Ever notice how players don’t trust anyone and just kill everyone over anything and with any excuse? Well, it might be your fault.
Now, I would like to note that this might not be only you. If players have learned from through previous games and GMs that violence is often the answer, perhaps the only answer (I’ve played under GMs, who have actually forced combat encounters, when players were actively trying to find other solutions), these players will have learned certain modes of operation, and unlearning them might be difficult. Continue reading →
It had been some time since I’d last got to be a GM. After resolving a few challenging IRL random encounters, I was ready to step into the ring again and return to gamemastering withThe Black Hack, that made such a great impression on me upon reading it. My guild brother Harri had kindly printed out and bound a copy for me.
I felt the game would lend itself well to a First Session in the vein of Apocalypse World and its ilk. All the four character classes have a small table for some colorful items, and the players create a single, one-or-so sentence Background for their character which lets them participate in the worldbuilding, as well. My idea was to let the players make their characters and ask some more or less provocative questions from them, and use those as my main springboard for the world.
In our current season of Eldritch Sigils the investigators finally made a premeditated choice to breach the Veil and step to another dimension. We have been playing this campaign since 2011 (or 2010?) and this was the first time the players weren’t forced to do it. And that got me thinking about different dimensions and how to present them.
I have discussed travelling through time in an earlier post from 2015 and while time is a dimension itself and many of those same ideas could have been used I wanted something different.
According to Jane McGonigal, who has plenty of research to back her claims, games are excellent learning tools, but the learning is enchanced, when you have an idea what you want to learn. What can we learn from games? Planning, problem-solving, resource management, most importantly self-efficacy and so-forth. Games can also train our memory, reaction times and many other skills.
This is something that’s being actively studied, but the problem is that these studies tend to focus on video games. This is understandable, because you don’t need to organize a game group to study these things and obviously, the market for them is much, much larger than other kinds of games (as evidenced recently by the success of Red Dead Redemption 2).
Old School Renaissance is a wonderful trend. I don’t know it too well myself, but every time I take a peek or venture a little deeper into the jungle, I find endless adventures, ideas, hacks, additions, and other stuff that all seems very cool. That, of course, means that it can be really difficult to spot the stuff that’s the best for you.
I’ve looked into a lot of games. Many of them promise room for imagination and a return to a rules-light approach, but to me, they don’t live up to the promise. Still, I have kept looking. To find a treasure. A real treasure: a game that would encapsulate OSR ideas and energy but whose design felt modern enough.
With David Black‘s The Black Hack, I may have found what I was looking for.
As Lauri said in his review, I have never played or read any edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay or WFRP. My own experiences in RPGs are mostly horror and then American indie games during the last 10 years. My tastes have been drifting as of late, though, which is why I was eager to set my eyes upon a relaunch of a British classic.
Disclaimer: Cubicle 7 was kind enough to send us a pdf for review.
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th edition was published by Cubicle 7 quite recently. They were kind enough to send us a pdf to review and we will be reviewing this game in two parts. This first part is written by Lauri who has been there since (almost) the beginning. And the second part is the newcomers view written by Ville who has not played any edition of WFRP (published later).
Disclaimer: We haven’t actually played this fourth edition yet so all of my opinions are based on my earlier knowledge and reading the book so they must be taken with a hint of salt.
As said in the intro I have played WFRP a very long time. I started in the 90’s with the Enemy Within campaign (as player) and have GM’ed every edition since. My most active era of Warhammer was in 2002-2010 when I ran several campaign, wrote for Liber Fanatica and created the Daily Empire as a base for all fan material. So my approach for this game couldn’t be farther from Ville’s view which should create an interesting contrast to our views.
There’s a great video on Cracked about Idiocracy with almost a million views (so, there’s a chance you’ve seen it before). Go ahead and watch it, but the main message, as I see it, is that actually those people in the future are in a pretty good situation, because they acknowledge that they are stupid and they are ready to listen to someone who is more intelligent then themselves. In that world it doesn’t even take much to better everyone’s lives, but they still need to come together and listen to that one rational voice, and that’s something we’re clearly unable to do.