Thursday, August 13, 2009

Are you not entertained? Are you willing to pay $99.99 to find out?!

I was surprised that after getting the Warhammer RPG Fantasy flight games did not reprint the main book and many sought after source books. Turns out we now know why. Just when I thought Hasborg had done what it could to make RPG's less inviting to new players with 4th edition, turns out they were only the canary...enter FFG with the whole damn coal mine.

Your next RPG will be a 4 player boxed set...a $99.99 boxed set. Yup if you want to add players you get to buy a character's toolkit to play for each additional player. I do not doubt the value or fun that one could have with FFG's Warhammermer. There is a big question that remains unanswered: What new player will risk $100 to try an RPG?

Especially when they could get 2 (or more) video game RPG's for the same price? How do you expect to get new people into the hobby with a $100 barrier to entry? WotC failed to lower the barrier to entry in the RPG market by maintaining expensive rules intensive hard backed text books. FFG one upped them by making what appears to be a card based $100 rpg boxed set.

In the golden age I could risk $5-$15 and try a plethora of games like Ogre/GEV, Car Wars, Melee/Wizard, D&D, Tunnels & Trolls, Flashing Blades, Champions, Villains & Vigilantes, Boot Hill, Gang Busters, Top Secret, Gamma World, etc.

It was a small sum and a slim investment. The rules were easy to digest and I think for a lot of kids at the time, that was true. The closest parallel today may be TCG games. About $12 for a deck, and $4 a booster pack, so for under $20 you can check out a new game with little risk. Anyone have a RPG equal? Nope me either. Instead the rules have grown into fat text books by rules lawyers for rules lawyers.

Does this $100 represent the dawn of a new era of RPG's? The death of the genre? A bold new step in a bold new direction? None of the above really. Instead this "new boxed set for a new century" represents old school thought trying to become relevant and hip to a new generation. So they stream line game play and focus it all on quick reference cards and specialized dice, but pack it into a box with 4 rule books, 300 cards and 30 dice which is the kind of old school over kill OMG it's bigger than your cranium kind of game nerd over kill.

How about breaking it down into $15 character or class or race specific "deck" boxes and a separate $20 GM tool box? Pack them out like TCG decks in a display so you can get placed into Target, WalMart as well as hobby.

How many retailers will be able to buy multiple $100 boxed sets? Certainly no Mass retailers or even book stores would do this, so you cut out 99% of the retail market. So you are marketing a $100 boxed set to a slim section of the gaming public who probably already has a metric ton of RPG materials. Will folks buy it? Sure! But will it still be played and supported in 2 years? probably not.

Without further peanut gallery rambling...

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay is a new, exciting way to experience the popular Warhammer Fantasy setting. It is a grim world, constantly at war. As a hero, you will take up weapon, spell, or prayer and do your best to combat the might of enemies terrifying to behold. As the Game Master, you will make the lands of the Old World real as you craft the story, the people, creatures, and the mysteries the other players will encounter during their adventures.

Everything your group needs to begin its adventures in the Old World is included in the Core set. This Core set is an excellent way to bring new players into the fold, as well as to reward experienced roleplaying with new and exciting innovations.

  • 4 comprehensive rule books provide all the knowledge you will need on the Old World
  • Over 30 Custom Dice give you unprecedented options for story-telling
  • Party sheets provide new skills and abilities to keep everyone engaged
  • 40 different careers and 4 different races offer a multitude of character options
  • More than 300 cards keep you in the game, no need to look up skills or abilities
  • Three character keepers designed to hold everything your hero will need each session

Rolling up a story
Using a new task resolution system featuring custom dice, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay gives you unparalleled story-telling options. Every roll of the dice has a story to tell, providing far more information and flavour than just “you hit” or “you miss.” These dice represent the abilities and skills your characters will gain, as well as include the whims of fate. With each roll, players will be able to see how the check succeeded or failed. Did they make it through based on their natural skills or did they just get lucky as fortune intervened? There are more than 30 custom dice included to help you craft your story.

How much will you risk?
With every decision comes a risk to assess. In Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, heroes will decide how they wish to approach any situation. Do they rush in, swords drawn, in an attempt to quickly overwhelm their foes? Do they advance cautiously and appraise the situation before entering to gain advantage? Your stance, reckless or conservative, will guide your actions and the bonuses they provide. As stances can be changed on the fly, players will have new levels of control over situations.

Action at hand
Mighty warriors perform mighty deeds. You can quickly reference the full-colour action cards to see what your abilities and innate skills can accomplish, allowing players to spend more time focusing on the task at hand. From spells, blessings, and attacks to social gambits, and reactions, and acrobatics you will have the actions you need to tell your character’s tale.

More fun in a group
Every hero is powerful on their own, but when combined, heroes interact in interesting, new ways. Each party will be able to select a party sheet, which helps track and manage the group as a whole. Will the dwarf and high elf be able to put aside their differences in order to work as a cohesive unit, or will the ancient grudges be too much for them? Can the human overcome the arrogance of the high elf, and can the high elf overcome the brashness of the short-lived human? Each party sheet also provides special abilities for the party members. In this way, every group becomes far more than the sum of its parts.

More than a job
Straight from the world of Warhammer, there are dozens of careers for heroes to choose from. Every career provides valuable skills and abilities that will give adventurers a definitive advantage in their exploits. From the resolve of the Witch Hunter and the deadliness of the Dwarf Troll Slayer to the keen eyes of the Wood Elf Waywatcher, or the fiery magic of a Bright Wizard, there are many exciting paths to follow.

Quick and easy clean up
Inside the Core set are three character keepers designed to hold everything your hero will need each session. From your dice, actions cards, and character sheets to any wounds, items, or skills your hero acquires, you will have a convenient place to store everything after a session.

How do I start?
These innovations are brought to life in the Core set of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Inside you will find four full-colour books. The main rulebook introduces all the mechanics and key information you need to get started. Also included are three tomes to provide you with more information on the world, and give you new opportunities for character creation. The Tome of Mysteries is your guide to wizards and the winds of magic. Follow along with grey wizard Gavius Klugge as he gives you insight into this powerful career path. The Tome of Blessings provides information on priests and the gods they follow. Information on the Cults of Sigmar, Shallya, Ulric, Taal, and others are contained within this volume. The Tome of Adventure is a book for the Game Master, and provides valuable information on running sessions, background and statistics on a variety of enemies, information on how to get the most out of your roleplaying experience, and a complete introductory adventure.

This Core set is best suited for a group of four players – one Game Master and three Player Characters. Adding more players is easy! You can find more careers, party sheets, action cards, and components in the the Adventurer’s Toolkit.

One player gets to be the Game Master. The Game Master is responsible for crafting the story, and giving life to the adventure the heroes are about to undertake. Setting up the encounters, adopting the role of the non-player characters (often referred to as NPCs), and acting as the ruling authority for how the rules apply to the game at hand all fall under the Game Master’s sway.

Three players form the hero party, seeking out adventure and glory. They will be the protagonists, and act together towards a goal. As they perform mighty deeds, combat foul enemies, and exercise their diplomatic skills they will gain experience. This experience allows players to upgrade their skills and abilities, as well as gain new options and help define their characters’ roles within the world. As the PCs gain experience and become even more powerful, the Game Master will craft more challenging stories.

Over the course of the story, the Game Master and the hero party will perform a variety of actions, make skill checks by rolling the custom dice, and keep track of any information related to their characters.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay is an experience like no other. Custom dice help you to tell the story with every roll, the stance system provides greater depth to the decisions the GM and the PCs must make, action cards keep all your options close at hand, group party sheets give each party a reason for existing and unique abilities to draw from, and the wide variety of careers give each player a variety of options when creating their character and even more options when they advance their hero.

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