Sunday, December 23, 2018

Basic D&D Classes as Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1E Career Paths

I've been reading the core rulebook for the first edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, and so far I really like it. Many of the other first edition books seem pretty interesting, too, from what I've skimmed of them, but I've mostly looked at the core rules. I definitely want to run this game when I get the chance.

In the meantime, while I've seen many people emphatically claim that WFRP is not D&D and barely anything like D&D (maybe I'll share my hot take on that topic in the future, but not until I've actually played the game first, of course), I started to ponder certain questions as I studied the character creation and advancement rules.

What would it take to make WFRP characters that were roughly similar to the character classes in Basic D&D? What would it take to model the features of the B/X (or BECMI, or Rules Cyclopedia) character classes in the WFRP career system as closely as possible, without any house rules? What kind of career progression could one use to mimic the feel or flavor of playing a D&D character? This is just the result of my first halting, ill-informed attempt to find out. Some would probably say that even considering "character builds" or "hack-and-slash dungeon crawling" in WFRP is against the spirit of the game, but I thought this was a fun thought experiment, and it's my blog, so whatever.

I'm sure people more familiar with both Warhammer and D&D can poke all kinds of holes in my choices here. For example: as far as I know, all D&D characters are assumed to be able to read, write, swim, ride horses, drive carts, and row boats (among who knows how many other things) competently in the B/X rules, while these skills are not universal in WFRP. It would probably make more sense to use fewer Warhammer careers for each D&D class, and instead fill in the gaps with non-career skills, but first I wanted to see what I could manage without non-career skills. And that's not even getting fully into the differences in spell lists, weapon proficiencies, combat rules, etc. Maybe this is why I want guidelines for converting material between these games so badly.

Anyway, here are some possibilities I've come up with.

Fighter
  1. Marine or Mercenary or Soldier > Mercenary Sergeant > Mercenary Captain > Free Lance > Templar
  2. Protagonist > Judicial Champion > Templar > Witch Hunter > Free Lance
Magic-User
  1. Wizard's Apprentice > Wizard > higher-level Wizard and/or specialized Wizard
  2. Alchemist's Apprentice > Alchemist
Cleric
  1. Physician's Student > Initiate > Cleric
  2. Herbalist > Druid > Druidic Priest
Thief
  1. Tomb Robber > Fence > Thief > Charlatan > Spy > Assassin
  2. Thief > Thief (Burglar) > Outlaw > Targeteer > Assassin > Charlatan > Spy
Dwarf
  1. Soldier > Tunnel Fighter > Troll Slayer > Giant Slayer
  2. Engineer or Runner > Tunnel Fighter > Sapper > Gunner
Halfling
  1. Hunter > Scout > Bounty Hunter > Targeteer > Assassin
  2. Outlaw > Outlaw Chief > Highwayman > Duelist > Assassin
Bold = Advanced Career, > = Non-Standard Career Exit

When it comes to D&D's Elf class, I just kind of threw my hands in the air after a while. Maybe someone better versed in the intricacies of WFRP could offer some suggestions?

Bonus Content: LotFP Mascot Career Paths
  • Flame Princess: Noble > Duelist > Assassin > Witch Hunter, plus 4 Non-Career Skills (Identify Undead, Specialist Weapon - Incendiaries, Swim, and either Fire Eating or Demon Lore) = 7,000 exp. to complete
  • Alice: Mercenary > Gunner > Mercenary Sergeant > Mercenary Captain > Judicial Champion > Explorer, plus 4 Non-Career Skills (Chemistry, Game Hunting, Marksmanship, and Swim*) = 7,000 exp. to complete
  • Selena: Squire > Free Lance > Templar > Initiate > Cleric of Myrmidia Level 1, plus 6 Petty Magic spells and 4 Battle Magic Level 1 spells = 7,000 exp. to complete
  • Kendra: Tomb Robber > Gambler > Charlatan > Spy > Assassin, plus 2 Non-Career Skills (Pick Pocket and Specialist Weapon - Fencing Sword) = 7,000 exp. to complete
  • Rhona: Bounty Hunter > Targeteer > Outlaw Chief > Highwayman > Scout > Explorer, plus 6 Non-Career Skills (Fish, Game Hunting, Row, Scale Sheer Surface, Set Trap, and Swim) = 7,000 exp. to complete
  • Étaín: Wizard's Apprentice > Wizard Level 1 > Demonologist Level 1 > Demonologist Level 2, plus 16 Petty Magic spells, all of the Battle Magic Level 1 spells, and all of the Demonologist Level 1 spells = 7,000 exp. to complete
  • Manya: Wizard's Apprentice > Wizard Level 1 > Necromancer Level 1 > Necromancer Level 2, plus 16 Petty Magic spells, all of the Battle Magic Level 1 spells, and all of the Necromancer Level 1 spells = 7,000 exp. to complete
  • Melissa: Physician's Student > Physician > Alchemist's Apprentice > Alchemist Level 1 > Alchemist Level 2 > Alchemist Level 3 (all advances and all but one skill), plus 16 Petty Magic spells and all of the Battle Magic Level 1 spells = 7,000 exp. to complete
Note: For the purposes of calculating the experience point costs of these characters, I assumed that they succeeded on their first attempts regarding all dice rolls needed to gain extra skills in their starting careers, to join the Cleric career, and to gain all non-career skills.
*If Specialist Weapon - Pistol and Specialist Weapon - Blunderbus can be considered one skill (Specialist Weapon - Firearms, as the Skills chapter of the rule book seems to imply), then you can also add Specialist Weapon - Incendiaries with the spare 100 exp.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Carcosa - Differentiating Races by Skills

In Geoffrey McKinney's Carcosa, the rainbow people of the titular alien planet have little to differentiate them mechanically. This isn't necessarily a problem, but I would personally prefer some kind of obvious difference in capabilities for each race, just to make the process of character creation and advancement more interesting. This post is just a simple way to try and add such variety using LotFP's skill system and some good old fashioned house rules.

I'm assuming here that all PCs are fighters and/or sorcerers. If the specialist class from LotFP is in use, I probably wouldn't use these house rules on top of that.

Skills and the Races of Carcosa
When it comes to Player Characters, each race of humans on Carcosa specializes in three skills. At first level, a PC will have 2 ranks in each specialized skill and 1 rank in all other skills (with the exception of Psionics - see below). Every time a PC gains a new experience level, they may choose one of their specialized skills to increase by one rank.

The skill list (mostly taken from HERE) consists of the following:
  1. Architecture
  2. Athletics (combines Climbing, Open Doors, and Swimming into one skill)
  3. Bushcraft
  4. Languages
  5. Medicine (see the LotFP Playtest Document 0.1 or Eldritch Cock)
  6. Psionics (see below)
  7. Stealth
  8. Tinkering.
Skill Specializations by Race
  • Red - Bushcraft, Languages, Medicine
  • Orange - Athletics, Languages, Stealth
  • Yellow - Architecture, Bushcraft, Psionics
  • Green - Architecture, Athletics, Bushcraft
  • Blue - Athletics, Psionics, Stealth
  • Purple - Languages, Medicine, Psionics
  • Brown - Architecture, Stealth, Tinkering
  • Black - Athletics, Psionics, Tinkering
  • White - Bushcraft, Medicine, Stealth
  • Bone - Medicine, Psionics, Stealth
  • Ulfire - Architecture, Psionics, Tinkering
  • Jale - Languages, Medicine, Tinkering
  • Dolm - Bushcraft, Psionics, Stealth
Most of the skills work the same way as in Lamentations of the Flame Princess. However, Psionics starts at 0 by default instead of 1. For example, a First-Level Orange character would have 0 ranks in Psionics, while a First-Level Yellow character would have 1 rank in Psionics. A character's Psionics score represents the number of times per day they can use a psionic power. A character can gain a maximum of 5 ranks in this skill. Naturally, only a character with at least 1 rank in Psionics can use psionic powers. Psionic powers otherwise follow the rules explained in Carcosa.

If the skill specializations listed above seem too rigid or restrictive, the referee could allow each player to pick one of their PC's skill specializations to replace with a different skill. The replacement skill could be determined randomly or chosen by the player. This way, every race would have some chance of having psionic powers, for example.

NPCs need not universally follow the same skill specializations as PCs, although it may be interesting to further differentiate the various human cultures on Carcosa by having them be renowned for or stereotypically associated with specific skills.

Special thanks to Jessica Stewart for helping me write this post.