Monday, March 7, 2011

Catch the WFRP Disease

If you were to ask me what roleplaying game I was most interested in playing I would have to say Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd edition. I think my background as a board and miniatures gamer plays a role in thinking this way, I like the visual aspect of the game. However, it is not just that this game has a lot of pretty looking bits to it. The components in this game are actually really useful to game play, and help to set a tone that I have never seen in the other games in my collection.

I was reminded of this while re-reading through the disease rules last night. If you are not familiar with the game I suggest that you check out either the Outsiders You Tube channel or the Reckless Dice podcast. In summary, the 3rd edition of Warhammer makes use of cards to track player characters. Each career (think class) of PC has a number of slots that can hold talent cards. Talent cards are similar to Feats from 4e D&D, they allow PC's to do better at tests of various kinds. The mechanic works well especially since a PC can have access to more talents than he has slots for, and swap them out as the situation warrants.

The power of the components really shines though when you look at something like the disease rules. The Warhammer world is a dirty place, rife with disease and other nastiness. In the game you can contract diseases in any number of ways, and if you fail your test to resist you fall ill. What's great is that when you fall prey to the disease, represented by a card, you slide it in to one of the slots normally reserved for your talents. Until you get better, you cannot use a talent in that slot. Each disease has it's own nasty effects, but in addition, your illness prevents you from operating at 100%. This is all very visual, you can actually get a sense from just looking at your character sheet that you do not feel good, that your sick. In D&D, even if you contract a disease, you never get a feel like your sick. You operate the character the same for the most part. There is no visual representation to remind you that you should feel like crap, and it is easy to forget to roleplay the illness. WFRP goes a long way towards keeping the condition front and center, and hopefully enhancing roleplay as a result.

I recorded a quick video to demonstrate how it all works.


  1. Nice clean explanation of that concept. It looks like fun to me.

  2. Hi Sean,

    Just a quick question, I have been thinking of running the "The Gathering Storm" adventure for WFRP and I was wondering if you have run it yet?

    It looks like a awesome adventure and thought that if you had run it have you had any pointers?



  3. Mike: I have not. We didn't get past Eye for an Eye when we were playing. I am reading through all of the published adventures again, and it does look like fun. I am not sure if I will try to run one of those or just go for something of my own when I get a game going again. There are a lot of comments on the difficulty of Gathering Storm on the FFG forums though.

  4. Hey Sean,

    Its been a while and was just wondering if you have been getting WFRP to the games table?



Thanks for taking the time to comment on this article.