to hard for D&D players??

Started by magra, January 05, 2011, 06:48:12 AM

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im new to this forum but i want to start with a question thats been hitting my brains out for over 2 years.... ive been a regular D&D GM for over 2 years now but after a friends request i found the WHFRP books (Warhammer Fantasy Roll Play), at first it was good, i mean i love to try new ideas, but after a secion i found out that the games seems to hard core for the usual D&D player, what happend was something like this...

my party a chaos thug, a skaven skirmisher (picture it as a man sised rat with a 6 foot gun), a chaos warrior, had 2 encounters usin the normal encounter rules, first was a battle agains 7 goblins (i know that in D&D goblins are the basis of all adventuring diet, but here theyre actualy deadly), the battle started quite normally some blow were rolled some damage was done, the usual, things started to go wrong when victor (the rat with the giant gun) had a malfuntion and the gun jammed, the bryan (the chaos thug) decided that 5 goblins were a sure win, after that he got encircled and he learned the hard way that even a goblin can be tough (out of his 12 hp 1 goblin was about to deliver 17dmg points on him, luckily he escaped a quick decapitation), the second battle was a bit larger but i placed about 20 npc to help the party (at this point the warrior was already in), the battle was so chaotic that i literaly lost track of the dead for a round, after the secion i asked (as i always do) if they enjoyed the game, but bisede bryan (it was his idea to play it) all i heard was " its just to hard, and you can die far to quickly", i have to admit that its kinda true at the end of the battle the rat had be blown away from the camp wall with a cannon and the warrior lost an arm in the figth and it was just the first seccion.

afterwards i had so may problems finding people to play it that so far ive stoped running that game, what ide like to now is if any one had an experience like mine with a non-D&D sistem, specialy since this will help me to decide how my rpg proyect will be.

thanks moises

Cliff H

Quote from: magra on January 05, 2011, 06:48:12 AM
ive been a regular D&D GM for over 2 years now but after a friends request i found the WHFRP books (Warhammer Fantasy Roll Play), at first it was good, i mean i love to try new ideas, but after a secion i found out that the games seems to hard core for the usual D&D player

what ide like to now is if any one had an experience like mine with a non-D&D sistem, specialy since this will help me to decide how my rpg proyect will be.

I wouldn't say it's too hardcore so much as it's actually about something entirely different from D&D. D&D is about combat, especially the later editions. Most of your character abilities affect combat; most of your gear affects combat, etc. You have multiple mechanics to help you mitigate damage (AC, loads of hit points, saving throws or secondary defenses depending on the edition you play), and there's multiple, easily accessible methods by which you can recover from damage. From healing surges to curative spells and magical items, there's no reason to fear hit point loss in the long term. Couple this with a resurrection option that becomes readily available after a certain level and a complete lack of mechanical consequence for suffering damage short of death, and combat is an exciting, relatively safe option. You get to wade in and be all action movie hero badass and you almost certainly won't suffer for it unless you are extremely lucky or unwise.

Warhammer's not about that. It might look similar on the surface because it's a medieval fantasy game too, but it's a game designed to give a much different play experience. Its combat mechanics are much more deadly, as you've seen. The third edition is more forgiving than earlier ones, but even then your average character's capacity for damage is never going to be as high as a D&D character's can get. Factor in critical wounds and you have another element of frailty added to the Warhammer hero: wound penalties (and gruesome death, in the first two editions). Healing magic is available, but is not as plentiful nor as effective as it is in D&D, and resurrection's not an option. All this combines to present a game that cannot be approached like D&D. You play it differently. Sure, it's a medieval fantasy world, but combat is risky, so it can't be approached in the same casual way. You'll probably have less fights, and those fights will likely be important to the core story you're telling. Either that or your campaign can be set up to accommodate a rotating cast of characters as existing ones are retired due to death and maiming and new ones come in.

As to what other games you might try, I don't have a massive collection of fantasy games myself, but you might try searching for the term "Heartbreakers" on these forums. These are games based on the D&D model. Check out what people have to say about them, though be careful to specifically look for how the games handle combat. As you've seen, just because it's fantasy doesn't mean it allows for survivable violence.


Hi Moises,

Welcome to the Forge!

I don't think it's D&D specific, as much as groups become accustomed to a particular game and then expect all games to work the same way.

Did the whole group get a chance to see/read the rules?  Did you guys run any test runs of the mechanics before jumping in full force to play?

A lot of times, these problems can be avoided when people are forewarned and understand how they should be approaching -this- particular game vs. the games they've played before.  (This also includes the GM, because you can't run all games the same way and expect them to work).

I've come up with a short checklist to help a group orient to new games, if everyone can't get a chance to read and digest the rules, or, if the rules fail to communicate the broad issues of play:

My main experiences of this kind of problem is less "hardcoreness" and more how to use the mechanics - for instance, I've had players in Dogs in the Vineyard have difficulties getting that if you lose a conflict, you don't get to just "try again", even though it's right there in the rules.   People tend to forget that not all roleplaying is the same and helping them understand the differences can let everyone figure out if they're interested or not in the first place.



hi guys,

thanks for replying  to my post, i see what you mean about the combat and the consecuense mechanics used in WHFRP, btw we played second edition, and yes we made some pre-combat tests to get the fealing of the mechanics, and the magic part is only to true, specialy since almost no one wished to be a wizard in the game (wizards tend to have really gruesome ends), also i felt that the action/consecuence sistem was prety acurate for that game, specialy since your suposed to be a fantasy hero not a hollywood badass, anyway i would also like to know if any players out there or if any of you guys did such a drastic sistem change such as mine could give me some of his own experience about the diferent sistem, mainly because im still undecided if makin a D&D like world or a more dificult kind of rpg setting

thanks moises

Callan S.

Hi Moises, welcome to the forge,

D&D 3.5 and such, although it doesn't enforce using the challenge rating system, that system does seem to influence GM's choices of monster. While in warhammer there is no such limiting influence.

I mean, basically you chose what badguys they'd face. It's not so much a matter of whether warhammer is too hard for D&D players, but whether the way you run warhammer and the enemies and number of enemies you choose is too hard for D&D players. Or to be accurate, too hard for these guys.

In saying that, please don't use it as an excuse or anything to beat yourself up as if your solely responsible. The warhammer book let you choose from an open slather of opponents and you did, which is completely valid. The problem is that it empowers the GM vastly, meaning their normal, natural choices for opponents might be incredibly powerful.

On a different matter, the phrasing "It's just too hard" - this attribution of a negative connotation to the book indicates something to me. If you compare it to "It's just too hard...for me", which refers to the person refering to an insufficient amount of skill or guts on their part. In other words, they aren't interested in saying this is too hard for them. You might have a different perspective on play than them.


thanks callan,

i think your rigth about my players, it seems that i forgot to mention one thing that i had to literally kill a party to understand fully, and now i remember that there is no such a thing in Wahrammer, character rolls, what i mean by this is the usual tank, damage, CC and healler rolls, ive seen those mainly in D&D but theyre quite usefull to ensure a partys survival rate is better than normal, ive seen that Warhammer has basicaly no class rolls since theres so many classes, specially with the healler part, and ironically during the figth that nearly killed all of my player the thug, who had skills like parry, dodge and block, was pretty much ok at the end of the butchery, but i have to admit altough its easier to die in warhammer theres a lot of ways to avoid damage, and frankly i always wondered, who in his rigth mind whould stay still with a 6 foot bug bear bearying a mornigstar thats about to smash your skull????


I havent played Warhammer since the first edition @1990 but I understand what you are talking about.  D&D was always easier to have a dozen enemies and a monster battling against your little group of heroes because of it's abstract combat system and hit points and armor class.  It shows it's wargame roots in how well it worked for exactly that. 

What Warhammer does better (and several other fantasy games that came out after D&D) is give you a more visceral single person experience.  You get to act and react as this character and dodge or parry every blow and when you are wounded you can have grisly things happen to your character or do them to your opponents.

So what you have to really decide is what type of play do you and your players want?  The battles you are describing with 20 npc's and lots of opposition are often much more complex in other systems.  You might want to stick with D&D if it worked for you but I guess it depends on why you decided to move away from D&D in the first place.  Did you move to Warhammer specifically for the colour elements like Chaos warriors and Skaven etc.?  If so it's easy enough to play D&D and just reskin it with those elements.  Or did you have problems with the system itself?

Your other option is to go to Warhammer but change how you design situations.  Rather than expecting the characters to act as battle hardened superheroes and fight large groups of foes you could plan for them to act more like spies or a special forces stealth unit.  Get in with as little fuss as possible and achieve whatever there goal is then get out without battling everything in front of them.


thanks caldis

i see what you mean with the special unit idea, and to answer your question y didnt had problems with either sistem its more of a ongoing problem, what happend with D&D was that my group got a bit tired of fogthing with the 4ed rules cause it made battles to easy, and when i tried to level up the dificult meter they were a bit shirt on things, specialy with the whole atwill-encounter-daily power sistem, its kinda tiring to keep track of so many power when some are even kinda usless (mainly the utility ones), anyway although D&D makes for really quick and fun games, we ass a group felt that it lacked some, i would say "realism" but i doubt thats the word, we tried to change it a bit but still was kinda weird, maybe what was missing was some speed on the battles (on WHFRP a GM can penalise a player for takin to long to act, it seems harsh but you dont have the luxuri of thinking in the midle of a battle, atleast not much).

as for the rpg im making with my friend what we want is a game that combines the fun parts of D&D and the intense battles of Warhammer, so to speak, but mainly what were trying to decide now is, what would be better a FFT (Final Fantasy Tactics) like world with lots of room and many places to explore, or a more Warhammer like world with a more centered setting?

Thanks moises