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Warhammer frpg - 2e vs 4e

TheSword

Legend
Like I said, any new edition will have its proponents and critics.

But surely the idea that a less complex WFRP would be more accessible to new players, and less likely to have fundamental system issues is not a controversial one.

Both things which would be net positives for the longevity of the game line.

Whereas now 4e has a reputation for complexity and wonky mechanics. Both traits which are not helpful in attracting and retaining new players for the game line.
Sure a simple system has attraction. However I’m also attracting to interesting mechanics. The greatest issue seems to be with advantage and success levels. With a fewer number of people criticising the division of the meta currency and the stacking conditions.

Personally I think SLs are a novel and interesting mechanic that I far far prefer to the Wiffliness of 1st and 2nd Ed. Out of that list SLs are the only thing essential for the rules. Advantage, conditions, and meta currency can all be toned down or removed.

Personally I think cards are a great way of tracking conditions and meta currency, and as I have said I use VTT tokens for advantage. WFRP plays very differently to D&D and indeed 2nd edition with shorter faster combat that nevertheless has more weighty decisions to make.

A simple system is fine, but it carries its own problems. Perhaps the aggregate of things it fixed from 2nd have made it cumbersome in your opinion. Though if you were a fan of 2nd edition then I’m not surprised you don’t like the system.

4e WFRP will sell well for awhile because of current fanbase snapping up the adventures and the revised TEW campaign. (A very savvy move by C7 - credit where it is due.)

All of which can be easily made to work with whatever version of 1e or 2e system that they made to work for them. (It's just replacing stat block really)

Some will flip to 4e because they like what is in that porridge.

But the real question will be for 5 or so years from now: How many new and first time players are still playing 4e?

In my opinion: WFRP 4e is the new Shadowrun 6e.

Yeah you got the old fans to check it out, and a bunch of new people took a look at the new shiny; but the underlying game mechanics aren't doing the game any favors with new player retention.
I’m not sure I agree with you. I think those people that don’t like 4e loudly and vehemently criticize it allowing for little positives. They have drawn up the lines of defense aren’t interested in any Christmas Day football matches. Everyone else is getting on with it and enjoying the new edition. Second Ed ran for 3 years. Fourth Ed has already ran for 3 and shows no sign of stopping yet. No doubt it will grind to a close eventually but it’s won enough awards that I’m confident it won’t be for a while yet.
 

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The problem is, it’s divisive. Some people hate the new edition, I personally think it’s great.
That's been the case for every edition of WFRP after 1st.

For reference, I prefer a hacked 1E (allowing 4 ranks in skills, ripped from 2E).
4E is, to me, the worst layout of any WFRP edition... especially the careers chapter.

The rules aren't horrible, but they have only one innovation that I'd take - on opposed rolls, highest success wins, if neither succeeds, lowest failure wins.
(Advantage in battle is in 1E, and less potent. I prefer it that way.)
 


TheSword

Legend
I need to oppose the notion that WFRP4 is just like any other game - "every game has its fans and its haters".

That's relativistic, and would mean there can't be good games and bad games.

WFRP4 is a bad game with terrible design. It enthusiastically just adds new subsystems, modifiers and rules with no awareness of how complex and cluttery the finished product ends up as. Everything has been made more complex than WFRP2, just making the game worse.
I hope you appreciate I take your assertion on the matter the same way I’d take your assertion that spaghetti bolognaise is a terrible meal. It’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it, but that’s entirely subjective. I think Andy Law had a great deal of awareness coming from a long knowledge and history of the game. You just don’t like the flavor of the fixes.

Most if not all of the additions (compared to WFRP2) just doesn't work. Some change the way the world work in ways that aren't appreciated. People must wear armor. Parties must have healers or they die from random injuries. They don't properly die from critical hits (instead they succumb from bleeding out). None of the new additions to magic work (at least you can ignore the new abilities).
Again, you make assertions. “People need to wear armour”, “Parties must have healers” these things just aren’t true. You might have an advantage if you have these things - like any edition of any game- but we clearly have a different definition of need.

Other rules just break the game. It's trivial to increase a Characteristic/Skill to a level no NPC can withstand. All the little modifiers make WFRP a game a magnitude more complex than it used to be. Everything works slightly differently. Talents need to be remembered, all the time... and they too exacerbate the effect of the skilled steamrolling regular opposition. Advantage transforms combats into things where only two things matter: accumulating your own Advantage while shooting down foes that are starting to accumulate Advantage of their own. This rewards playing the meta game where you take actions that make no sense in-game but optimize abstract combat rules. Shooting arrows and magic missiles become king simply because they can't be dodged/parried.
No skill check can make someone do something they wouldn’t be willing to do in some circumstance or other. My experience is that the range inherent in two d100 dice roles means that Advantage can always swing the other way. Combat in WFRP means well developed PCs can be very effective, but they can also get the s*^t kicked out of them in a way I don’t see with games like D&D.

If you want to actually argue a given rule has its merit, is decently implemented, and adds value to your game, please do. But please don't simply dismiss the specific and detailed criticism against the edition given here. This isn't a case of somebody just not liking the system, while others do like it, so it's a wash, just like most games.
Let’s be honest, I’ve seen a lot of posts over the last few years where you’ve made your loathing of the system clear. I’m never going to change your mind so what the point of us thrashing out ten rounds of yes-it-is, no-it-isn’t.

Im comfortable with the fact that you just don’t like the kind of game that 4e has become. I do. I’m not alone 🤷🏻‍♂️.

I’d go further and say if you don’t like it the game is extremely hackable and the designers offer several suggested alternatives (similar to the way 5e do). For instance I use partial channeling, staffs for touch spells and deduct up casting from the SLs of Magic missiles as suggested by Cubicle 7’s blog which combined with generous availability of Magic ingredients means magic works plenty fine for me.
 
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TheSword

Legend
Can we at least agree that 3e was a bad system?
Yes. Lol. However I absolutely love Witches Song, what is now Lord of Ubersreik and the alternative Enemy Within so I can’t hate it completely. I just strip all rules from it. I started an E6 warhammer game for pathfinder with Witches Song and it was great in a brutal way.
 

GuyBoy

Adventurer
Yes. Lol. However I absolutely love Witches Song, what is now Lord of Ubersreik and the alternative Enemy Within so I can’t hate it completely. I just strip all rules from it. I started an E6 warhammer game for pathfinder with Witches Song and it was great in a brutal way.
Testify to that: I played in that campaign, and my character was childhood friends with another character who got killed by a troll in the first session! Seriously upsetting.
 




Retreater

Legend
In 3e I made a dwarf slayer that could kill a dragon in solo combat. Then a ratcatcher who was instantly killed by a goblin. The fact that such a wide gulf existed between character power levels told me the system wasn't for me.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
The real shame of it all is that the art is amazing, the setting is wonderful, and The Enemy Within campaign is probably as good of a published adventure that has ever existed in this hobby. It's just that the system is a bit on the wonky side. Had this been made for D&D, I think it would've blown any of the official products out of the water in the opinion of many groups.
The enemy within existed far before 4e did though...
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
SLs alone aren’t enough to remove the whiff factor.
I have played extensively with wh frpg 2e and troika! (which has an opposed skill check combat resolution system).

It is simple mathematics that an opposed system reduces whiffiness, and in my opinion, sufficiently so. Allow me to demonstrate.

In warhammer 2e, at lower level, your WS tended to be poor - say 33%. Your attack had thus roughly 2/3 chance of missing from the get go - and then your foe had a chance (not great) of blocking/parrying (say 33% again), so only 22% of your hits landed. That IS whiffy.

(I'll note that aim and charge helped a bit for this, but whatever)

If you were a powerful warrior (say WS 66%) vs a low skilled for (ws 33% for the parry), your chance of landing that blow was 44%, which is better, but not amazing. Vs an equally skilled foe, you were back to a 22% chance of hitting.

(meanwhile, the unskilled fighter only has a 11% chance of hitting the skilled warrior)

But if you have an opposed check, this whiffiness vanishes. If your foe is equally good, you have 50% chance of hitting said foe! And it doesn't matter if it's two drunken peasants or 2 highly skilled duelists!

Hitting 50% of the time is not whiffy.

If it's the skilled fighter vs the unskilled one, the skilled fighter's blows will land 66% of the time (if my math is correct), so again, a clear improvement. However, the low skilled warrior's chance of hitting remains 11%.

So the problem was solved. What does advantage add to the situation?
 
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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
In 3e I made a dwarf slayer that could kill a dragon in solo combat. Then a ratcatcher who was instantly killed by a goblin. The fact that such a wide gulf existed between character power levels told me the system wasn't for me.
that's cool, but we aren't talking about that edition ;)
 



overgeeked

B/X Known World
I have played extensively with wh frpg 2e and troika! (which has an opposed skill check combat resolution system).

It is simple mathematics that an opposed system reduces whiffiness, and in my opinion, sufficiently so. Allow me to demonstrate.

In warhammer 2e, at lower level, your WS tended to be poor - say 33%. Your attack had thus roughly 2/3 chance of missing from the get go - and then your foe had a chance (not great) of blocking/parrying (say 33% again), so only 22% of your hits landed. That IS whiffy.

(I'll note that aim and charge helped a bit for this, but whatever)

If you were a powerful warrior (say WS 66%) vs a low skilled for (ws 33% for the parry), your chance of landing that blow was 44%, which is better, but not amazing. Vs an equally skilled foe, you were back to a 22% chance of hitting.

(meanwhile, the unskilled fighter only has a 11% chance of hitting the skilled warrior)

But if you have an opposed check, this whiffiness vanishes. If your foe is equally good, you have 50% chance of hitting said foe! And it doesn't matter if it's two drunken peasants or 2 highly skilled duelists!

Hitting 50% of the time is not whiffy.

If it's the skilled fighter vs the unskilled one, the skilled fighter's blows will land 66% of the time (if my math is correct), so again, a clear improvement. However, the low skilled warrior's chance of hitting remains 11%.

So the problem was solved. What does advantage add to the situation?
If it’s opposed rolls where someone is guaranteed to hit, either the attacker hitting the defender or the defender hitting the attacker, then the whiff factor vanishes entirely.
 

TheSword

Legend
I have played extensively with wh frpg 2e and troika! (which has an opposed skill check combat resolution system).

It is simple mathematics that an opposed system reduces whiffiness, and in my opinion, sufficiently so. Allow me to demonstrate.

In warhammer 2e, at lower level, your WS tended to be poor - say 33%. Your attack had thus roughly 2/3 chance of missing from the get go - and then your foe had a chance (not great) of blocking/parrying (say 33% again), so only 22% of your hits landed. That IS whiffy.

(I'll note that aim and charge helped a bit for this, but whatever)

If you were a powerful warrior (say WS 66%) vs a low skilled for (ws 33% for the parry), your chance of landing that blow was 44%, which is better, but not amazing. Vs an equally skilled foe, you were back to a 22% chance of hitting.

(meanwhile, the unskilled fighter only has a 11% chance of hitting the skilled warrior)

But if you have an opposed check, this whiffiness vanishes. If your foe is equally good, you have 50% chance of hitting said foe! And it doesn't matter if it's two drunken peasants or 2 highly skilled duelists!

Hitting 50% of the time is not whiffy.

If it's the skilled fighter vs the unskilled one, the skilled fighter's blows will land 66% of the time (if my math is correct), so again, a clear improvement. However, the low skilled warrior's chance of hitting remains 11%.

So the problem was solved. What does advantage add to the situation?
I think advantage adds the tactical decision of do you fight defensively for a round to break the advantage, do you risk disengaging to remove the enemies advantage even if you take a hit, do you gang up on a single foe to overcome them, knowing you’re leaving someone else free. For me advantage adds tactical decisions and makes combat about more than just hitting a person over the head repeatedly until they’re dead, the moving to the next person. There are also some interesting talents that play off advantage like reversal to turn the tables on people who’re winning.

In my experience Advantage swings back and forth across a combat and gives a level of drama to a fight that is quite satisfying.
 


Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
If it’s opposed rolls where someone is guaranteed to hit, either the attacker hitting the defender or the defender hitting the attacker, then the whiff factor vanishes entirely.
That's how Troika! does it, and it does have benefits... but it has weird consequences, especially when a group of low-skilled foes (say a bunch of goblins) take on a master swordsman.

With an opposed check but the defender not hitting on a win, this is still a dangerous proposition for the goblins - they are getting in range of the swordsman' deadly attacks, and they have to hope to be able to land enough him to take him down before he kills too many of them.

When it's like troika!, the more goblins attack, the more the swordsman is dangerous. So basically they could ALL get killed in a single round - each attack attempt against the master swordsman is, in most cases, one more hit vs the goblins.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I need to oppose the notion that WFRP4 is just like any other game - "every game has its fans and its haters".

That's relativistic, and would mean there can't be good games and bad games.

WFRP4 is a bad game with terrible design. It enthusiastically just adds new subsystems, modifiers and rules with no awareness of how complex and cluttery the finished product ends up as. Everything has been made more complex than WFRP2, just making the game worse.

Most if not all of the additions (compared to WFRP2) just doesn't work. Some change the way the world work in ways that aren't appreciated. People must wear armor. Parties must have healers or they die from random injuries. They don't properly die from critical hits (instead they succumb from bleeding out). None of the new additions to magic work (at least you can ignore the new abilities).

Other rules just break the game. It's trivial to increase a Characteristic/Skill to a level no NPC can withstand. All the little modifiers make WFRP a game a magnitude more complex than it used to be. Everything works slightly differently. Talents need to be remembered, all the time... and they too exacerbate the effect of the skilled steamrolling regular opposition. Advantage transforms combats into things where only two things matter: accumulating your own Advantage while shooting down foes that are starting to accumulate Advantage of their own. This rewards playing the meta game where you take actions that make no sense in-game but optimize abstract combat rules. Shooting arrows and magic missiles become king simply because they can't be dodged/parried.

If you want to actually argue a given rule has its merit, is decently implemented, and adds value to your game, please do. But please don't simply dismiss the specific and detailed criticism against the edition given here. This isn't a case of somebody just not liking the system, while others do like it, so it's a wash, just like most games.
I really appreciate your input on this discussion and your observation. And it is true that "some people like it, some people don't" is ... not really saying much. I tentatively agree with you that it doesn't look good... B

BUT - when you say "It's trivial to increase a Characteristic/Skill to a level no NPC can withstand." and other people have pointed out, more than once, that to increase one characteristic really high requires a very significant XP investment, and you still call it trivial... it sorts of undermines your arguments :/
 

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