Vicious Dog and Ten Dead Rats are both B/X D&D retroclones with some tweaks to make them more Warhammery. There's very little the players would need to learn.

Have a good look at those and see what you can port over that works best.

The Important thing to maintain the WH feel is to not have hit points that increase by level.

Going to a Fixed Hit point total changes "D&D" a lot. And leaving in the hit point level inflation is the main reason d20 games got a rep for not fitting the genre's they were churned out for.

But if you fix the HP at a low amount you can get a very gritty feel to the game.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
I'm reading through the 4e book again to try to convince myself "maybe it's not as difficult as I remember."
Nope. It's bad.

I think you’ve got a few of these ideas a bit screwy. They aren’t quite as you describe them, though I can see how a casual reading could lead to them.
Here are things that don't work for me in the system.
1) Fate/Fortune; Resolve/Resilience
Having a pair of similar sounding names for characteristics that do very similar things. It's bloated and unnecessary.

You really only use Fortune (rerolling tests) and Resolve (ending conditions). One being luck the other bad-assness. Fate and Resilience are used a couple of times in a campaign to stop you dying or choose the outcome of a die roll. But spending them permanently reduces your fortune and resolve. Believe me, your player will be able to keep track of Fate points when they literally save their life.
2) Success Levels
Roll then subtract your roll from your ability score, round up, get a number and compare to a chart to see how many successes you've earned. There must have been a better way to do this.
As has been said. You subtract the tens die from you stat’s tens figure. You literally compare two single digit number to work our Success Level. To my knowledge there are no charts to reference, except for unusual skills like Leadership say.
3) Advancements, Spending XP
You can increase these certain things, but only at certain points, and only to a certain degree, then you need to "complete" that class's path, pay more XP to start another class. WTH?
The XP system is very elegant, constant development in an extremely granular organic way. The career system works to control this by specifying key skills and stats you can improve. You don’t have to complete a career - it just uses less XP if you do one career at a time (it doesn’t save that much) you can also spend XP outside the career of your GM agrees it makes sense. There’s no limit to how far you can develop your careers skills and allowed stats. You could spend your entire campaign as a wizards apprentice if that’s what you wanted.
4) Advantage/Disadvantage, Easy/Challenging/Hard rolls
You can roll two percentage dice and take the better result if you have advantage (or worse if you have disadvantage). Or you can get a bonus/penalty to the roll depending on circumstances? Why in the name of hell do you have two mechanics to do the same thing?

Not sure where you’re getting the reroll s from. That’s not how advantage works in 4e. It’s an accruing bonus you get in combat to represent the momentum of the fight and to speed things up.

It sounds like you’re conflating this with test difficulty which is generally +0 in combat or +20 outside the pressure of combat unless there are particularly difficult circumstances.

5) Bonuses after Successful Checks
You have to keep track of all your successes in a row to get bonuses to future die rolls. There's plenty to keep up with in a combat. As a GM, am I supposed to also track this for all enemies? Bad mechanic.
This is only for advantage - which players would normally track themselves. Also dramatic tests where success could take several rounds, like picking a lock. Most tests I see are simple or opposed just like in 5e.

I highly recommend the Ratcatchers Guild on Discord. You can find the link on their Facebook page. They cover all editions of WFRP and generally answer questions within a few minutes of posting. You can also search for pretty much any rules query you have. It will be in there!

Either way good luck. I’ve ran Shadows over Bogenhafen in Pathfinder and 5e. Just cut out magic from PCs and it’s not much different to running in Middle Earth. If you want a simple version of 5e then use Cubicle 7’s AIME. It will get you through.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
The biggest issue you’ll find is that D&D class abilities are largely combat related. Whereas combat is rare and extremely dramatic in WFRP.

Unless PCs are total murder-hobo-psychopaths there are only 3 ‘normal’ fights in Shadows over Bogenhafen. Two of these are with single creatures. There are lots of options for other combat if things go wrong but largely against watchmen or a guard and his dog.
 

Retreater

Legend
To my knowledge there are no charts to reference, except for unusual skills like Leadership say.
p 152 "The Outcomes Table" which details 8 different degrees of success or failure.
This is only for advantage - which players would normally track themselves.
It is calculated after every opposed roll. Which is basically every attack roll in every combat, constantly in flux based on if you failed to gain advantage that round, get outnumbered, spend it to disengage, have skills or talents that change it, and probably a host of other situations. Do I track this for enemies? Along with wounds, armor ratings, toughness modifiers, lingering injuries, etc.? I don't want to have to keep a spreadsheet to keep up with this stuff.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
p 152 "The Outcomes Table" which details 8 different degrees of success or failure.

It is calculated after every opposed roll. Which is basically every attack roll in every combat, constantly in flux based on if you failed to gain advantage that round, get outnumbered, spend it to disengage, have skills or talents that change it, and probably a host of other situations. Do I track this for enemies? Along with wounds, armor ratings, toughness modifiers, lingering injuries, etc.? I don't want to have to keep a spreadsheet to keep up with this stuff.
Ah yeah, you don’t really check a table. That just tells you that the amount of success or failure can flexibly affect the outcome... if you want. Normally SLs are self evident.

Advantage is one of the new and controversial things in the game. Cap Zap will tell you it’s boinked. Others will tell you it’s fine. There is lots of advice about simplifying it. You can scrap it altogether, or run group advantage for enemies, or limit it to a fixed number. 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. personally I don’t mind it. As I said in the other thread I use the red circles on a token to track the advantage.

If you drop it, you just have to tell players that advantage based talents don’t work, and slightly modify some creatures attacks that use advantage but it’s not hard.

Foundry VTT completely automated everything. It’s very good as an alternative to Roll20 and it has a lot of support and an amazing designer Moo Man who is very active and is constantly developing WFRP resources for it, available at cubicle 7. It’s not too dissimilar to Roll20 but has some nifty features like Players being able to open doors - that you can lock or hide.
 

p 152 "The Outcomes Table" which details 8 different degrees of success or failure.

It is calculated after every opposed roll. Which is basically every attack roll in every combat, constantly in flux based on if you failed to gain advantage that round, get outnumbered, spend it to disengage, have skills or talents that change it, and probably a host of other situations. Do I track this for enemies? Along with wounds, armor ratings, toughness modifiers, lingering injuries, etc.? I don't want to have to keep a spreadsheet to keep up with this stuff.
All of this is why we never recommended 4th edition in the first place. 1st and 2nd edition don't need to be adapted for OSR, because they're already OSR.
 


TheSword

Legend
Supporter
Having played 1st and 2nd Ed extensively, 4e definitely sorts several issues. Including the Whiff factor, the ridiculous OP combinations dwarf slayers for instance, drawn out combats early into campaigns. It’s madness not to give the current edition a go.
 

Delazar

Adventurer
My groups are moving more and more to OSR systems and away from trying out "new" systems. Not to mention we're also playing on VTT that aren't ideal for teaching new systems and implementing ruleset idiosyncrasies. A goal I've had for a few decades is to run Warhammer Fantasy's well-regarded "Enemy Within" campaign, and I've started collecting the 4e WHFRPG's revised books. Only problem is, I don't see us being able to play it in that system. (I GMed a handful of sessions using that ruleset before moving players and the pandemic broke up the group.)
What would be some easy to implement rules changes - if any - to give OSR systems a Warhammer feel? My gut-reaction is that we limit non-human PCs to reflect a more humanocentric world, maybe allow being reduced to 0 HP having a critical injury chart instead of instant death, put in some kind of roll mechanic for magic. I'm thinking that AC can maybe work the same way, even though it wouldn't be as DR - it just makes a low roll be a non-hit.
What do experienced WHFRPG and OSR GMs think?

I've done this in the past, with BECM. In all honesty, I didn't add any rule, I just played the module, but we used DnD rules. We were all quite versed in WH lore, and that was really all that was needed.

The cleric prayed to Sigmar, the wizard selected mostly spells related to his wind (Aqshy), the fighter was a fighter, and the rogue was a rogue.

Worked like a charm.

I could see it working perfectly also with DnD 5e free Basic rules, if you feel like giving it a shot.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
IMHO, you can get close enough for government work by cutting and pasting what you think is best for you from previous efforts:



Have a good look at those and see what you can port over that works best.

The Important thing to maintain the WH feel is to not have hit points that increase by level.

Going to a Fixed Hit point total changes "D&D" a lot. And leaving in the hit point level inflation is the main reason d20 games got a rep for not fitting the genre's they were churned out for.

But if you fix the HP at a low amount you can get a very gritty feel to the game.
... you do gain wounds (ie "HP") as you go up in career. A "first level" fighter might have 10-12 wounds. A 3rd career one might have 20.

However, your toughness ablates damage, your armor ablates damage, and you are better at parrying and dodging blows. All these skills/abilities go up as you improve, so even though a "high level fighter" only has 8 wounds more than a low level one, the high level fighter is much tougher/survivable!

... but a lucky shot can kill even the most hardened veteran, so you can never "ignore" arrows, the way a high level fighter in D&D can ignore a few goblin arrows.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Having played 1st and 2nd Ed extensively, 4e definitely sorts several issues. Including the Whiff factor, the ridiculous OP combinations dwarf slayers for instance, drawn out combats early into campaigns. It’s madness not to give the current edition a go.
I'm very concerned about the death spiral built in the new system.
 



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