Warhammer frpg - 2e vs 4e

TheSword

Legend
The Starter Set adventure. Without getting into spoilers for that adventure, I'll drop hints. They just took a strange moonlit walk and ran into some questionable shifty folks.
With another group a couple years ago I ran the first two chapters of Enemy in Shadows before people moved and the game fell apart.
Nice. I’m going to start Enemy Within with If Looks Could Kill just before the Coach and Horses. My plan is to weave Oldenhaller Contract into Enemy Within set in Altdorf and replace the Valentina’s etc with the Hooks and Fishes. I think getting on the wrong side of those two gangs is a much better reason to flee Altdorf than the existing reason. Plus it means I can run Night at the Opera some time and bring back Oldenhaller. I can’t wait to run that adventure.
 

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Retreater

Legend
Nice. I’m going to start Enemy Within with If Looks Could Kill just before the Coach and Horses. My plan is to weave Oldenhaller Contract into Enemy Within set in Altdorf and replace the Valentina’s etc with the Hooks and Fishes. I think getting on the wrong side of those two gangs is a much better reason to flee Altdorf than the existing reason. Plus it means I can run Night at the Opera some time and bring back Oldenhaller. I can’t wait to run that adventure.
That sounds great. There's so many fantastic adventures and settings to explore, I would be intimidated trying to add more to Enemy Within. Even the companion books have so much. I'm concerned that if I add much more I will overwhelm my players. Even with the Starter Set they were imagining conspiracies and intricate plots and getting decision paralysis.
 

TheSword

Legend
That sounds great. There's so many fantastic adventures and settings to explore, I would be intimidated trying to add more to Enemy Within. Even the companion books have so much. I'm concerned that if I add much more I will overwhelm my players. Even with the Starter Set they were imagining conspiracies and intricate plots and getting decision paralysis.
I get you. The companions are packed. My plan is to add things that complement, otherwise stick to the plan.

For instance I’ve always thought Joseph Quartjin kinda pops out of nowhere in Altdorf so I’m going to have the Berebli be the ship that takes them downriver in Looks Could Kill. Try and build a bit of rapport earlier.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I do think you can break the game that way though. I don’t think a game should have to physically make that impossible to not be a crappy game. It was the same with every edition of WFRP and Dark Heresy.
It needn't be "physically impossible". It should definitely be expensive, and require painful sacrifice elsewhere. That's just not the case in WFRP4.

I can't speak of Dark Heresy, but WFRP2 does not allow you to trivially boost your Fellowship score, for instance, to completely short-circuit the social aspects of the game. More importantly, as long as you don't base your resolution outcomes entirely on "degrees of success" (2E's term for Success Levels) it's fine to pitch 80% Charm against 30% Willpower (or whatever is suitable for the encounter at hand). It is the combination of allowing players to boost individual skill scores without having to also increase other related values AND the opposed test system that truly breaks the game.

This is not a case of a munchkin merely putting all her XP into Charm/Fellowship at the expense of never leaving her initial career. This will happen naturally to balanced players that just are never held back by the system, players that might not realize the game isn't equipped for the very natural choices the game allows them to make. (Here I'm referring to the fact that while heroes in D&D gain very high attack scores, for instance, that is never a gameplay issue since the foes you are supposed to fight gain very high Armor Class scores. But WFRP4 monsters and NPCs just never are designed with this in mind; almost as if the creatures are written with 2E in mind, completely unawares that the system has abandoned most every check and balance...)

Unlike most games I've encountered WFRP4 does break the game. It's a glaring flaw, and one that didn't need to be there. But still - had this been one out of a few areas where WFRP4 did something wonky or bad compared to other games it would be fine. Especially if it also did some or many things right or better than the alternatives.

Since my comprehensive coverage of the game has shown me that it does not do that - almost every single thing added by 4E not already present in the Warhammer lineup makes my WFRP experience worse: slower, more complex, fiddly, hard, changing the way the world works in ways I don't appreciate, and/or outright broken - I can't find any argument to play it. It's an example of irredeemable effort.

That is, any argument other than possibly "it's there" (and its cousin "I like physical books and can't find a used copy of WFRP2 conveniently enough"). Even there I sincerely recommend you look elsewhere. Just to repeat a single suggestion: the Warlock! game from Fire Ruby designs.

As for the argument "since there exists people liking WFRP4 Zapp must be wrong" you will simply have to watch me shrug. I am not going to enter the rabbit hole of trying to understand every person. Besides I would struggle to find nice things to say of their behavior anyway.

Have a nice day
 
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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Normal SL: Tens of your skill minus the tens of your roll. So if you have a skill of 54 and roll 12, your SL is 5-1= 4.

Fast SL: On a success, SL is the tens of your roll. So if you have a skill of 54 and roll 12, your SL is 1. On a failure, as normal.

One requires subtraction which takes time, the other just checking the die result. From an aesthetic perspective, one might prefer that SL be connected to the margin of success, but the probabilities are similar if not identical (fast gives you more SL 0, normal gives you more maxed SL).
ah, so SL is "success levels". So under normal SL rules, you want to roll as low as possible. If your Skill is 43, rolling 01 is the best. Under fast SL, the best roll would be 42 (43?), so you want to roll as high as possible without going over your skill. Did I get that right?
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
My biggest issue with the game is that if you’re an optimizer you can break the system. If your players are going to ignore the lore and are the type to squeeze every ounce out of a ‘build’ they’ve found on the internet or select the most powerful talents multiple times and ignore the rest, then they will rip the game apart. It’s been the same for every edition of WFRP, in fact every d100 game I’ve ever seen.
I am baffled by this comment. You don't have "builds" in warhammer 2e. You can't. You don't choose your stats, you don't even choose your starting career!

Sure, you can improve some stats before others (WS is usually a good idea). there are a few choices between talents. You can also pick your next career, although it may not be the one you really want. But we are miles from 5e/3e/PF 's "builds".

I'll also note that in 2e, your skill levels and ability levels were capped by your career. So if you were a ratcatcher, you could improve your WS by 5% (if memory serves). If you wanted a better WS, you needed to switch to a new career, and to do that you had to "complete" your current career, so it was impossible to just chase one skill/ability and ignore all the others.

Have things changed that much in 4e?
 

TheSword

Legend
I am baffled by this comment. You don't have "builds" in warhammer 2e. You can't. You don't choose your stats, you don't even choose your starting career!

Sure, you can improve some stats before others (WS is usually a good idea). there are a few choices between talents. You can also pick your next career, although it may not be the one you really want. But we are miles from 5e/3e/PF 's "builds".

I'll also note that in 2e, your skill levels and ability levels were capped by your career. So if you were a ratcatcher, you could improve your WS by 5% (if memory serves). If you wanted a better WS, you needed to switch to a new career, and to do that you had to "complete" your current career, so it was impossible to just chase one skill/ability and ignore all the others.

Have things changed that much in 4e?
So in 4e characteristics are still linked to career, but they’re not capped. So you can invest in a single stat - at diminishing returns in XP. Those diminishing returns are severe though. Going from 31 to 32 cost four times as much as going from 7 to 8. Going from 56 to 57 costs eleven times as much.

By build, I mean creating a character as a one trick pony, specifically choosing combinations of talents, equipment and skills/stats to maximize an effect. I don’t like it, but I see it as an unavoidable consequence of giving people choice.

It is heavily discouraged by the diminishing returns but it is possible. It’s also where I see a lot of the broken maths that Zapp is talking about.
 

TheSword

Legend
It needn't be "physically impossible". It should definitely be expensive, and require painful sacrifice elsewhere. That's just not the case in WFRP4.

I can't speak of Dark Heresy, but WFRP2 does not allow you to trivially boost your Fellowship score, for instance, to completely short-circuit the social aspects of the game. More importantly, as long as you don't base your resolution outcomes entirely on "degrees of success" (2E's term for Success Levels) it's fine to pitch 80% Charm against 30% Willpower (or whatever is suitable for the encounter at hand). It is the combination of allowing players to boost individual skill scores without having to also increase other related values AND the opposed test system that truly breaks the game.

This is not a case of a munchkin merely putting all her XP into Charm/Fellowship at the expense of never leaving her initial career. This will happen naturally to balanced players that just are never held back by the system, players that might not realize the game isn't equipped for the very natural choices the game allows them to make. (Here I'm referring to the fact that while heroes in D&D gain very high attack scores, for instance, that is never a gameplay issue since the foes you are supposed to fight gain very high Armor Class scores. But WFRP4 monsters and NPCs just never are designed with this in mind; almost as if the creatures are written with 2E in mind, completely unawares that the system has abandoned most every check and balance...)

Unlike most games I've encountered WFRP4 does break the game. It's a glaring flaw, and one that didn't need to be there. But still - had this been one out of a few areas where WFRP4 did something wonky or bad compared to other games it would be fine. Especially if it also did some or many things right or better than the alternatives.

Since my comprehensive coverage of the game has shown me that it does not do that - almost every single thing added by 4E not already present in the Warhammer lineup makes my WFRP experience worse: slower, more complex, fiddly, hard, changing the way the world works in ways I don't appreciate, and/or outright broken - I can't find any argument to play it. It's an example of irredeemable effort.

That is, any argument other than possibly "it's there" (and its cousin "I like physical books and can't find a used copy of WFRP2 conveniently enough"). Even there I sincerely recommend you look elsewhere. Just to repeat a single suggestion: the Warlock! game from Fire Ruby designs.

As for the argument "since there exists people liking WFRP4 Zapp must be wrong" you will simply have to watch me shrug. I am not going to enter the rabbit hole of trying to understand every person. Besides I would struggle to find nice things to say of their behavior anyway.

Have a nice day
Let’s just agree to disagree then. We’re both just making assertions at this point. Nice to day to you!
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
So in 4e characteristics are still linked to career, but they’re not capped. So you can invest in a single stat - at diminishing returns in XP. Those diminishing returns are severe though. Going from 31 to 32 cost four times as much as going from 7 to 8. Going from 56 to 57 costs eleven times as much.

By build, I mean creating a character as a one trick pony, specifically choosing combinations of talents, equipment and skills/stats to maximize an effect. I don’t like it, but I see it as an unavoidable consequence of giving people choice.

It is heavily discouraged by the diminishing returns but it is possible. It’s also where I see a lot of the broken maths that Zapp is talking about.
This sounds like a clear downgrade form 2e then... ie it's a problem that 4e made possible?
 

Retreater

Legend
So my history with WFRP was I played a bit of 1e, purchased 2e and still have my hardcover books in great shape (because I never got to play it). I tried 3e and didn't like it. And 4e ... well, I love the feel of the setting, really want to play The Enemy Within, but the rules are seeming like a stumbling block.
So this morning I'm cracking open the 2e core book and bestiary and wondering "why haven't I tried this version yet?" I'm really debating doing a trial adventure in 2e and seeing if the players prefer that version to 4e before we begin The Enemy Within.
 

TheSword

Legend
This sounds like a clear downgrade form 2e then... ie it's a problem that 4e made possible?
Problem or feature 🤷🏻‍♂️

As was said earlier, not having to repeatedly change careers is a nice improvement. That had to come with a balance.

You could build monsters in 2e. I remember stone skinned slayers!
 

Crusadius

Adventurer
This sounds like a clear downgrade form 2e then... ie it's a problem that 4e made possible?
Its merely a different way of capping Characteristics (and Skills). 2E controls it by the Career Advance Scheme, 4E controls it by making Characteristic and Skill Advances cost more in blocks of 5, and also limits Characteristic/Skill Advances to those specified by Career Level - but otherwise does not cap what you can spend your XP on.

But 4E does allow higher Skill for the Tests because you use the Characteristic + Skill for the roll. Which helps mitigate the whiff from 1E/2E.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
But 4E does allow higher Skill for the Tests because you use the Characteristic + Skill for the roll. Which helps mitigate the whiff from 1E/2E.
This was the case in 2e - save for weapons test.

What is the "attack sequence" in 4e? I'll explain what I mean by explaining the 2e one:

1: Roll a WS test (example: your WS is 43, roll 43 or less on a 1d100). If this succeed go to step 2
2: IF the enemy is able to, the enemy will do a parry (a weapon skill test) or a dodge skill test to avoid the attack. If this fails go to step 3
3: Roll damage (usually 1d10+ Strenght Bonus, which is usually in the 2-6 range, 3 being "normal")
4: Reduce damage by armor (if any) and toughness bonus (in many cases, toughness and strength cancel each other out)
5: Apply damage. If less than 0 wounds left, roll for a critical hit.
 

GreyLord

Legend
Personally, I prefer 2e to 4e.

The REAL problem is 4e is too dang complex in comparison. People talk about SL's...those are TRASH in my book. People complained about THAC0 in D&D 2e...that has NOTHING on SL's in 4e.

It's FAR too complicated for what I like to play overall.

I DO make it work though, as 4e books are a lot easier to get than 2e books. We use 2e's combat system rather than 4e's combat system.

Of course, the problem with this is 4e has unrestrained/unrestricted ability increases, which means getting something over 100% is a guarantee if you play a very long campaign. Only solution is to restrict maximum abilities to something around 90 (inclusive of magic) or play shorter campaigns.

These people have played all sorts of systems from the complex ICE games to palladium to D&D (every version, inclusive of 2e and 4e which people regularly complain about complexities) and many other games. When you look around the digital table via portal and see slack jawed looks of incomprehension...well...for me that tells me that WHFRP4e has too complex of a combat system in general. It may look good on paper, but explaining it to people really...the best solution for me was to use an older WHFRP system (1e or 2e...heck...even 3e is easier to understand...BY A LOT).

On the otherhand, magic is nicer in many ways under 4e both on players and the Game master. Other things work out nicely.

The one onus of 4e is how they rewrote the combat system though...at least for me.
 

GreyLord

Legend
ah, so SL is "success levels". So under normal SL rules, you want to roll as low as possible. If your Skill is 43, rolling 01 is the best. Under fast SL, the best roll would be 42 (43?), so you want to roll as high as possible without going over your skill. Did I get that right?
We don't really use the SL in 4e anymore, but remembering now (still use the rulebook, but not the SL system)...nor only do you need to roll low, but also high. Lower than the score, but higher than the opposition score.

The bigger problem we ran into was that you have to constantly change the math up every single round, so it's a constantly shifting number sequence.

This sounds like a clear downgrade form 2e then... ie it's a problem that 4e made possible?

I don't think it's necessarily a downgrade, it just depends on how you like to play the game. If you use the SL's of 4e (which we don't), then yes, it can become a problem. If you play it as intended, it kind of just goes with the flow of the game itself.

The one advantage of it is that you never hit the peak. In otherwords, you never hit the top, so for extremely long campaigns where people never want to stop advancing their characters abilities, this is probably a bonus for them.
 

Crusadius

Adventurer
The bigger problem we ran into was that you have to constantly change the math up every single round, so it's a constantly shifting number sequence.
I have been thinking that perhaps 4E should have changed from roll under the Characteristic to roll >= 100% i.e. Characteristic/Skill + roll must be greater than or equal to 100% for success. Then who wins becomes who rolled highest, SL is just the difference in the tens of each roll. But this would also require changes to how Advantage works.

You could even remove the opposed roll by calculating a target % roll of 50% plus the Characteristic/Skill (instead of having 100%) but this might be more complicated for calculation of SL.
 
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macd21

Adventurer
This was the case in 2e - save for weapons test.

What is the "attack sequence" in 4e? I'll explain what I mean by explaining the 2e one:

1: Roll a WS test (example: your WS is 43, roll 43 or less on a 1d100). If this succeed go to step 2
2: IF the enemy is able to, the enemy will do a parry (a weapon skill test) or a dodge skill test to avoid the attack. If this fails go to step 3
3: Roll damage (usually 1d10+ Strenght Bonus, which is usually in the 2-6 range, 3 being "normal")
4: Reduce damage by armor (if any) and toughness bonus (in many cases, toughness and strength cancel each other out)
5: Apply damage. If less than 0 wounds left, roll for a critical hit.
In 4e:

1. Attacker rolls, trying to get under Melee skill (+/- relevant modifiers) and determines SL by comparing the tens dice to Melee skill (so roll 15 against Melee skill 42 = SL 3). If the attacker rolls a double he will inflict a crit (if under Melee skill) or suffer a fumble (if over), in addition to any other outcome of the attack.
2. Defender does the same, but can choose to roll against Dodge instead of Melee. If he rolls against Melee, then doubles can also cause crits or fumbles.
3. Compare SLs. If the attacker has higher, he hits and gains 1 advantage. If the defender has higher the attack misses and the defender gains 1 advantage. The loser loses all advantage.

So an example: Bob (melee 44) charges Tim (melee 35). Because he charged, Bob gains one advantage, so he’s rolling against 54. He rolls a 41, so he gets 1 SL. Tim rolls a 11, so he’ll inflict a crit and gets 2 SL. Bob loses the exchange, and now has no advantage, while Tim has 1.

Tim then strikes back. Because he has advantage he’s rolling against 45, but gets 55. That’s -1 SL, and a fumble. But Bob rolls a 80, which is -4 SL. Because Bob’s SL is worse than Tim’s, Tim still hits.

The exchange might be described like this: Bob charges forward, stabbing carefully at Tim, but Tim parries his thrust and deftly slices at his leg, cutting him deeply (the crit). As Bob stumbles, his momentum lost, Tim strikes back. It’s a clumsy blow, but it gets past Bob’s flailing parry - but not without cost, as Tim’s sword slips from his grip (the fumble). Bob is now badly hurt and off balance, but Tim is unarmed…
 

Staffan

Legend
ah, so SL is "success levels". So under normal SL rules, you want to roll as low as possible. If your Skill is 43, rolling 01 is the best. Under fast SL, the best roll would be 42 (43?), so you want to roll as high as possible without going over your skill. Did I get that right?
Right. There is a slight difference in probability at the ends, but otherwise it works out the same.

Under the normal rules, if my skill is 43, the chances of different SLs is as follows:
0: 4% (40-43)
1 through 3: 10% each (30-39, 20-29, 10-19)
4: 9% (01-09)

With fast SL, the ends reverse:
0: 9% (01-09)
1 through 3 (10-19, 20-29, 30-39)
4: 4% (40-43)

As for how it plays, I have only played it once. We thought the Advantage mechanic was a bit cumbersome but figured it would work itself out once we had more experience with the system.

The one thing I thought was weird was the economy, or rather how two parts of it both individually make sense but when combined it becomes nonsensical. The first is that after each adventure, you can spend any money you made on whatever you want. But in between adventures, you normally spend all your money on repairs, living expenses, bribes, donations, whatever. There are two ways around this: Banking or earning Income. Both take one downtime unit, of which you can't have more than three in between adventures. Banking lets you save money either by investing it (not available for the lowest social classes) or just stashing it. Investing is somewhat safer, and can earn you interest, but requires you to spend another downtime unit to get your money back. On one level, I like this idea, as it keeps PCs hungry for lucrative adventuring.

Each character has a social standing, primarily defined by what sort of currency they use: Gold (merchant lords, nobles, otherwise wealthy), Silver (respectable tradesmen, professionals, common merchants), or Brass (peasants, criminals, lower-class professions). Within each, there are 5 sub-tiers (so you have Brass 1-5, Silver 1-5, and Gold 1-5). This is primarily dependent on your career, and one of the perks of advancing in your career is that you improve your status (e.g. an Engineer goes from Brass 4 to Silver 2, Silver 4, and Gold 2). Earning income gets you money based on this social standing. This is also cool, because it brings home how socially stratified people of the Empire are. It also carries a fair bit of the "roughness" I like about Warhammer – you start out playing ratcatchers, pit fighters, coachmen, and the like. By my count, 42 of the 64 starting careers in the rule book are brass tier. So an Income endeavour will earn them 2-10 d10 brass pennies, of which there are 12 to a silver shilling and 240 to a gold crown.

The problem is that pretty much everything that's of interest to an adventurer has prices listed in Gold Coins. Even a basic Hand Weapon costs 1 GC. A Shield costs 2 GC. A bow is 4 GC. Being fully armored in mail will set you back 6 GCs. A pistol costs 8 GC, so good luck if you're a starting Engineer (Brass 4) who wants to get some use out of your Ranged (Blackpowder) skill....
 


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