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Opinions on Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4ed?

beholdsa

Explorer
WFRP 4e is the best edition of Warhammer Fantasy yet! It fixes lots of small problems from the older editions and the production values are great.
 

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macd21

Adventurer
Disclosure: I wrote two adventures for WFRP 4.

4ed is by far my favorite edition of WFRP, solving the issues that put me off 1st and 2nd ed. But 4 creates issues of its own. A lot of it is just in parsing the rules. Space in the core book was tight, with the result that examples were cut. if you’re reading the rules for the first time, you should keep a copy of the errata and both the official and unofficial FAQs handy. But once you grasp the rules, the game is fine. There are a few bits people like to house rule (advantage isn’t to everyone’s taste, and magic probably needs some tweaking), but it’s a lot better than 2nd ed.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
Disclosure: I wrote two adventures for WFRP 4.

4ed is by far my favorite edition of WFRP, solving the issues that put me off 1st and 2nd ed. But 4 creates issues of its own. A lot of it is just in parsing the rules. Space in the core book was tight, with the result that examples were cut. if you’re reading the rules for the first time, you should keep a copy of the errata and both the official and unofficial FAQs handy. But once you grasp the rules, the game is fine. There are a few bits people like to house rule (advantage isn’t to everyone’s taste, and magic probably needs some tweaking), but it’s a lot better than 2nd ed.
Awesome. Would you be willing to share which?

I’m a big fan of it so far.

Regarding the advantage, ironically in Covid times using a VTT seems to make it much faster and smoother as the macros work out the calculations for you. Very satisfactory.
 

macd21

Adventurer
Awesome. Would you be willing to share which?

I’m a big fan of it so far.

Regarding the advantage, ironically in Covid times using a VTT seems to make it much faster and smoother as the macros work out the calculations for you. Very satisfactory.
Bait and Witch and Double Trouble.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
Bait and Witch and Double Trouble.
Nice, two of my favorites from a book of good adventures. It’s really refreshing after the far more straightforward hack and slash of d&d and pathfinder.

I was really chuffed to see Ubersreik adventure 2 coming out. Hopefully we’ll see more of the same?
 

macd21

Adventurer
Nice, two of my favorites from a book of good adventures. It’s really refreshing after the far more straightforward hack and slash of d&d and pathfinder.

I was really chuffed to see Ubersreik adventure 2 coming out. Hopefully we’ll see more of the same?
Hopefully. Afraid I’m out of the loop at the moment, as some day-job commitments have meant I’ve had to put WFRP writing on hold. But Dom and Padraig certainly seem to have a lot of releases lined up!
 

CapnZapp

Legend
After having played 4th Edition extensively, I'm afraid I have found that nearly none of the rules additions made in 4th edition work.

At all. Some of them are so ineptly imbalanced it is a disgrace Cubicle 7 allowed the game to release in such a state.

Just to pick the largest elephant of many in the room: Advantage.

It. Just. Doesn't. Work.

Advantage in WFRP4 is a mechanism whereby you keep getting +10% bonuses (the game uses percentile dice) each time you succeed. When you lose you lose all of the advantage you've accumulated. This massively transforms the game, and not in a good way. In fact game-play becomes unrecognizable from the rather down-to-earth game WFRP has always been, and WFRP4 still pretends to be (even though it secretly wants to be more like Warhammer Fantasy Battle).

If your players are even a little trying to act in rational and effective ways, they will immediately start chasing Advantage, rather than performing actions that make sense in the game and in the scene. You will always go for the easy shot, since you can always attempt more difficult actions later, when you've amassed a game-changing +40% or some such... You will also start looking to prevent the monsters from going on an "Advantage avalanche", meaning you will find yourself taking actions from a pure meta perspective. ("I know it makes no sense to whack this Orc here, but trust me, he would have become unstoppable if I didn't").

That kind of meta game might have worked for the Hulk and Black Widow - but it falls completely flat in a game featuring ratcatchers and guttersnipes.

Advantage is just one out of far too many rules additions that have been added with seemingly no play-testing, and no thought on how all these new rules add together. 4E also introduces opposed checks. A given bonus (say +20%) that works fine in 2E is almost always too large in 4E. This seems to have flewn right past the devs - most numbers remain in the same ball-park (if not identical). While getting the above +40% in 2E would be good - great even - it would still not save you against the monster, since you don't oppose its rolls, and you have limited chances at active defense. In 4E, it changes everything, and basically lets you go on a super-hero spree that I can't believe anyone want.

WFRP4 is a horrible mess of a system. Nearly every facet of the 2E rules have been made more complicated, with loads and loads AND LOADS of little niggly special conditions and exceptions... but Warhammer doesn't need a massively complex game. (Don't get me started on how fiendishly complicated resolving an attack can become once the PC and the NPC becomes moderately complex - there are Talents who only activate on a success, separate from a win; there are modifiers from talents, equipment, injury, circumstances, the enemy... it all too easily becomes nightmarishly complex. I'm talking D&D 4th edition levels of cluttery complexity)

Weapons, Armor, Critical Hits, Monsters, Talents... every one of these areas has been cluttered down with loads of little special conditions and modifiers that make it much much harder to gamesmaster WFRP4 than WFRP2.

Wizards start out cripplingly ineffective, only to become entirely unbalanced powerhouses given experience and a minmaxed talent selection. Warhammer has always featured a boring spell selection far too combat-focused, but in WFRP4 you don't even need the spells with higher Casting Numbers. Dart and Blast will remain far superior no matter how powerful you become, because - again - several rules changes were implemented at the same time without anyone considering the complete picture.

Warhammer doesn't need most of the rules additions offered by WFRP4, even if they had worked.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
After having played 4th Edition extensively, I'm afraid I have found that nearly none of the rules additions made in 4th edition work.

At all. Some of them are so ineptly imbalanced it is a disgrace Cubicle 7 allowed the game to release in such a state.

Just to pick the largest elephant of many in the room: Advantage.

It. Just. Doesn't. Work.

Advantage in WFRP4 is a mechanism whereby you keep getting +10% bonuses (the game uses percentile dice) each time you succeed. When you lose you lose all of the advantage you've accumulated. This massively transforms the game, and not in a good way. In fact game-play becomes unrecognizable from the rather down-to-earth game WFRP has always been, and WFRP4 still pretends to be (even though it secretly wants to be more like Warhammer Fantasy Battle).

If your players are even a little trying to act in rational and effective ways, they will immediately start chasing Advantage, rather than performing actions that make sense in the game and in the scene. You will always go for the easy shot, since you can always attempt more difficult actions later, when you've amassed a game-changing +40% or some such... You will also start looking to prevent the monsters from going on an "Advantage avalanche", meaning you will find yourself taking actions from a pure meta perspective. ("I know it makes no sense to whack this Orc here, but trust me, he would have become unstoppable if I didn't").

That kind of meta game might have worked for the Hulk and Black Widow - but it falls completely flat in a game featuring ratcatchers and guttersnipes.

Advantage is just one out of far too many rules additions that have been added with seemingly no play-testing, and no thought on how all these new rules add together. 4E also introduces opposed checks. A given bonus (say +20%) that works fine in 2E is almost always too large in 4E. This seems to have flewn right past the devs - most numbers remain in the same ball-park (if not identical). While getting the above +40% in 2E would be good - great even - it would still not save you against the monster, since you don't oppose its rolls, and you have limited chances at active defense. In 4E, it changes everything, and basically lets you go on a super-hero spree that I can't believe anyone want.

WFRP4 is a horrible mess of a system. Nearly every facet of the 2E rules have been made more complicated, with loads and loads AND LOADS of little niggly special conditions and exceptions... but Warhammer doesn't need a massively complex game. (Don't get me started on how fiendishly complicated resolving an attack can become once the PC and the NPC becomes moderately complex - there are Talents who only activate on a success, separate from a win; there are modifiers from talents, equipment, injury, circumstances, the enemy... it all too easily becomes nightmarishly complex. I'm talking D&D 4th edition levels of cluttery complexity)

Weapons, Armor, Critical Hits, Monsters, Talents... every one of these areas has been cluttered down with loads of little special conditions and modifiers that make it much much harder to gamesmaster WFRP4 than WFRP2.

Wizards start out cripplingly ineffective, only to become entirely unbalanced powerhouses given experience and a minmaxed talent selection. Warhammer has always featured a boring spell selection far too combat-focused, but in WFRP4 you don't even need the spells with higher Casting Numbers. Dart and Blast will remain far superior no matter how powerful you become, because - again - several rules changes were implemented at the same time without anyone considering the complete picture.

Warhammer doesn't need most of the rules additions offered by WFRP4, even if they had worked.
At the risk of opening a can of worms, I think it very much depends on the mix of careers in the party and which optional rules get used.

I don’t think there’s any doubt the system can be exploited with the right combinations. That was the same in earlier editions too though, just different exploits.

I think the combat modifiers make things very swingy and need reigning in. I use very strict interpretations of when outnumbering happens for instance. I never had a problem with advantage per se, limited to Agility but in combo with the combat modifiers i do find it overwhelming.

I also found it necessary to allow actions in combat to break the advantage cycle as a DM. This requires some judgement calls, but it might include a PC flipping over a table as part of a Defence roll to get an extra modifier, or a troll smashing down a wall to break the combat up. It may not be ideal but it works for me.

Also the suggested implementation of part-Channeling help make more powerful spells more viable. I see the spellcasting rules as a base and I’m sure it will develop as time goes on.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
For one, I’d love there to be more of a WFRP community ( for any edition) on Enworld. I’m on the rat catchers guild but I find discord quite challenging.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
That was the same in earlier editions too though, just different exploits.
No, that's relativizing. It makes it seem like the issues with each edition are comparable.

I have played 1E, 2E and 4E. I don't deny 1E and 2E has specific issues. I emphatically disagree the issues with 4E is anywhere close to that. 1E and 2E were relatively simple games. 4E is not. It is a ramshackle construction that falls under its own weight as soon as you give it a real look.

I've played 4E for over a year, and the players have seen gameplay at 0 XP as well as many thousands of XP. I am no stranger to creating house rules, but I have simply given up - I have tried real hard to make 4E work (modding Advantage, the injury system, how armors and shield works, creating monsters, and so on and so on), but I've realized the only way to do so is by ripping out essentially everything that's new in 4E.

Not even the new career system, with you purchasing points of characteristics and skills separately, works in the end - it's far too easy to max out, say, Fellowship and Charm, and essentially mind-control every hapless NPC (whose "defense" value of Will Power is easily crushable). Think of it like an edition of D&D where the developers suddenly allowed you to increase your attack bonus by another +10 or so - but completely forgot that everybody's AC stayed the same. It would be funny if it weren't so tragic. (D&D offers saving throws that increase automatically with your power for a reason, folks!)

As soon as you get to 70% or 80% in some skill (and remember, now you have a 70% or 80% chance at getting one or three extra success levels thanks to how Talents are designed!), you have basically won that interaction on walk-over - the GM can no longer offer any meaningful opposition (unless they in turn completely dominate your friends who didn't pursue that specific skill). It is yet one more idea that sounded cool but just doesn't work. It's at least three ideas that in isolation might come off as reasonable - "open-ended skill advances", "opposed checks", and "talent bonuses" - but when combined, just is a mess. 4E is that mess, over and over. Individual rules added with zero thought on how they integrate with every other new rule!

In the end, we all concluded 4E is trash and when we're starting a new campaign in a few weeks time (this time I'll be a player, not the GM) we will be using 2nd edition. It might not be the most exciting of systems, but it was written by somebody who knew what he was doing.
 
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TheSword

Legend
Supporter
No, that's relativizing. It makes it seem like the issues with each edition are comparable.

I have played 1E, 2E and 4E. I don't deny 1E and 2E has specific issues. I emphatically disagree the issues with 4E is anywhere close to that. 1E and 2E were relatively simple games. 4E is not. It is a ramshackle construction that falls under its own weight as soon as you give it a real look.

I've played 4E for over a year, and the players have seen gameplay at 0 XP as well as many thousands of XP. I am no stranger to creating house rules, but I have simply given up - I have tried real hard to make 4E work (modding Advantage, the injury system, how armors and shield works, creating monsters, and so on and so on), but I've realized the only way to do so is by ripping out essentially everything that's new in 4E.

Not even the new career system, with you purchasing points of characteristics and skills separately, works in the end - it's far too easy to max out, say, Fellowship and Charm, and essentially mind-control every hapless NPC (whose "defense" value of Will Power is easily crushable). Think of it like an edition of D&D where the developers suddenly allowed you to increase your attack bonus by another +10 or so - but completely forgot that everybody's AC stayed the same. It would be funny if it weren't so tragic. (D&D offers saving throws that increase automatically with your power for a reason, folks!)

As soon as you get to 70% or 80% in some skill (and remember, now you have a 70% or 80% chance at getting one or three extra success levels thanks to how Talents are designed!), you have basically won that interaction on walk-over - the GM can no longer offer any meaningful opposition (unless they in turn completely dominate your friends who didn't pursue that specific skill). It is yet one more idea that sounded cool but just doesn't work. It's at least three ideas that in isolation might come off as reasonable - "open-ended skill advances", "opposed checks", and "talent bonuses" - but when combined, just is a mess. 4E is that mess, over and over. Individual rules added with zero thought on how they integrate with every other new rule!

In the end, we all concluded 4E is trash and when we're starting a new campaign in a few weeks time (this time I'll be a player, not the GM) we will be using 2nd edition. It might not be the most exciting of systems, but it was written by somebody who knew what he was doing.
Well Cap, Your dislike is well documented. I’m also not saying you don’t have some valid concerns.

I hope you can appreciate there are lots of us playing and enjoying it. Including people who have played multiple editions and still like and enjoy 4e.

Incidentally I just saw the suggestion to turn Advantage into a resource you spend and not be broken by taking a hit. Either use it every round for a small bonus or save up for a few rounds for that crucial attack.
 

Bilharzia

Fish Priest
I only have a brief experience with wfrp4e but my experience as far as it goes matches what @CapnZapp has described. Advantage in particular seems like a baffling in-elegant solution in search of a problem. Overall it felt like it had lots of areas of inconsistency and an odd cobbled-together feel masked by very high visual production standards. I'm sure much of it would make sense with tweaking and houserules but practically nothing about the system itself made me want to go back to it. There's lots of potential in the setting and adventures of course aside from the system.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
I would say so far the new adventures for 4th are by far the best I’ve seen since 1st edition, and they’re better by far than some of those.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
Hopefully. Afraid I’m out of the loop at the moment, as some day-job commitments have meant I’ve had to put WFRP writing on hold. But Dom and Padraig certainly seem to have a lot of releases lined up!
I just realized that Double Trouble was in UA2. I get them as they come through on DriveThru so I lose track. An adventure in each book is awesome. Shame the writing is on hold, you’ve got some awesome twists and turns there!
 

Emirikol

Adventurer
I like how easy it is to house rule the game.
We removed almost all the combat modifiers, set advantage max to 2, limited per-level characteristic and talent spamming, and it runs smooth and fast.
 

Crusadius

Explorer
I really like the changes made to character advancement that allow a character to remain in their current career but still advance. I like how 4th edition brought back the classes from 1E. I like how skills and characteristics both allow advancement. I like how social class is built into the career paths.

Combat has gotten more complicated, but it does address the whiff factor often complained about in 1E+2E. Combat also now requires players to change their tactics if they don't want to modify or remove how Advantage works.

The bestiary is... raw. Little or no advice is given on how to make the beasties challenging but I think there were space constraints. There is advice out on the interwebs by one of the developers that should have been included in the core book. I think a separate bestiary should have been one of the first supplements out to address this.

Overall I like the edition and would play it over 1st edition and 2nd. But I will note that I never have read FFG's 3rd edition so have no opinion about how it compares to 4th.
 

Emirikol

Adventurer
I disliked advantage at first, but now that we limit it to two, I can really understand what Dom was going for in the final design.
 

Emirikol

Adventurer
Agreed on social class. People mistake the levels for dnd levels. They are simply social levels.

We still play 3e and I love that system because of stance and special actions.
 

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