Listening to Reckless Dice podcast episode 29, and they mentioned a few new resources:
Fantasy Flight Games has also announced an updated / revised version of The Enemy Within campaign for Warhammer. The Enemy Within first came out for Warhammer first edition in 1987 and was one of the most critically acclaimed campaigns. FFG’s revision is being written in part by the original author of the first version, Graeme Davis. Mr Davis has an eye-opening blog post about his experience writing this updated campaign.
One of the questions my Warhammer group has had is how to deal with missing players. Currently, if more than one player is missing, we will do a random encounter that one of our GMs makes up on the fly. Reckless Dice makes the suggestion to do a flashback or dream sequence with the players who are present. That way the players can use current characters without rolling new characters or interfering with the current storyline that involves the missing player(s).
The podcast also discusses whether or not players should be given a base of operations or should they just be made to wander around, organizing components and whether to use all components, and more.
In my group, we’re all learning about the mechanics. We’ve only placed a few sessions (once per month). We are trying to use all of the components right now and then will probably select which mechanics we want to use. It’s an interesting exploration.
The last part of the podcast discussed how to design an ambush. Questions to answer about critters who are ambushing: plan of attack / retreat, what is the ambush trying to accomplish, motivation, how they will use the terrain, etc. Add fortune dice based upon the planning that went into the planning and misfortune dice for the number of PCs and their training. Or maybe the player with the best observation skill with help from other players. (How do other players help with skill checks?) If the observation checks are successful, then maybe they aren’t caught by surprise. You can also minimize the number of checks being rolled by setting the difficulty level of the check.
Is there a formula for setting up creatures vs PCs? Are things like encounter balance or party balance used in Warhammer FRP? Encounter balance is the process of modifying monsters in an encounter so players are challenged but (usually) not overwhelmed. Party balance is when players create or modify characters based upon the skills or classes other players have. For example, a stereotypical D&D party might have a fighter, magic-user, thief, and cleric. The idea is that each of these classes have specific roles in a party.
Some of the GMs in the podcast are against encounter balance. They think that they should happen as they happen (organic). They happen according to the needs of the story. They happen as they happen when they happen. You’ll fight the creatures who happen to be there. It’s part of the risk of taking on the risk. Tension needs to exist: it’s a way of saying you have to recognize the risk of each decision. Is the risk worth what you want to achieve? Early players tend to be reckless with their characters because they don’t know the limits of their characters.
What about party balance? Part of the fun of Warhammer is letting the players figure out how to work together based upon the characters in the party (as opposed to creating characters based upon who is in the party or what the party will be facing). When it comes to the players and the group, the GMs want to act in the best interest of a good time. They try to make sure that everyone is treated fairly. Should a new player start at Rank 2 if another character is Rank 2? Idea that characters have to be balanced with each other doesn’t work for some of the GMs. The characters specialize in what they are good at — without worrying about the skills present in the party overall. The players have to figure out how to make things work together. (I like this point.)
Also this statement for Gathering Storm: Three nice episodes with horrible interludes and a bad ending. The adventure needs a lot of work out of the box to make it good. Edge of Night is bulky and not fun for the players. Good source book for Ubsereik. All of the other adventures were nice to play out of the box. Any game master should take a pre-made adventure and tailor it to fit the party and play style.