WFRP (all editions & Zweihänder) Chatty Thread

Ladybird

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I've looked at every system since (2e, 3e, 4e, and Zweihander), and I've yet to see a compelling reason to switch from using 1E rules.
I own but haven't played 4e, but 1e and 3e would be the ones I'd choose - I like the vaguely hinged weirdness of 1e, and didn't really like the more thought-out and organised WHFB6e-era version of the setting. 3e, as maligned as it was, at least tried something different with it's mechanics.
 

Stevethulhu

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Good point. It really seems like the 38 pages of Empire info that preface The Enemy Within Campaign should be in the main book, and probably were supposed to be, but cut for size reasons. If you had no idea what Warhammer was, and just picked up WFRP1 because of the amazingly awesome cover, you'd be losing out not having The Enemy Within or Warhammer Campaign.
Enemy Within, Shadows over Bogenhafen and Death on the Reik, along with the core book, make for the most incredible and perfectly described setting ever.

Seriously, the big picture of the core book, the colour of EW, the city from SoB and the trading system plus the river network of DotR.

Change my mind.
 

TristramEvans

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Good point. It really seems like the 38 pages of Empire info that preface The Enemy Within Campaign should be in the main book, and probably were supposed to be, but cut for size reasons. If you had no idea what Warhammer was, and just picked up WFRP1 because of the amazingly awesome cover, you'd be losing out not having The Enemy Within or Warhammer Campaign.

At that point they were making up the setting as they went along.But it's not like you need to know the inner workings of social life in Minis Tirith to play a game in Middle Earth. For the first ten years playing the game, we never used anything besides the core rulebook. It was self-contained enough, and provided enough info to capture the flavour of the world without the necessity of adhering to what would later become the "Canon" of The Old World.
 

TristramEvans

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I own but haven't played 4e, but 1e and 3e would be the ones I'd choose - I like the vaguely hinged weirdness of 1e, and didn't really like the more thought-out and organised WHFB6e-era version of the setting. 3e, as maligned as it was, at least tried something different with it's mechanics.

I wasn't one of the big detractors of 3rd - in fact, I recall quite a bit of defending it back in the day on The Site where quite a few people who never even saw the product in person were dismissing it as a board game masquerading as an RPG. But having given it a good run on the game table, ultimately I just didn't find that the system really made me happy. Even divorced of the widgets, the die rolls tended to be more annoying than helpful.
 

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I wasn't one of the big detractors of 3rd - in fact, I recall quite a bit of defending it back in the day on The Site where quite a few people who never even saw the product in person were dismissing it as a board game masquerading as an RPG. But having given it a good run on the game table, ultimately I just didn't find that the system really made me happy. Even divorced of the widgets, the die rolls tended to be more annoying than helpful.
Heh, you and I got into it quite a bit as I recall. IIRC, a lot of the excessively narrative aspect of the system your GM wasn’t using.
WFRP3 had so many cool mechanics in the various classes. Unfortunately, the core mechanics of the game ended up being worthless.
 

Ladybird

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I wasn't one of the big detractors of 3rd - in fact, I recall quite a bit of defending it back in the day on The Site where quite a few people who never even saw the product in person were dismissing it as a board game masquerading as an RPG. But having given it a good run on the game table, ultimately I just didn't find that the system really made me happy. Even divorced of the widgets, the die rolls tended to be more annoying than helpful.
No, you're right; even in my limited experience I could see flaws. But I respected the ambition behind it and the things they were trying, even if they didn't pay off.
 

Rob Necronomicon

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Seem to me if we smashed 1st and 2nd together we'd have the perfect iteration. And yet...

That's what I was hoping C7 would do. They just added a little too much. One of the reasons that 2e was such a goldie locks game was it had 'just the right crunch'. But I guess it was inevitable, that a new license, a company would 'add' to the mechanics to in order to make it their own. Don't get me wrong it's a good effort but I'd still play 2e or 1e before that version.
 

Skywalker

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I would say that Zweihander has more crunch but its crunch is pretty solid. WFRP4e's has a layer of fiddliness but its not all that solid and feels more bolted on with little benefit.
 

Rob Necronomicon

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I would say that Zweihander has more crunch but its crunch is pretty solid. WFRP4e's has a layer of fiddliness but its not all that solid and feels more bolted on with little benefit.
That sounds about right to my recollection also. Zweihander is pretty robust as a system. Where as WFRP 4e feels a bit more arbitrary. I'm still confused why the added in the extra attributes. There was no real need for the manual dexterity thingey.
 

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I am also confused by where 4e ended up. As you say, it seemed like a pretty simple brief to get it right given the prevalent view that 1e setting + 2e rules was a preference for a vast majority of the fanbase - fix the whiff, open up careers, and add more 1e tone to setting. However, the design process seems to have gone to their heads and resulted in a lot of loose ends that don't really go anywhere.

In comparison, Zweihander may be crunchy but it clear that its as crunchy as the designer intended and the crunch is well thought out and with purpose.
 

TristramEvans

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Seem to me if we smashed 1st and 2nd together we'd have the perfect iteration. And yet...

Well, here's my feelings on that.

I know these aren't widely shared opinions, so this is just my PoV, and I'm fine with being a minority in taste.

From what I understand of 2nd ed it has a fundamentally different design philosophy from 1st. Alot of this centres around the careers, and it's something perpetuated in Zweihander.

First edition is an "old school" game, and by that I mean character creation largely relies upon random rolls. You, as the player, are tasked with making the best of what fate hands you. Things in the game are not "balanced" - what accessions the game makes towards the concept of balance is that everyone is essentially giving the same chances, and everyone is stuck with what fate - the roll of the dice-delivers.

Moreover, it was clearly the intention in first edition that the careers were not equivalent to "levels". You didn't simply move from one career to another along a path, what you did was intended to line up with the events in the game. This may mean, not progressing for long periods of time, or rapidly progressing in a short period, depending on what was going on in the campaign. You never simply "leveled up" - if you wanted to start in a new career, you needed to go out in the world and make that happen - gather supplies, find a teacher/someone to hire you etc, sometimes involve yourself in a long and grueling, sometimes pointless, apprentieship. All of this was a part of your character's story (no, I'm not using that in the narrative gaming sense, I mean literally the life of the character in the Old World). "Career Exits" were easy paths - you could move up from being an outlaw to an outlaw chief, but this certainly wasn't the only, or even expected, course of events. Many times if you wanted to go in a different direction in life, you either would have to start over with another basic career as the opportunity presented itself, or you were thrust into by events outside your control (not many people would chose to be a beggar).

This approach to the game, IMO, is what gave it a lot of it's flavour. It's also the part that over the years, I've seen to be the most mis-understood and mis-handled, and thus, the most complaigned about.

And so second edition attempted to "fix" this, meaning ignore the intentions of first edition and instead cater to the prevalent misperceptions, and treat careers instead like a combination of classes and levels that you moved through in a linear fashion, one career's exits leading to the next. And to make this "fair", the careers were balanced against each other.

The thing is, I think it's one or the other - you go random, and the balance is that everyone rolls the dice and everyone is given the same chances to succeed or not, or you make the outcomes balanced, in which case random rolling becomes pointless. And this is taken even further in Zweihander, which "improved" on the concepts of 2E by making the careers even MORE balanced, meaning it's even more pointless to roll, because the difference in outcomes is little more than window-dressing.

To put it another way, if a situation in a game had the outcome - succeed in one way, succeed in another way, or succeed in a third way - there would be no point in rolling, would there? You'd just simply say to the player, any of these methods would work, pick whichever you like. So why is it acceptable in character creation, beyond just a legacy mechanic harkening back to a time when the game was a different game?

Anyways, I also find that 1E had a fantastically streamlined combat system - one of the best ever in RPGs, IMO, and every attempt to improve that has just made it clunkier, slower, and more complicated without adding any meaningful benefit.

I guess that's my grognardian rant for the day, but that's mainly why I've stuck with and continue to stick with 1E - because most of the things people interpret as "bugs" in the game I see as features.

Join me next time when I explain why there's nothing wrong with the armour rules in FASERIP, and you're a bad person for wanting to change them.
 
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Baragei

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https://discord.gg/nm4WqRc there has been a fan effort to do a Mythras version of Warhammer, and we set up a special channel for it. Dan True on the TDM boards has been looking at porting the magic system. careers have been discussed in the channel at length
Considering what Dan did with Eberron, this has some potential.
 

Rob Necronomicon

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I am also confused by where 4e ended up. As you say, it seemed like a pretty simple brief to get it right given the prevalent view that 1e setting + 2e rules was a preference for a vast majority of the fanbase - fix the whiff, open up careers, and add more 1e tone to setting. However, the design process seems to have gone to their heads and resulted in a lot of loose ends that don't really go anywhere.

In comparison, Zweihander may be crunchy but it clear that its as crunchy as the designer intended and the crunch is well thought out and with purpose.

Yeah very true... Zweihander had a clear design goal, and it worked. Even if it's a little crunchy for me. He also nailed the tone. I wish he'd release a light version! :smile:

And your're spot on about WFRP4e. I mean, the design brief on paper seemed rather simple. Plus, the fans had set out exactly what they wanted when asked on the big purple. They were dying for feedback... Just seemed to jet over their heads, alas. :sad:

I think you're right about 'ego' and probably a case of too many cooks as well. Fingers crossed for 5th e!! ;)
 

Rob Necronomicon

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Well, here's my feelings on that

I guess that's my grognardian rant for the day, but that's mainly why I've stuck with and continue to stick with 1E - because most of the things people interpret as "bugs" in the game I see as features.
Sums up my feelings as well tbh...

Actually, I think you assessment is spot on about the careers being more mechanical in the 2e and beyond. And as you say, 1e is a delightfully quirky game which was what made it great in a way, 'warts and all'.

While I think 2e is more 'complete' from the mechanics perspective, the elegantly simple 1e is still great. I'd be just as happy playing that as well, in all honesty. And I never really recovered from the loss of the initiative stat. I was gutted that 2e removed it (as we used it for everything). But even when 4e put it back in, it was already starting to feel bloated. So it didn't really matter to me at that stage. Ah well...
 

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My friends all loved 3e. They loved having all of the rules on cards, the "slotting" mechanisms and stances. My players were from a variety of different play styles too. We weren't some kind of echo chamber.

But yeah, I found that pretty much all online fora hated this game. TheRPGSite, RPG.net, SomethingAwful... the derision was univeral. IN real life, however, everyone I played with loved it.

SHRUG
 

TristramEvans

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My friends all loved 3e. They loved having all of the rules on cards, the "slotting" mechanisms and stances. My players were from a variety of different play styles too. We weren't some kind of echo chamber.

But yeah, I found that pretty much all online fora hated this game. TheRPGSite, RPG.net, SomethingAwful... the derision was univeral. IN real life, however, everyone I played with loved it.
Ultimately that's the only thing of value.
 

Necrozius

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The interesting thing is that I was an official playtester, and we tried out some of their campaigns with home-made items (the final printed versions came out months later). We still had fun without the shiny bits from those modules.
 

Skywalker

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Sums up my feelings as well tbh...

Actually, I think you assessment is spot on about the careers being more mechanical in the 2e and beyond. And as you say, 1e is a delightfully quirky game which was what made it great in a way, 'warts and all'.
I would also play 1e in a heartbeat tbh. However, though I agree that there is more balance in the 2e careers, I think 2e adheres to the principles in 1e more closely than is made out as there is still a lot of variety and randomness remaining in the 2e career system.
 

Gringnr

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I have heard Daniel Fox say that the WFRP4e design team did a bit of "back to the drawing board" after Zweihänder came out. Anyone know if this is the case? And, if so, might it account for some of the added complexity of 4e? As in, they saw Zweihänder's success and assumed that more crunch was the direction the fanbase desired?
 

TristramEvans

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The interesting thing is that I was an official playtester, and we tried out some of their campaigns with home-made items (the final printed versions came out months later). We still had fun without the shiny bits from those modules.

Have you tried the other iterations of the system?
 

TristramEvans

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I have heard Daniel Fox say that the WFRP4e design team did a bit of "back to the drawing board" after Zweihänder came out.

I suspect he was talking out of his arse, or at the very least, I have no idea why Fox would have any insider knowledge on Cubicle 7's approach to designing the game
 

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My friends all loved 3e. They loved having all of the rules on cards, the "slotting" mechanisms and stances. My players were from a variety of different play styles too. We weren't some kind of echo chamber.

But yeah, I found that pretty much all online fora hated this game. TheRPGSite, RPG.net, SomethingAwful... the derision was univeral. IN real life, however, everyone I played with loved it.
And a lot of those complaints were before any real information had even came out; like D&D4, many people decided to hate it because it merely existed.

A guy at our roleplaying club literally shouted IT'S A FUCKING BOARD GAME in my face, repeatedly, when I displayed cautious enthusiasm about WFRP3e.
 

CRKrueger

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I have heard Daniel Fox say that the WFRP4e design team did a bit of "back to the drawing board" after Zweihänder came out. Anyone know if this is the case? And, if so, might it account for some of the added complexity of 4e? As in, they saw Zweihänder's success and assumed that more crunch was the direction the fanbase desired?
The guy made a very good game. Unfortunately, Daniel Fox seems like the kind of marketer who would say anything to boost his product, regardless of truthfulness. It is possible C7 altered some things, but I doubt it was to follow in Zweihänder's footsteps, if anything, it makes more sense that they changed something because they didn't want to be accused of copying him. In any case, I would take everything with a grain of salt from a "no publicity is bad publicity" and "by any means necessary" person, which Fox seems to be from his online shenanigans.
 

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I never played it, but I feel like 4E would do better today. If the exact same game came out today on Kickstarter with all the playmats and tokens as stretch goals, people would eat it up. There are a lot more games that straddle the line between RPGs and board games, such as Kingdom Death and Gloomhaven.
 

CRKrueger

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My friends all loved 3e. They loved having all of the rules on cards, the "slotting" mechanisms and stances. My players were from a variety of different play styles too. We weren't some kind of echo chamber.

But yeah, I found that pretty much all online fora hated this game. TheRPGSite, RPG.net, SomethingAwful... the derision was universal. IN real life, however, everyone I played with loved it.

SHRUG
See, here's the interesting thing about WFRP3.
The dice were exhausting...but I could handle those. You just defaulted to changing the modifier dice (black?) on the next roll if there was no inspiration for a cool narration.
The widgets, cards, and bobs took up space at the table...but they worked. They also kept track perfectly of some of the coolest class mechanics to ever grace an RPG.
For me it was all the other shit that dragged the game down into the Bogenhafen sewers where it belonged.
  • Abstract range bands.
  • Minion rules.
  • Definition of play time into literal Acts and Scenes complete with Intermissions between (to take rests and reset timers, etc).The adventures were highly structured with the Act, Scene, Intermission timed and dictated to the point of railroading.
  • No rules at all for how spells worked outside of combat. With no combat rounds running, there was no timer to tell you when you could untap a card.
  • Major city maps that were nothing but an outline with rough markers where encounters take place. A mortal sin for the gameline that produced Middenheim.
Jay Little is one of the biggest Ron Edwards supporters around and the entire foundation of the game was pure Story Now.

Still, the mechanics around some of the special iconic Warhammer classes like Wardancer, Swordmaster, Ironbreaker, etc. were so damn good, I was going to keep the dice, cards, and widgets and try to rework the rest. Then came The Gathering Storm, the boxed set adventure located in Ubersreik, the city that was going to be the center of WFRP3. The map was an outline of the city with points showing the major encounters. You get a more detailed map in the action shooter Vermintide. I just realized I was going to be skiing uphill constantly with this game, always using a wrench when I needed a hammer.

In any case, my objections certainly weren't sight unseen. I bought the whole line before the hardbound books came out. I read it all, and played it a lot. Members of my group and I were working hard on turning it into a roleplaying game you could play without all the narrative logic. We liked the way it played, when it let us. Unfortunately, with all the points above, it didn't let us do that for very long before continually reminding us what it truly was.

Many of the detractors of WFRP3 made the same mistake they did with D&D4. They recognized that there was something fundamentally different from all the games in the line that had come before, and didn't have the terminology to describe it. Boardgame, Cardgame, MMO on paper, Storygame...none of those terms are correct, yet ALL of them have some truth to them.
 

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I never played it, but I feel like 4E would do better today. If the exact same game came out today on Kickstarter with all the playmats and tokens as stretch goals, people would eat it up. There are a lot more games that straddle the line between RPGs and board games, such as Kingdom Death and Gloomhaven.
I think it would still get hammered if it claimed to be the next in line of Dungeons and Dragons RPGs. It's too divergent. I think if they rebundled the whole thing and marketed it as a D&D "Adventure Game" or "Tactical Combat Game" or something, they could sell it right alongside 5e and 6e and it would sell.
 

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I think it would still get hammered if it claimed to be the next in line of Dungeons and Dragons RPGs. It's too divergent. I think if they rebundled the whole thing and marketed it as a D&D "Adventure Game" or "Tactical Combat Game" or something, they could sell it right alongside 5e and 6e and it would sell.
That's a typo on my part. I meant to write "3E" as I was talking about WFRP. I agree that D&D 4E would still be a tough sell as the official version of D&D.
 

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That's a typo on my part. I meant to write "3E" as I was talking about WFRP. I agree that D&D 4E would still be a tough sell as the official version of D&D.
Oh. In that case, you might be right.
The success of the FFG Star Wars lines shows the dice aren't that much of a barrier, although it certainly is for some. I don't recall enough about Genesys to know whether it's Full.Forge the way WFRP3 is.

Historically, though, WEG Star Wars had some narrative aspects to it, with Wild Die and Complications, etc. Warhammer was always a pretty traditional gameline, the "rules as physics" type systems you get from wargamers and immersionists.

As an inheritor of WFRP1 and WFRP2, I think it still might be a tough sell, but I think it wouldn't have as tough a job today.
 

Ladybird

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In any case, my objections certainly weren't sight unseen. I bought the whole line before the hardbound books came out. I read it all, and played it a lot. Members of my group and I were working hard on turning it into a roleplaying game you could play without all the narrative logic. We liked the way it played, when it let us. Unfortunately, with all the points above, it didn't let us do that for very long before continually reminding us what it truly was.
Like I said, there definitely were flaws in it. But the complaints you had weren't stuff that was in the first waves of information about the game; you gave it a fairer shot than many.
 

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I'm not a HUGE fan of proprietary dice and what not, but I can get over it. All the board game-like elements would bug the shit out of me though. At first glance, anyway. If gameplay were good enough, I'd get over it. But my first inclination when faced with bits and bobs is to run the other way. Mind you, I think the "character sheet on an index card" aspect of Classic Traveller & T&T are about as much clutter as I want at my RPG table. Except, of course for dice and MAYBE a map. Fiddly small shit everywhere is not my idea of fun.
 

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I'm not a HUGE fan of proprietary dice and what not, but I can get over it. All the board game-like elements would bug the shit out of me though. At first glance, anyway. If gameplay were good enough, I'd get over it. But my first inclination when faced with bits and bobs is to run the other way. Mind you, I think the "character sheet on an index card" aspect of Classic Traveller & T&T are about as much clutter as I want at my RPG table. Except, of course for dice and MAYBE a map. Fiddly small shit everywhere is not my idea of fun.

Well, I think they were looking at the upsurge in popularity of complex board games at the time and they were making an attempt to reach out to a broader audience. It may not have worked, but with as complex as some board games are these days and the incorporation of more and more RPG elements, I don't think looking at crossover products is the worste idea, even if in this case it didn't appeal to me personally ( I'd be more amenable to a remake of Talisman, or a Mordheim variation with a more robust RPG aspect).

Ultimately, though, they had an especially high hurdle to overcome as theywere following up one of the most well-regarded fantasy games of all time, and more than anything I'm sure they suffered from the comparison.

The Marvel SAGA game suffered a similar fate for similar reasons I think.
 

Gringnr

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Well, I think they were looking at the upsurge in popularity of complex board games at the time and they were making an attempt to reach out to a broader audience. It may not have worked, but with as complex as some board games are these days and the incorporation of more and more RPG elements, I don't think looking at crossover products is the worste idea, even if in this case it didn't appeal to me personally ( I'd be more amenable to a remake of Talisman, or a Mordheim variation with a more robust RPG aspect).

Ultimately, though, they had an especially high hurdle to overcome as theywere following up one of the most well-regarded fantasy games of all time, and more than anything I'm sure they suffered from the comparison.

The Marvel SAGA game suffered a similar fate for similar reasons I think.
Yeah I totally get that. And I'm not saying it's a bad game. That element of it is off putting to me personally, but that's a matter of taste. Suffering by comparison is a huge part of what happened, no doubt.
 

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I have heard Daniel Fox say that the WFRP4e design team did a bit of "back to the drawing board" after Zweihänder came out. Anyone know if this is the case? And, if so, might it account for some of the added complexity of 4e? As in, they saw Zweihänder's success and assumed that more crunch was the direction the fanbase desired?
As others have said, I'd chalk that up to marketing. Apart from anything else, I don't actually see much design influence from Zweihander on the mechanics, aside from them both sharing a common source.
 

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I have heard Daniel Fox say that the WFRP4e design team did a bit of "back to the drawing board" after Zweihänder came out. Anyone know if this is the case? And, if so, might it account for some of the added complexity of 4e? As in, they saw Zweihänder's success and assumed that more crunch was the direction the fanbase desired?
I vaguely remember reading something like this somewhere on the internet, from someone on the C7 WFRP4 team (and not just from Fox) but I could be misremembering. My Google-fu ain’t helping right now.
 

Brock Savage

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But yeah, I found that pretty much all online fora hated this game. TheRPGSite, RPG.net, SomethingAwful... the derision was univeral. IN real life, however, everyone I played with loved it.
I have had similar experiences with RPGs where there is a huge disconnect between online and IRL reactions. I can't speak for the sites you mentioned but I have the sneaking suspicion that a lot of posters on Reddit and /tg/ who endlessly theory wank about RPGs rarely actually play them. One of the things that attracted me to the 'Pub was that a lot of posters seem to have legit gaming experience to back up their opinions instead of parroting something they heard online.
 

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I have had similar experiences with RPGs where there is a huge disconnect between online and IRL reactions. I can't speak for the sites you mentioned but I have the sneaking suspicion that a lot of posters on Reddit and /tg/ who endlessly theory wank about RPGs rarely actually play them. One of the things that attracted me to the 'Pub was that a lot of posters seem to have legit gaming experience to back up their opinions instead of parroting something they heard online.
Absolutely! One of the reasons why I appreciate this place. Even in this very thread, people comment that they don't like this particular edition because they ACTUALLY PLAYED IT and formed an opinion based on real experiences.

And, to be frank, I totally understand the criticisms. I enjoyed 3e, but some things bothered me. Like @CRKrueger mentioned, there's no explanation for how spells function outside of combat situations. I do have that gripe with other games as well, but I totally get it about 3e in particular.
 

CRKrueger

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Absolutely! One of the reasons why I appreciate this place. Even in this very thread, people comment that they don't like this particular edition because they ACTUALLY PLAYED IT and formed an opinion based on real experiences.

And, to be frank, I totally understand the criticisms. I enjoyed 3e, but some things bothered me. Like @CRKrueger mentioned, there's no explanation for how spells function outside of combat situations. I do have that gripe with other games as well, but I totally get it about 3e in particular.
Yeah that was a real problem. By RAW, a Shallya priestess could literally heal an unlimited amount. It’s like the author never considered what would happen outside of a combat round.
 

OHT

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I am also confused by where 4e ended up. As you say, it seemed like a pretty simple brief to get it right given the prevalent view that 1e setting + 2e rules was a preference for a vast majority of the fanbase - fix the whiff, open up careers, and add more 1e tone to setting. However, the design process seems to have gone to their heads and resulted in a lot of loose ends that don't really go anywhere.

In comparison, Zweihander may be crunchy but it clear that its as crunchy as the designer intended and the crunch is well thought out and with purpose.
I'm not convinced that 4e was rigorously play-tested or proofed. It seems like a final draft rather than a 1st edition to me. Some of it is rather confusing and I remember seeing a mistake on the opening page and thinking oh dead...Still, I think that it does a decent job of tidying up careers and also the monster section is pretty good. In fact, you could argue that you could take the 4e rules and use a different setting with the tools given in the core book, whilst the game that suggests that to you (zweihander) is ironically actually more tied to the Old World and thus you'd have to tweak things.
 
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