Friday, 8 April 2011

WFRP: Embrace change, or seek solace in familiarity?

Now that WFRPv3 has been going for well over a year, I have come to the time and place to figure out how to take this edition into account when writing for The Altdorf Correspondent. Embrace the new edition whole-heartedly or put on the grognard cape and grouse about the good old times?

Traditionally, I embrace change. I try new things, I look at them to see the old things in a different light. I look to the new to help me avoid a sense of "I've been doing this same thing for 30 years now" and to keep things fresh. I also have had the ambition of supporting the current edition of all the games I write for, be it D&D, WFRP, Kult, Cyberpunk or any other game I feel strongly about.

But I'm not as young as I used to be. I've played so many games, tried so many rules, seen so many plots, that I've grown confused. Rules have never been my forte, and with WFRPv3, I've hit a brick wall. The rules are clearly written, the components are beautiful, everything is top notch. But I can't connect to the rules. When reading them, I don't see stories in my head. I see rules, cards, components. I lose track of what WFRP is to me.

And as you can imagine, that is not where I want to be when sitting down to write about Altdorf and WFRP!

It's not that I think the rules are horrible, it's not that I think FFG are insulting WFRP gamers all over the world, it's not the prices or the boxes or the bits. It's simply the fact that this is very different from what I am used to, and that is enough to throw me.

So what to do? There are two basic aspects I need to consider; rules and setting. And here's the lowdown ...

For rules, I'm staying with WFRPv2. As I look more into WFRPv3, I might start to dual-stat things,if I feel I can get comfortable with the rules. But for the foreseeable future, WFRPv2 is my edition of choice for rules. I will bring in things I like from WFRPv3, and mine WFRPv1 as well. And fan material of course.

As for the setting, it's more difficult. Or maybe more simple ... I don't really know for sure. I will go with WFRPv3 and mix in elements from WFRPv1, WFRPv2 and Warpstone. It seems to me that WFRPv1 and WFRPv3 are closer to each other in tone and atmosphere than they are with WFRPv2. And Warpstone is superb, and has a lot of the grittiness that I enjoy in the setting material published. So I'll roll back to before the Storm of Chaos, and go from there.

This is not a big change for me. As many have noticed I am fairly loose with canon anyways, and the things I don't like are simply toned down (the Emperor riding a griffon, for example). It's easy to just discard a piece of setting I don't agree with, and so the WFRP world I present is a curious mix of canon and heresy. Which is what I'm aiming for; my own take on the Old World, my own interpretation informed by my own tastes and sensibilities.

This is influenced greatly by the writings of others, primarily the official WFRP lines, but to an almost greater extent the writings found in Warpstone and historical records.

So there you have it. I will continue much as I have done so far, which will delight quite a few of my readers, I suspect. But there will still be a place for WFRPv3, mostly in commentaries on the products, and reviews. I want to embrace WFRP as a whole, not get bogged down with fruitless internal debates on the merits of one edition over the other.

Hope you'll stay on and thanks for readin!



  1. Argh... I had a nicely crafted comment, and POW! Google exacts revenge on me for my comment fiasco! :)

    I'm here to say, YES! I too "... can't connect to the [3e] rules. When reading them, I don't see stories in my head. I see rules, cards, components. I lose track of what WFRP is to me." It sums up all of my nerd ire about what FFG (and Jay Little) plus GW did to what could have been a great WFRP library in 2e.

    Great post!

    Now, I must get back to A to Z. :)

    1. This has been my point all along, a fantasy game is a game where you can use your fantasy. Not a game where you have to think of rule constraints all the time, well written.

      Carsten Schwartz

  2. I forgot to add... wear the grognard cape! It's comfortable. I have one. :)

  3. Hi Tim!

    I was sure you'd approve! I even scheduled this post a little bit early, so that you wouldn't feel all lonely as a WFRPv2 holdout.

    I'll have my wife sew me a new cape! And btw, you're doing a terrific job with the A to Z challenge. If you make it to the end, there will be a "Best of the Fans" award given from The Altdorf Correspondent!


  4. I'm still hesitating - or rather my wallet is - about even trying 3e. Mind you, I've never got with 2e!!

  5. DrBargle ... I hear you about the wallet thing! I try to keep up with WFRP and WH40kRP, and it's becoming almost more difficult than keeping up with D&D. :-)


  6. I think my next new game might be one of the WH40K RPGs - Rogue Trader appeals more because of the independence and variety possible for the PCs. Would that be right?

  7. Yeah, Rogue Trader is my favourite of the three. As long as you feel comfortable handling the power level, which is quite a lot higher than "normal" adventuring.