WFRP 4 analysis

The enemy lurks in shadows
commandoskeleton
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2020 10:11 am

I've been following this thread (and others like it) since I started preparing to run WFRP 4e. Based on some initial test plays, I decided to try the following rules for combat when I began a campaign in April:

1. Max Advantage = Init bonus
2. Max modifier bonus to any attack of +30%
3. Ignore RAW where 1 Advantage is lost in any round where Advantage is not gained (too much accounting)
4. Ignore RAW where damage bonus is the attacker's SL plus the defender's SL, instead just use the attacker's SL for damage (too much math)
5. Remove Resolve and Resilience (don't want two more resources to manage in combat on top of Fate and Fortune)

I started the campaign with the characters traveling together by boat from Altdorf, down the Teufel en route to Ubersreik. The first two sessions I ran them through Night of Blood, the second two sessions through If Looks Could Kill. In the final battle with the beast of Grausee, I found that the big critter had a near-impossible time getting off any of its cool special attacks because 5 PCs could easily make sure it never built up enough Advantage. That's when I determined I was going to have to start fudging the Advantage requirements for monsters, if these climactic battles were going to be interesting at all.

We then proceeded to Ubersreik and I started in with Making the Rounds, which lasted 3 sessions, culminating with the big battle. Not to give away too much, but the adventure recommends 10 enemies for a player group of 5 PCs, which - in addition to 2 NPCs - quickly overwhelmed my ability to track individual Advantage. Even with simplified kill conditions (0 wounds = death), we found the combat was a long, whiffy dice-off that lasted nearly 2 hours.

Shortly after that session, there was a popular uprising against the combat system amongst players. Here were the complaints about Advantage specifically:
A) fiddly to track, slows the game down with extra accounting and calculations
B) easy to forget which actions grant/remove Advantage
C) it rewards those who are already good at hitting and doesn’t really help those who aren’t
D) it can be “gamed” by just having a single ranged attack cancel all that hard-earned Advantage

Players also criticized opposed melee attacks, as they felt their rolls were largely meaningless to them: You can roll well and hit, or roll well and miss; or you can roll poorly and miss, or roll poorly and hit. As a player, you can't celebrate your good rolls or despair in your poor rolls, since you're really just waiting for the mysterious GM roll to know whether or not you were successful. On top of which, the additional opposed rolls further served to slow the game down.

In the end, our experience with WFRP 4e combat is that it hinders a fast, fun, dramatic roleplaying experience. As GM, I didn't enjoy tracking Advantage for multiple enemies/NPCs, and didn't like how it hampered cool baddies' abilities. As players, my group felt that combat was like feeding math homework into a random number generator.

As a result, for our last session we gave up on Advantage completely and switched over to 2e combat rules (but keeping crits/fumbles on doubles - more crits is more deadly, and more deadly is more fun!). Instantly the feedback from players was positive; the game ran more quickly & smoothly, and they felt like they had more agency in combat. I realize that I'll need to modify or just eliminate the Talents that use Advantage, and do more fudging for monster abilities (which I was already doing anyway), but ultimately it's worth it for us. I like other aspects of 4e just fine - the careers, endeavours, dramatic tests, even single point skill/attribute progression that some people dislike - but combat is bad, and should be tossed in the Reik like a statue of Tzeentch.
ExReey
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri May 24, 2019 12:36 am

Very interesting to read, thanks!

I've run my first 4e adventure this week (making the rounds), and have done about 10 'test battles' and with some friends, and they *loved* the combat system! They thought the advantage system brought some excitement and flow in the combat.

I've done some things different though :

- advantage capped at I bonus (just like you)
- I roll all opposed combat tests in front of the players, which brings more excitement to the opposed tests. As a GM you cheat a little less but it's not really an issue (I still keep stats and wounds hidden).
- I made a very easy to use combat tracker in Excel. Feel free to use it:
- NPC tracker: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ZS9okB ... p=drivesdk
- about advantage for monster abilities: I use accumulated advantage: for example each time the River Troll has accumulated 3 advantage in combat (even if he's lost it again), he can spend it to use his special attack. This works pretty well imo.
FasterThanJesus
Posts: 234
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2019 4:30 pm
Location: UK

Nice tracker, I think that will come in handy!
Bifi666
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:58 am

Hi, I am new to the boards (or indeed, any WFRP boards). I have been playing WFRP since the late 1990s, as a GM I have led the first two TEW instalments and a couple of published adventures as well as my own campaign - and we also started Dying of the Light - in 1e. We later switched to 2e, but I was not impressed with the combat system and I really didn't like how the adjustments of the setting towards WFB, bestiary in particular. (As a side note - the meh eight winds of magic were not introduced in 2e, but in Realms of Sorcery for 1e.) I have modified the rules and always found the ideas of CapnZapp very fruitful, so I am happy and honoured to meet you sir!

I am going to revive the topic of opposed rolls and why is it badly handled in 4e. In principle, an opposed roll actually stabilises the statistical distribution of values and I think 4e devs were aware of this. In its essence, an opposed roll is a special case of a dice pool with two dice. (You could also let the player roll both D100, for example one subtracted from the other.) Let me demonstrate, for simplicity's sake on D10s.

A single D10 has an even probability distribution, as with infinite amount of rolls each value should have equal frequency (i.e. 10%). Where the probability distribution for a single D10 is a flat line, the distribution for 2D10 looks like an inverted V. Arithmetic mean, i.e. 11, will be the most frequent result (with 10% of rolls), whereas 2 or 20 will be the rarest (with 1% each). With 3D10 the probability distribution starts to look like a so-called normal distribution or bell-shaped curve. The cumulation of values around arithmetic mean will be even more pronounced and extreme values will be even rarer.

Mathematically the comparison of these three different dice pools can be expressed in the following manner: The coefficient of variation (or relative standard deviation) is an abstract number that measures how the values are spread away from arithmetic mean. The closer this value is to zero, the more even the distribution. Unsurprisingly, for 1D10 the value is 0.52; for 2D10 the value is 0.37; and for 3D10 it is 0.30. We can see that adding more dice into the dice pools skews the probability towards the arithmetic mean. However, the coefficient of variation is an abstract number so let me express this tendency in a different way. In an even distribution (i.e. 1D10), one half of the rolls will lie on the middle 50% of the whole range of possible results. So with a 1D10, 50% of all the rolls will lie between 3.5 and 8.5. However, with 2D10, the rolls have a marked tendency towards arithmetic mean, so half of all the rolls will be concentrated close to 11, i.e. between 8 and 14. The span between 8 and 14 is, however, only 33
% of the whole range of results (i.e. from 2 to 20). With 3D10, half of the rolls will cover only the middle 26% of possible results (i.e. between 13 and 20).

So in principle, an opposed roll is close to being a two-dice pool, with the difference being that one roll is subtracted from the other. Arithmetic mean will be zero and with 2D100 the range of results is from -99 to +99. In half of the cases, the result should lie somewhere between -30 and +30. For opponents with equal skill levels, half of the rolls will result between SL-2 and SL+2. So far so good. (I am avoiding the statistical effects of skill level and SL for the moment.)

However, I have a hypothesis that the designers did not properly realise the impact of the increased range of results. See, if I have a skill system built around 1D10 which gives 10 possible results, introducing a second D10 bumps the range of results to 19 (i.e. 2-20), almost doubling it. (Introducing a third die would almost triple it, i.e. 3-30 gives 28 possible results.) The same happens with D100. One D100 has a range of 100 possible results, 2D100 have 199. Even opponents with equal skill level have a range of possible results from SL-8 to SL+8. Exactly this is the swinginess that we speak about in this thread.

Now consider skill levels. A skill of 35, compared to the range of 1D100, has a 35% "weight" in terms of determining the outcome. However, doubling the range through introducing a second D100 means that the "weight" of my skill of 35 drop to 17.6%. It halved the influence of skills on the result. You could argue that since we have an opposed roll, also the opponent's skill level influences the result - and also with half the weight. So if we both have skills at 35, the collective influence of skill on the result will still be 35%. However, it still halves the influence of the player on the result and so decreases his or her agency!

I also briefly looked how 1e and 4e compared across skill levels (all these numbers are rough). It would seem to me that basic monsters have been bumped in 4e by about 5 on average (more consistently with BS than WS). Starting characters have more or less the same attributes (I am not going to address the mess they made with nonhumans), however even with the free advance of 1e, the skill system seems to enable starting character that are more competent by about 5 to 10 in terms of skill level. That is not enough in order to offset the doubling of the range of results - as a result, starting characters in 4e are way less competent than 1e characters.

The open-ended character of advancement in 4e introduces another problem, and that is runaway skill difference. A 20 skill difference between characters entering an opposed test means that the opposed test will end up in favour (i.e. SL+1 or more) of the character with the higher skill level in 63% of the cases. You might say that seems OK, however it is 2.3 times more often than the opponent. With a skill difference of 30 this rises to 3.55. In the latter case, when the weaker opponent succeeds to have at least a +1 in his or her favour (which happens in 20% of the cases), the average SL is +2.2. However, when the stronger opponent succeeds (SL+1 or more in 71% of cases), he or she does so with SL +4.4 on average. The problem with this is a compounded effect of skill difference: not only do you succeed more than three times more frequently, you also succeed with double the impact. So in terms of SL achieved, a character with skill higher by 10 than the opponent will be 1.9 times more effective, if the difference is 20 the character will be 3.6 times more effective, and if the difference is 30 the character will be 7 times more effective.

All in all I think there are some sound statistical ideas in WFRP 4e, they are however not examined from the perspective of real play. Overall these changes introduce huge swinginess and they might lead to disempowerment of starting characters as well as explosion of efficiency with advanced characters.
adambeyoncelowe
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:54 pm

Bifi666 wrote:
Sun Jul 12, 2020 5:26 am
Hi, I am new to the boards (or indeed, any WFRP boards). I have been playing WFRP since the late 1990s, as a GM I have led the first two TEW instalments and a couple of published adventures as well as my own campaign - and we also started Dying of the Light - in 1e. We later switched to 2e, but I was not impressed with the combat system and I really didn't like how the adjustments of the setting towards WFB, bestiary in particular. (As a side note - the meh eight winds of magic were not introduced in 2e, but in Realms of Sorcery for 1e.) I have modified the rules and always found the ideas of CapnZapp very fruitful, so I am happy and honoured to meet you sir!

I am going to revive the topic of opposed rolls and why is it badly handled in 4e. In principle, an opposed roll actually stabilises the statistical distribution of values and I think 4e devs were aware of this. In its essence, an opposed roll is a special case of a dice pool with two dice. (You could also let the player roll both D100, for example one subtracted from the other.) Let me demonstrate, for simplicity's sake on D10s.

A single D10 has an even probability distribution, as with infinite amount of rolls each value should have equal frequency (i.e. 10%). Where the probability distribution for a single D10 is a flat line, the distribution for 2D10 looks like an inverted V. Arithmetic mean, i.e. 11, will be the most frequent result (with 10% of rolls), whereas 2 or 20 will be the rarest (with 1% each). With 3D10 the probability distribution starts to look like a so-called normal distribution or bell-shaped curve. The cumulation of values around arithmetic mean will be even more pronounced and extreme values will be even rarer.

Mathematically the comparison of these three different dice pools can be expressed in the following manner: The coefficient of variation (or relative standard deviation) is an abstract number that measures how the values are spread away from arithmetic mean. The closer this value is to zero, the more even the distribution. Unsurprisingly, for 1D10 the value is 0.52; for 2D10 the value is 0.37; and for 3D10 it is 0.30. We can see that adding more dice into the dice pools skews the probability towards the arithmetic mean. However, the coefficient of variation is an abstract number so let me express this tendency in a different way. In an even distribution (i.e. 1D10), one half of the rolls will lie on the middle 50% of the whole range of possible results. So with a 1D10, 50% of all the rolls will lie between 3.5 and 8.5. However, with 2D10, the rolls have a marked tendency towards arithmetic mean, so half of all the rolls will be concentrated close to 11, i.e. between 8 and 14. The span between 8 and 14 is, however, only 33
% of the whole range of results (i.e. from 2 to 20). With 3D10, half of the rolls will cover only the middle 26% of possible results (i.e. between 13 and 20).

So in principle, an opposed roll is close to being a two-dice pool, with the difference being that one roll is subtracted from the other. Arithmetic mean will be zero and with 2D100 the range of results is from -99 to +99. In half of the cases, the result should lie somewhere between -30 and +30. For opponents with equal skill levels, half of the rolls will result between SL-2 and SL+2. So far so good. (I am avoiding the statistical effects of skill level and SL for the moment.)

However, I have a hypothesis that the designers did not properly realise the impact of the increased range of results. See, if I have a skill system built around 1D10 which gives 10 possible results, introducing a second D10 bumps the range of results to 19 (i.e. 2-20), almost doubling it. (Introducing a third die would almost triple it, i.e. 3-30 gives 28 possible results.) The same happens with D100. One D100 has a range of 100 possible results, 2D100 have 199. Even opponents with equal skill level have a range of possible results from SL-8 to SL+8. Exactly this is the swinginess that we speak about in this thread.

Now consider skill levels. A skill of 35, compared to the range of 1D100, has a 35% "weight" in terms of determining the outcome. However, doubling the range through introducing a second D100 means that the "weight" of my skill of 35 drop to 17.6%. It halved the influence of skills on the result. You could argue that since we have an opposed roll, also the opponent's skill level influences the result - and also with half the weight. So if we both have skills at 35, the collective influence of skill on the result will still be 35%. However, it still halves the influence of the player on the result and so decreases his or her agency!

I also briefly looked how 1e and 4e compared across skill levels (all these numbers are rough). It would seem to me that basic monsters have been bumped in 4e by about 5 on average (more consistently with BS than WS). Starting characters have more or less the same attributes (I am not going to address the mess they made with nonhumans), however even with the free advance of 1e, the skill system seems to enable starting character that are more competent by about 5 to 10 in terms of skill level. That is not enough in order to offset the doubling of the range of results - as a result, starting characters in 4e are way less competent than 1e characters.

The open-ended character of advancement in 4e introduces another problem, and that is runaway skill difference. A 20 skill difference between characters entering an opposed test means that the opposed test will end up in favour (i.e. SL+1 or more) of the character with the higher skill level in 63% of the cases. You might say that seems OK, however it is 2.3 times more often than the opponent. With a skill difference of 30 this rises to 3.55. In the latter case, when the weaker opponent succeeds to have at least a +1 in his or her favour (which happens in 20% of the cases), the average SL is +2.2. However, when the stronger opponent succeeds (SL+1 or more in 71% of cases), he or she does so with SL +4.4 on average. The problem with this is a compounded effect of skill difference: not only do you succeed more than three times more frequently, you also succeed with double the impact. So in terms of SL achieved, a character with skill higher by 10 than the opponent will be 1.9 times more effective, if the difference is 20 the character will be 3.6 times more effective, and if the difference is 30 the character will be 7 times more effective.

All in all I think there are some sound statistical ideas in WFRP 4e, they are however not examined from the perspective of real play. Overall these changes introduce huge swinginess and they might lead to disempowerment of starting characters as well as explosion of efficiency with advanced characters.
Honestly, my experience is that players don't think about the maths and they love it. It doesn't matter if they have a lousy Skill and roll -2, so long as their opponent rolls -3 or lower. And because most enemies are pretty weak (you're supposed to buff them, but even then...), this means they usually win.

Whereas when we make unopposed Tests, unless they're Average Difficulty, players fail a lot and this can be frustrating. We try to make as many rolls as possible be opposed instead.

This may just be us, though, and I do admit to using my screen to fudge some of the results by a few SLs from time to time.
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Orin J.
Posts: 402
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:39 pm

one of the key details to remember is that some players will choose not to concern themselves with the exact math, but not all. the players that are interested in mathing this stuff out, however, are the players that most often cause problems with a game. this may lead to one of the players having disproportionately more effective power the the others, which leads to what i considered the worst risk of the new system.

it is almost impossible to balance combat in this system when the group is unbalanced. the side effect of the way the handled opposed rolls means that, if any of the players are optimized they require more optimized foes, and if they are unlucky and fall to those foes the rest of the group has no means to salvage the combat. this both means the GM is stuck with the awful choice between blatantly letting the players off the hook at the level where it ruins the narrative or wiping the group out entirely and means that the optimized players can bully the group by letting weaker member get crushed by the optimized foes if they don't do as they're told.

ultimately, the idea of opposed rolls was novel, but not workable without abandoning other elements of the existing system that they weren't willing to give up.
makrellen
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:01 am

I would recommend you all to listen to the latest Mud & Blood podcast episode. They revisit their review of Wfrp 4th edition after having played a 26 session campaign.

Let's just say that pretty much everything Capnzapp listed about the mechanics in his original comments from the StS forums were confirmed by Matt and Liam. In practice the system turned out to be super frustrating to use in combats and extremely inconsistent.
Bifi666
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:58 am

My analysis was from the design perspective, not player perception. I would agree that some math-oriented players want to game the system and will realise these flaws. I also think that many players will realise them from experiencing the game even without doing any mathematical analysis.

And as Orin writes above, this will lead to disproportions in combat effectiveness, which either means the whole party depends on that one uberfighter, or the opposition is so weak that the uberfighter has no fun. I assume the advantage system was supposed to play into this dynamic, however, meaning that even a weaker character can either gain advantage or try preventing accumulation of opponents' advantage. Have to run some test combats... (Advantage could be modded in various ways - from making it a binary thing through capping it up to making it a group resource or player facing only.)

Thank you makrellen for the Mud & Blood recommendation!

Ultimately, my dilemma is now what kind of system to pick for our upcoming TEW campaign starting this fall. Whether to try 4e RAW, 4e lightly modded, 4e heavily modded (perhaps along what Andy Law was doing), 1e with 4e elements ported, or mod some other system (say, Zweihänder or Streets of Marienburg/Dungeon World).
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totsuzenheni
Posts: 285
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:38 pm

Not to contest (or support) the wider claims about the system here, but i don't know that i would find it to be a bad thing that a party had one good fighter that they relied on in fights, at least not in and of itself. It would, of course, depend to some extent on the rest of the system and the kind of game being run, not least how combat orientated it were.
adambeyoncelowe
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:54 pm

I've been doing a simplified rules system myself. There's a gap that Brigandyne can't fill until it's translated.

That said, we've been playing several times a week over lockdown (more than 26 sessions) and have been fine with everything except whiff early on in non-opposed Tests and the vast number of modifiers (not a problem now we've learned them all).

Every table is different, I guess. I've also never had problems with VTM classic (VRevised or V20), whereas I know others hate it. I've even coped quite well with Shadowrun 5e.
Bifi666
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:58 am

A few days ago we tested the 4e combat system. A couple of early impressions:

- For early characters, the system seems to offer relatively few tactical choices (every special action such as disarm seems to require a specific Talent) compared to the 'handling time', i.e. the number of operations one requires to conduct in order to resolve one task. The fact that you constantly need to recalculate your probabilities, advantage and SL bogs play down horribly.

- The fact that you need to track at least three meta-variables (Resolve, Fortune, Advantage) is a design failure IMHO.

- Similarly the condition subsystem, even if a sound idea in principle (see how it was handled in Mouse Guard for example), requires tracking too many variables. Not only do most conditions have a rating, numerous effects cause several conditions at the same time, or even chain linked conditions. This was a design bloat problem already in Conan 2d20 - which was a clear inspiration - but here it is over the top.

- Advantage seems to work as a spoils system (or 'success to the successful'). Once player characters started accumulating Advantage, it became impossible for their opponents to succeed in opposed tests. (And the goaround suggested in GM Screen, i.e. that the opponents should have a couple of ranged forces in order to strip Advantage from player characters or that opponents should have collective Advantage, are terrible patches on a terrible problem to begin with.)

- At the same time, the combat dragged and even critical wounds did not seem to bother the opponents much. Dying takes too long and is not very predictable - however, this is not a design fault per se. We also tested a house rule that when a Critical Wound is caused that is not backed by sufficient Wounds, after subtracting the T threshold you divide the leftover by two and add these to the critical wound roll as multiples of 10. As an example, an opponent has 4 Wounds, armour 1 and Toughness 34 when you hit for 14. After subtracting armour and T the opponent should receive 10 Wounds and has 4 left, i.e. would go into 'minus six'. Six is more than 3, so it is a critical. Here comes the trick: 6 - T3 equals 3, divided by two (fractions rounded down) is 1. You roll on a critical with +10. If the wound has been for 17, the opponent goes into '-9'. 9 - T3 equals 6, divided by two is 3, i.e. you roll on the critical chart with +30.

- The swinginess is simply crazy.

- I like how they integrated psychology into combat, it has a number of good ideas. However, swinginess is a problem here as well - not only on the mechanical level, but in terms of how quickly the opponents who were, say, intimidated can bounce back. Again, in itself this is not a design fault per se and provides for a definitely better flow of combat than if you should just stand there and hack forever, but clashes with my in-world and design expectations.

Are in your experience some of these an effect of us not knowing the system and its tactical options that well?
Darrett
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2020 4:58 pm

So I just spent two hours typing up a long response to the initial post and the forum decided to wipe it when I hit preview, so I'm going to be a little more brief with this response since I don't have the patience to recreate that first one right now.
Bifi666 wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:39 am

- Advantage seems to work as a spoils system (or 'success to the successful'). Once player characters started accumulating Advantage, it became impossible for their opponents to succeed in opposed tests. (And the goaround suggested in GM Screen, i.e. that the opponents should have a couple of ranged forces in order to strip Advantage from player characters or that opponents should have collective Advantage, are terrible patches on a terrible problem to begin with.)
I find the same thing, and have frustration in that the solutions seem to be gamey, as you mention. One thing that stands out to me as odd from a thematic perspective is how easily advantage gained over one opponent can be transferred to the next. My thoughts on advantage is that it represents a very localized set of circumstances to one engagement; you're tiring out your opponent, wearing them down with blows, and mentally exhausting them with success after success. Though there would be some advantage gained over subsequent opponents if they just saw you cut down a comrade, being able to engage with a new, possibly fresh target at +12 advantage doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I haven't tested this yet, but in addition to having an advantage limit, I'm considering causing advantage to reset upon leaving an engagement when you down an opponent or disengage, though you'd still gain one advantage back if you disengaged via opposed test.
Bifi666 wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:39 am
- At the same time, the combat dragged and even critical wounds did not seem to bother the opponents much. Dying takes too long and is not very predictable - however, this is not a design fault per se. We also tested a house rule that when a Critical Wound is caused that is not backed by sufficient Wounds, after subtracting the T threshold you divide the leftover by two and add these to the critical wound roll as multiples of 10. As an example, an opponent has 4 Wounds, armour 1 and Toughness 34 when you hit for 14. After subtracting armour and T the opponent should receive 10 Wounds and has 4 left, i.e. would go into 'minus six'. Six is more than 3, so it is a critical. Here comes the trick: 6 - T3 equals 3, divided by two (fractions rounded down) is 1. You roll on a critical with +10. If the wound has been for 17, the opponent goes into '-9'. 9 - T3 equals 6, divided by two is 3, i.e. you roll on the critical chart with +30.
I haven't found this to be the case for us, but we don't generally use criticals stemming from low wounds for anything except important NPCs; everybody else just dies at 0 wounds. In any case, most of the time critical wounds triggers some self-preservation instincts in anybody with half a brain (or sufficiently cowardly individuals), so you're going to see disengagement and running start to take place, which I often find makes things snowball nicely for the benefit of the players. One thing I do bear in mind with this though is I have one particular player, who happens to be in a non-combat class, who has a knack for amputating things, so I haven't experienced much of the other end of the spectrum.
Jolly Roger
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:21 pm

Don't hate me for what I'm about to say but since people are already talking about alternative systems.. I did run Zweihander and my players loved it. I started with 4ed and we played the starter adventure plus a couple from the Ubersreik Avdentures. They loved the feel of the Old World ( I give a lot of emphasis on the concept of fantasy Europe, keep it low magic, low fantasy and gritty), but found the combat gamey and while exciting the Advantage mechanic was creating a snowball effect which was... out of flavor at the very least. I changed to Zwei after that, we created characters the grim and perilous way (almost, I let them choose career but everything else was rolled) and just this really got them into mood: You are no hero. You are a person and if the Gods smile on you, you just might* become a hero. We proceeded to play a homebrew conversion of mine of an old Ravenloft adventure, The Night of The Walking Dead, which I promptly situated to a Brettonian swampy region of my imagination. Everything run smoothly. Even magic. Granted we had no one trying to *break* the system, I don't know if there are any "builds" that might do that. But every little thing added to the experience, and even the pseudo alignment/corruption system was ok even though I had my reservations, the players liked it.
TL;DR: Would I play 4ed ever again? no. Would I play Old World with Zweihander again? Most definitely.
adambeyoncelowe
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:54 pm

Jolly Roger wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:45 pm
Don't hate me for what I'm about to say but since people are already talking about alternative systems.. I did run Zweihander and my players loved it. I started with 4ed and we played the starter adventure plus a couple from the Ubersreik Avdentures. They loved the feel of the Old World ( I give a lot of emphasis on the concept of fantasy Europe, keep it low magic, low fantasy and gritty), but found the combat gamey and while exciting the Advantage mechanic was creating a snowball effect which was... out of flavor at the very least. I changed to Zwei after that, we created characters the grim and perilous way (almost, I let them choose career but everything else was rolled) and just this really got them into mood: You are no hero. You are a person and if the Gods smile on you, you just might* become a hero. We proceeded to play a homebrew conversion of mine of an old Ravenloft adventure, The Night of The Walking Dead, which I promptly situated to a Brettonian swampy region of my imagination. Everything run smoothly. Even magic. Granted we had no one trying to *break* the system, I don't know if there are any "builds" that might do that. But every little thing added to the experience, and even the pseudo alignment/corruption system was ok even though I had my reservations, the players liked it.
TL;DR: Would I play 4ed ever again? no. Would I play Old World with Zweihander again? Most definitely.
Have you written up your conversion for The Night of the Walking Dead? I'd love to see it.
adambeyoncelowe
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:54 pm

Interestingly, Andy Law's fix for Advantage is a fixed +10 to whoever's winning. Andy Leask's is just to always use Fast SLs, since it caps mods and Damage.
FasterThanJesus
Posts: 234
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2019 4:30 pm
Location: UK

adambeyoncelowe wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 3:21 pm
Interestingly, Andy Law's fix for Advantage is a fixed +10 to whoever's winning. Andy Leask's is just to always use Fast SLs, since it caps mods and Damage.
I'm thinking of doing this when I eventually get around to starting up a campaign. I was originally thinking of just using the alternative rule for using IB, but even this looks a bit much. Maybe half IB would be okay, but I don't want every round of combat to involve half an hour's calculus.

Also, I'm thinking of knocking together a simple program to simulate combat and seeing exactly where things start to break down. If I get around to it, I'll upload the results.
adambeyoncelowe
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:54 pm

FasterThanJesus wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 5:57 am
adambeyoncelowe wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 3:21 pm
Interestingly, Andy Law's fix for Advantage is a fixed +10 to whoever's winning. Andy Leask's is just to always use Fast SLs, since it caps mods and Damage.
I'm thinking of doing this when I eventually get around to starting up a campaign. I was originally thinking of just using the alternative rule for using IB, but even this looks a bit much. Maybe half IB would be okay, but I don't want every round of combat to involve half an hour's calculus.

Also, I'm thinking of knocking together a simple program to simulate combat and seeing exactly where things start to break down. If I get around to it, I'll upload the results.
My understanding is that VTT handles the game very smoothly, even with Advantage.

IME, it's the rampant mods that are more fiddly, as Advantage is just one number. Mods in combat are spread out throughout the book. So there's a -10 here but a +10 to your opponent there, and +3 SLs from x, and -2 SLs from y. And if you use different weapons, you might be using multiple Melee Skills, so your base Skill changes.
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Yepesnopes
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:29 am

commandoskeleton wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 1:42 pm
As a result, for our last session we gave up on Advantage completely and switched over to 2e combat rules (but keeping crits/fumbles on doubles - more crits is more deadly, and more deadly is more fun!). Instantly the feedback from players was positive; the game ran more quickly & smoothly, and they felt like they had more agency in combat. I realize that I'll need to modify or just eliminate the Talents that use Advantage, and do more fudging for monster abilities (which I was already doing anyway), but ultimately it's worth it for us. I like other aspects of 4e just fine - the careers, endeavours, dramatic tests, even single point skill/attribute progression that some people dislike - but combat is bad, and should be tossed in the Reik like a statue of Tzeentch.
We ditched advantage as well after two game sessions. If you are interested, check my house rules document to get an inspiration on how to tweak talents and traits to work without advantage. The document is huge, it is more a Warhammer 4.5 than a set of house rules, but you can directly go to the Talents and Bestiary sections and skip the rest.

I post all the rest of my house rules just in case something else gets you curious. Here it goes:

Document of Insanity house rules: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1o_-eBF ... sp=sharing
Document of Unified critical table: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_f5eyJ ... sp=sharing
Weapons and armours redone: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1sNwV4e ... sp=sharing
Weapons and armour cards example: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1oUyJtp ... sp=sharing
PC sheet adapted to the house rules: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1CElSG1 ... sp=sharing
Pet and henchman character sheet: https://drive.google.com/file/d/19ENooe ... sp=sharing
Spells and Prayers sheet: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rv69cr ... sp=sharing
FasterThanJesus
Posts: 234
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2019 4:30 pm
Location: UK

Yepesnopes wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 1:49 am

We ditched advantage as well after two game sessions. If you are interested, check my house rules document to get an inspiration on how to tweak talents and traits to work without advantage. The document is huge, it is more a Warhammer 4.5 than a set of house rules, but you can directly go to the Talents and Bestiary sections and skip the rest.

I post all the rest of my house rules just in case something else gets you curious. Here it goes:

Document of Insanity house rules: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1o_-eBF ... sp=sharing
Document of Unified critical table: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_f5eyJ ... sp=sharing
Weapons and armours redone: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1sNwV4e ... sp=sharing
Weapons and armour cards example: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1oUyJtp ... sp=sharing
PC sheet adapted to the house rules: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1CElSG1 ... sp=sharing
Pet and henchman character sheet: https://drive.google.com/file/d/19ENooe ... sp=sharing
Spells and Prayers sheet: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rv69cr ... sp=sharing
Excellent work following a quick skim through. I see you noted some of the quirky class skills that I did. I think I will bear this in mind.

As I said earlier, I was thinking of capping advantage at +10, but this may be superior. I like what you did with Intuition and Leadership, for example.
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