Fear and Loathing in 4th Edition

Cubicle 7 // 2018
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CapnZapp
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Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:34 am

Have we discussed Fear and Terror yet? Don't think so...

Am I the only one intensely dissatisfied with C7's tack on Fear and Terror?

Specifically,
- how actual tests are made with no modifier (i.e. Challenging +0 difficulty), no matter how terrifying the monster?
- how Fear relies entirely on approaching the character
- how Resolve points can make Psychology almost entirely ineffectual.

Edit:
- how Fear and Terror doesn't work the same way! For fear you must amass a number of SLs; for Terror negative SLs translate into Broken Conditions.

In the first case, yes, a Fear 4 rating does mean you must roll 40 or so under your Will Power (Cool), but the actual oomph only requires you to roll under your unmodified value. Which, given the changes to carers and experience, will be much higher than in 2E (since you no longer need to be a four-career badass to increase your starting score by 40 or so).

In the second case, either the GM chooses to call for fear tests just before the creature moves, ensuring the condition gets its bite, or she honors Initiative rules which easily allows the first character to engage the monster, so it never does approach. Allowing fear-stricken characters to get over it in relatively safety, all the while they can act pretty effectively if they have a ranged attack.

The third case is the killer, since few monsters can withstand the full fury of the party during not only one but two entire combat rounds. That is to say, a single Resolve point is often all you need to spend, to act as if the monster wasn't fearsome at all.
Last edited by CapnZapp on Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
CapnZapp
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Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:37 am

Looking at the Bestiary I see nothing that can effectively shut down a significant number of player characters long enough for it to matter.

It's almost as if the writers thought of the times where their character was stricken with fear, and resolved to make it exceedingly unlikely that would ever happen in 4E, completely disregarding how this neuters many monsters and the GMs ability to have a single monster put fear into the hearts of his players.

The player strategy of keeping all his Resolve in reserve until Psychology enters the picture trivially means "my character is immune to all but the most overwhelming assaults". The idea that Psychology is a spice best used sparingly completely shatters when in contact with 4E rules.

Very frustrating and disappointing indeed.
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Orin J.
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Wed Jun 05, 2019 7:49 am

i just don't like the concept of preset "conditions" to begin with. fear and terror being slapped in that box just caused them to suffer the limitations of it without any advantage besides mechanically being able to turn it into a card or other token which isn't all that conductive to roleplaying for me (most of my group will forget what token is still in play anyways).

i guess it's to justify splitting fate into two sets of resources, but there's no reason for them to be hard-written like that.
Glorthindel
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Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:05 am

Hey Cap, long time ;)

Personally, I am on the fence as to whether to remove Resolve and Resilience and roll their features back into Fate and Fortune. Even if I just combine the pools (which i probably wouldn't, but I haven't had a lot of table-time on this edition yet, so hard to judge how it would play out in the wild), just the general player tendancy to chew through their fortune rerolls might prevent the hoarding to stonewall psychology completely.
CapnZapp
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Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:38 am

Note that if your Will Power (Cool) is 75%, the risk of actually failing a Challenging (+0) Test is only 6% once you factor in the expenditure of a fortune point.
TheBigBadWolf
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Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:24 am

Yep.

I'm considering going back to something similarish to 2e where:

- I assign Terror and Fear to monsters manually.
- There are no 'levels of Broken'.
- Terror causes a 'run away!' with a chance of Stun (as you freeze in terror).
- Fear causes a 'cannot approach' with a small penalty across the board.
- If we want to keep 'levels' of Fear/Terror, maybe just have each level add -10 to the Cool roll.

As a quick idea:

Terrified
You must spend your turn running away until the creature is out of sight.
You cannot take any Actions or defend yourself in opposed Tests.
You suffer a -30% penalty to all Tests.
If you fail by 3SL or more you also gain a Stunned Condition.
End of Turn: If the source of your Terror is out of sight, make another Terror Test. If you succeed, remove the Terrified Condition. Then gain the Frightened Condition.

Frightened
You cannot voluntarily move closer to the causing creature.
You suffer a -10% penalty to all Tests.
End of Turn: Make another Fear Test. If successful, remove the Frightened Condition.

Very much open to input on the above as they both feel a bit weak, though I suppose that depends no how liberally they're assigned to monster by the GM.

Fwiw, I already removed Resilience from my game, and Resolve comes back slowly.
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Sword of Solkan
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Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:30 am

Agreed. And Resolve and Resilience Points seem a terrible fit for WFRP’s grim and perilous vibe more generally.
Chaos was the law of nature; Order was the dream of man.
CapnZapp
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Location: Norsca

Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:20 am

TheBigBadWolf wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:24 am
Yep.

I'm considering going back to something similarish to 2e where:

- I assign Terror and Fear to monsters manually.
- There are no 'levels of Broken'.
- Terror causes a 'run away!' with a chance of Stun (as you freeze in terror).
- Fear causes a 'cannot approach' with a small penalty across the board.
- If we want to keep 'levels' of Fear/Terror, maybe just have each level add -10 to the Cool roll.
You are obviously free to use whatevery rules you want, but if that was intended as commentary to my initial post (given the thread you posted in), can I point out that I don't see how that fixes any of the three grievances I detail in the OP?
CapnZapp
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Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:27 am

Sword of Solkan wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:30 am
Agreed. And Resolve and Resilience Points seem a terrible fit for WFRP’s grim and perilous vibe more generally.
Well. Too me they're an obvious "fan designer adds One More Cool Thing" without considering the overall ramifications.

Yes, I'm struggling to integrate them into my game - they don't have enough obvious uses.

But the bigger problem is that monsters aren't redesigned with them in mind.

Since WFRP is not hack and slash, asking your characters to make a fear or terror check is often the crowning element of an entire session. That is, fearsome opponents are best used sparingly. Then adding a mechanism that basically shuts down Psychology entirely feels like shooting yourself in the foot.

What did C7 expect? That you add hordes of zombies to your game, forcing you to make Fear test after Fear test like we're playing a cheap D&D knock-off? And even so, what's up with the idea that if the fighter isn't feared and can move up to block the monsters, everybody else is basically fine, using arrows and spells to keep on fighting with only that puny -10%?

More and more I'm giving up on this game, thinking of the sentiment somebody got from the social media I don't frequent, where the devs are said to come across as using the rules as guidelines only, rules to be ignored whenever they don't work. :x
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Orin J.
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Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:44 am

CapnZapp wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:27 am
More and more I'm giving up on this game, thinking of the sentiment somebody got from the social media I don't frequent, where the devs are said to come across as using the rules as guidelines only, rules to be ignored whenever they don't work. :x
that wasn't sentiment, when i was still in the discord they frequented (left for conflicts with the owner) Andy had several times stated outright they wrote the book with the intent you should see the rules as all being optional and write the game system to be what you want it to be, although i concede sometimes he was only saying it to dodge someone breaking the rules very hard and trying to embarss him with it.
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totsuzenheni
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Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:57 pm

Orin J. wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:44 am
CapnZapp wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:27 am
More and more I'm giving up on this game, thinking of the sentiment somebody got from the social media I don't frequent, where the devs are said to come across as using the rules as guidelines only, rules to be ignored whenever they don't work. :x
that wasn't sentiment, when i was still in the discord they frequented (left for conflicts with the owner) Andy had several times stated outright they wrote the book with the intent you should see the rules as all being optional and write the game system to be what you want it to be, although i concede sometimes he was only saying it to dodge someone breaking the rules very hard and trying to embarss him with it.
Given that anyone could do that anyway with any ruleset i think it would be good to have an actual game in there somewhere. I bought in, and i'm still in for TEW Directors Cut and accompanying goodies.
CapnZapp
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Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:51 am

Just edited the initial post to add one more grievance.
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