18May/18Off

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Fourth Edition – System Preview

In the last few weeks we’ve talked a little more about what you can expect from Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, opened pre-orders for the rulebook and starter set, and attended a tremendous Warhammer Fest. We’ve had such a fantastic response, thanks to everyone who has pre-ordered or gotten in touch with us, it really means a lot to all of us working on the game.

Today we’re taking a more detailed look at the game system. We’ve already said that it’s going to be a new implementation of the familiar d100 dice system, that you’ll be able to modify it to suit your play style, and that it will offer resolution options with a variety of levels of detail.

When a test is called for – generally a situation where a character is attempting an action, or reacting to an action affecting them – the GM has three choices:

1 – GM decision based on the characters’ abilities

Keeping the game flowing smoothly and quickly is important to keep everyone actively engaged in the adventure. Sometimes, especially when the outcome doesn’t really matter all that much, or the most likely outcome is pretty obvious, the GM is better off eyeballing the relev
ant character(s) abilities and making a call as to whether or not the action succeeds.

When situations are resolved this way, players will need to show trust and respect to the GM – the decision will need to be accepted as logical and impartial and not signal the start of a discussion!

2 – A simple pass/fail test

This is the one most players are familiar with! You decide which characteristic or skill to test, adjust for the difficulty of the test (for example, a hard difficulty subtracts 20 from your ability) and then roll equal to or under that total to succeed. It’s simple (hence the name), quick, straightforward, and tells you if you succeed or fail.

The downside of the quick pass/fail test is that the action stops dead if you fail. It’s fine in many situations, but that hard ‘No’ can be unsatisfying. And if you have grim and gritty, low-skilled characters, they can fail a lot, and that can get frustrating.

But don’t worry, because we’ve included the Dramatic Test – read on!

3 – A more nuanced dramatic test giving a range of outcomes and success levels

Sometimes you need to know what happens next, rather than just ‘yes’ or ‘no’, ‘pass’ or ‘fail’. The Dramatic Test helps you generate an outcome instead. Using Success Levels to show just how well or poorly you’ve done, these tests give you a result that keeps the story moving.

Rather than just failing to jump across the ravine and plunging to your death, maybe you almost made it and are left hanging onto a root at the other side of the gorge. The negative success levels of a Dramatic Test can help to keep the game interesting and help guard against arbitrary and disproportionate dice-based punishment.
Similarly, the positive success levels mean you can succeed beyond your wildest dreams, with unanticipated consequences piling good fortune at your feet, or scrape past by the skin of your teeth, achieving most of what you wanted, but with some complications.

The Dramatic Test is a tool for the GM to make tests meaningful and… well… dramatic!

You can mix and match these tests in your game to your heart’s content! You might mostly prefer the quicker and more narrative GM’s choice and just switch to dramatic rolls when the vitally important stuff happens. You might prefer the transparency and sense of fairness that dice rolling brings, and stick to Simple Tests to keep things moving quickly. It’s entirely up to you, and the way your group prefers to play.

That’s been one of the core design principles of this edition of the game – to give you the tools to play your Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. We’re giving you lots of options to help tailor the game to you and your group.

Next time we’ll talk a bit more about fighting in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Fourth Edition!

If you’d like to find out more about the Rulebook, Collector’s Limited Edition Rulebook or Starter Set, you can check them out on the webstore.

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