My hopes and expectations for WFRP4 (repost)

Cubicle 7 // 2018
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Just realized that while I posted this at StS I didn't transfer it here to WoC.

(I did post it at but since the moderation there makes it hard to discuss a game in anything else than a positive light, I hesitate to revisit that thread)
capnzapp wrote:
At the time I write this, almost nothing is known (at least to me) about Cubicle 7's upcoming new edition of Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play. I thought I'd make a numbered list of things I want for the game, so I can go back in two (?) months' time to see how well the actual result stacks up.

The only further ado is this: I am assuming a game that draws heavily upon 2E specifically in mechanics. As such, 2E is my starting-point. If that assumption proves false, all bets are off.

Choosing between moving and attacking has been fixed, ie eliminated or heavily curtailed. In fact, hopefully the focus lies on what you can do in addition to making your attack(s) and moving about a bit; in essence making the unimaginative player that just wants to stand there and whack lose out on the extras and the flourishes :)
You can stay in an (advanced) career, ie no more switching to Sea Captain just because that's the only way to advance your Int or whatever
2E toned down the importance of armor (compared to 1E). C7 improves support for "skirmishers" (lightly armored melee combatants) even further.
The blanket assumption all trained arcane casters share the exact same education is scrapped totally. Specifically: you can be a Wizard without having visited Altdorf or even having heard of the Colleges.
2E toned down the battle focus of arcane magic (compared to 1E). C7 improves support for non-overt casters even further. This includes balancing spells for more than their combat utility.
4E acknowledges playability as the primary focus for healing rules. That is: don't make me choose between "natural" healing (too slow for 90% of published adventures) and "magic" healing (too fast and too cheap).
4E introduces separate subsystems for Insanity and Corruption with a focus on subtle and gradual descent rather than sudden unplayably debilitating effects.
4E reintroduces the monetary system of 1E: 1 gold crown = 20 silver shillings = 240 brass pennies :)
4E is the definitive "Enemy Within Edition": GW allows C7 to completely sever the ties to the now-defunct tabletop game and its larger-than-life hero focus, allowing the game to be described completely from the seminal campaign's perspective: without any references to über-elves, the plainly fascistoid "I'm Emperor because I can whup your ass" idea, or childish Arthurian Brettonia.
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I'm not very familiar with 2E mechanics, so I'm curious: did 2E actually "tone down the importance of armor" compared to 1E? In 1E armour was almost useless while Toughness made a huge difference - hence the infamous "Naked Dwarf Syndrome". Did that get even worse in 2E?
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Stat increases to Toughness were more rare in 2nd Edition.
Also, the change to D10 combined with the fact that you could keep rolling for damage on the roll of a 10 limited the Naked Dwarf Syndrome somewhat.
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WFRP4 disappointed me greatly, mainly for its core mechanic “opposed rolls+advantage snowball effect” and the derived Advantage mini-game/meta-game and Advantage centrality in the mechanics (talents and such).

These were my hopes at the time, let’s recycle them for a 5th edition then :P
(from 2nd edition point of view)

I agree. Combat in 2nd edition is too static and there is abuse of the only combat move that allows for multiple attacks: Swift Attack. This should be addressed. I hope for a more dynamic combat.
Somehow Dark Heresy managed to handle this by lowering %stats (if your good stat is 40-45 a +20all-out-attack becomes desirable!) and decreasing multi-attack moves relevance…but on the other hand its focus is more on a very tactical (cover, grenades, suppressive fire, and in general stacking modifiers) ranged combat. I’m not sure what’s in DH (and other 40K lines) worth stealing for the next WFRP but would give a look there beforehand…

Staying in a given career….
Uhm, this was not on my wishlist to be fair. I hoped for more varied career options and customization, maybe stealing something from Dark Heresy in regard to the “build your one career” approach. To keep it simple MANY MORE “or...or” talents/skills.
WFRP2 is plenty of Basic careers. This grants a lot of diversity, but as soon as you go into an Advanced career you notice a bottleneck effect: so many careers fall into the usual Sergeant, Veteran, Scout, Racketeer, Highwayman careers. After 10 years of playing I got bored by this. Next WFRP should either provide more advanced careers and/or more career customization.

I’m OK with how armor works in 2nd edition, never had major issues with its protection values (because my players didn’t abuse full-plate). I hope for more realistic limitations for armor use, maybe from fluff boxed-text if not from mechanics. Example: “plate armor is rare and rarely used, and for reasons! Cold as hell in winter, hot as a grill in summer.”
Mechanics limitations should implement Fatigue (Dark Heresy Fatigue mechanic is nice enough imo), negative modifiers for tests like Perception (with helm) and Stealth. I would be inclined in making Dodge and Stealth tests automatically fail if wearing Full Plate armor (in my WFRP2 games you can’t dodge in full-plate and yet still there are circumstances when a player chooses to wear it). This should help in defining it as a protection only used in the battlefields. In short: it should have relevant a trade-off of advantages and maluses.

Related to armor:
WEAPON PROPERTIES: a major welcome change would be separating blade weapons and blunt/penetration weapons: it’s fantasy renaissance, let’s make those fancy maces different from blades! I’m not asking for a convoluted weapon system, but one that simply underlines that certain weapons were designed to face armored opponents when, historically-speaking, blades failed.

Not a major concern of mine. Instead of scrapping it I would rather differentiate them even more. Example: Jade/Amber wizards collegiate are only the “bureaucrats” and “politicians” of the order (the ones who must stay in contact with the imperial authorities for the sake of their underlings), the other members have temples or shrines located in various places. Also for other magic lores: I would tone down the role of the colleges and reshape them as a network: central “political” hub in Altdorf and various magical “guilds” around the Empire, even at the service of local authorities, with political struggle between “colored” guilds to influence local politics (Hey, I come from Vampire the Masquerade, what do you expect? :P ) .

Oh yes, combat magic is fun but I wish for non-combat magic even more.

2nd edition totally failed with rituals imho: they were so expensive (XP!!!) and specific that I never saw a player researching a ritual or anyway interested in buying one. Next WFRP would need a more fluid approach to rituals with some of them learnable for free for each wizard career tier.

Uhm, to be fair I never had a magical healer in my 10 years of WFRP2 and I already find healing rules to be not-realistic-enough to allow playing published adventures (heal test + healing draugh + healing poultice). In truth what I saw is an easy abuse of healing poultice …my fault though: if as GM I had to inflict maluses to Fel test because of the stench at every occasion then published adventures would become unplayable for sure in their investigation parts). It should have some nasty grimdark effect that kicks in slowly as a sort of corruption (after all it could be seen as “edge-wizardy” of the herbalists/alchemists).
I wish next WFRP keeps “magical healing potion” FAR AWAY, that’s D&Dish and abused in every fantasy RPG and videogames.

Again yes. Again Dark Heresy for reference.

I’ve never been a fan of whacky silly WFRP, especially absurd random mutations. I rather have the grimdarkness of 40K mutation tables, far more realistic and down-to-earth and most important they don’t kill the playability of your character with the first mutation he gets.

Please give us a more dangerous Tzeentch’s Curse effects. Also double check statistics before publishing, the chance of rolling serious stuff is infinitesimal. I’m not asking for a Perils of the Warp (DHeresy) deadly table but something in between would suit fine!
Maybe it would be too grimdark for your typical WFRP but I would like that every wizard keeps the chance to draw from the raw unrefined winds of chaos to push his power, at the cost of a higher chance of Corruption (and after several steps of corruption: mutation). WFRP2’s Dark Magic talent is similar to that concept but it deserves more depth.

I’m not sure I see your points here, but with different words I would like to have: realistic political figures like in 1st edition (not uber-elector counts riding griffons because miniature rides griffon), more focus on internal struggle of the imperial hierarchy, more political schemes and chaos taking advantage of those fractures (not the contrary: chaos cultist ruining the otherwise-stable status quo).

After 30 years of WFRP many clichès have been used to the point they fall flat now:
-Skaven doing skaven stuff
-beastmen used only as evil cannon fodder
-tzeenchian culstists being tzeentchian and so on
Predictability IS a problem.
The added value is the human component in those stories, the petty gritty human avarice, revenges, schemes, …without a cleverly constructed plot or interesting NPCs every adventure will fall flat and will walk paths WFRP has been so many times.
The way to go is the 3rd edition good take on some of the adventures imho (well, far better than 2nd!), a few examples of gems: the rednecks and their relationship with the beastmen herd in Gathering Storm (an adventure that falls badly flat for the abuse of overused tropes in the other chapters), The Enemy Within (3rd edition) and its whole political scheme.
Let’s stop with “warpstone in the wells/food because-of-chaos” and “monsters in the sewers”, shall we?

Give us infighting and civil war, border skirmishes between petty nobles and feudatories instead of describing them only as a background (I look at you upper-Reikland political situation described in many 3rd edition supplements). Let’s shake up the setting! Let’s make it work by itself before adding chaos and monster to complicate matters further ok?

BESTIARY INCONSISTENCIES. 2nd edition presented a fairly usable Bestiary, but it has some (minor) nonsense in it: a bear being dangerous as a beggar (!) or little more, a Rat-ogre being an useless beast when you take into account dodges and parries from characters. Please: more cross-checking for both monsters and animal stats and more playtest.

Rules: let’s keep it simple ok? The time of deep simulationism is over, you get no bonus point for over-detailed rules in 2020s.
Bloat: DHeresy bloated very quickly with each supplement. WFRP2 behaved far better in that.
Power creep: beware power creep please! DH creeped up after several good publications, but same happened for WFRP2 at the end of the line (Kislev supplement is shamefully unbalanced compared to every other published book, especially Magic).
Overall I’m satisfied by WFRP2, but keep an eye on this issue and do not lower your guard ok?

GNOMES ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
They were inherited from D&D when -apart from setting- WFRP 1 stole far too many bits from the most popular game of the time (the entirety of magic spells seems to be copied from D&D!).
WFRP4 resurrected them? WELL, KILL THEM AGAIN AND MAKE SURE THEY STAY DEAD AS THEY MUST BE! They add nothing. They are nothing.
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