This is a pretty niche post – so apologies to the rest of the world – but if the two Venn diagrams of WFRP and RPGGeek align for you then this might be of interest!
I’ve played a number of games on RPGGeek – basically its a way of playing tabletop RPGs but by posting on a forum – great if you don’t have the regular time to commit to a face to face session or an online Roll20/Fantasy Grounds/Skype session etc. I’ve had a lot of fun with it and have started GMing a few games as well.
The last one I did was for WFRP 1e, but I realised that not having a character sheet online for everyone made it a lot more difficult to manage – it involved me having to dig out the PDFs people had sent me and then asking them to update them etc. So now I’m running a game for WFRP 4e I decided it was essential to have the character sheets online – and that meant creating a template! That was hard work as formatting stuff for a forum post is not the easiest thing to do, but I had a look at other templates and managed it in the end.
I enjoy listening to podcasts – they’re like a more interesting version of radio – and ideal if you’re doing something else that doesn’t take too much thought – for instance walking, commuting or working on fairly mundane task.
There’s quite a few podcasts out there that cover tabletop gaming in general and specifically for RPGs and Wargames – my main gaming interests. I’ve tried quite a few out over the last few years. I have found I am not that keen on the most common type of RPG podcasts – the actual play session. These are recordings of people playing RPGs. Much like watching someone playing Fortnite, I don’t really see the point – I’d rather be playing as well! I also find that they can be difficult to follow unless you’re concentrating on them. Having said that I have found The Enemy Within podcast from GM Noely to be quite good – partly because the campaign is so well-known to me. So I would recommend that one if you like Warhammer Fantasy Role Play. But I’m not going to suggest any others.
The type of podcast that works better for me tends to be where people talk about stuff to do with games. This can be in the form of an interview – e.g. someone interviewing Rick Priestley is always worth listening to – or just people talking about what interests them – the wonderful Grognard Files be a great example of that, but I also really enjoy Save for Half (a US Old School equivalent) and also the house podcast for the Wargames, Strategy and Soldiers magazine – the presenters of these are down to earth and have interesting things to say.
On the corporate side of things the Dragon Talk podcast is OK depending on the subject – there tends to be too much filler for me, and too many live streamer interviews, but the hosts are quite funny and it has great music – the Bing Bongs!
Also a new one is Stormcast – the official Warhammer Age of Sigmar podcast set-up to promote the launch of the new edition (but hopefully sticking around). As well as going over the new rules in a succinct way, it also offers some great tips on gaming and painting, and isn’t too cringily promotional.
One of my favourites though is Improvised Radio Theatre with Dice – two charming English gents chatting about RPGs in their garden somewhere in the home counties – RPGs are taken to a new cerebral level.
I’m not going to review each podcast I listen to, but here’s a list of my current favourites in no particular order:
Before Grimdark, George R R Martin et all was a thing, there was …
Warhammer – and specifically Warhammer Fantasy Role Play (WFRP) that fleshed out the Old World which was the setting for Games Workshop’s Fantasy battle game. WFRP portrayed a world much like late medieval Europe which was dirty, deadly and dark – with the corruption of chaos lurking hidden within the normal society – evoking an atmosphere similar to the paranoia of the witch crazes of the 15th/16th centuries in Europe.
Adventures such as Shadows over Bogenhafen cemented the reputation of WFRP as something more sophisticated and “realistic” than the dungeon bash D&D fare available during the 1980s. It was more a mish-mash of a Fantasy RPG and Call of Cthulhu.
And it was bloody brilliant!
Soon to be released is a 4th edition of this great RPG – and the new publishers, Cubicle 7 have promised to take the game back to its roots.
I can’t wait!
Here I’m going to collate and summarise the sketchy information we have so far about the new edition of WFRP.
A lot of assumptions have been made about this, but I don’t think anything concrete has been announced yet – it will be the Old World, we know that, but I don’t think they have given any indication what the chronology will be with vis a vis events such as Storm of Chaos or the End Times.
Most people are assuming before End Times, or at least flexible.
We have had some hints about this – Dominic McDowall, Cubicle 7 CEO has said that they are huge fans of 1e and 2e, so that should please older fans of WFRP who would like to see it go back to its roots. They have also indicated that they have given the system more of an overhaul than first planned:
“The initial plan was to make some small updates to the awesome second edition, and that would mean we would be able to release the game in 2017. We’re all huge fans of the first and second editions of WFRP, and we wanted to take the game back to those roots.
“When I got into the guts of the game I started seeing more opportunities to add in some of the things we’ve learned over the years. This more creative direction meant a longer development phase. Games Workshop are extremely supportive of us taking the time we need to make WFRP Fourth Edition the very best game it can be, and so that’s what we did. I’m very excited about the way things have come together!”
We also know that one of the old writers for WFRP, Graeme Davis, has been brought back on board to do a new version of the Enemy Within campaign for 4th edition – a kind of director’s cut.
But they have also promised there will be new material as well.
Initial products will be a Starter Set and a Rulebook – cover art has been release for both, and they have also appeared in a distributor’s catalogue – with USD pricing (image from Lance Anderson on the WFRP 4e Facebook group):
Plus we know there is a new version of the Enemy Within campaign being worked on as well for all the nostalgic old timers (me included!) No more details though on that.
The two cover images released so far are for the Starter Set and the Rulebook. The rulebook image is certainly an homage to 1st edition, whereas the Starter Set strikes me as something that might appeal to fans of games such as Vermintide, so perhaps they’re trying to appeal to a new market of Warhammer Fantasy fans here? That can only be a good thing. I’m not sure if I love the artwork yet – it looks a bit too bright and cartoony for me. I also wonder if the archetypal hero characters displayed will give players the wrong idea about WFRP – where are the rat-catchers and artisan apprentices? Although having said that those mundane characters never appeared on the WFRP 1e cover either! WFRP 1e ended up having more of a pathetic aesthetic than perhaps the cover artwork indicated.
Very possibly at UK Games Expo between 1st and 3rd June 2018 – the organisers have announced that it will be launched – see this video about the show.
First a disclaimer –this isn’t a detailed review of the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure module that comes with the new D&D 5th Edition Starter Box set, but rather a bit of a critique of it based on my own expectations for new Dungeons & Dragons.
What I’m saying is that I won’t offer a detailed analysis of the adventure or go into a lot of the details of what it’s about – so you if you want that have a look elsewhere – but rather I’m going to offer some views on why the adventure, although well produced, doesn’t work as I wanted it to – and how I think it could do more.
So a bit of a moan really! Here’s the problems I had with it:
It’s still pretty much a Dungeon bash. Although there’s some links between the different locations – finding Gundrun and looking for his brothers, once there the PCs just move from room to room and fight whatever they come across. There’s no sense of something actually happening.
The plot is a bit weak – sure help out Gundrun and there’s someone who wants to do bad things. But actually what has the Black Spider got planned? What will he do if the PCs can’t defeat him? We don’t really know. If they knew he was going to destroy Phandalin or Neverwinter, then I think that would add to the sense of drama – and the motivation to do something about him. As it is, the plot revolves around helping some dwarves get stuff – just facilitating greed at the end of the day! The lack of plot driving and adventure has always been a problem with D&D from what I can see, and this adventure really enforces that feeling for me – Warhammer Fantasy Role Play has always done a much better job of making players feel like they’re part of an actual story – and encourage roleplaying.
Here’s what I Iiked about it:
Great production values and art – lovely maps
Good tips for new DMs and how to help players get started
The pre-generated Player Characters are well balanced and have some good motivations that link to the locations in the adventure – but I think more could have been made of that in the actual adventure itself – as the DM might forget about the links and could be reminded by some help text in the adventure.
The encounters, monsters and fights are fun for starting adventures – some classic monsters are included, which allows new players to enjoy D&D as it should be.
I hope this critique doesn’t put people off actually getting the D&D Starter set though – it’s a great set, has a wonderful summary of the rules. I just wish I’d taken the time to add a bit more to the adventure to make it more plot driven and exciting!
Back in my RPG days at school Traveller was always the best sf game out there. The open-ended nature of it was a blessing and a curse as you could do anything, which add-ons such as Trillion Credit Squadron, High Guard and Striker enabled, but also it lacked detailed good quality adventures, which meant that you had to do a lot of the work yourself, and left it rather lacking on the atmosphere front.
Trillion Credit Squadron provided you the tools to create your own fleets of mega starships to fight out space battles on a grand scale. However, in the days of pen and paper it was a real chore to do the creating, and I have often toyed with the idea of doing something with the software available now to make the process easier and effectively automate the process.
So here’s a first step on that road – a spreadsheet that allows me and anyone else to pump in the right numbers and design some really big spaceships – what could be more fun! You’ll need copies of Trillion Credit Squadron and High Guard to do this, but the spreadsheet makes the admin a lot easier.
Future developments might include seeing if formulas can be worked out for actually managing the space battles themselves!
Here’s are the links to the spreadsheets. There’s a template to use for creating ships, plus two worked examples. My apologies for any errors – please let me know if you spot anything wrong!!
My long-term ambition is to learn enough programming to turn these spreadsheets into some sort of game or computer programme to simulate Trillion Credit Squadron fleet designs and battles.