WFRP3 - Darkness and Light in the Empire
For games I GM, here are some house rules plus just preferences:
First, you should know that our games are played on the Fantasy Grounds II platform which has a powerful WFRP3 enabled library, complete with custom dice, automated actions and skills and many other features. But both GMs (Noely and myself) have Premier memberships, so you don’t have to buy anything. Just download and install the free version.
I really like to encourage social action, and even social combat. As social skills are often the last ones chosen, I encourage this by giving you one FREE social action during your character creation.
Chaos Stars / Sigmar Comets:
Some GMs interpret Chaos Stars as always good for Chaos Characters (usually meaning the GM). For my games, just to be clear, Chaos stars (and banes) are always bad for the player who rolls them (including the GM) and Sigmar Comets (and boons) are always good for the player/character/GM who rolls them.
Also, the dice really make Chaos Stars come up too frequently to have them represent “really bad things” happening. I usually interpret 1 chaos star to be a bane plus something “bad”, but not really bad. Two Chaos stars trigger significant bad events, such as when your weapon breaks or other more severe bad stuff happens.
Banes and Boons – play them out!
I want the Players to know the typical interpretations of the boons and banes in the player guide and suggest their own results. Please don’t just say “take a fatigue”. Add some reasoning “I really put my heart into that intimidate attempt and ended up stressed/fatigued” when it didn’t work." Remember that boons can mean white dice for comrades or next turn and many other effects.
Investigation / Conversation / Following Leads
Investigation type adventures can be really interesting for the GM, but can be really frustrating (and boring) for the players, when they can’t think of the right questions to ask or leads to follow. When nothing is coming to you, do an intuition roll (or intelligence roll, or sometimes a fellowship roll) and say “From the conversation with this NPC, do I get any hints or hooks of information that they might have?” If you succeed, I’ll give you a hint “She makes a passing mention of her brother. Something about the way she says it tells you that there is something the is hiding relating to him.”
Remembering the Rules
No one likes to wait while the GM or someone looks up rules. If I can’t remember or remember a rule wrong and it is taking too long to look it up, and you know it, speak up. If no one remembers it, I may just wing it. If I get it wrong, feel free to look it up as we play and if you find it, let me know I got it wrong. I’ll probably keep with my original call for that one instance, but then I can do it right from then on.
Preparing for Combat
A combat round is a few seconds. You don’t have 5 minutes to look through your skills and decide what to do. Please think about your action options during other players actions and be prepared to state your action when it is your turn. Have your action card open to the reckless or conservative side. If you have to think too much when it is your round, I may move on to the next character, essentially moving you down in initiative for this round until you decide what you are doing.
I’ll try to do the same, but unfortunately when a GM is controlling half a dozen characters or more, sometimes it takes a little time. But use that time to decide what you want to do.
Taking cover in combat is sometimes an option. When you take cover, you can get a black in defense. Depending upon how prepared the cover is however, I may make you take a black as well, as you cower in the grass trying to keep your head down. But if you are in a prepared position, such as behind a window, you may be able to get a black for defense but not in attack.
In order to give Magic a little more punch, damage from magical attacks that are “ranged” or “melee like” are calculated as INT + WILL + Rank (plus any other bonuses). I reserve the option to not apply this to other magical effects (such as a gas) so ask me first. However, be aware that this is an experimental rule and if I don’t think it is working well, I reserve the right to repeal it. So if generating or advancing a wizard, don’t make decision that are dependent on or assume that this rule will be in place forever.
*Black Powder Weapons"
In general, black powder weapons turn out to not be as useful as crossbows / bows. Same damage, critical rating but unreliable. In order to add some punch, I have added the following house rule – being targeted by a black power weapon at short range requires a fear(1) check. This overrides the more complicated rule I gave earlier about an effect on the first turn of targeting only. This effect is negated on war veterans, who have drilled over and over and experienced in many battles being shot at by black powder weapons. Note that I am debating another possible change – reducing the crit rating by one, making critical wounds much more likely.
Fantasy Grounds II
For Fantasy Grounds II, learn to use the hot button/links at the bottom of the screen. Put all your character actions there, for instance. Your Combat and Social Initiative rolls. Think of how to use them to make it easier to quickly play your character.
Finally, I’m always open to ideas about how to keep the action going. There are some disadvantages to not being in the same room together and one is that it is harder to feel engaged when the GM is looking up something or preparing something. Help by conversing with your other players, asking the GM what we should do to prep, offer suggestions as to rules, or even suggest everyone take a biobreak while the GM sets up a combat.