Friday, August 25, 2006

Warhammer to Harnmaster Conversion FAQ

What is this?
It's an attempt to convery WFRP to be playable using the Harnmaster 3 rule system.

A number of reasons. Essentially, I really like 1) the unique WFRP setting and 2) the detailed Harnmaster rules. There are some things about the WFRP rule system that I'm not thrilled by- in both the first and second edition. Meanwhile, I'm much more familiar with the WFRP setting than I am with Harnworld; while I like Harnmaster's rules, I'm much more interested in the late Medieval/early Renaissance setting of WFRP- not to mention the joys of Chaos.  Honestly, at this point it mostly seems to have been an elaborate thought experiment.

How is Harnmaster different from the WFRP v. 2 rulesystem?
There are a larger number of individual characteristics in Harnmaster, rated between 1-20 like D&D attributes. They cover a wider range of abilities- sense of smell, willpower, voice, eyesight, etc. Compared with WFRP, Harnmaster attributes are much more specialized. Skills are percentile based, and are used for pretty much everything. Each class of weapons- swords, bows, spears, etc.- are an individual skill, used in combat. Combat is resolved by a series of opposed tests- how the defender responds to an attack has as much or more to do with the eventual result as what the attacker does. Combat injuries are tracked individually, and, like WFRP, combat is fairly deadly- no hit points or wounds, just eventual unconsciousness, crippling, or death due to a combination of injuries and shock, or a single massive blow. Rather than experience points, skills are improved individually: when a skill is used in a challenging or stressful situation, a character gets an opportunity to improve their skill, whether or not the attempt succeeds. Any character can learn any skill, assuming that they have access to instruction or appropriate materials.

How is this different from standard WFRP?
Careers play a much reduced role in the converted game. Careers determine what skills you begin play with (along with race), but from that point on, development is entirely up to the player. Changes of in-game career (becoming a higher ranked soldier, rising in wizardly orders, etc.) is handled through roleplay rather than by a game mechanic. Likewise, instead of an advance scheme, individual skills are improved either through use in play or through training. Most Talents have been eliminated; they're primarily replaced by the more detailed attribute scheme (sensory perception attributes instead of testing against Int with the Perception skill). A few other Talents, such as Dodge Blow, have been replaced with new skills, or skills that already exist in the Harnmaster system.

This sounds more complicated than standard WFRP.
That's not a question. But yes, it is a bit more complex. Harnmaster tends to lean a little more in the direction of realism/simulation than WFRP- with its miniature gaming roots- has tended to go. By and large, this complexity happens during character creation; there are a number of significant values that need to be pre-calculated to keep combat running smoothley, and may have to be adjusted in response to changes in equipment and injury level. Plenty of people have played Harnmaster for years without having problems with this, but it may prove to be too much of a burden for some folks. Personally, I tend to do a lot of my gaming over the Internet these days, making real-time complexity less of a barrier.

What do I need to play?
To really play, you'll need both the WFRP core rules and the Harnmaster 3 core rules. Rather than reproducing a bunch of material from both games, I've essentially just created rules for using parts of both of them. This is partially to make sure that I'm not touching on anyone elses's copyright, and partially because I am too lazy to do the typing that would be necesary to render either rulebook obsolete for the conversion.

Has this been playtested?
Not at present.

What about rules for... ?
If it isn't there now, it means one of two things: 1) I haven't thought of a way to deal with that aspect yet, or 2) I think that something in the Harnmaster or WFRP rule systems can already handle the situation admirably. For instance, I see no need to change how WFRP's fate points work, or how Encumberance is handled in Harnmaster. If it's unclear how to handle a situation, try (in order), using your common sense, picking something from one of the systems and running with it, or emailing me. I'll probably just give you my take on one of the first two options.

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