I'm a long-standing WFRP player, 1st/2nd ed, and while initially being skeptical of 3rd ed, listening to the Reckless Dice podcast and I've actually fallen in love with the dramatic & storytelling possibilities of the new rules system.
So, what do I need to play? I don't need background and I don't need adventures (I have all of those), all I want is the rules & careers for a human-centric campaign. In 2nd ed terms all I'd wanna buy anew is the core rules & the career compendium. Plus enough dice.
I'm aware I wont get that many careers at a sensible, but what do I wanna look at to get something of that ilk? If I could walk out & get the core boxset & one of two extras & have a nice spread of stuff, that would be cool. And is the whole lack of dice thing as bad as people say?
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Now this it totally IMO, but if I could only buy three things (to begin with), it would be:
Player’s handbook (possibly as a PDF, which will run you $25)
You really need the Core Set for all the stuff (unless you intent to run without components, which is possible, but IMO not optimal).
The monster vault will vastly increase your pool of opponents, and give you access to NPC cards.
The Player’s Handbook gives you, besides much clearer rules, access to a lot of extra careers. If your players choose a career which isn’t in the Core Set, you can then “make do” (the career sheets aren’t really all that important anyway – especially if you use one of the different expanded character sheets) until you can buy the relevant expansion.
That way you don’t have to buy anything you don’t need.
What you don’t get with this configuration:
Mutations and Diseases (you can shell out another $25 for a PDF of The Game Master’s Guide to get the rules and effects)
Action, career and talent cards that aren’t in the Core Set (you can copy the effects from the Player’s Handbook to a piece of paper – or simply rule that your players can only use the stuff from the Core set). This will be especially notably if one of your players wants to play a priest or wizard from a faith/order that isn’t in the Core Set.
Khorne and Slaanesh stuff. You can only get this through expansions.
In short, this will give you a lot of options, but increase your workload (compared to buying all the expansions) as soon as you go beyond the Core Set.
Honestly, all you really need is the Core Set. It will easily provide you with enough of everything to have a Human-centric campaign using the Core Rules.
When you start to want to expand, the Adventurer's Toolkit will add a few more careers, action cards, etc. and enough more of the basic components to have 4 PCs instead of 3 (with the Core Set there are only enough components for 3 players, more than that and they have to share).
Creature Vault as previously mentioned will add new monsters into the mix. Signs of Faith and Winds of Magic will flesh out the rest of the Faiths and College Orders if you are wanting that, plus adding the rules for Disease and Mutation.
You can basically springboard from there into whatever you want to expand the game, but really I don't think you "need" anything past the Core Set if you are just wanting to try the game.
You'll hear lots of advice on this, but essentially if you just start with the Core set and play a couple games, you're off to a good start. All of the careers aren't in the core set, as the later boxed sets introduce more in themed releases such as Omens of War or Lure of Power.
There are some house rules out there (see my SIG) that make things run smoothly or differently.
I've found that the Players Guide hardback is incredibly valuable as then the PLAYERS at the table have something to thumb through for rules, abilities, careers, etc.
Most of the campaigns that I have run have been 1st or 2nd edition conversions. They convert straight up btw. A beastman is a beastman. The coinage is different though. Don't try to convert that. Just use a standard of 50silver as a general "reward" for doing a job per session or two as a guideline and then you'll have little else to worry about.
A couple personal opinions on 3e:
There is a "how to teach WFRP" file at RPGGEEK and there is also a Beginner's Guide here on these threads.
My choice of 3 products would be the Core Set and then either/or the Adventurer's Kit and Signs of Faith.
You obviously need the core set for all the bits - and it's the most economical way to buy dice too.
The Adventurer's tool kit is one of the cheaper expansions, and so bang for buck will give you more careers, and more 'stuff' for the players to take to customise their characters: actions, talents, etc. There are quite a lot of good ones too. I think it also includes basic cards for a 4th player, if you want to use these (I would rather remove all of the basic action cards for the sake of table space and replace them with one of the downloadable summary sheets.
The Signs of Faith expansion again has some cool careers in it, plus the disease rules. Of all the things 'missing' from the core, I think these are probably the most important to the setting and difficult to house rule in a satisfactory way. The other reason I like this set is that the background on the gods and religions is important information for fleshing out the world for players. Whereas the colleges of magic background is really only relevant to the GM and wizard players, most characters should be familiar with all of the religious background. You did mention though that you didn't need any background…
I personally would not recommend the guide books as essentials if you're starting out and looking to avoid spending money needlessly.
The player's guide is okay, but obviously repeats a lot of information you have in the core set. It may be clearer, but I think you can download rules summaries / cheat sheets / alternative GM screens which will do this just as well. If you were to buy Signs of Faith you would additionally have covered half of the expansion material in the book that you don't get in the core set.
The monster guide will be more or less useful depending on what kind of game you want to play, and how comfortable you are at winging things. In my view it fails at providing an easy-reference 'everything you need to run a particular monster on one page'. Information is spread out between different chapters, cards, rule books, etc. You'll have all of the monster background from previous editions, so presumably won't need all that again. Many of the actions are really very similar (is a 'claw strike' really very different from a 'sword strike' from a 'pointy tooth strike' from a 'horn strike'?). You have some core monster rules and actions in the core set, and in my opinion they're plenty to be getting on with. If your game will concentrate a lot on human opposition - thugs, cultists, soldiers, wizards, the city watch, etc., then you won't need lots of new monsters. The core rules contain many of the core monsters, and while you may be missing 'lesser spotted banshees from Talabecland', are you ever likely to put one of them in your game anyway? And if so, can't you come up with some cool special rules yourself?
If you get anything else, I would probably go for the Omens of War - for the severe injury rules and more cool careers and fighting options, but might not worry if your players aren't very interested in tricking out their characters for combat. If you have wizard PCs, then the Winds of Magic is probably a must, but if not, it's an awful lot of content that really won't be used in games, as cool as the careers are. I think the Lure of Pleasure 'extras' are less important than some of the others (social combat and secret societies are less in need of rules mechanics than physical combat, disease and/or magic), and I don't think the adventure is that brilliant, but there is some good setting material, and again, the careers are pretty cool too.
Cheers guys this is all super-useful.
I will be having 4 players, so it's Core & Adventurer's Toolkit at a minimum?
How bad is the dice situ?
The dice situation is terrible. Not a single online store shows them in stock, and not a single physical store near me or within 2 countries away has been reported to have any in stock either. I've sent my spies to Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the UK with no success. They haven't been to every store in every country, but I think we can safely say that you can't casually stroll into a store and pick up dice :)
I bought the GM Vault really cheap. That added sufficient dice (same as the non-existent dice pack, I guess) and put me at 6 red/green dice total. Those were really the only ones missing for a complete higher level set. I also don't mind getting a few extra cards for bad things. No more players breathing a sigh of relief because that one card they didn't want to draw is out of the deck >:)
Re: Dice… I bought a second core set. Now, I'm not saying you should do the same, as it is very expensive. Even when available the dice packs seemed like they were very expensive for what they were. If you want lots of dice, a core set is a good-value way to get them. Of course, I didn't pay full price for the set - I got it from Amazon. But I figured a lot of the extra stuff will come in handy too.
My advice for you however would be to start with just the core set and try to manage…
I got a reply re. dice:
We plan to have those dice again, but we don't have any dates set for the reprints yet.
So basically they've not even placed an order with their Chinese dice manufacturer (the fact that they're Chinese is a guess), and when they do, it will probably take months to turn around (that's less of a guess). So we're looking at a loooong wait…
I decided against running/investing in 3rd ed. The thing that really appealed to me was the die mechanics (the idea of allowing Heroic failures or Chaos-tainted successes etc., shades of grey that appealed to me), and as the dice are pretty much AWOL at the moment, and I wasn't interrested in buying the Core & the Adventurer's Kit to have enough for 4+ players, and still only having one set of dice unless I also get the GMs vault.
However, I did but the new Enemy Within and I'm very happy with my choice. I'll be runing it with 2nd and although I've not got too deep into it yet, it looks very much like the type of adventure that got me into WFRP in the first place.
I hope they noticing how many people arent buying their product due to the dice shortage.
Hopefully, they fix it in the near future and you come back again.
Dwarves Do have Nobility
Yeah absolutely. Like many players I reacted in horror when the 1st photos of 3rd ed came out, but since looking back into it recently (3rds release coincided with the end of my last campaign so by the time it actually arrived I wasn't paying attention really) I've actually grown to admire much of what was done. Sure there are some bits I'd exorcise, but in many ways it's more like the story-led roleplaying I enjoy and always emphasised when using the quite traditionally RPG WFRP.
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