News for December 2009
A Faithful Friend Returns 19
The Small But Vicious Dog in The Adventurer's Toolkit
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay | Published 08 December 2009

As mentioned last week, The Adventurer’s Toolkit is starting to ship out. In addition to a variety of new actions, talents, and party sheets, the Adventurer’s Toolkit also introduces ten new careers to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, including the iconic Rat Catcher and his Small But Vicious Dog.

The Small But Vicious DogDuring the design and development process of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, we always knew we wanted to include the Rat Catcher as one of the early careers. And if we were going to have a Rat Catcher, he’d need his ubiquitous Small But Vicious Dog (SBVD) at his side. This presented some design challenges -- and opportunities.

With the development of career-based abilities for WFRP, we were able to provide each career with something that made it special. For the Rat Catcher, we knew it had to be the SBVD. But how do we go about it?

We tried several different approaches. A single passive effect didn’t seem appropriate. A once-per-session ability didn’t match the idea. The types of abilities we had developed for the other careers just didn’t seem like the right approach. With the flexibility available to us in the new edition (new mechanics, cards, reference sheets, components, and a new design philosophy), we knew we could try something completely different.

So we chose to go in a new direction and provide the Rat Catcher with a very unique career ability -- and thus, the Small But Vicious Dog follower was born. The front of the sheet allows the player to manage his pet effectively, tracking the dog's Obedience (its ability to follow orders and perform actions) and current talents. The back of the sheet provides a rules summary and explains how the character can invest advances to improve his relationship with the Small But Vicious Dog.

The SBVD functions differently than any of the other special career abilities because it’s integrated into so many different facets of the gameplay, that it really is its own entity. The SBVD essentially gets its very own character sheet, summarising its abilities and allowing the Rat Catcher character to invest advances into improving his relationship with the SBVD and the advantages it provides.

Bite and Shake

The SBVD is not only represented by its own character sheet, but supported by a series of special Trick talents the Rat Catcher can learn and attach to the SBVD’s character sheet, representing special moves or tricks the dog has learned and can use to assist the Rat Catcher.

Herding InstinctTaking it another step further, there are also a series of special action cards that allow the Rat Catcher to coordinate efforts with his SBVD and reflect their special bond and time spent working together. A Rat Catcher character has a lot of interesting options available to him while he pursues his career – will he focus on rounding out his own abilities and skills, or maximise the unique opportunities available to him by strengthening the bond with his dog and taking advantage of the talents and action cards that rely on his pet?

The Small But Vicious Dog is just one example of the special treatment several of the new careers received. The High Elf Sword Master has his Greatsword of Hoeth, the Wardancer has access to a number of intricate Ritual Dance actions that synergise with each other, and the stout Dwarf Ironbreaker has his formidable Gromril Armour. To make sure these special careers and options had the support they needed to function in the game, they were perfect choices to include in the Adventurer’s Toolkit, where I knew we’d have the space and room to provide talents, actions, and components for some of the new careers to work with.

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.

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Comments (19)

Published: 12/13/2009 3:40:12 AM

It looks like AT will hit the stores in January 2010, will have to wait for the Small Dog to come.

Published: 12/11/2009 10:03:00 AM

When is this supposed to be in stores? I've called my FLGS and they don't have it yet.

Published: 12/9/2009 3:57:17 PM

 Gorehammer, Herding Instinct is not an Opposed Check, nor is it a combat check (Melee or ranged both which carry a standard <P> on all such checks), which makes it an unopposed check. Therefore those dice <P> and [B] are the only static contributions to the check.  Of course, a GM can arbitrate to add misfortune or fortune dice to depend on the circumstances.

Seems pretty in-line with the standard rules from what I can see, but I know there is some discussion about base levels for challenges. 

Published: 12/9/2009 10:55:33 AM

Sounds very cool.  Maybe the Adventure's Tool-kit will include clarifications as to whether the <p> and [b] dice on the Herding Instinct card is a base value or is added to an average ( 2 <p> )skill check.  It makes the difference between doable and not worth attempting. 
It's very disappointing that something so fundamental to the game is unclear at this point.

Published: 12/9/2009 8:14:06 AM

I will admit I haven't been keen on the new WFRP, but I do appreciate that they're accomodating the notion of having a follower as a valid character choice - many systems either ignore, fudge around, or actively punish PCs who tote around a follower.

Published: 12/9/2009 5:22:51 AM

 I'd guess this how FF will handle significant pets/followers such as:

Wizard Familiars?

Knight's Steeds?

Entertainer's Anmal Acts?


As long as it's not overdone, think mechanic is excellent and a nice way of ensuring that a Ratcatcher gains xp but stays physically rubbish as his dog gets all the advances.

love it

Published: 12/9/2009 3:05:35 AM

Does the SBVD get his own Stand up? That would be cool.

Erik Bauer
Published: 12/9/2009 1:52:49 AM

Nice idea, I have to admit... that is very smart!

Btw I'd limit it to not warrior trained human or small beasts.

I mean: try to figure out the Herding Instinct against a mob of beastmen or an Orc warrior... But against goblins or regular non warrior humans it's... just briliant.

Hapshant's Heir
Published: 12/8/2009 9:33:05 PM

 It opens up great possibilities for a future Wood Elf Beast Master career. Not to mention any other character with minions or followers, be they pets or summoned gribblies.

Playing a rat catcher will be enormous fun with this little fella to keep the rats from chewing on your toes.

Imagine a party of rat catchers with a small but vicious pack of Fido's, Spot's, Hooch's and Beethoven's.


But please remember, a dog is for life, not just for Christmas.

TS Luikart
Published: 12/8/2009 8:01:29 PM

I wonder when we'll see the Griffon card.

Japan Gamer
Published: 12/8/2009 6:02:32 PM

It just keeps getting better and better!!!  Really interested to see the Wardancer and the High Elf Swordmaster.

Published: 12/8/2009 4:28:04 PM

True dat!!!!!!!!!


Seriously tho, tru dat.

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