Sunday, 3 August 2014

RPG Question a day - Day Three – First RPG Purchased – Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay

This wasn’t the first RPG I had in my collection, but it was the first one that I saved up for and paid for with my own money.  There were a number of reasons why I chose this one, all of which made it more interesting at the time than D&D had been.  The first of which was the front cover, which was (and still is) awesome, a dwarf not just striking a pose, but putting his axe through the orcs neck... the human laughing in the face of imminent mashage (it’s a word...), and the mage, sensibly out the way and with some fiery back up.

Excellent image, it wasn’t a book where heroes got the win every time...

It was A Grim World of Perilous Adventure...

New stats, careers to work with, all the equipment you could shake a stick at (and you weren’t limited to a 10’ pole in this, you could buy pole by the yard...), new weapons, armour that actually had an effect on damage, this was surely the way forwards.

It certainly was the way forwards, having got used to D&D, the darkness of the world of Warhammer was a hell of a shock, much like those initial forays into the keep on the borderlands, so this was something new. The idea that you had a career rather than a class, and that the career evolved into other careers when you were done with the first, this was something that had been written by someone who had seen something of the outside world and come back with the truth of it to share with all.

Then there was the size of the book, here was something that had everything you ever needed to make campaigns last forever, beasts ranging from the small things that any adventurer could handle, to the massive demons that should only ever have been found in Moria.  

Spells weren’t these immense things that made wizards untouchable at the higher levels, they were gritty, the first level stuff was useful, but the wizard in question had better have a backup plan for when the magic points ran out.

Let’s not forget the adventure in the back of the book, first level characters, fresh in their careers, coming up against cultists with the very real possibility of catching Nurgles Rot...

Nurgles Rot for gods sake!

D&D gave you kobolds to slap down as bold adventurers, a Soldier, A Servant, a Hypnotist, and a Raconteur got through, but we were very badly broken up when we did, and healing in warhammer isn’t as simple as getting out the potions and hoping for the best.

It was the first game that we’d played where there was a sense that the world could have been a real one, nothing was massive and shiny and over the top, everything was street level, and for a bunch of kids from 80’s Yorkshire, street level we understood.  Of course, with this particular book you didn’t need to buy anything else, so the excellent campaigns we never got around to, only picking them up years later when we weren’t really playing it any more.

To this day, it remains one of my favourite books, because it’s an example of how you pitch things for beginners, you don’t give them a little and expect them to make it up as they go along, you give them everything they need and then let them build their own world to play in. 

We Did...