23May/14Off

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26Mar/19Off

This week we want to introduce one of C7's incredible artists, Sam, who has created many amazing pieces for Cubicle 7 over the years. If you are a WFRP fan, you will certainly recognise some of the artwork below. We are really looking forward to Sam's work on the upcoming Age of Sigmar RPG. #TEAMTUESDAY

 

 

Hi! I'm Sam, tea-drinker and illustrator at Cubicle 7. I'm currently working on Age of Sigmar, having previously provided artwork for C7 for Cthulhu Tales, World War Cthulhu, Cthulhu Britannica, The Laundry, Lone Wolf, the Doctor Who Card Game, The One Ring, Adventures in Middle-earth, and WFRP. As a kid, Warhammer in particular had a huge impact on me - I played the game, but was really drawn into the world through the amazing artwork.

I'm a self-taught digital artist, and as well as that - and time allowing - I enjoy working in oil and scribbling with ink. My second love and hobby, I guess, is working with spray cans and stencils. I don't get as much time as I'd like to play in this area, but I have been able to get out and take part in a few festivals. Closer to home, I served as chairman of my local art society for a few years, and organised some graffiti events as part of the Fringe festival here. I've also given art-related talks - basically my love of art is pretty expansive, and goes way beyond the job!

Apart from that, I love to travel ( there's always so much to see and to learn - if there are art galleries, museums or examples of street art, I'm there! ) to experience different cuisines and, as an extension of that, to cook. When I have down time, I can usually be found in the kitchen trying out / inventing new recipes, which I then inflict on whoever's around at the time.

So, that's me - in brief, anyway. Lovely to meet you all!

All the best,
Sam.
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25Mar/19Off

Are you an Adventures in Middle-earth™ fan?

Have you tuned into Encounter Roleplay's WILDERLAND ADVENTURES for Cubicle 7's Adventures in Middle-earth™ 5e Wednesdays at 5pm EST?  If not, you can catch up now with episode one  and episode two. Tune in for episode 3 this Wednesday 27th March, we can't wait!

Featuring: @EncounterRP @JPruInc @therealjimdavis @Hazard @MadameGandalf and @frostfrmfire

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25Mar/19Off

Our friends at Bundle of Holding are currently hosting a Lone Wolf Bundle! Get into the Lone Wolf Adventure Game and support a great charity while you're at it here! Just 7 days left to buy!

For just $14.95 USD you get all four titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $69). The Lone Wolf Adventure Game, Heroes of Magnamund, Magnamund Menagerie and the Lone Wolf Narrator Screen.

Level up your deal for another four PDFs – The Realm of Sommerland, Bestiary of the Beyond, Terror of the Darklords and Adventures of the Kai. That’s another $75 worth of PDFs for the current bargain price of $$29.69!

All orders come as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, and include a 25% off coupon for any physical Lone Wolf Products currently in stock on our webstore.

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25Mar/19Off

Today we’re revealing a new Archetype for the Age of Sigmar Roleplaying Game, the mighty Doomseeker!

#MortalRealmsMonday 

Redemption or Death

Oathsworn to leave your home and never return, you travel the Mortal Realms in search of redemption or death.

The unbreakable oaths of the Fyreslayers are legendary and the Doomseeker epitomises their stubborn sense of honour. No one knows what could drive a Duardin to swear an oath so mighty as to banish them from their own lodge and nor would any who have sworn such an oath ever say, for a Doomseeker is as reticent as they are proud. Some speculate that they are warriors who have disgraced themselves in battle, that they are the sole survivors of a destroyed lodge, or atoning for some familial guilt. Others whisper that this is the fate of an Auric Runeson who fails to rise to Runefather and refuses to bend the knee to a brother. What is true is that Doomseekers had lives before swearing their oaths. While their skills may be a little rusty, a Doomseeker may still surprise their adventuring companions with an unexpected musical talent, pausing to mend a broken down wagon, or haggling with a street vendor like an experienced merchant.

‘You killed it! Who asked for your bloody help?’

- Lugash, son of no Runefather, scion of no lodge

A Doomseeker fears no death, only disgrace, and will never back down from a confrontation without a good reason. Their constant spoiling for a fight will eventually drive long-suffering companions to despair, but most will tolerate it for the sheer brawn and berserker fury they bring to a party. While their companions may never know what drives the Doomseeker in their self-destructive quest, it is this goal that shapes their actions above all else. They could be seeking an ancient treasure that
once belonged to Grimnir, a Chaos champion on whom to mete vengeance, or they could simply have banished themselves over a point of principle, an issue of honour that will be erased only in death.

In Play

Doomseekers are mighty warriors with nothing left to lose. In battle they are terrifying to behold, throwing themselves at their enemies with wild abandon. If you chose to play a Doomseeker you will be a force to be reckoned with in combat. But Doomseekers are more than just barbarians lusting for battle — something in their past set them on this course. This event will fuel a lot of the roleplaying aspect of a Doomseeker and can lead to some dramatic and often tragic moments in play.

Behind the Design

Looking at the Fyreslayers as a faction, there is no shortage of able bodied warriors. When we were trying to decide who to include in the AoSRPG we looked at what archetype would provide the most roleplaying potential. We initially envisioned using the Vulkite Berzerker, but found that the Doomseeker already came equipped with a juicy storyhook. Having to ask yourself why your character was exiled gives players a really strong starting point when playing a new character.

What Next

Over the next few weeks we will reveal more Archetypes for the Age of Sigmar RPG. We’ll also look at how the factions of the Mortal Realms come into play and show off even more new artwork. Be sure to sign up to our newsletter so you don’t miss out! You can also join us over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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25Mar/19Off

Have you met the six bold adventurers defending the Mortal Realms in the name of Sigmar?

  • The Knight-Questor
  • Warpriest
  • Grphy-Hound
  • Endrinrigger
  • Kurnoth Hunter
  • Tidecaster

Age of Sigmar RPG is due in 2019. Check back for regular updates!

In case you missed our last major update find it here.

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25Mar/19Off

Lonely Mountain Region Guide for Adventures in Middle-earth™ is available to Pre-Order NOW!

Delivery of PDF scheduled for April 2019 and in print third quarter 2019. Order here.

Packed with new information on some of the best-known locales and characters described in The Hobbit, this invaluable guide for players and Loremasters alike describes the Dwarf-hold of Erebor, the city of Dale, the surrounding regions and the many different activities to undertake there.

Lonely Mountain Region Guide contains material previously released as Erebor The Lonely Mountain for The One Ring Roleplaying Game, fully converted to be compatible with Adventures in Middle-earth and the OGL rules.

Also included:

  • Rules for creating your own Dragons as well as a set of fearsome foes as examples
  • New Dwarven artefacts and enchantments and the art of their making
  • The long history of the war between Dwarves and Orcs and relics from that conflict
  • Two playable cultures - expanded rules for Dwarves of the Iron Hills and the new Dwarves of the Grey Mountains
  • A complete set of journey tables for the region and advice on trips within a city!

Cover Art by Ralph Horsley.

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20Mar/19Off

As its Warhammer Wednesday we want to share the third in our series of WFRP Blog Posts from C7 writer Ben Scerri. If you need to catch up on his previous in-depth posts you can find the first one here and the second here. You can also join the C7 chat on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to give us your feedback. You can find the WFRP4 Core rulebook in stores now or order directly here.

Hello again, folks! Today we’re talking setting expectations in WFRP — that’s right, we’re doing a little Gamemaster advice! The rulebook is full of mechanics, stories, hooks, monsters, spells, careers, trappings… EVERYTHING you might need to run a game. But today I want to talk a little about starting a game, so that’s where we’re going to jump in right now.

‘Nobody expects the Estalian Inquisition… but they sure as Sigmar should expect your game sessions!’

A good campaign will begin by setting expectations (especially in reference to what you should expect from the setting *wink*) — what are the likely themes, what are the boundaries, what are Characters going to spend most of their time doing — which allows the Players to become invested, and play their Characters to the strengths of the shared story.

I have a little tool I like to use when starting a WFRP campaign, and — like all good things — it owes its roots to the Ruinous Powers!

Let Chaos into your Campaigns

The four Chaos Gods have always stood as the four main pillars of what makes a good, fully-fleshed-out Warhammer experience to me. In them, we see the greatest extremes of Human emotion, and given Warhammer is a deeply emotional setting, it makes sense that Khorne, Nurgle, Tzeentch, and Slaanesh are the furthest extremes therein!

I like to think of each Chaos God as a slider — a scale from ‘0’ to ‘Tzeentch’ — that tells us how much we want to focus on that God’s style of extremism in play. A good campaign — in my opinion — will focus about half of the time on one God’s sphere, then have two other God’s peppered through, making up most of the other half, with the final God used only in extreme circumstances… What do I mean? Well, that’s a good question: let’s break it down further, shall we?

Khorne: Violence, Combat, and Military-Fiction!

Khorne — the Blood God — is all about killing things, fighting enemies in glorious battle, and likely dying at the end of a sword.

Campaigns that feature Khorne’s sphere of influence heavily likely have a lot of combat in them: the Characters hunt monsters, or serve in the State Army of Altdorf, or plumb the depths of a Dwarf ruin, or serve as sewer jacks beneath Ubersreik! These sorts of campaigns can expect combat at least every session, with the risk of death always being right around the corner.

Players are encouraged to choose Careers that focus on martial Skills and Characteristics, or those that supplement martial Characters (barber-surgeons, wizards, priests, and so on). Additionally, Players are encouraged to have back-up Characters ready in case their main Character passes through the Portal during a session, and greets Morr, the God of Death — perhaps taking control of a non-player character, like a hireling brought along for extra muscle.

GMs of these sorts of campaigns will want to be very familiar with the rules of Combat and Injuries, and might want to ignore the Sudden Death rule entirely! Further, the GM should focus on the action at the table — don’t worry about backstories and intrigues too deeply. Draw the Characters into conflicts using visceral threats — enemies knocking down the door, the threat of being hanged as a criminal, the murder of a loved one or notable-about-town.

Nurgle: Decay, Disease, and the Downtrodden!

Nurgle — the Fly Lord — is the perfect vector for stories of societal decay (both literally via plague, and figuratively via corrupt politicians) and hopelessness, with Characters struggling to hold back an inevitability.

Campaigns that feature Nurgle’s sphere of influence heavily likely have a lot of roleplaying with the downtrodden, lots of insidious cults, and lots of gritty ‘realism’ for the Characters to struggle through. Finding a meal and a place to sleep is a concern. Staying out of the rain so as not to catch cold is paramount. And avoiding the boil-covered beggars on the steps of Shallya’s temple is more than mere colourful description: it is the difference between life and death!

Players are encouraged to buy into the horrific themes of these sorts of campaigns: generally speaking, it’s impossible to scare someone whilst playing a game unless they want to be scared. Players should also look at Characters that mire them in the conflicts — so they can’t just walk away from all the horror — through academics who are rooted to a place of study, community leaders or family-oriented Characters, or other such small-folk who don’t have the luxury of leaving.

GMs should read up on the rules for Disease and Infection, Psychology, and the Between Adventures chapter. Further, the GM should look for what the Characters want, and use unconventional methods to threaten them. The GM should strive to stretch the Characters beyond their means, and to push them into hopelessness, and terrible consequences. This is not the sort of campaign folks should be foisted into without first agreeing to it!

Tzeentch: Mysteries, Machinations, and Mutations!

Tzeentch — the Lord of Change — is a cunning tutor for the twisting of fates, and circuitous logic, with the Characters chasing leads, learning of foul cults, and uncovering secrets laid down in the dusts of time.

Campaigns that feature Tzeentch’s sphere of influence heavily likely have a lot of background woven in by the GM, involve investigations, conspiracies, and lies being told. The Characters themselves may even have secrets from each other — though it’s often more fun if the Players are all in on the secrets, so everyone can appreciate the dramatic irony when they come into play. Learning things that should be left alone, and the ever-present threat of Corruption are constant themes in these campaigns.

Players are encouraged to create Characters with deep motivations that run beyond merely generating wealth, fighting the good fight, or becoming famous. Characters with aspirations — the sky’s the limit — are easier to goad into terrible acts, and give everyone a good playing field to ask questions like ‘Do the ends justify the means?’ Characters in these sorts of games also benefit from having some means already — nefarious connections, obscene wealth, a seedy past, or access to forbidden knowledge.

GMs should read up on the rules for Mutation, Corruption (specifically Dark Deals), and the investigation Skills like Bribery, Gossip, Intimidate, Intuition, and so on… Further, the GM should become deeply familiar with genre fiction — such as farce and noir — and learn to ask Player Characters leading questions such as: “Who was it who murdered your mother?” rather than “What happened to your mother?” This sort of game requires more preparation time for the GM, so it’s not encouraged if you’re time-limited, but I find it the most rewarding style of play.

Slaanesh: Depravity, Intrigue, and Inequality

Slaanesh — the Prince of Excess — is a seductive god who’s stories involve the worst of Humanity’s crimes. The inequalities of the Nobility, the hypocrisies of the Cult of Sigmar, and the undercurrent of Human greed and perversion are the constant threats to the Characters…

Campaigns that feature Slaanesh’s sphere of influence heavily likely deal with some real-world problems dialled up to the extreme, and can act as catharsis or amusing satire. Real world history can often provide inspiration for these sorts of campaigns, by tying in political figures past and present! Mostly, though, these campaigns will be about Characters talking, scheming, and stabbing each other in the back.

Players are encouraged to create Characters and stories that revolve around the movers and shakers — the nobility, the priesthoods, the wizards in Altdorf — whether directly (by being those figures) or tangentially (by serving, investigating, or surrounding them). Players should pay special attention to their Ambitions, and should work together to create potentially conflicting stories! If everyone is engaged and onboard, a campaign where the Characters are in opposition to each other can be very entertaining — so long as everyone is still having fun, and respects each others boundaries. Remember, a good story is more important than ‘winning’.

GMs should read up on the rules for Ambitions, and the politics of the Reikland / world history. Further, they should spend the majority of their preparation time planning interesting non-player characters with as deep Motivations and Ambitions as the Characters — perhaps even going so far as to give them their own full Character Sheets and engage in Between Adventures Endeavours just like everyone else! GMs are well served by having a relationship map of their non-player Characters, and often find most of their planning being reactive to the Players’ actions.

Chaos Undivided

Now that we’ve discussed our individual ingredients, let’s mix them together and see what pops out! I’ll pitch four example campaigns, with a combination of the four sliders — one set high, another two at the low end, and the last for a single epic moment in the game…

Slaanesh, with a dash of Khorne and Tzeentch, and a pinch of Nurgle. The Characters are servants and courtiers in a noble court, where duelling, backstabbing, and political intrigue are their bread and butter. Play revolves around pursuing their own goals whilst guarding their backs from the machinations of jealous and scheming rivals and villains. The threat of disease and starvation should be far from their minds… until a terrible winter spreads famine and plague across the land.

Tzeentch, with a dash of Slaanesh and Nurgle, and a pinch of Khorne. The Characters are burghers, investigators, local priests, and rat catchers — local folks in a big city — where something just isn’t right. People are going missing — dying of strange wasting illnesses — whilst new and strange folk are rising with great fortune. Only the Characters can put the pieces together, and confront the darkness growing in their midst...

Khorne, with a dash of Nurgle and Tzeentch, and a pinch of Slaanesh. The Characters are members of a mercenary company, stationed on the edge of the Empire, or deep in the Border Princes, who must contend with the constant threat of war, starvation, and the wasting diseases that war brings. But not everything is as it seems, and a mastermind behind the company has other, darker, plans — perhaps uncovering something from the hands of their enemies. Will the Characters be mere pawns of their general, keeping their eyes down and their bellies passably full? Or will they root out the cancer in their midst?

Nurgle, with a dash of Khorne and Slaanesh, and a pinch of Tzeentch. The Characters are members of a small community in the deepest parts of the Reikwald, in a forgotten corner of the Empire. Their lives are hard, and it’s a constant struggle to keep everyone’s mouths fed, and their spirits up… But such hardship breeds cruelty and corruption — will the Characters fall to this temptation, or will someone, or something else have to take matters into their own hands?

Talk About Daemons…

What I want you to take away from this is to talk about your daemons as a group. What do you care about? What do you find fun? What haven’t you played before? Discuss this as a group, before you begin to make Characters, and you’ll find a far stronger narrative, with more entrenched themes and fun, bleeds through.

I hope you let us know on our social media channels which of the above styles of play is your favourite, and your best advice for running those kinds of games!

Until next time, folks!

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13Mar/19Off

Last week we brought you part one in our new series of WFRP Blog posts. If you missed it you can catch up here. Today, Cubicle 7 writer Ben Scerri is looking at Success Levels. Join the chat over on Facebook and Twitter and let us know what you think! 

Hi, folks! It’s Ben again. The Old World is a brutal place, where it’s a struggle just to get by, and all-too-often you’re only winning because someone else is losing more than you… So today, I’m going to tackle something very core to the game: Success Levels!

Hang in there, buddy.

Success Levels (SL) come up in three main areas of play: Dramatic Tests, Opposed Tests, and specifically Opposed Tests in Combat. Let’s begin at the beginning, shall we?

Success Levels in Dramatic Tests

Sometimes it’s not good enough to know if you merely succeed or fail, and we need to know how much of a fool (or, Sigmar help us, a hero) you made of yourself. In these instances, we use Dramatic Tests. The Test follows the same usual pattern as a Simple Test, but the number you rolled, in addition to being higher or lower than your Skill or Characteristic being Tested, is important.

Salundra and Gunnar stroll into the Red Moon Inn in Ubersreik, excited by the prospect of a stiff drink to wash away the troubles of the day. Unfortunately, tonight the pub is patronised by a rowdy gang of locals who mistake Salundra’s noble swagger for the walk of the hated Altdorfers! A thug gets to his feet, swaying slightly, and starts ranting to the crowd about how unwelcome Altdorfers are, attempting to get the two thrown out. Salundra decides to make a joke of the man, and perhaps earn herself some free drinks from the locals, so she rolls a Charm Test. Because this Test has a range of potential results, it’s a Dramatic Test. Salundra rolls a 91 against her Charm of 28!

Once you’ve rolled, first figure out if you succeeded or failed, like a Simple Test. Remember, if the roll is equal to or lower than the target, you succeed; otherwise, you fail.

91 is a lot higher than Salundra’s target of 28, so this is a failure…

Next, we minus the target’s ‘tens’ column from the roll’s ‘tens’ column, to discover the SL. If the roll was a failure, we do the reverse.

The tens of the target was ‘2’, and the tens of the roll was ‘−9’. Therefore, 2 − 9 = −7 SL!

7 SL on a Dramatic Test is an Astounding Failure, which means, not only does Salundra fail to swing the crowd to her side, she gets a few ‘free’ drinks thrown her way… And not in the way she was hoping!

Success Levels in Opposed Tests

When two or more Characters go head-to-head, we call for an Opposed Test. All parties involved make a Test with a relevant Skill or Characteristic (it might be the same one, such as in a horse race both parties would Test Ride, or it might be different Skills, such as a thief hiding with Stealth and a guard searching with Perception) and then compare to see who won. Opposed Tests add a whole new element to SL, because an Opposed Tests doesn’t focus on Success and Failure as much as who scored more SL.

Gunnar can see the situation is turning quick, and if anyone knows when a fight’s about to break out, it’s a Slayer. He can see most of the patrons are armed at least with cudgels and daggers, so he decides to intimidate the instigator with his axe, hoping the crowd is encouraged to not draw their weapons, and leave this one to fists only.

Gunnar rolls 45 against his Intimidate of 43 — a failure with −0 SL. The thug rolls a 64 against his Cool of 29 — a failure with −4 SL. Even though both characters ‘failed’, Gunnar failed by fewer −SL, so won the Opposed Test: the patrons in the bar are still going to brawl, but they’re keeping their weapons in their belts as Gunnar slides his thumb along the edge of his axe, just like the great Troll Slayers do…

The Character who rolled better on an Opposed Test is considered the ‘winner’, with the other character being the ‘loser’. Please note that winning is not the same as succeeding! For most Opposed Tests, this distinction isn’t important...but it becomes very important when we get to combat. Speaking of which...

Success Levels in Combat

Most Actions in Combat will be Opposed Tests — either attacking an opponent with a Melee Skill, or using another Skill to gain Advantage over an opponent. But Combat is more dynamic than your average Skill Tests, and the range of potential outcomes and complications grows alongside that.

When a character attacks another character in melee, they roll an Opposed Test with the appropriate Skill — Melee (Basic), Melee (Two-handed), etc. The Defender rolls with an appropriate Skill, depending on how they’re protecting themselves — Melee (Basic) if they’re parrying with their main weapon, Melee (Parry) if they’re using a main gauche or similar, or Dodge if they’re trying to get out of the way entirely!

The result of this roll is different depending on who wins the Opposed Test: if the Attacker wins, they deal Damage, and if the Defender wins, the blow is deflected.

Salundra seizes the initiative and dives at the thug, swinging her fists wildly — she rolls 14 against her Melee (Brawling) of 49: success with +3 SL! The thug, blindsided by Salundra’s ferocity, attempts to duck out of the way — he rolls 33 against his Melee (Brawling) of 36: success with +0 SL.

The difference in the SL of an attack Action — in both melee and at range — is added to the Damage dealt. If this would be a negative difference, it is made positive (e.g. −1 SL vs −6 SL = +5 SL).

The total SL is +3 for the above attack, and Salundra is Unarmed with a Damage of +SB+0. Salundra’s Strength is 36, so her Strength Bonus is 3, making a total Damage of 6! The thug is wearing no armour on his Right Leg (where the blow hit), so only reduces this by his Toughness Bonus of 3, to 3 Wounds. Salundra went low, it seems, and only narrowly missed a punch to the groin!


C
riticals & Fumbles

But remember what I said about winning not being the same as succeeding? Take another look at the thug’s roll above — a 33… That’s a Critical! Remember that rolling doubles on a successful Melee Test results in a Critical, whilst rolling doubles on a failed Test results in a Fumble.

Even though the thug failed to win the Opposed Test — and therefore was hit by Salundra — he managed to deal a Critical Wound to her!

The thug rolls 1d100 to determine where the Critical Wound falls, and scores a 19 — Left Arm. He rolls 1d100 on the Critical Wound Table, and scores a 22 — a Sprain! Whilst Salundra goes low to punch the thug in the groin, he jumps back and swings his fist down. The blow cracks against Salundra’s left shoulder, janking it out of place, and giving her a Torn Muscle (Minor) injury, as well as dealing 1 Wound unmodified by her Toughness Bonus or Armour!

In this way, combat is always dangerous. There is never a situation where you’re entirely safe to get mucked in!

Gunnar follows Salundra into the fray, swinging his ham-sized fists left and right. He goes to beat up one of the thug’s cronies, and rolls a 55 against his Melee (Brawling) of 45 — a failure with −1 SL. The crony is so utterly thrown off by this assault, he rolls a 92 against his Melee (Brawling) of 31 — a failure with −6 SL! Gunnar won the Opposed Test, so deals Damage equal to the difference in the SL (+5) added to his SB (3) for a total of 8 Wounds!

However, Gunnar also rolled a double on a failed Test, so Fumbled. He rolls 1d100 on the Oops! Table, scoring a 44 — his manoeuvre left him out of place, with a −10 penalty on his next Action. Not surprising, given how reckless he was being!

When SLs are Tied

In the event that both Characters score the same SL on an Opposed Test, we compare the relevant Skill or Characteristic being rolled, with victory going to the higher trait. If there’s still a tie, the GM can either count it as a stalemate and nothing progressed that Round — two equally matched fighters circling each other, failing to get the upper hand — or the GM may ask for the Test to be retaken.

The crony recovers from Gunnar’s blow to the gut, and swings a fist in return, rolling a 25 against his Melee (Brawling) of 31 — success with +1 SL. Gunnar, surrounded on all sides, decides to duck to the side, rolling a 21 against his Dodge of 33 — success with +1 SL. The SLs are tied, but Gunnar’s Dodge (33) is greater than the crony’s Melee (Brawling) (31), so Gunnar wins the bout, and the swing goes over his head through empty space.

‘It’s Not About Winning or Losing…

...it’s how you die along the way.’

Right? That’s how the saying goes, yeah?

Success Levels add a level of granularity that lets Players and GMs alike express the true range of possibilities in WFRP — from horrible farce to dashing heroics. If you’ve any questions about the above, ask away on our social media channels, and we’ll answer you as soon as we’re finished beating up these rascals in the Red Moon Inn (because, let’s face it, Salundra and Gunnar are going to need all the help they can get).

Until next time, folks!

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6Mar/19Off

This is the first in a series of in-depth Cubicle 7 WFRP blog posts from one of our writers, Ben Scerri. The aim of these posts is to give expert advice and insight into many different aspects of Warhammer. Take a read and join the chat over on FacebookTwitter and Instagram! Click here to find out a little more about Ben! #WarhammerWednesday

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Hi folks, I’m Ben, a writer on Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition — and I’m here to do my very favourite thing: talk about WFRP! It’s been a joy to see everyone dive deep into the new edition with such gusto. So let’s wade in, sword swinging and… hmm...

If we are fighting, I should really use something to defend myself with, right? Should I parry with my hand weapon, get myself a shield (and then, what size?) or should I pick up a specialist parrying weapon? And it looks like I’m not the only looking to find the best way to muck in, 4th Edition has given us more options than ever before to defend ourselves — so let’s go through the pros and cons of each method.

To my mind, the flavour, the fiction, is as much a mechanic as the numbers. We’re not just going to look into the maths behind each option, but also what each option means. What does it say about you to carry a great axe around? And is it a faux pas to carry a buckler with your rapier rather than main gauche?!

Let’s get into it, shall we? We have three primary options when parrying (obviously, this doesn’t include Dodging):

  1. Parrying with a normal weapon,
  2. Parrying with a shield,
  3. And parrying with a specialist weapon.

Sticking to Basics: Parrying with a Normal Weapon

Parrying with a normal weapon means, well, what it says on the tin: using a weapon — either in your primary or secondary hand — that is ordinarily used for offence. There are three situations where this would likely occur: you only have a weapon in your primary hand, and nothing else; you are wielding two weapons, one in each hand; or you’re carrying a two-handed weapon.

Whatever the reason for parrying with a normal weapon, a Character will use their appropriate Melee Skill to Oppose their attacker’s Melee Skill. This is often a good bet: Characters in a battle without a back-up plan are likely skilled with their main weapon… Or they were surprised… Or they’re too poor to afford anything else! Therefore, fighting like this is functional, economical, and likely wise for many combatants.

But there is a problem with this style of fighting: you’re entirely relying on winning an Opposed Test. You’re also utterly at the whims of an opponent at range. However, if you’ve chosen to wield a massive two-handed weapon, or are combining a secondary weapon with the Dual Wielder Talent, then these may be wise-enough trade-offs.

 

There are also social ramifications to this sort of fighting. Consider how foolish you’d look fighting a well-prepared knight — armed with a sword and shield — with only an axe in hand. Consider how uncouth you’d be to draw a massive bastard sword in a duel with a foppish noble, wielding a rapier and main gauche. Hand and great weapons are tools of personal defence — they lack the subtlety and style of purpose-built weapons like a foil or rapier. You couldn’t really get away with strolling into a noble court with a pike tucked into your belt, could you?

Nothin’ Like a Good Shield

There’s a reason Humans — in the real world, that is — have used shields since before written records, all the way until… well… now. Shields just make sense: someone is swinging or shooting something pointy at you, so put a big piece of wood or metal in the way! The same is true of shields in WFRP — especially in the latest edition, where they’ve been given all sorts of bells and whistles that shake up the regular push and thrust of combat!

Shields bring with them a lot of mechanical benefits, so let’s take a look at each one, and then address the individual kinds of shields.

All three shields are in the Basic weapon group — so use Melee (Basic) as their attacking or defending Skill — and have the following three Weapon Qualities: Shield, Defensive, and Undamaging.

Defensive is nice and straight forward: when you are wielding the weapon, you gain +1 SL to the Melee Test when defending. This even works if you are defending with a weapon in your other hand as you manoeuvre your shield into the path of any incoming weapons! When combined with the fact you’re likely to have a relatively high Melee (Basic) Skill, you should have a good chance of entirely parrying many incoming attacks (or at least reducing the difference in the SL). The Defensive Quality also allows shields to be used with Melee (Parry), which forgoes the –20 penalty you’d receive for using Melee (Basic) in an off-hand (if you don’t have Ambidextrous).

Undamaging isn’t the best, but given it’s a shield and you’re unlikely to be attacking with it unless you happen to have the Dual Wielder Talent, this shouldn’t sour you too much. This quality means all AP are doubled against attacks from shields, and said attacks don’t deal a minimum of 1 Damage.

Shield (Rating) is where things really shine — when using the shield to defend, you count as having Rating APs on all locations. This can be used to deflect Critical Wounds, and at Rating 2+ (so, a normal and large shield) you can even defend against ranged attacks! This is a game changer!

So, let’s look at the individual shields. Our Shield (Buckler) is the cheapest option — at 18/2, so just shy of a crown — and gives Shield 1. Alongside Defensive, this is already a sound tactical choice: you get to use the better of either Melee (Basic) at –20, or Melee (Parry), whilst getting a +1 SL on all defense Tests, and +1 AP to all Hit Locations when defending with the shield. Even if your opponent gets through, their attack will be severely hampered by this impressive defence!

Next, we have the Shield and Shield (Large), which are 2GC with Shield 2 and 3GC with Shield 3 respectively. Both carry the same tactical advantages as the Buckler, but with the added benefit of protecting against ranged attacks in line-of-sight — the only protection available against such attacks. Whilst they’re certainly expensive — and therefore outside of the reach of many adventurers — they would be my absolute first purchase.

In fact, it’s worth stating that I would purchase a Shield well before any armour pieces. Why? Well, because even though a Shield costs 2GC, a full suit of even Leather — which would only grant 1 AP on all locations, rather than 2 AP with +1 SL to defend — costs 1GC 14/–. For only 6/– more, you’re getting double, and then some, the value!

But it’s not all mechanics and mathematics. This is a roleplaying game, after all — you’re going to need to chat to some non-player characters before long, and I doubt the dandy will take too kindly to some raggedy hedge knight hefting around a massive shield. No, unfortunately, shields are not in fashion with the rakes and rapscallions of the Empire — though bucklers still get plenty of use by the middle class — which will mean you may have lost the war (for your honour) even before you’ve deflected a blow. Furthermore, shields are a practical symbol of war — you can’t hide them, you can’t side-step them. If you walk into a village carrying a shield, folks are going to know what you’re looking for and are used to dealing with trouble. Is that the kind of attention you want to bring?


Getting Fancy with Parrying Weapons

Lastly, we have Parrying weapons — either a main gauche or a swordbreaker — which are primarily the purvue of the elite, given their relative rarity compared with shields. These weapons are fashionable, but also highly functional, combining the Defensive Quality of a shield (and everything that brings), with the fact they’re powerful weapons in their own right. However, both of the weapons require the Melee (Parrying) Skill, so unless their wielder is trained in that Skill, they shouldn’t be seriously considered as options.

Let’s consider the main gauche: +SB+2 Damage with the Defensive Quality for only 1GC (though its Rarity will make it a tough cookie to find). If combined with the Dual Wielder Talent, and perhaps the Ambidextrous Talent, this would result in a powerful defensive and offensive option in combat.

But the weapon I really want to talk about is the swordbreaker. Only 2/6 more expensive than the main gauche, and being merely Scarce, this tricky little weapon delivers much: +SB+3 Damage, Defensive, a longer range (Short, as opposed to Very Short), and the curious Trap-blade Quality. What does Trap-blade do? When rolling a Critical whilst defending, you can force an Opposed Strength Test adding the SL from the Melee (Parry) Test. A success results in your opponent being disarmed, but success with +6 SL destroys the weapon entirely!


 

Parrying weapons are by far the easiest to place in social contexts — they’re very popular amongst the upper classes, and help you fit in with them. They also make you seem more fashionable among the middle-classes, and help you stand out amongst the lower-class locales. Furthermore, they’re much easier to conceal, so you can gain the benefits of ‘just having a hand weapon’ right up until your opponent has underestimated you and you draw your cunning swordbreaker.

Just Don’t Die, Alright?

Really, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you fight so long as you live to talk about it (and maybe look good doing it), right? That’s the real WFRP way. I hope this little deep-dive helped frame your character's weapon tastes a little better, and I look forward to hearing about your favourite combinations on our social media channels.

Until next time, folks!

 

 

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27Feb/19Off

Download the new WFRP Errata 28 Feb now!

We have made some additional small amendments to the WFRP4 Errata today, it now includes extra clarifications about gaining Talents, ranged combat, spells, and how Stomping works. Not only this, but we've installed them all into the WFRP4 core rule book pdf!

If you downloaded from DrivethruRPG originally you should have received another email alert with a link to download the new full PDF. Bits and Mortar will be updated soon.

DrivethruRPG link: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/248284/Warhammer-Fantasy-Roleplay-Fourth-Edition-Rulebook?src=hottest

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