Reckless Dice #5: Skills, Talents, and Balancing Adventure

Another hour (and change) of WFRP 3rd Edition knowledge. The regular crew of Paul, Jesse, Dan and Lester, speculates on Omens of War (recorded the day before FFG releases more info), breaks down skills and talents, gets deconstructive on how to build a balanced adventures and characters, and answers your questions!

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8 thoughts on “Reckless Dice #5: Skills, Talents, and Balancing Adventure

  • Great as usual. Its a shame that you recorded it before the announcement but I’d still love to hear what you guys thinks about the new Enhance cards and fighting styles.

    Here’s a question for your Q&A segment (or your Party Sheets Spotlight):

    “The adventures, like Gathering Storm and Edge of Night, as well as the GM Vault and Toolkit, come with sheets similar to Party Sheets for the GM to use, or special tracking sheets. Some of these sheets have rules effects on them. When is it appropriate to show these sheets to the players (and thus build tenstion or show progress) or to outright hide them? I’m torn between keeping them hidden to add uncertainty and keeping them out in the open to add to the total experience. I can think of a few where having them out would give away plot points!”

    I’ll probably post this to the FFG GM forum so we can have a spoilerific discussion but its the one thing about GMing the game that I’m unsure about.

  • You very well explained how useful are active defenses in statistic terms. Have you noticed the very limited difference between two black dices (from a active defense card with the right skill trained) and one challenge dice (from an improved actived defense card) ?
    My players asked me to houserule that the improved active defense card replaces the original black dice for a challenge dice BUT keep the additionnal black dice from a trained skill.
    What do you think about that ?

    Great show by the way guys.

  • That’s a good point Willmanx about the Improved Active Defenses vs. Basic Active Defenses with appropriate skill trained. The difference is something like 1% however, and correct me if I’m wrong as I don’t have my cards in front of me, the Improved Active Defenses have a special ability built in. I believe that Improved Block increases your soak value by +1, Improved Parry allows you to add or remove recharge counters from melee attack cards and Improved dodge allows you to immediately perform a maneuver. These activate if the attack against you fails I believe. I don’t think the Basic Active Defenses have these built in.
    I’m going to run a playtest on that house rule you suggested and see how it goes, if it doesn’t totally unbalance the game than I’m going to use it permanently.

  • Hey guys, only discovered this podcast last week – one more ep for me to catch up on

    FYI, Blood Bowl is not officially part of Warhammer canon but rather takes part in a similar but parallel universe where the Warhammer civilizations no longer fight each other.

    Also, one thing that bugged me from your first couple of shows: draught (as in healing draught) is the Brittish spelling of draft – eg draught beer or draught horse. Drought is something entirely different

    Keep up the good work!

    • How right you are regarding Draught, i stand corrected. Actually i feel a bit silly now =) It sounded like such a fancy word, being spelled all Brittishy. Thanks for the tip!

      And i am so sad to say that you are right again about Blood Bowl. Wikipedia, said so. Alternate universe in Warhammer. *pout*

      Thanks for the great feedback!

  • Good insight on Omens of War, especially considering your predictions were made first.

    Regarding skills as a component of character creation and use. Skill based systems were around well before D&D 2nd Ed. The first game I remember with playing with skills was Star Frontiers (another TSR game). That was released in the early 80′s. Before that, the Traveller RPG used skills (published 1977). 2nd Ed didn’t come out until the late 80′s as TSR tried to catch up (from a rules perspective) with all the new systems developed since D&D’s initial release.

    Skills are tough from a design perspective. I remember in the early years of skill systems, designers would advertise how many skills were listed in their game, hundreds. Then there was the balance factor in tying skills to attributes and ensuring a good spread. (Look at R. Talsorian’s Cyberpunk to see a bad example). But the real challenge is to keep a few, relevant, skills which cover most actions performed in the game. It’s the KISS principle. IMO, FFG designed a good skill system, capturing the required skills for WFRP, keeping the overall number of skills small, and balancing skill versus attribute. I’ve only run a handful of games, but haven’t run into a situation was wasn’t covered by one skill or another.

  • Gitman,
    thank you for your welcoming attitude. Very magnanimous, considering I failed to expand on the thoughts in my opening comments and they came off as overly critical. Listening to the balancing segment of this podcast today, I found the breakdown of the “three legs of RPG’s” accurate and insightful. Someone mentioned players frequently defaulting to combat. I think this holds true of GM’s as well. As a GM, I find little difficulty in running a combat encounter. Physical encounters leave little to doubt as 1/3 to 1/2 of the rules of any RPG cover combat. Generally investigation comes next as players search for clues to continue the adventure. Last, adding the social element, by presenting unique and memorable NPC’s to interact with the players, provides the greatest challenge. One of the signs I look for in a great GM comes from the personalities they create.
    Note: I said generally investigation falls into the middle ground of GM’ing difficulty. This is because running pre-made adventures provides clues for the GM’s to give the players. Seeding those clues to the players in such a way to keep the story going and keep the players interest is a key skill for GM’s. For example, Eye for an Eye builds a good collection clues for the GM’s use, but presenting them in a way for players to follow can make or break a game.
    Overall, I see the three parts of the RPG as less the parts of a triangle and more the rungs of a ladder. Growing up with RPG’s, I started with tones of combat. As we got older, we started sharing adventures, following the clues of the game. Finally, we began telling memorable stories with rich characters.

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