Initial Thoughts on WFRP 4e

August 12th, 2018

The WFRP 4th edition preview has been out for a while now, and I have some thoughts!

First impressions: very good presentation, gorgeous artwork, intriguing new ideas, and an obvious knowledge of and devotion to WFRP history and what has gone before.

— The Old World. Having skipped 3e, it’s been a long time since I’ve ventured into the Old World and I’m really glad to have it back.
— Advantage in combat. On first glance this seems like a nice nod to “advantage” in 1e, where the winner of the previous round got a +10% WS bonus during the next round. It seems like it will speed combat up a bit in the later stages, as Success Levels keep adding up.
— Success Levels. My biggest complaint about 2e, the “whiffiness” of combat, should be gone. And making such direct use of SL’s opens up interesting possibilities, like rolling multiple dice over multiple rounds to build up enough SL’s to, say, pick a lock. Ingenious.
— No cards, tokens, special dice, or other board-game-derived fiddly bits. Having purchased the 3e rules and a few supplements on eBay over the past year, I finally see what they were trying to do here. And having heard some really positive things about the system and its supplements I think they succeeded. Those extra parts just always struck me as alien to WFRP, and I wasn’t ever able to get over that to actually give the system a fair shake.

— Advantage in combat. From what I’ve seen online, this doesn’t work in actual play as well as it reads in the book, making combat overly complicated and laborious to track. Since combat is my least favorite part of the game, I would hope that it is as streamlined as possible so we can get it over with quickly.
— Magic needs work. It seems nerfed from 2e. This is probably an intentional design choice to keep WFRP a “low-magic” system like 1st edition. But I have at least one PC who loves to play wizards, and spending most of combat standing in place, doing nothing but channeling until you get enough Success Levels to finally cast a spell sounds like a very boring time.
— On first read, the career path system seems too linear. It remains to be seen whether this is the case in actual play.
— XP advances seem very expensive. Even initial advances cost 125 XP compared to 2e’s 100 (or in terms of the 4e’s current advance scheme, 25 XP for a +1 advance compared to 2e’s 20), and it gets more and more expensive from there. And if we are truly going only by the 10s die to calculate Success Levels, the only +1 advance that matters — at all — is the one that moves your attribute or skill from a 9 to a 0.
— Monsters in the core book seem underpowered.

Overall, I’m definitely going to give the system a try and I’m optimistic to see how the new system runs in actual play. But personally I would prefer Cubicle 7 take some more time — 3 months, even 6 months if necessary — to playtest everything and take fan feedback into account, in order to make sure this game we all love so much runs as smoothly as humanly possible before releasing that hard copy core book.

3 comments to “Initial Thoughts on WFRP 4e”

  1. So the winds of Chaos are flowing again. 🙂 glad to see it. Keep good work

  2. They were clogged up for a long while but the plunging has worked!

  3. Everything I’ve read so far makes me think, “Huh, that’s pretty neat. I can just go ahead and incorporate that into 2nd edition.” And I get a sense that Cubicle 7 are a little… flaky? I hope that proves wrong, because #iliveonlyforwfrp 😉

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