News for November 2009
Combat Training 103: Putting it all together 68
A step by step combat example for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay | Published 04 November 2009

In previous designer diaries, I provided readers with a look at several different combat topics. Combat Training 101 introduced the initiative rules used in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Combat Training 102 provided an in-depth look at the turn structure during a round of combat.

Now that the individual elements of combat task resolution have been discussed, it is time to look at an example that incorporates all of the information. This designer diary walks you through one entire player turn during a combat.

A Chance Encounter

Mellerion the Wood ElfThis example walks through an entire character turn for Mellerion, a wood elf hunter who has stumbled across a foul beastman trespassing in his sacred forest home.

The GM describes how at the beginning of the encounter, the two stare at each other for a moment, surprised to find the other in this part of the forest.

Then, since the order in which the participants act is important to a combat situation, the GM asks Mellerion’s player to make an initiative check for the wood elf while the GM rolls for the beastman. Mellerion generates 4 successes, while the beastman manages only 1 success. The GM sets up the initiative track with a hero token on the 4th space and the beastman token on space 1.

Since a hero marker is the top-most token on the initiative track, Mellerion gets to act first. Mellerion’s player becomes the active player and starts his turn.

Beginning of Turn Phase

During the Beginning of Turn Phase, Mellerion’s player decides to move Mellerion toward a conservative stance, to take best advantage of his Accurate Shot Ranged Attack action card. He moves Mellerion’s stance activation token from the neutral space (where it began the encounter) to the first space on the conservative side of the stance meter.

To get the most out of the action, the active player decides it is worth it for Mellerion to suffer one stress to move another space along the conservative track. To reflect this, the active player places a stress token next to Mellerion’s character sheet, and puts the activation token on the second space along the conservative side of the stance meter.

Character Turn

Accurate ShotMellerion is now ready to act. Caught unprepared, however, he does not have his longbow in hand. He performs a manoeuvre to ready his longbow. Easy enough – a character can perform one manouevre for free each turn.

To show how other factors may contribute to the turn, let's assume that one of the requirements for Accurate Shot was "preparation" -- a special type of manoeuvre. It is not one of the requirements on the conversative side of this card, but preparation is a fairly common requirement for more complex or time-consuming actions. 

Since Mellerion has already performed one free manoeuvre this turn (used to draw his longbow), he must suffer one fatigue to perform a second manoeuvre for preparation. The active player places a fatigue token next to Mellerion’s character sheet and declares that Mellerion is preparing for the Accurate Shot, taking a deep breath and lining up his shot against the beastman.

Mellerion is now ready to attack the beastman. The active player places the Accurate Shot action card next to Mellerion’s character sheet, with the conservative side face up. Based on the card’s special rules, he decides to have Mellerion suffer 2 stress to add 2 extra fortune dice to the attack’s dice pool. He assembles the dice pool for the action. Accurate Shot requires a Ballistics Skill check, which is based on Agility. Mellerion has Agility 5 and Ballistic Skill trained. He converts 2 of his 5 characteristic dice into conservative stance dice.

The GM indicates that the beastman is in medium range, and determines that this will be an easy check, which adds one challenge die to the dice pool. This particular beastman has a Defence of 1 for its thick, leathery hide, which adds one misfortune dice to the pool.

The GM describes how the dark, forboding shadows cloak the beastmen, but that Mellerion’s keen eyesight and experience in the forest allows him to ignore the shadows (which the GM deems would otherwise complicate the check and introduce several misfortune dice to the check).

There are no other environmental or situational modifiers to the task, so the current dice pool is comprised of:

  • 3 characteristic dice (blue d8)
  • 2 green conservative dice (green d10)
  • 1 expertise dice (yellow d6)
  • 2 fortune dice (white d6)
  • 1 challenge die (purple d8)
  • 1 misfortune dice (black d6)

Mellerion’s player rolls the entire dice pool, generating the following results:

Mellerion's Dice Pool


Narrating the Results

The dice pool has results across a wide range of different dice. Since the end result is at least one net success, the action is successful. However, the GM notes that no more than one success appears on any one type of die – Mellerion succeeded with a balanced approach, relying equally on his innate Agility, a cautious approach, and benefitted from having fate shining upon him. Further, the player mentions how Mellerion’s long practiced marksmanship skills allowed him to time the action perfectly, as the Sigmar’s Comet provides the player with several options.

Resolving the Action

A Fearsome BeastmanThe pool generates three successes and one challenge, which is a net result of two successes – the attack succeeds! This is enough to generate the single success line on the Accurate Shot action card. If Mellerion had generated just one more success, he could use the three success line on the action card.

Looking at the other symbols, the dice pool generated no boons and two banes, for a final result of two banes. The Accurate Shot card lists a penalty for two banes: the attack will inflict one less point of damage.
Two other symbols have an effect on the action. The delay symbol allows the GM to move the hero marker on the initiative track down a space or place 2 recharge tokens on one of Mellerion’s action cards. The GM chooses to add two recharge tokens to Mellerion’s Dodge action card, explaining how the extra aim and time to draw a bead on the beastman potentially leaves him exposed to the creature’s retaliation.

Luckily, the other symbol, Sigmar’s Comet, is a good omen. It allows Mellerion to trigger a specific effect from either the action card, or based on the skill used during the check. The Accurate Shot has a Sigmar’s Comet effect allowing Mellerion to inflict 2 extra damage for each stress he suffered before taking the shot. Since Mellerion suffered 2 stress, that grants 4 extra damage!

Mellerion could also choose to trigger the longbow’s critical effect, and inflict critical damage. Finally, he has the option to use the Sigmar’s Comet as a success, which would let him trigger the three success line on the card. Weighing his options, he chooses to trigger the Sigmar’s Comet effect from the Accurate Shot card to inflict the extra damage.

Since the attack was successful, damage is calculated to see if the beastman suffers any wounds. The single success line of the Accurate Shot action card indicates the attack inflicts normal damage. Based on all the contributing factors, Mellerion’s damage potential is 12. This is based on hi Agility 5 + the longbow’s Damage Rating of 4 + 4 bonus damage from the Sigmar’s Comet effect - 1 damage from the bane result. This beastman’s Soak Value is 6 (his Toughness 4 + Soak Value of 2 from his monster entry). Subtracting the soak value from the damage potential shows how much damage gets through – the attack inflicts six wounds!

The action Accurate Shot has a recharge rating of six. After successfully performing the action, Mellerion’s player places six recharge tokens on the card. He won’t be able to use this particular action again while it is recharging.
Since Mellerion knows he won’t be able to dodge for a while, his player chooses to suffer one more fatigue to perform a final manoeuvre, drawing his longsword so he can at least attempt to parry. The active player places another fatigue token next to Mellerion’s character sheet.

The active player decides he has no further actions and does not want to perform any additional manoeuvres. He proceeds to the End of Turn Phase.

End of Turn Phase

Mellerion is not under the effect of any brief or dependent conditions, so the active player does not need to manage any condition cards. Mellerion does have action cards currently recharging. He removes one recharge token from his Dodge card (which received recharge tokens due to his delay result) and one recharge token from the Accurate Shot card (which acquired recharge token equal to its recharge rating after the action was successfully performed).

Now that Mellerion is done with his turn, the active player flips the activation token on his stance meter to indicate Mellerion has acted this round.

It is now time for the next initiative to resolve. In this situation, it would become the beastman’s turn, with the GM as the active player performing the beastman’s actions.

And that concludes our little walkthrough of Mellerion’s turn… I hope that helps answer some of the questions readers have had about how all these different steps work together.

Emperor’s Decree Update

It has been a busy week, indeed. A shipment of more than 200 copies of the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay core set arrived Monday morning. The marketing team and I quickly went to work, unloading the shipment, breaking open the cartons to set up all the core sets for our production line, then feverishly building pre-release kits for the stores participating in the Emperor’s Decree Pre-Release Event for WFRP.

The event is coming up quickly, and I’m very excited. Stores should be getting their kits very soon. If you’re a player interested in trying out a demo, be sure to check out the stores that will be hosting the Emperor’s Decree, and contact them to learn more details about when their demos will be running, or to sign up to participate.

For those of you participating in the Emperor’s Decree event – either running the demo for your local store or playing in the Day Late, Shilling Short demo scenario – be sure to stop by the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay forums and share your experience.

Emperor's Decree

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay is a roleplaying game that sets unlikely heroes on the road to perilous adventure, in the grim setting of Games Workshop's Warhammer Fantasy world. Players will venture into the dark corners of the Empire, guided by luck and Fate, and challenge the threats that others cannot or will not face.


Write Comments     
More News [+]
Comments (68)

Published: 11/5/2009 3:49:59 PM

This looks very much like a step in the wrong direction to me.  Too much of a Descent feel for my tatstes, which might be an adequate boardgame but certainly isn't what I want in a WFRP game. 

Published: 11/5/2009 3:27:12 PM


I am not so sure your scenario couldn't be handle just by lobbing a few more challenge/misfortune dice in to the initial attack./roll, and the rest figured as normal, in this edition.



Published: 11/5/2009 3:25:49 PM

I think I just moved another notch towards the skeptical side.

Too many moving parts.  Too many options.  Too many dice. 

Published: 11/5/2009 1:56:13 PM

I think it is an interesting game, but this last entry really makes me think that the turn mechanics is a bit laboured. But its an interesting game i just wish that it was called something other than WFRP 3rd ed and that WFRP 2nd still was in production. This is just a much more different game.

And I really must agree with Nukenin : "it has always been to have less mechanics to burden one' s imagination".


My first impression after all this is that complexity has gone up and contents have gone down. I might be wrong on the contents side but with fewer careers one migth suspect there also is a smaller beastiary included...

And then again it would really be nice to see a session video to prove me wrong, some have claimed that the game is fast once you know the mechanics. That would show in a session video.

And hey! - Those boxes look like the building blocks of a small fortress :-O

And after all I think Jay owes us a session demo video :-)=)

Published: 11/5/2009 1:46:53 PM

Here's a thought.  With all of FFG's board games of late they release the rules for free.  After all you can't really play any of those games without any of the other components anyway and their components are not really something you can just wing.

So seeing as how this game is also made of some extremely exclusive components which you need to really play the game.  Why not release the core rules in PDF for free also...

Published: 11/5/2009 1:31:51 PM


That action should be done in WFRP3 with one roll... the Dwarf has to do a WS check. As the GM I would add 3 misfortune (black) dice to the pool (Dwarf's WS ability + Troll challenge dice)... You rule that if 1 skull comes out, then the Dwarf suffers one normal wound from the fall, if two skulls come out you rule that the Dwarf broke his ankles (ie, critical hit in the legs)...easy, and I think it would take less time than with WFRP2.



What you say is the reason I'll houserule the recharge time (the only mechanics I really don't like in what has been presented up to now). For me it would be easy. Anyone can try using again a skill that has recharge counters on them but for each recharge counter they add a Misfortune (black) die to the roll. That way the decision for trying is the players' not the rules' and the game becomes less "gamey" and more RPG.

Published: 11/5/2009 1:16:13 PM

@ Poe. I pretty much agree what you are saying . 

I sure hope that it is true. Because to be honest, of late I avoid any thing that will result in a long drawen out combat these day, just for the reasons you described.

I just don't know if they are a silver bullet. Once the novelty wears off and  newb or veteran there becomes a temptation to just play the cards as they "refresh" in a rote fashion

But to be honest, I am true hope is  that in this edition it will be possible to design fast and fun combat encounters that are a  challenge  but don't drag on and on  the way they tend to in  v1 and 2. That is once we all get comfortable with these funny dice.

Published: 11/5/2009 11:58:36 AM

Actually make that three rolls required; I forgot the damage one...

Published: 11/5/2009 11:57:01 AM

Well I don't know. Seems perhaps a wee bit over engineered to me. In a recent game of WFRP 2 I was running, one of my PCs decided it would be fun and cinematic to leap down a twenty foot deep pit and imbed his axe (his father's best quality Dwarven axe; for he is a Dwarf) into the head of an ice troll below. Two rolls required for that: first one to score an accurate hit and the first to avoid breaking his ankles in the fall (he hit and didn't break them because the bottom of the pit was filled with snow). One impressive attack - a couple of minutes of gameplay tops.

Somehow I feel that such an action would be more cumbersome and time consuming with this new dice pool system...


Ludlov Thadwin of Sevenpiecks
Published: 11/5/2009 9:41:21 AM

Poe does a much better job at explaining exactly how I feel about it :) Thanks, Poe

Published: 11/5/2009 9:18:35 AM

Parzival, it's not all black and white. I and the people I play with are generally imaginative and usually get very into what they're doing, but at times (especially during a long combat encounter) it's easy to kind of loose that special feeling and fall back on the mechanics. If you do that with v2 you don't really get much inspiration or help from the mechanics to get your groove back, whereas (it seems to me) the v3 system will help to nudge you in the right direction.

I can see the problem you mention if a complete group of RPG-newbies start playing with v3. They will probably play very much according to the rules and not improvise all that much. But just doing that they still get a lot of small nudges from the dice and mechanics to try to roleplay a bit extra. On the other hand, if you're an experienced roleplayer I don't really see you getting intimitade by the cards and suddenly stop roleplaying/improvising. Basically I see heplfull tools where some other people see chains holding them down. Of course new dice and rules are not a replacement for imagination (and I hope that never happens! ^_^) but I do think it can help.

Again though, this is a very personal opinion and it's all a matter of your group's playstyle and what kind of persons they are. I think the v3 rules will be a great boon for my group and it'll help a player who feels tired or who have "lost his groove".


Oh, and Nukenin, when it comes to interpreting the dice I think going into all that detail won't be necessary for every single roll (that would most likely get very taxing). A lot of times I'll probably just check for pass/fail just like with a d100 roll. But, with the new dice system I have the option to go into detail when I deem it fun/necessary/interesting. :)

Published: 11/5/2009 8:56:32 AM

Roll 2 dice to determine a successfull hit vs rolling 10 dice and not having a clear result... Hmmmm... wonder which is the better system...

Oh sure, "traditional" RPG's are easy to copy and turn into PDF's then is a system that uses all the BS cards and other "necessary accessories" like this version... but frankly, this attempt to make the game less able to be pirated is really not making it for the better... and most gamers want the hard copy of the book anyhow, not just a pirated PDF. 


© 2014 Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. Fantasy Flight Games and the FFG logo are ® of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact | User Support | Rules Questions | Help | RSS