Before I manage to share writing rights I’ll just have to use the good old copy/paste from FFG’s forum.
Published with the permission of the writer:
Rule #1: game systems are game systems are game systems are game systems. What makes this one different is not the system (although it has a lot of elements), it is the WORLD. A crappy GM who has no knowledge, interest, or enthusiasm in this world can make any game system rotten. There are ENDLESS, and I mean ENDLESS, resources and background references to this game world. It’s now the longest-continually published game world in existence! The WFB (warhammer fantasy battles) books are chock full of fluff and imagery that you can use if you just stop down to your local game store and read one (or buy one for $0.99 every time a new edition of that game system comes out). The Warhammer online game, although not any different from any other mmo’s endless, mind-numbing pvp/rvr/gvg battles, has great artwork and fluff background too.
Adventures: The published ones tend to be like Call of Cthulhu. They involve longer investigations and immersion with combat encounters sprinkled in. Explain to your players that it can be high combat or low combat depending on the whim of the GM as well (just like D&D). It is the WARhammer world afterall, so you cold have perpetual combats if you like ;) Here is a link to a couple dozen (maybe 50) old scenarios that are simple to update/run by just changing the monsters: web.archive.org/web/20071030165049/www.blackindustries.com/
Careers compared to Classes: In D&D, all classes are designed for combat (and supposedly designed somewhat equally in their respective roles). In WFRP, some characters are just dead weight during combat, whereas some combat-classes are dead weight when doing social encounters (Troll slayer comes to mind!) This is the hardest thing for D&D players to get used to initially, and I would advise new players to this game who are coming in from D&D to NOT play the non-heroic characters. After your players have learned the rules, it may be interesting for some players to branch out into things like Forger, Pedlar, Commoner, Burgher, or Envoy. Before then, I’d stick with weapon-skill-trained careers, intiates of Sigmar, Ulric, Myrmidia or Shallya (healing), Zealot, Apprentice Wizard, and some ranger-type character like Bounty Hunter, Hunter, Scout or Road-Warden.
- I’m going to caveat this: Each of the careers have definite themes can be an absolute blast to play (rat catcher, Agent, or roadwarden), but new players to the system will do better to get a little used to the world first before branching into what these other careers have to offer.
Races: There are three character races (reiklander human, dwarf and elf/elf) compared to D&D’s unlimited number of races. Players who have a hard time differentiating between two “human fighters” will really have a hard time when there are only 3 races! Remember, NATIONALITIES and regional variations in human, elf and dwarf cultures are very important in this game. This is not a generic setting with a generic game system. Immerse your players into the feeling of the different nationalities (they compare to earthly analogues so it’s not hard to say that Bretonnians speak with a French accent and northeastern Imperials have a slavic/russian type accent. Here is a good background on the subject: dl.dropbox.com/u/167876/WFRP3%20Hafner%20house%20rulebook%20v2.3.pdf
Game Play: AFAIAC, it plays just like D&D 4e, but without the battle grid map. Explain to your players there is no 5′ step or flanking becuase your characters are already ASSUMED to be doing those things. You’re either in or out of combat. You can give the players bonus white dice if they do something special such as “I want to fight from the top of the carriage” (such as in the DEMO encounter scenario).
Weapons: Let’s talk about Hand and Great weapons. Your players will need to decide what their weapon is and realize that unless otherwise specified, they all do the same damage: pick, sword, mace, spiked club, whatever. It is assumed that players have a broad knowledge of weapons and types before playing this game so their D&D knowledge will come in handy here.
Equipment: Not having an actual price list for things they want to buy is going to be a significant groan for your players. I suggest creating the prices of typical D&D adventuring equipment from the suggestions in the book: iron spikes, oil, torches, rope, backpack, satchel, flint & steel, etc. I recommend you use the final appendix in my house rules to help you determine prices of more “substantial” superior items (and magical versions). Players have to get used to being reasonable when roleplaying what they have. It’s not a single “list” of stuff they carry. Your player may announce he’s got a tobacco pouch or something like that at a convenient time and you can let your players know this is usually just fine.
Some things you should never have in the Warhammer world so that you can feel different from D&D:
- Drow. Dark elves do not have jet black skin and white hair in WFRP. They look just like other elves. They’e like CYLONS from Battlestar Galactica (the new one, not the good one from the 70’s). They’re dopplegangers that can turn on you at a moments notice (see my sig for more information on a scenario…)
- Illithids, half-races, magical PC races, Tieflings (half-demons? really? maybe being burned at the stake as mutants…)
- Magic items as being anything less than something your King would kill you for just to have on his wall. I recommend using non-magical “superior” bonus items instead and just saying, “This is the finest steel in all of Reikland (it grants a bonus white/blue die to attacks).
- Wealth of any kind..this is not a HIGH GOLD world. It may be high-magic-spells, but it’s not high gold. I recommend allowing players to dump gold for experience (1gp:1xp). This will keep the reserve gold down and player characters poor, but skilled.
Some things that are Warhammer that you should put into your games:’
- Rain, mud, snow, rats, lice, disease, smoke, fog, steam-powered-stuff (without the punk-funk). Be realistic in your world descriptions. This setting is BASED on the real-world earth time period of plagues, wars and dangerous gunpowder. Now, MAKE IT FUN when you do this. As a player, there is zero fun in being a diseased, insane, weak, lice-riddled, no-arm-no-leg, useless handicap every single game..but it happens once in a while. There are things to revel in with this debauchery though too. There are the ‘fun’ elements of that time period such as saucy wenches (ok, let’s just call them dirty prostitutes!), life-or-death gambling, Gangs-of-New-York-style-grudges, to-the-death-DUELS, revelry, and hot, warm pies made by halfings (who are stealing your coin pouch while you eat of course).
- Cults, cultists, Witch Hunters and frequent burnings at the stake. The smell of burnt flesh should be announced at the beginning of every game. The ever-present fear of being called out as a heretic SHOULD be a constant element in this world. It is the Salem Witch Trials x100. It is NO JOKE to be a blashphemer and you need to frequently put your PCs in the stocks for a day (give them fatigue while the children, and the other PCs) throw rotton food at them. Blashphemy and chaos is no joke and the commoners NEED to be bemoaning this fact to the PCs whenever they get the chance.
- Everyone is a criminal and out to get something from you (no exceptions). NO NPC DOES ANYTHING OUT OF THE GOODNESS OF HIS HEART. Everything has a price and everyone is trying to survive. Even the priestess of Shallya EXPECTS you to pay and make perpetual sacrifices (think ONGOING Hail-Mary’s) after your trip to the hospital (and then she’ll send some bandits to rob you because you flashed a little too much money before the healing).
- The INSANE. Yes, it’s Arkham asylum out there. People have real insanites and some are more than a little corrupted by chaos. You’re lucky if you’re insane. If you have a mutation..then you’ve got a REAL problem. If the witch hunters can’t cut the mutation off of you, they’ll just as soon burn you at the stake!
- Elves are freaks, dwarfs are loved. Nuff said.
- Yes, someday there will be halfling PC’s (most likely in the Slaanesh and Thieves supplement)
- Demons and Chaos Warriors
- Cockatrices, Manticores, Basilisks, and fantasy monsters
- A moon that does really wierd things..one moon is like an eyeball that occasionally moves closer to the planet and does loop-de-loops
..that’s about all I have to say about that…